From the HBD Archive
Subject: Re: immersion chillers/Wyeast lag time
Date: 1992-06-08 18:55:00 GMT

Carl writes (regarding the "coil-in-icewater" chillers):
>It has its
>advantages and its disadvantages just as any other method. I depends on
>what you want/need to do.
> - the wort is cooled very quickly like in a counterflow cooler, giving
> a good cold break.
> - it's a sure thing that the wort is not exposed to infection during
> its most vulnerable time ( 170F < wort > 70F )
> - the materials are mostly easy to get (a pot, ice, a coil of copper
> tubing) and there's not alot of permanent`construction' to be done

- uses a lot less water than either an immersion chiller or a traditional
counterflow (some use a closed loop with icewater on the chiller side)
-- very important in drought-stricken areas!
> - you need to concern yourself with the cleanliness of the inside of
> the tubing
> - you have to jockey yet another pot of water
> - you have to come up with an intake tube that will stand up to boiling
> wort
> - you have to figure out how to plumb the whole thing together

- the cold break ends up in the collection vessel -- you need to siphon
off the trub again, this time at 70F (increased risk of infection)

I'd also like to point out that it's the head (the weight of the column
of liquid above the level of the source vessel of the siphon system) and
the 50 feet of tubing that make starting the siphon so difficult not the
10 feet of hose running down to Frank's basement. Starting the siphon in
the kitchen with a short length of hose would not help much. What would
help is lowering the chiller. How about putting the chiler in the
basement? Once you see the wort in the tubing, you can let gravity
fill the chiller. I suggest PE tubing for the hot side -- it stands up
to heat *much* better than the clear tubing.

>Date: Fri, 5 Jun 92 12:20:46 EDT
>From: "Theodore R. Jackson Jr." <tj2d@mtaac.bme.Virginia.EDU>
>Subject: Wyeast problems (Re: Wyeast Belgian revisited)
>I have also encountered problems (infections) using
>Wyeast liquid cultures. At first, I attributed the
>problems to poor sanitation techniques although I never
>had a problem in any of the 18 previous batches brewed
>with Whitbread ale yeast. However, a recent attempt to
>culture Chimay yeast directly from the bottle has lead
>me to believe otherwise.

Then Ted goes on to suggest that slow starts and not using
a starter probably caused some nasties to take hold before
the Wyeast did. I concur. I like Ted's suggestion for
testing your "environment." Good idea.

I'd like to point out that timing is essential when not using
a starter with Wyeast. I've successfully made 15 or 20 beers
using Wyeast *without* starters and have not had any infections
with those batches. (I've since begun using starters for even
faster starts and for cost savings -- I split a package of Wyeast
between three batches -- three 16 oz starters.) The key, I've
found, is to pitch after the correct amount of incubation. When
I've used packages that were *completely* swollen (almost to
bursting) I've had slow starts (48-60 hours). Twice, having pitched
1 month old packages, after only 18 hours of incubation, where the
package was only about an inch thick, I got active fermentation
in about 12 hours.

I theorize, that as in any starter, there is a limited amount of
sugar. If you pitch the yeast into the fermenter when the yeast
is most active (high krauesen, if using a starter container you
can see through) your lag time is minimized. If you wait too
long, the yeast runs out of sugar and goes dormant again.
Another important factor is the temperature difference between
the starter and the wort. I've noticed an increased lag time from
a five degree difference (colder wort than starter).

Granted, there are other variables, most notably the strain of
yeast, but I think that the importance of timing the pitch with
high krauesen has not been given the proper attention.

Proper timing and matching the wort temperature to the starter
temperature can give lag times close to those of dry yeast.

I guess I've been blessed with a relatively nasty-free basement,
since the long lags have not been a problem.


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