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Messages - lazydog79

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Dough-In
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:26:36 PM »
Another +1 for Beersmith!  I know I am math-impaired, so I made purchasing Beersmith part of the package when I went AG.  For $20, you can't beat what it can do for you.  The 2.0 version is even better, I'm just too cheap to get it.  I couldn't imagine brewing without some kind of software, but plenty of people do...just know one with a Social Sciences Ed. degree  8) 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Looking Forward to Fall
« on: July 26, 2012, 07:17:41 PM »
I've got a Scottish 70/-, Robust Porter (if it ends up being salvageable) brewed up.  Going to sneak in a Schwarzbier before school starts.  I haven't done the math, but I'm pretty sure there is an inverse relationship between temperature and the SRM of my beers  ;)  I'll have lots of IBA still and whatever is left of my Am. Wheat and Pils - but that won't be much  :D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stuck Fermentation - Best Course?
« on: July 25, 2012, 09:01:36 PM »
Just curious....was it reading low or high?

In my fermentation chamber (chest freezer) I run the controller probe in the the air in close proximity to the fermenter.  I have a Taylor probe thermometer I run down a thermowell to check my beer's temperature.  It's always been off, but a fixed off - about four degrees high.  I got some high readings at first, but I attributed it to the raging fermentation I got at the start, so I lowered the freezer.  After becoming suspicious of the readings, I checked them with the Johnson's probe (which is way more accurate).  Come to find out the "off" interval of the Taylor had changed on me  >:(  I ended up fermenting the first couple of days two or three degrees below the yeast's optimal range.  I corrected the temperature and let it free rise back up to ~68.  Not sure if that is part of my problem or not.  I'm starting to think WLP013 might be a little finicky and my manhandling of it didn't help.

The other possibility is that I mashed at 155, which, for my system, is a little on the high side.  I blindly (read maybe stupidly) followed the recipe (from a BYO replicator).  Wondering if that wasn't a bit too high.

Honestly, at 1.022 it's not that terribly high for a 1.065 porter. I could see why you would want it a few points drier psychologically but realistically you should taste it once it is carbonated and make a decision then. I've had beers finish high before that I considered dumping but once they were carbonated I fully enjoyed them.
That is definitely a good pint, Keith.

Besides, I like bludgeoning myself through drinking a batch that wasn't it's best.  It's a good way to make sure I don't make stupid mistakes again  8)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stuck Fermentation - Best Course?
« on: July 25, 2012, 06:08:06 PM »
Good advice, all.  Thanks again.  After rousing, warming, and adding some energizer, I'm not seeing a lot going on.  I think that's about all she's got, but we'll see.

Not I just need to diagnose the problem.  This was my first dance with WLP013, but I'm not jumping to blaming the yeast.  I had several holes in my process including a dramatically higher efficiency than I expected which I remedied with dilution and a mash temp (155) that I am now second guessing in hindsight (especially given my higher than planned OG).  Still, I'm not inclined to fall in love with this yeast either.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stuck Fermentation - Best Course?
« on: July 24, 2012, 04:58:54 PM »
Well, good to hear I did the right thing, then  ;)  I roused and and took it out of the freezer (basement is ~ 71).  I threw a little energizer in for good measure.  I'll see if that gets it going.  If not, well, I guess I have lots of porter to cook with  ::)

Denny - I really don't want to admit to all of the technical screw-ups that happened on this brew.  Let's just say it started with a way higher efficiency than planned and ended with a faulty thermometer probe in the thermowell (threw that out!).  I think if it comes out, I will call it "Cluster F*$K" ale.  Step 1: I have got to get some consistency to my efficiency.

Thanks for the help all!

Yeast and Fermentation / Stuck Fermentation - Best Course?
« on: July 24, 2012, 03:44:47 PM »
Brewed up a a Robust porter two weeks ago.  OG. 1.065.  Fermented with WLP013 London Ale at 67 degrees.  It has been in the primary for twelve days.  The fermenter has been quiet for a couple days, so I pulled a gravity/tasting sample to see where I was.  I was expecting a FG somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.017, but I have 1.022 (insert favorite swear word(s) here  >:( ).  It tastes like the cloyingly sweet mess you would expect finishing five points high.  I haven't had a stuck/under-attenuated brew in quite a while.  What is my best course of action to save this batch?  Throw in some yeast energizer or run to the store to get some S-05 and dump it in?  As always, thanks for the advice.

Air temperature is going to fluctuate very quickly. The walls will stay cold after the freezer shuts off, cooling air near the sides and causing convection currents that show fluctuations on your probe reading.  Even with a fan to even things out, you're never going to be able to keep the air temperature around 63 without cycling the freezer on and off constantly, and this will break your freezer pretty quickly.

You don't care about air temperature; you want to maintain the temperature of your beer, so tape the probe to the side of your carboy (or use a thermowell).  5 gallons of liquid has a lot more thermal mass, so the freezer will run for longer periods of time and then shut off for longer, and your beer temperature should only fluctuate 1 or 2 degrees.

+1  I've been running an A419 for several years.  By the time it cycles off, my 3.5 cu ft. chest freezer will cool down at least five degrees more, but it warms back up fairly quickly.  However, like clock work, a fermenter will run about a degree or so above my SP (depending on the vigor of the fermentation).  I dangle the controller probe about an 1" or less from the fermenter.

I learned from experience, though.  You don't want to run a freezer with a controller with a probe in a thermowell.  That will cause severe over-run.  I do use a thermowell, but just to run a thermometer probe down to check the beer's temperature.  The controller-in-the-thermowell setup is good if you are running a fermenter heater, though.  Holds mine almost constant.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Efficiency
« on: July 14, 2012, 02:58:25 AM »
I envy/miss that kind of consistency.  I used to be dialed in - knew I was at about 78%.  With BeerSmith, I could get my target OG almost dead on.  Since we moved, I have started using Brun'n Water.  Slightly better water and being more mindful of water chemistry has boosted me up to around 85%, but what is vexing me is the loss of consistency.  My efficiency jumps around almost 10 points over the last half dozen or so batches.  I'm thinking the culprit has to be the water chemistry, but what precisely it is, I can't nail down.  I just got 92% on my last batch, but I was planning for 83!  I would gladly go back to 78 if I knew I could keep it!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Best Yeast for an Oatmeal Stout?
« on: July 07, 2012, 03:09:22 PM »
Although, they (Wyeast) do still make Pacman yeast. However, I don't like ordering yeast during the dog days of summer, even with a cold pack or two, as I've gotten it before almost hot in the shipping box.  :o

Exactly!  I gave up on internet ordering liquid yeast a long time ago.  Even though I can get a NB order in three days, it's just not worth it.  A liquor store here stocks most common White Labs strains and will special order just about any others for me.  So, I am a White Labs man.  I do use a lot of dry - S-05 and S-04 are used heavily in my brewery.  Chico strain has been the closest thing to a "house yeast" for me.  I don't want to say I'm turning against it - it's a danged good yeast, but I have come to see that it is a not a once size fits all.  White Labs has a big selection for a reason - it's time to play with yeast strains  ;D

If you want a Rogue-ish mouthfeel then I would go with WLP002, but WLP001 will lend a cleaner and dryer profile. Depends on what you would prefer fruitier/silkier or cleaner/dryer?
Thanks for the succinct distinction, bluesman.  That really clears it up.  I am doing a Porter here in a week or so with London Ale (013) so I will see how I like that yeast.  I'm thinking that or the English Ale or Dry English Ale as several of you suggested.  Thanks for all the help everybody!

Beer Recipes / Re: Strawberry Blonde
« on: July 03, 2012, 11:11:52 PM »
O.k. - You guys are talking me back into using an extract (as long as it is the right one).  The control and ease has me thinking about it.  NB has one that says "natural extract"; not one of those "flavorings.'  I'm leaning that way...

Beer Recipes / Re: Strawberry Blonde
« on: July 03, 2012, 06:28:23 PM »
I tend to agree with hoser on the extracts.  The two worst beers I have ever made were with extracts.  No more for me.  NB has a "natural strawberry extract" that I find tempting, but I'm sticking with real fruit.  I'll go with the consensus and do 1 lb/gallon.

Yeast and Fermentation / Best Yeast for an Oatmeal Stout?
« on: July 03, 2012, 03:25:46 PM »
I am putting together a recipe for an Oatmeal Stout.  I am using a clone recipe for Rogue Shakespeare Stout as the basis, but I wouldn't exactly call it a clone.  Obviously, the original recipe called for PacMan Yeast.  I can't source Wyeast, and I don't think they make that anymore. I'm looking on opinions for a good White Labs yeast for American/Oatmeal stouts.  I was thinking either WLP005 British Ale or WLP013 London Ale.  I am thinking of going with the London Ale.  Thoughts?

Beer Recipes / Re: Strawberry Blonde
« on: July 03, 2012, 03:18:46 PM »
Thanks, hoser, that's what I was wondering - if I needed to go to 2.  I didn't think 1 would be over-doing it, but was thinking it was under-doing it.  I forgot about Daniels - I'll give that a look.

Beer Recipes / Strawberry Blonde
« on: July 03, 2012, 03:02:13 PM »
I have been scratching at this Strawberry Blonde ale recipe for a while and was looking for some input.  I'm not usually a fruit beer fan, but a local brewpub makes a good one.  It has just a subtle hint of strawberry - just enough to know it's there but not overpowering.  I was looking to try to replicate it.  Here's what I have come up with so far:

8.2 lbs. Domestic 2-Row
7 oz. Crystal 10L
.4 oz. Galena @ 60 min
White Labs WLP 011 European Ale Yeast
1 lb. frozen strawberries - secondary for five days
OG: 1.051; IBU: 18; est. FG 1.014; est. ABV 4.7%

I am pretty confident in the base beer.  The only switch I made was to go with the European Ale Yeast to compliment/support the fruit better.  What I am unsure of is the fruit.  I wanted to go with the frozen berries because I don't like extract flavors.  Not sure of the amount though.  I don't want it to not come through at all, but I don't want to make fruit juice either.  Thanks in advance for your input!

Equipment and Software / Re: GIve Up on ProMash??
« on: June 25, 2012, 06:26:04 PM »
Beersmith is without a doubt my favorite piece of brewing equipment and has paid the highest return on investment.

With Beersmith and Bru'n Water I CAN CONQUER THE WORLD!!!!!!!! aaaargh

Here, Here!  as some one who is mathematically impaired and has somehow gone my entire academic carreer without taking a Chemistry class, I need the tools.  I've resisted upgrading to BeerSmith 2.0 mainly just because I am cheap.  I used to hack my way through water adjustments (with hack results!) but have recently started using Bru'n Water (which rocks, Martin!).  I am glad there are smart people in the world to figure this crap out for me  :P

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