Author Topic: Mitch Steele Comments  (Read 1017 times)

Offline flbrewer

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Mitch Steele Comments
« on: February 10, 2015, 07:44:12 PM »
I was listening to a recent BeerSmith podcast and Mitch Steele from Stone had two interesting comments that I wanted to run by the group here.

-Whirlpooling hops can many times take the place of having to dry hop. Anyone experimented with this?

-He mentioned that at Stone they drop the fermentation temp. down from 72 to 62 to flocculate out the yeast prior to dry hopping. I thought that was interesting as I thought you had to cold crash way down for this to happen. 62 isn't far off from where I've been fermenting at.


Offline kramerog

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2015, 07:58:21 PM »
I don't whirlpool but I do like to add hops after the boil but before fermentation - often called a stand.  The flavor and to a lesser extent aroma is great.

I think the 10 degree drop is the key here, not the 62 F.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2015, 08:00:16 PM »
Perhaps I'm confusing flocculation with another term, but I thought you generally raised fermentation temps to clean up.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2015, 08:02:55 PM »
I was listening to a recent BeerSmith podcast and Mitch Steele from Stone had two interesting comments that I wanted to run by the group here.

-Whirlpooling hops can many times take the place of having to dry hop. Anyone experimented with this?

-He mentioned that at Stone they drop the fermentation temp. down from 72 to 62 to flocculate out the yeast prior to dry hopping. I thought that was interesting as I thought you had to cold crash way down for this to happen. 62 isn't far off from where I've been fermenting at.
Whirlpooling hops does provide a whole lot of hop aroma. But for styles like an IPA, the character you get out of dry hops is tough to replace. It could work in something like an APA or an ESP, though.

Keep in mind that commercial brewers ferment at higher temps than many homebrewers do. Temps aren't necessarily equivalent. But a 10-degree drop could be enough for many yeast strains to floc out a bit better. That will depend on what strain you are using. If you're fermenting at 65F, then a drop to 55F may be enough. I doubt a 3-degree drop down to 62 would make a huge difference, though.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 08:23:07 PM »
Perhaps I'm confusing flocculation with another term, but I thought you generally raised fermentation temps to clean up.

That is the case.  raising the temperature will keep the yeast active which will lead to cleaning up fermentation by-products that you don't want in your finished beer.  It is after this that the temperature is dropped.
A quick swing downward in temperature will put the yeast to sleep.

It is perhaps a niggly point, but to make a distinction: flocculation is the tendency of yeast to clump together.  The more flocculant a yeast is, the faster they will drop (precipitate is the word here - just like rain).  Lots of particulates precipitate out of beer to get to clear - not just yeast.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 08:32:34 PM »
Whirlpooling hops does provide a whole lot of hop aroma. But for styles like an IPA, the character you get out of dry hops is tough to replace. It could work in something like an APA or an ESP, though.


+1.  It does give a nice hop aroma, but IPA still needs some dry hopping. Agreed that APA or ESB could probably go whirlpool only.

I also agree that it's tough to compare commercial brewers' fermentation temps directly.  The takeaway is that Mitch likes to dry hop away from the bulk of the yeast, to reduce hop oil absorption by the yeast. Easily accomplished by dry hopping in a secondary or (like me) in keg.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2015, 11:06:18 PM »
Also a small point, but unless you're using a thermo well or other means to measure actual wort temperature I'd guess that you're ambient temp is 62 but ferment temp may be ~67ish. When Mitch Steele days 72 is bet he means 72. It could also be true that they ramp up to 72 at the end of fermentation.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2015, 11:47:46 PM »
I wonder if they forego the dry hops on Stone IPA. If they did, I wouldn't blame them. Dry hop character is the first to go, and widely distributed packaged IPA needs to be a relatively shelf stable item. A one month old Stone IPA compared to a 4+ month old Stone IPA might be near equal, while a 1 month old Pliny/Heady compared to 4+ month old Pliny/Heady is a huge difference.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2015, 11:57:08 PM »
I wonder if they forego the dry hops on Stone IPA. If they did, I wouldn't blame them. Dry hop character is the first to go, and widely distributed packaged IPA needs to be a relatively shelf stable item. A one month old Stone IPA compared to a 4+ month old Stone IPA might be near equal, while a 1 month old Pliny/Heady compared to 4+ month old Pliny/Heady is a huge difference.

+1.  I like Stone IPA but I wouldn't be surprised given the wide distribution. I was surprised how much hoppier their AB is fresh at Stone. The IPA was a little hoppier, not a lot.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2015, 12:36:50 AM »


Keep in mind that commercial brewers ferment at higher temps than many homebrewers do. Temps aren't necessarily equivalent. But a 10-degree drop could be enough for many yeast strains to floc out a bit better. That will depend on what strain you are using. If you're fermenting at 65F, then a drop to 55F may be enough. I doubt a 3-degree drop down to 62 would make a huge difference, though.

There's no reason why a homebrewer couldn't finish off a beer at 72 degrees after starting on the cool side. You only need cooler temps for 48 hours or so, then ramp up 2 degrees a day to finish off the fermentation into the low, even mid 70s.

I stopped dry hopping my IPA for a while because it was an extra step and extra time involved. The beer was great and hap plenty of aroma, but there's a freshness you can get by dry hopping in the aroma that you can't get by WP additions. So I went back.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 03:42:32 AM »
I also can not get the same think with WP only addition. Dry hopping is a pain but I do it.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2015, 01:00:25 PM »
I also can not get the same think with WP only addition. Dry hopping is a pain but I do it.
Agreed. You can certainly get a lot of aroma in the whirlpool, but it's a different aroma than dry hopping. You can only get that punch of fresh hop oil aroma by dry hopping.
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Offline coolman26

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2015, 02:16:19 PM »
I read an interview with Mitch several years ago.  He stated that Stone only used a bittering, and whirlpool charge for the majority of their beers.  He said they then add all additional hops at flameout.  He said the hops are in contact for about 90 minutes during cast out.  If I remember correctly he said their temperature during that 90 minutes is 175 degrees.  That is a long "hopstand", compared to mine which is about 30 minutes.  I too agree that there is freshness flavor that factors into dry hopping.  I would like to experiment with a longer whirlpool and my new hopback and see what happens.  I would love to get away from the PIA of dry hops.   
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 02:29:15 PM »
I read an interview with Mitch several years ago.  He stated that Stone only used a bittering, and whirlpool charge for the majority of their beers.  He said they then add all additional hops at flameout.  He said the hops are in contact for about 90 minutes during cast out.  If I remember correctly he said their temperature during that 90 minutes is 175 degrees.  That is a long "hopstand", compared to mine which is about 30 minutes.  I too agree that there is freshness flavor that factors into dry hopping.  I would like to experiment with a longer whirlpool and my new hopback and see what happens.  I would love to get away from the PIA of dry hops.   

I'll say up front that I don't have a pump (yet), but I haven't seen much benefit in going beyond 40 or 45 minutes with my method - adding hops @ 170-175F, stirring, putting the lid on, and stirring every few minutes. For me, things seem to level off at that point.
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Offline coolman26

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Re: Mitch Steele Comments
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 08:04:28 PM »
I don't think that their 90 minutes is calculated.  He said the contact time was 90 minutes because that was how long it took cast out their batch.  I'm guessing they just tested what they were getting at 90 minutes and hopped accordingly.  I'll try the 45 minutes the next time.  I always was at 30 minutes because brew day was long enough.  I do like the whirlpool additions and their flavor way over flameout only.
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