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Author Topic: Fermentation techniques  (Read 4607 times)

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Offline Ed

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Fermentation techniques
« on: March 13, 2011, 10:10:27 AM »
This is my typical ale fermentation procedure. Things sometimes vary because of circumstances.

Cool the wort with immersion heat exchanger for 10 minutes, sit for 20 mins to let hot break settle.

Transfer 1 litre for quick chilling in the freezer and the remainder to settling tank which goes into the fridge for chilling to fermentation temperature. The 1 litre is pitched with previously harvested yeast as soon as it's cool enough (typically around 1/2 hour later), to act as the starter.

The wort takes around 5 hours before it's down to around 20c and during that time, there's also cold break that's settled out. I rack and aerate the wort to the fermenter, leaving as much break behind as possible, and pitch the now active starter.

I usually skim the beer on the second and third day to remove any corruption, and crop when there's a good clean head of yeast. The harvest is mixed with around 500ml of chilled boiled water and stored in the fridge for use on the next brew. With poor croppers, I take 1 litre from the ferment at around 12 to 24 hours.

I normally leave the beer to ferment for around 7 days. It's then chilled to 1 to 2c, fined, and left for another week. After that, it's kegged and force carbonated. Last one actually had an iceberg floating in it, which I didn't notice until I couldn't work out why 22 litres wouldn't entirely fill a 19 litre keg :)

Been using this procedure, or variations of it (including dropping), for around 12 months now (20 brews). Sounds like lots of extra work but I'm convinced that removing hop and protein residues during ferment gives me a smoother beer which mellows earlier.

Anyhow, please post your procedures, always interesting to read what others do. Would especially like to hear how others are handling their lager ferments. Had a long absence from lager brewing but plan on doing some during winter.

Cheers, Ed
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Offline Screwy

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2011, 11:29:27 AM »
Thanks Ed, this is how I do it.

Begin recirculation through the plate chiller 15 min before flame out, with no chilling water flow.  This is done as a final sanitisation, the chiller is cleaned with caustic or pbw the day before use and rinsed.  I have a probe in the chiller outlet, temp is usually around 98C out of the chiller.  At flame out water flow is begun through the chiller.  Once the wort is at 80C water flow is stopped again and steep hops added.  After 20 min at steep temp water flow is turned on again to the chiller for 20 min to whirlpool in the kettle.  Flow of wort is then reduced to a trickle to achieve maximum chilling.  2L of wort is drawn off for use as a starter the remainder is run into the fermenter while yeast is added to the starter wort.  Once the fermenter is filled it's placed in the fermentation fridge.  Once the wort is at pitching temp and the starter is actively fermenting (6 - 20 hrs depending on temps etc) I whisk the wort using a large SS kitchen whisk to aerate and pitch the starter.  Wort is aerated again after 12 hrs and again at 24 if no krausen has formed (usually has).  Fermenter/s are left open or sometimes with lids lightly screwed on (no airlock) for 7 days.  If using a true top cropping ale yeast I top crop at day three.  After 7 days fermentation the airlock is added and the lid secured.  After a further 7 days and once terminal gravity has been reached the temperature is dropped to 2C or thereabouts for 3 days.  Once fermentation is complete, the fermenter is removed from the frdge and a quick drain of 100ml or so of beer removes the yeast from the tap.  This is tossed and then 200ml of beer is collected in a pyrex jug. Two teaspoons of gelatine is added and left for 5 min to hydrate.  The beer and gelatine is then stirred/mixed and placed in the microwave at power setting 2 for 10 min to dissolve and pasteurise.  This gelatine and beer fining mix is added to the bottom of a keg and then the keg is filled with the remaining beer.  To rack from the fermenter to the keg a length of sterilised PVC hose is attached to the fermenter tap.  This hose is of a suitable length to reach the bottom of the empty keg.  The keg is then headed with Co2 and burped before being placed in the cold conditioning freezer for a few weeks.  Kegs are then ready to put on tap in the keggerator for serving.

Cheers,

Screwy
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 06:42:02 PM by Screwy »
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Offline Paulwolf

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2011, 04:05:57 PM »
I treat all my beers the same way, at flameout I give wort a quick whirlpool with a sanitized spoon, then counterflow chill straight into my fermenter. Fermenter is then placed in fridge.

I do all of my starters on a stir plate, so on brew day they are turned off so yeast can settle out.After fermenter has been placed in fridge and nearing fermenting temp (about an hour for ales and 3 - 4 hours for lagers), starter wort is poured off starter until there is a thin slurry. Wort is then oxygenated with pure o2 for 30 seconds, starter slurry is pitched and stirred in and fermenter left to reduce to temp. I put lids and airlocks on my fermenters.

After fermentation has ceased for a few days, I crash chill for a further 7 days, I add gelatin to sanitized keg as per Screwys method and rack onto that using PVC tube on the fermenter tap. Keg is gassed and refrigerated for a couple days then a litre discarded though beer tap and a sample is tasted!

Paul

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2011, 05:28:37 AM »
As a lager brewer I am again similar to the rest

38 litres, HERMS system.

A few days bewfore brew day, plate up the yeast. Then make a 500 ml starter from the plate day before brew day. Plate chiller goes into HERMS tank at start of brew to sanatise it (78C for hours). Stock standard brew day, for me a double decoction is standard. At the end of the boil, whirlpool. Then run off 500ml of hot wort to grolsch bottle for next starter. (into fridge). Plate chiller attached. Run off 8 litres of wort into either 1. PET bottles or 2. 10 litre water cube (depends whats available). Add starter and shake every hour with adding fresh air by squeezing bottle(s). Note starter ready to pitch in about 8 hours.

Rest run of wort off into fermenter(s). arround 35C after plate chiller in the tropics. Put in fermentation fridge to cool. In about 8 hours down to about 15C, and starter ready to pitch.

Ferment at 11C. strong believer in skimming the ferment. I do that every day (makes a better beer). Ferment for two weeks, then simply transferred to kegs. Lagered for 2 -3 months at 1 C in lager fridge. Then transferred to serving keg and drunk. No filtering, no finings agents (shouldn't need them).

Plate chiller just rinsed and put away til next brew. (it is only severely cleaned every 6 months.)

I have learnt thru too many years of brewing where I can cut corners and where I dont.

Graham L Sanders
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 05:38:45 AM by Craftbrewer »

Offline BribieG

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2011, 07:27:47 PM »
I use a good floccer in the kettle (brewbrite actually) and let it sit for 20 minutes after flameout.
I nochill, and usually get a cube of clear wort and a litre over which has some break in it. I fridge that and next day use the clear portion in a starter.
I let the cube cool overnight then pop in fridge to reach pitching temperature.

If the recipe had called for a late hop addition, say 10 mins, I do the boil with just a bittering addition then let the cube get right down to about 9 degrees next day in the fridge.
Pour off 3L into a stockpot
Bring to the boil and do the 10 mins or whatever boil with the hop addition. Therefore the late addition has not been "nuked" in the cube.

Pour the cold wort from the cube and the boiling wort from the stock pot into the fermenter, which brings it instantly to pitching temperature. Pitch.
Of course if the starter isn't going full bore, delay the above for a day or two, you can do that with no chill as the wort can sit happily for as long as you need it to.

To get the ideal pitching temperature I have a calculator.

I've tried dropping once, recently, and yet to taste the results.
I always cold crash for at least a week with gelatine into the lagering cube, then Polyclar into the cube two days before kegging, more as an insurance policy because Brewbrite contains Polyclar anyway, but just to be sure.

Edit: I did an experiment with cold break last year - one beer of a double batch got nearly all the cold break, the other got hardly any. Virtually no difference - tastings at a club meeting concurred, although the cold break beer was marginally "richer" in flavour.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 07:32:17 PM by BribieG »

Offline jazzafish

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 10:02:41 AM »
I can't make a enough time to brew on a regular basis, so when I get a day I make the most of it and punch out 2 or 3 batches. If brewing 3 brews, I have a starter ready to pitch and chill the brew, collecting the hot water from my immersion chiller (also HERMS heat exchanger) for the next brews strike water. The second/third brew is often a double batch of a favourite recipe that is no chilled in 15L cubes.

Every recipe is brewed at a marginally higher gravity and diluted to desired starting gravity. Volume changes with efficency changes (+/- 5% at worst) and hops always tweaked to suit measured gravity of wort. Plan is to end up with 20L volume in fermenter and some starter wort at target gravity.

I always add yeast nutrient and Jamils pitching rate calculator. Starters on stirplates. Chill and decant lagers before pitching, pitch ales at high krausen.

Oxygen before ferment (pump through filter for now). Fermentation is controlled in a fridge. I pitch at target temp and hold until fermentation is pumping along nicely. Then I slowly let it free rise 2 to 3 degrees towards the end. If it is a belgian, I let it go... withing reason.

After fermentation, I transfer to a conditioning keg and crash chill until I have room in the kegging system. If needed I add gelatin to speed up clarification if called for.

Offline Ed

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 01:48:28 PM »
Great ideas in that lot, some very creative, thanks very much for posting. Interesting to see the similarities and dissimilarities in approaches :) Picked up a good few ideas.

One question, I've only ever used an immersion chiller but thinking of changing after reading through and thinking about my own procedure. You folk using plate chillers happy enough with them?

Screwy, would you have a photo of the temp probe handy?

Cheers, Ed
"Pull my finger Grab" ...... Dogger Dan, 2006

Offline Screwy

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 04:02:00 PM »

Screwy, would you have a photo of the temp probe handy?

Cheers, Ed

Ask and ye shall receive   <->

Probe installed in the wort out of the Chiller (note the short lead and connector)



And this one in the wort out of the HE



HE controller is used for monitoring the temp while chilling.  Installed inline connectors, simply swap the controller probe cable from the HE probe after mashing to the Chiller.

Cheers,

Screwy

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Offline Craftbrewer

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2011, 05:47:45 AM »
One question, I've only ever used an immersion chiller but thinking of changing after reading through and thinking about my own procedure. You folk using plate chillers happy enough with them?
Cheers, Ed

I had to admit I had my doubts initially. Real worried over them splitting appart (if you buy a cheep model) and bugs in them if you dont clean them (they dont come appart like their professional cousins do.)

So when I got one, I got a used one they use in Demark to heat water in houses (I knew they were made solidly). a 26 plate job. That was peace of mind on quality. Cleaning it I used those citric oil based cleaners. I do that once every 6 months to a year, just pour it in. Leave a few days then pour back into the bottle to use again. (you can use it over and over again til it loses that "citric smell"). Other than that, all I do is rinse it well after use with tap water and store. As stated, on brew day it goes in the HERMS tank where it will sit at 80C for hours. That santises it, and its simply connected up when the boil is over.

Been doing it that way for years. - never had an infection, and LOVE my plate chiller. I find my procedure saves the most time and makes a brew day enjoyable

The way life is supposed to be.

Graham L Sanders
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 08:24:20 AM by Craftbrewer »

Offline Paulwolf

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 01:15:12 PM »

Screwy, would you have a photo of the temp probe handy?

Cheers, Ed

Ask and ye shall receive   <->

Probe installed in the wort out of the Chiller (note the short lead and connector)

.
.
.


HE controller is used for monitoring the temp while chilling.  Installed inline connectors, simply swap the controller probe cable from the HE probe after mashing to the Chiller.

Cheers,

Screwy

Screwy what are those connectors, just 2 pin plugs from Dick Smith? Or something special?



Paul

Offline warra48

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2011, 01:27:20 PM »
Immersion chiller into the boil about 15 min before flameout.
At end of boil, chill with immersion chiller. Mid winter will get it to 18C in 10 minutes. Summer gets it to 25C in about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove chiller, whirlpool, and put lid on kettle, and leave for 30 minutes.
Clean chiller during that time, and dump grains into compost and clean mashtun cooler and manifold. After 30 minutes, drain into fermenter. I now brew 25 litres post boil, so leave about 1 litre of crud behind, 24 into fermenter. This gives me 23 litres to bottle. Fermenter into brew fridge. I ensure starter and brew are at the same temperature at pitching time.

I build up my yeast before brew day until I have the desired volume of yeast. I chill that in the brew fridge to drop the yeast. I only brew when the yeast has dropped. As I'm retired, I'm not stuck on any particular day or weekend. I pour off the starter beer, and pitch only the yeast slurry.

I pitch ales at 18C, which could be immediately in winter, or 5 or 6 hours later in summer. Lagers I pitch and ferment at 9C. At pitching I aerate with pump and airstone until froth builds up to fill fermenter. I repeat that a number of times over the next hour or two.
I know nothing....

Offline Ed

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2011, 08:15:58 AM »

Ask and ye shall receive   <->

Probe installed in the wort out of the Chiller (note the short lead and connector)

And this one in the wort out of the HE

HE controller is used for monitoring the temp while chilling.  Installed inline connectors, simply swap the controller probe cable from the HE probe after mashing to the Chiller.

Cheers,

Screwy
Love the idea of being able to monitor the outlet temp Screwy, thanks very much.


I had to admit I had my doubts initially. Real worried over them splitting appart (if you buy a cheep model) and bugs in them if you dont clean them (they dont come appart like their professional cousins do.)

So when I got one, I got a used one they use in Demark to heat water in houses (I knew they were made solidly). a 26 plate job. That was peace of mind on quality. Cleaning it I used those citric oil based cleaners. I do that once every 6 months to a year, just pour it in. Leave a few days then pour back into the bottle to use again. (you can use it over and over again til it loses that "citric smell"). Other than that, all I do is rinse it well after use with tap water and store. As stated, on brew day it goes in the HERMS tank where it will sit at 80C for hours. That santises it, and its simply connected up when the boil is over.

Been doing it that way for years. - never had an infection, and LOVE my plate chiller. I find my procedure saves the most time and makes a brew day enjoyable

The way life is supposed to be.

Graham L Sanders
Ta Graham, reckon I'm convinced it's probably the way to go. But will I retire the ever faithful immersion chiller of 5 years  :-\

Cheers, Ed
"Pull my finger Grab" ...... Dogger Dan, 2006

Offline Screwy

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2011, 04:40:45 PM »
I'm convinced it's probably the way to go. But will I retire the ever faithful immersion chiller of 5 years  :-\

Cheers, Ed

No need to, during summer pop it into a bucket with a couple of large iceblocks (2L ice cream container of water popped into the freezer) and run water through it on the way to the plate chiller, drops temp very quickly.

Screwy
 
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Offline jazzafish

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 08:54:12 AM »
I'm convinced it's probably the way to go. But will I retire the ever faithful immersion chiller of 5 years  :-\

Cheers, Ed

No need to, during summer pop it into a bucket with a couple of large iceblocks (2L ice cream container of water popped into the freezer) and run water through it on the way to the plate chiller, drops temp very quickly.

Screwy

For sure, go a 2 stage chiller using both.

Offline yardglass

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Re: Fermentation techniques
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2011, 07:50:13 AM »
some good tips there re: fermentation and (very timely) chilling techniques  :)

i haven't brewed for that long but I'll try to remember how a brewday goes, for me it was always koppafloc at FO but after a bit of reading and TBN podcasts i swapped to whirfloc, i made an immersion chiller (used it 2 or 3 times) and then went NC.
90% of the time i mash at 3lt/kg but i started to reduce that ratio once i got the MM2 mill.
yeast is mostly always dry, so no starters (very time poor  ::) ) when i have used wyeast i make a beer @ 1.030/35 ish and tip the wort straight onto the smacked yeast, no oxygen etc, beers have turned out fine imho.
i NC in the pool overnight, cube is put in ferm fridge and brought down to 16 for ales and 8 for lagers, dry yeast in sanitised ferm and wort poured at height onto yeast, ales let rise up to 18 approx and lagers have been 10 or 11.
ales get 7 days and then CC @ 2 or 3 degrees
lagers get 14 days and then as above before kegging onto gelatin via Screwy's excellent method  :)

the system is currently getting a rebuild with the CFC seen here http://www.homebrewdownunder.com/index.php?topic=1640.msg23357;topicseen#new
so I'm looking forward to doing some late/FO hopped beers to see if i can get that aroma locked in there, i haven't had much luck with aroma additions via NC, i know there's some NC procedures out there that brewers are having some success with but i thought fuck it, just build a CFC and be done with it.

cheers

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