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Messages - enso

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Yeast and Fermentation / Victory yeast
« on: January 29, 2010, 11:07:36 PM »
Anybody know what yeasts Victory brewing uses and wether or not they use their primary strain in bottling?  In particular their Helios (saison style) yeast.  I have grown some up if for no other reason than to see if I could.  I plan on trying some just for kicks but wondered if anyone knows about it?

I am planning to brew a Saison in the near future.  The plan is to brew 10 gallons.  I will then pitch WLP565 in 5 gallons and I will split the rest into 1 gallon carboys and pitch different yeasts.  I figured I would use the helios for one.  If it turns out well I will keep the yeast.

I may try culturing some other yeasts from bottles.  I have started some Ommegang.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast culturing queries.
« on: January 29, 2010, 11:01:37 PM »
cool.  Thank you folks.   ;D

Just unpacked my order!  Cynmar is great.  The order came really fast!  I placed it earlier this week.  I am STILL waiting on an order I placed with More Beer (including some overpriced yeast culturing supplies!) over a month ago...   :'(

I can't wait to get started.  I am going to try the sterile distilled water storage method in addition to agar slants.  It is good to know the options.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast culturing queries.
« on: January 29, 2010, 07:46:37 PM »
I am just getting started with this and I have done a lot of reading on various web pages about culturing for and by homebrewers.  I think I have a fair idea of what to do, hands on is the best way to learn though...

I do have a few things I am unclear on.  The first is the goal of preparing slants.  I understand that streaking plates is to isolate singular colonies.  Slants seem to be more for storage?  Why are slants better for storage?  What is the goal of a properly prepared slant?  What should it be like?  I have read about people refering to a "lawn of yeast".  Does this mean your aim is to completely cover the top surface of the agar in the slant with yeast?  How does one go about this?  Meaning, if you apply yeast to the plate with the aim of having the least amount of cells, how do you achieve maximum coverage when aplying to the slant.

Not sure if my questions are clear or not, but hopefully with a bit of discussion we can clear my fog.   :D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Questions about agar consistency/quality
« on: January 29, 2010, 07:37:00 PM »
Well, I did in fact order the "proper" supplies.  I was just practicing while I waited.   8)

Really I just wanted to play with the agar and see how it works.  I don't think I had the correct consistency.  Thus my query.

My gear should be arriving today!  I also have 3 fresh vials and a good slug of yeast I cultured from a bottle of Victory Helios (anyone know what strain it is?)

Perhaps I will have an easier time with the right tools, but I am uncertain how the agar should be as I have no previous experience with this.

My results by the way from my trial were that the surface of the agar turned largely milky colored.  Especially around the scratched areas, but it seemed to spread beyond.  Not sure if it is yeast or mold?

Anyway, I suspect I will have more questions as I proceed...   ::)

Ingredients / Re: Fun Fermentables
« on: January 25, 2010, 10:11:40 PM »
How about some fresh raisins.  8)
You mean grapes?  ;D

Seriously, I do know of some people who have used raisins in their ciders.

Sure, raisins are pretty traditional for New England cider.  They add tannins, nutrients and fermentable sugars.

Ingredients / Re: Adding a big malt flavor to beer
« on: January 25, 2010, 10:10:04 PM »
Aromatic malt adds a really nice malty aroma and flavor as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brewing less than 5 gallon batches
« on: January 25, 2010, 01:11:35 PM »
I have FERMENTED batches smaller than 5 gallons.  I have mashed  a full 5 gallons, or perhaps 2.5-3, of wort and then either divided in the boil or in the fermenter to try techniques and additions with the same wort.  I use 4 L wine jugs for this as they have a bit more volume capacity than a 1 gallon glass jug.

Yeast and Fermentation / Questions about agar consistency/quality
« on: January 25, 2010, 12:59:15 PM »
I have some agar I bought at my local food coop and I try to make up some agar "plates" to streak.  I use the term loosely because I have yet to invest in the proper tools.  I am using baby food jars with a small amount of agar in the bottom and a stainless steel cotter pit as my "needle".

The agar I bought is in a flake form.  I tried using the amount recommended by Kai on his wiki page; 3-4 g per 100 ml of wort.  I found the agar was not completely dissolving no matter how long I heated it.  There were always chunks of undissolved agar flake floating.  So, I started adding a few ml at a time of additional wort.  Unfortunately I did not keep record of how much...   ::)

Finally it seemed well mixed so I squirted about 10 ml into the bottom of each jar with a syringe.  It was rather clumpy looking and was cooling and solidifying quickly.  In the end I decided it was not right so I scooped the solid disks out of each jar and put them back in the pan with another approx. 100 ml of wort.  I remelted them and it seemed a bit better, more liquid.  I then refilled the jars.

I have since attempted to streak one jar.  The agar seemed rather solid (stiff) but dragging the "needle" across it made it tear and scraped it along leaving definite scrape marks with valleys and chunks of agar deposited around.  The yeast did grow but it is rather clumpy with the rough agar surface and not easy to find a clean colony.

Was my agar too stiff?  Too soft?  Or is it just that my "needle" is too crude for the job?  I have read that some people use a paper clip for this purpose and my stainless steel cotter pin is the same dimensions as that.

Also, my agar turns out looking cloudier and darker than the pictures I have seen.  I am using a fairly pale wort for mixing it up.  Any suggestions there?

Beer Recipes / Re: Rauch love...
« on: January 21, 2010, 02:20:47 PM »
I think smoked beers are generally misunderstood... especially Rauchbier! Rauchbier is a table/social beer best enjoyed with good company & slow food. Just sayin'!  8)

And then some.  I think it is a good any time beer really, but yes it definitely goes well with food!

Beer Recipes / Re: Rauch love...
« on: January 21, 2010, 02:13:27 PM »
I think you need to go with German Rauch Malt and clean fermentation.
You do NOT want to have ANY fruity esters in there.

Pick Clean Ale yeast like WLP001 or may be clean German Ale yeast and ferment it on low side.

I believe that is what I was saying.   ???  Lager like and not fruity. 

I realized later that it might be misconstrued that I was giving my planned recipe.  I was not, I was describing my Scottish ale recipe that I would use as the basis.

I figured on subbing in at least 50% rauchmalt for the base malt and then keeping the rest the same, i.e. the rest made up with MO and then 8% aromatic (I love the maltiness it adds) and then about 1% roast barley for color.  Had not considered using 100% Rauch though.  Would that be too phenolic?

When I ferment at about 55F wit the wyeast 1728 it is super smooth and malty and not at all fruity.  I have never used the White Labs Edinburgh because it is not rated to ferment below 62F.

The San Fran would also be good with  more lager like character.

Beer Recipes / Rauch love...
« on: January 20, 2010, 09:19:41 PM »
I have a soft spot in my heart for the rauch bier.  I have only brewed one smoked beer and it was great, a maple flavored smoked amber ale.  It was not the loveliness that is a straight up rauchbier though.

I had not had much rauch bier for a while until my local package store got in some Schlenkerla Marzen.  I have been eagerly consuming it and it got me wishing I had my own stash.

Here is the idea.  I am not too big on lagers and certainly not really equipped enough to "do it right" in the lager department.  However, I do make a mean California common and a lovely malty Scottish ale.  Both fermented in the mid to high 50's F.  Let me state right here before anyone gets a wrong idea. I do NOT believe Scottish ales should have any reak (smoke) to them.  That is just an incorrect urban legend!  So do not go there!


Okay, got that off my chest...  What I am thinking is my Scottish shilling ale recipe would be a good malty base line to use for a smooth rauch ALE as opposed to a lager.  It is a pretty simple recipe.  Mainly Marris Otter, a bit of aromatic malt to approximate older amber malts and a touch of roast barley.  A thick mash and some caramelization of the first runnings.  I would then use either wyeast 1728 which is my Scottish ale yeast of choice, or WLP810 San fran. lager which I also have on hand, and ferment in the high 50's F to keep it smooth and lager like, not too fruity.

Probably hop with mild noble hops.  Maybe hallertau?

Any suggestions?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blowing off too much yeast?
« on: January 20, 2010, 06:07:03 PM »
Yeah that wlp530 is one of my favorite Belgian strains, but man does it ferment VIOLENTLY!  :o


Did you check the gravity. It may be finished. Excessive blowoff doesn't necessarily indicate lacck of attenuation.

I am not assuming it is done yet.  I am very patient with yeast and generally let them do their thing for 3 weeks (or more depending on the strain) before I even check the gravity.  I am only talking about the previous similar situation.  I KNOW there is still activity, it is just the precipitous drop in activity after losing so much yeast that had me concerned.  I won't worry so much about it, mostly just curious if my hypothesis of blown off yeast equals problems with attenuation.  The consensus seems to be the answer is no.

Thanks folks.  interesting discussion.  


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Failed at harvesting pacman.
« on: January 20, 2010, 06:01:45 PM »
Why is a quart too much?  I would have thought it would give them lots of room to feed and expand without competing for resources.  Just asking.

I'm trying to culture the dregs from a couple bottles of Delirium Tremens (again in a quart of wort ~1.04).  Its a lot slower than expected, but seems to be picking up momentum.

The yeast amount in the dregs is small.  They have been stressed from who knows what storage conditions plus they are sitting in their own waste (alcohol and CO2) so they are not feeling too well.  Then depending on how sanitary or not you were, other bugs and critters if they got in, are not as stressed and they are in this all you can eat buffet, they will get chowing before the yeast get to feeling up to speed. 

By trying to gently rouse the yeast slowly with a little snack to revive them, they will have a better chance of populating faster than the competition.  I am sure someone can explain it better/more technically than me but there ya go.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Bug brewers, please help me brainstorm
« on: January 20, 2010, 05:53:54 PM »
First off I have no experience with bugs (intentionally  ;) ) but I am interested in you query.  I am planning my first saison coming up soon to have for this summer.  I am currently reading wild brews and farmhouse ales.  Hopefully I can get an extension on the interlibrary loan...   ::)

Sounds like some fun experiments you have planned.  I look forward to what others have to say.  I was planning on culturing up the dregs from a bottle of Orval to add to my saison for a bit o' brett.  I figured I would add it post primary as it was aging.  Still thinking about it...

Your plan to sour with lacto.  Do you plan on stopping (pasteurizing?)  the lacto infected portion before adding it to the main beer or letting it go?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Failed at harvesting pacman.
« on: January 20, 2010, 05:44:58 PM »
I bet it will get going eventually. A quart is a BIG starter for just the dregs from a couple bottles. I start with just 100 mL or so.

I agree, a quart would be fairly overwhelming to the wee beasties especially sitting in an imperial beer.  I also agree that a lower abv beer would give a much better chance.

Try a lower abv Rogue as fresh as you can find and just squirt a wee bit o' weak (1.020?) wort into the bottle with the dregs, maybe 10 ml.  Wait a day or so and then step it up to 50 ml...  keep stepping it up.

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