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Opinions on Equipment Setup

I am about to brew my first all grain batch with my new equipment setup and wanted some educated opinions on some things before I give it a go.

Firstly, I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid cylindrical cooler with a false bottom for my mash tun. For my brew kettle, I have a 10 Gallon Winware Professional Aluminum Stock pot fitted with bargainfittings.com bulkhead and ball valve with an optional 90 degree elbow on the wort side of the kettle.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CH ... UTF8&psc=1 http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.ph ... duct_id=91

I am also using a Dudadiesel 30 plate chiller.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?qu ... erchillers

My questions are, since the only filtering I have is pre-wort boil, should I use a hop bag during the boil so as not to clog the 90 degree elbow of the bulk head on the kettle, or even get particles into the counterflow chiller? I am using pellet hops. 5 gallon batch. Is there a disadvantage to using a bag? Will it effect hop flavor or bitterness?

I have these on hand: http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Nut-Milk- … t+milk+bag

Secondly, my plan is to chill directly from the kettle to the counter flow chiller, dumping the cooled wort into my primary fermenter upon exit of the chiller. My primary right now is a glass carboy.

I realize the risks I am taking are that the wort will not be cooled enough coming from the chiller, although theoretically, it should be, and that I would have to siphon out of the primary, into another vessel, and possibly back to the primary … risking contamination or anything else?

Also, is aeration coming from the chiller into the carboy enough? If the wort is not cooled enough, then aeration could be counterproductive.

My secondary fermenter is my bottling bucket. I suppose that I could transfer the cooled wort to the bottling bucket before transferring to the primary to ensure that the wort is proper temperature and that it is ready to aerate.

In this case, would it be safe to introduce the yeast into the bottling bucket before siphoning to the primary? I feel like this could potentially act to activate the yeast in a positive way, but could also pose a contamination threat.

Sorry for the complicated post. I appreciate any feedback !

[quote=“Gitster”]I am about to brew my first all grain batch with my new equipment setup and wanted some educated opinions on some things before I give it a go.

Firstly, I have a 10 gallon rubbermaid cylindrical cooler with a false bottom for my mash tun. For my brew kettle, I have a 10 Gallon Winware Professional Aluminum Stock pot fitted with bargainfittings.com bulkhead and ball valve with an optional 90 degree elbow on the wort side of the kettle.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CH ... UTF8&psc=1 http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.ph ... duct_id=91

I am also using a Dudadiesel 30 plate chiller.

http://www.dudadiesel.com/search.php?qu ... erchillers

My questions are, since the only filtering I have is pre-wort boil, should I use a hop bag during the boil so as not to clog the 90 degree elbow of the bulk head on the kettle, or even get particles into the counterflow chiller? I am using pellet hops. 5 gallon batch. Is there a disadvantage to using a bag? Will it effect hop flavor or bitterness?

I have these on hand: http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Nut-Milk- … t+milk+bag

Secondly, my plan is to chill directly from the kettle to the counter flow chiller, dumping the cooled wort into my primary fermenter upon exit of the chiller. My primary right now is a glass carboy.

I realize the risks I am taking are that the wort will not be cooled enough coming from the chiller, although theoretically, it should be, and that I would have to siphon out of the primary, into another vessel, and possibly back to the primary … risking contamination or anything else?

Also, is aeration coming from the chiller into the carboy enough? If the wort is not cooled enough, then aeration could be counterproductive.

My secondary fermenter is my bottling bucket. I suppose that I could transfer the cooled wort to the bottling bucket before transferring to the primary to ensure that the wort is proper temperature and that it is ready to aerate.

In this case, would it be safe to introduce the yeast into the bottling bucket before siphoning to the primary? I feel like this could potentially act to activate the yeast in a positive way, but could also pose a contamination threat.

Sorry for the complicated post. I appreciate any feedback ![/quote]

I have no experience with plate chillers but if you’re concerned about it’s performance why not just do a test run. Boil water then run it through your plate chiller to your bottling bucket and check the temp.

You really aren’t taking a whole lot of risks not fully chilling the wort, as long as everything is spotlessly clean and sanitized.

Do you have fermentation temp control? If so, your idea of using your ‘secondary’ as a chilling vessel is a great idea. I ‘partial chill’ all the time. The key is that you get the wort below 140*F to stop SMM/DMS production and stave off any potential for hot-side aeration issues. Plenty of brewers do straight up no-chill brewing with great results (No DMS or infection, which are the ‘historic’ reasons for chilling quickly)

Run off into your bottling bucket, if the wort is still 100* or so, no big deal, chill the rest of the way in your fridge or overnight to pitching temp, pour all splashy-like into your other sanitized fermenter. You could even open the spigot on your bottling bucket into your carboy. This will also allow you to decant off a lot of trub (however keep in mind you will have some volume loss this way, but likely clearer beer in the end).

Also, if you are using leaf hops, absolutely unequivocally use muslin bags for your additions. I stopped using leaf a few years ago because I don’t believe they are as consistent.

Re: aeration, my method above takes care of a lot of it, however, I would have a clean sanitized mash paddle or at the bare minimum a whisk to whip up a lot of air into the wort before pitching. Unless you are using a diffusion stone, it is very hard to OVER-oxygenate.

Also, my opinion, don’t waste time or risk infection/aeration by transferring your beer off the yeast into a ‘secondary’. It really doesn’t have any practical benefit.

I don’t really have fermentation temp control.

That is all very helpful thanks. That sounds like the safest way to ensure temp is proper for the yeast. I guess my only unanswered question is pitching the yeast. If I use this method from ‘secondary’ to ‘primary’ vessel, would it be helpful to aerate half of my wort into the 'primary ’ vessel, add the yeast, and then finish transferring the rest of the wort?

Would this help awaken the yeast? Or is adding the yeast at the end just as effective?

I am using liquid WYeast.

you raise an interesting question, but I think you are best just pitching into the full volume of wort. Do you have a properly sized pitch of yeast for this batch?

Can you give some more details on your recipe (style, OG, yeast strain, amount of yeast)?

[quote=“Pietro”]you raise an interesting question, but I think you are best just pitching into the full volume of wort. Do you have a properly sized pitch of yeast for this batch?

Can you give some more details on your recipe (style, OG, yeast strain, amount of yeast)?[/quote]

I am making both of these beers eventually.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta ... ookIPA.pdf http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta ... Saison.pdf

I am kind of speaking in generalities of how I would brew any more basic all grain batch with the new equipment.

I am not sure of the amounts of yeast, I believe the kits come with one vial?

[quote=“Gitster”][quote=“Pietro”]you raise an interesting question, but I think you are best just pitching into the full volume of wort. Do you have a properly sized pitch of yeast for this batch?

Can you give some more details on your recipe (style, OG, yeast strain, amount of yeast)?[/quote]

I am making both of these beers eventually.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta ... ookIPA.pdf http://www.northernbrewer.com/documenta ... Saison.pdf

I am kind of speaking in generalities of how I would brew any more basic all grain batch with the new equipment.

I am not sure of the amounts of yeast, I believe the kits come with one vial?[/quote]

www.yeastcalc.com

Buy a starter kit/stir plate.

A vial of today’s yeast is designed/formulated for 5g of about 1.040 beer. Anything bigger and you need more vials or a starter. :cheers:

Well, shit.

Well, ####.[/quote]

And controlling fermentation temps is probably the single most important factor in creating good beer. Is you do not do this, all the other fancy equipment is just for show but will not improve your beer.

Well, ####.[/quote]

And controlling fermentation temps is probably the single most important factor in creating good beer. Is you do not do this, all the other fancy equipment is just for show but will not improve your beer.[/quote]

THIS^^^^^

Fancy equipment ? :lol:

I researched all solutions to be the most robust while being the most cost effective. I didn’t buy a $300 kettle, I bought a $35 one :lol:

I do understand about fermentation temperatures, thanks. I know it is important. This time of year, I can keep the fermentation around 70 degrees very easily in my home. I will be monitoring it.

I built a PID temperature controller for a DIY sous vide cooker. Maybe I can rig it for a fermenter.

Thanks again for the input :cheers:

The fermentation or the ambient temp? 70 is warm for beer temperature (assuming an ale…even at the initial stages for something like a saison)…If the room is 70, the beer can get up to 75-76 during high krausen. That is outright hot. And the beer will be outright ‘hot’ with fusel alcohol.

You sound like you are relatively handy and able to fashion solutions without paying Blichmann/Morebeer/NB/name-the-producer exorbitant amounts of money.

At a minimum, invest in a rubbermaid tub to partially fill with water and your fermenter to minimize heavy temp increases during high krausen and swings when the yeast chills out.

Ok, thanks.

People stated (in the reviews of the kit) that they fermented the Saison at 80 degrees, which seemed very high to me. The specs for the yeast say optimum temp is 65-77 degrees, so fermenting in the upper range would affect it negatively?

I will try a water bath. Just checked my basement and the air temp is 66 degrees which feel outright chilly compared to 76 in the main level. It is 75 today in Virginia.

[quote=“Gitster”]Ok, thanks.

People stated (in the reviews of the kit) that they fermented the Saison at 80 degrees, which seemed very high to me. The specs for the yeast say optimum temp is 65-77 degrees, so fermenting in the upper range would affect it negatively?

I will try a water bath. Just checked my basement and the air temp is 66 degrees which feel outright chilly compared to 76 in the main level. It is 75 today in Virginia.[/quote]

66 is great!

What you want to do (with saisons especially) is PITCH in the mid-high sixties (I like 66), keep it there until you see vigorous activity, then when it starts to slow, raise it into the 70’s slowly to ensure full attenuation. (I basically take mine out of my ferm fridge and bring it to room temp, usually in the upper 60’s).

It always bothers me when people say to ‘ferment saisons hot’. Fermenting beer ‘hot’ makes the beer ‘hot’ with alcohol. If you pitch low, let it get started, and ramp it up (can go as high as 80, but i’ve never really seen the need with today’s saison yeasts (WY3711, WL566)) , it will produce great esters/phenols, but not fusel alcohols…and most importantly for a saison, dry it the eff out).

[quote=“Pietro”]

Also, my opinion, don’t waste time or risk infection/aeration by transferring your beer off the yeast into a ‘secondary’. It really doesn’t have any practical benefit.[/quote]

+1 especially if it’s a bucket. Keep it in the glass carboy a week or 2 longer then bottle or keg it.

[quote=“Pietro”]

What you want to do (with saisons especially) is PITCH in the mid-high sixties (I like 66), keep it there until you see vigorous activity, then when it starts to slow, raise it into the 70’s slowly to ensure full attenuation. (I basically take mine out of my ferm fridge and bring it to room temp, usually in the upper 60’s).

It always bothers me when people say to ‘ferment saisons hot’. Fermenting beer ‘hot’ makes the beer ‘hot’ with alcohol. If you pitch low, let it get started, and ramp it up (can go as high as 80, but i’ve never really seen the need with today’s saison yeasts (WY3711, WL566)) , it will produce great esters/phenols, but not fusel alcohols…and most importantly for a saison, dry it the eff out).[/quote]

Ill do that, thanks. Very insightful.

When you say dry it out, do you mean with time or with additional sweet stuff?

Dryness is a term that relates to the residual sugars. Raising the temps help keep the yeast active so they can chew threw everything they can and reduce the sugar. Getting below 1.010 is getting “dry”.

A FG above 1.020 is getting into the “semi sweet” range. Above 1.030 is down right sweet.

With the Sasion using the 3711 yeast, there is no need to worry about raising the temp. That yeast will eat everything available at 60*. Other Sasion strains have trouble staying active and must have the temp raised to get the job done.

I gotta disagree a bit wth your definition of “dry”. While FG can certainly play a role in it, hopping and wter character ay a huge role. It’s entirely possible to have a beer that finishes in the mid teens but still is “dry”.

BUT is it not IMpossible to have a beer that finishes at 1.006 from 1.060 and be ‘not dry’!?

Also, I agree with 'Hawk. 3711 is a rampaging beast, and it will attenuate like hell even at 66-68 held steady. I raise it more to free up my ferm fridge :cheers:

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