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It is not my intention to be another Home Brew "Parrot" Blog therefore I wont be writing a daily post. If that is what you are looking for, you will need to go else where. My goal is to bring you information in a simple easy to understand manner without regurgitating the same old information over and over.
When I find content valuable I will write about it. If it is useful then use it, if you disagree, Comment on it.

Latest Blog:


How Vigorous Do you Boil?

When you boil your wort do you turn up the fire and let it go nuts? Or do you get the wort moving and that’s about it?

Many people have reasons for how they boil, the size of their kettle is the main reason for slow boil’s. I was at a friends house during a club brew day and I watched a fellow home brewer put wort into a kettle that was obviously to small for the job at hand. There was about an inch of room to the top of the kettle. Yes he had a boil over, but it was a small one and he watched over his kettle with a maternal type instinct. He had a small rolling boil, which produced a very small hop break when he pitched his hops. I as a contrast, had my converted keggle which I turned the fire up and let it go to town. I added my first hops addition and watched it until the hop break dissipated, then turned it back up. Drank a HB (Takes good beer to make good beer:-), relaxed and watched as this guy worked at keeping his wort boiling without boilover.

There are solid technical reasons for having a vigorous boil. So I thought I would share what I have learned, and how I go about the boil process.

I start with a low boil until the Hotbreak subsides, then I boil vigorously enough to keep the wort moving rapidly. NO SISSY SIMMER FOR MY BEER! Personally I like the flavors created during a Long vigorous boil (Most of my boils are 90-120 min).

Technically speaking you should boil vigorously because:
1. It sanitizes the wort

2. Gets rid of unwanted compounds like oxidation on equipment

3. Removes Dimethyl Sulfides (DMS is constantly produced during a boil and needs to be evaporated off. (That means NO LIDS DURING THE BOIL!)

4. Coagulates unwanted proteins (IMHO one of the most important reasons and gives you clearer beer)

5. Extraction of Alpha Acids from Hops

6. Removes water which increases the SG of the wort

7. Removes oxygen from the wort

So next time you boil make sure your equipment is up to the task, and turn up the heat!

Cheers

Preston

“Yeast Starter’s”

I was thumbing through some forums latley. I read about a person that had pitched a vial of yeast into 19L of wort. Yes after 72 hours he did not see activity in the airlock. So I asked him if he preformed the usual things like Aerate, did he make a starter, and the temp of the wort when he pitched the yeast. The only thing he did not do was make a starter. One would think that after 72 hours there should be a little activity, So I asked him to do two things, 1. check the expiration date on the vial, and 2. Take a gravity reading. The vial was only about a month out of date. And he told me he got it on sale (Clue!). The gravity reading had come down about .008.

So I explained to him the reason why he should have made a starter, and that there probably was viable yeast, just not very many. The simple explanation for why you need a yeast starter, is this: The more viable yeast cells you start with the less lag time before your wort turns into beer. There are very technical reasons for this also, and don’t get me wrong. Good Yeast Management is vital to Good Beer! Its just the simple answer, nothing more.

For Me, I usually brew on a Sunday, so I make a yeast starter on Thursday evening when I get home from work. It is very simple to do and only takes a small amount of time. The process I follow is 4.oz of Extra Light Malt Extract and 2 quarts of water. Boil for 20 min then cool the mini wort down to pitching temp, aerate, add the yeast. Sometime I will add .2oz of the same hops that I plan on using in the beer if the starter needs to wait for more than a week. But only then. It is usually ready within two days as long as the yeast was alive. Once I am ready to pitch the yeast, I pour in the starter that has been going for two-three days and I usually have a vigorous fermentation within 4-6 hours.