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Messages - enso

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blowing off too much yeast?
« on: January 20, 2010, 05:39:45 PM »
FWIW, I don't know if blowoff was really the cause of the low attenuation on your beers.  I've had some massive blowoffs and I've never found a correlation between those and attenuation.

Yeah, it was only a guess.  I know there can be many other variables.  Just seeing a huge slurry of yeast in the blow off container  (about a cup or more!) and then seeing very little activity afterward had me wondering...

I generally get the attenuation I expect but...  I keep learning...  I hope!   :D

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blowing off too much yeast?
« on: January 20, 2010, 03:25:40 PM »
Alright it just kicked back into action...   ::)

Still might add some yeast simply for insurance purposes due to my previous experience.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Blowing off too much yeast?
« on: January 20, 2010, 03:13:13 PM »
What temp did you pitch and ferment at? I don't think you need more yeast. Did you make a starter? It might be a combination of high fermentation temps and overpitching. There is no way all the yeast was blown out.

Give us some more info on recipe, etc.

Right, sorry.  I posted about it elsewhere so I forgot to mention the details here.

It was two beers from one mash.  I collected the wort in one kettle and then split it equally into two pots.  Each had the same grist but had different flavors.  The one that blew was a tangelo (zest) and chocolate flavored one.  The chocolate seemed to be keeping the krauesen down as I have observed in past beers with this ingredient.

I made a starter, approx. 1500 ml though I already had a huge slug of yeast as I had done a starter previously but had to abort brewing.  I would say I had about a cup and a half of slurry (350 ml) that I split between the two carboys.  Again, WLP 530 yeast.

I pitched at 66°F for both and was monitoring it and slowly raising the temp.  It is currently at 69/70°F and still letting it climb slowly.

O.G. on the mess (tangelo chocolate) was 1.078 the other was 1.070 (I will be adding additional fermentables to it in the form of pomegranate molasses when it slows down).  The latter is still kicking rather hectically.

Yeast and Fermentation / Blowing off too much yeast?
« on: January 20, 2010, 02:02:11 PM »
I brewed up 2 Belgian dark strongs on Monday.  One I could tell was going to need a blow off fairly quickly.  The other went about 30 hours with no appreciable rise in kraeusen.  I monitored it closely.  It did not seem to be in danger.  Sure enough in a matter of minutes while I was not watching it it blew its top!  I cleaned the mess and put on a blow off then went to bed.  This morning I found an even bigger mess with the blow off tube on the floor and tons of kraeusen, yeast... all over the fermenter and, fortunately, mostly contained in the water bath it was in.

Here is my concern.  It seems to be no longer actively fermenting.  I know activity is still going on but it is nowhere near as fierce as it was.  There was a ton of yeast in the bottom of the water bath when I cleaned it out.  Does the loss of this much yeast effect the fermentation and overall attenuation potential?

The reason I ask is something similar happened to me with a Belgian dark strong last year.  I lost a lot of yeast through blow off and it ended up not attenuating enough.  I suspected the yeast loss but just chalked it up to experience.

I am now making an emergency starter of some more yeast (wlp 530) to add back in and ramping the temp up a bit.

Anyone else experience this?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: pressure cooker vs. pressure canner?
« on: January 20, 2010, 01:52:42 PM »
I had read about other folks canning in baby food jars for small initial starters so that is where I got the idea.  Yes I used the original lids.  I don't think there is a way to get a new lid.

I tried placing them on loosely, tightly and somewhere in between.  None worked.  Perhaps I did overfill them.  I filled up to the shoulder just below the threads.  Most of the jars ended up having about a centimeter lower than that when they came out.

I sealed them all up, i.e. tightened the lids while still fairly hot.  The cooker had cooled down so that the pressure had dissipated but everything was still quite hot to the touch.  Again, half ended up sealing the others not.

Ingredients / Re: birch syrup
« on: January 20, 2010, 02:36:05 AM »
I have not used birch syrup, yet...   ;D 
I have however used maple syrup and maple sap.  The trouble with using these ingredients and it is similar with birch, is that they are highly fermentable and therefore not much flavor will be left behind when the yeast gets through with them.  Even if you use a lot it will not be very apparent especially if you are making a roast centered beer such as a porter.  The roast will obliterate the birch character in my opinion.  The smoke phenols will also mask it somewhat as well.

I have not yet had the pleasure of trying birch syrup.  Does it have a wintergreen character to it like you would get from using birch twigs?

Your best chance of getting the flavor to show trough is to add it at the end of the boil at flameout so as to drive off the least aromatics.  Also you can add some to the fermenter once fermentation slows down, it will still ferment but you won't lose as much aromatics through the airlock.  Finally you could use it to bottle condition (or keg) as your priming sugar.  Amounts?  Well, with maple I have used as much as a half gallon $$$.  I make some syrup at home so it costs time rather than dollars.  I have also used partially boiled sap for the brewing liquor.  That was in a barley wine so the maple character really had no hope!

Other things you can consider in the future are using the birch sap in place of water for your liquor.  Possibly using some twigs as well as they use in making birch beer.  Good luck and have fun with it.  It may take a few batches to get the effect you want but as long as you have as source it is fun to try.

Yeast and Fermentation / pressure cooker vs. pressure canner?
« on: January 20, 2010, 01:55:21 AM »
Is there a difference when it comes to canning wort?  I have a pressure cooker.  It is a really nice stainless Kuhn Rikon stainless steel one I got for $10 at the thrift store.  It was practically new and works well.

From what I understand to properly can wort you need to can it at 15 lbs. pressure for 20 minutes.  My pressure cooker has a spring loaded relief valve.  When it pushes up to the first ring on the valve stem it is at 8 lbs. pressure, when the second ring shows it is at 15 lbs.

So theoretically this should be what I need yes?  I have been canning wort for a few months now with it and using it, though I still store the canned wort in the kegerator because I am unsure.

Another question for folks.  I am starting to get into yeast culturing.  I have a whole mess of clean baby food jars from when my kids were younger.  I attempted canning some wort in those for smaller starters.  I had a heck of a time with the lids coming off in the cooker.  Some wort leaked.  I sealed them back on when taking them out.  Some sealed as they cooled others did not.  Are these going to be safe, the ones that sealed anyways?  Why do the lids come off in the cooker?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: explosion
« on: January 20, 2010, 01:17:47 AM »
A few reasons can cause this.  Beer was not finished fermenting, too much priming sugar or improperly mixed, infection from unsanitary conditions (bottles not clean enough) to name the prime suspects. 

It will take some more information from you to pinpoint exactly what went wrong in your situation.

It has been interesting to read about favorite/least favorite styles.  Reading them got me thinking about styles I used to either not care for or really detest that I now enjoy or even in some cases dare I say it, LOVE!  Beers I dislike are becoming less and less...

Fruit beer is often maligned and I too was a fruit hater but I have had some brews that changed my mind.  I do still avoid fruit beers mostly as there are MANY awful fruit beers out there.  Berkshire Brewing Company (Mass.) makes a delicious Raspberry barley wine.  I love barley wines and I was really hesitant to try this.  I avoided it for a long time until the package store had only one left...  I figured what the hell and tried it.  It was an epiphany!  Really refreshing and yet definitely a beer.  I regretted not getting more as it was a seasonal.  I have had a couple of other fruit beers that were quite good as well since.  I believe they had raspberry as well...

Another was Belgian tripels, golden strongs, saisons...  Anything Belgian that was light in complexion I did not like.  I could not even tell one from the other, they all seemed the same.  Belgian dubbels, and dark strongs I LOVED, just nothing pale.  I cannot explain why exactly.  I think it was the paler belgians seemed more phenolic?  The darker ones have more of the rummy, fruity dark caramel flavors in addition to the phenols.

Not sure what happened, it was not any particular beer but suddenly I had a craving for the paler variations and particularly that same spicy phenol character.  I really enjoy them now.  I even have begun trying my hand at brewing them.  Can't wait to brew up some saison...

On the other hand some beers I used to love have slipped from the top in terms of favor.  I used to really love hop bombs of all types.  Could drink them all the time any time.  Now, I have to be in the mood for one.  They do not always taste as good to me.  My tastebuds have definitely changed I believe.  Malty beers seem to now be the standard all around anytime flavor for me these days.

What have been your changes of heart in terms of beer style or changes in taste?

Did a 10 gallon batch of Belgian Dark strong yesterday.  I split the wort into 2 pots and boiled simultaneous.  One got a pinch of star anise, dark candi syrup and I will add pomegranate molasses (homemade) after the intitial ferment slows down a bit.  The other I added tangelo zest and 100% cacao bakers chocolate, homemade candi (dark) and some clear candi syrup .  I plan on infusing it with cacao nibs as it ages as  well.

Made up a huge starter of WLP 530 and split it between the two.  The are fermenting aggressively away as I type.  Only the pomegranate one has blown off.  Something about chocolate seems to keep kraeusen in check.  Both smell great.  I think I may have used too much zest in the tangelo chocolate one... It is wicked orangey smelling.  Maybe should have only zested one tangelo instead of two.   ::)

edit:  never mind, the chocolate only delayed the inevitable.  It has blown twice since I wrote this.  Violently!   :o

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Culturing
« on: January 16, 2010, 02:27:10 PM »
it was almost $10.
Quite high if you ask me.

Thanks.  Yeah, sort of steep, though I have seen higher!  I am not surprised really though as their prices are considerably lower than many other suppliers I have looked at.  Usual internet retail tactic I guess.  Low prices offset by high shipping charges!

Still, not bad though I suppose

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Culturing
« on: January 15, 2010, 11:55:27 PM »
Thirsty monk what is the shipping from cynmar if you don't mind me asking..


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Farms
« on: January 15, 2010, 11:17:43 PM »
I am just getting ready to culture/"farm" yeast.  I have been looking into it for a while.

Does anyone here have any experience with the technique of using sterile distilled water in a slant tube for storage as opposed to agar.  It seems relatively straight forward and easy.  I will post the link to the site I read about it on but I have a wicked time loading the page so...  patience necessary!  Interesting site though.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« on: January 07, 2010, 12:07:57 AM »
One problem I have with evaporation rate is that up here in the winter in an unheated garage the steam gets wicked and I can't really see how hard it is boiling.  Not to mention the dryness in the air (especially when it is sub zero) increases the evaporation.  Guess that is another item I need to work on!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Finding what works for you (me)
« on: January 07, 2010, 12:05:52 AM »
Space can certainly be an issue.  Lack of or "too much" where everything is scattered here and there...

My water supply sucks as well.  Wicked chlorinated and yet it also smells like swamp water!  I solved that by getting my water from a spring.  There are several roadside natural springs around up here in VT/NH and the water is wonderful!  Essentially there is a spring that has been capped with a concrete cistern and it runs through pvc pipes down to the roadside with a catch basin.  I have no idea the mineral make-up and I am sure it probably changes throughout the year but it tastes excellent and makes fantastic beer.  I have thought about getting an analysis someday... just for kicks. I take a trip every now and then and fill every empty bucket, keg, or whatever vessel I have and collect 30-40 gallons.  A bit of effort but well worth it in my opinion.

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