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Messages - el_capitan

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:14:04 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts.  I've used Belle Saison on a couple batches.  When I fermented it around 65-70, I thought it was pretty decent - fairly clean.  I let a second batch free-rise through fermentation and it was rocking right around 75-77.  That batch had more of the phenolic character than I like.  I'm not a big clove guy.

I've used the T-58 a couple times too, and that has just a restrained touch of clove that I didn't mind.  I'd forgotten about that one, and maybe I'll give it a shot.  Either that, or I just need to brew a wit more than once per year.  Or suck it up and just buy a fresh smack pack for those few specialty batches. 

I've never heard of the Fermentis Abbaye - I'll look into that one as well.  Thanks, Dave.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Disasters
« on: February 05, 2017, 10:07:50 PM »
Post your worst yeast-related disasters here!  I had one yesterday...

I boiled up some wide-mouth quart jars to save some slurry.  I had three nice quarts of slurry on my table, settling out.  I walked past and noticed a little bit of brown liquid, and thought, "Now how could that have overflowed?"  I picked up the jar, and BAM!!  The bottom of the jar fell off and the quart of slurry went everywhere.  Wasn't expecting THAT! 

Equipment and Software / Re: Using the thermostar dudal mode controller
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:33:48 AM »
I taped a small piece of pipe insulation (cut in half) to my fermenter.  I slip the probe in there and then close the gap at the top with some little wads of paper towel.  Is that the new dual-mode temp controller sold by NB?

Ingredients / Re: Using Nugget hops instead of Magnum in pale ale
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:29:46 AM »
I've actually heard the opinion that homegrown hops can carry more alpha acids than commercial hops, since they're often picked with more care and therefore lose less of the lupulin glands.  Of course, it all comes down to how you cared for them during the growing season and how you dried and packaged them, etc.  I only use homegrowns for bittering in beers where I'm not super concerned about hitting the numbers dead on. 

I've been bittering with Nugget for a lot of recent batches, and I wouldn't say it's rough.  But Magnum is definitely way smoother.  Almost too smooth for my tastes. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Test my harvested yeast?
« on: February 05, 2017, 07:18:07 AM »
In the future, I recommend starter harvesting for cleaner purer, healthier yeast..

I plan to start overbuilding starters and harvesting a clean culture from the starter. This calculator lets you overbuild your starters by a desired cell count. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Belle Saison in a Witbier?
« on: February 04, 2017, 08:54:35 PM »
I'm trying to streamline my yeast bank and eliminate some strains that don't get used very often.  One such strain is WY3944 Belgian Wit.  I typically only brew that recipe once per year, so it doesn't make sense to bank that yeast for a year and try to revive it.  I'm looking for dry alternatives for some of these oddball beers.  If I can use a particular strain at least once every six months, then I'll keep it around.

One option would be to brew a witbier in the spring with Belle Saison, then use that same strain later in the fall to brew up a saison.  The other option would be to just go with fresh dry packs for those two beers.  So my question is - do you guys think Danstar Belle Saison would work in a witbier?  If not, can you suggest another dry strain that might do well in that style? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pushing all grain
« on: February 04, 2017, 08:56:04 AM »
If they've recently started carrying more grains, it could be that they're pushing AG to ensure rapid turnover and keep their ingredients fresh.  I've heard from a few posters who went straight to AG, and were glad they did.  I think Bru'nWater is easy enough to play with that even a new brewer could understand most of it with some guidance. 

One thing that might be cool is to brew two batches of the same beer - an extract w/specialty grains version and an AG version.  Then you could compare the two.  Just a thought.  Good for you, for sharing the knowledge.  Have fun!

I helped a buddy brew an Irish Red, then he gave me TCJOHB by Papazian and I read through it before choosing a recipe to try.  I went with his "Elbro Nerkte Brown Ale" (LME + specialty grains) and had a decent base of knowledge going into it.  That first batch was actually pretty awesome.  Many people remarked how smooth it was - and I saved and sampled some over the next couple years and it held up well. 

I worked through many of the common mistakes during that first year and a half of brewing, but I remember it as a time when I was just learning so much, and immediately implementing new knowledge into the process.  My poor wife had to listen to mini "brewing lectures" as I explained things to her to help internalize it.  She doesn't brew or drink, but knows a heck of a lot about brewing!  Good memories  :)

Beer Recipes / Re: Looking for a good Dry Stout recipe
« on: January 31, 2017, 10:21:41 PM »
Wow! Thanks for the compliments. While the grist that I use is pretty typical, its really the water and technique that makes the Dry Stout difference. Regular mash at about 5.4 in RO or distilled water followed with the roast barley addition at the end of the mash. That drives down the wort pH and that is the signature of the style. The flavors of Roast Barley meld with the grainy flavor of raw barley and are offset by the acidity of the low beer pH.

I haven't tried Golden Promise in this recipe, but I do like that malt.

Would you share your recipe for me?  I don't have access to back issues of Zymurgy.  No rush, but I'd like to give it a shot!

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Hi everyone. My introductory first post on AHA.
« on: January 29, 2017, 10:56:52 PM »
Welcome to the forum!  Sounds like you're in it for the right reasons.  I can relate to the desire to share the passion with other people.  You'll find a ton of good folks and good info here.  Cheers!

Beer Recipes / Re: Looking for a good Dry Stout recipe
« on: January 28, 2017, 11:16:32 AM »
Kind of late in the game here, but I really enjoyed the dry stout from Brewing Classic Styles.  I think Jamil calls it "Cerveza de Malto Seco".  The one thing that was different was that he advises nearly powdering the dark malt in a coffee grinder.  I did this, and I'm pretty sure it contributed to a stuck mash.  The beer was great though.  I might give Martin's recipe a go too.  Cheers!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Cool fermenting ales
« on: January 28, 2017, 11:10:05 AM »
   Aside from longer fermentation times and perhaps reduced attenuation, what are the possible negatives from fermenting ales in the low 50s? I realize the effects will vary from one yeast strain to another, but I really don't know at the moment what all I will be brewing in the next few months. I ask because I ferment in the basement, and depending on the specific room, the temps are holding pretty steady between 50 and 54, and I don't want to spend the next 3 months brewing lagers exclusively.

depends on the yeast really. Scottish all yeast can be happy at that temp, in my experience, us-05 isn't good at all though. Look at yeast options.

I agree with you on the WY178 Scottish Ale - I like to ferment that strain around 57 degrees to stress the yeast to produce more of the signature earthy/smoky ester. 

I disagree on the US-05 though.  I used to moderate ferm temps just by moving beer to different rooms in my house.  I had US-05 going on an APA at about 62 degrees, when we got a cold snap and the beer temp dropped to 58, where it stayed until it finished.  It did take longer to ferment, and a layer of krausen pretty much stayed on the top while I racked out from under it.  That APA won taster's choice at a local homebrew competition (nothing too formal).  Either way, it was a good beer and I would try US-05 at lower temps as long as you've established a strong fermentation before dropping the temp.

I like the idea of doing some lagers with 34/70, although I haven't personally used that yeast yet.  Good luck!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: German Lager Strain
« on: January 28, 2017, 10:39:14 AM »
I like 2633 for maltier beers and 2278 for drier ones. That said, I don't have easy access to liquid yeast, and 34/70 does just fine for the vast majority of my lagers.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

Are you saving slurry and repitching from the dry strain?  I have yet to try 34/70.  My go-to German lager yeast has been WY2308 Munich Lager.  It has done well with a Dunkel, Schwarzbier, Vienna Lager, and Helles.  I have a pilsner going with S-189 right now but that's my first attempt with dry lager strains. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: To spund or not to spund...that is the question
« on: January 28, 2017, 10:35:07 AM »
Going back to your keg purge, one question that keeps nagging me is - aren't you always leaving at least some sanitizer behind in the keg?  Even my kegs with untrimmed dip tubes leave at least a few ounces of sludge when the keg kicks.  I know StarSan is not toxic, so you guys are simple rolling with it and incorporating some sanitizer into your beer?  I can see how it maybe wouldn't matter in a standard-size batch, but I would think it would make a difference with the small batch brewers. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Making Norther Brewers "Off the Topper" Juicy?
« on: January 28, 2017, 10:29:59 AM »
There was a lot of noise in this thread, glad it died-down.

I will work on the water profile, starting with RO and bump-up the Chloride. Other than fermenting with the Vermont strain @ low temps, heavy whirlpool and dry hopping, what else ya got to tweak the kit recipe?

Have you used the vermont strain before??

I (and many others) have found it to be a bit finicky first generation - especially in a bigger beer.  It is not uncommon for people brewing 1.060+ beers with a single vial/pack to have it poop out on them around 1.018 or so.  If you are using it first generation, I would make sure to take steps to ensure large, healthy, active pitch.

Personally, I really like the yeast - but I never pitch it to a bigger IPA first generation.  My general protocol is to brew a 1.040 blonde ale first generation - low hops, no dry hop.  I then collect the yeast from the fermenter to 6  1/2 - 1 pint mason jars.  Then I use the 2nd generation for my IPA's.   I use the 6th jar for another blonde ale - repeat the yeast harvesting.  Generally, I do this 3-4 times before starting over again. 

When I use the 2nd+ generation yeast/starters, I routinely finish around 1.011-1.012 on pretty much every beer.

Otherwise, I would say to make sure you keep track of the steps you take this time, and perhaps adjust accordingly on future beers.

I'm using Conan for the first time and just kegging an IPA today.  I'll have to check the FG and see where it's at.  I'm thinking I kind of screwed up on this one, because the ferment temp spiked on me (up to 72) and then I dropped it back to 65, which pretty much shut down the yeast.  I warmed it back up and swirled it a couple times, and gave it another week to finish.  I'll check it today.  I appreciate your good advice, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this beer turned out. 

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