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Messages - jjflash

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1
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!
 
 

 


2
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.       

3
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.

4
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.

5
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. 

6
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!

7
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.

8
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. 

9
Equipment and Software / Re: New gear just for sours?
« on: September 20, 2014, 08:40:26 AM »
Yep, always have two separate sets of plastic.  For sours all plastic has bright yellow tape markings. I never worry about the glass and stainless steel as that is comfortably interchangeable.  I always store the sour plastics away from everything else.

10
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Moldy Star San
« on: September 18, 2014, 08:28:20 PM »
On the bottom of the 5 gallon plastic bucket lid all the time.  Clean it off and it comes right back. Change the StarSan solution about every 3 months.  I always check the pH and it is less than 3.

11
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Artificial Fruit Flovoring
« on: August 30, 2014, 09:53:17 AM »
I like to use the fruit flavorings in addition to real fruit.  If the beer falls a little short of my expectation of fruit flavor, I will add a small addition of the artificial fruit flavor to pump it up.  Raspberry wheat is a good example - seems like no matter how much raspberries I add it never quite hits the mark.  Add a touch of the fruit flavorings, perhaps a bit of sweetener, and it improves the taste.  I never use artificial fruit flavorings by itself.

12
Been using these for the past year.  No more hop bags or loose hops in the kettle. They are the best for hop and spice additions. I slip two into my kettle.  One for FWH and the second for any later hop pellets or whole hops or spice additions.  I have use them when I add piloncillo sugars.  Instead of bashing the cones into small chunks, I pitch the cone into the basket and it quickly dissolves.  No mess.  The seams are welded and they have stood the test of hard use.  I recommend them highly.

13
Ingredients / Re: Spice extracts in vodka
« on: August 09, 2014, 03:51:46 PM »
The only time I have found vodka spice extracts to be beneficial is my pumpkin beer.  Spices are quite variable in strength from year to year, source, and as the spice ages.  Cinnamon is a good example of this.  I use the usual spices in my pumpkin beer in the kettle.  If the final beer is not quite up to my flavor expectations, as is often the case, I will use additions of vodka spice extract to hit the flavor sweet spot.  I am very satisfied with the beer using this method.

14
Wood/Casks / Re: Bourbon Barrel Aging
« on: May 17, 2014, 06:48:03 AM »
FYI - I have used sulfur sticks in a few barrels and there has been no detectable flavor issues.  You need to use only a very small amount, not a whole stick in a 5 gallon barrel - which is probably the key.

My preferred method currently is to get freshly dumped whiskey / bourbon barrels and immediately fill them using no rinse between.  After beer has been in the barrel and later transferred out I rinse well with hot water, 160 degrees plus, to get out the dregs.  Perhaps may kill off some of the bugs.  Then I will pour whiskey into the barrel to impart that bourbon barrel taste back into the barrel.  I save this bourbon and reuse it many times.  After a couple uses the barrel gets impregnated with the sour bugs no matter how well I care for them.  They get relegated to the lambic barrel collection at that point.  I also drill a hole in the head all my barrels and add spigots to make transfers easy.  Barrel stands that allow you to stack barrels one on top of another are great too.

15
You may well be able to find Wyeast 1056 in the local homebrew shops manufactured 2 weeks ago. (Does anyone really still use this yeast?  Guess so as its always recently dated.) Not usually true with my choices such as Wyeat 3787 and Wyeast 1762. Recently in my two local shops, these were dated 3 months and 4+ months out.  I note that when they have several packages of 3787, they seem to sit on the self until sold regardless of the date.  Even on my recent order last week from a big internet homebrew shop, both these yeasts came to me 2 months old.  Personally, I would like to see the bar raised and get yeast in its prime, no later than 2 weeks from manufacture.  That should be the new standard.

Sent an email to Wyeast.  They do not sell directly to the public as expected.

Error on my part about above Chi Company post.  They were selling White Labs yeast directly rather than Wyeast.

Done with my rant.  Still looking for a source for fresh Wyeast, may have to rethink this and start using White Lab products.


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