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Old 07-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #191
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One question I have is this...

In reading from Braukaiser..

"When it comes to pitching and primary fermentation temperatures cold and warm lager fermentation exists. The cold fermentation uses a pitching temperature of 41 *F (5 *C) and a maximum fermentation temperature of 48 *F (9 *C) and the warm fermentation uses a pitching temperature of 46 *F (8 *C) and a maximum fermentation temperature of 50 - 54 *F (10 - 12 *C). This should however not be confused with warm vs. cold pitching. There is no warm pitching in commercial German lager fermentation."

However, my yeast WLP838
http://www.whitelabs.com/yeast/wlp838-southern-german-lager-yeast

Has an optimum fermentation temp of 50-55°F.

I think that I am going to run the fermentation at 50°F, pitch, primary, secondary all at 50°

I'm not so sure what pitching at 41 or 46 degrees is supposed to accomplish. Can anyone explain?

I'm also not sure how the pitch rate of yeast slurry 500ml per 100 L of 12°Plato wort translates to 11 gallons of 1.096. Some math shows that's 23.88 Plato, but lets just call it 24 for simplicity. Thus I'd need double or 1L slurry for 100 L. I'd have 41.6L, so I think my math indicates 416ml slurry from old yeast cake, adjust for trub, non yeast and what not...
Any suggestions?

TD

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Old 07-12-2013, 11:52 PM   #192
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I'm about to brew my first lager, an Oktoberfest, also using 838, and also using a starter with stir plate, and had some similar questions. I'm doing a 5.5 gal batch of the O'fest, and am also going to do two 1 gal lagers (a Bohemian Pilsener and a German Pilsner) using the same yeast (to get more use out of my ferm chamber since it'll have the O'fest in it anyway, and to test out new recipes on smaller batches first). I also have planned to primary at 50* (starting at 48* at pitching, I think), the low end of the recommended range for 838.

I don't do all grain yet, only extract. My O'fest recipe is extract with steeping grains, but for both the pilsner recipes I'm doing a minimash with 33% German Pils malt... I had planned on only doing a 60 min boil, but do you think this is enough to worry about DMS, and should I do a 90 min boil for these instead? These are only 1 gal each (1.2 pre boil vol), so we're talking only 8oz pils malt each.

For the starter, the yeast calc I've been using (at brewersfriend.com - using the Braukaiser stir plate calcs) says ill need 438B cells for the O'fest (1.057), 80B for the B'Pils (1.054), and 70B for the G'Pils (1.048 ). My vial should have around 70B cells by the time I starter it, and the calc says if I do a 1.75L starter (1.040), then step it up using the same (1.75L of 1.040), it should give me 581B... Or just about enough for the three batches combined (588B). I only have a 2L flask, so I bought some anti-foaming drops to add to keep the starter from overflowing and losing any yeast (hopefully!). How should I measure this yeast out? I'm thinking just measure the total volume of slurry (after decanting the spent wort from the crashed second step up), and then divide that number by 7.5... Basically just making a ratio: since I have 7.5 gal total, take 5.5/7.5 and put it into the O'fest, then put 1/7.5 into each of the gallon jugs. I know that it won't be exact (since the numbers would be slightly different based on the different SGs), but I figure that should be close enough for what I'm trying to achieve, no? Anybody have a better idea or method, such as calculating the slurry density and pitching by actual volume, and not relative (my ratio method) volume?

One last question: I won't be able to brew all three at once, but want to start them fermenting/pitch the yeast at the same time, so they are on the same schedule in the ferm chamber (at least to start - I know they'll prob ferment out differently due to the diff recipes, but it'll be close since the same yeast, I think). Would there be any problem with leaving one (the 5.5 gal, most likely - since it'll take longer to chill anyway) in the ferm chamber at 48*, sealed up (with normal sanitation, of course) in my bucket, but not pitched - while I brew the other two (at most 24hrs later, but hopefully I can do one in the am and the others in the pm of the same day)? And then pitch the yeast to all three at the same time. Or do you think I'd be better off doing the two small ones first, so that if they did get some kind of infection or something while waiting to be pitched, I'd minimize my losses? I'll be on a tight schedule for everything, and don't think the yeast will be completely dropped from the second cold crash soon enough to pitch them each right after brewing (it'll only be 24 hrs by the time I need to pitch all three even - hoping this is enough time!), hence this question about waiting. I was think of throwing the yeast into the ferm chamber from the fridge a couple hours before pitching, to raise it to 48* as well, so everything could be happy together at the same temp when they begin their feast(s)!

Sorry so long-winded... Just trying to wrangle the logistics of the first lagers and starters! Thanks for any advice!

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Old 07-20-2013, 05:12 PM   #193
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Hmm.
Well I am still on the learning curve for lagers, but here is my 2 cents:

1.) have fun
2.) If the O'Fest is from extract, I think you'll be fine with whatever you choose for boiling as far as DMS concerns. I do not believe that DMS is an issue with extract as the LME has already been boiled, like stink, and probably under vaccum (don't know exact production methods.)
3.) for the other two mini mash brews, you might be able to get away with a 60 minute boil since they're small and you'll have sufficient boiling power I assume for boiling 1 gallon, and also the Pils is a minor fraction of the mash. However, 90 minutes probably isn't going to kill you spending an extra 30 minutes for a beer you're going to be lagering for a few months.
4.) no idea on the yeast management. just go with it. only exact way requires a microscope and stains, and measuring equipment probably, and other special equipment.
5.) you'll probably be fine pitching the yeast into the sterile wort up to 24-28 hours later, but it does increase the potential for problems. I've done lagers before where I couldn't get my beer down to pitch temps and I ended up chilling in the fridge the rest of the way overnight. just don't forget to oxygenate right before you pitch!

good luck!

TD

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Old 07-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #194
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Doing my DoppelBock today. Got off to late start.
Decided to to a decoction mash, and had to back off the planned OG, now 1.085. I didn't want to thicken the mash above 1.5 so max that I can fit into tun for a 11 gallon batch, and I can barely stir the tun without spilling stuff!
First decoction 27.? quarts pulled and heated to 160 is resting now. Main Mash at 104 and resting. I'm telling you that the mash at the 104 temp cannot be circulated even slowly without eventually clogging the blichman false bottom. the decoction mash is really thick, but they say, pull a thick decoction. getting ready to head down to check for conversion and proceed to the boil.
I think I am going to probably skip any further decoctions, as the second was a mash out decoction. I am going to add the decoction back to hit a sacch rest and skip the protein rest.
Bought a 32 oz SS long handled ladle from Amazon to pull the decoctions. worked well.
decoctions are heated in the boil kettle.

Back to brewing.

TD

New propane gear working well, plus I have ability to dial in pressure. Very handy for Boil Kettle burner. These Tejas Smokers mini jet burners definitely burn better with more than 11" W.C. I need to come up with a hybrid plan for running boil kettle off portable cylinder if I want, and the rest of the rig, or entire rig off buried tanks.

Now..... off to buy more propane! GRRRrrr!

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Old 07-20-2013, 11:10 PM   #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickyDick
3.) for the other two mini mash brews, you might be able to get away with a 60 minute boil since they're small and you'll have sufficient boiling power I assume for boiling 1 gallon, and also the Pils is a minor fraction of the mash. However, 90 minutes probably isn't going to kill you spending an extra 30 minutes for a beer you're going to be lagering for a few months.
4.) no idea on the yeast management. just go with it. only exact way requires a microscope and stains, and measuring equipment probably, and other special equipment.
5.) you'll probably be fine pitching the yeast into the sterile wort up to 24-28 hours later, but it does increase the potential for problems. I've done lagers before where I couldn't get my beer down to pitch temps and I ended up chilling in the fridge the rest of the way overnight. just don't forget to oxygenate right before you pitch!

good luck!

TD
Thanks for the reply, TD. That's a good point about the small addition of 30 minutes more boiling time, relative to the months it'll be before I taste one of these... Might as well! I'll just have to figure out a good boil off rate for 90... Would it make sense to just take my 60 and add half? I'm guessing 1.5 gal pre-boil might leave me with around a gallon after 90 min? I've only ever done 5+ gal, 60 min, batches, so not sure how the lesser volume and more time will affect it. As a test this afternoon, I just boiled 1.5 gal of water for 60 min, and was only left with 53% of that (a 47% boil-off rate!). That's way higher than anything I've ever gotten on the bigger batches (which I haven't measured that assiduously, as I only do partial boils and then top up - so it's not as important exactly how much I lose during the boil. But just from eyeballing it, I know it's never been that much!). The only other reference I personally have is during a 15 min boil of DME and water for a yeast starter - I lost 500ml from a 2.3L boil to end up with 1.8L... That's about 22%, which seems closer to normal. Though again, that was only 15 min. I've heard JZ and JP on Brewstrong say 10-15% is a normal 60 min boil-off rate, and I think I've read something similar elsewhere. I guess that the smaller the volume, the higher the boil-off rate gets? I need to search around here for some more info (I haven't looked through the "one gallon brewers unite" thread yet, because its ridiculously long, but I'm sure there's some good info in there...

And looking more at my timing, I think I'm going to just do one 1 gal batch at the same time as the O'fest, instead of trying to do both of them at some other time. If I start them at the same time (I have four burners on the stovetop, so I should be able to pull it off), and then do the 90 min boil for the small one, that'll stagger them for chilling, and give the big batch more time to chill. But most likely, I'll leave them both overnight in my ferm chamber (chest freezer w/STC-1000) along with the yeast, so that they will all be the same temp in the morning when I pitch. I think that'll work out best for me overall. Then I can just do the other 1 gal batch next time I do my next 5 gal lager...

How's the doppelbock going?
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:53 PM   #196
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As far as boil-off rates go, well.....

I think the notion of % per hour is ludicrous as you've discovered. The boil off is dependent upon many factors and is usually not as simple as the brewing software shows it to be. Real life is different. For instance, what is the relative humidity? What is the atmospheric pressure? What is the boiling temp of water at your altitude? These types of things all get over simplified into the "boil off rate". I find it useful, but you need to experiment and see what is happening for you. If you have a 15k BTU stovetop you're boiling a gallon and a half ( 6 quarts ) if you crank to the max, you're going to be lucky to have much left to drink after 90 minutes of boiling!

I don't have a lot of advice for you on that one. I'd say you're probably fine to go with a 60 min boil myself. I am just a bit leery of DMS is all. 2 lagers brewed, 2 with DMS. I think I can lessen it by bubbling CO2 through at warm (room) temps and letting it vent to scrub away the DMS. I've heard this is helpful. I also have a new part for my Brew Rig that will let me amp up the burner to get through the lager brews without the DMS. Never detected any in my ales before.

How is the Doppelbock coming? well, I had a few issues.

first, I had been having DMS problems. Probably due to weak boil for boiling 13.5 gallons of wort. my burners are rated 100k btu, but I have as much faith in those btus as I do in boil off rates. After a bunch of money, I finally listened to reason of Irrenzart here on the forum. Bought an acetylene regulator and used it for a portable propane tank. 1 psi is far more than 11"W.C. my rig is supposed to run on. well I measured it, and its 11" W.C. just like its supposed to be, but burners didn't boil correctly. Mostly the boil kettle burner. Anyway, feels like two steps backward going to portable cylinders from a buried tank setup.

Anyway, that took a bit of time this morning to rig up. Didn't dough in until 11:48AM. Didnt finish sparge until about 6:45. Did a single decoction. Didn't fully convert after 20 min, then another 20 min, then another 20 minutes. then I added some liquid (presumably with more enzymes) from the main mash and mashed a bit further, then said screw it, and boiled. during 28 minutes of planned 40 minutes boiling of the decoction, I ran out of propane! Went to store, 45 minutes to get back with more propane. Heat decoction back to boil - by the way, it looked awesome! Then I added it all back to the main mash, and guess what .. since no protein rest (though I doubt would have mattered) tons of "teig" gumming up my mash, and it was a PITA to recirculate all day long because of it. Anyway, finally got things going smoother and was able to step the mash up to the appropriate temp (the decoction thing didn't hit my target of course because it too way longer to convert, and had to run to store, so main mash temps dipped).

So anyway, I decide to forego the mash out decoction and go straight step mash, with directly heat the recirculating mash. It takes a bit of effort but I got it done. the Sparge I think took about 100-120 minutes for similar reasons.

Then a thunderstorm rolls in. I packed up and cleaned up and intend to boil tomorrow and finish the brew.

On the plus side, Its been kind of fun to do a decoction mash. Its kind of weird seeing your mash boiling! Smells good. No real scorching (at least not to a significant degree). also, the decoction mash gave me super high efficiency. highest I've ever had: 85%! I think I am going to extend the boil to 160 minutes and hope for a 1.100 OG brew!

TD

Then I ran out of propane!

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Old 07-21-2013, 12:27 AM   #197
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Ok, I have a problem.


I wanted to ask a question now about my last lager, and Oktoberfest. I didn't get near enough color or maltiness. I am wondering if I blend in a couple pints ( when its finished) for the dopplebock, if it would lend enough maltiness?

I guess it's off topic, but I guess it's a blending question . I might try and pour a glass of Oktoberfest and measure dilution. So 5 gallons if 40 pints. So 5% is two pints.

Maybe if I blend in two pints of dopplebock, after drinking two of the Oktoberfest, it might lend some maltiness. Worth a shot I think. Otherwise I'm going to have to call it a september fest: like an Oktoberfest, but not quite there.

TD

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Old 07-22-2013, 03:55 PM   #198
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Split the doppelbock into a sat mash, Sun boil. Left the pot covered overnight, inside. Looked in the morning, and a film had congealed over the top.m strange.

Any clue want that is? I skimmed it off and discarded.

Thanks to irrenzart for the propane parts! Had a great boil going. 13.6 gal down to 10.25 ish in two hours, not counting a littler bit of boil over!!! Wow! I used fermcap and still had a boil over! A couple of times! Minimal volume loss on the boil overs , and used a hop sack so didn't lose any hops. I think when you start with 1.074 OG and get it down to 1.101 (holy crap), that the sugar content makes the foaming much more intense.

This one is going to take a while I would think, to ferment out. Pitched it on my entire yeast cake from previous two lager brews. Mr malty default yeast concentrations and non yeast percentages for this says 7243 ml of yeast slurry! That equates to 1.91 GALLONS. Did I under pitch! I don't know the volume of yeast in my conical, because you cannot see any graduations or what not. It was below the racking arm port however. The last brew had been lagering in the conical on the yeast cake for 4 weeks already, so not sure what type of viability that is. I brewed that approx 4-5 weeks earlier I guess. Not sure what kind of viability that equates to. I guess we will see what happens, and hope for the best. Fermenting at 50°F

TD

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Old 07-29-2013, 01:10 PM   #199
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Split the doppelbock into a sat mash, Sun boil. Left the pot covered overnight, inside. Looked in the morning, and a film had congealed over the top.m strange.

Any clue want that is? I skimmed it off and discarded.
Maybe that film is from the fermcap?

I've only used fermcap once however I do not remember seeing anything out of the ordinary.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:44 PM   #200
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Consensus is that its probably some bacterial crud. However, I skimmed, and the flavor of the produced wort was perfect without any souring. The second leading answer was some grain byproduct from the decoction mash. Personaly I dunno which it is, but the moral of this story is:

if you mash but dont boil and complete your brew that same day (like I did), at LEAST pasteurize your wort with a brief boil before shutting down for the day, like I was forced to do.

Personally i don't really think it was a bacterial pellicle as there was no off aroma of flavor, even pre boil. however, I find it hard to say for sure its from the mash, though I did see some similar material around some grain particles in the main mash while doing the decoction.

Anway, I checked the gravity today and it seems in 1 week that the gravity is down to 1.040ish, if corrected refrectometer readings are to be trusted. Still see airlock activity. Still fermenting away.

I think I am going to wait about two more weeks to take another reading. I imagine that this monster 1.101 brew will take a while to finish.

In other news, I was able to scrub out all the DMS aroma from my Helles brew. I used my .5 micron carbonation stone and let er rip at about 5 psi, with 75º beer, that had been out of serving fridge for several days and CO2 pressure released intermittently. I bubbled the gas through for about 5-10 minutes or so until I could no longer detect the DMS aroma. Sealed up and back into fridge to check again after chilled and carbonated to see if I can still detect any DMS.

TD

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