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Messages - redzim

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Yeast and Fermentation / just tasted possibly my worst beer ever - HELP!
« on: October 03, 2011, 05:03:52 PM »
By this I mean, the worst beer I have brewed - I've tasted a lot worse from the BMC's of the world.... actually probably my first extract beers were this bad, but nothing in the last 3 years I've been doing AG comes close...

Anyways, what we have here is a Mocktoberfest (Jamil's Oktoberfest recipe, just brewed with a US-05 slurry instead of lager yeast).  OG was 1.051, and I used a slurry from a big IPA that was taken out of primary the day before I pitched it into the Mock. I usually collect my slurries pretty thin and keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days to get a hard pack cake, then decant the liquid and pitch a nice thick slurry.  Anyway of course the IPA slurry is damn hoppy which I sort of forgot to take into account, and also after just an overnight in the fridge it hadn't really settled out and was still thinner than usual.

So I make 20 gals of wort, pitch about 250mL of this slurry into each 5gal fermenter, which is reasonable based on Mr Malty for slurry that is even a week old... but fermentation does not take off like a rocket, (it usually does when I pitch a fresh slurry, even at 60F which I was fermenting at)  I have a pretty good idea of what my airlocks should look like for different recipes (I've done this Mock before, same mash sched, etc etc... so wort fermentability is not an issue here)  anyways the fermentation never really gets going. After 10 days the gravity is only 1.018.  So I warm it up to 65F and toss in about 5grams of fresh dry US-05 to each 5 gal ferm, trying to shake each ferm enough to get a little O2 in there. Probably futile, I know.  After 3 days of no airlock activity, gravity is still 1.018 so I say screw it and keg it anyways. It did not taste too bad at that point, just a little sweeter than I would like.

Well that was 2 weeks ago - I tapped 2 of the 4 kegs this afternoon for a taste (I keg with gelatin, carbonate at 34F, and always dump the first cup out of each keg) - it had horrendous sulfury smell, kind of cidery and yeasty, and tasted astringent and dry - not sweetish like I was expecting from a 1.018 beer.   After 10 mins in the glass, the smell dissipated but the taste remained.  It is not UNdrinkable but it is not good beer.

What the hell happened? I've just been googling autolysis and underpitching and getting more confused. Seems like the 2 weeks on yeast cake is not really long enough for autolysis to occur? What sort of flavors will underpitching give me? I know it's probably a little early to serve this beer but the taste is bad enough to make me wonder if another week or two in the keg will help at all.    I kind of need this beer for a oktoberbash this weekend.... guess it's a good lesson in hubris vs. humility, etc etc but if anyone knows what I can do, let me know.

what with this and the steelers sucking this past weekend, things can only get better, knock on wood


The Pub / Re: American Football
« on: September 08, 2011, 12:32:08 PM »
Sorry to disappoint all yinz out there, but the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl yet again this year. :D

(And this is just a reminder to you Raven fans. ;))


Yinzers all the way

All Grain Brewing / FWH questions
« on: September 01, 2011, 05:02:26 PM »
I want to try FWH one of these days. Some noob questions:

1) Do you add the hops to the 1st runoff of wort, or only when you start the sparge? I assume the 1st runoff (duh) but want to make sure cause one website I saw mentioned adding them "when you sparge" which I assume they actually mean the 1st runoff....

2) How long is too long for the hops to sit in that wort before you begin boiling? 30 mins? 1 hr?  Is there a minimum time? Just trying to plan a brew day around it...


Ingredients / mocktoberfest hops
« on: August 30, 2011, 12:52:29 PM »
I'm brewing up 20gals of Mocktoberfest for a bash in Oktober - will use 14.5# Pils, 11.5# Munich, 9.5# Vienna, and 3# CaraMunich III. Target OG to 1.052 or so.   I have done this recipe before with Hallertauer hops - 5.5oz at 60 min and 1.75oz at 20min.

However I can't get my hands on that much Hallertau at a reasonable price.  Is Vanguard a decent sub? I can get that cheap from Midwest and it seems close in characteristics...

Remember this is a "Mocktoberfest" which will be fermented at 60F using US-05 and then lagered in kegs for only about a month, I've done this before and it is "good enough" to keep the masses happy (you know, the ones who loooooove Sam Adams Octoberfest already)

Ingredients / hops direct stock
« on: August 29, 2011, 10:51:41 AM »
And I'm not talking 'bout an IPO (but maybe an IPA)

Does anyone know when/if HopsDirect will start getting new supplies of imported hops (I'm looking at you, Hallertauer and Saaz).


All Grain Brewing / Re: The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 24, 2011, 07:14:08 AM »
Think about it:  why bother keeping your sparge water temps at or below 170F and your pH < 6 during lautering if you're just going to run chunky wort into the boil kettle and let 'er rip at 212 F for an hour or more?  Take the time to set the grain bed by vorlaufing.

Very good point. I'm going to have to do better to remember, and not rush my brew days.

All Grain Brewing / Re: The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 23, 2011, 01:10:38 PM »
OK so I'm sure a vorlauf doesn't hurt anything... but what does it help? (playing devil's advocate here) Yes I have read in all the literature that it helps settle the grain bed for lautering, keeps chunks of grain out of the kettle, etc.... but I have forgotten it on brew days occasionally, when I was in a hurry and can't say I tasted a noticeable difference later... yes maybe more stuff in the kettle but I leave most hot break in there anyways...  just interested to know why it is so strongly recommended in all the basic all-grain primers.  it's got to be for more than just ease of lautering.


All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 01:07:36 PM »
anyone have input on this water recipe:

Add 10ppm gypsum, 20ppm CaCl2, and 150ppm undissolved chalk to distilled water to get 38ppm Ca, 5.6ppm sulfates, 9.6ppm chlorides, and use 2% of mash weight acidulated malt to get RA of -31 and ph around 5.5.....  I've never used undissolved chalk and it seems counter-intuitive to be adding alkalinity here but I am scratching my head trying to figure out how to build a water with enough calcium but basically no chlorides and no sulfates, which is what I'm hearing from you guys that I need. or am I missing something here?

and I am still undecided about whether to do a single decoction or a stepped infusion for this baby... what would be better?

All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 06:22:16 AM »
I don't think so.... I made a  typo above, it should be 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Cl, (not 68ppm Ca as in previous post) with zero Mg and Na.   At least this is what Kai's spreadsheet tells me..... 

BUT maybe 68ppm Chloride is though the roof for Bo Pils..... in which case, what salts do I add to get my Calcium up to 40ppm (what Martin suggested) while keeping everything else close to zero...... remember I'm starting with 100% distilled....

All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 04:33:38 AM »
All semantics about "caramelization" aside (it seems obvious to me that a direct-fired kettle has a lot more capacity for darkening or even scorching/burning the wort than does a jacketed steam kettle - if this is not technically "caramelization", then fine...)

What do you BoPils experts think of this water recipe:
add 10ppm Gypsum and 140ppm CaCl2 to distilled water which will give me 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Ca, with zero Mg and Na. Should still hit pH 5.4 or so, with 1% or 2% acidulated malt in there.


All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 14, 2011, 09:01:27 AM »
Thanks for all the input. I guess I'll try the following water: add 10ppm Gypsum and 140ppm CaCl2 to distilled water which will give me 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Ca, with zero Mg and Na. Should still hit pH 5.4 or so, with 1% or 2% acidulated malt in there. What does that sound like, Martin?

And it also sounds like I need to try a step or decoction mash.  I just did my first step mash with a Wit last week and it did not go super smoothly but I need to do it again I guess.  Any good articles or links on step mashing for beginners would be appreciated.

Thanks also for the tips on adding Munich or something to add color; I was just following Jamil's recipe....

Martin, regarding kettle caramelization: I boil in a round-bottom 30gal stainless jacked steam kettle, so my caramelization is zero (basically impossible to burn anything in there because it is heated by low pressure (12psi) steam.) And because the surface area is so huge (about 30" in diameter at the top) I lose a lot to evaporation, even with a gentle boil as you describe....  anyone else have experience with the sort of kettle? It is definitely different geometry than your standard cylindrical brew kettle or keggle.


All Grain Brewing / fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 12, 2011, 05:17:42 PM »
I am having trouble brewing a Bo Pils that tastes anything like a Pilsner Urquell. 

My darker lagers (Vienna Lagers, Oktoberfests, Schwarzbiers) have worked well, & taste close to what they should, and have placed (and won)  in some local contests. Even my most recent Helles (brewed to Kai’s Edel Hell recipe) was very nice and quite close to Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold in a side-by-side tasting.

So I think my process is good for lagers in general, but obviously I’m missing something, because I can’t get a nice crisp Urquell-ish beer.  Urquell has way better hop aroma, flavor and bitterness. It just tastes like it has more “pop and zing”. Mine is a nice smooth lager but lacks the bite of the Urquell. Mine actually tastes pretty close to a canned Heineken, oddly enough.   Mine is also a lighter pale yellow compared to Urquell’s rich gold.  My buddies all love it (reminds them of Heineken, I guess ) but it disappoints me.

Here is my 10 gallon recipe: (scaled from Jamil’s book)

18.80 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.15 lbs Weyermann CaraPils
0.20 lbs Acidulated Malt (this is 1% of the total grain bill)

Single infusion mash at 155F for 90mins.  For mash and sparge, I used 100% distilled water with additions of gypsum, Epsom salts, and CaCl2 to get the following profile: 58ppm Ca, 8ppm Mg, 0ppm Na, 89ppm SO4, 63ppm Cl, RA of -47.

My mash pH was 5.2 to 5.3 (I was still figuring out my new Milwaukee meter but I am confident this is a decent reading). Collected 16gals to boil down to 11gals.

Did a 60min boil with Saaz additions at 60min (2.20oz), 30min (3.00oz), 10min (1.50oz) and flameout (1.50oz).  60min addition was 5.5% AA, the rest were 4.0% AA.  Hops were all pellets, tossed loose into the boil.

Used a huge immersion chiller to get all 11 gals of wort below 100F in 3.5mins. So I’m confident I shut down pretty much all DMS/SMM stuff (not sure I have all the acronyms correct) and captured that late hop flavor and aroma.  Entire batch chilled to 48F in 11mins.  OG of 1.059.  Possibly I boiled it down a little too hard here, 1.055 was what I was shooting for.

Pitched 22 grams of dry S-189 yeast into each 5 gal fermenter at 48F.  Fermentation was active within 28hrs (good airlock activity). Fermented at 48F-50F for 23 days. Then raised temp to 65F for 48hrs (a maturation or diacetyl rest), then crash cooled at 34F for 48hrs, then racked into kegs, and lagered under 10psi CO2 for 5wks, at 34F.   FG of 1.014.

One possible thing is that I was travelling between day 10 and day 23 of fermentation, and there was no visible airlock activity  when I got back, so it’s possible that the yeast was done prior to that, and that the maturation rest didn’t really do anything if the yeast was done…

Any obvious flaws in this thing?  Or subtle hints for next time?

Thanks (and sorry for the long post)

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 10, 2011, 04:45:11 AM »
Thanks Hubie.   I also don't have BCS in front of me right now but after a quick read of that BYO article, the recipe seems very close, if not identical, to the BCS recipe.  The background info in the article definitely fills in some gaps. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 12:02:32 PM »
 I like some spiciness, Hoegaarden is one of my fave hot weather beers, but I don't want to get it up into the Franziskaner-type super-fruity-clovey regions.

Wit yeast don't make clove flavors so you can easily ferment at 70-72 F to get a nice spice character. 

Nice to know...

Typically Belgian wits require a more complicated mash schedule due to the unmalted wheat and pilsener.

I will be using flaked wheat (and some flaked oats), not raw unmalted wheat, but I'll follow this mash schedule anyways.

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 10:30:46 AM »

I fermented pretty cool, and didn't do a ferulic acid rest.  I think I have plenty of spiciness, I wouldn't go with the warmer temp regime unless you really like the spicy character.

Just thought I'd inspire you to look forward to your result.

Oh I'm inspired all right!  What do you mean by pretty cool.... 60? 64?   I like some spiciness, Hoegaarden is one of my fave hot weather beers, but I don't want to get it up into the Franziskaner-type super-fruity-clovey regions.

And I am assuming that this is a "quick" beer, maybe 6-9 days in primary, crash the yeast out, and keg it, set-and-forget at 12psi for maybe 2 weeks, and then drink it?  At least that's what I'm hoping, so I can still drink it this summer.

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