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Old 08-12-2008, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default Ringwood techniques

I'm getting some Ringwood yeast from an ultra-traditional english-style real ale brewery on Friday. The brewmaster came out to give me a detailed rundown on what to do to make this finicky yeast do its magic for me. Some of the techniques he talked about were unorthodox (heretical!) from a homebrewer's perspective. I need peer advice!

He insisted it must be in an open fermenter, and said that to get it to attenuate he had a pump system to agitate and aerate the beer throughout fermentation. He told me to just stir and splash it vigourously during the late stages of the fermentation.

I'm willing to go out and buy an ale pail, and I'll even leave the lid loose (I have too many fruit flies around to risk a genuine open fermentation - sorry Kevin). But I'm loathe to go against everything I've been taught and introduce oxygen into fermented beer. Should I suck it up and do it? This man knows this particular strain of yeast better than anyone, and his methods do often turn out great real ales. I'm just worried that, given the longer lifetime mine will have (3 months vs 2 weeks), the effects of oxidation will make themselves obnoxious.

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Last edited by Kai; 08-13-2008 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:43 PM   #2
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There are a few UK breweries that use open fermenters. The krausen makes a lid/barrier.

If I was doing it I'd think stuff it I know what works for me and do it my way.

OR

Split the batch, do one has instructed and one my way.

Than at least one will hopefully turn out if not both. You can then compare.

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:51 PM   #3
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i'd follow the advice from the guy who uses the yeast to support his family.

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:54 PM   #4
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I like Orfy's idea of splitting the batch. Then you'll know for sure and can say you did an open ferment!

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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If it was me I would be very curious as to how the beer would come out by following the guy's instructions. However, I would go with the split batch like orfy suggested, to compare them side by side.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:02 PM   #6
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Excuse my ignorance. Is the Ringwood yeast related to Ringwood Breweries of Hampshire/Dorset?

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioBrit View Post
Excuse my ignorance. Is the Ringwood yeast related to Ringwood Breweries of Hampshire/Dorset?
I'd imagine it might. Ringwood I believe is a town in Hampshire, and the yeast strain (popular in atlantic brewpubs) is supposed to have originated there.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:19 AM   #8
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Easy open fermentation screen:

Cheesecloth. Take a string and tie said cheesecloth around the opening of the pail. You'll keep flies out and probably let anything else in that might be beneficial.

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:24 AM   #9
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Also, according to my research, ultra-traditional ale was either drank after 1 year or very quickly, depending on who you read and believe. I'm prone to figure that the "very young" history is far more likely, as sanitation was not at it's best. Oxygenation probably wouldn't be as much of an issue with beer that is drunk within a month or three of brewing.

Also, as an aside, if we're talking ultra-traditional, then there needs to be a distinction between "beer" and "ale". Throughout the 16th century hops was establishing itself as the premiere bittering agent over the previously used methods. The older methods had a history of being controlled by the Catholic church, but that's neither here nor there. In England, there was the differentiation between ale, which was not brewed with hops, and beer, which was.

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:26 AM   #10
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I'll see if I can muster the will to split it (probably three and three if I did). If I do, I'll do half in an Ale Pail with agitation, and half normally in a 5G carboy. If not, it'll all go in an open ale pail with cheesecloth. Apparently this guy's yeast is pretty dirty, and his beers are good fresh but don't age well. We'll see.

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Conditioning:Greenwall Lambic
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