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Messages - svejk

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The Pub / Re: Frivolous Magic Hat Lawsuit
« on: May 30, 2013, 08:07:51 AM »
Unfortunately Magic Hat has a history of this kind of thing:

They should take a lesson from Russian River and Avery - "Collaboration not Litigation", but that's probably never going to happen.

Other Fermentables / Re: Hydromel Carbonation
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:10:18 PM »
Thanks for the link!  I did finally end up getting it to hold onto a bit of carbonation by using a soda bottle and carbonator cap in the 30's, but if I decide that I want to serve it directly off the keg then I'll have to set up a new cobra with an extra long hose. I still suspect there is another factor in play that doesn't apply to beers because they rarely drop below 1.000, but I'm stumped.

Beer Recipes / Re: Low gravity saison
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:03:04 PM »
Great to hear it turned out so well - sounds like the perfect summer beer!

Other Fermentables / Re: Hydromel Carbonation
« on: May 23, 2013, 02:43:12 PM »
I guess I should be glad that my issue isn't regarding diving since those stakes are much, much higher!

Other Fermentables / Re: Hydromel Carbonation
« on: May 23, 2013, 02:23:12 PM »
That's worth a try.  I did find a couple more references to this phenomenon, and it appears that no matter what I try, I may be SOL:


"My understanding (and as I am not very familiar with meads, it wouldn't surprise me to learn I was wrong) is that grape wine and mead both have a hard time keeping co2 in solution (ie you can carb it, but as soon as you open, a gush will spring forth and little co2 stays in solution). This is one reason that true champaign takes so long to make: the wine stays on the lees for an extended period of time. Something about the breakdown of the dead yeast fortifies the solution with a substance that helps keep co2 in solution."


"Forcing a wine to hold carbonation can be challenging to say the least. It's the only thing in wine/mead making that has made me upset enough to stand there cussing.

That's one reason that Champagnes get all that lees aging - the mannoproteins and other whatnot that are released as the yeast undergo autolysis help hold CO2 in solution. You can either do lees aging, or you can use a big dose of a product like biolees and that may help. I've read that gum arabic also can help - I just got some but haven't tried it yet."

My hunch is that there is some other factor that I'm bumping up against.  I guess I should have paid more attention in Physics and Chemistry classes...

Other Fermentables / Re: Hydromel Carbonation
« on: May 23, 2013, 01:29:15 PM »
Thanks for the reply.  I was just using a cobra tap with a 2.5 ft hose which was why I tried the soda bottle/carbonator cap method.  The lack of a head didn't bother me as much as the perception that it didn't hold onto the carbonation.  I'm sure there was some carbonation still in solution, but there were no bubbles being released once it was in the glass and I was hoping that the bubbling would increase the nose.

In my google searches I did find a few references to the same phenomenon, but no explanations as to why it happens.  I may play around with hose length and pressures to see if I can figure it out.

Other Fermentables / Hydromel Carbonation
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:43:01 AM »
I made a low gravity (~1.060) mead that finished below 1.000 and my intention is to carbonate it to about 3 volumes of CO2 to make it spritzy.  I have had it in a keg at 40F and 18PSI for about a month now and even though it is well carbonated coming out of the tap, it goes flat almost immediately. 

At first I thought it had something to do with the short serving line so I put some in a soda bottle with a carbonator cap and poured it carefully into a glass with the same results.

Is it possible that dissolved sugars in regular FG beers help "hold onto" CO2 and in the case of a super dry solution it outgasses more quickly?  Any other ideas why this would be the case?

If I had to guess, I would also say it has something to do with the accuracy of the calculation used for adjusting for the temperature of the sample.  One trick I use is to put a large, shallow pyrex cake pan in the fridge on the morning of brew day.  When I put a hydrometer sample of wort into the pan, even at boiling temps, the thermal mass and surface area of the pan drops the temp of the sample very quickly into a reasonable range for checking the gravity.  I do that a lot less now that I have a refractometer, though...

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Secondary Yeast
« on: May 06, 2013, 11:32:35 AM »
Sounds like a great beer.  For increasing the perception of hops, I'm a big fan of using large amounts (3-4 oz, or even more) of dry hops. It can make racking the beer a bit of a pain, but really gives it a good hop punch.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Secondary Yeast
« on: May 06, 2013, 10:23:11 AM »
In that case, I would expect that you still have a fair amount of available sugars for your second pitch because that is a very big job for one vial to handle.  I still think you're fine with pitching the next yeast in the primary without racking, but I'm also interested in the reasons behind your process.  Since you're re-brewing this beer, I assume the first batch turned out great and you want to repeat it, is that right? 

One reason I can see for taking the approach of using one yeast to start fermentation and another yeast to finish it out would be that you want the flavor profile provided by the first yeast during the lag phase, but you want the better attenuation provided by the second yeast.  For imperial IPAs, usually the flavor contribution of the yeast is hidden by the hops, so most brewers I know use a large pitch of a very attenuative strain (like 1056) to get the beer to dry out in one shot.  Then again, if this process turned out a great IIPA, I wouldn't want to mess with success.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Secondary Yeast
« on: May 06, 2013, 09:58:49 AM »
Pitching yeast after fermentation has subsided can be a little tricky.  Can you tell us why you are pitching a secondary yeast? (I now see that you already answered this question)

In general, additional yeast is added to a batch in order to get the final gravity lower than what the first pitch of yeast were able to achieve.  The problem is that the presence of alcohol and CO2 make it a very tough job for that second pitch. 

In my experience, the only time I have had success with a second pitch of yeast having any effect on a batch was when I used a large volume of yeast slurry (either a yeast cake grown up in another batch or some slurry from a local brewpub).

To get to your questions, though, I would go ahead and put the secondary yeast in the primary, but I would check the gravity of the beer after fermentation stops to be sure it is needed.  You may find that the first pitch of yeast finished the job and there is no need for another pitch of yeast.

In the case of your prior experience, it looks like there were still a lot of available sugars for that second pitch to consume and that may very well be the case again if you used the same process.  Can you tell us what strain of yeast was used for your first pitch and how much you used (did you make a starter, use more than one pack of dry yeast, etc.)?

Ingredients / Re: Ingredients from Walmart!
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:44:32 AM »
Not exactly the Walmart Challenge, but this GAP (Grocery and Produce) Challenge thread from Homebrewtalk is very similar:

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Look what the stork droped off...
« on: April 23, 2013, 08:23:40 AM »
...all those minerals are already in the extract and there is no need for more.

This is a really good point that I hadn't considered before.  I think for most beginners purposes it won't be the deciding factor whether the beer is great or not, but it would make for an interesting side-by-side experiment - two identical extract batches, one with distilled water and the other with spring or filtered tap water.  I would think if a light style of beer were chosen, then the differences could be perceptible.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Look what the stork droped off...
« on: April 22, 2013, 03:51:47 PM »
In addition to the responses so far, in your second question you ask about a concentrated boil and topping off with distilled or purified water.  Keep in mind that your brewing water should be sanitary, but not distilled. To keep things as simple as possible, you could buy 3 one gallon bottles of spring water at the grocery store and leave them unopened in the fridge until you have chilled the boiled wort to ~100F in an ice bath.  Combining that wort with the 3g of ~35F water from the fridge should get you to the point where you are ready to aerate the batch.

A couple other random thoughts:

- The 5 gallon carboy will be a little small as a primary for your second 5g batch.  You might want to consider using the bottling bucket for primary fermentation of your first batch because it makes aeration a lot easier and you won't need a blowoff tube.  You can also avoid racking altogether with it.  Then you can put your second batch in the 6g carboy.

- It looks like you've done a lot of reading and already know a fair amount about brewing, so on your first batch, do your best, keep good notes, and don't be afraid to just wing it.  You'll learn a whole lot on your first batch, so you can tweak your system as needed once you've gone through it.

Have fun, and good luck!

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Stuck Fermentation
« on: March 28, 2013, 03:17:55 PM »
As mentioned above, a refractometer reading will need to be adjusted after fermentation has started.  The reason is because the alcohol in the beer changes the reading.  In your case, if you are getting an unadjusted reading of 1.036 after fermentation, then when you make the adjustment it looks like your beer finished out at about 1.015-1.016 which seems reasonable considering your mash temperature.  If you would like to see a lower final gravity in your next batch, you could try mashing at 150F.

As far as yeast starters go, they serve several purposes with one of the primary purposes being to make sure that you are pitching enough yeast to do the job you are asking them to do.  When you underpitch a beer, you will still get some yeast growth, however the chances of getting a stuck fermentation or having other fermentation problems go up.  Since brewing is fairly labor intensive, you can look at the work of making a yeast starter as an insurance policy to make sure you are giving your beer the best chance at success.

One other consideration I didn't see mentioned is that your fermentation temperature of 70-75F seems to be on the high side for an IPA that would normally use Wyeast 1056 or another neutral strain.  For that style of beer, I really try to keep the temp out of the 70s if at all possible - especially early on in fermentation.

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