CCHBS News for June 2006
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- Recipe Specials for June
- All-Grain Brewing Class June 17th
- Erlenmeyer Flasks in Stock
- Immersion Wort Chillers: just like BBB's
- Spotlight on Technique: Optimum Yeast Pitching Rates
Recipe Specials for June
Pacific Gravity will be featuring Small Beers in August. Luckily, we've
got a few recipes for beers with original gravities below 1.040 and
we're putting them all on special for June.
Melrose Mild was our original low-gravity beer. If you've never had
a Mild Ale, think of them as what "lite" beers should be ?
low in alcohol but with plenty of flavor from dark grain. Try it now
Notting Hill Pub Bitter is an example of an English Ordinary Bitter.
This style is a session beer, a style you can drink in a long evening's
session at a pub and still be able to get home. Brew it in April for
Finally, we've got Little Mac Scottish Light, a Scottish Light 60/-
beer. If you're wondering, 60/- stands for 60 shillings in the old-style
British monetary units. The name comes from the cost of ingredients
for a barrel of the beer, which was the lowest-gravity Scottish ale.
We won't be selling it for 3 Pounds, but you can still enjoy the style
for a paltry $20 during June.
All-Grain Brewing Class June 17th
If you've been curious about learning how to step up from extract to
all-grain brewing, we'll be teaching a class in all-grain brewing on
Saturday, June 17th. The class will start at 11AM sharp, so make sure
you're there on time. We'll be brewing not one, but two batches: a 10
gallon batch using the Pacific Gravity club brewing system and another
5 gallon batch using the no-sparge approach, which requires much less
equipment. So whether you're interested in learning how to brew at home
with a minimum investment or on the club system, plan on attending.
And if you want to use the club system later, make sure you arrive on
time and stay all day, since learning to set the system up and put it
away are necessary before brewing on your own.
Erlenmeyer Flasks in Stock
People have been asking us to stock Erlenmeyer flasks for a while now,
and we've finally found a reasonable source. They're made of Pyrex©
or a similar glass that allows you to boil wort for your yeast starter
in the same vessel you'll ferment it in. If you're not sure whether
you should be making yeast starters, you should read the Spotlight below.
The 1 liter flasks sell for $14.95 and the 2 liter flasks for $24.95.
Immersion Wort Chillers: Just like BBB's
We've worked out an agreement with Beer, Beer & More Beer to sell
some of their products. One of these is the new line of wort chillers
we're selling. They're a good design that puts the maximum cooling capability
at the top of the brew pot, which is where the heat rises during chilling.
They also come with heavy-duty fittings for attachment directly to garden
Spotlight on Technique: Optimum Yeast Pitching Rates
We often have beginning brewers coming to us wanting to make strong
beers like IPA, or even Barleywines, who are surprised when we recommend
that they make a lower gravity beer instead. The reason is simple; while
the various yeast companies make excellent products, commercial reality
is that they can't provide a package that contains the optimum yeast
count for a low gravity batch of beer, much less something stronger.
The result is that most homebrewers are chronically underpitching their
Recommended yeast pitching rates for a ale is about 1 million yeast
cells for every milliliter of wort, for every degree Plato. ( Double
that for lagers.). Doing the math for a 5 gallon batch of 1.044 degree
wort (6 lbs of malt extract) works out to: 209 billion yeast cells.
For a 5 gallon batch at 1.064 (9 lbs of extract), you'll need 304 billion
cells, for a batch at 1.088 (12 lbs of extract) you'll need 418 billion
According to Wyeast and White Labs, the liquid yeast packages we're
currently selling contain about 100 billion cells each. So to reach
the ideal pitching rate, you'd have to buy 2 packages of yeast for a
recipe using 6 pounds of extract, 3 packages for a typical IPA recipe
and 4 packages for a Barleywine. That's a lot of money! Dry yeast is
a little better, with an 11 gm package containing over 200 billion cells.
But dry yeast is available for relatively few styles, so it's not always
a good solution.
A better solution is to make a yeast starter a couple of days before
you brew. But even then, you may be underpitching. While a 1 pint starter
will increase your yeast cell count to the point where it's closer to
an optimum count, it won't get you all the way there.
So how big a starter do you need? According a Wyeast microbiologist:
1 quart starter = 150 billion cells within 24 hours
2 quart starter = 200 billion cells within 24 hours
1 quart starter pitched into a 4 quart starter = 400 billion cells
Of course, while it's fine to pour all of a smaller starter directly
into your batch, a 5 quart starter would affect your finished beer,
since starters are usually made from unhopped, low gravity wort. A better
approach for a big starter is to make your starter 4-5 days in advance,
so it will ferment completely and the yeast will settle out. Then pour
off the spent wort and pitch only the yeast slurry at the bottom.
Luckily, it's easy to make a starter. Simply boil a quart or two of
water, depending on how big a starter you think you'll need. Then add
either 3 oz. (~1/2 cup) of DME for a 1 quart starter or 6 oz. (~1 cup)
DME for a 2 quart starter. It's also good to add 1⁄4 tsp. of yeast
nutrient, at this point. Boil it for 5-10 minutes, cool it, then pour
it into a sanitized jug that's big enough to hold the starter and provide
space for any krausen that develops. Or boil it in an Erlenmeyer flask
and skip the sanitizing. Shake well to aerate it or, if you have it,
use oxygen. Then pitch your yeast, cap with an airlock let the yeast
go to work. The result will be better, more consistent beers!
The data used in this article (and much more) may be found here
and is used courtesy of Jamil Zainasheff, who knows something about
making better, more consistent beers.