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Messages - rbclay

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All Things Food / Re: AHA Potluck dinner
« on: January 14, 2011, 03:04:12 AM »
elk medallions with a blackberry porter sauce.
bourbon barrel barleywine infused baked apples for dessert.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Yeast Starter
« on: January 13, 2011, 05:18:22 AM »
You are probably right, however I am in the camp of it is better to over than under pitch. Looking at that calculator it says to pitch 65ml of a thick slurry into a 1060 wort. Maybe I am missing something and I should read the entire Yeast book, but 65ml is about half a smack pack?!? How is that enough yeast? Even with a much more concentrated amount of cells in a slurry, that volume just doesn't seem right. But, I haven't tried it and eveything else I have tried from MrMalty has worked so...

I like the feeling that the "pitching on a cake" procedure is rather simple. Taking the time to actually measure the volume of slurry is an additional step that seems unnecessary when what I have done so far is working well. My last 3 step "batch" was a Dark Mild, Brown Porter and finally an EBW, all with NeoBrittania. Damn fine Mild, porter is bottle conditioning now, EBW just finishing primary. All I know is the blow off from the EBW was HUGE. It went from 1.104 to 1.046 in 3 DAYS. And is at 1.032 after a month. That attenuation rate is right in line with the first 2 batches. Not exactly in line with what the strain guidelines say, but it consistent with the numbers in my system. Only time will tell. 2012 Nationals?!?

I probably could pitch 2 or 3- 5 gallon batches with the yeast from the EBW... mmmm.... that would be this weekend....

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Yeast Starter
« on: January 13, 2011, 03:47:52 AM »
Can we back up a second to the original question? I am not as experienced as most on here but I definitely understand the thread so far, and I believe the OP is probably a relatively new brewer. Although the details describing crash cooling, etc. that have been discussed are all good, I like the simplicity, and results, of my system. May be a little easier for a newer brewer.

I can't always brew on a schedule that allows me to make a starter 3-4 days in advance. More often I find myself having a day or so "notice" and can make a starter which I will pitch 12-18 hours after starting it. I based this on MrMalty. No decanting. No crash cooling. Just swirl and pitch. My starter is a few degrees higher than room temp. (Set it on the furnace or in the upstairs bedroom- some warm location). I must note that I only make ales thus far. I make relatively small starters. 750ml. Basically doubling my smack pack count. I am pitching my starter into wort that may be as much as 10F-15F cooler, but that is not an issue as verified earlier in this thread- and also verified by my experiences.

I also brew 2 or 3 batches in a row with the same yeast. In effect, each batch is a starter for the next. I also do this as "simply" as possible. I brew when I know the first batch is ready to be racked- when primary is done. And I pitch the new chilled wort directly on the yeast cake. No washing, etc. I started this as an experiment and I am always willing to improve my practices, but I don't see any reason to change what I'm doing. And it gives me a great excuse to brew- "but honey, the yeast is calling! I need to brew today!" I know this procedure has improved my beers. And isn't that what we all strive for- making better beer?!?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Partial mash question
« on: January 12, 2011, 06:07:46 AM »
When brewing a beer with that high an OG you definitely want to be sure you are pitching enough healthy yeast. Pitching 3 packs of yeast would definitely do it.
Something you may want to consider in the future- and searching this forum I'm sure you could find separate threads on this topic- is reusing yeast from one batch to the next. Brew a lower gravity beer, then use the yeast from that batch for your next, higher gravity beer. In effect you are making a "starter". And you are making more beer!
Most yeast strains make very good beers of varying gravities. Generally you want to step up from lower to higher gravity beers.
Whatever you do, take good notes. And if you have the resources, brew a lot!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Your coolest brewing contraption
« on: January 09, 2011, 01:22:15 AM »
i see, says the blind man...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 2011 Brewing Goals
« on: January 08, 2011, 09:02:52 PM »
Get a couple more entries to make the Final Round of the NHC and medal this time! Entered 3 last year, 2 got to finals! Hope to enter 10-12 this year. Would be estatic to see half of them advance. Determined to medal my APA!!

Another goal is to get to the conference in San Diego. Last year's was my first, but I live in Minnesota so attendance was a given!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Your coolest brewing contraption
« on: January 08, 2011, 08:57:13 PM »
I'm making it right now. I am building my own stir plate. Just trying to get the magnet in the right spot to balance. Easier said than done...
How do I search threads on here without scrolling through dozens of pages? I'm sure there has to be a discussion on DIY stir plates somewhere.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermentation Temps
« on: January 08, 2011, 02:58:26 PM »
Make sure you chill your wort to a few degrees lower than than the temp you want to ferment at. I can only speak to my experience, all with ales.
If you want to ferment at 64F and your ambient (room) temp is 68-70, you need to pitch at 62. The temp in the fermenting wort will rise.
If your room temp is 60 (corner of the room, basement, whatever) and you want to ferment at 64, you still need to pitch under 64. If you think the "cooler room temp will drop the fermentation so I'll just pitch at 70 and it will drop", you are mistaken. Not only will it stay at 70, it could still rise a few degrees. Now you are fermenting a beer as much as 10 degrees higher than your target. You just made a different beer.
The stick on thermometers (fermometers) are a good idea. And get a couple regular room thermometers. You may be suprised to find the difference from one part of your room/house to another to be more than a few degrees.
If you have the resources just keep brewing, take meticulous notes, and compare and contrast what you find. Have fun...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Midnight brewing...
« on: November 29, 2010, 03:36:00 AM »
I guess I should have added that I am also an extract/partial mash brewer. Saves me some time, but not really. I still spend 3-4 hours per session. I am usually racking and/or bottling in the same time I am brewing. I should be brewing right now, but there  is always tomorrow...

General Homebrew Discussion / Midnight brewing...
« on: November 27, 2010, 06:16:02 AM »
With 4 kids 8 years old and under I have taken to brewing at night. Anyone else enjoy the solitude of what I like to call "midnight brewing"? I love it... kettle boiling away right now with a brown porter. Will be pitching on a cake off a dark mild. NeoBrittania yeast.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oxygenating Wort
« on: November 15, 2010, 05:57:02 AM »
It is relatively simple and not too expensive to properly oxygenate your starters and wort. Most LHBS' sell the adapter for the red O2 tanks. Like this :
You have to get the tanks at your local hardware store for $10.  For me that's worth it. A little red tank lasts probably 10 batches for me. I time the length I send O2 into my starters and wort. 30 seconds for starters, 2 minutes for 5G of wort. Not too scientific, but I have seen very good results and can repeat the same process each time. The next step up would be to get a bigger, refillable O2 tank and a regulator. Not worth it for me, but it would be cool!
For me I never bothered to try to aerate me wort. Yeast don't want just "air", they want oxygen. A stir plate would be cool also. I've seen plans that don't look too difficult to make. I have had good success with my "little" 500-800ml starters with no stir plate, just the occasional swirl by hand in  the 12 or so hours they are going.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Another Nottingham Recall . .
« on: November 13, 2010, 07:56:21 PM »
mmmm.... that's the same lot as the packs in my fridge! I used some about a month ago as a bottling yeast. Hard to tell, but I think it worked fine. Oh well...

It might be this weekend for me! 5 gallons Dark Mild on Thursday, 5 gallons Cream Ale last night/this morning, another 5 gallons Hobgoblin Brown Ale tonight. I'd brew tomorrow night too but the Steelers are on!

Brewed a Dark Mild today. Hobgoblin Brown Ale and a Cream Ale on Saturday... sunny and 50 in mid-November in Minnesnowta! Gotta brew as much as possible!

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: "Black I.P.A" recipe
« on: October 12, 2010, 10:10:49 PM »
I've thought about hot-side aeration as well. It doesn't seem to be an issue. I use a 4 gallon pot for steeping, resting the bag of grains in a strainer over the pot to rinse. I have a 2 burner stand. I heat up my "sparge" water in my brew kettle next to my steeping pot. I rinse with 3 qts. 170F water, then I transfer the strainer w/ grain bag over the brew kettle. I then pour the steeping pot contents through the bag/strainer into the boil kettle, leaving behind any solid material in the steeping pot.
So it drops maybe 3-6 inches inches max.

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