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  1. SpeedYellow

    I think I'm done with my pH meter. Returning to strips.

    After dozens of batches over several years with a Hanna 98128, I'm just tired of dropping $70 every 2-3 years on probes. The ColorpHast strips are dirt cheap and I've found to be consistent and probably around +/- 0.1. Good enough for our purposes as far as I can tell. Checked them against the...
  2. SpeedYellow

    How to quickly chill wort down to lager pitching temps?

    For us folks who brew lagers, we need our wort to get down near 50F before pitching yeast, but our tap water typically won't cut it. Getting to 80F is easy, but waiting for the fermentation chamber to get down to 50F takes a while. So how to do this quickly with an immersion chiller? Seems...
  3. SpeedYellow

    Inconsistent mash pH with acid malt

    Our LHBS just switched suppliers of acid malt (from Best to Weyermann, I think) and my recent batches had utterly failed to have predictable mash pH. A batch yesterday should have been 5.4 pH based on past experience but came it at 4.8! (with a calibrated meter and multiple measurements.)...
  4. SpeedYellow

    Is targeting the mash pH the wrong goal?

    While sampling some beers at a recent brew club meeting, some beers seemed flat, quite possibly due to high pH. Which got me to thinking -- shouldn't we be more focused on final beer pH instead of mash pH? As we know, there's little to no correlation between mash pH and beer pH. So why don't...
  5. SpeedYellow

    Any details about this process to only run a starter for 4 hours?

    I heard somewhere about what may be a commercial process to only run your starter for like 4 hours and then pitch. Presumably the idea is to let the yeast multiply but then get them into the wort just when they're ready to go? Is there some merit to this? Any scientific literature or studies...
  6. SpeedYellow

    PSA: Can you trust a lab thermometer? The answer is

    No! I recently bought 2 lab thermometers and calibrated them in freezing and boiling water (with a touch of chalk added). In boiling water, one read 216f and the other read 212f. Boiling point here in Chicago is 211f. 5 degrees Fahrenheit error! (Not as bad at 32F though). Why didn't I...
  7. SpeedYellow

    Any tricks to getting Wyeast 5335 to sour further?

    After 4 days, my Berliner Weisse sour worting has only gotten down to a pH of 4.4. I pitched a 0.8L starter into 4.2 gal, and have been holding it in my fermentation chamber at 90F, per Wyeast's recommendation. Based on the pH vs. Time graphs at Milk The Funk for L. Buchneri, I expected to be...
  8. SpeedYellow

    Feedback on kettle soured Berliner Weiss process and recipe - 1st timer

    I'm diving into sours with a Berliner Weisse, and I've come up with a plan but could use some feedback from our experienced sour folks. Here goes: The Process: - Mash at 153F, sparge, and drain wort to kettle. - Heat to 200F; do not boil. - Chill to 90F; dump in glass fermenter; pitch...
  9. SpeedYellow

    Pro tip: if you add Starsan to a vessel of water, you'll need to stir it in.

    On a recent batch, I learned that simply pouring Starsan into a vessel of water will leave you with a pool of Starsan at the bottom. This being a no-rinse sanitizer, all that Starsan will then be in your fermenter, keg, etc., unless you catch it and rinse it out. Maybe that's just obvious, but...
  10. SpeedYellow

    Alpha acid content of noble hops seems suddenly low.

    Is it just me, or have other folks noticed the low alpha acid content of noble hops in the last year or so? Just curious if anyone knows what's going on, because it certainly adds a few bucks to every batch. Here's a few examples of the alpha % that I've seen recently, versus the alpha...
  11. SpeedYellow

    My ingredient contains sodium; did I calculate this correctly?

    I'm considering using 2 boxes of graham crackers in a pumpkin ale (which a number of folks have done) and noticed the Sodium content on the label. Two boxes contains 4,200 mg sodium. Since this makes 5.5 gal (5 gal batch plus 0.5 lost to trub & hops), which is 21L, then is my PPM of sodium =...
  12. SpeedYellow

    How to calibrate gallons of volume or several lbs weight

    Has anyone found a good way to accurately calibrate their volumes or weights? A small scale for hops and minerals is easy: just buy a 100-gram calibration weight for $3 on amazon. But how to calibrate 1 gallon or 5-10 lbs? One possibility is buy a 1-gal jug of water (should be 8.35 lbs)...
  13. SpeedYellow

    Attempting to intentionally oxidize a beer.

    For the sake of better understanding the flavor of oxidized beer, I'd like to intentionally create some. Since I have a CO2 system, the plan is to half-fill a 1L PET bottle, shake it, and re-pressurize with CO2 through a carbonator cap to prevent it from going flat. Seems like this should...
  14. SpeedYellow

    Pitching process for dry lager yeast like Saflager

    After making dozens of lagers with liquid yeast, it's time to give dry yeast a shot in the interests of saving effort. But I can't understand the pitching process: after you rehydrate (at 73F or so) can you pitch this warm yeast directly into your 50F wort? With liquid yeast, this is generally...
  15. SpeedYellow

    Anyone use StarSan instead of vodka to make a tincture?

    I need to sanitize some citrus zest (orange and lemon peel) for secondary and am trying to find a good way to do that. Some folks use a couple ounces of vodka when making a spice tincture for secondary, but why not just use a standard dilution of Starsan? I'd assume the couple ounces of...
  16. SpeedYellow

    Got a few capped bottles needing some more carb, and lots of CO2 gear. Any ideas?

    I have a handful of 22 oz bottles that are a bit on the flat side. So the goal is to carbonate them more, while minimizing hassle and oxygenation. I have a CO2 system, a carbonation cap, lot of stoppers, tubing, etc. Perhaps pull the cap off, insert a stopper, then somehow attach the co2...
  17. SpeedYellow

    Is it typical for lag time to increase for re-used yeast on subsequent batches?

    I've been reusing a wyeast lager strain and found that after 3-4 reuses, the lag time on my last couple batches has been much greater. On the first few uses, I saw fermentation in 12-16 hours, but now it's not starting until around 48 hours. Obviously unacceptable. My process has been to...
  18. SpeedYellow

    What does stale bottled beer taste like - honey?

    I've had a couple examples of bottled beer recently that had a definite honey taste (Rogue Dead Guy and Hofbrauhaus original). Is this the taste of stale beer? It's really terrible when compared to fresh homebrew.
  19. SpeedYellow

    Is it even possible to achieve that authentic German crispness in a homebrewed lager?

    After brewing dozens of German-styled lagers, I'm beginning to think it's impossible to achieve that German character as a home brewer. It's that sharp crispness that clearly sets apart German lagers from American counterparts. My beers are IMHO professional-quality but lack that crispness, and...
  20. SpeedYellow

    Has anyone found a cheap knob to fit their regulator?

    My regulator, like so many others, didn't come with a knob, and I'm tired of looking for a screwdriver every time I want to make an adjustment. Surely there's something cheap out there, no? My regulator's shaft is threaded and has a nut, so I'd assume it's intended to have a knob.