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Topics - philm63

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Just got this year's water report from Ward Labs and it says my pH is 7.9. Each time I brew, I take measurements of the water I use for brewing and record it on my brew log. I use filtered tap water (city water - very low minerals - typical under-sink canister-type filter, changed regularly) and each time I take a measurement, I come up with around pH 6.0, not the 7.9 Ward labs says.

Not sure how our measurements differ, I assume they do differ as we're getting very different results, but what I'd really like to know is if I should be inputting into the water calculator what I measure here, or what Ward Labs measures there? pH 6.0 vs. pH 7.9 makes a big difference in what shows up in Bru'n Water. NOTE - I calibrate using 2 points each time I use my MW101 pH meter so I'm reasonably sure my readings are good.

Could atmospheric contamination be making that big of a difference in what I measure? Did Ward Labs draw a small sample off my sumitted sample and purify it under a vacuum or inert gas to get their pH reading?

Yeast and Fermentation / Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 19, 2014, 10:44:40 PM »
What the...? Did I accidentially brew a hefe? Did someone slip me a WLP300 disguised as an 029?!!

Just racked my first Kolsch to the keg for a couple-week rest at 32 F and tasted the sample. Been crashing it at 32 F for a few days since confirming fermentation was complete to be sure all that could drop did drop. Very different than what I tasted BEFORE fermentation. Of course some change is to be expected, but I certainly did NOT expect bananas coming out of a Kolsch! A hefe, yes; but not a Kolsch.

But of course this IS my first Kolsch and my first experience with WLP029, and I haven't really set too many expectations, but nobody told me it might smell like bananas! Has anyone else got bananas from their 029 fermentations?

I pitched at and held a solid 60 F for the first few days until it slowed significantly, then slowly raised to 66 F over a few days, then crashed after a couple of day's readings showed a steady SG at 1.007.

Bananas? Really?

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP 029 - Low Activity?
« on: June 13, 2014, 05:27:36 PM »
I thought this was supposed to be a vigerous fermenting strain. I did a Kolsch last Sunday and pitched at 60 F. I made a 1.3 L starter on a stirplate - YeastCalc tells me I needed around 193 B, and also told me I'd get 277 B with a 1.3 L starter on the SP so I figured it'd be a nice healthy pitch.

The activity in the fermenter was low - only about an inch or so of krausen. I even used a blow-off tube on this one thinking it would make a mess otherwise. Also, Thursday morning showed the krausen had dropped and the beer was pretty clear on top - just a few bubbles here and there. It was still putting CO2 bubbles in the flask of StarSan my blow-off tube was in - about every 5 or 6 seconds - so I know it's still fermenting.

Was the seemingly low fermentation activity normal for this strain at 60 F? Or did I miss the mark on the pitch and make too small a starter for such a low fermentation temperature? The thinking here is that as the fermentation temperature decreases, the initial cell count needs to increase... does this make sense?

Ingredients / EXP 1210 Hops - Good? Bad? Ugly?
« on: April 19, 2014, 02:01:33 PM »
Have you brewed with this experimental hops variety before? What did you think?

I've got a couple 4-oz bags I found buried in my freezer - reckon they've got almost a year on them but are unopened and the packages are fine.

Thinking of putting a simple AIPA together with a bittering charge of Warrior, and then spreading all 8 oz of this EXP 1210 over several additions including a few oz for dry-hop.


Yeast and Fermentation / YeastCalc's Website is Down?!!
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:13:43 PM »
Anyone have any ideas on why YeastCalc's website is down?

I've seen bits and pieces of information on this forum and in other sources concerning cold break in the fermenter, and it appears there are varying opinions on whether or not this is OK and if so, how much is OK.

To get a handle on controlling the temperatures with my new chiller set-up, I'll be recirculating with a filter (Hop Rocket) between the pump and chiller until I hit my pitching temp, meaning I'll trap most of the cold break material before I switch hoses and run the wort to the fermenter.

Question is; when I decide to remove the training wheels and run the wort through the chiller directly to the fermenter w/o recirculating, all of the cold break is going to end up in the fermenter, no?

I know some break material is good for the yeast, but are there any other concerns?

Got my Chugger pump a couple of months ago - still setting up the lines and fittings - and Santa just left me a shiny new plate chiller! Woo-hoo!!

For those of you using a plate chiller AND a pump; it looks like there are a couple of ways to set it up - running from kettle to pump to plate chiller to fermenter; or from kettle to pump to plate chiller and back to kettle until temp is reached, and THEN running it to the fermenter. So, the question:

Which method do YOU use, and why? Are there specific advantages/disadvantages to each method?

Wasn't sure how to search this one, so I figured I'd just toss it out there - how much beer can one expect to lose in the pump and lines?

I ask because I am adding a pump to my system (5-gallon batches, 10-gallon cooler for the tun, 10-gallon BK) and my initial use will be to circulate the wort during chilling (using an IC) and introducing my new Hop Rocket to the mix as a filter at first - just to get used to working with a pump.

I'm adding a ball-valve near the top of my BK for a return. A hose will go from the bottom of the BK to the pump, then to the Hop Rocket, then back up to the BK. My total line length will be about 12 feet.

Is there a "standard" procedure to get that wort out of the lines and into the kettle once the pump is turned off? Or is anything left in the lines considered "waste" and just dumped during the cleaning process? If so, I can note how much is lost and add it to my batch size to compensate - just wondering what other folks are doing.

General Homebrew Discussion / Coolest Wife Award?
« on: September 14, 2013, 07:08:26 PM »
Check out what the wife did for my birthday...

The Hop Rocket she also got me doesn't suck either...

General Homebrew Discussion / Who Uses a Blow-Off Tube and When?
« on: August 13, 2013, 03:41:46 PM »
Had a major blow-off on my Hefe - thought "No way - I pitched at less than 60 F and set the ferm-fridge to 62 F!" What a mess! It was WLP300.

OK, so I need to get a blow-off tube, and my question is this: Who uses a blow-off tube and when, and for what yeast strains or beer styles?

Yeast and Fermentation / Pure O2 - Is a Sanitary Filter Really Needed?
« on: August 10, 2013, 01:54:13 PM »
Just got my O2 system set up and will be using it this weekend for the first time. I have the tank, regulator with flow meter, a length of flexible tubing, and one of those nifty Williams sintered stones on a long metal tube (sintered stone-pop?) Not being 100% sure, I went ahead and purchased an in-line "Sanitary Filter" as well.

For pure O2, do I really need the sanitary filter? I'm pretty sure they are needed for aquarium-pump aeration systems (you never know what's in that air!)

My thinking is that my sintered stone has 0.5 micron holes, and sanitary filters for beer filtration systems run around 0.5 microns, no? meaning anything that might be in my "pure" O2 that could give my chilled wort grief would not make it passed the sintered stone.

Does this sound right, or should I just err on the safe side and use my in-line filter?

Yeast and Fermentation / Low Fermentation Temperature for Hefeweizen
« on: August 10, 2013, 01:18:24 PM »
Brewing my first Hefe this weekend and will be using WLP300. Not wanting a banana-bomb, I'm aiming at a low pitch and initial fermentation temperature - thinking of pitching at 60 F and letting it go to 62 F for the first 3 or 4 days, then raise it up to finish it off at 68-70 F.

My concern is the low pitching temp (60 F) - even if I oxygenate with pure O2 and have a very healthy pitch, can I still anticipate a sluggish start?

Most of my fementations take off within 6 hours or so, and I usually don't go much lower than 4 F below the stated range for a given strain. Should this one be any different being well below the normal operating temperatures for that strain?

All Grain Brewing / Acid Rest Question
« on: August 08, 2013, 12:58:14 PM »
Doing a Hefeweizen this weekend and I plan to mash-in at 111 F for a ferulic acid rest for 10 minutes, then pull a decoction.

My question is this: When doing any "acid rest", the mash will become slightly more acidic, yes? But how much more? Will it keep going, or is there some sort of buffer effect that dictates after it drops a certain amount, it can drop no further?

Bru'n Water calculations show that at mash-in, my pH should be around 5.5, and I'd like it to be around 5.2 during conversion. When I do my rest at 111 F, will I see enough of a drop before pulling my decoction, or should it take longer? Should I just add a few ml of 10% phosphoric instead of waiting around for the pH to drop on its own?

Yeast and Fermentation / Aeration Equipment Question
« on: July 13, 2013, 01:14:42 PM »
I'd like to improve my fermentations by changing the way I aerate my wort (normally I just shake the carboy), and I've been looking at pure O2 equipment.

What I'm looking for here is advice from those who have gone through this process so I don't wind up wasting too much $$$. I do want to get "good" equipment for this, nothing cheap that'll fall apart or give inaccurate readings, as I'd like to be able to control the process so I can accurately track changes.

To this end; I've been looking at a 20 CF O2 tank (welding grade, new) and medical-grade regulators and flow meters. Seems a set-up like this is running around $250-300. I don't mind spending the money, but I'd like to do it once and be done with it.

Anyone gone through this before, and what did you wind up with? Do you use medical-grade regulators and flow meters, or industrial-grade regulators?

Ingredients / Mosaic Hops?
« on: October 28, 2012, 11:44:18 PM »
Where can I buy the new Mosaic hops? I've looked around on-line and have yet to find anyone selling them.


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