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Topics - dmtaylor

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Yeast and Fermentation / Are We All Overpitching All Dry Yeasts?!
« on: August 08, 2016, 02:11:30 PM »
The following thread prompted a eureka moment for me just now: Are we all in fact overpitching with all of our dry yeasts?

As many of us already know, dry yeasts are super reliable and shelf stable.  Even a 2-year old (or older!) packet of dry yeast can simply be sprinkled on top of 5 gallons of wort and immediately get to work in a matter of 12-16 hours, and typically will finish its job as quickly if not quicker than a huge starter of liquid yeast.

So..... what the hell is going on?  What's so special about dry yeast?

And then there's the continuing complaints over "my Belgian or hefeweizen is too clean".  I wonder: Is it just too darn easy for us to all overpitch when we use dry yeast?  These yeasts basically require some stress in order to give us the best flavors.  But if we always pitch 11 grams into 5 gallons, isn't that way too much to stress out these yeasts??

I wonder if maybe the dry yeasts are really all TOO good, TOO healthy, and there's TOO much placed into each packet, such that maybe, just maybe, we should really only be pitching 1/4 to 1/2 of a dry yeast packet into any given batch of 5-6 gallons of wort.  Thus we can expect all those esters and phenols, as applicable, plus save some of the yeast packet for next time, as well as save some money on yeast, and all without having to ever make any yeast starters.

Thoughts?  Are dry yeasts just TOO good to pitch the whole pack???

These questions might cause some folks to become excited.  I'm just thinking out loud.  But I do think there might be something to all this, especially for Belgians, German hefes, and maybe even the S-04 and Notty but more experiments would be needed to confirm and I don't know if anyone would dare pitch just 1/4 or 1/2 pack of S-04.  That one I might worry about.  But it might also be interesting to know if anyone has ever tried this and what the results were.

You've come to the right place!  May all our posts be archived until kingdom come or until we lose interest, whichever comes first.  Keeping fingers crossed...  ;D

It seems I haven't brewed for almost 6 months -- yikes!  I'm really intrigued by that 100% oat malt idea though, might need to try that sooner than later!  Otherwise I have the ingredients for a 19th century American stock ale on deck for random brewing purposes, hopefully sometime in February.

I still need to bottle all my cider and cyser from October, it's all done and ready to rock.  The wild fermented one in the back of the fridge is not bad but not great either, has a slight acetone flavor.  The others are great.  I made four batches in all.

Sometime this year I really still want to run an exbeeriment to determine the impact of high vs. low efficiency on finished beer flavor.  I have the experience to dial in my efficiency to whatever I want, from 50s to 90s, so I figure I'm the right guy to run this, with the only variables being efficiency and total weight of malt.  Someone give me a round tuit again, as I seem to have lost the last one.

Feel free to insert your own random comments here -- might possibly turn into an accidental interesting thread, maybe, or maybe not.  Happy brewing, all.

So... I was listening to an old Basic Brewing Radio podcast (I believe it was, and they brought up an idea for experimentation that I think deserves some exploration.

The question is: Why do we heat up the strike water alone to 170-190 F then mix with the grain to hit 150s?  Why do we not heat it all up together?  Assuming we have direct heat capabilities (not possible with a cooler mash tun), why not dough-in the grain with the usual 1-3 qts/lb water at room temperature, then ramp up the whole mash together to 150 F?

This might be even more feasible with smaller batches where temperatures will not linger in the protein rest and beta amylase zones for too long before hitting the alpha range.  However it will guarantee that you get through at least a brief sort of acid rest, beta-glucan, protein, everything, and you would also have the opportunity to easily step mash if desired, stopping for rests along the way as desired.  This is all contingent on having direct heating equipment that could handle it.  Personally I’m most interested in this technique because I brew small 1.7-gallon batches all the time, so it would of course be very easy for me to experiment with.

Unfortunately I do not brew very often these days so it would be some time before I can come up with any results on my own.  But of course I wanted to throw this idea out there for anyone else who might like to try it, or who might already have any experience with it.

One theory about all this, also discussed on BBR, is that the resulting beer might be lighter in body and have less head compared to the traditional single infusion strike at 150-ish since it goes through some period of time in the protein and beta zones, breaking down proteins and starches more than you’d get otherwise.  However this won’t stop me from experimentation!  Who knows... where personal preference comes into play, you might find you like this method better than the traditional way.  When I run my batches, I am not actually going to step mash and make any rests along the way.  I’m just going to crank up the heat from room temp to about 140 F, then back off and coast up to 150 F.  Then I’ll get some idea of the difference between this and traditional strike water mashing.

Thoughts??  This isn’t an original idea and has probably been toyed with for centuries, but I really don’t know exactly what to expect until I try it for myself.  Sounds like fun to me, and I really don’t think it will ruin anything -- it will still be making good beer!  At least I believe so.

Zymurgy / New AHA Member Can't Login to Member Content!
« on: October 26, 2013, 06:24:20 AM »
New member here... I've tried dozens of times to get into eZymurgy, and every time, I receive an error message as if they have no idea who I am, even though I paid the $44 and set up a profile with my name and address and everything.  I have successfully reset my password a couple of times and that has not helped either.  So what gives?!  I also emailed a couple of days ago, to no avail.  What's the deal!?  Maybe no one works on Fridays?  Or I am just very impatient!  Any help would be much appreciated.

David M. Taylor
Two Rivers, WI

Homebrewer Bios / Brewer Bio: David M. Taylor
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:58:32 AM »
Name: David M. Taylor
City: Two Rivers, WI
Advice: When in doubt, keep it simple, smaller is better, and mash at 150 F for 40 minutes.  It ain't rocket science.  Just don't forget the Campden if using chlorinated water.  That's about it.

I am normally an all-grain brewer, but at the request of a friend, recently I came up with an extract/mini-mash recipe for Bud Light.  And then I was thinking, I might actually want to give this recipe a try in my own house, as it is just crazy enough that it might actually work.  And I want this beer to be as dry as possible, no residual sweetness to speak of, just like the real Bud Light.  All distilled water would be used, maybe even a little acid to help bring the mash pH down.  However, I also know that the various extracts in the market today have different attenuability depending on which manufacturer, i.e., some extracts won't ferment down below 1.018, no matter what you do or how much simple sugar or adjuncts you add or whatever.  But.... what if it were possible to level this playing field?  What if you could use ANY manufacturer's extract and still get reasonably consistent results in regards to high attenuation (goal would be 1.010 or less).  Since this is a mini-mash beer, what would happen if you used the following process?:

1) Steep a pound of crushed 6-row malt in a bag (mini-BIAB) in about 3 quarts of water at 147 F for 75 minutes.
2) Pull the bag out, but while the enzymes are still active, add all your extract, ensure it is all dissolved, and also let THAT sit at 147 F for another ~20 minutes.  A small amount of heat will need to be added to bring temperature up, but since there's only 3 quarts of sweet wort at this point, this is not difficult at all.
3) After "mashing" the extract for ~20 minutes using the dissolved enzymes from the grain, add all the rest of your brewing water (total of 6 gallons), bring up to a boil, and brew as normal (5 gallon recipe).

The theory is that the high enzymatic content of the 6-row will be plenty to break down any complex sugars that may be in the extract -- you could extend the extract "mash" to an hour or more if you wanted the beer to be as dry as possible, but my guess is 20 minutes would suffice.  Then add your water and brew as normal.

I have a feeling this will work, and I kind of want to try it.  What do the other all-grain mashing experts think?  Has anyone else tried anything similar to this process before?  How did it turn out??

General Homebrew Discussion / Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale "Style"
« on: April 20, 2011, 12:58:25 PM »
I can't help but be hypercritical of the relatively new "style" called Black IPA or Cascadian Dark Ale.  Answer me this -- How is it much different from existing BJCP style categories, including:

12B Robust Porter -- allowed to be heavily hopped
13E American Stout -- many of them fit here and aren't far from the benchmark, Rogue Shakespeare Stout
13F Russian Imperial Stout -- any of your stronger versions likely fit here

To those who think Black IPA is the next big thing -- Please take a step back and ask yourself, is it not just a big bunch of hype, and in reality just more of the same?  If you want to be a trendsetter, more power to you, as there is ground to be broken in many areas, but don't expect educated jerks like me to give you any credit for reinventing the wheel.   :o

Another peeve of mine is that the term Black IPA is inherently illogical, for if it were spelled out, it would be a contradiction in itself.  A black pale ale?  Really?!  Which is it -- black, or pale?  Just silly.  Call it Cascadian Dark if you must, but don't make yourself look like an idiot by calling it both black and pale.   ::)

What are your thoughts?  Don't care?  No pants?  Shut up?  Ah, yes... the likely response from your typical Gen X/Y/Z American....   :-\


Other Fermentables / Fermentation Temperature for Mead
« on: February 14, 2011, 05:34:28 AM »
I've just made a simple mead with the Wyeast 4184 Sweet Mead yeast.  It is currently at 70 F.  I have made good meads at 70 F in the past; however, now I'm ready to make REALLY GOOD mead that would please even the conneisseurs.  So my question is:

What is the RIGHT temperature to ferment mead using the 4184 sweet mead yeast?


Yeast and Fermentation / Contaminate Individual Bottles on Purpose??
« on: October 12, 2010, 07:23:10 PM »
I've got an odd question.  Has anyone ever purposely tried to funkify a beer by adding a few raw grains, or otherwise introduce Lacto or wild critters, to each bottle?  Here's the deal:

I've made a saison which is done fermenting but still in primary.  It tastes very nice -- dry, firm bitterness, a little spicy, and a pleasant peach/apricot sort of fruitiness.  But in reading the BJCP style guidelines, they talk about a certain "tartness" that should be there, which I am just not getting.  The beer is good, but perhaps too clean.  It seems to be wanting a certain funk.  But while I know I could purposely induce sourness by throwing in a handful of raw grain, or by inocculating with some live Lactobacillus from yogurt, etc., I also don't really want to dedicate another fermenter and associated gaskets and hoses to Lacto or other wild beasts as I just bought new equipment.

So I had this crazy crazy thought -- what if... I were to place, say, 3 little grains of raw malt into each bottle (I will be bottling)?  The theory is that with aging, a few wild critters present in the grains might multiply, probably only slightly, but give off a litte funk in the final beer.  Is this just asking for trouble?  Will the bottles gush or explode?  Most importantly -- has anyone else ever tried anything so stupid that it actually just might work?  If nothing else, I might try it just on 4 or 5 bottles just to see what happens.

Thoughts?  Is this just a little TOO crazy??  Yeah, I know.... I'm the guy who's not afraid taking a few risks, and who thinks outside of the box, maybe too much for my own good.

Yeast and Fermentation / Yeast Starter had Zero Krausen
« on: September 14, 2010, 05:30:17 AM »
When I make a yeast starter, I am used to seeing a big foamy krausen on top, complete with "braun hefe".  But my last starter for my saison, made with WLP570, had absolutely zero foam, and now, after 24 hours, my fermenting beer (2.5 gallon batch) appears likewise -- it is obviously fermenting strongly, but there is no krausen.  How could this be?  I wonder if I screwed up the starter wort somehow, but I don't know how.  I know the starter was fermenting strongly as indicated by the tiny bubbles rising that broke when they hit the surface, and I ended up with much more yeast on the bottom than I started with.  And of course, all the spicy fruitiness in the aroma and flavor to go with it.  But what gives?  Is this normal perhaps for WLP570?  Are there sufficient fusels being produced to entirely kill head retention?  Is my final beer also going to have zero head retention, or will it be much different after fermentation is complete?  In both the starter and in the fermenter, it is going at about 73 F, which I figure is fine for a saison.  Finally, is there anything I can do after fermentation has started to perhaps improve head retention in my final beer?  A saison with zero head just seems so wrong to me.

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