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Old 09-13-2014, 03:25 AM   #1
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Default Brewing big beer, questions

So I'm brewing a big beer tomorrow, just over 1.1 OG. How essential is a yeast starter if I'm using dry yeast? Also, how essential is an oxygen stone for a big beer like this? I've seen both "recommended", but what will happen if I don't have either?

Also, recipe says it should be in secondary for 2-3 months. Big issue if it's a plastic carboy? Don't really want to shell out for a glass one if I don't have to.

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Old 09-13-2014, 03:51 AM   #2
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Honestly, I think both the starter and oxygen are pretty critical for a big beer. But, if you're using dry yeast I think it's less critical. I'd still aerate the hell out out of it though.

Do you have a keg? I'd secondary in a keg, but if you have a better bottle I'd just go with that unless you want to drop $30 for glass. 2-3 months is not excessive. If it was a year Id say get a glass carboy.

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Old 09-13-2014, 03:57 AM   #3
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Big beers need a lot of yeast. Brewing tomorrow doesn't give you time to make a starter. You'll need to use multiple packs of rehydrated dry yeast.
http://www.brewwithfermentis.com/tips-tricks/yeast-rehydration/

Use Pro Brewer 1.25 to determine your pitch rate.
http://www.brewersfriend.com/yeast-pitch-rate-and-starter-calculator/

Big beers can make good use of pure oxygen. Pure oxygen can be overdone though. It would be best to look up how much oxygen to use. Big beers can also benefit from an additional dose of oxygen 12 to 18 hours after the start of active fermentation. This is an advanced technique. I would suggest some additional reading before trying this.

Do you have a reliable method to control the fermentation temperature? High OG brews will create a lot of extra heat as the fermentation begins.

You will be able to use a plastic carboy for the length of secondary planned.

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Old 09-13-2014, 04:05 AM   #4
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No direct control of the temp, but it's going to be in an unused downstairs bathroom. Stays dark and around 68deg.

I have to go to the local brew store tomorrow, so I might see if they have a stone/gun to add oxygen. I plan on rehydrating the yeast properly, but since I dont have time to try to make a starter then adding O2 seems to be my best option.

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Old 09-13-2014, 04:15 AM   #5
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Also I've got burbon soaked oak chips going in the secondary, so not sure if I want those sitting in the keg until the brew is drained. Think I'll just stick with my plastic secondary. Its a Bubbler, but not the big mouth kind.

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Old 09-13-2014, 04:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backflip View Post
No direct control of the temp, but it's going to be in an unused downstairs bathroom. Stays dark and around 68deg.

I have to go to the local brew store tomorrow, so I might see if they have a stone/gun to add oxygen. I plan on rehydrating the yeast properly, but since I dont have time to try to make a starter then adding O2 seems to be my best option.
You can expect a wort temperature increase, for high OG beers, of 8° to 10° during the first few days of active fermentation. Unless you are using a Belgian yeast, which can be fermented in the 75° to 85° range, fusel alcohols will be produced when the optimum fermentation temperature range is exceeded.
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Old 09-13-2014, 04:29 AM   #7
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Bugger. Since it's going to be in a bathtub, I suppose I could chuck a few bags of ice in there around the carboy to try to cool the ambient temperature during the active stage.

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Old 09-13-2014, 04:34 AM   #8
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Using Safale US-05 yeast. If the local store carries it, I might pick up an extra pack.

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Old 09-13-2014, 04:57 AM   #9
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Bugger. Since it's going to be in a bathtub, I suppose I could chuck a few bags of ice in there around the carboy to try to cool the ambient temperature during the active stage.
That is called a swamp cooler. Swamp coolers work. Cold water about halfway up the side of the fermentor will absorb a lot of heat. Plastic soda bottles with ice can be your ice blocks.
US-05 performs best at about 65° to 68°.
Under the photos tab you will find pictures of various swamp coolers. Mostly in "Fermentation and Yeast".
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:56 AM   #10
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So we hit 1.11 OG and I've kept the fermometer at 67-68 thanks to the ice. Ice melted overnight last night, but it was a warm day today and still didn't get over 68 in the carboy. Activity is picking up tonight, so I might go get another couple bags of ice tomorrow just to keep it in check.

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