So I recently got a chest freezer I am turning it into a temperature regulated fermenter, with the help of an STC-1000. Originally, I wanted to do a side by side beer, 2.5 gallons in the freezer, and 2.5 gallons just in the basement, to see what the difference in taste was. Then I decided from everything I read on HBT, and getting min/max temp readings in my basement of ~70* to ~85* throughout the day, I decided this is unnecessary, the beer will definitely taste better in the temp controlled freezer. And even if it doesn’t, I bought a freezer so by golly I’m gonna use it! Also now that I can get ideal fermentation temperatures, why have one more 2.5 gallon batch that is not as good as it could be?
So then I decided to scratch the fermenting in and out of the freezer idea, and just go with temperatures recommend by the yeast. So I’m moving on to the next brewing experiment on my list, which is to brew a 5 gallon batch, and split it up into 10 ½ gallon growlers as fermentors. I will be making a standard pale ale/IPA recipe, to single out the different taste of specific hops and yeast.
I figure if I will have 5 different kinds of hops (would these be called ‘hop variants’ ‘hop strains’ or what?) and two different kinds of yeast. This should get me ten different beers, basically creating two separate experiments (one with each yeast type, while still being able to compare the yeast differences with the same hops) out of one 5 gallon batch.
Yeast A B
1 .5 gal .5 gal
2 .5 gal .5 gal
3 .5 gal .5 gal
4 .5 gal .5 gal
5 .5 gal .5 gal
(this table looked a million times better in excel)
Below I have listed the recipe I will be using for this experiment:
Standard Pale Ale/IPA recipe:
11.25# light LME – (this seems like a lot any suggestions/advice?)
¾# crystal 20 steep for 30 min
Hop additions 1oz @ 60min 20min 10min 5min and 7 day dry hop
So I will have 1oz of each different type of hops and split this up 5 ways (.2 oz for each addition)
Yeast – American Ale
The procedure I am planning on using for this is:
1.) 2 days before I start this procedure I am going to make two yeast starters, one with each yeast strain being used
2.) Steep the crystal 20 in 5-6 gallons of water (in my 8 gallon brew pot) for 30 minutes
3.) Then measure this out into five 1 gallon+ containers (theoretically I won’t need to be concerned about these sitting around for too long, and getting contaminated, since they haven’t boiled yet)
4.) One at a time I will make five 1 gallon batches of beer , each with one of the different hops I plan on using for this experiment
5.) Once the wort is cooled put ½ gallon in one growler with yeast A and the other ½ gallon in the other growler with yeast B
6.) Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all the hops are used.
So my questions are:
1.) To make less steps in this process once the batch is split up into 5 mini batches, can I add the LME before splitting the wort into five 1 gallon ‘batches’?
a. If so when should I add the LME?
b. Should I boil the LME before splitting up the mini batches? (it’s going to be boiled for an hour when the hops are added in the mini batches)
c. Or should I just add it when I steep, to heat it up, and get it even mixed in, so all five 1 gallon batches have an even amount of LME?
2.) I will have to do less than 5 gallons of beer for starters, since I will have 10 ½ gallon growlers and they will all need head space in them during the fermentation process?
a.) How much head space will be required, this beer shouldn’t be too heavy and have that active of a fermentation process should it?
b.) Should I start with 6 gallons of water, or just start with 5 gallons, and then the boil off will be the ‘less’ for the head space in the growlers?
3.) I am used to putting my hops in a little cheese cloth bag, however this is going to require 25+ bags, but if I go no bags, how the heck do I get the hops out of the wort/beer when moving from brew pot to primary to secondary to bottling bucket to bottles?
4.) Does anyone have any thoughts on bags vs. no bags? (how much extra work will it be to strain the hop pellets out of the beer, this experiment already seems like enough work)
5.) I generally go from primary to secondary to bottling bucket to bottles, if I keep that same strategy for this experiment I will have to clean primary growlers, and re-sanitize them, to use as another secondary. (I only have 10 growlers…) Would anyone recommend skipping a secondary fermenter for this, and why? (I am thinking a quick rinse and scrub with a brush, then a dunk in StarSan should not add that much additional work, especially since this won’t be happening on my brewing day)
a.) If you do recommend skipping a secondary how does that affect your answer about the hops in little bags?
b.) If you suggest the secondary, would you then skip the bags for the yeast? (I really want to skip the bags, because I don’t want to pay for them, but I know they will all only add up to ~$5)
6.) I have 3 cooking pots that will be able to do the mini batches once the 5 gallons is split up, should I do all 3 at a time (all I should be doing during this phase is adding hops, and maybe some premeasured LME at the appropriate times) but then what about cooling them?
7.) I have one wort chiller but assume just an ice bath for a 1 gallon batch shouldn’t take too long to cool down? (I think my sink will be large enough to hold 3 larger cooking pots in an ice bath, but if not the bath tub definitely will be)
8.) Or should I do all these 1 at a time, and just suck up the fact that it will take 5 hours this way, so I won’t mess something up if there is too much going on and I get flustered?
9.) What different types of hops does anyone suggest I use? Keep in mind that there is only going to be one hop type per mini batch of beer, so combination suggestions won’t really help.
10.) I am going to use American Ale yeast as one of my yeast strains, what do you suggest for the second? Keep in mind that I only have 1 temperature controlled fermentor, so the ideal fermentation temperature should be similar to the American Ale yeast.
11.) What else am I not considering? Any an all questions comments concerns are appreciated