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Messages - kylekohlmorgen

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How old can yeast be and still have a chance?
« on: September 11, 2015, 05:00:27 PM »
Is it worth the effort to try? Let's say you spend 20 min per step + the cost of DME, that to me is more than the cost of a fresh pack. If the yeast is hard to come by or a seasonal strain, I'd do it.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 3726 fermentation time
« on: September 11, 2015, 04:59:35 PM »
The problem with pitching so warm is that you have to keep the temperature of the fermenting beer from dropping after high krausen.

It sounds like you started at 80F (above ambient temp), fermentation warmed the beer a few degrees when it took off, then the beer began to cool as fermentation slowed down, which encouraged the yeast to flocculate, slowing attenuation. It doesn't help that 3726 is a fairly heavy flocculator.

This was my crux when I started fermenting saisons in my basement - I had to not only get the beer warm but keep it warm. 5 gallons of beer does not hold 80-85F in a room that is 65-65F.

I love 3726 and it has become my house saison yeast (until it rolls off as a seasonal and I neglect my slurry), but these recommendations could be used for brewing saison with any strain.

Here are my recommendations:

1. Stop fermenting so warm. Its not necessary with proper temp control, especially with 3726. For this yeast, I found that starting at 67F and allowing free-rise (or slowly heating) into the mid 70s produces a balanced set of yeast-driven flavors and allows complete fermentation in short order (7-10 days). Higher temperatures don't produce better results but do make it harder to control temperature at the end of fermentation.

2. If you have a fermentation fridge, invest in a $20 heating pad like the one below. With a 2-stage controller, it works wonders up to ~85F. I mostly use it to keep the fermentor temp constant as fermentation slows, but I've also used it to slowly warm the fermentor when fermentation doesn't produce enough free-rise. Glass carboys keep enough heat in, but plastic buckets often need a little help getting to that 70-72F.

3. If you don't have fermentation temp control, start fermentation below room temperature (65-67F) in a cooler portion of your house. During or immediately after high krausen, move the fermentor to a warmer part of your house and wrap tightly in blankets. You can use the heating pad to keep it warm, but it takes a lot of manipulation and can easily overheat your beer.

4. Provide adequate oxygen. With 3726, I've seen longer fermentation times when I've shaken to aerate vs. oxygenating with a stone. Perhaps its correlation instead of causation, but more O2 won't hurt.

5. If you don't have fermentation temp control, use a glass carboy. It is a better insulator than plastic and can help moderate temperature loss.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Belgian Brown Ale and the BJCP
« on: June 27, 2015, 01:19:40 PM »
The AA% doesn't matter as much as what it tastes like.

The stats may fit but that doesn't mean the flavors fit. When you say 'Belgian Brown, I think of a brown porter-esque grain bill (coffee, chocolate) as opposed to a traditional BDS recipe (burnt sugar, figs, raisins).

If it doesn't fit in 18E, just go with what it does taste like. If it tastes like a 'Belgian Brown', 16E or 34B (Mixed Style Beer) as we transition to the 2015 Guidelines. 

You're saying that the beer is brown but the malt character isn't noticeable? Can you share your recipe? Unless you just used a little bit of roast malt to change the color, there should be some malty flavors in there somewhere.

I like to condition my Belgian ales because I do think they change over time. The 'rough edges' soften, the malt and yeast flavors become more integrated, and clarity improves.

You won't get more malt flavor with age, but you might get a higher perception of flavor as the edges soften and particles settle out. Conditioning time depends on several factors, but a few months wouldn't be unreasonable.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How much food do Brett and pedio need?
« on: June 23, 2015, 01:43:51 PM »

I can't get RR up my way. Send me a bottle and I'll see if I agree with you  ;D


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How much food do Brett and pedio need?
« on: June 23, 2015, 01:23:49 PM »
...Brett will happily metabolize these without needing a significant carbohydrate source...

This is the answer to the thread subject (at least for Brett).

Brett doesn't need a carbohydrate (sugar, dextrin) source to contribute flavor.

Brett needs carbs and oxygen for growth, so if you pitch a small amount in secondary it may take longer to get to the desired flavor profile. Obviously other factors play into the rate of flavor contribution, i.e. temperature, competing organisms, pH, etc. etc.

Pedio does need a carb source to produce lactic acid, but most strains can break down complex starches leftover by sacch fermentation (and even some left by Brett).

Adding 'food' (sugar, dextrin) to secondary will really just result in more alcohol from fermentation by brett.

All Grain Brewing / Re: flanders red Brunwater profile
« on: May 29, 2015, 08:54:00 PM »
Doesn't matter IMO.

Just get enough Calcium and get that mash pH right.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: New Aged Hopped German Pilsner
« on: May 19, 2015, 08:17:42 PM »
I brought a Pacifica dry-hopped Pils to NHC last year. I REALLY enjoyed that beer and will continue to use Pils to test dry hops.

Pacifica is NZ-grown Hallertau, but its definitely a different animal.

Beer Recipes / Re: American Lite Lager!!!
« on: May 14, 2015, 01:12:32 PM »
If it's good, why not a big batch? You can always do hop trials w/ the leftovers

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Moving fermenter
« on: May 12, 2015, 07:56:02 PM »
63F is a perfectly fine starting point for most ale yeasts, especially clean, low/med-flocculating strains. Don't get too caught up on lab specs.

I would start downstairs in your basement and move upstairs just as the fermentation starts to slow down.

You could also try just wrapping a blanket around the fermentor at high krausen. If you've got a concrete basement floor, put the fermentor on a table or yoga mat when you wrap it to help keep heat in.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Help with bugs
« on: May 12, 2015, 07:42:21 PM »
So I tasted it. Slight souring, but with a high fusel alcohol component and some slight funkiness. I pitched it into a 3L starter and am gonna let it ride for a while.

Let us know how it turns out!

Hopefully it works out for ya - I've been trying to 'catch' wild yeast with mason jars full of wort for the last few months with no success!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Saison attempt
« on: April 28, 2015, 06:08:00 PM »
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, 08:48:49 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, 03:31:09 PM »
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, 09:47:38 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, 06:35:02 PM »
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

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