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Old 09-20-2012, 03:37 PM   #21
Homercidal
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Have you cleaned the bottling bucket good enough? In my experience no matter how well you think you are flushing out the spigot, beer still gets left in the spigot creating a GREAT place for bacteria to hang out until the next bottling time.

I'm not suggesting you forego the water change. But if you haven't done this, take the spigot off the bottling bucket and pull it apart and wash it very well and sanitize it before using it.

As for the water, I suggest following Yoopers advice of using RO and maybe adding a bit of CaCl to give the yeast some calcium. It doesn't take much. The whole water chemistry thing is very fun and frustrating at first, but worth learning about IMO.



 
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewskier View Post
I was never sure how much O2 to give it....
Oxygen can be tricky. Too much or too little can be detrimental.

This is a great presentation from Wyeast where they showed that 40 seconds of shaking is all that is needed to saturate the wort with O2. I don't know why Wyeast and White Labs give different info on this.
http://www.bjcp.org/cep/WyeastYeastLife.pdf

It's hard to guess how much O2 is in the wort without expensive equipment and everyone's system is a little different. On one of Jamil's podcasts, he recommended trying to be consistent with the flow rate and doubling or reducing the time by half until you get the results you want. Too much O2 can give a harsh dry flavor and possibly fusels. Too little O2 can increase esters and finish too sweet. Of corse you should maintain appropriate temp control, pitching rate, etc. Hope this helps.



 
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:35 PM   #23
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If you're using dry yeast, one satchet is usually the appropriate pitching rate for a ~1.050 beer. You can aerate US-05 after pitching.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
Have you cleaned the bottling bucket good enough? In my experience no matter how well you think you are flushing out the spigot, beer still gets left in the spigot creating a GREAT place for bacteria to hang out until the next bottling time.

I'm not suggesting you forego the water change. But if you haven't done this, take the spigot off the bottling bucket and pull it apart and wash it very well and sanitize it before using it.

As for the water, I suggest following Yoopers advice of using RO and maybe adding a bit of CaCl to give the yeast some calcium. It doesn't take much. The whole water chemistry thing is very fun and frustrating at first, but worth learning about IMO.
Hmmm, you may be on to something. I haven't swapped out my bottling bucket in years, and there's a stained seal at the bottom. I always soak the bottling bucket in Star San, though. Wouldn't that take care of it?

It still would not explain why the flavor I'm getting is the same exact flavor I had from the beginning, back when the bucket was new. I read through Palmer's list, and the closest flavor I could match it up with is "cardboard". It's got a lingering "sweet" flavor as well in the follow up. It really is hard to describe. If I was a beer judge, I could probably describe it perfectly, but I'm not. I know that other people have complained about this flavor in the past, though, so I was hoping they would just *know* what I'm talking about. I suspect that many of them do.

I will take your advice and dump the bottling bucket for my next batch. I've been looking for an excuse to go back to kegging, anyway. My keezer is just a fermentation chamber at this point.

 
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmo View Post
Oxygen can be tricky. Too much or too little can be detrimental.

This is a great presentation from Wyeast where they showed that 40 seconds of shaking is all that is needed to saturate the wort with O2. I don't know why Wyeast and White Labs give different info on this.
http://www.bjcp.org/cep/WyeastYeastLife.pdf

It's hard to guess how much O2 is in the wort without expensive equipment and everyone's system is a little different. On one of Jamil's podcasts, he recommended trying to be consistent with the flow rate and doubling or reducing the time by half until you get the results you want. Too much O2 can give a harsh dry flavor and possibly fusels. Too little O2 can increase esters and finish too sweet. Of corse you should maintain appropriate temp control, pitching rate, etc. Hope this helps.
Arrghh, that doesn't help. That makes me even more frustated, since there are more variables I need to pin down. I am definitely afraid of giving it too much O2, which is why I eventually stopped using it and just poured the wort through a strainer when it was done cooling. I've read that that would be enough, but I've also read it's not enough. I wish there was some sort of concensus on these types of issues.

 
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewskier View Post
Arrghh, that doesn't help. That makes me even more frustated, since there are more variables I need to pin down. I am definitely afraid of giving it too much O2, which is why I eventually stopped using it and just poured the wort through a strainer when it was done cooling. I've read that that would be enough, but I've also read it's not enough. I wish there was some sort of concensus on these types of issues.
If you've poured it through a strainer, it's enough for most beers. A huge beer, with a super high OG, or a lager might benefit from more aeration. But don't sweat it so much!

There are only a couple of keys to great beer, whether extract or all-grain:

- good water (beer is 95% water, after all)
- proper yeast health. This means pitching at or below fermentation temperatures, and using the proper amount of yeast. This is most often the step skipped by "good" and not "great" brewers.
- fermentation temperature control
- fresh quality ingredients
- sanitation

Really, that's it. Sure, aeration is part of "proper yeast health" but pitching the proper amount of yeast at the correct temperature and controlling fermentation temperature is crucial. If the wort goes through a strainer, and splashes/foams on the way to the fermenter you can generally call it good, and guestimate it about 8 ppm oxygen.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:57 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
If you've poured it through a strainer, it's enough for most beers. A huge beer, with a super high OG, or a lager might benefit from more aeration. But don't sweat it so much!

There are only a couple of keys to great beer, whether extract or all-grain:

- good water (beer is 95% water, after all)
- proper yeast health. This means pitching at or below fermentation temperatures, and using the proper amount of yeast. This is most often the step skipped by "good" and not "great" brewers.
- fermentation temperature control
- fresh quality ingredients
- sanitation

Really, that's it. Sure, aeration is part of "proper yeast health" but pitching the proper amount of yeast at the correct temperature and controlling fermentation temperature is crucial. If the wort goes through a strainer, and splashes/foams on the way to the fermenter you can generally call it good, and guestimate it about 8 ppm oxygen.
Good points. I've had maybe 5 or 6 batches that I believe were flawless (at least, no complaints I could think of), and all but 1 were done with simply pouring through a strainer, so O2 may not be my issue. I'm thinking yeast health is the commonality at this point. The first couple batches were done without fermentation temperature control, and both had long lag times and a very strong "THT" problem. The last batch had it, and this time the yeast was too cold and didn't start fermenting until after 24 hours.

 
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:02 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewskier
I read through Palmer's list, and the closest flavor I could match it up with is "cardboard". It's got a lingering "sweet" flavor as well in the follow up.
Hmm, maybe oxidation? Do you take care not to splash the wort around when it's hot, or after fermentation? Also, what are the conditions your keeping the bottles in? Are you leaving as little head space as possible when bottling?

This may be a stupid question, but how about pouring? Do you leave the last bit or pour the whole bottle in? I wouldn't think that would add a cardboard flavour, but it would add sweetness at the end (the yeast).

 
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:25 PM   #29
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Cardboard is often described as being the result of oxidation, so careful handling of the finished beer is very important. Gentle siphoning, gentle stirring, careful filling of the bottles, etc. It's important to avoid the beer coming in contact with oxygen after pitching the yeast (unless you are re-oxygenating a barlywine or something unusual like that.)

 
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewskier View Post
I'm really thinking it might be yeast problems because it always seems to correlate with long lag times.

That reminds me, I seem to always have a long lag time in my batches, no matter if I'm using liquid yeast or rehydrated dry yeast. Even when I do a yeast starter, I don't get the 3-4 hour start times like some of you guys get. Usually 12 hours is standard, though the last one took 24 hours.
I wouldn't worry about that, lots of yeasts don't get going for at least that long, and some ferment quite successfully with little or no evidence thereof. 12-24 hours is plenty quick.



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