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Messages - a10t2

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stepping up a Starter
« on: February 13, 2010, 11:40:06 AM »
I love the MrMalty calculator, but doing two-stage starters with it can be frustrating.

One simple alternative is to use the Wyeast calculator ( It does have some limitations: works only in gallons, no adjustment for viability, and gives results as pitching rate rather than cell count, without allowing for decanting the starter.

BTW: I'm assuming you can't get a stir bar to turn in your gallon jug, so I'm using "intermittent shaking".

Anyway, here's how to spoof MrMalty:
1. Set your production date, then play with the gravity and/or volume fields to get the volume of your first stage (I'll use 1 L).
2. Note the number of cells that grows (178B).
3. Turn off the automatic viability calculation and enter that number for the viability.
4. Enter your real gravity and volume, and the calculator will tell you the volume of the second stage (2.24 L).
5. Verify that the volumes are realistic and adjust the first-stage volume if needed. Ideally, you want to at least double the volume at each step.

When making the starter(s), be sure to allow enough time to chill and decant at each stage before stepping up.

Ingredients / Re: Cardamom?
« on: February 12, 2010, 10:43:16 PM »
Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I'll be brewing this in the next week or two and will probably use 5 g to start, and add more in the fermenter if needed.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast for a chocolate stout?
« on: February 12, 2010, 10:19:37 AM »
I wonder if having some esters from the S-04 or 1272 might improve the perception of chocolate. I'm just guessing though.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: A "modified" starter
« on: February 11, 2010, 10:15:17 PM »
Keep in mind that I expect the actual pitching rate to have an error of +/- 15% anyway. And I doubt that it matters to be more precise than that.

Frankly I'd be surprised to find out that homebrewers are getting even that kind of precision. Is that something you're keeping track of with your new toy?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: A "modified" starter
« on: February 11, 2010, 08:29:43 PM »
I realize the discussion has moved on, but I'd just make the 4.7 L starter. You're more or less guessing at the starter size anyway, so being off by 6% isn't going to make much difference.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Chris Colby on malt conditioning
« on: February 10, 2010, 02:33:20 PM »
Kai, my thinking on the FFT is that it's very useful the first time you brew a recipe, but not so much the second, third, etc. Maybe all you're seeing is that at the level where people write things about brewing (or can get them published/read, anyway) a lot of them are brewing recipes they're refined over dozens of brew sessions, and it simply doesn't have as much benefit for them.

Ingredients / Re: Besides using Food Coloring
« on: February 10, 2010, 11:52:53 AM »
Sounds like a perfect chick beer.  What was your recipe? 

It was a really basic American Wheat - 25% 2-row, 62% malted wheat, 12% Crystal 10, 1 oz of Hallertauer at 60 and 15, and Wyeast 1056. OG was only 1.036. Then as primary was winding down I added 100% cranberry juice to taste, which ended up being 44 fl oz. So the actual OG was right around 1.040.

Ingredients / Re: Besides using Food Coloring
« on: February 09, 2010, 11:02:11 PM »
Cranberry juice, in a wheat. It was a weird pink color, but people seemed to like it.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Pilsner Will it Blow?
« on: February 09, 2010, 05:08:16 PM »
Go for it, but don't waste the Wyeast packet on it. A quarter packet of dry yeast, rehydrated, will do you just fine.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brix to plato conversion
« on: February 09, 2010, 05:04:02 PM »
That's a refractometer conversion factor.

that's the quick factor, but above 1.050 or so it starts to deviate.  the real formula is

Well, we're talking about two different conversions. The factor of 1.04 converts refractive index to °Brix for wort. What you're talking about is the conversion from Brix (or Plato - as nyakavt found in Excel, the difference is negligible) to SG. That's where the "multiply by four" rule gets thrown out a lot, even though it isn't particularly accurate.

Ingredients / Re: Favorite APA/IPA Hop Schedule
« on: February 09, 2010, 01:55:45 PM »
Hopburst with a 4:2:1 blend of Amarillo, Simcoe, and Centennial, then a big Amarillo dry hop.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Brix to plato conversion
« on: February 09, 2010, 01:53:50 PM »
I found this table which says Plato = 1.04 * Brix.  I'd like to get another source or get verification of the accuracy of this conversion.

That's a refractometer conversion factor. Degrees Brix and degrees Plato are the same thing (within 0.1% anyway), but a refractometer doesn't read either - it simply measures the refractive index. It then correlates that RI to a °Bx scale, for a sucrose solution. Unlike grape juice or honey, wort isn't a sucrose solution, hence the conversion factor.

Equipment and Software / Re: Easy vorlauf
« on: February 09, 2010, 11:47:32 AM »
Hi, I'm Sean and I don't vorlauf. :-[

I did it the first dozen or so times, then realized the number of grain particles I was actually keeping out of the boil was in the low double digits.

The Pub / Re: Getting ready for another Nor'easter...
« on: February 09, 2010, 11:44:05 AM »
Better pile some snow up above the liquid level there, eh?

For future reference, the full smack pack is about the right amount of yeast for 2 gallons of ale. Sounds like you're doing everything else right though!

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