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zorak1066 last won the day on December 28 2017

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    good job Mr Beer! thanks for making this place feel like 'home' again.

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  1. zorak1066

    No evidence of fermentation?

    in case nobody mentioned ... airlock activity is not a reliable sign of fermentation. since krausen can come and go so fast you might miss it, always check the bottom for trub. no trub? no fermentation. trub? it's all good. i'm not into fancy shmancy fermenter contraptions but sorry for your loss. i use buckets that i rig the lid for a plastic pipe elbow and a hose for blowoff. the only problem i occasionally get with a bucket is when krausen clogs the airlock hole and tries to blow the lid off.
  2. zorak1066

    Bottles Overflowing

    in my case i overtorque the lids. sometimes i have to use channel locks to get the darn lid off! this contributes to the lid cracks.
  3. zorak1066

    Bottles Overflowing

    since my last plastic epic bottle failure (read Apollo rocket launch) i inspect the bottles and caps multiple times during the carb process. this time i noticed on day 2, bubbles forming on top of the beer. (clear bottles make this easy). this told me co2 was escaping. i rechecked the top of the cap where it is fused to the riser of plastic and there it was... a very thin seam forming a hairline break. there has been on multiple forums, people having problems with bottle bombs. the only common thread was that they all involved a dark english grain...cant remember which. uk chocolate? it was thought that multiple batches of grain may have been harvested wet? or exposed to a contaminant or bug? if you arent over carbing, and you are sure fermentation is done at bottling, all that is left is bottle failure or a bug... if i could i would get a mess of corny kegs and just use a co2 tank to pressurize the beer. too costly and too much work for me atm.
  4. zorak1066

    Temperature Question??

    unless you are using a yeast that pees out flavors at a higher temp that you want. example: when making a hefeweizen... high temps = banana / bubble gum esters. or a saison ... high temp = yeasty funky fruitiness. ale yeast usually makes green apple cider flavor if your ambient gets too high (like over 68f).
  5. esters are usually created during active fermentation ie the first week. kristof is spot on. by week three they will eat whatever is around like waste compounds created during active fermentation. if you dont mind leaving a fan plugged in and running , you can use a fermentation bucket in a laundry basket with water up to the wort line. have the fan circulate air over it. (swamp cooler). i personally wouldnt worry by the mid to end of week 2. in fact i usually let the temp climb by the end of week 2 to encourage fat bloated yeast to get busy cleaning up shop.
  6. zorak1066

    First Experiment

    i call it a yeast hurricane. i could watch that for hours... and i have. yeast volcanoes though scare me.
  7. zorak1066

    bread yeast experiment?

    or you could be really adventurous. take a small mason jar. add a couple fist fulls of raisins. cover with water. cover jar with a paper towel. sit it out on the counter for a week or so. in time you will see bubbles forming on the raisins due to wild yeast. feed it sugar for awhile. then pitch that into your wort. no telling what the heck yeast you end up with or what results. if you really really want to live la vita loca, do an open fermentation without any temperature control and wild yeast. you'll likely end up with a sour. lactobacter is everywhere and so is brett.
  8. zorak1066

    bread yeast experiment?

    bread yeast... not very hearty. it was engineered to eat sugar and pee out tons of co2, not alcohol. thats what makes bread dough rise. it is yeasty in flavor and will effect your beer in several ways. you will likely get a beer that quits at about 3% alcohol... maybe 4. (guessing) it will have an annoying bread crust flavor or doughy taste. if you use activated yeast and/or really pamper it.. you might hit 10% abv. rehydrate in sugar water. let it form foam to show it's alive. pitch. you could do step feedings with honey. after a day in the fermenter you take some honey and warm it in some water to about 145f for 5-10 mins. cool it. pop your fermenter top and add the honey water. then in a couple days repeat. you start with a low og and gradually bump it up this way. i used it in a quick mead. it produced gobs of fusel alcohols. the mead stopped at about 7% (guessing... no hydrometer back then) , was extremely carbonated, and with the fusels gave me a massive headache. the co2 shot the little alcohol straight to the brain along with the fusels and when the buzz quit, the throbbing pounding head was most unpleasant. i did nothing to take care of the yeast except add a bunch of fruit to the must. technically then i guess it was a melomel? why waste a good beer kit with crap yeast? garbage in? garbage out. if you want to do the experiment anyway, spend as little money as possible. buy a pound dme. buy a qtr oz of some simple hop like cascade. use a gallon of water. do a hop boil for about 30 mins. cool. no idea how much yeast i would pitch in a batch like this if it were bread yeast. if your og is too high, you'll end up with a icky sweet, dough flavored 'beer'. if you keep your og low, you end up with maybe a 4% or better doughy beer. a 1 gal batch of 1 #dme will yield about a 4% abv 'beer'. no expert here... i would just use beer yeast in my batches. .. but go for it if you want. oh if my memory serves, the bread yeast i used formed a silty trub layer. if i even looked at it , it seemed to agitate back into the liquid. it didnt stay compacted much at all.
  9. zorak1066

    Lower than expected Final Gravity twice now

    in years of brewing ive only experienced one infected batch. i got a lacto bacter in a wheat beer. if you use healthy yeast and even take the slightest care for sanitation, youll be fine. ales - dont let the temps go too low. 50s will likely put the yeast to sleep. lager yeast on the other hand love colder ferments.
  10. zorak1066

    Lower than expected Final Gravity twice now

    imo us05 is the white bread of yeasts. it does the job but contributes little esters. it's a very clean fermenting yeast under temperature control. it's so blah in character that i use a few grains when bottling after a prolonged fermentation of a high gravity beer to help tired yeast carb. it adds nothing flavorwise. final gravity 1.01 is an estimate based on an approximation of how hungry the yeast will be. an average 'attenuation' of 75% i think is used to estimate your final gravity. i have had many beers go down to 1.005 or 1.006 before stopping. we're talking like 90% attenuation. the yeast has chewed through nearly all available sugar. ive never had mr beer yeast perform that well. coopers yeast did the job and the best i could get was about the expected fg of 1.015 ish. i didnt care for the way mr beer yeast tasted if i got some bottle trub in my glass. hydrometers usually have a notation on them for what temp they are calibrated for. get a jug of PURE water. test the gravity. it should read 1.00. if not , then your hydrometer needs you to check the temperature it was calibrated for .. or .. just add the difference to your readings with it. my english isnt so good atm but i think that came out right. a very bitter sample you say? are you drawing from the spigot and getting trub in your sample? trub tastes nasty. really bitter, bready.... green apple usually comes from your primary fermentation (your first week of activity usually) getting too hot inside the fermenter. ive seen a fermentation raise the internal temp over 10 degrees from ambient. 64f ambient -> about 74f internal... still not that hot really but close. you shouldnt be getting that much acetyaldehyde. re scratches in lbk... really? a guy who sells lbks suggested replacing them every 6 months? if you dont stir inside the lbk with metal and scrape the bottom you wont get scratches. if you sanitize well before using youre fine. i have plastic buckets with scratches. they are about 5 years old and have seen many batches. i use star san and always make sure to give it a little fresh star san in the bucket that i keep for moniths, to keep the ph nice and low. it always tests about 2.0 ph...very strong. i partially fill the bucket. i take paper towel dip it in, swish all over the sides a couple times... wait... dump into storage bucket and boom. sanitized. no infection .
  11. zorak1066

    Metallic Grass like taste, need help

    the same general guideline used here for mr beer works in practice for just about every beer batch size and every style : ferment 3 weeks. check for gravity to be stable. bottle with priming sugar move bottles to a 70+f room. let them sit for 4 weeks. chill and enjoy. i have been doing this for nearly every batch for about 5 years. i have only secondary fermented maybe 2 beer batches. one was a RIS. the other was an all grain batch that just would not clear. it is not necessary. secondary fermentation opens your process to a high risk of oxidation, infection, etc. my RIS i was careful to the extreme. slow transfer.. top off the minimal headspace with co2 (food grade containered.. no oil).. etc etc etc. i could have just bottled , carbed and let it sit in the bottle for 2-3 months or more. nearly all of northern brewer's kits use a secondary fermenter i think. again.. not necessary. leave the beer in the fermenter. the co2 blankets the beer and will keep it from oxidation while the flavors meld and better themselves. i dont worry about headspace in the primary over 3 weeks. i have a 6 gallon bucket now with a 3 gallon batch sitting unopened in week 2 of fermentation. it's fine. to dry hop... use a sanitized mesh hop sack. add the hops. add a sanitized shot glass for weight. tie it off with a sanitized string. before opening your fermenter, be it a bucket or lbk... give it a spray of starsan or other no rinse sanitzer. make sure your air or heater is not running if anywhere near a vent. clean hands... gently open the fermenter to not jostle it around. gently lower the hop sack in and let it sink. seal it up. doing a hop sack like this when dry hopping keeps risk of contamination and oxidation down. the weight keeps the hops in full contact with the beer. this improves your utilization of the hops. . . and makes bottling easier. no cold crash needed. if you dont have a mesh hop sack.. ask the wife or gf for a nylon knee high. wash it. sanitize it. there ya go. instant hop sack. or go to home depot in the paint section and get a 1 gallon paint strainer mesh bag. wash / sanitize...tada. i use them all the time.. both 1 and 5 gallon size.
  12. zorak1066

    Metallic Grass like taste, need help

    i think rick hit it. your supplier is probably using crap ingredients or really old. tap water if chlorinated makes rubbery or band aid tastes. aeration/oxidation issues usually make wet cardboard tastes.. ive actually got that once in a wine. covering the pot during boil or while cooling causes dms to fall back into your wort... makes sulfury cabbage tastes. temp too hot while fermenting? apple cider. mostly pilsen grain bill and not boiling hard enough or long enough makes sulfur tastes. really really old hops improperly stored make strong cheese like smells and tastes.. think unwashed feet. oxidized grain can make metallic flavors. <- rick mentioned this. damn he's good! i had to look it up. re pot- ive done batches in stainless and aluminum. ive used an old oxidized aluminum pot once or twice without any significant impact. since you just cant get it to come out right... if you have about 100 bux laying about and think you will eventually go into full grain brewing down the line you can invest in a grain mill. change your dealer. get the grains uncrushed and when ready to brew crush them yourself. or do what i did on small batches. get your steeping grains uncrushed and when ready, put them in a bag and smash them with a rolling pin... you are cracking not pulverizing the grain. you dont want to turn it into flour. my first time doing this i used a hammer and beat the snot out of them. lol... live and learn. i got a northern brewer all grain kit. the grain sat crushed in the plastic they shipped in for 1.5 months. it came out just fine. i imagine it is because nb tends to use quality ingredients and takes the care to immediately seal what they crush before shipping. some other vendors might bulk crush grain and leave it sit open for months before selling. who knows? if you got your kits from NB then maybe things have changed there? who knows. diagnosing off flavors is sometimes like playing doctor or auto mechanic.
  13. zorak1066

    Wort aeration is bad?!

    the problem with 'which batch is preferred' is it is unscientific.. entirely subjective. better why? better to whom? how many are you surveying? the only real way to see a valuable result would be under a microscope. do two identical batches. one with and one without aeration prior to pitching. then you would need to do a viable cell count on both batches and somehow get the numbers equal or close. the environment, temp, etc must be identical. pitch the yeast. when fermentation starts to present signs of starting, you would then have to collect a number of samples from both batches at varying depths and locations in the fermenter just to be fair. then you would examine the yeast cells under a microscope to check viability and health. how does a healthy yeast cell look compared to a sick or sugar bloated one? i dunno. you cant even go by how aggressive the fermentation is. us04 is typically a monster. it eats like a pig and makes a huge krausen quickly for me. i usually have to worry about lid blow offs.... and sometimes it acts like a saison yeast and politely munches , taking its time. i have an english bitter going now with us04. i pitched at 70f and brought temp down to 62f. it took off in under 12 hrs but the krausen is only an inch. it is burping out co2 at a 'normal' (for me) rate. it is in short behaving like a polite eater. it's doing its job. does this mean that it is unhealthy because it isnt blowing off the lid like many of my other us04 batches do? no. in my experience i have noticed one indicator of unhappy or distressed yeast. they tend to make stinks. if you toss ale yeast into wine or mead must (equiv of wort), fructose and sucrose dont have much nutritional value. the yeast will complain by making really nasty sulfur smells. some wine yeasts do this too. also wine must usually is higher in gravity than beer wort. a direct pitch of ale yeast would probably kill a large number of cells. stressed cells reproduce poorly sometimes. you probably get crappy yeast babies so to speak... which could make weird smells too. even this is subjective because some yeasts naturally produce sulfur smells even when they are happy like certain wheat beer strains and lagers.
  14. zorak1066


    domino dots - weight = 2.5g... sugar content 2.0 g. for carbing you are counting the sugar weight. some of that 2.5g must be water or something to bind the sugar into cubes.
  15. zorak1066

    Wort aeration is bad?!

    yeast need o2 at the start of fermentation for reproduction. pitch enough and the yeast will just start eating because their numbers are high enough to do the job. pitch enough yeast and you dont need aeration. true enough i would think. rehydration IS actually un-necessary with modern dry yeast... IF you pitch enough. you will likely get some osmotic shock pitching directly into wort if the wort is significantly high in gravity. cell walls are fragile on rehydration. rehydration gives the yeast a leg up on getting started quicker but again... not necessary. they will get going when they choose to. i often get activity starting in under 4 hours when rehydrating. sometimes on direct pitch, it takes 12 hrs. not a huge difference. after rehydrating in water you only stir to mix. you arent aerating the yeast in the water. you aerate the COOL wort , then pitch. stirring makes getting as many cells into the wort as possible easier. well mixed yeast = no clumping. aeration of wort on the home scale does no harm prior to pitching. hotside aeration is also largely a myth. consider large scale breweries like the colt45 plant that used to be in baltimore. huge amounts of wort flow through pipes into fermentation chambers the size of rooms and surely splash like mad until the thing is full. no harm on the big scale means no harm on the small. i'm no expert but it is my understanding that the lifecycle of yeast in wort is something like this: the cells are given food then freeze dried. the cells take up a store of nutrient before going dormant. they are then packaged. on hitting liquid they purge the contents of their cells and begin flushing with whatever liquid they are immersed in. they then take stock of the food around them and their numbers. if sufficient cells exist they skip budding and start eating. if cell numbers are weak they start budding. budding requires o2. if you rehydrate in water, they purge and fill the cells with....water. sg = 1.00. drop them in wort with a sg of 1.07 and it's a bit of a shock. cells tear. you get some die off. the cells then begin the budding cycle if needed and carry on. i wonder who was doing this 'research'? back in the 40s and 50s research demonstrated that cigs were actually healthy! they relaxed people. they inspired cool and calm focus etc. because you were relaxed you would live forever and be rich and happy! yay! the research was conducted by the labs sponsored by the cigarette industry. again i am no scientist but in my personal observation, every single batch i have ever done of wort has been with healthy , happy yeast no matter what i did to them.. as long as i did not pitch them into really really hot wort or really really cold. i can stir, not stir, feed, not feed, hydrate, not hydrate... and if there is food and sanitation i get good results. i sometimes rehydrate. i sometimes feed them nutrient boosts. i sometimes underpitch...sometimes over. i always have aerated my wort before pitching... and each batch has worked just fine. as for wild yeast 'getting a head start' and overpopulating the desired yeast? really? you are probably more likely to get lacto bacter transferred from your hands to the tool you stir with or even just airborn. pitch enough healthy yeast and give them every advantage you can and they will kill wild yeast or other invaders. i could be wrong but ive only had one batch turn out bad and that was operator error... not because i aerated my wort before pitching/.