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Messages - kylekohlmorgen

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: lacto starter; my first yeast infection?
« on: January 19, 2015, 11:05:44 AM »
How did this turn out? How do they taste so far?

I wouldn't assume you had an infected starter just yet - lactobacillus does produce CO2 and can be very active, especially at ~100F. Also, if you were growing yeast in one of your ~95F starters, the pH drop would have been less than the other. You would also have more sediment.

Maybe one pack of lacto was newer than the other, or stored less ideally? Maybe it saw more temperature fluctuation during shipping. I think the Wyeast/WL lacto cultures are quite fussy compared to yeast.

Please update the post with your results, good or bad. It's definitely an interesting side-by side!

Ingredients / Re: My water's been sitting
« on: January 19, 2015, 10:35:36 AM »
A volume of water left 'open' will come to equilibrium with the environment its left open to.

In your case, you'll probably get some oxygen and CO2 pickup, but nothing to be worried about.

RO permeate can be quite corrosive, so I wouldn't use it if it was stored in a metal container.

If not, then you might taste it to make sure you didn't pick up any off flavors from the garage

The Pub / Re: Now White Labs - take that!
« on: January 09, 2015, 01:06:08 PM »
now White Labs...hoping to see an NHC in Asheville in the near future!


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: pH question - dead lacto?
« on: January 09, 2015, 01:03:35 PM »
So 48 hours after pitching another lacto pack and applying 95F and I haven't checked the pH but the top of the wort just looks sour to me, if that makes any sense. I have a bung on the carboy. I should have seen way more activity in the flask with that little bit of weak wort but i had a piece of foil loosely on top and spun it for a week. I think that's where I went wrong. IMO Lacto doesn't need a starter.

This was also my first all grain batch - I did a "no sparge" single infusion with 7.5 gallons of water, ended up with 1.034 OG but after the first boil of 90 minutes i ended up with only about 2.5-3 gallons in my carboy.

I think I should sour this to death - wait until its on the other side of 3, then combine with 2.5 gallons of fresh wort in a boil, then pitch beer yeast. that would come out to a 5 gallons of 4ish pH (plenty sour IMO).

Thoughts on that combined old beer/new beer process? OR thoughts on where I went wrong only losing 5 gallons in my brewing process?

RE: Brewing Process
2.5-3 gal sounds about right if you started with 7.5 gallons and didn't sparge. If you're not using it already, download BeerSmith and start tracking your recipes and process. Measure volumes and gravities throughout so you can input your brewery's specs (efficiency, volume losses, boiloff, etc).

RE: Souring/Blending
This is a great idea and a process I often execute for split batches. Since you're exploring sour brewing, all-grain, AND split batch blending at once, it will be tough to duplicate or diagnose. But I'm not one to tell a homebrewer to slow down or stop doing weird s***. Rock on.

Definitely taste it before adding it back to fresh wort - if there are off-flavors, just dump it and start over with your second batch.

RE: Beer pH
Beer pH is only one of a few factors in gauging a beer's acidity. Tasting is more important. Also - lacto will only take the pH down to 3.2 - 3.6, depending on strain, health, and conditions.

Equipment and Software / Re: Immersion Chiller Solder
« on: January 09, 2015, 12:41:23 PM »
Did you buy it new? From whom?

Its not okay from a consumer standpoint. You paid for a cleanly-made IC and received a hack job. I'm assuming the website didn't show an IC with solder everywhere, and if that's the case, ask for a replacement.

From an operational stand point, lots of solder is tough to clean. I made my own hack job lautering manifold for my first mash cooler. Lots of solder - lots of scrubbing.

Equipment and Software / Re: Ventilation for Indoor Brewing
« on: January 09, 2015, 10:13:14 AM »
Download the 2010 Presentation from John Blichmann on Setting up Your Home Brewery:

Lots of good stuff in there about ventilation sizing, equipment, and installation.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast for pre-soured Berliner Weisse
« on: January 08, 2015, 01:42:36 PM »
I'll bet S-05 will be fine. Definitely rehydrate and use a fresh pack. Oxygenate and add yeast nutrient at pitch. If you can use slurry from another lightly flavored, low gravity beer, do it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Bucket lid problems
« on: January 08, 2015, 11:47:54 AM »
I'm sorry in advance for this novel-sized reply.

I’m a long-time bucket fan for all phases of fermentation.
I use buckets for everything from IPA to lagers to lambic. Primary, short conditioning (‘secondary’), and long-time mixed fermentation.

For sours, I’m often criticized for using buckets (and even by the Mad Fermentationist himself), but I think a few practices significantly limit oxygen pickup.

1.   FILL IT UP. I try to get at least 5.25 gallons in my 6 gallon bucket. My batches that turned to vinegar have been due to under-filled fermenters (both buckets AND carboys). If I’m using a big krausen producer in primary, I use Fermcap and have never had issues with blow-off. For lager strains, most bretta, and 3724, there usually isn’t enough krausen to worry. (Side note: I think blow-off tubes are a potential source of contamination, but that’s another post)

2.   Replace lids often. For long-conditioning beers, I won’t use a lid that isn’t a PITA to remove. It doesn’t take too many cycles for a lid to lose its shape, so those lids get marked “MALT” and are used for grain storage. I’m currently testing some lids with O-rings I found at the LHBS; I’m not yet convinced they fit more or less snug than the regular lids.

3.   Limit opening/sampling. This is probably the reason most homebrewers have issues with buckets. More sample = more oxygen and more wear on the lid seal.

4.   Keep airlocks full. An empty airlock will allow more oxygen in than the lid. I’ve switched to 3-piece airlocks for conditioning buckets. Also make sure that the grommet fits tightly around the airlock. Don’t pull the airlock to fill or ‘peek’.

5.   Healthy, active cultures. I propagate dregs and mixed cultures so they are healthy before pitching into wort. This greatly reduces the overall aging time. My sours are usually ready to keg in under a year, but I’m confident that at least some bretta will stay in suspension for much longer. For clean beers, the same rules apply: healthy yeast and fermentation conditions allow the yeast to protect the beer from oxygen.

6.   Limiting acetobacter exposure. You can’t make acetic acid without oxygen, alcohol, and acetic acid bacteria. I try to minimize acetobacter in my mixed cultures by stepping up dregs in the bottle and tasting before adding to a culture or batch. I also regularly feed the cultures, which help push oxygen out and keep bretta dominating. It also helps to keep the exterior of bucket and lid clean.

6.   Flush with CO2. If you can, flush the bucket before transfer or even after opening. This is less critical, and I'm guilty of skipping it on occasion, but it will help (again - with buckets or carboys).

WHEW! Sorry again for the diatribe, but hopefully this helps some of my fellow bucket brewers!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: pH question - dead lacto?
« on: January 08, 2015, 09:15:51 AM »
I don't mean to be argumentative Kyle, you have much more experience with sours and various lacto strains that I do. Not sure if the OP is going for a BW, I  just wanted to clarify where I was coming from and what makes sense to me from sources that I trust.  To your point about nutrients and byproducts, to address that I gently swirl my flasks once or twice a day to mix things up a bit. Regarding even temperature, my flasks are in a fermentation chamber at steady temperature rather that a warming pad or band. Any further comments or insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

We're not arguing - its collaborative discussion!

That talk is an awesome reference for lacto fermentations. Good point on oxygen in the fermentor. I was referring specifically to the starter. Sorry I didn't specify. Oxygen is bad for the main lactic fermentation, whether its increasing the risk of aerobic bacterial infection or just oxidation.

Thinking back on it, I may have had oxidation issues with long lacto ferments in the past. I'll definitely be purging my lacto fermentor from now on!

For the OP - I wouldn't worry too much about it. Your LHBS was right - be patient, check it in a few weeks, and then react if needed. Sour beer is all about patience and RDWHAHB.

Ingredients / Re: chile mulato
« on: January 08, 2015, 07:06:44 AM »
Honestly - if you like the flavor of the chile (or want to make its flavor a central component), go with a lighter beer and 'dry-chile' in the keg.

One of my favorite summer homebrews of all time is a chipotle blonde. I was getting tired of my blonde on tap, so I tossed one chipotle into the keg. I left it in for awhile to get a feel for flavor extraction, but since they float their easy to remove. Just fantastic.

Rich stouts are always great. The important thing is richness and body to balance the heat and tannin (much like chiles and sour cream or chocolate). For lower-gravity, use oats and lactose to build richness. Better still is an imperial stout. A favorite here in STL is Abraxas by Perennial - a viscous, rich and chewy imperial stout with chiles, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla. The FG is north of 1.030 with an ABV of 10%, so the sweetness, alcohol, heat, and complex flavor profile are nicely balanced.

With the description, I'm thinking an old ale might be interesting. I've never had the chile, nor an old ale with chiles, but its an idea.

Now I'm thirsty...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: pH question - dead lacto?
« on: January 07, 2015, 08:51:11 AM »
I wouldn't use a stir plate either. Oxygenating may inhibit the lacto.

Oxygen doesn't bother the lacto. The stirring action will help bring nutrients to the cells and carry away byproducts, as well as keep heating even.

Warmer is better. I don't think there is much difference between 90-120F, so just keep it as warm as you can without significant fluctuation. Consistent temp (just like with yeast fermentation) is important.

Don't trust your pH meter unless you can calibrate with standard solution(s). The colorpHast strips for mash pH (the expensive ones) are fairly consistent, and they can tell you if your pH has dropped below 4.8.

Depending on hopping rate, gravity, and starter culture health, 10 days isn't a terribly long time at ambient temp.

Equipment and Software / Re: Share your brew stands!
« on: January 02, 2015, 02:20:29 PM »
Mine is shown below and is a Work in Progress (same goes for just about everything in my home brewery).

If you're looking for inspiration, mine could use the following improvements:

*A GRANT at the MLT outlet would make life much easier
*Raising the mash cooler off the ground (I use cinder blocks now, but they aren't pictured)
*Pump housing and sample draw (like the BYO pump tool box project)
*Sparge water manifold on the cooler lid - this model of cooler does not hold temps well, and cracking the lid to sparge doesn't help!
*Plate chiller
*More tubing and valves to switch from vorlauf to kettle
*More permanent sparge manifold - the current design likes to detach mid-mash (pictured)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brett Mash Temperatures
« on: December 24, 2014, 11:38:31 AM »
...You'll end up with a lot of brett character whether you mash at 158 or 152. Brett finds plenty to eat no matter what...


Brett will metabolize (and create flavor compounds from) many things in beer. Think about a brett saison, or Orval - very dry beers that continue to develop brett character as they age.

That being said, traditional ordinary bitters are brewed to maximize body. Otherwise, such a low gravity beer will seem watery and lifeless.

If you want to increase the perception of body in this beer, mash high (160F wouldn't be too high). I like to no-sparge when mashing for body to minimize temperature drop during sparging. You can also increase the perception of body with adjuncts: flaked barley, oats, or rye.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Beer Gun Tips
« on: December 23, 2014, 12:43:45 PM »
...I'm wondering if a little more pressure would have been better for the beer gun...

Yep - if there is foam in the line, it means CO2 is coming out of solution. 2 PSI is pretty low, so slowly increase the pressure until the beer flows through without foaming.

Steve has a point - cold helps. If you chill the beer down while its on CO2, make sure you account for it in your carb pressure setting.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Jolly pumpkin dregs
« on: December 20, 2014, 08:13:47 AM »

The brewers in Ann Arbor say that JP uses WLP-550 as the primary strain.

Thanks, Jeff. Man I love their Ann Arbor brewpub. I stop by anytime I'm remotely close.

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