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cheech226

winter dark ale

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my can of almost out of date winter dark arrived today. i'm concerned about the yeast that came with it. might it be too old to do the job? i do have a year old pack of the churchill nut brown yeast that has been kept in the fridge. and i have a pack of s-04 the same age ( 11+ grams) that has been in the fridge too. should i use the old winter dark yeast or one of the others? i want to brew  on 10/19/19. but if i Need to order new yeast i can. tia!

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I would take the old yeast and throw it in the boiling water.  That'll kill the yeast.  Then use the S-04 to ferment.  The dead MRB yeast will serve as a nutrient.

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thanks shrike. so you're saying the old yeast that has been in the fridge would be best. the whole pack of s-04 should be used? and why not the mrb churchill yeast? mercy on the newbee questions please....

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I would say that the Mr. Beer yeast that came with the can is fine to use.  

 

 

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16 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

I would say that the Mr. Beer yeast that came with the can is fine to use.  

 

 

i think i'll start it in a bit of dme to make sure. i'd like to use what was provided but thoughts of it sitting under the lid in a hot warehouse for a year or so made me think.

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Year old yeast is questionable. Go with the MB yeast that was under the lid. You can always add the US-04 if there is no fermentation within a day or so. Even if half the yeast are no longer viable - there are plenty left to get the fermentation started. Lag time might be a little longer. WDA always seems to have a vigorous fermentation. 

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When I receive my free WDA next week, I plan to chuck the MRB yeast and ferment with a fresh alternative Fermentis yeast -- still trying to come up with a Dark Ale recipe that has not been tried yet.

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17 hours ago, Brian N. said:

Year old yeast is questionable. Go with the MB yeast that was under the lid. You can always add the US-04 if there is no fermentation within a day or so. Even if half the yeast are no longer viable - there are plenty left to get the fermentation started. Lag time might be a little longer. WDA always seems to have a vigorous fermentation. 

that's why i questioned the wda yeast. i figure it is over a year old and i doubt it was refrigerated. i will use it tho. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 8:12 PM, Brian N. said:

Year old yeast is questionable. Go with the MB yeast that was under the lid. You can always add the US-04 if there is no fermentation within a day or so. Even if half the yeast are no longer viable - there are plenty left to get the fermentation started. Lag time might be a little longer. WDA always seems to have a vigorous fermentation. 

the mrb instructions for the wda say to ferment for 10 - 14 days, how long did you ferment your batches for? and what do you believe the optimal temp should be? 

i brewed today and used the supplied yeast. 

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I ferment my beers for 18 days typically at 64-65F temperature controlled. I'll either bottle at 18 days or cold crash for an additional 3 days then bottle. Temp control is very important. I use a mini fridge and ink bird now, but when I started out I used a frozen pint of bottled water in a cooler with an LBK to maintain a 64F temp.

 

With an LBK you'd want to tape a kitchen sponge to the flat end of the keg and put a temp probe below the waterline to get an accurate reading of the wort temp and not ambient temp as the two can differ considerably during the first  3-5 days of krausen, when the yeast is most active.

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36 minutes ago, Cato said:

I ferment my beers for 18 days typically at 64-65F temperature controlled. I'll either bottle at 18 days or cold crash for an additional 3 days then bottle. Temp control is very important. I use a mini fridge and ink bird now, but when I started out I used a frozen pint of bottled water in a cooler with an LBK to maintain a 64F temp.

 

With an LBK you'd want to tape a kitchen sponge to the flat end of the keg and put a temp probe below the waterline to get an accurate reading of the wort temp and not ambient temp as the two can differ considerably during the first  3-5 days of krausen, when the yeast is most active.

that's the info i needed. i've made 4 batches of mrb extract, and a few using extract and grain. i still use an ice chest and frozen bottles for temp control. i've been very happy with the beer so far.  thanks So much for your input....i hope the yeast works... i'll know tomorrow.

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Don't go by how long you have stored the yeast (assuming that was what you meant by "a year old"), use the packet date code. You can check the Mr Beer yeast  by the packaging  date code on  the packet   day and year, formatted DDDYY. My last Churchill NB Ale end of life can had a 2016 dated yeast. I did substitute a different yeast  (London ESB). I did throw the can yeast in the boil.

However, you have to figure that Mr Beer would package yeast that would still be viable enough by the HME best-by date. You also have to consider though if it has a viable  low number of yeast cells, then it will be in growth phase longer and will make much more flavoring which may not be what you want. As mentioned above, if you do use the can yeast and get no action in a day or 2 you  can put a newer yeast in as well.

 

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On 10/17/2019 at 9:16 PM, Bonsai & Brew said:

When I receive my free WDA next week, I plan to chuck the MRB yeast and ferment with a fresh alternative Fermentis yeast -- still trying to come up with a Dark Ale recipe that has not been tried yet.

Him, I've got several WDA cans. Since it's so dark and hoppy, I'm wondering how a PM with some Pils and golden light LME would work out.

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16 minutes ago, Cato said:

Him, I've got several WDA cans. Since it's so dark and hoppy, I'm wondering how a PM with some Pils and golden light LME would work out.

 

My favorite trick is to mini-mash the MRB Craft/Seasonal refills into a 3-4 gallon batch but I have yet to try this with WDA.  Maybe a Schwarzbier, Czech dark lager, etc. would be the way to go but we'll see.

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23 hours ago, Cato said:

Him, I've got several WDA cans. Since it's so dark and hoppy, I'm wondering how a PM with some Pils and golden light LME would work out.

Sounds tasty!

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Brewed my FREE MB WDA yesterday (expiration  Nov 2019). What a monster fermentation after just 24 hours. Looking forward to a really yummy beer. Have not brewed in a few months, but now is the season!

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i'm pretty sure i screwed up my batch. i neglected to sanitize the thermometer i used to check the temp of my wort before pitching the yeast. the pic isn't that clear...but looks to me like bacterial infection. what do y'all think?

bad beer.jpg

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Can't make it out too well but it looks normal to me.

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if it were to  be bad, would it smell foul? my batch doesn't. i've never brewed wda before but i never had this look in the lbk. i took the pic yesterday and have let the temp in the ice chest come up to 69f. there's more of those round white patches floating today. they are not foam. i reordered more wda and am gonna toss this batch soon.

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Rafts of yeast can be "normal" Leave it alone until fully fermented (I usually let it sit 20 days or so). Dark spots also seem to appear from time to time during fermentation. Don't keep opening up the keg, as you risk  letting some nasty bacteria in. Your risk causing infection with the thermometer is low, opening the keg increases the risk. BTW a stick-on thermometer works well. 

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35 minutes ago, Brian N. said:

Rafts of yeast can be "normal" Leave it alone until fully fermented (I usually let it sit 20 days or so). Dark spots also seem to appear from time to time during fermentation. Don't keep opening up the keg, as you risk  letting some nasty bacteria in. Your risk causing infection with the thermometer is low, opening the keg increases the risk. BTW a stick-on thermometer works well. 

thanks for the input! but....how will i Know if it's spoiled? smell? the spots kinda look like what a bowl of leftovers develops when left in the fridge for a month

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1 hour ago, cheech226 said:

thanks for the input! but....how will i Know if it's spoiled? smell? the spots kinda look like what a bowl of leftovers develops when left in the fridge for a month

after 3 weeks fermentation, i would cold crash it for a couple of days and i'll bet it will fall out for the most part. I've had some gross looking stuff worse than that before and it was fine.

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i did a google image search and it looks like i was over concerned as y'all have told me. tomorrow it's 2 weeks in the lbk. i'll take a taste when i bottle in another week. thanks so much to all for the voices of experience. 

i have another can of wda on the way...looks like i'll have two batches after conditioning. i'll be sure to sanitize Everything on the next run.

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After a while sanitizing becomes part of the routine. I go so far as to sanitize the stove top, back splash and range hood. I also completely do the sink, faucet and handles, and of course all the counter tops and cabinet pulls. Sounds excessive, but I also bake bread occasionally and I don't want those other yeast around. All equipment gets a good dunk, and like a surgeon, I set up a sterile field. Don't forget your hands! Downstairs where I store my keg and bottles, the plastic table-top gets a good wipe down too. BTW - your spouse will love you for the extra clean kitchen! 

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BTW just to add to my previous post - NEVER use a sponge! Paper towel for all cleaning and dispose of before moving onto a new surface. 

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my wda is a success. i bottled on tuesday 11/12 after cold crashing for 3 days. filled 10 750ml bottles and i had about 8 oz left over. it had a great taste. i'll try the trub bottle after 4 weeks.

thanks for all the help folks, i was close to tossing this batch.

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On Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 4:44 PM, cheech226 said:

i think i'll start it in a bit of dme to make sure. i'd like to use what was provided but thoughts of it sitting under the lid in a hot warehouse for a year or so made me think.

I received a MrBeer kit as a regift. It had been in a hot attic for several years. Yeast was still good. Dry yeast is tougher than we're lead to believe.

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