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Messages - jjflash

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1
Equipment and Software / Re: Orbital Shaker
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:33:47 PM »
Can you describe your process (do you oxygenate or aerate the starters prior to using the shaker, how vigorous is the agitation, do you decant the supernatant, etc.)?

I get White Labs yeast and make a one liter starter with 1.040 canned wort.  I decant, add glycerin to the yeast and place in sterile Falcon Centrifuge Tubes 50ml.  These go into a Styrofoam ice chest into the freezer.  When I decide to brew I pull out a stored yeast from the freezer and thaw.  In the Fernbach I add 1/2 quart 1.040 starter, air pump oxygenate with s/s stone till foamed to the top, then add yeast. Run on the shaker 36-48 hours at 100-125 rpm.  Pop the flask into refrigerator at 36 degrees.  This flask may sit in the refrigerator for a few days.  On brew day I decant this flask, add 1.070 wort, add oxygen (not air this time), until foamed to the top, and return to the shaker at 100-125 rpm.  By the time I am done brewing the yeast starter is at full krausen and ready to be pitched.  Please note I only make big Belgian style beers and this is my technique for big beers >1.080 OG.  If I was making small beers, (haven't done that in many years),  I would not do #2 step up.

2
Equipment and Software / Re: Orbital Shaker
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:12:32 PM »
I just looked that model up.  It appears to be a well-built orbital shaker for the price, even if it is made in Taiwan.  DOTMED is selling the Gemmy VRN-360 new for $330.00.  That's still a lot of money for a home brewery, but it's a lot cheaper than the U.S. and European-made orbital shakers.

They look great on the outside.  Adjustable RPM with gauge.  Bought mine used and disassembled to clean them up.  Look rather whimpy inside, small motor in big housing.  Runs the Fernbach's with ease for 48 hours.  The 5L Ernlenmyer I fill to max 3L, which are quite heavy.  Loads the motors but still running strong and yet to burn one out.  Will see what kind of mileage I get out of these. 

3
Equipment and Software / Re: Orbital Shaker
« on: June 30, 2015, 07:03:48 PM »
Do you experience any over-foaming problems with your Fernbach flasks?

Never had over-foam issues with these Fernbach flasks.  I use them for the first and second step propagation so my max volume in 2.8L flask is only one quart.  I can wort starters in quart jars so that is the max volume used in these flasks.  Third step up is in the 5L Erlenmeyer flask which uses a portion of the wort from the intended beer.

4
Equipment and Software / Re: Orbital Shaker
« on: June 29, 2015, 08:48:01 PM »

5
Equipment and Software / Re: Orbital Shaker
« on: June 29, 2015, 08:45:15 PM »
Thought I would show pictures of my twins.


6
Equipment and Software / Re: Promash Status
« on: June 19, 2015, 03:08:57 PM »
Anyone know what the status of Promash is? Website says it will be up on 6-1, which has obviously passed. Does anyone have insight into whether it will be resurrected for newer versions of Windows?

I used to love this software, but finally gave up a few years back.  BeerSmith took a little getting used to, but I love it now.

+1

7
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: whole campden tablet
« on: May 29, 2015, 09:30:32 AM »
Much easier for me to use potassium metabisulfite powder at 35mg / gallon than to mess with breaking up Campden tablets.  Weigh out the exact amount for every 5 gallon bucket that way.  Costs less also.

8
All Grain Brewing / Ca & Mg in Brewing Water article questions
« on: March 17, 2015, 09:11:58 PM »
Just got done rereading Martin Brungard's "Ca & Mg in Brewing Water" article in the new Zymurgy. 
Correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation of the article.

Calcium levels of 40-50ppm is optimal for enzymatic conversion in the mash.
Magnesium is of minimal importance in the mash.
Malted barley generally contains enough calcium for the mash.

Calcium is of minimal importance for yeast growth.
Magnesium levels of about 42.5ppm is optimal for yeast growth.

Maintaining a Mg:Ca ratio of > 1.8 improves yeast growth and fermentation.

My brewing water has Ca 42ppm and Mg 18ppm.
So there is really no need to add additional Ca as I have been doing in the form of CaCl2.
I can in Mason jars starter wort, these starters would benefit from Mg additions up to about 40ppm.
My Mg:Ca ratio is 1:2.3 so that is spot on for fermentation.
Should my take home message be no additions of Ca to the mash, but add Mg to my canned starters?
I would try this but would appreciate confirmation before the attempt.

Thanks Martin for Brun Water, use it all the time!
 
 

 


9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: To filter, or not to filter?
« on: March 04, 2015, 09:04:06 PM »
I have played with the Buon Vino Super Jet filter for the past few years with my beer.  I prefer this filter as I can select the appropriate filter pad - coarse, polishing or sterile.  I have experimented with everything from my Belgian Triples to Imperial Stouts.  I also recommend Whirfloc and Biofine Clear or similar products.  They all work.  They drop most of the crud out, without filtering.

So do the filters really work?  Yes, and quite well if you select the proper pad density.  Do you need it?  Only if you have to quickly produce a beer and need to quickly put it on tap.  I have found they really do not "strip out" to any significant degree flavor and aroma. I produce only big beers.  I find that I prefer to let them sit for several months to properly mature.  At the point they become drinkable, then I can transfer from keg to keg and rack off the remaining sediment.  Turns out to be less work than filtering, tho not quite as crystal clear, close enough and acceptable. Also less air exposure for oxidation.   If I had to rush these beers to public consumption, I would then filter. 

Now if I produced IPA's (which I haven't done in 10 years), I might be tempted to filter them just to get them crystal clear and on tap ASAP before the hops fizzle out.       

10
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:54:15 AM »
....also WLP 001 is a very easy to use yeast, not at all temperamental. Great beginners yeast and again very forgiving of mistakes.

11
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast starter? Psshhhhhh.... Whatever ;)
« on: February 28, 2015, 10:50:07 AM »
I have said this many times before in these forums and is just my opinion.  These low gravity worts 1.060ish are very forgiving of mistakes.  That is why any novice can produce reasonably good beer.  The real test of skills is high gravity 1.100+ worts, with these you need impeccable technique to achieve great beer.  That is where proper yeast management really counts.  I have learned the hard way that yeast management for me is much more critical than wort production.

12
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Drauflassen on high gravity beers
« on: February 14, 2015, 08:38:25 AM »
Steven Deeds in his book Brewing Engineering discusses this technique.  A really great book that gave me new insight on yeast management that I coupled with s. cerevisiae superb suggestions. I brew only big beers >1.080 and have entirely changed my technique due to these two gentlemen.  I am now able to ferment these big beer quite dry with no stalls.

I start with low volume step propagation. I use this technique with frozen vials of yeast I made kept in the freezer.  Pitch yeast into one liter 1.035, chill - decant and into one liter 1.070, chill - decant and into a calculated volume of wort around one gallon.  Let that ferment 24 hours then pitch the remainder of the wort, about 11 gallons on top of that.

I no longer make these huge volume starters with this technique.  Simply using a portion of the wort produced on brew day as the big volume starter. 

13
Equipment and Software / Re: Glass thief
« on: January 20, 2015, 09:39:54 PM »
I use this one http://www.amazon.com/Glass-Wine-Thief-12-diameter/dp/B0064O9BYW and I like it.

My best glass wine thief for the past 5+ years just rolled off my desktop and fell to the floor breaking into a  million pieces.  So I replaced it with the above glass wine thief, and don't like it at all.  Major issue is it's too short to use, only 12 inches long and is not long enough to easily fit down into the beer in a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.  My old one must of been 18-20 inches long as it worked perfectly for this.  Can't seem to find one this same length anywhere!

14
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Right RPM for stir plate?
« on: January 16, 2015, 08:37:16 PM »
So the recommendation is for me to stop using the Erlenmeyer flask / stir bar / stir plate combination.

If I use the Erlenmeyer flask by itself, would it be better to run an air stone continuous, or dose with oxygen?  With a starter with OG 1.035 how much oxygen to add? The standard 1ppm/degree Plato?  Single dose?  Multiple doses?  Let it run 12-18 hours and refrigerate.

I brew big beers only - 1.080 to 1.110+.  I have started to step my starters from 1.035 1 liter first step, refrigerate and decant with yeast to a 1.070 1 liter second step.  I am now testing a new method suggested by Steven Deeds in Brewing Engineering where I use 1 gallon of the final wort for the third step of propagation. Then pitching this yeast into 10-12 gallon batch.   

I am game to try something new, always in search of perfection.

15
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Over-oxygenating?
« on: December 04, 2014, 08:56:30 AM »
I use in-line oxygen and a high quality Hach dissolved oxygen meter in the fermentor to establish my baseline O2 levels.  (All my beers start out >1.080.)  I am amazed how quickly the oxygen comes out of solution once transfer is complete and the O2 sat begins to plummet at 65 degrees.  This has prompted me to quickly pitch my yeast without delay.  Oxygen toxicity?  Doubt we can perform this feat with our equipment. All that extra oxygen is just leaking into the surrounding atmosphere. 

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