Tips for Getting All the Malt Extract Out of Your Brew Can
If you are missing your original gravity readings and not hitting your ABV you may be leaving some malt extract behind in your cans. In this episode, we provide some tips to get all that sweet goodness out of your can.
If you have witnessed me speak about fermentation lengths, you have most definitely heard me use the phrase, “positive pressure”. Some of you may even think I am a little obsessed with it, and you would not be entirely wrong. I promise there’s a handful of very good reasons for this and that is what we will be discussing today!
What is “positive pressure”, anyway? The dictionary defines the term as: “Air or gas pressure greater than that of the atmosphere, as used e.g., in the artificial ventilation of the lungs.” This is a very broad and basic definition, so let us talk about its application in brewing. When we use this term as it relates to your beer, sitting in the fermenter, we are typically referring to the presence of active fermentation resulting in the production of C02 gas, which in turn, pushes other atmospheric gases like Oxygen, away. You can visualize this positive pressure as a sort of protective “force field”.
So, what exactly creates this “positive pressure”? Well, as mentioned above, fermentation, but more specifically it is initiated by the yeast consuming and metabolizing wort sugars; one of the bi-products of that feasting is C02, along with roughly 500 other fermentation compounds! In the most active stages of fermentation, the yeast is releasing large quantities of this gas over a short period of time, so your fermenting beer is generally well protected in your LBK or other appropriate fermenters, as this C02 release pushes oxygen out and away from the beer. As you can probably imagine, as the C02 production slows with the activity of the yeast, that positive pressure drops, until it is no longer present at all. As a result of this, unwanted oxygen can come into contact with your beer, and create a whole host of undesirable issues.
You might be wondering, what are some of the possible consequences for the loss of positive pressure? Let us talk about a few of the “big” ones, but spoiler alert, most (all) of them have to do with the resulting oxygen exposure… Color: When pressure is no longer protecting a fully fermented beer, oxygen enters and intensifies a phenomenon called the “Millard effect”, which can cause your beer to darken, significantly. Clarity: Oxygen exposure due to pressure loss, contributes to a clarity issue known as “chill haze”, causing the molecular chains of certain compounds to collect oxygen and become so large that they create a “haze” when cold, that is visible to the naked eye. Flavor: The absence of pressure causes air to change the flavor of certain fermentation components and can give a “wet cardboard” character, or even intensify a strong apple cider flavor, in beer. You also lose desirable flavor and aroma compounds without positive pressure. Infection: One of the most significant vectors for infection within homebrewing (and arguably, brewing in general), is oxygen. Wild spores and microbes can travel right into your fermenter and take root in your beer! Condition: The success you have with carbonating the beer in your bottles is also indirectly affected by positive pressure, as yeast that has sat hungry for a week, with no active fermentation, will not be as healthy or vital within the bottle. Having yeast that is unhappy in the bottle, can cause your beer to condition very slowly, or not at all. Believe it or not, these are not even all the consequences of losing your positive pressure, but they are typically the most common!
If you have been brewing with Mr. Beer for the last couple of years or more, you may have noticed our general direction for fermentation and conditioning times, has changed a bit. The primary reason for this change came from our testing and observation on many batches. What we found, was that on average, except for a high gravity wort or certain types of yeasts, when the correct fermentation parameters are maintained, most beers will fully ferment in 10-14 days, inside the LBK. Adding an extra 7 day
Why you should put your HMEs & LMEs in warm water before you brew?
This step in the brewing process almost seems nonrelevant. Can letting your malt extract can sit in warm water really make a difference? We break it down in this episode of BrewTalk with Mr. Beer.
Can you bottle and carbonate your beer in growlers?
While growlers are pretty cool and work awesome when taking beer home from your favorite brewery, they don’t do well for bottling.
Welcome to March. This month brings Basketball, St. Patrick’s Day, the first day of Spring, The Ides of March, and of course, Women’s History Month. Now, you may or may not know, but women have played a pivotal role in the evolution of brewing since humans started doing it! In fact, you cannot really have a “scholarly” conversation about the history of beer without mentioning the great “Alewives” of old that contributed so directly to the dynamic evolution of the “craft”. Though Western societi