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Messages - imperialstout

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All Grain Brewing / Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:29:10 PM »
Having problems hitting efficiency and SG targets consistently with big beers. AG brew 5 gal batches with 8 gal pot, 10 gal MT and batch sparge. Know efficiency will drop with big beers. Wondering if as a general rule increasing the mash from 60 to 90 min and increasing the sparge from 30 to 45 min will increase efficiency without adding off flavors. Know SG can be increased with DME but would like to try longer mash / sparge times first.

Typically ferment in primary for 14 days and in secondary for 7 days, both at 68 F. Just started making a yeast starter. Thinking of increasing primary to 21 days, especially for big beers but wondering if the longer primary time is needed with a yeast starter.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stir-Plate 3000 yeast stirrer review
« on: January 22, 2013, 04:40:47 PM »
Thanks for that tip Tom.  Will pass it along to other brewers. Just bought a stir plate and flask on-line but we have the University of Maine just down the street. Will pay them a visit and see what they have.

Yeast and Fermentation / Stir-Plate 3000 yeast stirrer review
« on: January 21, 2013, 01:28:22 PM »
Thanks for the advice on previous stir plate post. Now trying to decide between the $50 Stir Starter and the $100 Stir-Plate 3000. Building my own is out of the question as am currently rewiring and insulating the garage. After all, brewing in a warm place is so much nicer.

Would be interested in hearing from people who have used either stir plate to make 2.5 L starters. Keep in mind I brew big beers that recommend 3 L starters. That seems a little overkill to me so going with the 2.5 L.  I am just a little concerned that the Stir Starter will not handle 2.5 L starters on a monthly basis.

The review of the Stir-Plate below is very positive. Price ranges from $109 to $149, depending where you buy it.

Any thoughts?

Yeast and Fermentation / Need advice on stirrer plate
« on: January 20, 2013, 10:41:21 PM »
Just starting to make yeast starters. Noticed the cell count is much higher if a stir plate is used. Stir plates run from $70 to over $200. What do you use? Want one that runs quietly.

Currently use a 3 L wine jug with a cap drilled and grommeted for an airlock. What would be the benefit of getting a 3 L flask, assuming the stir bar will remain centered in the concave bottom of the wine jug? Any thoughts on what size stir bar to get?

All Grain Brewing / Adjusting gravity with DME
« on: January 18, 2013, 10:19:23 PM »
Just learned SG and OG can be increased by adding DME. Anyone know about how much DME to add per gravity point? Are we talking spoonfuls or cupfuls of DME for a 5 gal batch?

Trial and error works, just thought someone already knows.

Equipment and Software / Re: BrewSmith fly sparge question
« on: January 18, 2013, 04:31:04 PM »
Just found fly sparging is single infusion, full body. Didn't discover that until I chose single infusion and look at the mash tab. Under the mash step list it says to fly sparge with the gallons and temp for the brew. brew Smith is great software but has many bugs that don't seem to get fixed.

I brew big beers typically with 17 to 23 pounds grain. Read on another web site a brewers efficiency starts to drop around 17 pounds grain, otherwise he gets 75% fly sparging. Has anyone else experienced lower inefficiencies with large grain bills?

Currently mash for 60 min and batch sparge for 30. Will try mashing for 60, fly sparge for 30 and check pH. What effect does pH have on efficiency? How do you control for it? What should a good pH be?

If fly sparging does not increase efficiency will mash for 90 and batch sparge for 45.

Equipment and Software / BrewSmith fly sparge question
« on: January 17, 2013, 10:25:55 PM »
I see this section is equipment and software but mostly see equipment questions here.

My question is how to select fly sparge in BrewSmith Mash/ sparge section.

Have been double batch sparging but efficiency is rarely above 60%. Bought a grain mill and crush at .039. Want to do fly sparging to increase the efficiency.

Looked for fly sparge in mash type list but didn't find it. What else would it be called?

Currently use Ale, Double Infusion for mash. Under mash detail tab the sparge is listed as batch sparge with 1 step.

What else would fly sparge be called? If I accidently deleted fly sparging how do I get it back?

Ingredients / Re: Victory Storm King Hops and Yeast
« on: January 08, 2013, 03:09:22 AM »
Have since learned from Brad Smith's book "Brewing With Beer Smith" that traditional stouts are made with well modified UK pale malts and English Fuggles and BC Goldings hops while American microbreweries use US hop variants. Yeast is usually English ale or Imperial Stout yeasts but very high OG beers will use Champagne or Barley Wine yeast.

All well and good. I get the BC Goldings and Fuggles but exactly what are "well modified UK pale malts" and  English ale, Imperial Stout, Champagne or Barley wine yeasts.

Think the "well modified UK pale malts" means Maris Otter pale malt. For the yeast, is there a chart showing what type of yeasts are typically used for a given style?

Any thoughts?

Ingredients / Victory Storm King Hops and Yeast
« on: January 07, 2013, 01:59:39 AM »
Anyone figure out what hops and yeast Victory Storm King might use. Victory mixes Storm King and Hop Devil at the bar in Downingtown, Pa to create the Dark Devil. Victory brew master says it works because both brews are hoppy beers and use the same yeast.

All I can find is Storm King has a Northwest flavor and they use American whole hops. Thinking they use Cascade. Same questions apply to Old Rasputin.

In general, what hops and yeast are commonly used in Russian Imperial Stouts. Currently using Columbus at 60 min followed by Perle, Goldings and Fuggles with Nottingham Danstar 3613 for yeast. The beer is great, not just my opinion, but trying to get it taste more like Storm King of Old Rasputin. Any thoughts?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Pale barley brand and price
« on: January 04, 2013, 11:39:47 PM »
Thanks for all the great advice. The Maris Otter for $77 is by Crisp, if that makes a difference. Will see what grain the $50 Muntons is. $77 may be expensive but I live in Maine and need to buy local as most on-line vendors charge $30+ shipping. Right now leaning toward buying the Crisp MO for $77 from a new LHBS shop. If I have questions they have answers. The $50 Muntons comes from a local health food store and they know nothing about brewing. It is in my interest to help keep the new LHBS in business.

Having said all that, what domestic branded grains are of good quality. Never considered exactly what grain I was buying before but now brewing once a month and buying in bulk, exactly what the grain is for the money is a consideration.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Pale barley brand and price
« on: January 04, 2013, 02:41:57 AM »
Didn't know there were  Munton's Maris Otter and Fawcett's Maris Otter. Thought Maris Otter was a distributor, like Muntons or Weyermanns. After I posted saw an article on Wiki that said Maris Otter is a type of grain developed by a British doctor. It became a leading grain for English beers then fell into disfavor as quality went down. Thought the article said another company bought the rights to the seeds and the name, improved the product to its original quality, and market their Maris Otter pale malt under the company name, Maris Otter. I would think then that Maris Otter is a type of grain only sold by the Maris Otter Company. Correct me if I am wrong but according to the article any one else selling Maris Otter is selling a knock off, maybe of lesser quality. Someone else posted that while the base malt is important the Crystal and other malts added in smaller quantities have more impact on the color and flavor of the beer. I don't really know. If what everyone is selling is Maris Otter I might as well by the $50, 50 pound bag.

You mentioned  "However, that is a pretty hefty price for a 50 lb sack of it." I assume you meant $77 is too much for 50 pounds of Maris Otter. That's what I thought too. Have found it in the $40 range on line but then there is $30 shipping. No bargain there. What should I be paying for quality pale malt?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Pale barley brand and price
« on: January 04, 2013, 12:05:35 AM »
Haven't thought of "other stuff" in the grain. It is definitely something to look for. Depending on volume, what flavor is the "stuff" adding to the brew. Something to consider.

All Grain Brewing / Pale barley brand and price
« on: January 03, 2013, 09:49:59 PM »
Have just increased the ability to brew once a month and am thinking of buying pale grain in bulk. Can get 50 pounds of Muntons pale for $50, Weyermanns for $71 and Maris Otter for $77.

I realize everyone has their opinions, which is just what I am asking for.

What do you like / don't like about the above grains?

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