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Everything posted by zorak1066

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 .
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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/.
  9. https://www.love2brew.com/Articles.asp?ID=487 when you stir in your hme or lme, remove the pot from the heat first? do you noticed scorch marks in the pan after you transfer it to the lbk? i only noticed twang in one batch with dme that may have got a little scorched. if mr beer is using predominantly pride of ringwood hops that might contribute to the twangy quality too.. . if memory serves. also really old, improperly stored hops can pick up a cheesy funk. ive had that happen once but fortunately just the cheesy funky aroma. flavor was still good.
  10. 3.75 volumes of co2 is way too fizzy. if you use domino dots at 2g sucrose per cube... 8 g is way too much. you must have damn good bottles and lids. i think my blow outs were on 1 liter bottles with 4 dots. i think they were wheats that called for 3.0 co2 units. granted the bottles were over used and the caps too but.... i had to stop carbing over 2 and change co2 units (whatever they are called) also because i drink room temp beer. too much co2 sitting on top causes gushers. i had one cap blow out where the flat bit connects to the ridged bit. i had one blow out the bottom and shoot up like a rocket. god what a mess.
  11. when i use a hop sack in the fermenter i sanitize a heavy shotglass and add that to the sack too. this will weigh it down and keep it submerged. less chance of things growing on it if it breaks the surface. i do lacto fermentation of veggies too and if i have light stuff like cabbage shreds, i save one big leaf to shove in last, then weigh it down with a shotglass too. nothing like trying to ferment something and finding mold growing on top. lacto fermentation is almost as much fun as beer.
  12. lager yeast is nothing but a diva. i do only ales. ale yeast is forgiving, less demanding... and i like my beer with some oomf. ale yeast has never cared about rests or mild temp swings. it just wants food and a safe place to eat. if i wanted to brew something high maintenance i'd do a mead.
  13. less filling! tastes ... great? (old miller commercial from 1970s) good job!
  14. i use an online priming sugar calc. some styles have high carbonation. add to it residual co2 already in the beer from fermentation and old plastic bottles that have been used for years. i am now shooting for about 2 to 2.5 co2 units per bottle regardless of style. 1 liter - about 5 grams sugar. 12 oz bottle - 1 cube (2g) we'll see how this works out.
  15. good for you! the one thing i really like about this hobby is that i can still drink nearly all of my mistakes. unlike the time i was making a cake and decided to try using coffee mate instead of milk in the batter. god that was awful. one piece and i had to pitch the thing. it was THAT bad... and this coming from someone so uptight about waste that it kills me to throw anything away.
  16. i used to carb the hell out of my beer... until i started getting plastic bottle failures. it's cool. overly carbed beer tastes acidic to me. too much co2 turns into carbonic acid i think. that's what causes the burny tongue feeling and overly sharp back taste.
  17. you don't even have to use one. you can still drink flat beer. sometimes I deliberately undercarbonate a batch on purpose too.
  18. my first brew was an altered northwest pale with orange peel... i jumped right into hop additions and adjuncts after doing due diligence with research. it came out great. it was my third mr beer kit that went arse over ears and came out meh. my fault entirely. the nice thing is you can drink your mistakes. i just had to dump a bunch of orange drink powder into the glass first for the messed up batch.
  19. wooden shoes fall into the category of 'adjuncts'. treat them like steeping grains. never make wooden shoes more than about 15-20% of your grain bill. the problem with most ag recipes that use wooden shoes as an adjunct is that they fail often to tell the brewer to weigh them down in the wort in order to improve extraction efficiency. be very careful not to use wooden shoes that were made of weather-sealed wood or you might leech arsenic into your wort. ideally you want to use unfinished shoes made from either pine or oak. . . and always use only fresh wooden shoes if you can help it.
  20. DME

    lightly dried malt extract? lousy dry malt extract? legion (of) demented meatball eaters?
  21. extract brewing doesnt care about water chemistry so much. distilled water should be fine for extracts.
  22. if you boil fruit or fruit peels dont you run the risk of pectin getting into your wort? if youre really into clear beers you could get pectin haze. i'm with josh. skip the boil . just sanitize and steep in vodka. add the lot to the lbk.
  23. more suggestions- after flame out if you started with a bigger pot than you needed, you could add your cold water to the pot to cool the wort BEFORE transfer to the lbk. this way if you get some splash back on your hands youre not going to damage yourself. you then just top off the water volume in the lbk with more cold water to make up the volume. also-pay attention- this is important: boiling DME will go from 0 to 60 when you least expect it. give yourself plenty of headspace in the pot. if not , you could have a boil over onto the stove. boiled dme is a ****** to clean up. you can keep a sanitized spray bottle of mineral water near you. if the foam from the boil gets a little too aggressive you can spritz the top of the wort to slightly cool it and settle it down. i would still use a bigger pot than needed to allow headspace. another warning on dme: the dust will fly EVERYWHERE. the moment it gets humid or wet you get a sticky mess. pour slowly. the steam rising from your pot will cause some clumping on your dme bag. when done pouring then you can pick it off to add to the pot. my first dme experience , the dust went flying everywhere coz i poured too fast. not fun. one last suggestion... i always found using mr beer's lme pouches more convenient than dme. match the lme to the style you are making. you wouldnt likely want to add robust to a light colored beer. you can easily add 2 lme pouches to do a hop boil. each adds about 1 point i think to alcohol content... been awhile.
  24. youre talking about doing a hop boil to augment a mr beer kit? what i did was : take a half gallon of water in a pot. bring it to about 170-180f. remove pot from burner. take your dme... a pound maybe? pour it in. stir until well mixed in. you should not be seeing gobs bobbing around. put pot back on burner and slowly bring to a low boil. toss your hop pellets in .. no hop sack. now ask yourself why are you doing this? adding bitter? adding aroma or flavor? for bittering increase you could boil for about 20 mins. to 40 mins. a low boil wont cause that drastic of evaporation. for flavor or aroma addition you can boil for 8-15 mins. remove pot from burner, turn stove off. let the dme cool down just a little so it isnt at boiling anymore, then stir in your hme. mix well. put your ice cold water in the lbk. put a sanitized strainer over the mouth of the lbk and ladle your wort into the lbk. or... if you have a steady hand and can safely do a slow careful pour to transfer .... that would be quicker. my hands shake like mad so i use a ladle. i would highly advise against pouring. hot wort makes really bad burns on skin if spilled. the strainer will sift out most of the hop goop. anything that gets into the lbk will eventually settle out into the trub. now top off the water level with more cold water to where mr beer says your volume should be. tada. unless using gobs of dme in a boil with a large volume of water , i never worried about reaching hot break. i did low / slow boils. i didnt boil for an hour. why would i? if i am doing THAT much work i may as well just make a 5 gallon recipe from scratch and skip mr beer kits. dont over complicate things. dont worry about evaporation. you will be topping off your water volume. dont worry about hot break getting into the lbk in a small batch like 2 gallons. you wont have that much usually and yeast will eat it to a degree. just suggestions... the experts can correct where necessary... i'm too tired mentally to worry about 100% accuracy... how many kits have you got done? you sound like you are jumping into the deep end way too fast. take your time to develop base skills before going big or more complicated... but if you feel ready... (shrug).
  25. or marry someone who isnt so high maintenance. ;P my wife has no issue with my brewing. i could occupy an enire drawer in the fridge with beer stuff. i can take up a closet with buckets. her only complaint is i tend to be a control freak and wont let her help when i brew, other than doing the washing up and helping set up. i can pretty much do whatever i want as long as the paycheck keeps coming in, and i dont end up in the hospital.