Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

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Venari
Posts: 320
Joined: 5 years ago
Favourite Beer: Molson Canadian
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Venari » 3 years ago

In an effort to find the cause of recent infections, I've decided to post my procedures, with a few pictures. The hope is that somebody here can spot something I'm doing wrong and correct me. This is the process I used up in Nunavut, with only two changes: rehydrating dry yeast, and switching from OneStep to StarSan.

1. I mixed together 2.5 gallons of StarSan (0.5 oz to 2.5 gallons of water), and took a pH reading. It looks like a pH of 3, which is what I understand is the desired level.
Star San.jpg
Step 1) 2.5 gallons of StarSan, with equipment inside.
Fresh StarSan.jpg
Step 1) Reading from freshly mixed StarSan.
2. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil. On another element, a smaller pot with some water in it, on a lower heat setting, and placed the full can of Munton's Stout pre-hopped LME into the water. This was to make it easier to pour the LME into the mixing bucket. Also, at this point, I've begun cooling some pre-boiled water to rehydrate the yeast. Placed another full kettle of water to boil for later.

3. I used the freshly mixed StarSan to sanitize the carboy and bucket. As shown in the pictures (can't see the bubbles in the white bucket), after swirling the sanitizer all over, the bubbles have not been rinsed away. The StarSan was poured back into the tub to sanitize the rest of the equipment. The bucket was obtained from DeFalco's as part of the basic kit they sell for beginners. The outside marking is at 19 liters.
Sanitized Bucket.jpg
Step 3) Mixing Bucket with hard to see foam. Outside markings for 19L.
Sanitized Carboy.jpg
Step 3) Carboy with StarSan foam still in.
4. Mixed in the pot of boiling water and 1kg of brown sugar (instructions called for 1kg of dextrose) in the mixing bucket. Poured in the hot LME from the can (wearing oven mitts) into the sugar water, and mixed in with the sanitized stirring spoon. I poured boiling water from the electric kettle into the can and stirred it. Pouring this into the bucket is how I get every last drop of LME from the can. At this point, I mixed (using a sanitized fork) the yeast and the now-cooled pre-boiled 200 mL water into a sanitized glass measuring cup and set aside. The water was at 21C, which is the upper limit the instructions want me to ferment the whole thing at.

5. Topped up the bucket to 19L with cold tap water. Splash aerating the cold water into the bucket as I went. Ended up with a final temperature of 25. Took a sample into the sanitized hydrometer tube, and inserted the sanitized hydrometer. After spinning the hydrometer, I ended up with a reading of 1.054, with a temperature correction to 1.0568. There is no target OG in the instructions that came with the can of LME, but the FG is supposed to be around 1.008.
HydrometerReading.jpg
Hydrometer reading. Label on hydrometer says that at 25C, the correction is to add 0.0028 to the reading.
6. Occassionally stirring the bucket to help bring the temperature down, I began some basic cleanup. I couldn't find my funnel, so I cut open a 2L bottle of coke, washed with a soft cloth, rinsed heavily, then tossed it into the sanitiser. Once the temperature was closer to 21, I put the bucket onto the counter, placed the carboy below it, and after pulling the racking cane, clip, and tubing from the sanitiser, began siphoning the wort to the carboy.
Siphoning to Carboy.jpg
Siphoning the wort to the carboy. Everything has been sitting in sanitiser since I began.
7. After everything's been siphoned to the carboy, I used the makeshift coke funnel to pour the rehydrated yeast into the carboy. I put the sanitized bung and S airlock on, and carried the whole thing to the basement (ambient 20.7 temp) for fermenting. I placed a shirt over the carboy to keep out light, as there is a tiny window in the area. The carboy wont be anywhere near direct sunlight, but why take chances?
Final Resting Place.jpg
Carboy plus shirt.
After this, cleanup of equipment was completed. As a curiosity, I measured the pH of some old StarSan I had in a pepsi bottle. Pretty sure it's still a pH of 3, but I poured that out and poured fresh StarSan into the bottle. This will be used on bottling day for caps and bottles.
OldStarSan.jpg
pH reading of some 2 month old StarSan I had in a bottle.
I also have some cacao nibs from Bulk Barn I will sanitize (boiled water?) and two vanilla beans which have been sliced open and are sitting in rum. They'll be added sometime next week to the carboy via funnel (coke funnel, maybe?).



Any insights to this process will be much appreciated, whether negative or positive.
I've never understood the policy against "necro threads" on almost every forum. Why tell us to use the search function for a particular topic, then complain when an older thread has a new post in it?

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Reignman
Posts: 1793
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Favourite Beer: Bitters
Location: Cavan, Ont.

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Reignman » 3 years ago

Everything seems to be fine to me. What does your infected beer taste like? Where are you getting your water from? If tap water, are you removing the chorine? I use RO water with my star san and have been for many years now, lasts for months.

Venari
Posts: 320
Joined: 5 years ago
Favourite Beer: Molson Canadian
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Venari » 3 years ago

The first batch tasted like somebody had poured red wine into the fermentor with the wort. After a few weeks of bottle conditioning, these bottles turned into gushers when opened.

Second batch simply tasted sour. These also became gushers.

Straight tap water is the source. I haven't done anything to the water, so whatever Ottawa's putting in the water, that's now in the beer.
I've never understood the policy against "necro threads" on almost every forum. Why tell us to use the search function for a particular topic, then complain when an older thread has a new post in it?

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Reignman
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Location: Cavan, Ont.

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Reignman » 3 years ago

Using a small amount of campden tablets will remove chlorine and or chloramine in your Ottawa water. The tablets I use are good for 20 gallons of water.

Venari
Posts: 320
Joined: 5 years ago
Favourite Beer: Molson Canadian
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Venari » 3 years ago

When are campden tablets added? I assume while I'm mixing in the LME and sugar into the hot water?
I've never understood the policy against "necro threads" on almost every forum. Why tell us to use the search function for a particular topic, then complain when an older thread has a new post in it?

Dave
Posts: 150
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Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Dave » 3 years ago

1/2 of a tablet to 8 gal of water. befor its used to brew. minutes b4 works fine.

Dee Envy
Posts: 66
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Location: Parry Sound District

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Dee Envy » 3 years ago

How old is your racking cane and tube? Nasties can hide in some small places. I had an issue with mine. Once I replaced it the infection disappeared.
Also, how do you cool your yeast water? Is it covered when cooling?
Are you filling the bucket right from the tap? I haven't seen much go wrong with this but your airator in the tap may be dirty. Not much of a worry with city water but it may be something to consider.
Beer Beer Beer Beer
Beer Beer Beer Beer

Venari
Posts: 320
Joined: 5 years ago
Favourite Beer: Molson Canadian
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by Venari » 3 years ago

Racking cane were purchased when I moved to Ottawa in October. So all my stuff is less than 6 months old. yeast water was placed in the freezer, uncovered.

Bucket is being filled right from the tap. Technically it's being poured into the pot I had used to boil some water, then dumped into the bucket from a height to get some aeration. I assume the heat from boiling water would sanitize the pot. The aerater might well have germs in it, hadn't considered that.
I've never understood the policy against "necro threads" on almost every forum. Why tell us to use the search function for a particular topic, then complain when an older thread has a new post in it?

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ECH
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Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by ECH » 3 years ago

Gotta be some nasties somewhere in the system to be infecting it.

When I did the canned kits years ago....wasn't really all that careful with it. Boil one gallon of water, heat your can of wort up in the 1gal of water to soften, pour the hot water in, saving some to clean out the can, top up with 4 gal of cold water from the tap and it would bring the pitching temp where it needed to be. Sprinkle the yeast on top and cover the bucket with a garbage bag with packing tape on the outside to form a cover (no plastic cover and water trap). Once the head receded, rack to a glass carboy for a couple of weeks to clear, then bottle.

I think back then we used the pink powdered sanitizer, smelled like bleach when mixed with water, everything got a quick rinse with the "pink" water, and then rinsed with hot water. Never had an issue with any infections. The beer was not that great, be we were on a dry reserve, so not a whole lot of choice, but never had an infected batch.

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bellybuster
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Re: Follow my process, correct my mistakes?

Post by bellybuster » 3 years ago

process looks fine, Id start looking at bottling maybe, how do you clean and sanitize your bottles.

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