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Messages - skyler

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Moving to dry yeast exclusively
« on: May 24, 2017, 11:04:51 AM »
I've been gone for a few days, but I want to touch more on my prior post.

I've seen the best results just pitching dry yeast straight, no rehydration. I suppose the difference in strains could be the case? Though in my experience S-04 isn't really like any of the liquid British yeasts I've used. It's like it's fruity in the wrong ways.

I won't even comment on US-05 from a strain perspective, as I don't like 1056/WLP001, and haven't used either in years. They're so clean as to be boring. Good for a pseudo lager, but that is IMO.

Have you tried using S-04 REALLY cool? Like, 56F-60F cool? IME, it is the most temperature-sensitive of all the strains of common dry yeast, and standard ale temperatures of 66F-70F make for horrible "homebrewy" beer, but it does a great job fermented at near-lager temperatures. I usually pitch around 52F, set my fermentation freezer to 52F, and let it rise to ~58F. When I get foamy krausen, I raise the freezer temp to 60F and let it free rise up to ~66F to finish (takes about 2 days at that point). I then let it sit at ambient for a day or two and then crash chill to 32F. IME, this will completely ferment a clean ~1.046ish bitter in about a week.

Ingredients / Re: Funny Stuff in Package of Hops from Hops Direct
« on: May 21, 2017, 07:49:52 AM »
Have you contacted Hopsdirect?

Not yet, I figured I'd ask here first.

Ingredients / Funny Stuff in Package of Hops from Hops Direct
« on: May 20, 2017, 03:11:35 PM »
I noticed a bunch of weird poop-like material in my 1-pound bag of Ekuanot hops. It seems like it might just be hop resin, but I am pretty curious if anyone knows what it is or if anyone has seen this before.

I've never gotten "peach" at low temps with US-05, but I have gotten peach from it once, when fermenting at ambient during a freak heatwave. I didn't know the difference between fermentation temp and ambient temp at the time and figured 72F was a find fermentation temperature... of course ambient ended up being over 80F the next day in my south-facing 4th-floor apartment.

Now, I have had inconsistent US-05 lately, and I think it comes from how well the packs were stored. With 001 or 1056, the starter I build usually mitigates that inconsistency.

I also prefer lower sulfate levels, basically, I just add enough gypsum to get my Calcium levels to ~60 ppm, then I add sea salt to give me a decent Sulfate/Chloride balance (I like 1.5/1 or 2/1). The resulting sodium levels are anywhere from 20-40, depending on what exact profile I shoot for. I had been using acid malt to adjust pH, but my newest batch seems more acidic than previous batches, so I am switching to regular acid.

Through some experimentation, I am beginning to believe that increased sodium levels permit higher sulfate levels to taste palatable and not come across as harsh/astringent/bitter. I have had very soft water in most of the places where I've brewed (Portland, OR and East Bay Area, CA) and found that I found my beers unpleasantly harsh when I brewed with more than 150 ppm sulfate. However, I remembered that when I had just used "burton salts" with RO or DI water before, I hadn't noticed the same problem. I also tasted plenty of great homebrew from people using Tasty's pale ale profile...

Anyway, I finally considered that my super-low sodium level might be the culprit, and started testing out higher sodium levels (20-50 ppm) by adding sea salt. Sure enough, higher sulfate levels are a lot more tolerable with sodium levels over 20 ppm. I've stopped using calcium chloride when I adjust minerals for hoppy pale beer. Now I adjust chlorides by adding sea salt, then increase the sulfate and calcium levels to get me where I need to be with gypsum. The balance has worked well for me, flavor-wise.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Strain and Beer Color
« on: April 23, 2017, 12:11:26 PM »
I made an IPA recently and split the batch into two fermenters, one with US-05 and one with Danstar London ESB. The color difference is startling. On the left is the ESB yeast. On the right, the US-05. How? And, fwiw, the US-05 (darker one) tastes hoppier and fresher, but both are fine beers.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Was one packaged differently than the other?  Just wondering if somehow it may have had more oxygen introduced to it leading to a darker finished product?
They were fermented at the same time, in identical fermenters (8 gal buckets) at the same temperature and were kegged one after the other in the same way (co2 purged keg). One thing of note is that the us-05 took longer to start, but they appeared to be finished at the same time.

100% of tasters (4 total) perceived the us-05 to taste fresher and hoppier, so I don't think oxidation is the culprit this time - though I believe the us-05 may have been mishandled prior to purchase.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

All Grain Brewing / Re: Craft vs. Commercial Malts
« on: April 19, 2017, 09:54:35 PM »
Just kegged my first beer using Mecca Grade Lamonta malt...holy crap!
GOOD GOOD GOOD!  Best tasting malt I've ever used.

This is great news. I have seen the stuff at Steinbart and have assumed it wouldn't be worth the premium $$$ because of how much I disliked the Great Western "Full Pint" malt (and Mecca malts "full pint"). But I have been looking for a nice, rich malt to brew great, balanced session beers with and TF Optic (my favorite) is difficult to find locally.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH Meter
« on: April 19, 2017, 09:41:37 PM »
I suppose it's worth mentioning that I have been using Weyermann Sauermalz and this recent IPA that came out less hoppy and more tart did come from a "fresh" batch of acid malt; I buy it in 5lb increments, store it in an airtight container, and it typically lasts me about a year. Of course, I also don't know for sure how much my municipal water chemistry changes season to season.

Yeah, this is horribly confusing. I used to use BeerAlchemy, but the new version is complete garbage, so I switched to BeerSmith 2.0 - it feels like stepping back in time 15 years in terms of user interface. Somehow what other software called 78% efficiency is 62% in BeerSmith. I think it is because it thinks in terms of "system efficiency" instead of just easily letting me control volumes and just calculating "mash efficiency." I am not a fan, though I am sure there is a learning curve.

Equipment and Software / pH Meter
« on: April 19, 2017, 07:18:54 AM »
I'm in the market for a new pH meter and would like some recommendations. Price and ease of use are my main concerns.

I used to brew with a friend who owned a pH meter, but it's been a few years since then and while I have been using Bru'n Water to adjust pH, I haven't actually been measuring. Nothing came out bad, but my most recent IPA (90% 2-row, 6% carahell, 4% acid malt - a small amount of 10% phosphoric acid was used in the sparge water, too) seems a bit more acidic than necessary and appears to have extracted less than expected from the hops and CO2 hop extract. My suspicion is that I should have used 8-10 oz of acid malt instead of 12 oz, and that the acid malt in the mash might have made the phosphoric acid unnecessary in the sparge water. Water was soft Portland water treated with a campden tablet to run off chloramine, then I added just enough gypsum and sea salt to increase the calcium to 60 ppm and get a 3/2 sulfate/chloride ratio.

Clearly I need to be testing my pH.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Great Western vs Briess vs Rahr
« on: April 08, 2017, 04:46:48 PM »
I love GW Pale Ale malt (the 3L). There are few applications where I prefer I think they recently changed the name to "Pacific Northwest Pale Ale Malt" from just "Northwest Pale Ale Malt." I am also fond of Gambrinus malts, but the price is a bit higher for me than it is to buy GW. Few places nearby sell Rahr, so I haven't used it much.

Ingredients / Re: Favorite hop mix?
« on: April 05, 2017, 01:10:12 PM »
I am a big fan of Simcoe/Nelson. Sadly, I haven't been able to get Neslon in bulk for some time, so I haven't brewed with it in years.

Simcoe/Cascade and Simcoe/Amarillo are great blends.

Galaxy/Amarillo/CTZ was a great mix (did that 2/2/1).

Apollo/Amarillo/Ahtanum made an amazing IPA for me once, and I may try blending Apollo with more traditional citrusy hops in the future (2/1 Cascade/Apollo may work).

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Are some batches of yeast just duds?
« on: March 21, 2017, 06:45:03 AM »
Plenty of things can make the yeast less viable, which is why I always recommend starters for liquid yeast use (among other reasons). It could be old (check the date). It could have been left in the too-cold part ofd the fridge, or kept too warm for some time. A starter will mitigate these issues.

Ingredients / Re: Cascade SMaSH - How much 5.5% AA hopping?
« on: March 21, 2017, 06:39:13 AM »
I'd bump the flameout addition to 1-2 oz, personally.

Ingredients / Re: How many ounces of hops in your American IPA?
« on: March 21, 2017, 06:36:57 AM »
I made the move to CO2 extract for bittering, at least for this year (I bought a can of HopShot and filled so many syringes). So an AIPA will have 5-10 mL extract at 60-30 min, 1-2 oz at 10-5 mins, 3-4 oz whirlpool, and 2-3 oz dry per 5 gallons. I have had issues with filtering, but my hop spider had issues with extraction, so I now use a false bottom and a whirlpool, chill with an immersion chiller (sans pump), then squeeze and remove most of the hops when I get to the end of the kettle.

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