I’ve got about a 30 brews under my belt. Recently I have some new problems along with the persistent ones.
I bottle my beer. My last two beer were most likely infected (bottle geysers, one was more sour than the other though). Out of the 30, I have had about a third of the beers suffer from some degree of geyserness. It wasn’t always every bottle in batch so I thought it could be improperly mixed priming solution. However, these last two definitely appeared to be infected.
To stomp out the infection issue I’ve since purchased a bottle tree, vinator and new fermenting buckets. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept notes on whether I’ve fermented in glass or plastic to see if that was the issue. I also bought a stainless steel racking cane thinking this could be kept clean better. I rinse it after every brew with fairly high pressure water and usually run some starsan through it and rinse again. However, the other day I found it was really gross just out of the normal sight line (i.e. about an inch in with tan, stubborn sludge). I have since cleaned out the gunk. I think the cane may have been the problem.
When I was looking for the infection source, I bought new tubing too. Nevertheless, I am getting extreme cavitation and am having a really hard time getting the siphon to start. Not only is it hard to start, but also over time the wort is mixed with more and more air, until it eventually stops. I never had this siphoning problem before the last few beers when I switched the tubing. I am using a metal hose clamp and two zip ties to reduce the cavitation but it’s not enough. It is incredibly frustrating especially towards the end of the brew day. How do you all siphon? Has anyone else combated this issue?
I recently purchased a refractometer (with automatic temperature control) and have been checking my pre- and post- boil gravity (via brix). When calculating my efficiencies my pre is always better than post. I am talking like ~20% difference. My volumes are not precise, (definitely within a quart). Any ideas on what might be causing this discrepancy. I check the refractometer with distilled water frequently, I believe its measurements are correct. I am shooting for 65 – 75% efficiency.
Finally, how much wort is usually left in the brew pot after transferring to the fermenter? I haven't really got that down when planning recipes (I am using BeerSmith).
I’d appreciate assistance on any of these issues.