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Topics - lazydog79

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16
Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentation schedule for Belgian Pale
« on: January 31, 2011, 04:15:46 PM »
I brewed a Belgian Pale Saturday afternoon - Jamil's "Antwerp Afternoon" recipe.  OG was 1.054.  Fermenting with WLP 515 Antwerp Ale.  I had originally planned to do a two stage fermentation with a week or so in primary and three in secondary, but I'm rethinking this.  My fermentation took right off and looks like it could be done in another day or so.  I'm wondering now if a longish (3 weeks or so) primary might be all I need given the OG, but I'm unsure as I have never brewed this style before.  Thoughts?

17
Yeast and Fermentation / Minimum time needed for a starter
« on: September 14, 2010, 09:07:58 PM »
I'm planning on brewing Northern Brewer's Winter Warmer this weekend fermented with Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.  Here's my problem - I just ordered it today (the 14th) - it should be here the 16th.  I meant to put my order in the end of last week, but forgot.  Plus, I didn't think I would be able to brew until the 25th.  Now, an opportunity has presented itself to brew Saturday (18th).  I dare not waste such opportunities - they are a rare commodity 'round these parts!  8)

So the question is - I was planning on making a 2.5 liter starter (per Mr. Malty, needed for the 1.069 OG).  My usually procedure has been to get my starter going 3-4 days to ferment completely, decant the starter liquid and pitch.  If I make my starter as soon as I get the yeast, the starter will only have two days.  Will that be enough time, or am I better off letting the opportunity pass me by this weekend and brew next weekend?  Thanks!

18
Other Fermentables / Homemade hard lemonade
« on: July 18, 2010, 05:38:23 PM »
First of all, let me begin this post by stressing how much it pains me to post this.  :-[  I find this crap absolutely awful, but SWMBO loves the stuff, and who couldn't stand to score a few extra points, right?

So, does anybody have a way to makeup something like Mike's at home?


Geez, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little....  :P

19
Yeast and Fermentation / WLP 820 rate of Fermentation?
« on: July 12, 2010, 09:01:47 AM »
O.k., I am sweating my aforementioned Oktoberfest again.  I pulled a gravity sample today to see if I am getting near needing to start my diacetyl rest.  It has been in primary for 11 days.  The bubbling has slowed to about 8 blips a minute, so I was figuring it was probably somewhere in the mid-20s after starting at 1.055.  My hydrometer read 1.041!   ???  I even took the reading twice. 16 points in 11 days?  What gives?! 

I had previously checked gravity 5 days prior and got a 1.046.  Again, I am a newbie with lager yeasts.  Is this typical performance for this yeast?  At this rate, it's going to take forever to ferment out.  Any insights would be helpful.  Thanks!

20
All Grain Brewing / First decoctition match
« on: June 30, 2010, 01:16:25 PM »
For my Oktoberfest I'm brewing, I decided to try my hand at a decoctition mash.  I decided to go with a single decoctition as described in "How to Brew:" Infuse to 151 for 35 min., pull the decoctition, hold at 160 for 20 min, then boil for 45, and back into the main mash for mash-out.  However, I goofed.  This was my first shot at trying to hold a temp with my burner.  I managed to spike it to 170 for a few minutes before I got it cooled it back down to 160.  I guess I need a little more patience!  What kind of damage did I do?

21
My 3 qt. starter of White Labs 820 Oktoberfest Lager is chugging away.  I pitched the yeast Sunday, but it didn't really get going good until last night.  It's currently at 60 degrees.  My question is this - I'm going to go ahead with the brew tomorrow.  It's a little early for the starter, but I'm a little schedule pinched.  Normally, I would let it ferment out longer.  Plus, I'm this is my first full lager and I'm not real sure how lager yeast behave.  I was thinking of cold crashing it in the morning to get the yeast to settle out, then warming it back up to fermentation temp for pitching sometime around early evening tomorrow.  Good plan or good way to wreck good yeast?

22
Yeast and Fermentation / Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« on: June 22, 2010, 01:55:53 PM »
I'm planning on brewing up an Oktoberfest Friday or Saturday.  I have a Wyeast Oktoberfest blend smack-pack.  The plan was to pitch it into a 3 qt starter today and brew this weekend.  I took it out of the fridge around noon today (3:30 now) and I have no swell.  I'm worried the inner pouch might have already been broken or the yeast is a too old (Feb. manufacture date).  Should I go ahead and pitch it in my starter and see what happens?

23
Yeast and Fermentation / Vexed by Acetaldehyde/Esters
« on: May 31, 2010, 08:41:27 AM »
I've got the brewing version of a hitch in my swing.  With one exception, every time I have ventured into a lighter beer, I have run into moderately strong acetaldehyde/fruity off flavors.  I did manage to brew a Wit last year without them, but now I am wondering if the flavor was masked/integrated into the Wit.  I thought I had my problem diagnosed, but now am forced back to the drawing board.

Last year, I brewed a Cream Ale w/ S-05 and this year a Blonde, also with S-05.  I fermented both cool (low 60s).  While the Blonde is not as sever as the Cream Ale was, both have the same off flavor.  I was blaming my problem on a combination of the S-05 and perhaps too cool of a fermentation, causing the yeast to flocculate before their job was done.  However, I just transferred a CAP fermented with San Fran Lager yeast (WLP810) at 57 degrees to secondary after two weeks and change in primary. I picked up the same problem.  Yes, it's early for this beer yet, and I'm hoping some conditioning helps, but by now, I know the problem when I see it.  I'm going to try to clean it up by doing a warmer (64) rest before bringing it down to the mid 50s for conditioning.  However, I would really like to nail down the cause of the problem in the first place.  The recent issue with the CAP has eliminated yeast as an option.  That leaves me with just two possibilities: pitch rate and water.

Being in Illinois, I have hard-ish water.  Anything lighter than an Amber, it's too hard.  So, when I have gone lighter, I get water from one of those drinking water vending machines at the grocery store.  I didn't think the water could cause this problem, but as it's the only common thread between the beers, I'm now wondering if it's part of the problem.

I'm also wondering if my pitch rate and aeration is causing the problem.  I've always thought my aeration was o.k.  When I transfer from my boiler, I run the wort through a spray aerator, a strainer, and a funnel into the carboy.  This usually produces enough foam that it's coming out of the carboy.  I do concede that under-pitch could be a problem.  I would think a rehydrated pack of S-05 would be adequate.  The CAP did have a problem, though.  I had a failure to start from a harvested yeast, so I straight pitched another vial.  While fresh, this is probably not the best.

O.k., that's the long run-down.  Any insight as to the cause of my problem would be appreciated.  I would hate to be banned from entire categories of styles!  Thanks in advance!

24
Yeast and Fermentation / Acetaldehyde strikes again
« on: May 15, 2010, 09:30:40 PM »
Hey all. I need your help diagnosing a problem. I just opened the first bottle of my Blonde Ale (OG 1.052, FG 1.010) I brewed at the end of April (4/24). It turned out fine except for a strong green (acetaldehyde) off flavor  >:(. This brew spent two weeks in primary at 62 degrees, two weeks in secondary at 60 degrees, and two weeks in the bottle. I realize it’s a little early yet, but I have seen this flaw before in my Cream Ale that I brewed last year, and it never aged off completely. This is the second time I have brewed a light ale and the second time I have gotten hit with this off flavor  :'(. So, I’m trying to diagnosis the problem. I have come down to a few possibilities:

1. The yeast – S-05. I fermented both with S-05, but then again, I ferment a lot of things with it. It’s probably my most used yeast. Plus, everybody else raves about, so I doubt this is the problem. Nonetheless, I’m tempted to try Danstar Nottingham next time. I did manage a Wit last year that didn’t suffer this problem, which caused me to question the yeast, but I am probably looking in the wrong direction.
2. Ingredients – both used Rahr 2-Row as the base, but again, I use Rahr in a lot of things. I doubt this is the problem.
3. Water – Because of my hard-ish water, I use water from the grocery store self-serve RO/drinking water machines. Again, I used the same thing for my Wit, and many people brew with soft water. So, I doubt it, but worthy of consideration.
4. Yeast handling – With the Cream Ale, I rehydrated as usual. With the Blonde I direct pitched. Seems like no matter what I do, I’m getting the off flavor. Nothing I’m doing here is helping or hurting the situation.
5. Racked too soon.  The Blonde had dropped almost clear, so I'm not sure keeping it on the yeast did it.
6. Fermentation temperature. As I mentioned, I fermented the Blonde cool, but still in S-05’s optimum window, to minimize ester production. I didn’t have my cooler and temp controller last year, so I kept the Cream Ale in a water bath that I maintained between 62 and 64. I’m wondering if fermenting so cool isn’t causing the yeast to flocculate before they cleanup their mess. This is my favorite explanation as of right now.
7. Something else I'm not thinking of??

As always, thanks for your thoughts and insights!

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