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Author Topic: Ask Sierra Nevada’s Experts - additional questions and answers - 2  (Read 1431 times)

Offline sierranevadapromotion

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    • Sierra Nevada Beer Camp
I happened to look at a container of a locally made dry rub for bbq  and noticed that the ingredients include, among other spices, grains of paradise, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin- all things I have had in beer! About midwaydown the list is salt.

So I decided that I want to use this dry rub along with some home smoked malt to make a BBQ beer. Probably would do it based on a simple amber.
So here is my question:
How problematic would it be to add  the salt in this rub to my wort ? I would use RO water, so there should not be any additional sodium in the water.
How much should I worry abouth this? Or should I try to nag the folks into doing a one off salt free version just for brewing?

Susan Rankert

Susan, salt is a big no-no in brewing. A little bit goes a long way and will negatively affect the fermentation and end flavor. I would try and source a BBQ rub without the salt or try and make your own spice at home. Even a beer like a Gose which requires salt only uses a tiny amount…not so much that you’d notice.

Matt Grissom []
I have a question regarding fermentation temperature for ale brewing.

I read a lot of discussion regarding temperature control for ale fermentation.  When is it appropriate to raise the temperature of the wort after pitching yeast?  At what point in the fermentation is it beneficial to lower the temperature?  I understand that temperature control, when administered correctly, can help the yeast to clean up diacetyl towards the end of fermentation.  What's an easy rule of thumb for home brewer's to follow for controlling the fermentation temperature of their ale while yielding optimal results?

Matt Grissom
Glen Ellyn, IL

Matt, if you’re fermenting ales, let it naturally creep from a pitch temp of about 65 to 68-72 (maintain 68-72 temp) and you should have no problem with diacetyl if you don’t crash chill. It is never beneficial to chill prior to the end of fermentation and complete diacetyl reduction. Here’s a quick and dirty check for diacetyl: take a fermentation sample (200mL) put  it in a bottle and immerse it in a water bath at about 165 degrees for 45 minutes. Smell it…if you can smell butter, the beer is no good and you need to leave it on the yeast longer.
Greetings!  Thanks for the opportunity.
One often reads how open fermentation can help the yeast.  German wheat beer yeast strains are said to really benefit from the open fermentation.
Sierra Nevada ferments Bigfoot in the open fermenters.  The famous "Chico" house yeast is usually used in the conicals at Sierra Nevada.  Does this yeast benfit from the open fermentation also?  If I were to split a batch of Barleywine and do a closed versus open fermentation, would a flavor difference be discernible between the two?  Are shallow vessels recommended to give more surface area for CO2/O2 exchange?
This is one of those traditional methods that I have thought of playing with.  Next time I do a Barleywine would be a good time.
Thanks for your time. 
Jeff Rankert

 Jeff, on a homebrew scale open fermentation vs closed doesn’t make a ton of difference.  It’s not the surface area of the vessels that make the difference. It is the hydrostatic pressure of the vertical oriented fermenting tanks that really stresses out the yeast. In a 5-gallon bottle the width vs height ratio is not as important. You won’t see too much of a difference. We use our house Chico yeast in the open fermenters all the time, in big beers the decreased hydrostatic pressure really helps the yeast finish their bid’ness.
On a homebewing scale, what do you feel are the most important factors in influencing the ester/phenol profile of a hefeweizen? Yeast strain, fermentation temp, pitching rate, oxygenation level, open fermentation? Knowing how much effort went into perfecting your Kellerweis, I am hoping you could give some insight to home brewers on this topic.

Mark…all of the above except open fermentation on a home brew scale. Yeast strain is probably the most important, followed by mash profile (ferrulic acid rest in hefeweizen enhances clove character), followed by fermentation temp are the most important factors.   

Daniel Chisholm []
I really like your wet hopped beers and I was wondering how to do this on the home brewing level?  I have three vines of hops growing: Cascade, Cenntennial, and Nugget.  Do I add these hops straight from the vine into the boil kettle or do I wait a day after picking?

Daniel…don’t wait! Keep yo’self fresh and come correct!

Darrek Smith []

I have a question regarding fermentation of lager beers. After the first 48 or so hours after the initial pitch, you develop your ester profile and your precursors to diacetyl and acetaldehyde. So after the first couple of days you can raise your fermentation temp slowly to 60+ degrees and still retain a lager  taste profile.

My question is this:What would be the difference in flavor profile of a lager beer fermented at 50° for the entire duration and another lager fermented at 50° for the first couple days and then slowly raised to 60+ temps.

Thanks from a fan of summerfest!


Darrek, by raising the temperature you’ll increase the rate of reduction in diacetyl levels and you will ALWAYS finish with less diacetyl after raising fermentation temps. Like Jimmy Cliff said “The harder they come, the harder they fall.”