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Old 06-26-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
wedward's Avatar
Feb 2009
Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 120
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I've seen a few posts about fermenting in heat resistant food grade buckets by pitching the day after, but I thought I'd take my poor planning and laziness to the next level in my last two brews. I'd love to hear of others doing the same...

I planned a Munich Helles and Oktoberfest lager for one busy weekend. It was also my first time attempting a starter. As a result of this planning and bad timing, things went very wrong...

Here's how the fun began:
  1. Buy ingredients for both batches Friday
  2. Attempt to make stirplate Saturday morning... epic fail
  3. Start one vial of expensive seasonal WLP860 Munich Helles in a 3 gallon better bottle w/DME
  4. Ditch stirplate and shake every few hours and let sit in a fridge at 62F
  5. Realize it aint gonna happen in time for my 1.059 SG (est.)
  6. Ditch brewing Saturday (Monday was a holiday anyway)
  7. Don't brew Helles, but brew Oktoberfest instead Sunday
  8. Smack & Shake up Wyeast 2352-PC Munich Lager II pak
  9. Brew Oktoberfest
  10. Halfway through boil, decide I need to smack and start second pack
  11. Finished boil, cooled to 62F in therminator and pulled off a few quarts, rest o primary
  12. I seemed to overshoot my OG, so had to water down to 1.055
  13. plugged primary and sat in keezer @ 36F
  14. pitched Wyeast packs in pulled off wort with some added distilled water (to get around 1.040 - OG was 1.055 - shake and ferment in fridge @58F (alongside helles yeast now)

So at this point, my double-header first time starter making brew holiday (5/19) is way out of whack...

Everything sat as is until 5/27 when I jumped back in. I went to pitch the Wyeast into the Oktoberfest wort (warming wort to room temp or close to 58-60F) and saw the trub from the older hops pellets and such. So I racked the wort carefully off to
a second 6 Gallon primary bottle. Ahh. Nice clean and clear wort! I then pitched the yeast (dumped all in since it was the same wort), secured blow off tube and set into ferm fridge @ 58F. One down, a week late but OK - work came first.

Next up, finally brew the Helles lager. I had some issues with temps so did an impromtu double decoction (second time on a helles for some reason), and again overshot my OG. Hit way high and had to water down again to get close to my expected gravity.

I then added a prepped second vial of yeast to the week plus old starter and shook. Wort cooled and put in primary into keezer to do the same as the Oktoberfest. A few days later, I racked off the clean cold wort to a new primary, warmed to 58F and pitched the yeast from teh starter in (drained off DME beer).

The wort was a bit darker due to a mistake on grain purchase, but otherwise very clean and clear.

Fast forward to 6/24. I finally got around to measuring the gravities this weekend. Oktoberfest was down to 1.014 and Helles at 1.020 as I put them into the secondary carboys. I taste tested both and both were great. The oktoberfest was good enough to pour and drink as is right there. No off flavors or anything bad.

The Helles gave me a nice surprise - a little foam and bubbling action. That carboy had a regular bubbler, not a blow off tube, so there must have been a little pressure to build a little carb action. I'm not sure it really is noticable to taste, but it was to sight (see pic).

Clean and golden, though a little darker than it should be. Now both are in for a nice secondary ferm for a month.

Overall, this seemed like a much easier and cleaner resulting beer so far. I loved brewing, cooling, packing and I didn't have to worry about pitching right away. The bonus was on crash cooling the wort to get all the garbage out by racking it off.

Since they both came out tasting great and both are from seasonal yeasts, I also did my first yeast washing sessions. Very clean and no real trub to deal with due to the pitch process.

So - I'd love to hear thoughts on this and if others do the same delayed pitching/wort racking.

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