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Messages - lazydog79

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121
Side note/Question - How much starter is too much to pitch?  For my ales, I try to decant off almost all the liquid, leaving just enough to swirl the yeast.  For the Oktoberfest, in trying to get a little more yeast and worried I was pouring too much out, I pitched about a quart of starter beer and yeast cake.  Too much?

122
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 6/25
« on: June 30, 2010, 08:40:06 PM »
After scheduling and yeast issues, I finally got my Oktoberfest brewed today.  It was sunny and 78 this afternoon in Central IL.  I spent the afternoon brewing - had as close to a flawless brew session as I ever get - drank a couple of last month's Blonde Ale's, and tested out the hammock during the boil.  MAN I LOVE BREWING!!!   ;D

123
All Grain Brewing / Re: First decoctition match
« on: June 30, 2010, 02:50:11 PM »
Thanks, guys.  Glad I didn't screw this one up too bad!  I was looking to get a little more malty goodiness in my Oktoberfest.  If this one works out, maybe I'll try a double next time.  My biggest problem is the time.  The single probably added about an hour to my brew session.  I'm lucky to steal the 4-5 for a normal session!  Cheers!

124
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?

125
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?

126
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Windsor yeast
« on: June 29, 2010, 08:02:00 PM »
FWIW, I've found that Windsor gives a fruitier finish - more like S-04.  Nottingham is more like S-05.  They aren't the same strain, but the finish product is close.  I'm not a big Danstar user, but I've used 'em in a pinch.

127
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brew house temps
« on: June 27, 2010, 07:32:02 PM »
I don't mind the heat so much as long as I am out of the sun. That said, I prefer brewing in cooler weather by far.

Mid to upper 80s here in central, IL, but I agree - I don't mind being outside.  I teach, so summer is usually my brew time.  That being said, I try to avoid late July and August - that is officially too damned hot.  This year I actually pulled it off - got my summer brewing done in April and May, hitting my Oktoberfest this week, and then I'm shut down until September.  Need to do this from now on, schedule permitting!   8)

128
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What's Brewing This Weekend - 6/25
« on: June 25, 2010, 07:05:44 AM »
I had planned to brew an Oktoberfest today, but yeast problems are going to push me back to Tuesday.  I've got a CAP in secondary that'll get bottled tomorrow.

129
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lagering Times
« on: June 25, 2010, 07:00:44 AM »
Lots of good info as always.  Thanks guys.

+1  I'm getting ready to do my first full lager, so this is great information.  Thanks!

130
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« on: June 25, 2010, 06:57:29 AM »
No foam, no nothing.  :'( One of these days, I'm going to get smart enough to quit ordering liquid yeast.  It just doesn't travel well - even with NB being 3-4 shipping days away.  Plus, to save a little money, I order a lot at once, meaning yeast ends up hanging out in my fridge longer than it should.  This has been my only option, though, as I don't have a LHBS, but I have recently found a local source for White Labs.  I think I'll be using that from now on.

131
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« on: June 24, 2010, 12:28:28 PM »
So how long do you let it go before you declare a starter dead?  My starter is at 40+ hours with zero activity.  I've never had one go this long.  On the bright side, I'm glad I didn't just direct pitch this.  On the down side, I need to get my Oktoberfest going here so I'll have it in time.  I'm thinking I'll give it until tomorrow, then try to get more yeast.

132
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Smack Pack - No Swell blues
« on: June 22, 2010, 07:43:45 PM »
Thanks for helping me make sure I'm on the right track.  I'm a bit of an amateur with the smack-packs - I usually buy White Labs, but I have heard good things about this Oktoberfest blend that Wyeast has and it doesn't have a White Labs equivalent.  Fortunately, it's summer, so my brew calendar is a little more flexible, but I want to get this done so it's ready by the last weekend of September.

I just got done pitching the yeast in my starter.  What I found inside was interesting.  I think the yeast was still good.  It didn't smell awesome, but four month old yeast rarely does.  What was interesting was the nutrient pouch inside.  Instead of one little pouch, I had two attached.  One was open on one end and the other still looked sealed but with nothing in it.  I think I might have gotten a defective one.  Oh well, as long as the yeastie-beasties still do their thing, I'm happy!

133
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?

134
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Acetaldehyde strikes again
« on: June 18, 2010, 07:32:42 AM »
Thanks for all the tips, guys.  I just pulled a sample of the CAP yesterday.  After transferring it to secondary, warming it up for a few days and slowly bringing it back down, I think it's going to clear up into something at least drinkable.  I've pretty much decided the problem is the water as has been suggested - it's the only common thread between batches.  I need to get it tested to be sure, but I'm thinking it's much closer to distilled than I first thought.  I think the very low mineral content of the water is causing the yeast to flocculate before their job is done.  In the future, I'm going to use my tap water with a tbsp or two of citric acid for my lighter beers.

135
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Curious...part 2
« on: June 09, 2010, 05:50:58 AM »
I didn't sound of on your first post because I felt like so much of a small-fry!  :P  Turns out I'm not that bad.  I usually do 5 gallon batches as I am pretty much the sole consumer of my product.  I wouldn't know what to do with more beer!   Well, I would, but I know I shouldn't!  8)  I usually have somewhere between 4-6 different beers I'm drinking - I get bored too.

Time is a major issue for me as well.  Between work, parenting, etc, etc, I am doing good to get a brew a month or so off.  My goal is to produce enough for my own consumption.  As long as I get that done, I'm happy.  I also try to plan it out well.  For example, I'm planning on doing an Oktoberfest next week that will be occupying my fridge for a while.  Consequently, I tried to get all of my summer needs met beforehand.

As for 3 gallon batches, I would say the big pro of that is 1) as you said, space 2) more variety 3) an untested recipe or 4) something you don't want a lot of.  For awhile, I did 3 gallon batches of untested recipes so that if they were bad, I wouldn't have 2 cases of crap!  I got away from doing that, though, when my daughter was born.  Now, brew days are precious, and you can make 5 gallons in the time it takes you to make 3!  I will still do a 3 batch if it's something I just don't want 2+ cases of.

Bottom line - do what you do and don't worry about everybody else.  That's what is so great about homebrewing - you can go your own way.  I like the way the Norther Brewer blog said it best: http://northernbrewer.blogspot.com/2010/03/subsistence-brewing.html  Prosit!

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