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Messages - enso

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I would agree with that analysis, but I am saying I am fairly sure I kept it in the high 60's initially (starting temp of 66F) and let it build up to 70F as the highest temp after a few days of ferment.  The water bath keeps it constant.

Kegging and Bottling / What the...! Exploding keg!
« on: March 05, 2011, 08:47:22 PM »
Well, okay the keg itself did not really explode but the contents did!

I brewed a smoked ale last fall using Briess smoked malt.  I was not really happy with it as it was fairly band-aid phenolic.  It was force carbed and I took it off tap after a few weeks of not wanting to really drink it.  I set the keg aside in the basement.  Ambient temp has been 52F all winter in the basement.

Today I wanted to take a sample to see if it had improved any.  I took my sanitized pyrex baster, bled the pressure off the keg and started to draw a sample.  As soon as I started drawing liquid into the baster PHLOOM!  the beer starter gushing up out of the keg all over the floor!  I quickly put the lid back in to stop it.  I opened it again and it did not continue.  I was able to draw a sample then.  My first thought was, well maybe it got infected.  The sample actually tasted much better than it had last fall, so I don't think that was it. 

What happened?!   ???

I brewed a Tripel in Nov. of '09.  Unfortunately I do not have any notes on the actual fermentation temps but I was shooting for a target of 70F.  Now I have been using various means of temp control for years and my standard practice is to start a bit cooler than the target temp and let it rise to that temp.  So, most likely I would have started it at about 66F and then let it rise to 70F.  I do know for a fact that the method I used at the time was a water bath with a aquarium heater in it.  So, I am fairly certain it did not get to hot.

The brew itself tastes great I think.  Maybe a bit high on IBU's (about ~42 I think my software calculated).  I don't feel it tastes hot from alcohol.  There is some warmth but I do not think it is hot.  The bitterness in the finish could be something other than hop derived I suppose.  Maybe alcohol? However, I tend to develop a headache later after drinking it.  Which leads me to believe fusels.  So, where did they come from if I kept the ferment under control?

It is bottle conditioned.  Is it possible to develop significant fusel alcohol from bottle conditioning?  I do not have any data on the conditioning temp.  Or is it something else?  Could it be the caraway seed I added?  I do not know why, but I had an inclination for quite a while to brew a tripel with some caraway.  So I did.  Anyone have any experience using caraway?  Does it produces headaches in beer?

I entered this in NHC east last year.  It was a bit young at the time I suppose.  It scored pretty low @ 25.5.  On aroma both two judges noted cidery notes and one said vegetal.  Neither of which I detect.  Just a side note of interest not related to this inquiry: on appearance one said chill haze, the other said "the beer looks amazing.  Great clarity...", which all of the bottles I have had have been.  On flavor both cited a bit harsh minerally character and a bit solventy.  One continued to say "chalky like...  ferment seems clean".  The other states "grainy pils malt like flavor with some fruit esters through the middle...  Finish is initially sweet but immediatly drops off to complete dryness...  bitterness is moderately high perhaps a bit too harsh for the style."

Both commented in overall impression that there was a minerally character that was distracting and harsh leading to bitterness.  I don't experience that.  Both also stated I should try a different simple sugar (or less) to improve it.  I used one container of clear Belgian cnadi syrup (1.5 lbs I believe is the amount) and 1 Lb of cane sugar.  One said it was too dry, the other also said "bone dry".

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 26, 2011, 08:24:06 PM »
I set this aside for a bit.  I needed my temp controller for some saisions I brewed.  Of the 2 plates I streaked the first was again moldy.  I am fairly confident that what I had in the starter was mold.  It smells like mold.  Here is what a nice cloud of mold floating looks like:

I am confident that the 2 new plates were sterile to begin with.  The plates sat out for over a week @ ~70F after I poured them and nothing had grown before streaking.  The second plate I streaked from from the first without dipping back into the starter.  I left this one in the makeshift incubator (cooler) without heat (again I needed the heating pads for my saisons) for about a week.  It had a small round growth when I left it.  A week later the small growth had developed into what seems to be a lovely mold flower.  I am guessing that is what it is because it appears to be furry.  Seems different from the other mold in that it grew in a floral shape?  I had given up hope on this culturing, however, I noticed some light brown tiny colonies on the plate as seen below circled in red.

I am not sure what these are but they resemble something more akin to yeast growth.  I have added a few of the colonies to a few ml of sterile wort to see what grows.  On another front, my experiment with adding heather blossoms and yeast to some wort is smelling and tasting promising, so I did up a five gallon batch which is fermenting away.

I'm sure the Fedex guy only has that brandy flask to stay warm :)

Yeah, the brandy would probably explain why she/he (there seems to be a few different drivers) left the box outside the garage (it was unlocked as always) before a snowstorm, down the hill from my house and didn't even bother to check to see if anyone was home (I was) or leave a notice of delivery!  Found it the next day when shoveling snow.   >:(

Generally I buy my supplies at my LHBS, but sometimes I need items they do not offer and can't get through there supplier.   I have used a few of the major online suppliers and found some of them to be excellent and have great service, however...  They sadly use Fed-ups.  Which means my shipments get damaged (yeast frozen twice, the second time the reshipment of the first screw up), mis-delivered, etc.  There is only so many times I would expect the company to make up for Fedups mistakes so, sadly I feel the need to find a different supplier.

Any suggestions on a supplier that may not be as well known but has good service, fairly big selection (or can get things in), reasonable shipping charges, and most importantly does NOT us Fed-ex!?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 15, 2011, 04:44:22 PM »
I restreaked 2 plates yesterday from the starter.  When I dipped the inoculation loop in it came out covered in brown slimey goop.  I am doubtful it will grow anything on the plate.

I have since read some more information.  I believe I may have stepped the bottle dregs up too quickly and allowed some other contaminant (possibly mold) to overtake the starter.  I will have to do some more research before another attempt as I only have one bottle left.   :'(

Anyway, I have not completely given up on this attempt yet.  I have drained off the separated wort seen in the photos above and diluted the gunk in the bottom with a liter of sterilized distilled water.  I then put about 200 ml of some Scottish 60/- I have on tap (2.6 ABV) in a pint mason jar and added ~50 ml of the "gunk" (I guess I will refer to it as such for now...   ::) ) to the jar.

In another related experiment I also added a few grams of heather blossoms to a similar amount of 60/- again in a mason jar to see if I can infect an already brewed beer and get a desirable result.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 14, 2011, 01:59:18 PM »
Pretty sure it is not hot break.  I did make a small all grain batch for the starter.  I let the hot break settle out though.  I cooked it in a pressure cooker and yes, that did result in additional break material.  I then let that settle and filled my mason jars and sterilized them in the pressure cooker.  So, the starter wort was pretty clear t begin with.

I agree, the plate does not look like growth from streaking.  In fact if I am remembering correctly the first streak was actually on the opposite side of the mass of growth.  I remember accidentally cutting the agar on that side (bit soft) when I made the first pass and I can see a cut on that side.

I have been rereading Wild Brews and Chris Whites Yeast book and discovered that plain malt agar is not the ideal media to favor wild yeasts or bacteria, so, I may not be able to grow whatever it is on a plate anyway without the proper growth media.

This is fun.  May not work out but I feel like I am learning a bunch.   :o

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 14, 2011, 03:16:16 AM »
I agree, I now believe it is mold on the plate.  The starter itself I am not sure what I have.  Again, I think whatever it is was too slow to grow on the plate before the mold took hold.  I will try and streak a few more plates and see what I get.  Hopefully I will have a sterile plate the next time.

I am certain whatever "infected" the batch of heather ale was not a mold.  I just may not be able to propagate it.  I have one bottle left...

Do the starter pictures look like mold in the wort?  Generally I think of mold as having some growth on the top of the beer, floating.  This did not have that.  Although I had it on the stirplate for a while.  Perhaps it just settled out when I took it off?

Again, i may attempt to inoculate some beer rather than wort to see if that has better effect.

On another front, the heather infused wort with Wyeast 1728 seems to be doing well.  It is only about 1 pint.  It is definitely fermenting and smells mostly floral and heather like so far.  I added the heather a few days before I pitched the yeast.  One way or another I hope to recreate this accident!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 13, 2011, 09:36:18 PM »
Okay, so without further ado...

The starter.

I set it in the fridge to see if it would settle out.  So far this is all it has done.  Very fluffy.  It had a krausen in the beginning and left some dirty sludge on the jar.  After I added a second half liter of wort it no longer had any kraeusen and that is when it started smelling more earthy.

I am wondering if perhaps I should have attempted to culture whatever it is in beer itself rather than wort.  Thinking that perhaps the lower pH and the presence of alcohol would better recreate the conditions in which I originally obtained this critter.  I am also concurrently attempting to make a mini batch with wyeast 1728 and heather blossoms simultaneously to see if it happens again.  Unfortunately it is not the same heather as the first time.  The first time I had dried heather I bought.  This time I am using some heather that I grew and dried.  It has been in the freezer for over a year...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 13, 2011, 09:29:24 PM »
Okay, well I tried google picassa but it is not loading the picture on my connection, so I have no idea if it showing up.    :-[

Is this the one you're trying to show?...

Yes that is it.  Thanks Joe.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 13, 2011, 09:02:38 PM »
Google seems to be having issues, at least for me.  I can't seem to access anything related to google, however other sites seem to work okay...

I am thinking what I have plated is mold.  If I am correct in my understanding, wild yeasts and bacteria are harder to grow on plain malt/agar solutions.  It was not looking like mold at first but I know see some green and it is getting fuzzy.  I am not sure what is in the starter solution.  Perhaps I was not successful in culturing the dregs...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 13, 2011, 06:11:06 PM »
Okay, I have a slow connection so it taking a while to upload photos.

Here are some shots of the plate I streaked from the starter.  I hope...

Edit: This is mold.  Still trying to culture the organism described above.  Will post updates

Yeast and Fermentation / Please help me identify this organism.
« on: February 13, 2011, 03:07:58 PM »
I realize I won't be able to determine exactly what it is, but ballpark would be nice.  I am hoping someone will recognize the characteristics and appearance.  

A brief history:

A couple of years ago I made up a batch of my heather ale.  This time I decided to add some dry heather to the ferementor at the end of fermentation.  In essence "dry heathering"  ;)

Well, in a few days it appeared to be fermenting again.  I had a bit of a krausen along wit all the heather blossoms floating at the top.  Eventually I kegged it.  It started getting funky.  I debated dumping it many times.  Eventually it started to develop some definite pineapple aromas (eventually I came to the conclusion it was a strain of brett...?) and a bit of sourness.  Many times I opened the keg and started to prepare to dump it, but something told me to keep it.  Eventually I bottled what was left from the keg.  Since that time I have become more interested in wild and sour beers to the point where I realized my infected batch was actually a good thing and I want to recreate it somehow.  I had 2 bottles left.  

About 1 week ago I poured the dregs into a small vial of sterilized starter wort and built it up from there whatever it is.  In the beginning it had the pineapple aromas somewhat but it developed into a much more earthy (fresh wet dirt) aromas.  I also streaked a plate for kicks to see what would grow.

I will post the pics in a bit.  I have to find a host that will let me link here.  Flickr doesn't seem to work.

Any of this sound familiar to anyone?

Ah, twas a sad day they painted over the worlds largest six pack.  Glad I got t see it at least once.

IIRC they had printed on the side of the old brewery "We don't aim to make the most beer, only the best"  or something like that.  Oh, and Oldstyle wasn't just krauesened, it was FULLY krauesened.   ;D

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