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Moving C2 to a different yeast - June 2015

posted Aug 27, 2015, 12:00 PM by Tony Scarpino   [ updated Aug 27, 2015, 9:47 PM ]
https://sites.google.com/a/incog.com/www/home/movingc2toadifferentyeast-june2015/apa-pic1.JPG?attredirects=0
Up until now I had been using British Ale yeast with my EPAs. It was time to see the flavor difference switching to a California Ale yeast.  Along with that change I wanted a more in-style color.  I switch my Crystal Malt 80 and Special B with a Crystal 20 Malt.  I kept the Maris Otter for consistencies so the yeast would be the big change in the recipe.
This began a back-to-back weekend of brewing.  We had just come north from our 2+ weeks in San Diego, which included attending the Homebrewer's Conference.  I had a new water pump for my chiller system and was ready to go.   During the brew I had a few mistakes along the whole process.

With this batch I agitated the steeping bags a lot to make sure the grains were well soaked.  In the C2 brew, I had dried the grains to give to a friend to use for bread making.  I had found a few small clumps of grains and wanted to avoid a repeat.   Months later with later batches, I realize that technique may be causing me problems with gravity and clarity.

I let it boil over.  For whatever reason, I got distracted by pruning a plant.  With only 3.5 gallons of water, it still climbed over the 8 gallon kettle.  It was all foam, but it was a reminder to not get distracted.  I maintained a mild boil with the lid on, much like with C1, so I felt my water level would be good with less evaporation.
 
The final issue was it took me a while to cool down the wort.  When I tested the new pump the day before, I thought my at least as strong as my father's. But when I hooked everything up, the water could not push through as much hose with all the elevation changes.  I changed the hoses configurations and did not go through the hottub for pre-cooling.  That took about 10 minutes of sitting before cooling started.

The original gravity came out 6pts (0.006) above target.  I scratched my head on that a lot.  This might have been the result of my agitating during the steep too much, but 6pts seemed to high for just that.  I have yet to find a good way to measure how much wort I have after boil, so I could only speculate that the boil over may have taken out more than I thought.

During fermentation I was treated to a enjoyable show of yeast in action.  The California Ales yeast was more vigorous than then others and the currents were fascinating.  Because I was brewing on back to back weekends, when I transferred to secondary, I had to leave my 3 gallon carboy outside the fermentation fridge,  I tried to keep it cool in the closet, but it was probably around 72-74F.  My final gravity came out to be 2pts (0.002) higher originally expected, but hitting target gravity after the original gravity adjustment.

One other thing I did was try to cold crash the beer to settle it before kegging.  Here was were I ran into another problem.  At the time I did not have a second airlock.  So I used the old fashion blowoff tube in a bottle of alcoholic water (half water-half vodka).  I moved the whole setup into the fridge to crashed it and I neglected to check my alcoholic water level.  The next day I saw this layer on the top of the water and the alcoholic water cup tipped over.  I thought the layer was ice, but moving the carboy showed it was liquid.  My guess was during cool down it sucked the liquid into the carboy.  Not knowing the water level in the cup didn't help.   After some discussions with my brewing friend, I siphoned the beer below the layer into the keg and dump the rest.

The beer turned out fine with good in hop flavor.  There was clearly more hop flavor in this APA than the C2 version.  It could have used more, but that could be fixed by the recipe.  What was unexpected was a bitter taste.  I initially thought it had to do with the layer in the carboy, but my friend thought it was DMS.   At this point I had already brewed my follow on batch the same way as this beer, so I was wondering if that beer would suffer the same fate.  Over time the bitterness faded, pointing to a transient issue, not infection, and probably DMS.  The solution to DMS was the boil without a lid.  Since I had always brewed with a lid, I was unsure why I hadn't seen this before, but I guess that's why brewing is hard to repeat.