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Messages - kylekohlmorgen

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Saison attempt
« on: April 28, 2015, 11:08:00 AM »
I've got opinions!

I've made saisons in the past, but last fall I decided to make them more frequently. I've been brewing saison almost exclusively since then and drinking lots of it commercially.

Here's what I think (so far):

Basics: Incredibly dry (but not watery) with subtle, balanced, preferably complex yeast character. Spiciness from yeast should be no more pronounced than spiciness from spices. Highly carbonated (3-4 volumes). If you miss on any of these points, its just a nice witbier (at best).

Sugar: Unless you're making a saison at 7% or higher without brettanomyces, you don't need sugar. In moderate-gravity saisons, you need all the malt/grain character you can get! Long, low sacch rest and healthy fermentation will produce sufficient dryness.

Adjunct Grains: Bump up the body (and potentially flavor) with adjunct grains. I like good-quality raw wheat, spelt and rye from my local Whole Foods or organic grocer. You have to mill and boil them first or your efficiency will suffer. Oats are good if you want body without (any) additional flavor contribution. Flaked grains sold to homebrewers are often of poor quality. Chew on them - they can sometimes taste like plastic or just bland oats. YMMV.

Fermentation Temperature: Regardless of strain, I start at 67F and allow it to free-rise OR raise 1F/day if it won't free-rise on its own. I only gain 1-2F total from the heat of fermentation, so I use a heat pad to slowly raise the temperature. Pitching <70F is important for fusel control and flavor balance, IMO. I usually hold at 78F (if fermentation isn't already complete). You can go into the mid 80s with 3724, but no reason to hit 90F with steady temp control, good aeration, and healthy yeast.

Yeast health: Make a starter, even if a vial/pack will technically contain enough cells. Even if you don't need growth, a small starter will increase viability, help maximize attenuation, and reduce off flavors. During the last few hours of brewday, stash the starter in an area that is a few degrees warmer than pitch temp. This way, your yeast will come up to pitch temp slowly. Aerate or oxygenate very well, as many saison strains have a higher oxygen requirement vs. normal ale strains.

Conditioning: Some saisons strains, specifically Dupont, require some conditioning time to 'smooth out' the flavor profile. Blending this yeast with other saisons strains can reduce conditioning time.

Packaging: I think bottle conditioning is critical to great saison, but its a PITA, so YMMV. Either way, don't undercarbonate saison just because you already have a bunch of 12 oz bottles or a keg line that's too short to pour it. Use heavy bottles or make adjustments to your draft system.

Mixed Cultures: I don't make saison without pitching several strains brettanomyces (and often lactobacillus) along with the sacch strain(s). I use strains that produce subtle fruity/citrusy flavors with limited phenolic, earthy, 'barnyard' character. I started growing the strains up separately and pitching by volume, but now I often repitch the mixed slurry in successive batches. Since saisons are already so highly attenuated, it can be packaged and drunk fresh or allowed to evolve over time. Brettanomyces is a critical component in my saisons, but not absolutely necessary.

Well... that ended up being a lot longer than I intended.

Events / Re: CBC 2015: Anyone coming to Portland?
« on: April 09, 2015, 01:48:49 PM »
I'll be there!

I'll look you up if I had that way.

I will say - a Founders tap takeover is not all that exciting to Midwesterners  :o I do LOVE me some Boneyard beer!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitization
« on: April 09, 2015, 08:31:09 AM »
Lately I've been spritzing my buckets with a bottle. Works well.

I keep some Starsan solution in a PET bottle to pour into my kegs. Pretty much don't make even small buckets of the solution any more.


Its a very GOOD spritzing, ending with about a half-inch of Star San on the bottom. Make sure you get the lid, inside the grommet, etc.

I am a bad example, though. I've only brewed mixed-fermentation beers over the last year. I definitely have had cross-contamination, but its quite welcome  :D

I have a 2.5 gal keg filled with Star San for filling spray bottles and sanitizing kegs, lines, transfer tubing, glasses, and fermentors. If I need the keg, I just fill all the spray bottles and dump.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1st time pitching Brett
« on: April 07, 2015, 02:47:38 PM »
You should allow the beer to condition until it tastes ready to you.

If the FG is above 1.004 or so when you bottle, Brett could continue to ferment and overcarbonate (and potentially overpressure) the bottles.

I think homebrewers worry MUCH more about this than necessary. Store the bottles in a relatively cool place, and open one every 4-6 weeks to check the carbonation. If you notice a significant increase in carbonation, stash the rest of the batch in the fridge and drink over the next few months.

Bottle bombs are much more common in poorly fermented beers with considerable amounts of simple sugar left behind.

Because you reached a reasonable final gravity, the simple sugars are most likely gone, and only the more complex dextrins/carbohydrates remain. Brett takes much longer to ferment these compounds, and the process is slowed down even further at cellar temps.


Equipment and Software / Re: New equipment for all grain
« on: March 19, 2015, 11:35:02 AM »
I second going with a larger kettle. But, if you live in a warm climate a freezer/fridge with a controller would be my first real upgrade. Before going all grain even...


No matter your location, get your fermentation control down first: temperature (used fridge with controller), oxygen (oxygen stone), and pitching rates (starter flask and stir plate).

Extract beer with ferm. control > All grain beer without it

Other Fermentables / Re: Tart Cherry Juice in a Mead?
« on: March 16, 2015, 01:01:05 PM »
I've used (presumably) the same juice for kriek.

From my notes, I used 2 bottles (64 oz) in 4.75 gallons and got a LOT of cherry flavor.

I think the aroma is too subtle in the Whole Foods juice, which is why I like a combo of juice and whole fruit or puree. But again, this is for sour beer.

Since the mead is kegged, try a few blends in the glass first.

Pimp My System / Re: Compact Fermentation Chamber Heater
« on: March 10, 2015, 01:36:48 PM »
I use one of these. Works great. About $15 on ebay to my door. They last a long time. With my shop hitting 20º at night I can hold 68º no problem. When I do sours (lacto start) I add a second one that stays on all the time, and can hold 98º no problem

This is what I use for heating. The output adjustment (low-med-high) is great for slowly ramping temperature.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Delaying pitching
« on: March 10, 2015, 10:50:15 AM »
That said, on both homebrew and commercial set up I leave most of the hops and trub behind in BK, which I do personally advocate. I whirlpool and have a plate in front of my exit port to hold back most of the hops and trub.

I guess when I've done the settling and racking off, its been  in the heat of summer when I can't chill lower than 75-80F or so. When I cool from there to lager pitch temp (~55F) in the fermentor, I get a LOT of cold break.

Probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference in a stout or IPA, but it sure helped clear up a quick-fermented Pils.

Right now, chilling and settling in the whirlpool is no problemo.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Delaying pitching
« on: March 10, 2015, 05:42:39 AM »
In the summer, or when making lagers, I almost always delay pitching for 24 hours.

If you delay pitching, you might as well take advantage of the trub settling time. Before pitching, rack into another fermentor. This has helped my quick lagers clear up much faster!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling sour. will I need to ad yeast
« on: February 20, 2015, 10:11:48 AM »
What is the FG now? Unless the beer was really dry out of primary, you probably still have some gravity drop left.

You can still bottle, just keep it in mind. Use heavy glass bottles (if you can), but if not, just open one every so often to monitor carb levels.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3724 Fermentation Temperatures
« on: February 16, 2015, 03:34:35 PM »
I should note though, after reading your first post, I would not want to ferment this yeast in swinging temperatures. 3724 is a fickle beast, and a temperature drop of 10 degrees is likely to put it to sleep. Constant 90F is what we are all doing here, not varying temps.

TL:DR - I would not ferment this yeast as you have stated in your first post, despite it being able to behave at 90F.


3724 can complete fermentation in the high 70s / low 80s, but it needs to be a steady rise and stay consistent. You have to be able to hold the temperature steady between set point changes and especially at the high end, during the last few points of attenuation and clean up.

By steady, I mean constant within 2 degrees F or so.

I don't ferment in the 90s because I can't hold the temperature steady when its that high. The fermentation may take longer than normal ale fermentations, but I like to think of it as slow-moving rather than stalled.

Beer Recipes / Re: Quincey! (Bretted quince Saison)
« on: February 16, 2015, 03:28:03 PM »
Complex! How's it taste so far? Does it need the membrillo paste?

1. Does the paste have seeds? If so, it might be best to add it in a reusable mesh bag. Add it in the keg if you can. If no kegs, rack on top of the paste in secondary.

2. Brett wont add much sourness, but over time it will dry out the beer, leaving a perception of acidity (or at least I gather from competition feedback I receive on un-soured brett saisons). I think Belle gives a similar perception when attenuation is high (i.e. both times I used it).

Oxygen won't conjure acidity from brett, but it will oxidize the beer and reduce aromatics from the yeast, fruit and spices.

I think you posted to the "adding sourness post-fermentation" thread a week or so ago. If not, check it out.

Pimp My System / Re: Redbird Brewhouse - There's Always a Project
« on: February 13, 2015, 01:14:05 PM »
SO MANY brass fixtures were in our new house when we moved in.

They were the first to go. Fixtures and a new fence for the dogs.

Our new ones look great, but they are controlled by remote and are on the same frequency, so when I turn on the living room light, the bedroom light comes on too!  >:(

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Souring post-fermentation
« on: February 13, 2015, 01:10:33 PM »
We get lots of Cascade here...sadly they are normally 30-40 a bottle.

So that's like a $25 bottle and a $10 pack of yeast...

...or at least that's how I justify it to my wife.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Why Am I Doing This?
« on: February 12, 2015, 04:04:56 PM »
If you're not concerned about storability, then you likely don't need to worry about it.

That being said, I purge nearly everything with CO2 and transfer without splashing. Why? Because I've put this much effort into it already. Why would I cut corners on the tail end of the process just to save a tiny smidgen of CO2?


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