My yeast ranching strategy.

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My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:30 pm

This is actually a reply to someone else from somewhere else, so it might be wonky in some parts. Rather than have it go to waste, I figure it will be of help to someone here, or anyone that stumbles along the site. Thanks and good luck. :)

.......

I sincerely welcome and I'm very grateful for any research provided that is contradictory to my methods. My goal is always in the interest of best practice.

[...] My method has very little risk. I am pulling from the master to make 10 or so little 4ml vials filled halfway with yeast and the rest with a water/glycerin solution that's been sanatized by means of pressure cooking. The rest of the pouch (or vial) is then put into a 1-liter starter on a stir plate to be pitched in a batch. The vials are then prepared and labeled for storage in an isulated box in the freezer, so that later each one can be made into a starter for another batch of beer. Each contain a fresh culture which isn't susceptible to mutation, but bacterial infection could happen if I messed up.

The only risk I see, other than the starter, is dividing the package of yeast which is done in sterile conditions. For this step alone, I use a near-sealed clear Tupperware with gloves mounted to the side and work inside this box with the lid on. The container is drenched with a disinfectant/sanitizer and left to sit for a day with Seran wrap around the lid. Many brewers do this just fine without these extra safeties that I use. I would just hate to give someone a strain that's not absolutely pure. The way I do it, I can be positive that it's clean.

Here's the tupperware "busy room."
Image

and here's the inside.
Image

Notice that all holes were filled with silicone and there's a rubber/foam gasket glued around the rim to seal the top. I also clamp this in place on all four corners when it's being used. I intend to put a plexiglass window in the top but I haven't found a cheap supplier of 1'x8" plexiglass and I don't have an appropriate tool to cut a larger piece down to size.

It's almost necessary to make a starter anyway if the batch is above 1.060SG or the vial's "best by" date is less than a month and a half away. Making it from a 4ml vial instead of a package of yeast is only one extra step-up. Someone could buy two vials per batch but I can't really afford that. Using this method I can start a high gravity beer for around a dollar and if the starter gets infected in the process, it costs me much less to try again. That's also the beauty of a starter; It's like an acid test for your yeast at less risk than pitching the vial.

To avoid infections, I'll always wait until I drink the finished beer before using it's daughter vials. In order to prevent mutations I'll never wash yeast from a high alcohol beer and never wash the same yeast more than four times. (White labs suggests no more than 8-10, but the other experts suggest 4 or no more than 6.) I can just make 10 vials from each package of yeast, and repeat that four times in a row on each subsequent vial with enough left over to pitch. One package could potentially yield 10,065 batches of beer without the need to use washed yeast. If one batch is infected, I could simply destroy any of it's siblings and start from a different lineage. The first starter will tell me if the parent vial was infected before I made children vials. And if the resulting beer was bad, I would know before using or sharing it's children vials and destroy them before propagating them. Of course I would make atomic-explosion sounds and laugh maniacally while I did this.   :lol:

But the chance of mutation is along the order of one in half of a trillion or so cells as long as they are used with lower gravity beers and their temperatures are moderated well enough. Also mutations tend to not reproduce well. Homebrewers typically only work in the billions. So if I treat my little yeasties with dignity and respect, they'll love me long time.

And I would say that overall, it's not very difficult. I took health and safety courses for tattooing and yeast washing is cake compared to that sanitation procedure, and it's WAY easier than growing certain "kinds" of mushrooms, too, which takes crazy-ass sanitation.

I just finished making this from a single 4ml vial, and it smells, tastes, and looks perfect.  8-) 

Image

This is a 2-liter flask and it has way too much yeast for this batch (probably 5 white labs vials worth) but that's credited to the benefit of the stir plate. Half of this flask is what I need, the other half is to be stored or given away. I think it's super geeky but easier than it sounds. I would say that if someone can make an uninfected batch of beer in a bucket, they could ranch yeast. Just remember to always make a starter, and closely watch, smell, and taste it, which many brewers do anyway.

Good Luck! :D

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby bwarbiany on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:37 am

Very cool... One thing I can say, with this much science and attention to detail: I want to drink some of your beer :-)
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:43 pm

Thanks man! The truth is that I worry too much; more than is productive.

I had two brews that were back to back that both were faulted because I added too many of the wrong hops, and one had too much chocolate malt (12oz to 5gal, lol). I didn't get a chance to try the first before making the second, so they both are bad in my opinion. Some people like them, but I'm not sure if they're being polite. The beers have no infections or anything, they just are bad in recipe. Anyway, I stopped brewing for probably two months because I didn't want to waste another $50 on a bad batch.

Yesterday, I brewed an American wheat that I worked on the recipe for about a month. It's my first partial mash and I think I messed it up too, but this time it was the horrible bags I used to vorlauf-in-a-bag. I've never brewed a wheat beer and I assumed that I had recirculated enough, and that the reason it was cloudy was because of the proteins.

Well, I don't think that was the case because the two pounds I used left a vegetive matter in the wort and I think I got tannin extraction during the boil. :( on top of that the hop spider that I made practically disintegrated putting pellet hop material into the boil.

When racking it I tried my best to filter it out, but it just gummed up all the filters I used. So I'm going to rack to secondary after 10 days. I would also like to find polyclar because they say that fixes excess tannins, but I don't know where to get it locally.

So extremely long story short, my beers still suck. After solving one problem, I have another by trying to mini mash and having crap bags. So batch 3 is likely toast. But in case you want to try it (you don't,lol) I'll bring both batches to the next meeting. Expect astringency because that's all I seem to get.

Thanks Brad. :)

(EDIT: My 33rd post; The first after my 33rd birthday. 3 has been my lucky number since I was 13. Useless info, but I wanted to indicate that for myself. Thanks.)

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby bwarbiany on Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:06 pm

nevery wrote:So extremely long story short, my beers still suck.


Are you controlling fermentation temps? Given how anal you're being about yeast ranching, I figured you had all the basics under control. But I've always considered fermentation temp to be just about the most important thing I've seen in brewing. You can screw up a lot on the recipe side and still make a half-decent beer as long as you treat the yeast right.
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:51 pm

Within range, yes, but still using a water bath and ice bottles so it's hard to keep it steady. I use a thermometer that tells the highs and the lows until it's reset and it's always been within the extremes. This American Wheat has me a little worried because it's 74° top and if got it at 71-72° with a lot of watching. (last night and today.) If it gets much hotter in the next ten days, I'll likely have problems.

It just seems like I'm haunted by astringency, albeit hops or tannins.

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby bwarbiany on Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:16 am

nevery wrote:Within range, yes, but still using a water bath and ice bottles so it's hard to keep it steady. I use a thermometer that tells the highs and the lows until it's reset and it's always been within the extremes. This American Wheat has me a little worried because it's 74° top and if got it at 71-72° with a lot of watching. (last night and today.) If it gets much hotter in the next ten days, I'll likely have problems.

It just seems like I'm haunted by astringency, albeit hops or tannins.


FWIW, most of my beers ferment in the 60-68 range. I know the published temperature ranges for these yeasts allow for temps into the 70's, but I generally don't like the results up there.

My typical temp profile is to start a few degrees below target ferment range (i.e. if target is 64, I like to pitch around 60). Let it rise to 64 where my temp controller will hold it steady. Once I start to see visible fermentation drop off, I let it rise again, usually in 2 steps, up to 72. Once the bulk of fermentation is done, I like getting the temp up a bit to ensure the yeast will finish everything off.

FYI if you're worried about astringency and the results of picking up too much trub when siphoning from the boil kettle to the fermenter, don't worry. I've had batches were all of my break material ends up in the fermenter, and almost every batch I make still gets a significant amount of trub in there. I don't think that has any negative effect at all on the final product.
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby lexuschris on Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:49 am

:happybeer:
nevery wrote:Thanks man! The truth is that I worry too much; more than is productive.

RDWHAHB is sage advice for the new brewer who likes lots of details .. Relax. Don't Worry. Have a Home Brew...

nevery wrote:I had two brews that were back to back that both were faulted because I added too many of the wrong hops, and one had too much chocolate malt (12oz to 5gal, lol). I didn't get a chance to try the first before making the second, so they both are bad in my opinion. Some people like them, but I'm not sure if they're being polite. The beers have no infections or anything, they just are bad in recipe.

While there are ways to mess up a recipe (like using 100% crystal malts, 0% base malts), most of the time all you can do is be 'out-of-style' for a particular beer, or end up with something different than what you intended. Recipe mistakes should not be ruining a beer. Different hops? You may just find a fantastic hop for a recipe you never considered. A few oz. too much chocolate malt? Your Amber Ale is now a Brown Ale ... so what. :)

nevery wrote:Yesterday, I brewed an American wheat that I worked on the recipe for about a month. It's my first partial mash and I think I messed it up too, but this time it was the horrible bags I used to vorlauf-in-a-bag. I've never brewed a wheat beer and I assumed that I had recirculated enough, and that the reason it was cloudy was because of the proteins. Well, I don't think that was the case because the two pounds I used left a vegetive matter in the wort and I think I got tannin extraction during the boil. :(

I'm not familiar with 'vorlauf-in-a-bag'... but wheat beers tend to be cloudy. When you voarlauf, you want to remove all husk/grain material from the wort. When pieces of husk/grain make it into a boil (or temps over 170-F) you begin to get tannin extraction. You shouldn't be seeing floaties in your wort as you are starting to heat up for the boil... that could be a source of astringency.


nevery wrote:on top of that the hop spider that I made practically disintegrated putting pellet hop material into the boil.

Pellet hops in the boil ... sounds liek where they should be. Hop & break material into the fermenter is how I made beer for many years. It should not be causing any problems, although many of us like to keep our fermenters as free from excess material as is reasonable.

My first suggestion is focus your energy on good process & technique, and keep to established recipes as you learn. As Brad said, good fermentation controll is *the best* first thing to get your hands around. It also sounds like getting your vorlauf & mash process nailed down so no husk material hits the boil kettle would help.

Keep trying and relax. don't worry. :) have a homebrew!
:happybeer:
--LexusChris
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:40 am

bwarbiany wrote:[...]My typical temp profile is to start a few degrees below target ferment range (i.e. if target is 64, I like to pitch around 60). Let it rise to 64 where my temp controller will hold it steady. Once I start to see visible fermentation drop off, I let it rise again, usually in 2 steps, up to 72. Once the bulk of fermentation is done, I like getting the temp up a bit to ensure the yeast will finish everything off.

FYI if you're worried about astringency and the results of picking up too much trub when siphoning from the boil kettle to the fermenter, don't worry. I've had batches were all of my break material ends up in the fermenter, and almost every batch I make still gets a significant amount of trub in there. I don't think that has any negative effect at all on the final product.


I never knew how long to wait before ramping up. That's actually the info I've been looking for so thank you!

Actually, I learned that I did not recirculate long enough with the one bag, and the hop bag still tore open and sucked. I tasted astringency before pitching. What happened is that the fine plant matter came through into the boil, and that caused the astringency.

As for the first two, i'm pretty sure that the hop that I used is the blame because they were extract with steeping grains and the temperature never approached 170 with either of the steeping bags. But the hop profile says that this hop is known for possible astringency. They are astringent for no apparent reason and that's the only thing that could account for it.

Good to know about the trub, too. I just know there was too much vegital matter in the boil and that was made astringent and then got transferred. My theory is that maybe if I could have removed the astringent plant matter from the fermentation that it might be little better.

Last night I made a mini swamp cooler out of a fish pump and a tube, using the fan and the water bath I've been using. I'll post pics soon, if it worked. But until I get a fridge I am trying my best about the temps, and I'm already $750-1000 deep into this (including seven batches, four unmade) so I don't know if I'll likely get one any time soon.

I really do appreciate your help. Thank you.

Edit: shoot, Chris... Gimme a second and I'll reply, we just cross-posted.

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:18 pm

lexuschris wrote:RDWHAHB is sage advice for the new brewer who likes lots of details .. Relax. Don't Worry. Have a Home Brew...

Thanks man.

lexuschris wrote:While there are ways to mess up a recipe (like using 100% crystal malts, 0% base malts), most of the time all you can do is be 'out-of-style' for a particular beer, or end up with something different than what you intended. Recipe mistakes should not be ruining a beer. Different hops? You may just find a fantastic hop for a recipe you never considered. A few oz. too much chocolate malt? Your Amber Ale is now a Brown Ale ... so what. :)

Lol. Good point. I guess I'm at the limit of my expense-to-reward ratio. I thought that taking so long and researching every single ingredient that was in that batch would give me a PHENOMINAL beer, but it's still plagued with problems, and I can't afford to be spending $50 or so every time to get these results. At this point, I think I'll have to brew for 4 years to start seeing a return on my investments, and I'm not even close to having the equipment that will benefit the beer the most, the fridge, a propane burner and a ball valve setup. And I also have a hard time drinking my own beers.

lexuschris wrote:I'm not familiar with 'vorlauf-in-a-bag'... but wheat beers tend to be cloudy. When you voarlauf, you want to remove all husk/grain material from the wort. When pieces of husk/grain make it into a boil (or temps over 170-F) you begin to get tannin extraction. You shouldn't be seeing floaties in your wort as you are starting to heat up for the boil... that could be a source of astringency


Vorlauf in a bag is when you line a bottling bucket with a 24" x 24" brew bag, mash separately, and then recirculate into the top of the bucket using bag as the tun filter and the bottling spigot as the valve. It's just like a BIAB except that you get to vorlauf. They also call it "sparge in a bag." I was using flaked wheat so I was worried about extraction and that's why I did it.

I saw matter that settled to the bottom and could be stirred up. I stired up the wort after the boil and poured off a glass and let it sit to settle. It looked like creamish, malt-colored, matter mixed with hop material. It looked like sludge... Almost like the fine powder you shake out of the grain bag before you BIAB or steep, except I shook the bag for about 5 minutes to remove that before I mashed. The final mash wort cleared to a brown color except for when I stirred it, it turned lighter, and that was before the hops. I assumed that it had something to do with proteins and figured the boil would break it down, but it didn't.

lexuschris wrote:Pellet hops in the boil ... sounds liek where they should be. Hop & break material into the fermenter is how I made beer for many years. It should not be causing any problems, although many of us like to keep our fermenters as free from excess material as is reasonable.

My first suggestion is focus your energy on good process & technique, and keep to established recipes as you learn. As Brad said, good fermentation controll is *the best* first thing to get your hands around. It also sounds like getting your vorlauf & mash process nailed down so no husk material hits the boil kettle would help.

Keep trying and relax. don't worry. :) have a homebrew!
:happybeer:
--LexusChris


Cool man. :cheers: Thank you for your help. Based on what you guys are saying, maybe it had something to do with proteins not being converted. Will that lead to tannins or astringency?

See the thing is that how can people BIAB without extracting tannins, yet my attempt yielded that mess? They aren't even recirculating one time and yet they have no problems.

Here's the bill and steps...
1lb 6-row
0.5lb honey malt
0.5lb flaked wheat

Protein rest 2 gals at 122° for 10 mins.
Mash at 152° for 60 mins.
Sparge with 2 gallons 168°over 15 mins.

I know that's a lot of water to mash 2 lbs with, but the grains weren't covered with water.

I have a digital thermometer and it's -1.5°F @ 212°

Thanks again.

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby bwarbiany on Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:55 pm

nevery wrote:At this point, I think I'll have to brew for 4 years to start seeing a return on my investments,


Pffft.

You'll buy *way* more stuff in the next four years! :lol:

But seriously, a fridge is cheap. Here's what I found in 30 seconds of searching... http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/3260982572.html

Sure, you have to add a temp controller to that (another $50-70), but it's one of the most worthwhile spends in brewing.

Myself and Alex (3rdto1st here on BC) are planning on doing a side-by-side brew before the end of the year to investigate the value of temperature control on yeast. I can brew 15 gallons but can only ferment 10, so we're going to do a combined batch where *everything* will be identical except that I'll ferment 10 gallons in my fridge and he'll ferment 5 without temp control. We'll plan on bringing both beers to a future meeting for comparison.
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby lexuschris on Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:13 pm

nevery wrote:See the thing is that how can people BIAB without extracting tannins, yet my attempt yielded that mess? They aren't even recirculating one time and yet they have no problems.


Forgive me if I restate stuff you've already read, but the trick to mashing (mini or otherwise) and BIAB or other lautering systems is this.

+ Grains need to be in water at temp of 148-F to 158-F .. that is the range where the enzymes (alpha & beta amylase) of the (base) grain will convert the grain starches into fermentable maltose and non-fermentable dextrins. Grain material is pretty safe at this temp, as long as pH is within the recommend 5.2-5.6 range.

+ Lautering is designed to remove the wort from the grain material so that it can be brought to a boil. You never want the grain material to be that hot, as tannins are extracted from the husks above 170-F. High-pH in your sparge water can also extract some tannins.

+ BIAB has all the mash grains at mash temp in the bag. When you are done with mashing, you just lift up the bag and all the clear wort drains out. It is the lautering step for that technique. What is left in the ketttle should be clear wort (no husk). Having some grain dust should be fine.

+ Now you can safely bring the wort to a boil, add your hops, and finish making the beer. It is normal towards the end to see more and more hot break material appear. Especially if you use Irish Moss or something like that in the last 10 minutes. It causes those proteins to coagulate and appear like clumpy sheets of white gunk. That is ok, and will not harm anything. I've put that stuff in my fermenter before. However, nowadays, I whirlpool my boil kettle (by stirring quickly or by pump action) and let the material clump in the center of the kettle. Then I carefully drain form side, and collect mostly clear wort to ferment.

So it sounds like you are transferring your mash wort into a bottle bucket, with the bag there to seperate it. As long as the bag doesn't break, you shouldn't get any husk material... you should be fine.

I will say that with the lighter beers, and most tap waters, you may have a higher pH than desired for the mash. This could contribute some of that astringency.

Hope that helps in some way!
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:22 pm

bwarbiany wrote:Pffft.

You'll buy *way* more stuff in the next four years! :lol:

But seriously, a fridge is cheap. Here's what I found in 30 seconds of searching... http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/ele/3260982572.html

Sure, you have to add a temp controller to that (another $50-70), but it's one of the most worthwhile spends in brewing.

Myself and Alex (3rdto1st here on BC) are planning on doing a side-by-side brew before the end of the year to investigate the value of temperature control on yeast. I can brew 15 gallons but can only ferment 10, so we're going to do a combined batch where *everything* will be identical except that I'll ferment 10 gallons in my fridge and he'll ferment 5 without temp control. We'll plan on bringing both beers to a future meeting for comparison.

Re:$$ Thanks for the encouraging words! Lol. J/K

Thanks man. I'll also need to rent a truck to move the fridge but I guess the next big purchase will be that. I'd also like to see the results of the experiment. It sounds like a neat test.

lexuschris wrote:Forgive me if I restate stuff you've already read, but the trick to mashing (mini or otherwise) and BIAB or other lautering systems is this. No, thank you for your effort! Very much appreciated! :D

+ Grains need to be in water at temp of 148-F to 158-F .. that is the range where the enzymes (alpha & beta amylase) of the (base) grain will convert the grain starches into fermentable maltose and non-fermentable dextrins. Grain material is pretty safe at this temp, as long as pH is within the recommend 5.2-5.6 range. Now that you mention it, I can't figure out how to find the pH for my tap water. I have all the numbers in the report, but I don't see the pH specifically. I used 4gals RO water and 1gal tap. I put the 1gal tap into the mash and the rest was RO, and I also crushed half the campden tablet and put that into the mash.

+ Lautering is designed to remove the wort from the grain material so that it can be brought to a boil. You never want the grain material to be that hot, as tannins are extracted from the husks above 170-F. High-pH in your sparge water can also extract some tannins.Again, it might have been pH

+ BIAB has all the mash grains at mash temp in the bag. When you are done with mashing, you just lift up the bag and all the clear wort drains out. It is the lautering step for that technique. What is left in the ketttle should be clear wort (no husk). Having some grain dust should be fine. I got about 1.5-2 inches of whatever matter that was. Quite a bit, and the runoff certainly wasn't clear, although I expected it to be hazy from the wheat

+ Now you can safely bring the wort to a boil, add your hops, and finish making the beer. It is normal towards the end to see more and more hot break material appear. Especially if you use Irish Moss or something like that in the last 10 minutes. It causes those proteins to coagulate and appear like clumpy sheets of white gunk. this looked like a floating cloud in the glass that I poured off and what looked like cream colored sand settled in the bottom That is ok, and will not harm anything. I've put that stuff in my fermenter before. However, nowadays, I whirlpool my boil kettle (by stirring quickly or by pump action) and let the material clump in the center of the kettle. Then I carefully drain form side, and collect mostly clear wort to ferment. this took up maybe the last 3inches or so of the kettle when it settled for about 30 minutes and I didn't want to waste the wort. When left for hours it settled to 2 inches.

So it sounds like you are transferring your mash wort into a bottle bucket, with the bag there to seperate it. As long as the bag doesn't break, you shouldn't get any husk material... you should be fine. it didn't look like husks, but more like sand or something; like the powder that you shake out of the bag before mashing or steeping.

I will say that with the lighter beers, and most tap waters, you may have a higher pH than desired for the mash. This could contribute some of that astringency.

Hope that helps in some way!
--LexusChris


It helps in a lot of ways! Maybe it was only my pH then? Thanks Chris!

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby nevery on Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:46 am

I think I figured out one of the problems with this last batch and astringency, I ended up using too much water in the mash in order to cover the grains. I was using a small 2.5 lunchbox-style cooler and the grains weren't covered with water, so I heated up more water and filled it to about 2gals for 2 pounds, which probably leeched tannins. Although I still suspect pH because I used 1-gal tap water for the mash and RO water to top off.

So lessons learned...
  • Keep water to mash ratio between 1.25 and 2.5 quarts to pounds ratio.
  • Moniter pH of water closer.
  • Once high ferment dies down, raise temp 4° then a few days later 4° more.
  • Vorlauf for close to an hour to clear the wort.
  • Maintain mash pH, water ratio, and ferment temps.
  • Maintain mash pH, water ratio, and ferment temps.
  • Maintain mash pH, water ratio, and ferment temps.

Surprisingly, this beer is pretty damn clear and I used a sink-bath to cool it and didn't vorlauf enough. It'll probably be susceptible to chill haze, though.

Thanks everyone! :D

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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby brahn on Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:34 pm

IIRC the reason to keep the mash ratio in that range is to keep the pH from being too high, so you're right to suspect pH.
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Re: My yeast ranching strategy.

Postby lexuschris on Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:36 pm

nevery wrote:So lessons learned...
- Keep water to mash ratio between 1.25 and 2.5 quarts to pounds ratio.
- Moniter pH of water closer.
- Once high ferment dies down, raise temp 4° then a few days later 4° more.
- Vorlauf for close to an hour to clear the wort.


From what I've read, many all-grain folks shoot for a 1.25 qt/lbs ... with thick mashes going down to 1.0 qt/lbs and thin mashes up to 2.0 qt/lbs. Most of the 'thin mash' posts that I've read are folks looking to extract max efficiency from their systems. I would recommend to avoid chasing mash efficiency at this stage (if ever). I'd rather put in an extra pound of grain for $1.00 and have a good beer, than worry about maxing my efficiency.

I always go for 1.25 qt/lbs.. unless I am about to max out my tun with a big high OG beer, where I may go down to 1.0 qt/lbs to squeeze it in there.

Also, you mention vorlaufing for 1 hour. I do not think that is common practice, and would be an unneccesary delay in your brew day. All you are trying to do is make sure the wort you are collecting from the bottom of the mash tun is free of grain & husk material. When I was gravity draining my 10-gal Igloo cooler, I just put a small bucket under the output spout until it ran clear (usually within 2-3 quarts) and then remove it. The clear wort would continue then into the boil kettle and I would gentle re-add the cloudy wort to the top of the grain bed. The grain bed should naturally compact and act like a big filter, so if you pour gently on the top .. those grains in the bucket will get trapped on the top, and only the clear wort will continue out.

Good luck & happy brewing! :)
--LexusChris
"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." – W.C. Fields
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