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Messages - philm63

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All Grain Brewing / Re: About to destroy my immersion chiller...
« on: August 01, 2014, 04:00:16 AM »
Having gone this route myself and seeing that it was painfully slow, I bought another 25-footer and tossed it into a bucket of tap water as a pre-chiller to supplement the one in the kettle. Minimal returns.

So, I made a new 50-footer, and I combined the two original 25-footers into one 50' pre-chiller and ran that water through my newly made 50' 3/8" copper IC in the kettle. I start with tap water (about 80 F in the summer here) add ice at about the 120 F point, and get 6 gallons down to 65 F in around 12 minutes consistently.

More surface area on the IC in the wort = faster cooling; all else being equal. 50' is better than 25', 1/2" is better than 3/8", etc.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water
« on: July 28, 2014, 04:00:58 AM »
Tap water - Ward Labs tested; pretty soft already - run through an under-sink carbon filter, campden tablet, then Bru'n Water (Paid copy) for salt adjustments. Salts on-hand: Gypsum, Calcium Chloride, Epsom, Chalk, Kosher Salt. 10% Phosphoric acid to adjust sparge water to pH 5.8 (room-temp). The salts that the spreadsheet recommend for the sparge just go in the boil.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Batch Sparge Water Temp
« on: June 28, 2014, 05:47:44 PM »
Nope. I've sparged from 165 - 190F (batch sparging) and noticed no change to the final flavor profile.

Caveat to the above; watch the pH and you'll have nary a problem sparging with high temps. One thing that can happen when sparging over about 170 F is the extraction of tannins (aka; the solubilization of polyphenolic componds) but this is primarily a function of pH rather than temperature.

Tap water above 170 F can be less than ideal for sparging due to its pH being in the 6.5 to 8.0 range (typically), but lower the pH to the 5.5 to 5.8 range and you technically can have it up to boiling temps and you won't extract tannins. I stick to around pH 5.5 at 190 F for my batch sparge.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 23, 2014, 08:59:51 AM »
Ok, the take form the folks at While Labs essentially is that because I pitched at such a low temperature and held it there through fermentation until clean-up time, this condition may have stressed the yeast sufficiently to cause the production of Isomyl Acetate, which is the banana aroma I'm getting. Still doesn't explain why it dropped in 4 days, but there it is.

Next time maybe I'll pitch at 62 F, and once active, I'll drop it slowly to 60-ish and let it rip until done, then raise back up to finish out.

Perhaps I'm chasing something that doesn't need to be caught. As Martin said, the pH of the base water has little effect compared to the ions (existing or added), and so far as I can tell I've been pretty close or dead-on hitting predicted mash pH. I also checked his remark that even if you change the pH in the water analysis input, it does very little downstream, which I confirmed. Chase over. Thanks to Martin et al.

Specifics would really help, but a couple of things come to mind readily; crush, and volumes. Do you crush your own grain, or does your LHBS crush it for you? How confident are you that your volumes are accurate/correct? Do you use a brewing calculator or a program such as BeerSmith?

So would it be best to input what I actually measure into Bru'n Water instead of the reported value as I had done in the past?

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 / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 20, 2014, 06:58:27 AM »
Just sent an email to White Labs - we'll see what they say.

I calibrate all of my instrumentation against NIST traceable references at regular intervals, and you're right; what I saw is indicative of a warmer-than-expected fermentation, but the instruments aren't lying, far as I can tell. I'll have a look-see tonight when I get home - the keg is sitting in there now, lagering. says it's at 32, we'll see.

Yeah, I know the center of mass in my fermenter can go 6 to 8 F higher than the outside of the glass carboy (where I take my readings) during an active fermentation, and I've always been a fan of cooler fermentations to keep things on the "clean" side, even if it takes a little longer. I also insulate the thermocouple so it is influenced only by the glass and not the ambient air in the fermeezer. So far I've not have any issues with fermentation, always comes out clean. This one's weird, though.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 20, 2014, 05:29:04 AM »
I'll be sure to ask the guys at my LHBS (and White Labs) about the possibility of a mislabeled vial - quality control is not always 100%.

Could I be misinterpreting this "slight banana" aroma as the sulfur associated with 029? Doesn't explain the fast fermentation and floc, I know, but I gotta know what went down here - the engineer in me won't let this go without a solid explanation.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 20, 2014, 04:03:23 AM »
Mislabeled... hmmm.... that's an interesting thought. Is it normal for an 029 to finish and drop clear in 4 or 5 days at 60 F?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 20, 2014, 03:33:13 AM »
And I'm assuming you made a starter?

Yes sir. 1.3L on a stirplate (5 gallon batch size, 1.048 OG, 86% viability according to YeastCalc), crashed when done, decanted most of the spent wort before bringing it back up to pitching temp (60 F) on brew day - my usual routine. Controlled fermeezer, checked everyday. Yeast smelled good when making the starter, smelled normal come pitch time as well. Pure O2 at 1L/min for 1 minute through a 0.5 micron stone just before pitching.

Say, that brings up an interesting question; does the temperature of your starter (while it's fermenting) have an effect on ester production, and can those esters carry over during the pitch even if most of the spent wort is decanted? I ferment all of my starters at 72 F on a stirplate in an environmentally controlled lab, and get very consistent results thus far (been at it for two years now).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 19, 2014, 04:11:23 PM »
Can't imagine it's an infection - never had it happen, not to say it couldn't happen to me, but I'm quite anal about sanitation (part of what I do for a living is certification of commercial food equipment (among other products) and sanitation is one of my strongest suits) - clean-rinse-sanitize is a regular part of each step in the process. Scratching my head.

Maybe it'll clear up after a week or so in the keg... we'll see.

<Edit> Is there anything else that could give one an impression of banana? I can't imagine fruity esters at 60 F for the fermentation, but again, I know nothing about this yeast except it attenuates well and drops like a two-ton heavy thing. The grain bill was 10 Lbs Pilsner, 10 oz Vienna, and 24.5 IBUs of Tettnang at 60-min. 90-min boil, fast chill, etc. Pretty simple brew, really.

Yeast and Fermentation / Banana from WLP029?!
« on: June 19, 2014, 03:44:40 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?

Black Imperial IPA. Came out OK up to and including kegging, where I decided to do a final dry-hop charge. Used a nylon stocking, a few ounces of Citra whole-leaf, and some stainless ball-bearings to weigh the bag down so it wouldn't just sit there on the top.

Ball-bearings worked fine - plenty of weight - just that they were 430 grade stainless as they were ball-bearings, and not the non-corrosive type such as 304 or 316. See where this is going?

Darn things rusted over the course of the several days in the keg carbonating and conditioning. By the time it came for the first sip, I knew it was drain food - plenty of iron, though, if you're into that sort of thing. I'm not. Sad day. True story. Lesson learned.

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