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Old 09-10-2012, 10:45 PM   #51
Johnnyboy1012
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I want to give everyone an update on how my brew day went and thank everyone for the help. I bought 6 individual gallons of distilled water and didn't realize that in a one gallon jug of water is actually more then one gallon. Long story short, I boiled off a good amount of the extra water, added 12oz of sugar, and ended up with 6 gallons of 1.090 wort instead of 5 gallons of 1.096. I don't mind having extra beer and 1.090 is still a strong beer so I am satisfied with this. I also ended up adding an extra gram of CaCl2 to the boil to account for the extra water. With this beer being a Chocolate stout, I used 4oz of Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder in the last minute of the boil and I oxygenated my beer for the first time with a diffusion stone and an O2 disposable welding tank for 45 seconds.

Saturday at 4:30pm I pitched a decanted starter of about 3 billion cells of WLP 002 English Ale yeast. By 10:30pm I had bubbles in the air lock and I could see bubbles rising to the top of the carboy. When I woke up Sunday morning I was expecting to see a huge krausen because the beer's high OG, but instead it had about a half inch of krausen that looked like mud which I'm guessing is from the cocoa powder. The weird thing about this beer is that the krausen at one point overnight reached about 4 inches above the beer because it stuck on the inside of the glass, but I guess it fell back into the beer. Is it possible for the krausen to fall that fast? Is it oxygenating the wort with pure O2 that sped up the fermentation process that much? All of Sunday the airlock was going crazy...a very vigorous fermentation. It is now Monday at 6:45pm and my airlock has slowed down significantly (maybe one bubble per second). I know this yeast flocculates easily so I am going to stir up the fermenter a little bit to arouse the yeast. Is it possible that fermentation went that quickly and is now slowing down a day and a half later? Thanks again guys for the help! I will post another update when I try taste it.

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:41 PM   #52
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If you only pitched 3 billion cells on a beer that big, then you WAY under pitched! According to yeastcalc for 6 gallons at 1.090 you should have pitched 367 billion. I'll assume that what you wrote was a type-o, and you actually meant to type 300 billion? If you pitched 3 billion then that is likely your problem. If you pitched 300 billion, then it's probably fine. What temp are you fermenting it at? If you have any doubts, you should check the gravity...

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Old 09-10-2012, 11:53 PM   #53
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I'm sorry, that was a typo. I made 2 2-liter step starter and decanted the last second one. I'm assuming that I was at least close to pitching the proper amount of yeast being that there was hardly any lag time and an extremely vigorous fermentation when I woke up the next morning (about 15 hours after pitching).

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:14 AM   #54
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I figured that was the case. 2 2L step-ups should have been more than enough. Did you oxygenate twice? Or just once before pitching? On a beer that big I like to hit it with pure oxygen again 12 hours after pitching. Although, if you didn't it likely wouldn't matter. I'm guessing it's just fine. Check gravity in a few days to see where it's at. Big beers can take longer to ferment, but it might not necessarily be vigorous in nature...

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Old 09-11-2012, 04:37 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnnyboy1012 View Post
...When I woke up Sunday morning I was expecting to see a huge krausen because the beer's high OG, but instead it had about a half inch of krausen that looked like mud which I'm guessing is from the cocoa powder. The weird thing about this beer is that the krausen at one point overnight reached about 4 inches above the beer because it stuck on the inside of the glass, but I guess it fell back into the beer. Is it possible for the krausen to fall that fast? Is it oxygenating the wort with pure O2 that sped up the fermentation process that much? All of Sunday the airlock was going crazy...a very vigorous fermentation. It is now Monday at 6:45pm and my airlock has slowed down significantly (maybe one bubble per second). I know this yeast flocculates easily so I am going to stir up the fermenter a little bit to arouse the yeast. Is it possible that fermentation went that quickly and is now slowing down a day and a half later? Thanks again guys for the help! I will post another update when I try taste it.
I have never used wlp002 but I use wy1968 a lot which apparently is the same fuller's strain...I also have never gone higher than 1.065 with that yeast...but what you describe would not surprise me if i saw that with wy1968. It isn't a top cropper and often doesn't create a huge krausen. Sometimes it will blow over within the first 12hours and then fall back into the wort with zero krausen, looking just like full boil - churning with bubbles and trub floating around with just a wispy amount of foam that dissipates quickly. (I have a mild fermenting in my basement right now that is following this fermentation pattern). When I first saw this I emailed wyeast to see if it was normal and they said that it is sometime a result of its extreme flocculation - the yeast clumps can be so heavy that it takes a very active fermentation to keep them at the top. I've never had a problem with wy1968 floccing out to early but rousing would probably be a good idea. Take a grav sample and see where its at. Definitely leave it on the yeast for a while after its done as it probably will have crapped out a ton of diacetyl. Maybe a week? pull samples until its clean.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:16 AM   #56
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I have never used wlp002 but I use wy1968 a lot which apparently is the same fuller's strain...I also have never gone higher than 1.065 with that yeast...but what you describe would not surprise me if i saw that with wy1968. It isn't a top cropper and often doesn't create a huge krausen. Sometimes it will blow over within the first 12hours and then fall back into the wort with zero krausen, looking just like full boil - churning with bubbles and trub floating around with just a wispy amount of foam that dissipates quickly. (I have a mild fermenting in my basement right now that is following this fermentation pattern). When I first saw this I emailed wyeast to see if it was normal and they said that it is sometime a result of its extreme flocculation - the yeast clumps can be so heavy that it takes a very active fermentation to keep them at the top. I've never had a problem with wy1968 floccing out to early but rousing would probably be a good idea. Take a grav sample and see where its at. Definitely leave it on the yeast for a while after its done as it probably will have crapped out a ton of diacetyl. Maybe a week? pull samples until its clean.
That's exactly what I saw! No krausen and it looked like a boil. I plan on keeping it in the fermenter for 2-3 weeks and either racking it to a secondary on top of cacao nibs that I have soaking in vodka. Or my other option is to go right to the keg after 2 weeks and putting the nibs in in a muslin sack. Thanks for the reply gbx, cheers!
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:07 AM   #57
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So much talk about avoiding minerals in this thread. I even saw mention 46 sodilum was too high. Palmer writes that 50 of sodium rounds out the flavor. I have building water using Bru n water. Sometimes the minerals seem like a lot. After reading Palmer I felt better about it. My beer has greatly improved with the additional minerals. In fact before brewing my last batch, I mixed the minerals in the RO water and tasted it. RO by itself is very crisp and refreshing almost a metallic sensation and it leaves my beers with a watery mouth feel. The mineral added water was smooth and reminded me of good natural spring water and seemed to lend mouthfeel to the beers. No more watery sensation and despite using some baking soda and salt no perceived saltiness. Maybe I should buy a ph meter but heck the beer has been so good, I think it would just mess with my mind. I read the whole thread. I bet your Imperial stout will be good.

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Old 10-30-2012, 12:59 PM   #58
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If you are contemplating going all grain then you definitely should buy a pH meter. pH in the mash is as important as temperature. If you are doing partial mash it isn't so important.

Given that pH is under control you turn your attention to the 'stylistic ions' i.e. those that determine the character of the style. Sulfate, chloride and sodium are generally thought of as being the stylistic ions with calcium and bicarbonate excluded. But really they are all stylistic ions as all have flavor and/or mouthfeel effect. Setting these is purely a matter of personal preference or, if you are trying to win a ribbon, adherence to a style guideline. If you fell that minerally water improves your beer then load your water up with minerals. If you prefer the soft water qualities of, for example, the delicate lagers, then use water with minimal mineral content. It is up to you. The reason you see so much about low mineral water is that the brewing industry and home brewers have 'discovered' that low mineral water makes more pleasing beer (i.e. beer that sells better). Modern brewers are no longer constrained to work with the water they have available. They can have any water they want. The only thing that bothers me a little bit about this is the analogy with white bread. Mineral character can be interesting and Export, for example, wouldn't be export without it.

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