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RIMS and HERMS Brewing with BeerSmith Software

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Buy Viagra 25 mg in Centennial ColoradoToday I take a look at how to handle RIMS and HERMS brewing systems in BeerSmith brewing software. I’ve had quite a few people ask me how to incorporate these systems into BeerSmith, so below is a quick overview.

What Makes RIMS and HERMS Systems Different?

Lets start with what makes a RIMS or HERMS brewing system different than a traditional home brewing system. Both of these are recirculating mash systems which means that they incorporate a recirculating pump and some type of heating element to cycle warm water through the mash tun during the mash stage.

RIMS stands for Recirculating Infusion Mash System (RIMS) and these systems incorporate the heating element into the recirculating line. So basically as water is recirculated by a pump from the bottom to the top of the mash tun, the water can be heated using a heating element in the recirculating line. The temperature of the wort is controlled by cycling the heating element on and off.

HERMS stands for Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System which incorporate some form of heat exchanger or coil. The most common HERMS design has a hot liquor tun with hot water in it that is heated directly for use in the later lauter stage. In the hot liquor tun is an immersion coil that acts as a heat exchanger. The wort is circulated from the bottom of the mash tun, through the coil and back to the top of the mash tun. In this case, the pump’s flow rate is regulated to manage the temperature of the wort, or alternately the pump is cycled on and off. You can find Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chandler Arizona

When comparing RIMS or HERMS to a traditional home brew system, the main difference is the use of a recirculating pump and heat source during the mash phase. The rest of the brewing process is the same – so RIMS or HERMS do not handle the boil or fermentation any differently, though a pump is available to make it easier to transfer wort around. So when we talk about using a RIMS or HERMS system for brewing with BeerSmith, we’re really talking about changes only to the mash phase.

Finally, I will note that most RIMS or HERMS systems use a simple water infusion for the first mash step. Typically the water needed for mashing is added to the mash tun and then recirculated and heated until the mash in (infusion) temperature is reached. Then the grain is added just as you would with a conventional brewing system.

The key difference comes in second and later mash steps. Here instead of adding additional hot water, a RIMS or HERMS system will heat the wort directly as it is recirculating. So really the only difference for RIMS or HERMS is that the later mash steps are direct heat steps instead of infusion steps.

Setting Up a RIMS/HERMS Equipment Profile

Since we’ve established that the only major difference between RIMS/HERMS and a traditional infusion mash system is how the wort is heated, you will probably not be surprised that you set up your RIMS/HERMS equipment profile in exactly the same way you would for a regular brewing system in BeerSmith.

I won’t rehash how to build an equipment profile in BeerSmith here, but you can read the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Charleston South Carolina, or Buy Viagra 25 mg in Charlotte North Carolina. The key is knowing your equipment volumes. Also because the RIMS/HERMS system preheats the water and mash tun, you don’t need to adjust temperatures for the mash tun being hold so you can actually uncheck the “Adjust Temp for Equip” box next to the mash profile name in your recipe.

Modifying Your Mash Profiles for RIMS/HERMS

If you are using a single step mash with no mash out, you can simply use any of the the “Single Infusion, No Mash Out” mash profiles that come with BeerSmith and don’t need to change anything. Since the first step in a RIMS/HERMS system is an infusion step, using this mash profile will let you calculate the infusion temperature for the mash-in and will work just fine. Again you want to uncheck the “Adjust temp for equip” box since your mash tun is already pre-heated.

If you want to use a multi-step mash profile or profile with a mash-out step, then you do need to alter the stock BeerSmith mash profiles slightly. The best way to do this is go to Profiles->Mash and make a copy (copy then paste) of the one you want to modify. I recommend starting with any of the infusion mash profiles as these provide a good basis for RIMS/HERMS systems. Then double click on the profile to edit it.

Once the profile is open, rename it by adding “RIMS” or “HERMS” to the name so you can differentiate it from the stock profile. Next you want to double click on the later mash steps. Leave the first mash step alone, as it will remain an infusion mash step, but you want to edit the second and later mash steps by double clicking on them.

For each of these second and later steps, you want to change the Type of the step from “infusion” to “temperature”. A temperature mash step setting means that direct heat from the RIMS/HERMS system is used instead of a hot water addition to raise the temperature. You also want to change the Water to Add to zero, as you won’t be adding more water after the initial infusion. Do this for the second and later steps, since all of these steps will be done by direct heat from your RIMS/HERMS system. When you are done editing the name and mash steps, click Ok to save your mash profile.

Finally, once you have the mash profile edited you can go back and create a recipe using this profile. On the Design page for your recipe be sure to pick your equipment profile, the new RIMS or HERMS mash profile you just created and again uncheck the “Adjust temp for equip” box next to the mash profile name since your mash tun will already be preheated.

That’s it – now you can brew your recipe on your RIMS/HERMS system by first adding the water, bringing it up to the first mash step infusion temperature, then mixing in the grains. Later mash steps can be reached by directly dialing the various step temperatures into your RIMS/HERMS temperature controller.

I hope this article helps brewers who use RIMS/HERMS systems with BeerSmith. Thanks for joining me on the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chattanooga Tennessee. Be sure to sign up for Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bridgeport Connecticut or my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chicago Illinois(also on Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chula Vista California…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Cincinnati Ohio…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clarksville Tennessee) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clearwater Florida I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

10 Year Old Courage RIS Clone

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A torch passing of sorts. With the bottles of my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Corona California running out I Buy Viagra 25 mg in Corpus Christi Texas (with a few tweaks) in 2015. I’ve labeled the caps from 2017 to 2050, so this marks the extension of my now decade-long Christmas tradition!
Buy Viagra 25 mg in Costa Mesa California Buy Viagra 25 mg in Dallas Texas the two beers, or read my thoughts below. If you’ve got any comments on the videos (other than my microphone induced v-neck) let me know!

Courage RIS 2007

Smell – Fantastic mixture of deep/dark Port-like fruitiness and rich caramel. Roast is subdued, more coffee than a Quad or Belgian Strong Dark, but not by much. Brett provides subtle leathery notes, but it isn’t obvious with everything else going on. I could pass it off as “age” if I hadn’t brewed it.

Appearance – The head is soap-sudsy, the bubbles are larger than expected. Nearly pitch-black body. When I returned for a second pour it came with hard bits of desiccated yeast. Should have poured it all to start!

Taste – Similar to the nose, rich and full of plums, figs, caramel, and light roast. The Brett lingers softly in the finish. Leather, and maybe a little cherry. Harmonious, really balanced thanks to the added attenuation by the Brett. Minimal hop bitterness thanks to the aging. Still tastes remarkably fresh compared to big stouts I’ve brewed more recently, thanks to the metabisulfite.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and full, without being sticky. Low carbonation, perfect for a big dark beer.

Drinkability & Notes – Would have opened another bottle if it was an option. One of my favorite batches of homebrew to date.

Changes for Next Time – As close to perfection as I can imagine creating in a big-dark-funky-fruity-historic stout! I don’t know what Courage Russian Imperial Stout tasted like 100 years ago, but I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t this good!

Courage RIS 2015

Smell – Fresher and more apparent English-maltiness. That brown malt provides a coarse toasty note that clashes with the bolder Brett funkiness. Comparatively mild caramel and dark fruit.

Appearance – Darker, denser, creamier, longer-lasting head. Part of that is higher carbonation, and the rest is likely freshness.

Taste – Coarser, with burnt toast, Brett-funk, and oak competing for attention. There are some nice flavors there, and the fresher-brighter-cleaner biscuity and roasty notes are pleasant. Hopefully with time the oak will mellow and the Brett and malt will balance.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation disrupts the smoothness, especially when combined with rough tannins from the oak. Hopefully the latter will mellow, and swirling helps with the former. Not sure if I was unsuccessful at killing the Brett, or if I simply over-primed (or had attenuation from the bottling strain).

Drinkability & Notes – It’s OK, but still young, rough, and discordant. It has a lot of time to improve, and I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t!

Changes for Next Time – Hopefully time is all that is needed, but would be hard not to revert to the original recipe if I were to brew this again… especially on a larger scale!

Brewing Considerations for Very High Gravity Beers

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Buy Viagra 25 mg in Downey CaliforniaBrewing high gravity beers like barley wines, tripels, and imperial stouts present some challenges unique to high gravity brewing. This week I provide a few tips and considerations that come into play when brewing high gravity beers.

Big Beer Challenges

High gravity beers which start at around 1.080 original gravity and can go as high as 1.120 present serious challenges that may surprise the average homebrewer. You need to consider the fact that you may get much lower mash and brewhouse efficiency, may overflow your mash tun with the grains needed, and also need to take several factors into effect when selecting yeast. I’ll cover the major items below.

Mash Considerations for Large Beers

First, you need to understand that you will almost certainly get lower mash and brewhouse efficiency for a high gravity beer than you would get from your system for an average beer. The reason for this is quite simple. You will be using a lot less water per unit of grain when mashing and sparging. Consider a typical 5 gallon (19 l) batch where you may have 10 lbs (4 kg) of grain. To make this beer you are running about 11-12 gal (23-27 l) of water through the grain bed between the mash and sparge or a bit over 1 gal of water per lb of grain.

A high gravity beer may have 15 lbs (6 kg) of grain for the same 5 gal (19 l) batch which means only about 0.73 gal of water for a pound of grain. As a result fewer sugars will be extracted per pound of grain, and you will get lower brewhouse and mash efficiency. So when you brew a large beer you probably need to lower your brewhouse efficiency by 10% or more to compensate for this.

A second item to consider is how much grain and water you can fit into your mash tun. A 5 gal (19 l) Gott style cooler, for instance, will only hold about 13 lbs (5.9 kg) of grain, which is not enough for a very high gravity beer. I highly recommend you calculate the space needed for grain and water (BeerSmith does this on the mash tab) so you know if your mash tun is large enough. If its not you may need to either split your mash into two vessels or add malt extract during the boil to raise the gravity up to your target.

Yeast Considerations for High Gravity Beers

I made a series of very high gravity meads this year, some starting as high as 1.160, and I learned a tremendous amount about high gravity fermentation.

High gravity worts can put significant stresses on your yeast. When selecting a yeast, for example, you need to consider the alcohol tolerance level of the yeast strain. Many typical beer yeasts have tolerance levels only in the 8-10% range, which means they will stop fermenting if the alcohol level gets higher than 8-10%. If you are brewing a 14% alcohol barley wine with regular beer yeast it will stop fermenting around 10%, and you’ll end up with a very high finishing gravity and a very sweet barley wine. Make sure you select a yeast strain that can tolerate the alcohol level you are targeting, and use wine or champagne yeast if brewing a very high gravity beer.

Another consideration for very high gravity beers is called osmotic shock. This is primarily an issue for dry yeast, though most of the high alcohol wine and champagne yeasts used in high gravity beers come in a dry form. The basic problem is that dry yeast cells are not able to properly regulate their cell wall until they have been hydrated. Also high gravity yeasts have a very high sugar concentration. So if you add dry yeast directly to a high gravity wort or must, the osmotic pressure from the sugar can breach the cell wall membrane before the yeast cell wall is in a state to regulate its flow, resulting in a high fatality rate. While its unlikely to kill all your yeast in a beer, it can result in a less than optimal pitch rate.

To avoid osmotic shock with dry yeast it is important that you Buy Viagra 25 mg in Durham North Carolina before adding it to your wort. The Buy Viagra 25 mg in El Monte California is to add lukewarm water at about 104 F to some GoFerm first. When the GoFerm is mixed in then add your yeast and allow the mixture to sit. Slowly add small amounts of wort until the mixture is down to within 10 degrees (5 C) of your wort temperature. You want to take time when doing this as you don’t want to alter the temperature of the mixture more than about 10 degrees in 10 minutes to avoid shocking the yeast. The combination of hydrating the yeast and slowly adding some wort will minimize the effects of osmotic shock and give you a healthy fermentation going forward.

Fermentation and Aging Considerations

Not surprisingly, big beers take longer to ferment out and age. Most big beers take several months, and some like barley wine can take a year or more. Though fermentation may be extremely rapid at first, often it will slow to a crawl as the alcohol level rises and the beer nears completion. As a result, patience is needed when fermenting a big beer. I generally allow extra time both for the primary and secondary fermentation and, even then, give it a bit more time before I consider bottling a big beer.

Even after fermentation is complete, it can take some time for the higher alcohols (fusels), yeast and other flavors to age and mellow out. Some beers like barley wines and big braggots take a year or more to reach peak flavor.

Hopefully these tips will help you as you plan your next high gravity beer. Thanks for joining me on the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chattanooga Tennessee. Be sure to sign up for Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bridgeport Connecticut or my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chicago Illinois(also on Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chula Vista California…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Cincinnati Ohio…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clarksville Tennessee) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clearwater Florida I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

The Right Way to Hydrate Dry Yeast for Beer Brewing

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Buy Viagra 25 mg in Fort Worth TexasThis week I take a look at the proper method for hydrating dry yeast for beer brewing to maximize your viability and produce a healthy fermentation.

Dry Yeast for Home Brewing

While dry yeast does not offer quite the selection of liquid yeast, it does have some significant advantages as it is much easier to store, can be stored much longer, and is easier to prepare. I like to keep several packets in my fridge for the times when my schedule changes to let me brew, but I may not have several days in advance to prepare a yeast starter.

Though you don’t usually need a starter when working with dry yeast, proper hydration is important and there is a process I use every time to get the best results from my dry beer yeast.

Hydrating Dry Yeast

When hydrating dry yeast, I like to use GoFerm, which is a yeast nutrient from Scott Laboratories specifically designed to aid in the hydration of dry yeast. GoFerm has micronutrients that the yeast cells soak up that will aid in re-hydration and also the viability of the cells.

Scott Labs recommends adding GoFerm at the rate of 1.25 parts GoFerm per 1.0 part of yeast. This works out to 14.4 grams of GoFerm for a 11.5 g brewing yeast packet or 6.25 g of GoFerm for the smaller 5 g packets often used for wine. They recommend using 20x by weight of water to hydrate the GoFerm. If you do the math this is about 280 ml (9.5 oz) of water for the 11.5 g packet of yeast or 125 ml (4.2 oz) of water for the smaller 5 g yeast packets.

The process I use is as follow with all amounts scaled to fit a typical 11.5 g yeast packet. If you are using smaller packets or a multiple packets you may need to scale the numbers as outlined above.

  • Add 280 ml (9.5 oz) of luke-warm water (for 11.5 g yeast packet) at 104 F (40C) to a sanitized bowl or beaker. Mix in the 14.5 g of GoFerm until it is well blended.
  • Next add the dry yeast packet and mix well.
  • Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, then add small amounts of wort to slowly bring the temperature down.
  • I will repeat this process every 5-10 minutes or so – mixing in small amounts of wort to being the temperature of the mixture down. However you want to avoid changing the temperature by more than 10 degrees F within a single 5 minute period.
  • During these breaks, I will Buy Viagra 25 mg in Fremont California.
  • Once the temperature is within 10 degrees F (5 C) of the temperature of the wort, you can pitch the yeast-GoFerm mixture and begin fermentation.

The above process will give you the best results when working with dry yeast. Thanks for joining me on the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chattanooga Tennessee. Be sure to sign up for Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bridgeport Connecticut or my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chicago Illinois(also on Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chula Vista California…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Cincinnati Ohio…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clarksville Tennessee) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clearwater Florida I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Fresh Juniper Saison with El Dorado

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Buy Viagra 25 mg in Hartford ConnecticutI really enjoy beers brewed with local ingredients, but local grains and hops have never been at the top of that list. In both cases local usually doesn’t mean fresher, higher quality, or more variety. Often the opposite is true, and for double the price. Conversely, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs are naturally advantaged over their nonlocal competition. They are at their best immediately after harvest and include varieties not suitable for shipping. Buying fresh in these cases is often less than the shelf-stable versions (although that means more processing for the brewer).

For this batch of rye saison I opted for a blend of hops and grains from around the world, paired with freshly harvested juniper (Eastern Red Cedar) from my backyard. This was my second batch using trimmings from that tree, after the more traditional Buy Viagra 25 mg in Hayward California earlier in the year. The other half of this batch went on to be a rye pale ale, dry-hopped with Galaxy and I didn’t want juniper in that beer. To avoid splitting the boil I added the juniper as a tea, rather than directly to the mash or wort.

I wanted a more complex and substantial malt backbone to counter the aromatic hops and juniper, so pale malt and rye made sense. Big quality-of-life upgrade from my old Barley Crusher to my new Buy Viagra 25 mg in Henderson Nevada. Not far from Buy Viagra 25 mg in Hialeah Florida brewed a few years ago, but with spelt flour replacing the wheat malt. Fermentation was carried out by my house saison culture.

Buy Viagra 25 mg in High Point North CarolinaIt was also my first batch using the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Hollywood Florida that Brewcraft USA sent for me to try out. It features a pre-santized bag to ferment the wort in. It made clean up easy, but I found the bag annoying to work with otherwise. It took some effort to get it fluffed up enough to get the tubing down into it for run-off. I also found it difficult to see where my auto-siphon was for racking. In the past all of my fermentors had either been clear (glass and plastic carboys) or had a wide opening to allow me to see down into the fermentor to know when to tilt or stop to avoid sucking up trub.

This batch also has Buy Viagra 50 mg in Abilene Texas, a bit abbreviated compared to Buy Viagra 50 mg in Akron Ohio and with slightly better audio thanks to a new microphone!

Fresh Juniper Saison

Buy Viagra 50 mg in Albuquerque New MexicoSmell – Nice mixture of generic American-hop-fruitiness and saison yeast pepper. Mild Brett-pineapple, but still fresh. Juniper comes across more naturally piney, no big apricot as I’ve tasted in a few beers brewed with boil-addition Eastern Red Cedar. Maybe has to do with an interaction with the malt? Seasonal flavor-change?

Appearance – Nearly flawless saison; glowing gold with a luscious white head. Leaves rings of sticky lacing with each sip.

Taste – The hops and juniper meld beautifully, reinforcing each other. Slight maltiness in the finish, thanks to the rye malt. Juniper comes out most in the finish, especially towards the bottom of the glass. Woody, green, not like toasted oak (no vanilla or toasted nuts).

Mouthfeel – The extra proteins and beta glucans from the rye and spelt combine to provide some substance to the body. Carbonation is a little low, would have been fun bottled. At first it had sort of a resiny harshness to the finish, thankfully that has dropped out.

Drinkability & Notes – Weird, but not too weird. Surprisingly drinkable with a good balance of hops, herbs, and funk.

Changes for Next Time – Would like to try it with juniper in the mash/boil to see how it changes the expression.

Buy Viagra 50 mg in Alexandria VirginiaRecipe

Batch Size: 5.75 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 36.3
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.9%
Final pH: 4.12
Brewhouse Efficiency: 79%
Boil Time: 60 mins

68.2% – 7.5 lbs Buy Viagra 50 mg in Allentown Pennsylvania
22.7% – 2.5 lbs Weyermann Rye Malt
9.1% – 1 lbs Buy Viagra 50 mg in Amarillo Texas

Mash In – 60 min @ 154F

1.50 oz Buy Viagra 50 mg in Anaheim California (Pellets, 6.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
1.50 oz Buy Viagra 50 mg in Anchorage Alaska (Pellets, 9.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
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0.50 oz Buy Viagra 50 mg in Antioch California (Pellets, 11.00% AA) @ 30 min Whirlpool
2.00 oz Buy Viagra 50 mg in Arlington Texas (Pellets, 15.00% AA) Dry Hop

7.00 g Calcium Chloride
5.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)
1.50 tsp 88% Lactic Acid

1 Pint Juniper Tea:
    1 gallon of Water
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 60 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 30 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 10 mins
    40 g Eastern Red Cedar @ 0 mins

Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend

All DC Filtered water for mash and sparge. Mash pH 5.29 at mash temp. Collected 6.75 gallons of 1.050 runnings. 1 gallon of distilled water added pre-boil reduced gravity to 1.045.

For the juniper infusion, brought a gallon of water to a boil with 40 g of Eastern Red Cedar. Boiled for 60 minutes with 40 additional grams at 30, 10, and flame-out. Allowed to chill naturally with the juniper still in there. Added 2 cups to the saison half (~25% of the resulting amber liquid).

Amarillo/Citra/Simcoe in the boil was all 2014. Galaxy was 2016.

Saison with my house culture, directly from fridge (honey saison).

Left both at 68F to ferment.

11/26/17 Dry hopped the saison with El Dorado. Still in primary. Warmed to mid-70s ambient.

12/7/17 Kegged the Saison and started force carbonation in kegerator.

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Cream Ale with Curt Stock- BeerSmith Podcast #162

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Buy Viagra 50 mg in Baton Rouge LouisianaCurt Stock joins me this week to discuss brewing the perfect Cream Ale and a little bit about fruit meads.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (34:12)

  • Today my guest is Curt Stock. Curt is a former American Homebrewer’s Association Governing Committee member and was also the 2005 mead maker of the year. Curt is a member of the St Paul Homebrewer’s Club and last appeared way back in episode #20.
  • Curt begins with a description of the Cream Ale beer style – it is a very drinkable light ale similar in some ways to a Koelsch.
  • We talk about Genessee Cream Ale from Rochester as well as a few other commercial examples like Spotted Cow.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on the history of Cream Ale and how it evolved as a pre-prohibition response to the rise of light lagers. It was once called “present use” ale and also has some roots back to Koelsch.
  • We talk about the grain bill extensively which includes typically pale ale and as much as 20% corn or rice adjuncts.
  • The corn/rice really don’t add much of a creamy finish (which comes from the yeast) but instead will lighten the beer and add alcohol but not much flavor.
  • Curt tells us his own formula for cream ale which is about 80% pilsner malt and 20% flaked corn.
  • We discuss the best mash schedule. Curt prefers a low temperature mash while I suggest a “lager” mash where you have steps both at low and high temps to maximize fermentability.
  • We talk about hop schedules and the low IBU level (usually around 15 IBUs) for a cream ale, as well as why whirlpool and dry hopping may not be appropriate for this style.
  • We discuss the importance of yeast. Curt recommends Wyeast 1056, while I explain my experiments with White labs Cream Ale yeast in cider.
  • Curt shares his thoughts on fermenting out and finishing a cream ale including a fairly high carbonation level. Curt also likes to filter his cream ales.
  • We talk about bottling/aging a cream ale though it is intended to be consumed quickly after finishing.
  • Curt shares his final thoughts on cream ale.
  • We spend a few minutes talking about big fruit meads as well as how those lessons may be applied to making fruit beers.


Thanks to Curt Stock for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new Buy Viagra 25 mg in Baltimore Maryland, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Buy Viagra 25 mg in Baton Rouge Louisiana. Also all of my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Beaumont Texas now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bellevue Washington to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

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Cherry Wine: Flanders Red Recipe

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Buy Viagra 50 mg in Colorado Springs ColoradoWhen it comes to adding fruit to sour beer I’ve long advocated waiting, both on the blog (and in Buy Viagra 50 mg in Columbia Missouri). This serves two purposes. First, it delays the decision point, allowing the brewer to taste the unaugmented beer and decide the optimal treatment for each carboy or barrel (blend, fruit, dry hop, drain etc.). Second, it allows you to drink the packaged sour beer while the fruit aromatics are still fresh and vibrant. But is that approach sacrificing anything?

Talking to Buy Viagra 50 mg in Columbia South Carolina about his “two season” peach sour, and hearing the approaches at a few breweries (e.g., Buy Viagra 50 mg in Columbus Georgia – Red Angel has 1 lb per gallon of raspberries in the barrels at three weeks and then 3 lbs more per gallon at the end) got me thinking. Early fruit allows for yeast-interactions before the pH falls far enough to inhibit those enzymes; theoretically it could produce a richer perhaps “jammy” fruit profile. Reserving a portion of the fruit could adds back those aromatics that would be oxidized or volatilized by the end of aging.

The base beer for my first attempt at the technique was a Flemish red. The recipe is not far from numerous beers I’d brewed before except for two notable tweaks. I used American Munich/Vienna instead of European. I used pre-aged “Lambic” hops from Yakima Valley in hopes of pushing some of the fruity depth they can provide.

Buy Viagra 50 mg in Columbus OhioWhile I enjoy cherries in pale lambic-type beers, they can easily dominate the subtle malt profile. I’ve had good results with them in sour reds in the past, and wanted to try staggered additions. I opted for Buy Viagra 50 mg in Concord California wine yeast for primary fermentation. A Buy Viagra 50 mg in Coral Springs Florida had done well with another wine strain, and I hoped that given this strain was selected to free aromatics (bound terpenes and glycosides) from wine grapes, it might benefit the cherries. For ease of timing and considering that all of the bright-fresh aromatics are already gone, I added dried sour cherries a month into souring. Russian River adds dried sour cherries to the Pinot Noir barrels for Supplication along with the Brett, so I was in good company. As I usually do, I rinsed the dried fruit briefly in StarSan to remove the oil that prevents them from sticking.

Sour and dark cherries waiting for beer.Souring was provided by dregs from De Garde Saison Facile. And I can say without question they did a much better job than the other half of the batch with Wyeast Roeselare (no tasting today as it has a strong sulfur character).

Once the dried cherries had given their all, I racked onto a 2:1 combination of homegrown sour cherries and farmer’s market sweet/dark cherries. I have read and heard from several reliable sources (Wild Brews and Dave Pyle) that the sour cherries of Belgium are somewhere between sweet and sour cherries in America.

The attendees to my February Sour Beer BYO Boot Camp in San Diego will have a chance to taste this beer (and blend it with several of my other dark and cherry sours) as those in Indianapolis did in November! The early bird $100 discount only runs through 12/15.

Cherry Wine

Finished beer under our cherry tree.Smell – The homegrown sour cherries really shine. It smells like the defrosting bag of fruit. Light spice, almost cinnamon, something I’ve gotten in the past from dried sour cherries. Not much malt coming through.

Appearance – Clear garnet. The base beer without fruit is red, the cherries provide depth and push it more burgundy. Small light-tan head, good retention.

Taste – The fruit flavor is true and saturated… jammy. The various types of cherries adding depth without muddling the overall fruit impression. Firm lactic acidity, with added sharpness from the fruit. The malt doesn’t have the oomph I expect from that amount of Munich and Vienna. Not much Brett character, but it does have more funky-depth than a kettle sour. A touch of perceived sweetness lingering with the fruit and almondy pits.

Mouthfeel – The high FG provides some substance to the otherwise crisp profile. Solid carbonation, not too much.

Drinkability & Notes – A showcase for cherries without being only about the fruit. One of the best cherry sours I’ve brewed. Saturated with fruit, and good balanced acidity. I’ve been enjoying this and it has been going quickly as I’ve been nervous that the gravity finished higher than I expected.

Changes for Next Time –  Maltiness could be firmer, will likely switch back to Weyermann for the Vienna and Munich. I’d get my timing better and add the dried cherries to the carboy before I transfer the beer in.


Clear wort pumped into the kettle.Batch Size: 5.50 gal
SRM: 13.9
IBU: 13.3
OG: 1.062
FG: 1.018
ABV: 5.8%
Final pH: 3.27
Brewhouse Efficiency: 71%
Boil Time: 90 Mins

37.0% – 5 lbs Briess Borlander Munich Malt
33.3% – 4.5 lbs Briess Goldpils Vienna Malt
18.5% – 2.5 lbs Rahr 2-Row Brewers malt
7.4% – 1 lbs Weyermann CaraRed
3.7% – .5 lbs Weyermann CaraAroma

Mash In – 45 min @ 158F

2.00 oz YVH Lambic (Pellets, 2.00% AA) @ 90.0 min

5.5 g Calcium Chloride
.5 Whirlfloc Tablet

1 lbs Dried Sour Cherries
3 lbs Sour Cherries
1.5 lbs Dark/Sweet Cherries

Scott Labs 58W3
De Garde Saison Facile Dregs

Recipe adjusted to reflect only half of the batch tasted here.

Brewed 2/19/17

Collected 7 gallons of 1.056 runnings from 8 gallon mash with 5.5 g of CaCl, and 1.5 gallon cold water sparge.

YVH lambic/aged hop pellets.Lambic hops from Yakima Valley Hops. Bagged. No idea on AA%, wort had almost no bitterness.

Chilled to 62F, shook to aerate, pitched 8 g of BM45 in one half, 5 g of 58W3 in the other. No other bugs, yet. Left at 70F to ferment.

3/5/17 Racked both to secondary.

BM45 – 1.026, pitched a pack of Roeselare

58W3 – 1.032, pitched De Garde Saison Facile dregs.

Left at ambient basement temperature, ~60F.

4/8/16 Added 1 lb of dried cherries to the 58W3 half. Rinsed in StarSan to remove any surface oil (more than sanitation).

7/21/17 Racked the 58W3 half onto ~3 lbs of sour cherries (half homegrown) and 1.5 lbs of sweet cherries. Frozen and defrosted, purged with CO2. Left the dried cherries behind.

10/1/17 Bottled both halves with rehydrated Pasteur Champagne. 4.75 gallons of each, 97 g of table sugar, aiming for 2.3 volumes of CO2. The non-cherry half had a slight sulfur aroma and foamed oddly during bottling.

Cherry 3.27 pH and FG of 1.018 (higher than I expected although it did drop considerably from when it was transferred).

Imperial Yeast and Starters with Owen Lingley, Jess Caudill – BeerSmith Podcast #161

Imperial Yeast and Starters with Owen Lingley, Jess Caudill – BeerSmith Podcast #161

Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill from Imperial Yeast join me this week to discuss brewing yeast, yeast starters, pitch rates, and caring for your beer yeast.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (43:36)

  • Today my guests are Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill from Imperial Yeast. Owen is co-owner at Imperial yeast and worked at Wyeast and also runs Craft Canning and Bottling company. He started Imperial Yeast about 2-1/2 years ago. Jess is head of the technical services department and has been in the beer industry for 22 years including Wyeast and also “Everybody’s Brewing” head of production.
  • We start with a discussion about the importance of high quality yeast in making great beer.
  • Jess explains how many yeast cells are needed for a typical 5 gal (19 l) batch.
  • We talk about starting gravities and the importance of matching your yeast pitch rate to the batch size and gravity.
  • Owen explains the concept of viable cells and how viability (living cells) decrease as a package of yeast is stored.
  • We discuss dry yeast and why it has a longer shelf life.
  • Jess tells us how to ideally store and preserve yeast to extend its viability over time.
  • We discuss yeast packaging and Owen tells us about his future packaging plans for Imperial yeast.
  • Jess explains why you need more yeast cells when working with a lager.
  • Owen talks about yeast starters and why they are important for many beers.
  • Jess tells us what size a typical homebrew starter might be.
  • We talk about how to make a yeast starter, typical sizes and why you might want to use a stir plate with a starter.
  • Jess explains the limits of starter size growth (typically 2-3x).
  • We discuss multi-stage starters and how to use them.
  • Owen and Jess explain how yeast is grown commercially.
  • Owen talks about Imperial yeast, some of their future plans and also Homebrewcon which is coming to his home town.


Thanks to Owen Lingley and Jess Caudill for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new Buy Viagra 25 mg in Baltimore Maryland, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Buy Viagra 25 mg in Baton Rouge Louisiana. Also all of my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Beaumont Texas now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bellevue Washington to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our Buy Viagra 25 mg in Berkeley California online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bridgeport Connecticut (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Digital Thermometer Options for Beer Brewing

Digital Thermometer Options for Beer Brewing

This week I take a look at digital thermometer options to use with your beer brewing system. Digital thermometers currently on the market have a wide temperature range, are inexpensive, very accurate and easy to use.

Types of Brewing Thermometers

In this article I want to focus on digital thermometer options, but first I’ll describe the most popular analog options which include the floating glass thermometer and the kettle thermometer.

Most brewers are familiar with the ubiquitous floating glass thermometer which comes with the vast majority of homebrew starter kits. These glass thermometers typically have a temperature range of 0-100 C (32-212 F) and can simply be dropped in the pot or mash tun and left to float. They are fairly reliable though some have questionable accuracy in some cases (usually within a few degrees) and also they are quite fragile. I’ve broken a bunch of these.

The next most common thermometer in brewing is the common kettle thermometer (brumometer, brew thermometer) which typically has a dial face that is adjustable so you can calibrate it. These are inserted in a hole drilled in the kettle, and if calibrated properly before use are typically accurate within perhaps two degrees. These are analog thermometers that are often sold with higher end brew kettles or systems, and are great for brewing.

More recent innovations include digital thermometers both of the cooking (metal tip) kind and the infrared kind. Finally, Blichmann has introduced a bluetooth kettle thermometer called the BrewVision thermometer that is also digital but communicates directly with your phone. I’m going to cover these three models in this article as each has its advantages over the two more common types.

The Infrared Digital Thermometer

First up is the infrared digital thermometer. I bought this model from TackLife (Amazon affiliate link) as it was inexpensive and had roughly a one percent +/-1F (0.5 C) accuracy.

An infrared thermometer shines a low power laser at an object and measures the temperature based on the infrared reflection. So basically to use it you just point and shoot it at the surface of the water and it will give you the surface temperature reading. I found it to be quick and accurate for measuring water, the temperature of the pot itself, and external temperatures of fermenters.

Unfortunately the laser fell short when working with an all grain mash tun. I believe the foaming and grain on top of the mash tun interfered with the laser and I found it often gave inaccurate results when compared to my kettle thermometer or other digital thermometers. So I could use this device while heating my water, but not when measuring the mash temperature after adding grains. So unfortunately this is not a great option for all grain brewers who require accurate mash step temperatures.

The Digital Cooking Thermometer

Next up, I tried a simple digital cooking thermometer. This is the inexpensive model I purchased – an RTS digital waterproof thermometer (Amazon affiliate link). Again the unit claimed a +/- 1 F (0.5 C) accuracy level.

To use this thermometer you simply dip it in the water, mash or beer, and it very rapidly will give you a temperature reading. At high temperature, I found it worked very quickly – usually settling on a temperature within a second or two. At room temperature it took a bit longer to reach a final temperature, but still gave accurate readings within a few seconds.

This unit also did not have any trouble reading mash temperatures or the temperature of any liquid – just dip it in the liquid and you get an accurate temperature reading. I also like the fact that it is waterproof and came with a nice cover and wrist strap so you can keep it handy while brewing.

Blichmann Brewvision Bluetooth Thermometer

The final digital thermometer I got to play with was the Blichmann Brewvision thermometer. While I don’t own one of these yet, I have been able to see them in action both at Homebrewcon and also another BYO event, as well as play with it as a standalone device. The Brewvision is a kettle thermometer intended to be mounted through a hole in your brew kettles as a direct replacement for the popular dial thermometers used on most kettles and mash tuns. The accuracy of the device is +/- 0.5F (0.25 C).

The Brewvision does have a unique feature set in that its bluetooth transceiver connects directly to your iPhone or iPad which lets you monitor and record temperatures (within about 30 feet/10 m if no obstructions). While certainly more expensive (around $99) than a handheld thermometer, I like the flexibility it offers, particularly for monitoring and recording mash temperatures.

As every all grain brewer knows, there are considerable waiting periods when mashing – either waiting to achieve your strike temperature or waiting for the mash to complete. Being able to monitor the kettle from across the room on my phone frees me up for other tasks like cleaning, sanitizing or relaxing.

Since the Brewvision software also lets you import your BeerSmith recipes directly from the BeerSmith cloud, you can easily record and track progress of the mash or boil remotely. Overall a pretty neat solution to ease what could be a long all grain brew day.


So what do I recommend? Having broken more than my fair share of glass thermometers, I’ve basically given up on them. My current brewing setup has a set of conventional (analog) kettle thermometers on it which are accurate enough for basic brewing work, and I also have an electric controller (Tower of Power) that monitors temperature on my system when recirculating.

I supplement my analog thermometers with a digital cooking thermometer (Amazon link). The reason I do this is that the analog scale is only accurate to a degree or two F, and also you need a reference point to calibrate the kettle thermometers against. The digital thermometer provides that steady reference point so I can make sure the thermometers on the kettle are giving me the right answer. This style of thermometer would also be suitable for those brewing without kettle thermometers, as it is fast and accurate to use.

I am seriously considering a BrewVision thermometer for my mash kettle. That would let me monitor the temperatures on my iPhone from nearby work areas and give me more flexibility during brew day instead of worrying about watching the kettle thermometer while I brew.

If you have thoughts on brewing thermometers leave a comment below! Thanks for joining me on the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chattanooga Tennessee. Be sure to sign up for Buy Viagra 25 mg in Bridgeport Connecticut or my Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chicago Illinois(also on Buy Viagra 25 mg in Chula Vista California…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Cincinnati Ohio…and Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clarksville Tennessee) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the Buy Viagra 25 mg in Clearwater Florida I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.