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DocAnna

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So I guess I'm rather new here so I hope it's ok to start a thread here, I think it might be more useful than the written records I keep.

Today trying a stepped starter for the first time since the packs of Lallemand diamond yeast I have are not even remotely close to the pitch rate I'm looking for the two lagers I'm looking to do this weekend. I had thought of just doing one but if I'm going to tie up my fermenting fridge for weeks at a low temperature I thought I might as well make best use of it and do two lots of 23 litres. These are AG kits from geterbrewed, a light lager and a Bohemian pils lager. Both are supplied with 11g of diamond lager yeast which would at best give me 0.34M cells / mL / °P rather than the 1.5M I'm targeting which seems like a recipe for diacetyl disaster. A single stage starter would need a rather large volume, so instead I'm going to do 2 x 1.75 litre, chill, decant and then 2x 2.5 litre starter (in bigger demijohns) which by this calculator Yeast Pitch Rate and Starter Calculator - Brewer's Friend gives me 1.58M for the stronger one and more than enough for the lighter - so can take 500ml off the latter and play with trying to keep it viable in the fridge while the lager does its thing then bring it out to add after decanted to the final wort for bottling to assist carbonation. All good in theory

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In practice so far
For each 22g yeast
Dissolved 27.5g Go Ferm Protect in 500ml boiling water (yes I know it should have been 550ml but my flask was only 500ml), then cooled to 30 deg C
Added yeast allowed to passively cool for 15 - 20min to 21 deg - light foam already
Boiled up 3 litre wort with 287g DME for 10min - cooled to 26 deg
Divided the wort and yeast suspension between the two jars for a volume of 1.75 l each leaving at room temp - 22 deg approx
V active foam within 2 hours

So far made the two starters and aware that the bottles are a wee bit small for the starter volume with foam, just will have to be careful shaking them (no I've not invested in a stir plate... but it's on the Christmas list).
I used Go Ferm protect to aid rehydration of the yeast, partly because I had some anyway and partly because Lallemand recommend it for rehydration of this yeast on their data sheet. My concern is that it doesn't properly dissolve so will always be part of the yeast mix all the way through including in the 500ml I keep back for bottling and which may end up in the bottles - going to have to have a think about that one !
Also I should really be leaving them somewhere a bit warmer even as a lager yeast starter, but my fermentation fridge is currently cold crashing a Citra pale ale which I'll need out of there by Saturday.
Next step chill tomorrow night overnight - should give it 36 hours to multiply this time, then on Thursday make up to 2nd starter. Slight problem is that I work all day on Thursday including the evening, so I'll make up the wort on Wednesday and seal the demijohns till I can add the yeast mix on Thursday morning. A bit worried about leaving wort overnight with no yeast in it in case of contamination, but I think that's my best bet.

Anna
 

Gerryjo

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That's a lot of work as I've used the Diamond lager yeast pitched dry and only one packet each time and had great results for 21 litre batches one of which should have been a BIPA but I used the lager yeast and it was fantastic which reminds me that I should brew it again.
Next time you brew up a lager try one dry and the other with a starter and see if there is a noticeable difference.Good luck....
 

DocAnna

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Just bottled the Citra pale ale and the fact that it was a bit short on yield was made up on it tasting totally yum even before conditioning and carbonation. I really love the citrus taste. Since it was just a dried ale yeast I added the trub and yeast to the compost bins which I reckon should make for pretty good compost.

Ok so space in the fridge now for the lagers. The starters are a bit odd though - made from the same divided rehydrate and same batch of boiled wort - but when I divided the wort the first decant was opaque and the later was clear - I thought it might be the cold break proteins but seemed odd to get that with DME - so the opaque one has settled with a darker layer over the yeast..... not sure if that is something to worry about??
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DocAnna

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So Sunday was a wee bit busy...

In addition to the below brew, I also squeezed in a Sunday roast beef dinner with the trimmings while boiling and cooling the wort.

Bohemian pilsner lager from Premium Bohemian Pilsener All Grain Ingredient Kit - 23 Litres 6.2% - Get Er Brewed
First thing to note is that the printed instructions as such in this kit are naff and best ignored, and don't align with sense, internal logic or their web site. Good company, useless instructions.
The online version is a bit better:
  • Grain Bill is 5.7kg
  • 14.25 Litres of strike water at 75 degrees
  • Mashing for 60 minutes at 68 degrees
  • Sparging 13.75 Litres
  • Boil size of 28 Litres
  • Hop additions at 60 mins, 30 mins, 10 mins and 0 mins - 20.6 IBU's
  • Lallemand Diamond Lager Yeast
  • OG 1058
  • FG 1010
Due to using the Robobrew, I increased the strike water from 17 litres, and heated to 71 deg instead - though due to subsequent difficulties getting up to mash temp this was too much of an adjustment for the volume change. Mashed for 90 min since it took a good half hour to get the top of the mash to the correct temperature.
Sparged 17 litres at 81 deg to allow for heat capacity of grain aiming for sparge grain temp of 76 deg - and still undershot!
Boil size 29 litres which was a litre over intended so boiled on both the 1900 and 500 elements - which over compensated - *sigh* theme of the day really.
Cooled to 24 deg using the chiller and then in the fridge to down to 14 deg then pitched the starter made earlier - should have been well over the 1.5M pitch rate I was aiming for. Continued chilling and temp had reached and held at 12 deg within a couple of hours.

Just about hit target OG at 1.057

Oh and also managed to remove the stones from all this lot of plums, package and freeze them for some plum wine (and cordial for my youngest daughter who asked for something she was allowed to drink from these!)

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(also managed out for tea and a cake with the OH inbetween sparging and boiling -keeping the wort at 80 to stop bacterial contamination while waiting)

Anna
 

Brew_DD2

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So Sunday was a wee bit busy...

In addition to the below brew, I also squeezed in a Sunday roast beef dinner with the trimmings while boiling and cooling the wort.

Bohemian pilsner lager from Premium Bohemian Pilsener All Grain Ingredient Kit - 23 Litres 6.2% - Get Er Brewed
First thing to note is that the printed instructions as such in this kit are naff and best ignored, and don't align with sense, internal logic or their web site. Good company, useless instructions.
The online version is a bit better:
  • Grain Bill is 5.7kg
  • 14.25 Litres of strike water at 75 degrees
  • Mashing for 60 minutes at 68 degrees
  • Sparging 13.75 Litres
  • Boil size of 28 Litres
  • Hop additions at 60 mins, 30 mins, 10 mins and 0 mins - 20.6 IBU's
  • Lallemand Diamond Lager Yeast
  • OG 1058
  • FG 1010
Due to using the Robobrew, I increased the strike water from 17 litres, and heated to 71 deg instead - though due to subsequent difficulties getting up to mash temp this was too much of an adjustment for the volume change. Mashed for 90 min since it took a good half hour to get the top of the mash to the correct temperature.
Sparged 17 litres at 81 deg to allow for heat capacity of grain aiming for sparge grain temp of 76 deg - and still undershot!
Boil size 29 litres which was a litre over intended so boiled on both the 1900 and 500 elements - which over compensated - *sigh* theme of the day really.
Cooled to 24 deg using the chiller and then in the fridge to down to 14 deg then pitched the starter made earlier - should have been well over the 1.5M pitch rate I was aiming for. Continued chilling and temp had reached and held at 12 deg within a couple of hours.

Just about hit target OG at 1.057

Oh and also managed to remove the stones from all this lot of plums, package and freeze them for some plum wine (and cordial for my youngest daughter who asked for something she was allowed to drink from these!)

View attachment 31855

(also managed out for tea and a cake with the OH inbetween sparging and boiling -keeping the wort at 80 to stop bacterial contamination while waiting)

Anna


Great write up Anna! That sounds like a super busy brew day. I'm usually absolutely whacked after a standard brew day, never mind throwing a Sunday roast and stoning dozens of plums into the mix. Great effort!

How's that Diamond yeast performing for you?
 

DocAnna

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Thanks ☺ it was a good sort of busy rather than a work sort of busy.
I didn't though manage to do both lagers at the weekend as I thought I might so one batch of the yeast was rinsed and has been kept in the fridge. It has settled out to a much smaller volume than expected for the size of starter, a vague feeling of 'all that work just for this...!' However it will be good for the next brewday soon.

The Diamond in the Bohemian pils seemed pretty active within hours even at the low temp, and now the wort has that dense opaque appearance and already a disconcertingly thick layer of yeast at the bottom that is clearly active. I've not made a lager from all grain before now and I'm rather enjoying the fiddliness (if there is such a word) of it :cool:. It's going to tie up my fermenting fridge for quite a while so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

In other news, I've been trying to teach my son how to brew from kits at a really simple level so he can brew once back at university and not spend so much in the pub! He's done a couple of kits under supervision but despite my encouragement hasn't got round to another and it's always a case of he'll do it another day. I'm now thinking of just dropping off a couple of crates of beer every few weeks if I'm over visiting since I enjoy making beer at a rate far faster than I could drink it and the scope for having friends to drink it under COVID household rules is v limiting. I think he and his friends might just appreciate a regular beer delivery.

Anna
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Brew_DD2

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Thanks ☺ it was a good sort of busy rather than a work sort of busy.
I didn't though manage to do both lagers at the weekend as I thought I might so one batch of the yeast was rinsed and has been kept in the fridge. It has settled out to a much smaller volume than expected for the size of starter, a vague feeling of 'all that work just for this...!' However it will be good for the next brewday soon.

The Diamond in the Bohemian pils seemed pretty active within hours even at the low temp, and now the wort has that dense opaque appearance and already a disconcertingly thick layer of yeast at the bottom that is clearly active. I've not made a lager from all grain before now and I'm rather enjoying the fiddliness (if there is such a word) of it :cool:. It's going to tie up my fermenting fridge for quite a while so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

In other news, I've been trying to teach my son how to brew from kits at a really simple level so he can brew once back at university and not spend so much in the pub! He's done a couple of kits under supervision but despite my encouragement hasn't got round to another and it's always a case of he'll do it another day. I'm now thinking of just dropping off a couple of crates of beer every few weeks if I'm over visiting since I enjoy making beer at a rate far faster than I could drink it and the scope for having friends to drink it under COVID household rules is v limiting. I think he and his friends might just appreciate a regular beer delivery.

AnnaView attachment 31970


You'll be the coolest mum on campus! University will be an odd environment for quite a while, so I'm sure the liquid refreshments will be gratefully received!

I always feel that way about lager starters. Feels like step after step for, what seems like, little return. The fact that you had such a quick start to fermentation is great, and the final beer will surely reap the benefits of having such healthy, vibrant yeasties.

Have you checked out the warm fermentation Lager experiments from Brūlosophy? I don't do exactly the same thing, but some of the techniques they discuss have really improved my lagers, and cut down the fermentation length significantly.
 

SamBrewster

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I try to leave Fridays meeting free but someone always books something. Today had to start the mash late and mash for longer to accommodate. Often forget about a meeting on a brew day... Never turn up late, apologise next time only IF they comment... Games with the kids after school, I love working from home 😀
 

DocAnna

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Ok 36lb of plums to juice today. I froze them but they’ve taken two days to defrost so I’m a bit worried about contamination. I’m going to try to juice them and then take them up to pasteurisation temperature for a half hour to avoid spoilage. I know that risks mucking around with the flavour but better that than lose the lot to bacteria.
 

jof

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You could also add some crushed campden tablets to the juice (24 hours before starting fermentation & when you add pectolytic enzyme - if thats your plan). That was the old way of doing it.

Also, have you ever experimented with making low strenght beer with younger teenagers?
I did a 1 gallon batch with my daughter a few years ago using crystal malt & hops. Only added sugar was enough to prime for secondary fermentation.
Was a bit watery, but did seem to improve a bit with age :)
 

DocAnna

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You could also add some crushed campden tablets to the juice (24 hours before starting fermentation & when you add pectolytic enzyme - if thats your plan). That was the old way of doing it.

Also, have you ever experimented with making low strenght beer with younger teenagers?
I did a 1 gallon batch with my daughter a few years ago using crystal malt & hops. Only added sugar was enough to prime for secondary fermentation.
Was a bit watery, but did seem to improve a bit with age :)
How much campden powder would you add for 5 gallons - I normally only add a tiny amount? Thanks.

Anna
 

DocAnna

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So the plum wine...

Not really going to be a reproducible recipe since this was a ‘what have I got in my stores’ sort of recipe and only very vaguely related to anything online or in a book. The basic problem was having too many plums, so stated with 36 lb but used a couple of those as a non alcoholic plum and ginger juice for my daughter.

So 34 lb and ended up in 27 litres or about 6 gallons, just over 5 1/2 lb per gallon which is 1 1/2 more than any recipe I’ve seen. To compensate I thought I’d reduce the added sugar:
4 kg sugar (3 of sucrose,1 of dextrose just what ~I had)
1.2 kg honey ( equivalent to about 970g sugars~)
1.5kg blended sultanas ( equivalent to about 1050g sugar)
6x 7.5g Tronozymol yeast nutrient
6x 5g pectinase
1.5g wine tannin
5 x 2.5g potassium metabisulphite - pack said 2.5g per gallon but it was only just under 5 Gallons at this stage before adding the water
16 g Lalvin EC 118 Champagne yeast - was going to add Just 10g but it was the remains of the supply I had and well a bit extra won’t do any harm.

So overall that’s 6 kg sugars (1kg per gallon) in addition to the plum juice - and I’m fermenting on the pulp initially. I thought this was a fair bit lower than most recipes but they added far more water than the 3.5 litres I used.

So I was a bit surprised when it came out at 24.8 Brix, I didn’t use a hydrometer as I reckoned the pulp would confuse the reading. Still that’s coming out at 15% for a wine which is a bit EEK! So I think after I’ve strained off the pulp I’ll make the volume back up with water to 6 Gallons which should make it a bit more standard drinkable.

I’ve used an old Coopers fermenter with an extension collar in case the yeast gets a bit overenthusiastic in the initial stage with that volume. 10 hours after pitching and it’s already bubbling away.

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Incidentally re the yeast starters, I'm told that the viable cell count goes up much higher if you can arrange to continuously stir them. I don't know whether that's true, but it certainly does add to the entertainment. I got a mixed selection of magnetic stir-bars online and made a DIY 'stir plate' by glueing a couple of rare earth magnets onto an old PC fan... works a treat

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DocAnna

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Incidentally re the yeast starters, I'm told that the viable cell count goes up much higher if you can arrange to continuously stir them. I don't know whether that's true, but it certainly does add to the entertainment. I got a mixed selection of magnetic stir-bars online and made a DIY 'stir plate' by glueing a couple of rare earth magnets onto an old PC fan... works a treat
Oh that is soo smart ! I love this as a DIY magnetic stirrer - pure genius! Yes I would love a magnetic stir plate and have added one to my Amazon Christmas wish list so hopefully my parents might get me it! They are used to me suggesting somewhat unusual presents 😁
 
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I love this as a DIY magnetic stirrer - pure genius!
Wish I could claim the credit, but it was an idea I copied from here :-) If you use this approach you do need to be able to adjust the fan speed a bit (could be as simple as a variable resistor in series with it) otherwise it creates a slightly over-enthusiastic vortex
 

DocAnna

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The plum wine is proving rather interesting
Day 4 and over the last couple of days all the pulp had risen to the top, lost much of its colour and the mix was bubbling away, and by this I don't mean bubbling on an air lock, more actively bubbling in the FV. So I decanted off the liquid from the pulp straining it with only a small residue and a damp pulp. Topped up with about 2 litres of water and into a fresh FV with an air lock. Crikey the yeast seems to really like its new home, I've never heard a FV fizz constantly and the airlock is a bit pointless given the flow out of it which is a bit impressive after 4 days.
Anna
 

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