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Old 12-18-2012, 02:21 PM   #1
ctomlin
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Default Received some brewing advice, is it legitimate?

I am just starting brewing (still waiting for my first batch to condition in bottles) so I have naturally been doing a decent amount of research as far as best practices go. I went to my local brew shop the other day to pick up a carboy, and the owner of the shop gave me a few pieces of information that I hadn't read before, and I wanted to see what you all think. He said:

1) "If you are brewing 5 gallon batches of beer it is best to have a 5 gallon carboy instead of a larger one, so that the krausen is removed via a blow-off tube. Otherwise, it will fall back into the beer potentially causing off-flavors."

Is there any credibility to this? I have obviously read about blow-off tubes and such, but I haven't heard that it is better to ferment in a 5 gallon vs 6.5, and that the krausen can contribute to off flavoring.

2) "Instead of pitching the yeast immediately after the wort is cooled and in your primary fermentor, it is better to let it sit in a carboy for about an hour so all the sediment sinks to the bottom, then rack it off into another carboy and pitch the yeast."

One of my friends seemed to think this was not only not necessary, but dangerous since it would increase the chance of contamination. I did this anyway since it seemed like a good way to aerate the wort (I have a plastic piece on the end of the siphon hose which turns the wort into droplets as it siphons). I also wasn't too worried that an hour in a sealed sanitized container would increase the risk too much.

So, what does everyone think? Is there any credibility to any of this, should I ignore this information, or does it even matter either way?

Thanks in advance for your input!

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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No credibility at all. You should leave headspace for the Krausen, so ferment in a larger vessel than the size of your batch. The second point, you should pitch your yeast and seal the fermenter as soon as you can once you have the wort down to pitching temps to reduce the chances of infection and other generally bad stuffs.

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, I would argue against either of those recommendations.

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindcrime View Post
No credibility at all. You should leave headspace for the Krausen, so ferment in a larger vessel than the size of your batch. The second point, you should pitch your yeast and seal the fermenter as soon as you can once you have the wort down to pitching temps to reduce the chances of infection and other generally bad stuffs.

I agree.
There is no sense at all in using a small carboy.

You could let the trub settle then transfer before pitching but it increases the time the wort is susceptible to infection. You would probably lose more beer to the wort this way that letting the wort settle in primary. It will pack a lot tighter in a few weeks than in an hour before pitching.

I would be wary of any advice from this source.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:35 PM   #5
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1. I don't know if there is necessarily a correct answer. Using different sized carboys will affect the fermentation in numerous ways. With a smaller carboy, you may remove some proteins that gather on top of the krausen, but you will also remove a portion of viable yeasts, reduce the surface area these yeasts can utilize and possibly increase fermenter pressure as all krausen is forced through a blow-off tube. The last piece might be beneficial if you are trying to supress ester production, but the other aspects are not desirable in my opinion. Remember, yeast is a living organism. How would you want to be treated? Cramped up with all your buddies, trying to eat and be happy just to be expunged into the cold, black night (i.e. blow-off bucket) or would you want to spread out and be free to feast and be merry? Again, maybe not one right answer, but perhaps my personal opinion is known at this point.

2. Again, maybe not one correct answer. One might argue that there are compounds in the trub that the yeast can utilize to enhance a healthy fermentation. People will probably argue that removing all trub will result in a brighter beer. If you use finings or cold crash, I would think you would achieve the same level of clarity. There might be something I'm missing about chill-haze and its formation, whether it's from the hop trub or yeast trub... And as far as contamination, next time you brew and rack into the fermenters, rack a small portion into a smaller, sanitized (just as the fermenter) vessel and take a gravity reading, but then do nothing else other than seal it with an airlock. Take another reading a few days later and if it is the same, then your sanitation practices are where they need to be and waiting and re-racking before pitching your brews shouldn't concern you. If it has dropped, it can be a sign of infection.

Hope it helps,

Josh

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:37 PM   #6
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1) you can do this, but it certainly isn't necessary. Big breweries certainly do not just blow off their krausen and lose all that yeast and beer. Some gunk will just stick to the sides and the rest will drop out of the beer if you just give it a little time.

2) You can do this, but I don't think it is benefitial. The cold break is actually good for yeast health, so getting rid of it isn't a plus. In terms of infection - it really doesn't matter as long as you are practicing good sanitation techniques. If you can sanitize 1 carboy, you can sanitize a second.

There are 2 basic schools of thought on producing clear beer.

1) Do everything you can to keep anything messy out of your beer. Strain every bit of hops. Whirlpool, let settle, rack only clear beer. Skim off gloppy krausen. Rerack beer to a secondary to keep any dead or dormant yeast away.

2) Toss it all in and forget about it. Let it clear naturally via gravity.

Both methods can work just fine. #2 is obviously a whole lot less hassle. Personally, I screen the wort going into the fermenter to get the big gunk out and then let nature do its thing.

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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I totally agree. Old wive's tales & mis-information from brewers on the OG. You need the head space from a 6-6.5 gallon fermenter for all that krausen so it doesn't turn into beersuvious. But a blow off is still a good idea to prevent explosive messes. The krausen will not contaminate the fermenting beer. It's mearly yeast foam esentually. Ale yeasts are top fermenting.
It's def not better to let it sit,& racking again before pitching. That's a leftover from the old days of poorer yeast quality & the autlysis boogieman.
Just chill your wort,transfer to FV with top off water through a fine mesh strainer & aerate like crazy. Stir roughly to mix well & aerate a little more. Take hydrometer sample,then pitch yeast & seal it up. It'll be fine.
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:40 PM   #8
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i think the term i would use for both of those is "horse flop", but i don't know if that's allowed in the forum

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:45 PM   #9
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Thanks guys,
Sounds like I got some incorrect info. So, now I have two 5 gallon carboys, and a 6.5-ish gallon bucket. I guess the two 5 gallon carboys aren't a complete waste though, since I can still use them for a secondary, right? Should I go buy a 6.5 gallon carboy as a primary fermentor, or will my bucket work just fine?

Thanks again

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Old 12-18-2012, 02:46 PM   #10
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Buckets work just fine.

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