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Messages - imperialstout

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I brew big beers, usually 18 to 23 pounds grain and 8 to 10% ABV using dry yeast only. Have been reading about aerating big beer wort to give the yeast enough oxygen but does this apply to dry yeast?

From the Danstar FAQ:
I always aerate my wort when using liquid yeast. Do I need to aerate the wort before pitching dry yeast?
No, there is no need to aerate the wort but it does not harm the yeast either. During its aerobic production, dry yeast accumulates sufficient amounts of unsaturated fatty acids and sterols to produce enough biomass in the first stage of fermentation. The only reason to aerate the wort when using wet yeast is to provide the yeast with oxygen so that it can produce sterols and unsaturated fatty acids which are important parts of the cell membrane and therefore essential for biomass production.

If the slurry from dry yeast fermentation is re-pitched from one batch of beer to another, the wort has to be aerated as with any liquid yeast.

Does the above apply to big beers or is it better to aerate? I typically hold drain tube from cooled wort in brew pot well above the wort level in the fermenting bucket. Is further aerating necessary for big beers? If so, how to aerate? An aquarium pump for a 5 gal tank and a small stone cost $10. Devises that use oxygen cylinders are faster and provide more oxygen but they cost $40 and more. If you aerate what do you use. Can a small fuel filter be used to trap impurities from the air?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Thermometer for fermentation chamber
« on: February 10, 2013, 11:03:46 AM »
What are you using for a fermentation chamber? If it is just an insulated enclosure the ice and the thermometer will work. If you want to use a freezer or fridge to ferment ales in the 60 degree F range, an SCT-1000 temperature controller, $20 from Amazon, works great. Allows you to maintain a constant temp using the existing cooling system and heat with a 60 watt ceramic heater. Used but relatively new 4 to 5 CF freezers and fridges can be purchased from $20 to $50. Just make sure you can close the door with the plastic bucket / carboy inside.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Looking for a good AG recipe book
« on: February 09, 2013, 04:25:40 PM »
I borrowed 80 Classic Brews and discovered most, if not all recipes are written for extract. Some negative reviews said the same things, the AG conversion recipe was not accurate and neither were the hops and yeast selection for the style. I don't know. It makes me wonder if several people say the same thing. On the other hand the overall rating is positive and two guys from a brew club I just joined  recommended it so bought it. Also bought the Scotch Ale, Barley Wine and IPA books from the Classic Beer Style series. Didn't buy the Stout book as it got bad reviews, too technical and chemistry formula driven. I have read "How To Brew" by Palmer and "Designing Great Beers" by Daniels so figure with all these resources, and this web site, a bad beer can only be attributed to operator error.

Need to know how to create / adjust the fermentation / aging profile to reflect how I ferment and age the beer.
I use Beer Smith 2 and typically make 5 gal batches of imperial beers, 18 to 23 pounds grain. Use a temperature regulated fridge set at 68 F to ferment and bottle condition. Aging is at room temp.

Routine at 68 F is: Primary - 14 days, Secondary / Dry Hop (if needed) - 7 days, Bottle condition - 30 days and age 30 days at room temp.

Question: How to show this schedule correctly on brew step print out? Selected 3 step fermentation including tertiary. Can set the days correctly for each step but brew steps shows dry hop after the tertiary step. I transfer to secondary and dry hop for 7 days then bottle condition in the fridge at 68 F. No big problem, just wondering if there is a way to adjust this schedule or create a custom fermentation / aging profile.

Enzymes convert starch to sugar. It makes sense to me that an increase in enzyme activity would increase the efficiency of converting starch to sugar.

Light body beers are mashed at a lower temp which increases enzyme activity and results in a lighter body beer (and higher efficiency?)
Full body beers are mashed at a higher temp which decreases enzyme activity and results in a fuller body beer (and lower efficiency?)

Just read this in Beer Smith under mash profiles help.

General Homebrew Discussion / How to pour a Black & Tan
« on: February 06, 2013, 06:02:11 PM »
Have read about the pouring devices for pouring a Black & Tan. Apparently some device is needed. Just tried pouring a Black & Tan without a device and it didn't work, the Imperial Stout and the Imperial IPA mixing right away. What device do you use?

All Grain Brewing / Looking for a good AG recipe book
« on: February 06, 2013, 05:52:05 PM »
Looking for a good AG recipe book. Have "How To Brew" and "Designing Great Beers", consider them "Go To" books to learn about brewing beers. Read "Joy Of Brewing" and "Brewing Classic Styles" and was not impressed. Now looking for a good book on AG brewing recipes. Considering "Best Of Brew Your Own 250 Classic Clone Recipes" and "Clone Beers". There is another series of "Classic Brews", each volume dedicated to one style. Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentation time for barley wine
« on: February 06, 2013, 05:33:25 PM »
Thinking of brewing a barley wine. Two questions are are how long a fermentation time required and is a pound of corn sugar a common ingredient? Most recipes figure on a 2 to 4 month fermentation schedule and a pound of corn sugar. Would be interested in the barley wine recipe you use.

Not sure, but there is no dye added to either. CVS lists the ingredients for both and Iodine tincture contains pure iodine and sodium iodine while decolorized iodine contains potassium iodine only. My guess is the answer is no since potassium iodine probably has different properties.

My brother always said searching for information is like panning for gold, most of the time you just get a few bits but once in awhile you get you get a nugget that make all the effort worthwhile. This was definitely a nugget. Decolorized iodine is a misnomer, it is not iodine that has had the color removed, it is in fact potassium iodine, a different compound. What brewers want is iodine tincture containing 2% pure iodine and 2.4% sodium iodine in a 47% alcohol solution, the remainder being water. Don't know if doing an iodine test is worth it but as someone else said, it is another tool to use to help you make the best beer you can.

Wondering if the clear, decolorized iodine will work for the starch / full conversion test. My guess is it will if it is the iodine that changes colour and not the colour added to the iodine that changes. My guess is if there is no starch left the clear iodine will stay clear, otherwise it will turn purple. Any thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / First Wort Hopping question
« on: February 03, 2013, 03:55:46 PM »
Maybe it is just me but I find the directions to doing FWH a little confusing. Got this brew tip the other day that reads in part:

FWH involves adding a portion of the hops to the boiler at the very beginning of the sparging process, allowing these hops to steep as the sparging completes and remaining in the kettle throughout the boil. Add the hops to the boiler as soon as you have finished recirculating the first runnings.

My guess is 30% of your flavour and aroma hops is added to the wort in the brew pot you just collected from draining the mash tun the first time, letting them steep while the grain in the mash tun is then sparged, about a half hour.

Anyone use FWH? How did it work for you?

Thank you all very much. I use dry yeast as no LHBS carries liquid and it is too expensive to order on-line. Had I not read  "Brewing Classic Styles" and posted the dry yeast question, brew day would have involved destroying dry yeast on an expensive stirrer in an expensive flask.

Maybe the monitors can create a sticky not to make yeast starters from dry yeast.

Yeast and Fermentation / Don't make yeast starters from dry yeast? WTF?
« on: January 23, 2013, 07:22:13 AM »
Just read in "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer page 285, bottom of page, NOT to make a yeast starter from dry yeast. Claim it is much cheaper to buy more yeast and hydrate. Surely not everyone who makes a yeast starter uses White Labs or Wyeast.

As for cost, Wyeast would have cost me $20 from Northern Brewer, $6 for yeast and $14 shipping.

Can anyone think of a reason NOT to make a starter from dry yeast? The goal is to increase cell count. How does liquid yeast work well for starters but it is better just to pitch re-hydrated dry yeast?

Will send the authors an email and see what John Palmer has to say in his book, "How to Brew."

All Grain Brewing / Re: more efficiency questions...
« on: January 22, 2013, 08:28:07 PM »
goschman, my efficiency varied too depending where I bought the crushed grain. Owner of a LHBS let me mic his mill, turned out to be .055. It prevents stuck sparges but kills efficiency.

Instead of brewing to see where your efficiency is, see if the LHBS will let you mic their mill. If you have a couple of LHBS to choose from pick the one with the smallest setting, assuming it is not too narrow to give a stuck sparge.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« on: January 22, 2013, 03:52:48 PM »
My thinking is mashing for 60 min allows for conversion. Mashing longer should increase conversion, assuming conversion is not done in 60 min. Same for batch sparging (draining MT, add sparge water and let sit 30 min) Increasing sparge time to 45 min should increase efficiency. I sense that is incorrect but don't know why. JUST SAW THAT CONVERSION IS DONE IN 20 MIN. WHY DO MOST RECIPES CALL FOR 60 MIN MASH, 90 MIN FOR BIG BEERS? I STIR MASH AND SPARGE SEVERAL TIMES, RECIRCULATING WITH 2 - 4 QUARTS BEFORE DRAINING.

Am limited to 9 gal total water. Currently put 5 in mash and 4 in sparge. Equipment and boil off loses gives 5.5 gal to ferment and 5 gal to bottle. Maybe it would be better to max out the water in the mash and use the rest for sparge, keeping total at 9 gal. May have to add DME to hit SG.

Just got grain mill and have only used it once, crushing at .039. Can tighten the crush but to what? Any suggestions? Efficiency was about 60%.

Another web site posting recommends leaving imperial stout and barley wines, which is what I make, in the primary for about a month. It also recommended to bottle condition for 3-4 months. Any thoughts?

Have never measured pH. What is a good but inexpensive way to measure it? What are good pH numbers?

Am thinking the advice to focus on CONSISTENT efficiencies, even if they are lower, then calculate and hit your volume/gravity targets just fine means to get as much efficiency from your system as possible, and do it consistently, then adjust volume / SG with water / DME as needed, correct? That works and given equipment limits may have to do that.

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