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Dave I
04/06/06 01:00 PM  
Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
A couple of questions/ideas.

1) For Belgian yeasts is it enough to start the yeast fermenting your beer once the wort is in the mid 60's (e.g. 65 degrees F) and letting it ferment out without worrying about the any temperature fluctuations? Have any of you done anything remarkably different than that?*

2) What is the ideal pitching rate to balance out phenols & esters? BLAM mentions in the yeast chapter that most American homebrewers underpitch anyway, but that overpitching leads to less interesting beer. I am not quite wording that correctly, but basically it sounds like slightly underpitched beer can cause more yeast growth and better flavor. Chris White (Whitelabs) convinced some American brewers to hold back on pitching so much yeast and they reported better results. Anyone have any ideas on the best pitching rate for homebrewers (i.e. in 5 to 10-gallon batches)?

3) Going back to Joe's interesting, yet expensive, idea of the square fermenter . . . Would it accomplish the same thing (i.e. wider dimensions of the beer as a unit) to use two 6.5-gallon buckets (or carboys) filled halfway instead of just one? Sounds a lot cheaper than having a wide-and-shallow square metal one fabricated, and could help control fermentation temperatures.


*For what it is worth, I am primarily concerned with WY1762 (Rochefort) and WY3787 (Westmalle) yeasts, respectively. But input on any yeast would be welcome.

04/06/06 02:22 PM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
Don't know the answers to your questions, but as to part three, Dan and I are fermenting 5G of wit in one of these right now.


Should be interesting to see what we get from this. We used a 1L starter of WLP400 Witbier for it and oxygenated for 1 min with pure O2. It seems to have a bit more than 2X the surface area that we get when we ferment in a bucket.


04/06/06 02:56 PM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
I tend to make as many as 5 batches back to back using the same yeast. The collection at the bottom of the fermentors just keeps on growing. I have only had one experience that told me at some point you can have too much. A batch went from fresh wort, through the entire fermention process and was down to airlock blorps that were minutes apart in 36 hours. That beer tasted like it went through a flavor filter, it may be the blandest thing I've ever made.
Dave I
04/06/06 09:09 PM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
Joelle, very interesting. Two quick questions for you.

1) Are you sure they are food grade and that they seal airtight?

2) Did you just drill a hole and put in a grommet for the airlock?

Neat/inexpensive idea!


04/07/06 07:21 AM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
It seems most people here prefer to use a liter or so starter, but I've never had a problem with just pitching the 125ml slap packs (I've used both the 1762 and 3787). Brewing batches back to back works excellently, saves money, and you don't have the lag time you get from pitching a smaller amount.

Hey Steve--when you are serially brewing, do you open ferment or not? I was trying open fermentation (plastic bucket with loose lid), and after primary on my fourth batch on a 3787 cake, the headspace walls in my fermenter were looking a little fuzzy. I didn't reuse the yeast at that point. Is this common, or have I been careless? (Beer tastes fine, BTW).

04/07/06 09:30 AM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
What an interesting question Mallace, that is a twist I have not tried. I have in fact open fermented, I have done controlled primary fermentations then left the bucket open (cheese cloth over the top) for a secondary. So you can reuse yeast there. I have also done a couple beers that were open fermentation without any pitching. I have a house organism that has done me well over the years. But I have never pitched, gone open (or loose topped - on a CO2 blanket the beer may still be largely protected) then seen what happens when lab yeast interacts with my ambient stuff. Humm, thanks for the thought.
04/07/06 10:38 AM  
Re: Yeast: Fermentation Temps. & Pitching Rates
Dave, my question to Sterilite's customer service people about the food grade aspect of the plastic and their answer are next. It should work food grade wise since we aren't heating the liquid, but it could crack with that much weight in there. We decided to use two nested together to try to increase the strength of the plastic. Instead of ordering a set of six online we just went to our nearby Target and bought two separately. They were $7.00 each. The lid seems to fit pretty tightly, but right now we're just loosely putting it on top and not bothering with an airlock. If we want to use an airlock, we should be able to drill a hole in the top with a wood bit and use a bung to attach the airlock. That's what our homebrew shop does with the plastic buckets.

-----Original Message-----

From: jdewberry

Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 1:20 PM

To: Sue Patton

Subject: dewberry/product inquiry

I am curious if your (1756 - 32 Quart ClearView Storage Box) is made of food grade plastic. Some people in my homebrew club are looking for a shallow plastic fermentation vessel for 5 gallons of beer. This looks

like it would work if it is made of food grade plastic. Thanks.

>>> "Mary Jo Craig" <mcraig@sterilite.com> 03/13/2006 03:09 PM >>>

Dear Ms. Dewberry:

Thank you for your inquiry about using our products to store food.

The polypropylene used in our containers meets FDA requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations for all food contact excluding actual cooking applications. Our /item #/product name is made of polypropylene

plastic which is a food safe material. We do not use Latex. No Teflon or other stain resistant chemicals are used in our manufacturing process.

Our products can hold water, but this is not what they are designed for. Water weighs 8 lbs. per gallon, and pressure increases with depth. This weight is too extreme for our larger Totes, boxes etc. and cracking is the likely result. We do not recommend it.

Mary Jo Craig

Customer Service

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