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Confessions of a Yeast Abuser

denny's picture

I have a confession to make...I am a yeast abuser. And I have been for years. Yes, I know all the "rules" and try to follow them, but sometimes I fail and resort to....yeast abuse. Recently I brewed a batch of my Rye IPA recipe on my Zymatic. Looking in the fridge, I saw some WY1450 with a date of June 26, 2015....10 months old. I thought "I could make a starter with that", but then I thought "Damn, that would take effort".

Have You Seen Ester?

I remember back to when I brewed my first batch of beer. It seems like yesterday; however, over two decades have elapsed since that faithful day. Much in the world of home brewing has improved dramatically during the last twenty years. An improvement that comes readily to mind is ingredient quality. Those of us who were participating in the hobby during the first home brewing boom can attest to having to work with hops that were often brown and malt that was past its prime. Small-scale brewers used to receive macro brewer cast-offs, and home brewers received the macro cast-offs that small-scale brewers rejected. While poor ingredient quality and selection are a thing of the past, there are areas of home brewing that have changed very little in the last twenty years. One such area is an understanding of fermentation byproducts. We have transitioned from a hobby with an incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts that fermented at room temperature to a hobby that uses temperature-controlled fermentation chambers to mask our incomplete understanding of fermentation byproducts. The topics covered in this blog entry are fermentation byproducts and the role that they play in beer flavor.

The Dangers of Brewing with Grapefruit

TLDR - BIG TAKEAWAY - A quick plea to brewers everywhere - for the love of all of everyone - label if your beer uses grapefruit in it. Turns out there's a chance of it causing some nasty side effects. (Actually for that matter - be kind to everyone and label your beers with anything outside the core four.) Edited to add - Taking feedback from various parts of the community and adjusting language to be less hyperbolic Not that long ago, grapefruit was an American breakfast staple.

The Beer World (from an East Bay View)

drew's picture

This past weekend Denny and I were invited to roam around the Bay Area by one of our podcast sponsors, Craftmeister. Craftmeister was in town to demonstrate their cleaning line to customers and employees at the Bay Area More Beer retail locations and brought us along to autograph copies of B3's latest catalog offering - Experimental Homebrewing!

Carbon Credits

Fermentation is an incredibly complex process that can be mind boggling at times. Brewers like to think of yeast as a microscopic lifeform that transforms the sugars found in wort into alcohol, carbon dioxide gas, and metabolic byproducts that add flavor to the final product. However, in reality, yeast cells do not consume sugar. Yeast cells consume carbon, which they attempt to transform into energy. Alcohol and metabolic byproducts are the results of an inefficient metabolic pathway. The topic of this blog entry is how yeast cells transform compounds collectively known as carbohydrates into energy.

There’s Gold In Davis, California

On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall found gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. That discovery set into motion the 1849 California Gold Rush. Over 300,000 people migrated to California to seek their fortune, many traveling all of the way from the East Coast in covered wagons. Today, there is a different kind of gold in California. It is a type of gold that is precious to brewers, a microscopic gold. The topic of this entry is the wealth of Saccharomyces and non-Saccharomyces yeast species held by the University of California, Davis.

Yeast Cultures Are Like Nuclear Weapons

Back in the bad old days, a home brewer was happy just to have a reliable yeast culture to pitch into his/her wort. The average home brewer today is no longer content with having access to yeast cultures that get the job done with leaving a trail of metabolic trash that is a mile wide. He/she wants to be able to compute and hit the exact number of cells needed to ferment a given batch of wort. The cold hard truth is that this level of precision is neither obtainable, nor is it necessary in a home brewery.

The Great Yeast Culture Adventure

First off, I would like to take a minute to thank the Experimental Homebrewing team for extending the opportunity to blog on their site. I have considered creating my own blog since re-entering the hobby a few years ago. However, seeing that my hiatus was due to severe burnout, I wanted to avoid having home brewing become the obsession that it became during my first pass through the hobby. Blogging here will allow me to share what I know with others in one convenient place without having to maintain my own site.

Old Dog...New Tricks...The Followup

denny's picture

Today I kegged the beer I wrote about in my previous blog post. It was a few hours short of 11 days from the time I brewed it. The gravity dropped from 1.063 to 1.013, which is consistent with how this beer usually performs. That's 78.5% AA (apparent attenuation) with a first generation pitch of WY1450. A 1 qt., non stirred starter. In spite of being skeptical, I pitched the whole thing, starter wort and all.

Old Dog...New Tricks

denny's picture

Well, today I'm breaking out of my comfort zone and trying a new yeast starter method. For many years, my standard practice for a starter for an ale in the mid 60s gravity range has been to build a 2-3 qt. starter on a stir plate. I'd let the plate run 3-5 days, then put the starter in the fridge for 2-3 days to crash out the yeast. I'd decant, then pitch the slurry. It always seemed to work well, but.....

A Better Way to Pumpkin - Part One The Preparation

drew's picture

It's late in the year for us brewers but it's still that season when one thing comes to rule all the beer making forums (and coffee shops and well, everywhere it seems.) - pumpkin pie. Seriously, I was in my local Target the other day and this was a sign that greeted me. Just your everyday basic flavor of M&M I'm just going to assume (possibly fervently hope) this means we've reached peak Pumpkin Spice. Seriously, I love Pumpkin Pie.

Totally Forgot - The Chowdah Reviews

drew's picture

You know - I totally forgot to talk about this after the NHC - but y'all remember the Clam Chowdah Saison? The stuff of legend and trepidatious responses from brewers across the world? Well, we poured it at the AHA NHC Club Night and it was a hit. All five gallons went away in a hurry! Between the CC Saison, Annie's Chicken Ale and the Austin Zealots Spam Mead - I think the AHA needs to have a meat themed bar at one of these events. :) A Glass Full of Fear

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