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Messages - hubie

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: WLP029 how cold can I go?
« on: June 05, 2012, 08:21:54 AM »
Two weekends ago I just christened my first temp-controlled chest freezer ferment chamber with this yeast.  I pitched it at about 59F and held it at 60F until the krausen fell.  It looked like a good and active ferment.

Equipment and Software / Re: Hemocytometer setup recommendations
« on: June 04, 2012, 08:15:24 PM »
Thank you.  That looks like a handy document. 

Equipment and Software / Hemocytometer setup recommendations
« on: June 04, 2012, 07:01:48 AM »
Because I'm a laboratory guy, for me there's nothing better than making measurements and analyzing data.  To this end I've been wanting to play around with yeast counting.  I pulled out a simple student microscope from the back of the closet, though I failed to check what power it has.  I'm looking for recommendations for a basic hemocytometer setup.  Poking around the Internet I see prices on counting chambers that range from $30 to $500.  What kind of chamber do I need and at what quality?  I expect that I would be using it on the order of 6-10 times per year.  What magnification range is useful for counting?

All Grain Brewing / Re: canning salt or table salt?
« on: May 25, 2012, 01:12:09 PM »
Another difference between table and canning salt is that anti-caking stuff (calcium silicate) is added to table salt, and I think to kosher salt as well.  However, from the standpoint of brewing I don't think it matters.  I believe kosher salt is not as pure as table salt because it can come from a variety of sources.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Why boother with the iodine test?
« on: May 23, 2012, 09:49:12 AM »
I just want a way of knowing when the mash really was done.

You'll have to define your "done" criteria.  Like many reactions in nature, I suspect that you don't get to 100-percent conversion linearly, but approach it asymptoticly: 60 minutes to get to 90% conversion, another 60 minutes to get 99.9% conversion, another 60 minutes to get 99.99%, etc.  At some point you reach diminishing returns.  I cut mine off at 60 minutes and accept whatever the small efficiency hit is.

Equipment and Software / Re: Wall mounted bottle "tree"
« on: February 05, 2012, 08:59:08 PM »
Building a bottle tree is something that I keep as one of those projects that I want to do but I keep pushing off.  Are you thinking of building it for bottle storage, or also for drying?  I want to build one for drying and I haven't convinced myself what the best material would be.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Can sunlight affect wort?
« on: February 05, 2012, 07:42:50 PM »
The skunking compounds are not present until fermentation. It's a combination of certain compounds in the hop oils and B vitamins produced by the yeast that cause the skunking from light. wort is safe.
+1, if your wort hadn't been pitched, then there is no chance of skunking.

As I understand the chemistry, that is not true.  The skunking comes from interactions with the isomerized alpha acids.  Riboflavin (vitamin B) is one mechanism that contributes to this through a series of chemical reactions, but the iso-acids are also broken up by direct UV exposure.  I believe the energetics are such that direct light exposure requires energies approaching the UV range, while the chemistry involving riboflavin is caused by light with a broader band of wavelengths out to as long as 500 nm (green light).  Though you get riboflavin from yeast, it is also present in malt.

The skunking compound is part of the thiol family which has a ridiculous detection threshold, something like a few nano-grams per liter.  Because of the very low detection threshold and the general unpleasant odor, thiols are put in things like natural gas to make it easy to detect.

As you'd expect, there are all sorts of factors involved that will determine how much it skunks and how easy it is to detect (hop level, beer color, pH, etc.).  However, the worst light you can exposure your beer to is green (bad) to blue (worse) to UV (even worse).  It is funny because I am writing this as I watch the Superbowl ads for Bud Light Platinum which appears to be packaged in blue bottles.  For their sake I hope they are using those special lightstruck-resistent hop extracts for that.

All Grain Brewing / Re: decoction mash
« on: November 10, 2011, 06:00:53 PM »
I enjoy decoction on occasion.  It does take longer, but the process is pretty easy.  Before I dough in, I get an estimate of how much volume of grain I have.  The first few times I did this when adding the grain to my cooler.  When adding the grain, I did it by the pot full to get an idea of how many pots it took.  Then, when time to pull a decoction, I would use the same pot and pull about a third of it (e.g., if I started out with 10 pots in the mash tun, I'd pull about 3.5 pots for the decoction).  I usually seem to undershoot because it isn't unusual for me to be lower in temp than expected (which is why I have my teapot filled with near-boiling water when returning my decoction).  Every time I tell myself I'll pull a bit more the next time, but then I forget.  It isn't hard to see why I come in low because that 10 pots of dry grain is really larger than that when wet.

Check out Kai Troester's decoction page:
At the bottom of that page he has some YouTube links showing him doing a decoction brew session.

The last time I did a decoction, I did an American Wheat using a hochkurtz double decoction.  The recipe was 50/50 wheat and 2-row.  I entered it in a competition and got the dreaded "not to style" with the comment that I used too much crystal malt in it. ;)

Did you prime the bottles, or was the fizz from residual fermentation?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Saving the yeast cake
« on: October 05, 2011, 02:44:23 PM »
You made me think more on this one, so I found this online in "Brewing Techniques"

"Although bleach is a good sterilizing agent, it is also corrosive (especially to stainless steel) and can be toxic. I recommend rinsing off residual bleach with hot water or some other sterile solution rather than leaving it on your equipment. Besides potentially adding an unwanted off-flavor to your homebrew, residual bleach may kill or reduce the viability of your yeast."

Hence why you need to rinse thoroughly....... ;)


Sorry, I wasn't clear.  I was coming from the angle of sterilize vs. sanitize. I was wondering whether you could cross from sanitize to sterilize without using acid or using low dilutions (as compared to the usual amount suggested for homebrew use).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Saving the yeast cake
« on: October 05, 2011, 08:28:39 AM »
I sterilize (not sanitize) them with a healthy dose of bleach, soak and then rinse 4-5x with hot water.

I didn't think you could sterilize with household bleach, at least not without lowering the pH with some acid, or without using it at some uncomfortably low dilution ratio.

Other Fermentables / Re: Sauerkraut
« on: September 23, 2011, 08:40:03 AM »
Maybe it was the cabbage I used, but the only time I tried to make it, I didn't get nearly enough water to come out and cover the cabbage.  Is there some sort of rule-of-thumb to use with respect to how much salt you use?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: NHC Gold and Single Infusion Mashing
« on: September 23, 2011, 12:39:59 AM »
I don't think you can infer too much into those numbers without also knowing the breakdown of the entrants, not just the winners.  For example, suppose out of all the 1000+ entries only 4 people did decoction mashes, then I would say that would show the superiority of decoction because all four hit gold.  Another example would be in the categories where multi-step or decoction won, suppose all the single-infusion entries were knocked out in the first round; you wouldn't be able to tell that from looking just at the winners either.  I can't tell from what you say whether you've removed styles from the comparison where one typically wouldn't do multi-step or decoction, because that would skew things in favor of single-infusion as well.

My guess is that things are heavily in favor of single infusion simply because the majority of entrants do single infusion.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Presidential Beer
« on: September 22, 2011, 12:51:37 AM »
The original beer they made used honey.  My sister knows the guy who keeps the bees at the White House.  He works there and normally keeps bees as a hobby, so he asked if he could keep some on the White House grounds.  They were OK with it as long as they got use of the honey.  Apparently, it is a popular gift to visiting dignitaries.  I believe she told me that it was one of the White House chefs who makes the beer.

I think they should have another Beer Summit, but this time bring down Charlie P. and the AHA crew so that everyone could swap their homebrew.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Temperature at bottling
« on: August 29, 2011, 07:11:50 AM »
So, you guys are saying that even when the beer has fermented out completely and I leave it in the primary for close to a month there are still 1.5 vols of co2 in suspension???  I must have missed something because every hyrdo sample I have ever taken is flat.  Sorry this is over my head.

If you ever make wine or mead, there is the de-gas stage where you stir it up to get some of the excess CO2 out to help out the yeast.  Before you stir, things look very flat, but as you stir you can really kick up a head and foam over if you're not careful.

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