Cells, start your engines.


Getting ready for a double brew day this weekend. It's Wednesday so I began the starters.

Two different starters, I'm doing a Red Irish Ale and an American Pale Ale, both are extract kits from my Local Homebrew Supply (LHBS). The Red is for St. Patty's day and the American is in honor of Obama busting out with a batch in the White House kitchen before the Super Bowl! I don't care who you are, a donkey or elephant, as a homebrewer that was damn cool.

I've been doing all grain batches this past year but the garage setup isn't ideal for a double AG day.
I figured going extract would help speed things up a bit, that and well, why not?

I still have my old Harbor Freight burner and my very first brew kettle so I'm going to brew both batches at the same time rather than back to back. Try and save time. With only one POS immersion chiller, cooling will take awhile though.

Two batches = two starters. I only have one stir plate so I picked up a second flask and foam stopper. If this works out I might order another stir plate. Btw it's a Hanna from Amazon and the price was right on Prime.

My favorite blog is Brulosophy. I'm sure you've read or heard of it. Marshall is a stud. I emailed him in response to his request for new ideas for his Exbeeriments. I thought that a stir plate vs. no stir plate starter would be cool. We will see what happens. In the mean time I am going to do my own ("Exbrewment", nothing compared to Marshall's work and certainly not worthy of using the phrase he coined!)
Obviously they are two different strains, 1084 and 1056 Wyeast but it will be interesting to compare the two. I'll keep the Red on the plate and see if it takes off first.

The other Exbrewment I'm trying is a double propagation. This is usually done for large batches or high gravity brews but I want to see what it does to a regular brew and I'm feeling really adventurous lately. A double propagation is just making a second starter from your first therefore quadrupling the yeast count.

In my never ending quest for brewing better beer, I picked up an O2 kit (earlier post). I talked about it on FB's Home Brew Talk page and received a couple really good ideas to improve the kit. The first was to add a sterile inline filter between the bottle and the stone. The second was to use a wand to hold the stone on the bottom of the fermenter otherwise the stone will float to the top.
I ordered both from Morebeer.

The other item in the pic is a sterile siphon kit from also from Morebeer & highly recommended by Marshall. My siphon is on its last leg and it came with the filter I can use on the O2 kit.





Update: Friday 2/6/15
Before work I moved the boys to the fridge for cold crashing. In the photo you can see the krausen line on both flasks is about 1/2", not very impressive. That tells me that stage 1 didn't take off like it should have. Maybe I killed some off when I put the yeast packs in the sink full of hot water and Star San. Note to self: Don't do that again.




After decanting and pitching stage 2 we have lift off. The picture below is @ 3am, 10 hrs into second stage. Full disclosure: it's out of focus, wrong lens, woke up had to use the head and snapped a quickie on the way. Check out that krausen!


The recipe I've always used for my starters is from Michael Dawson. Love this guy. Not quite man crush but close. When he was at Northern Brewer with Chip Walton (Chop & Brew) they made a series of videos called Brewing TV. Really great stuff. I'm getting way off track here but I linked the video I use to Mike's name above.
Back to Mike's recipe: 1 cup LME to 1500ml of water and one smack pack.
But how many cells does that make?
Digging around on HBT, YeastCalc was the favorite. I'll get into it on another post. Anyway the sun is coming up - lets get this brew day started...

Gesondheid!