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Home Brewing and Oxygen

Purging Kegs With CO2 From A Fermenter

Purging Kegs With CO2 From A Fermenter

Home Brewing and Oxygen

Recently one of the things I have been focusing on with my beer making is fermentation practices. For a while now I have been using a temperature controlled fermentation chamber and yeast starters to make sure that I had sufficient quantities of yeast and an ideal environment for the yeast to ferment in. That being said, I have been pretty relaxed when it comes to oxygen levels and have been working on making progress in that area.

Just some basic information on oxygen and home beer brewing. At certain points in the beer brewing / beer fermentation process, oxygen can be either your best friend or your worst enemy and it is important to know when to add and when to avoid it.  Thankfully it is pretty easy to keep track of! The only time that you want to introduce oxygen to your beer is post boil and once the wort has cooled down and you are preparing to pitch your yeast. The reason for this is that yeast requires oxygen for healthy propagation. “Yeast use oxygen for cell membrane synthesis.  Without oxygen, cell growth will be extremely limited.  Yeast can only produce sterols and certain unsaturated fatty acids necessary for cell growth in the presence of oxygen. Inadequate oxygenation will lead to inadequate yeast growth.  Inadequate yeast growth can cause poor attenuation, inconsistent or long fermentations, production of undesirable flavor and aroma compounds, and produces yeast that are not fit for harvesting and re-pitching.” – Wyeast Labs. During the boil process, much of the oxygen is stripped away from the wort, so it is good practice to reintroduce oxygen back into the wort. There are several ways to accomplish this but the key is to do it in a sanitary way. Many brewers will rapidly stir the wort or swish it around in the fermenter and others will pump pure oxygen into the fermenter with a diffuser stone.  In my setup I keep the yeast oxygenation / aeration process pretty simple and meet in the middle. I use an aquarium pump with a stainless steel diffuser for about 15 minutes once I have transferred my wort to the fermenter.  It has an inline HEPA filter to make sure I am not blowing a bunch of dust or wild yeast into my wort. I also pitch the yeast at  the same time. You can pickup at yeast aeration kit from MoreBeer.com for about $35.

 

Yeast aeration

Yeast aeration

Once you have aerated your wort and begun the fermentation process you will want to do everything you can to avoid introducing oxygen into your beer.  Thankfully, the yeast will help you with this process.  As the yeast consumes the oxygen to replicate itself and converts the sugar in your beer, it is creating two main byproducts which are alcohol and CO2.  The creation of the CO2 will help purge any residual oxygen from the fermenter.  The next step is doing your best to avoid introducing oxygen to your beer when it comes time to transfer your beer to the keg. The most common way to do so is to purge your keg with CO2  from a CO2 tank and then push your beer from the fermenter with CO2 from a CO2 tank. In my setup the only thing that I do differently is that I use the CO2 being expelled from my fermenter during active fermentation to purge my keg.  You can view the setup in the photo at the top of this article to get a visual, but basically I am diverting the CO2 to the keg as opposed to pushing it the a flask filled with sanitizer. I user mini stainless steel ball lock valves that I picked up here from Amazon.  For the final step, I push CO2 into my fermenter to build about 3 PSI of pressure and move the fermented beer from the fermenter to the keg as shown in the following image.

Beer Fermentation

Beer Fermentation

Battle Hammer Viking IPA & Kviek Yeast

Kviek Yeast
Perhaps  the biggest brewing trend of 2019 has been the explosion in popularity of Kveik (pronounced Ki-Vike) yeast. Kveik is a group of Norwegian yeast strains that were previously best known for their use in Norwegian farmhouse brewing. Kviek yeast has been used in brewing for over 400 years now, but recently has seen a resurgence in popularity because of some of its unique properties.

So what is so special about Kviek? Primarily it boils down to temperature! Unlike typical ale yeast, which ferments best around 68F, Kviek yeast strains ferment well up to temperatures of 100°F (a temperature that would kill most lager or ale yeast strains).  In fact, the sweet spot for Kviek yeast strains is between 70°F and 95°F  and at high temperatures it imparts little noticeable difference in ester production. The ideal fermentation temperature for a lager is typically between 45F and 60F ; for an ale it is 68F and 72F.  Unlike Kviek, most lager and ale yeast strains produce undesirable off flavors / esters once they exceed their optimal fermentation temperature ranges. If a home brewer does not have the ability to control their fermentation temperature this often times translates to sub par beer.

The high fermentation temperature range of Kviek yeasts has another big benefit, SPEED! You know how cold blooded animals like snakes and lizards move slower when it is cold outside and faster when it is hot? Well yeast works the same way.  When the temperature is high, yeast gets super charged.  It is the reason why lagers ferment so much slower than ales. Using Kviek yeast is kinda like trading in your old 2007 Dodge Caravan for a 2020 Porsche GT2 with a carbon fiber spoiler, reduced weight seats and upgraded suspension package.

Not wanting to drive a Minivan any longer, I figured I would give Kviek a shot and see what all the hype was about.

 

Kviek Yeast Fermentation TemperaturesTEMP: 65–100F (18–38C) FLOCCULATION: MEDIUM-HIGH ATTENUATION: 75–85% ALCOHOL TOLERANCE: 10% Norwegian Voss Kveik Strain. Highly versatile, can be used in a wide variety of beer styles. A traditional Norwegian Kveik strain that has an extremely wide fermentation temperature range. This strain has been traditionally used in Norwegian farmhouse style beers however, due to it’s fermentation temp range can be used in a variety of beers from pseudo lagers, Belgian inspired, and hop forward beers. The possibilities seem endless when fermenting with Loki. On the cool end of the range Loki is super clean; producing little to no esters. On the high end of the fermentation range, 85-95F, it tends to produce a huge fruit ester profile.

Home Brewing with Kviek Yeast

To take full advantage of the Kviek fermentation benefits, I purchased a dual stage temperature controller and an “always on” heating pad for my fermentation chamber (converted chest freezer).  Keep in mind that as yeast ferments it is releasing a bunch of energy as it replicates, digests sugar, pees out alcohol and burps out CO2. In the image at the top of this article, you can see that I set my fermentation temp to 86F and the yeast brought the temperature all the way up to 90.1F during primary fermentation. It is advised that you make sure you keep that in mind as you set your desired fermentation temperature into your temp controller if you happen to use one.

For my first Kviek batch, I fermented a Double IPA and used the Imperial Loki Kviek yeast strain. Here is some of Imperials information on it:

Imperial Loki Kviek Yeast

TEMP: 65–100F (18–38C) FLOCCULATION: MEDIUM-HIGH ATTENUATION: 75–85% ALCOHOL TOLERANCE: 10%
Norwegian Voss Kveik Strain that can be used in a wide variety of beer styles. A traditional Norwegian Kveik strain that has an extremely wide fermentation temperature range. This strain has been traditionally used in Norwegian farmhouse style beers however, due to it’s fermentation temp range can be used in a variety of beers from pseudo lagers, Belgian inspired, and hop forward beers. The possibilities seem endless when fermenting with Loki. On the cool end of the range Loki is super clean; producing little to no esters. On the high end of the fermentation range, 85-95F, it tends to produce a huge fruit ester profile.

I created a yeast starter with the Kviek yeast the night before. The brew day went well with no mishaps. I pitched the wort, placed the fermenter in the fermentation chamber and checked in on it periodically.   The fermenter was already bubbling after just a few hours. I had never seen fermentation begin so rapidly. Primary fermentation concluded in just 3 days which was incredibly fast for a beer with an approximate ABV of 8.5%.  I dry hopped the beer for 3 additional days and then cold crashed for 2 days at 45F. My highest fermentation temperature reached was 91F.

 

Battle Hammer - Viking IPA with Kviek Yeast

Battle Hammer – Viking IPA with Kviek Yeast

I named my first Kviek beer Battle Hammer – Viking Double IPA. It is extremely hoppy, but with a name like Battle Hammer, I figured it needed to be. I had only let the beer condition in the keg for about a week and at this point it is still a little cloudy;  I am hoping it will clear a bit over the next couple of weeks. The beer tastes fantastic; very clean and with no off flavors that might have come from the yeast. I was unable to taste any noticeable difference between brewing with this Kviek Loki yeast to when I had brewed this same beer in the past with a Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast strain. The beer came out great, my only change would be to perhaps swap out some of my old school hops for some Citra to brighten the hop profile a bit.

To celebrate the beer, I had created a tap handle inspired by it’s Norwegian heritage.

Norwegian IPA - Battle Hammer - Kviek Yeast

Norwegian IPA – Battle Hammer – Kviek Yeast – Tap Handle Being Welded

 

Norwegian IPA - Battle Hammer - Kviek Yeast - Finished Tape Handle

Norwegian IPA – Battle Hammer – Kviek Yeast – Finished Tape Handle

The runes on the tap handle read “IPA” or at least that is what the Google tells me.

I already have another Kviek fermented beer in the works. For this batch I am using the Omega Kviek Hornidal strain. It is going to be a Coconut Milkshake Hazy IPA.  I am hoping that some of the tropical not from them Hornindal Kviek strain take hold in the beer. The hop profile of this beer is far more subtle than my Battle Hammer Viking IPA, so the yeast should have a greater impact on the flavor of this beer.  Here is some information on the Kviek yeast stains put out by Omega.

HotHead

HotHead is Norwegian in origin from the Stranda Kveik. The famous Lars of Larsblog collected it in Norway and then sent it away for isolation. This isolate has a uniquely pleasant fruitiness and an absurdly wide fermentation range, and ferments clean across the entire range. This is great for brewers who want to be energy efficient with temperature control, or who lack temp control in warm climates. It maintains a stable ester profile, and we advocate it’s be used for hoppy American ales.

Attributes:  Med-High Flocculation, 75-85% Attenuation, : 72-98° F Temp Range, 11% ABV Alcohol Tolerance

HotHead Kviek Yeast can be purchased here for $8.99

Voss Kveik

Voss Kveik is also a Norwegian farmhouse strain from the Gjernes farmhouse which is new to US brewers. It maintains character over a broad temperature range with subtle orange citrus notes that match fruity hops well.

Attributes: Medium Flocculation, 75-82% Attenuation, 62-98° F Temp Range, 12% ABV Alcohol Tolerance

Omega Voss Kviek Yeast can be purchased here for $8.99
Hornindal Kveik

A wonderfully unique Norwegian farmstead Kveik.  Hornindal presents a tropical flavor and aroma of fresh pineapple, mango and tangerine, which complement fruit-forward hops. Add even more dimension to C hops with a high fermentation temperature, intensifying aroma and fermentation speed. Ferments well at 90+° F.

Attributes: High Flocculation, 75-82% Attenuation, 72-98° F Temp Range,  16% ABV Alcohol Tolerance

Omega Hornindal Kviek Yeast can be purchased here for $8.99

 

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David Hazelhop Hazy IPA

Home Beer Brewing Brewery

Home Beer Brewing Brewery

Recently I took about 8 months off from brewing beer. I have had a lot going on in my life and homebrew had to take a back burner for a little while. But there is something about October. It just feels like beer brewing season for me.  The air started getting a little cooler and I began to remember all of those little things that I enjoy so much about home beer brewing.  So I crafted a recipe, got some friends together and we brewed up a batch of Hazy IPA that we are calling David Hazelhop.  If it turns out to be good, I will post the recipe.  I have a few ideas for some tweaks that I would like to make on it for the next time, so we will see.  This was my first time using malted oats and I think I will add more of them to the next batch if this one turns out well.  Here are some photos from this brewing session.

 

Home Brewing Beer

Home Brewing Beer – Photo of me and the gang after the brew session, enjoying a can of Monkish Hazy

Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, German Mandarina Hops

Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, German Mandarina Hops

Transferring the Hazy IPA wort to the conical fermenter

Transferring the Hazy IPA wort to the conical fermenter

Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing

My buddy not to excited about having to scrub up the mash tun

Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, Prost!

Homebrew, Homebrewing, Home Beer Brewing, Prost

 

Once this batch finished up I will either try to brew a slightly different version or try an idea that I have for a Viking IPA that uses the Kveik yeast!

New Hazy Session IPA Recipe

West Coast Brewer Hazy Session IPA All Grain Recipe

West Coast Brewer Hazy Session IPA All Grain Recipe

I recently transferred my Hazy Session IPA to the keg and let it carbonate. I was really pleased with the results and figured I would post the recipe in case anyone was looking to brew one. I did my best to keep the ABV right at or slightly under 5%. Since session beers tend to be a little thin on body, I tried to round mine out by adjusting the mineral profile of the water. I also loaded my Hazy Session IPA up with Citra hops to give it that lush and juicy taste that you come to expect with a Hazy IPA.

Hazy Session IPA All Grain Recipe

Beer Name: Murky Depths Hazy Session IPA
Beer Style: New England Style Hazy Session IPA
Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Mash Type:
Infusion
(60 Min) 152F
(10 Min) 169F Mash Out
1 tsp Calcium Chloride
.5 tsp Gypsum / Calcium Sulfate
Grain Bill:
9 LBS Pale 2 Row US
1 LBS Flaked Oats
1 LBS Caramel / Crystal Malt 40L
Hops:
.5 oz Centennial – 60 minutes
1 oz Cascade – 20 minutes
1 oz Cascade – 10 minutes
2 oz Citra – 0 Minutes & Whirlpool
Yeast:
London Ale III Wyeast #1318
Fermentation:
2 Week Primary @ 70F
– I ferment this at a slightly higher that usual temperature to increased ester production
and to create a more active fermentation)
On day 3 of active fermentation make the following hop additions
2 oz Citra
On day 7 of fermentation make the following hop additions
1 oz Cascade
2 oz Citra
Once fermentation has completed cold crash and transfer to keg or bottle.

I hope you like it and happy brewing!

Home Brewing! Legal Since 2013! What?

West Coast Brewer - Homebrewing

West Coast Brewer – Homebrewing #homebrew #homebrewing

Most people don’t realize this, but it was not Federally legal to brew your own beer in the United States until 1978! Well that is not completely true. Homebrewing was actually legal prior prohibition. In fact, George Washington was even a home brewer. Home beer brewing was federally legalized in 1978 for the first time since Prohibition made homebrew illegal in 1919. It was Jimmy Carter who legalized home beer brewing in 1978.

What is even harder to believe, is that on the state level, home brewing was illegal in both Alabama and Mississippi until 2013! Thankfully we can all rest a little easier now. Homebrewing is currently legal in all 50 states!

Home Brewing Fermenter Deals

Right now More Beer is having some great deals going on for home brewing fermenters! They have some steep discounts running on both their own line of stainless steel conical fermenters and some of the SS BrewTech conical fermenters.  Here are a coupon of MoreBeer promo codes found at Homebrewing Coupon.

 

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Home Brewing A Hazy Session IPA Tomorrow!

It feels like it has been way too long but, I’m brewing up a new batch of homebrew tomorrow! For this batch I’m converting one of my old session IPAs into a hazy. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

One of the modifications is using Wyeast London Ale III for the yeast. I’m also adding a pound of flaked oats, and making modifications to the hop additions, especially during fermentation.

I will be sure to post the recipe if it comes out well!

For the yeast starter I also used Fast Pitch canned wort.  It certainly speeds up the yeast starter process since I do not need to spend the time boiling and chilling the wort. I open the can, place the wort in a sanitized flask, add the same quantity of water, pitch the yeast, placed the sanitized stir rod, place it on the stir plate and that is all she wrote!

NEIPA Hazy IPA Recipe

I just finished up my latest batch of NEIPA, North East IPA, Vermont Style IPA,  New England Style IPA, Juicy IPA or Hazy IPA; however you chose to label it and it turned out incredible so I wanted to share the recipe in case anyone else out there was interested in brewing one. The basis for this recipe is MoreBeer’s Haze Craze IPA which can be purchased in either an Hazy IPA Extract Beer Recipe Kit or Hazy IPA All Grain Beer Recipe Kit. I just made a couple of small tweaks to mine. Although the West Coast was slow to latch on to the NEIPA trend, we have sunk our teeth in and they are currently all the rage. The haze of the yeast, hops and yeast esters pushes the boundaries of what an IPA is and can be. In order to fully enjoy them you need to discard your expectations of what an IPA is and embrace the haziness and sometimes juicy and tropical flavors that are created by new varieties of hops and unconventional yeast strains.

Hazy NEIPA All Grain Beer Recipe

 

Beer Name: Hoptic Thunder Hazy IPA / More Beer Haze Craze IPA
Beer Style: New England Style Hazy IPA
Recipe Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 5 Gallons
Mash Type: Infusion
(60 Min) 152F
(10 Min) 169F Mash Out
1 tsp Calcium Chloride
.5 tsp Gypsum / Calcium Sulfate
Grain Bill: 11 LBS Pale 2 Row US
1 LBS Flaked Oats
2 LBS Flaked Wheat
8 oz Carapils Malt
8 oz Wheat Malt
4 oz Honey Malt
Hops: .5 oz Warrior – 60 minutes
1 oz Citra – 10 Minutes
2 oz Mosaic – 0 Minutes
1 oz Citra – 0 Minutes
Other: DO NOT USE A CLARIFIER
Yeast: London Ale III Wyeast #1318
Fermentation: 2 Week Primary @ 70F
– I ferment this at a slightly higher that usual temperature to increased ester production
and to create a more active fermentation)
On day 3 of active fermentation make the following hop additions
2 oz Mosaic
1 oz Citra
On day 7 of fermentation make the following hop additions
1 oz Mosaic
2 oz Citra
Once fermentation has completed or on day 10, cold crash and transfer to keg or bottle.
Notes: The More Beer Haze Craze IPA Beer Kit can be purchased here:

More Beer Haze Craze Hazy IPA Beer Recipe Kit

 

NEIPA Hazy IPA Beer Recipe

NEIPA Hazy IPA Beer Recipe

 

The Kegerator Has Been Filled

The Kegerator has been filled to capacity once again thanks to lots of holiday home brewing. I am carbonating a hazy New England IPA and MoreBeer’s Hop Gatherer IPA. I plan on reviewing them in a week or two once they are fully carbonated and have some time to condition.

I dry hopped both of these batches, but what was unique about the Hop Gatherer IPA beer kit is that it came with something I had not previously used, Chinook distilled Hop oil. It comes in a tiny vial but smells incredibly potent! It is used as an alternative to dry hopping but I decided to use it in conjunction to help really develope the aroma in this West Coast IPA!

Distilled Hop Oil

Distilled Hop Oil

As you can see from the photo above, the vial is tiny and only holds about 10 drops or so of the distilled Hop oil. I dumped it right in to the keg immediately prior to putting the hatch on the keg to carbonate. The oil smelled strong to say the least. I put the empty vial on a shelf and my garage still smells like hops, which makes me happy; talk about aromatherapy!

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