Advice on BIG beer

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android

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i'm wondering if anyone can give some advice on brewing a BIG beer. any advice on a starter, efficiency loss, longer boil, aeration, longer mash/lower temp would be appreciated!
 

snailsongs

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i'm wondering if anyone can give some advice on brewing a BIG beer. any advice on a starter, efficiency loss, longer boil, aeration, longer mash/lower temp would be appreciated!
make a starter. you will lose efficiency with giant grain bills. you may need to boil longer to boil off the excess sparge water from a large grain bill. You should aerate your wort well. a longer mash at a lower temp will help ensure a full attenuation.
 
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the largest capacity i've got for a starter is a half gallon growler, any recommendations on how big to start it off and should i step it up?

also, if i insert a smaller diameter piece of tubing with a hole or two in the line when transfering from keggle to fermenter, will this give sufficient aeration? i've been reading that thread on cheap aeration and haven't been able to discern if that is alone sufficient or if i should stir it around some as well.

thanks for the quick reply.
 

woollybugger2

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I've got a Trippel on deck, OG 1.088 planning to pitch 1/2 gallon of starter Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey, had good results first go round with a direct pitch of the smack pack, hoping for better attenuation this time, with 1. large starter, and 2. more aeration and 3. longer primary!
 

david_42

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The best way to pitch a big beer is to make a smaller beer first and pitch on the cake. Effectively you have a five gallon starter.
 

SumnerH

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The best way to pitch a big beer is to make a smaller beer first and pitch on the cake. Effectively you have a five gallon starter.
Make sure you don't pitch on the _whole_ cake, though. Even with an OG of 1.110, that'd be overpitching by more than 5 times what you want. Fermentation will take off like a rocket, but like underpitching, overpitching is bad flavor-wise.
 

snailsongs

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The best way to pitch a big beer is to make a smaller beer first and pitch on the cake. Effectively you have a five gallon starter.
This can be true, but also has it's limits from what I've read. You can acquire flavor from the first beer and you can also have problems with stressed yeast. For really really big beers (like +1.100), though, this is by far the easiest way to go. Another way to determine yeast needed is to use the Mr Malty Pitching rate calculator.
If you decide to make a "5 gallon starter" beer, then I would do some futher reading on what types of beer would be suitable starters and how to best go about it.....
 

john from dc

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also, if i insert a smaller diameter piece of tubing with a hole or two in the line when transfering from keggle to fermenter, will this give sufficient aeration?
can someone explain this? in my experience a hole in the line generally causes wort to flow out of said hole. did you mean a hole or two at the end that's in the fermenter, to create multiple streams?

for big beers it's tough to get good aeration without oxygen or an aquarium pump. the preferred method seems to be vigorously shaking the fermenter, which should be ok if you pitch enough yeast. the calculator at mrmalty.com will give you the recommended pitch rate
 
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i think if you drill the hole diagonally, you can get intake of air instead of wort spillage.
 
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this is going to be a weizenbock, so I'm definitely going to use liquid, but that is a good idea otherwise.
 

EvilTOJ

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John, the tubing with the holes in it has to have a smaller diameter than the rest of the racking cane. There's more info here that explains how it works.
 

john from dc

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very interesting. it's a bit counterintuitive but it looks like it works well for people.

thanks!
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but you would not necessarily make a starter if you pitches multiple dry packets instead?
that's true. for that matter, if you're really adverse to doing a starter and have money just lying around that you don't know what to do with, you can just pitch a bunch of vials/smackpacks instead of a starter as well.
 

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Who has used starters from previous batches? How much of the yeast cake from a 5 gallon batch should be used for a new 5 gallon batch?
 

motobrewer

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yeah, i just pitched 2 packs of us-05 on a 1.107 RIS. fermented out within the week
 
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Who has used starters from previous batches? How much of the yeast cake from a 5 gallon batch should be used for a new 5 gallon batch?
lots of people reuse yeast from batch to batch. it's certainly possible to just collect and pitch some of a cake. or you can wash the yeast and reuse it when you're ready.
 

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I pitched a 3 gallon batch of 1.1 BW onto a 5 gallon cake of 1056 that took it down to 1.012.
Overpitched? Maybe.
Stalled fermentation? Not for a second.
Fully attenuated? Definately.
I bottled it October last year and have been sampling about every two months. The strange, dirty, hot alcohol flavor has dissipated into a drinkable, and hopefully good, beer.
I am not convinced you can criminally overpitch a beer of this size with a cake from a previous batch.
 

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I tend to agree, although I have no real first-hand experience to back this up. I think that if you overpitch, you'll be much better than if you underpitch. Just keep temps in line and since it's a bigger beer, you will want to rack to secondary. The only thing that I can believe could go wrong is having a lot of dead yeast cells hanging around from the previous batch, so you may want to rack off of them.
 
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