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Thread: People should get to know this stuff intimately.

  1. #1

    Default People should get to know this stuff intimately.

    Almost any and all questions about fermentation can be answered here.

    People would do well to pin this atop their pc and refer to it.

    http://www.scottlab.com/pdf/ScottlabsHandbook2016.pdf
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  2. #2
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    Agreed, but it would be nice if Scott Labs (or someone) would create a version targeted at the home brewer. Specifically using units of measure that the home brewer would be more comfortable with.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Agreed, but it would be nice if Scott Labs (or someone) would create a version targeted at the home brewer. Specifically using units of measure that the home brewer would be more comfortable with.
    Indeed... and maybe also call out any differences in recommended procedures / dosages for homebrew-sized batches as opposed to commercial-sized batches (or state explicitly that the advice is the same, if that's actually the case). But I'm not convinced that my 1- and 5-gallon batches have the same requirements that a 1000-gallon commercial batch would have.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Agreed, but it would be nice if Scott Labs (or someone) would create a version targeted at the home brewer. Specifically using units of measure that the home brewer would be more comfortable with.
    So I already did that for you in a different thread. It only took a few minutes. Now it won't take any time for you
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdh View Post
    Indeed... and maybe also call out any differences in recommended procedures / dosages for homebrew-sized batches as opposed to commercial-sized batches (or state explicitly that the advice is the same, if that's actually the case). But I'm not convinced that my 1- and 5-gallon batches have the same requirements that a 1000-gallon commercial batch would have.
    So I'm curious. What do you think would be the difference?
    What bad would happen to your mead if you followed their advice?
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  6. #6
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    Some of their advice is more than a bit daunting for a home brewer. The whole restarting a stuck ferment thing with Reskue and racking etc is fine if you're trying to save a 1000 gallon commercial winery, but that ain't gonna happen in my brew room.

    Their charts of yeast characteristics are certainly useful, IF you use only Lalvin yeasts. Which I don't.

    Thanks for the link. But no, I'm not gonna memorize that.
    Dave from New Haven County

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    > So I'm curious. What do you think would be the difference?
    > What bad would happen to your mead if you followed their advice?

    Differences that I can think of:

    1. Temperature and pressure probably vary significantly from one point to another in a 1000-gallon fermenter, whereas in my smaller carboys both are more uniform. Same may go for pH and S.G. However, my carboys are probably subject to more rapid changes in temperature if the ambient temperature varies; whereas in a larger fermentation vessel the heat that's generated by fermentation may not escape as fast.

    2. I may be able to sanitize a 1- or 5-gallon carboy and its filling equipment more thoroughly than a 1000-gallon tank and its filling equipment.

    3. I can probably stir my fermenters more thoroughly in order to mix (e.g. mixing nutrients or other additives into the must), to stir up the yeast, and to de-gas.

    4. I've heard on this forum that off flavors from autolysis is more likely in a large fermenter -- apparently the higher pressure at the bottom is not good for the yeast corpses. Much less of a problem in a 1-gallon jug.

    5. Economics -- the financial consequences of a failed or stuck fermentation are much greater with a 1000-gallon batch. This may encourage higher pitching rates for a larger fermenter, for example -- i.e. give it more yeast than it probably needs, and if you err then make darn sure you err on the high side, just to be sure.

    6. We may be able to monitor fermentation progress and adjust on the fly easier than a commercial operation could -- so perhaps they're more "stuck" with whatever they start with, whereas we have more and better opportunities to correct problems after initial pitching.

    And maybe there are more.

    I don't know whether bad things would happen if I followed commercial-scale advice in a homebrew setting. I'm sure the basic principles are essentially the same but I suspect that the optimal details may vary considerably. They *may* vary is what I'm saying -- I don't know for sure. I also don't know for sure that the details do *not* vary, so I wonder if anyone has ever done the research to provide a definitive answer.

    My gut feel is that nothing horrible would happen if you followed the commercial-scale advice to the letter when homebrewing, but still it may or may not be the optimal way to brew smaller batches. So for me personally, I'd certainly take the commercial advice into consideration, but I'm not likely to take it as gospel.
    Last edited by pdh; 12-29-2016 at 04:14 PM.

  8. #8
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    But also I would expect that commercial meaderies and wineries need far more consistency than home wine makers need - or indeed, may want. Why would hobbyists treat their mead making as something that needs to result in exactly the same profiles every time they make another batch of mead using the same sources of honey. Granted (I would argue) we need to know what we are doing and know what the likely outcome of anything we do will have but that is not the same as demanding consistency from one batch to the next. Cannot speak for anyone but myself but I am not making meads to produce a consistent "product" , I make meads because I want to see what I can do with some water and honey and yeast and fruit and nuts and spices. If I were making another 500 or 1000 gallons of Peach Melba Melomel I am not going to play around with the nutrients if this PMM is an important part of my income, but if I am making a gallon or two of PMM and this time I want to add another pound of honey and ferment the peaches separately in order to blend the peach wine and the honey mead later then the only person I have to answer to is myself even if those I share it with think that this new batch is far better than the earlier one. Bottom line - home wine making is not quite the same as commercial wine making...

  9. #9
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    > I would expect that commercial meaderies and wineries need far more consistency than home wine makers need

    Agreed; and also probably speed is more important to them than to us. My cysers for example are generally ready to drink in 3 months. If I could cut then down to 2 months it would be nice, but it wouldn't change my life. Contrast that to a commercial operation -- if you can produce 6 batches per year rather than 4, that's a 50% increase in output from the same equipment -- that's going to have a noticeable effect on your bottom line. So not only do they care more about consistency than we generally do, they're also more motivated to get the product into the bottles sooner rather than later.

    Another thing is appearance. If I produce a great-tasting batch of mead that's a bit cloudy, or that has a fine layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottles, I'm not happy about that but it doesn't ruin the batch for me. I want clear mead and cider, but I don't absolutely *need* it to be clear. For a commercial operation though, it probably has to be crystal-clear, so their end-game processes may be different from ours (e.g. they probably always have to filter their product, whereas for us filtration is one option among several).

    Bottom line, as you say: "Home wine making is not quite the same as commercial wine making..."

  10. #10

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    Wow guys. If you're not interested in bottling earlier than you do, or having super clear mead, or very consistent mead that's fine and you don't have to read about it. In any book of mead making, even in a book by schramm targeting the home mead maker you're going to get sections which you might not care about. That does not make it a bad read or something you might not want to refer to someday. There probably is more that you can dismiss in this book than most recent mead-specific books, but those books are uncommon and cost money.
    Anyway, maybe intimately was too strong a word, but no harm reading the more interesting sections, surely.
    That comment about units more easy for the homebrewer was funny when read by someone who has to constantly be converting ounces and pounds to grams and kilos, gallons to litres, cups and teaspoons to grams, SG to Babo, Fahrenheit to Celcius...

    Edit: ok re-read my post. Darigoni, I would probably say the same if I rarely had to convert units but my point is this is surely do-able. Pdh, that quote should actually be worse "home mead making is not the same as commercial wine making". So parsing that handbook might be more difficult or even more misleading than we all think. The thing is that unfortunately there has been little, if any, research on mead fermentation. I still don't know what to think of a lot of wine research myself...
    Last edited by Stasis; 12-29-2016 at 10:09 PM.
    "Shouldn’t we say wine is a mead-like beverage made with grapes substituted for the honey?" - Steve Piatz

  11. #11
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    > Anyway, maybe intimately was too strong a word, but no harm reading the more interesting sections, surely.

    I absolutely agree -- there's good information in there, no doubt about that. We do have to be careful to validate what parts of it apply to us as homebrewers and which don't, but taken as a starting point (rather than as the last word) I agree that it's a good resource. I'm grateful that Scott Labs went to the trouble to make it publicly available.

  12. #12

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    They also have a cider handbook. The math is very simple, just make an excel sheet, figure out the units once and convert to grams/gallon then you dont have to think a lot just plug in some numbers Fermcalc also has unit conversion in it to help converting hectoliters to gallons etc. This is just a guide to using their products, I am not sure why there are so many negative comments on this, use it or dont use it, nobody is trying to force you to use commercial techniques in your basement, we shouldnt be reluctant to use every bit of information to make a better mead. It would be nice if every major producer made a handbook. WVMJ

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stasis View Post
    Wow guys. If you're not interested in bottling earlier than you do, or having super clear mead, or very consistent mead that's fine and you don't have to read about it. In any book of mead making, even in a book by schramm targeting the home mead maker you're going to get sections which you might not care about. That does not make it a bad read or something you might not want to refer to someday. There probably is more that you can dismiss in this book than most recent mead-specific books, but those books are uncommon and cost money.
    Anyway, maybe intimately was too strong a word, but no harm reading the more interesting sections, surely.
    That comment about units more easy for the homebrewer was funny when read by someone who has to constantly be converting ounces and pounds to grams and kilos, gallons to litres, cups and teaspoons to grams, SG to Babo, Fahrenheit to Celcius...

    Edit: ok re-read my post. Darigoni, I would probably say the same if I rarely had to convert units but my point is this is surely do-able. Pdh, that quote should actually be worse "home mead making is not the same as commercial wine making". So parsing that handbook might be more difficult or even more misleading than we all think. The thing is that unfortunately there has been little, if any, research on mead fermentation. I still don't know what to think of a lot of wine research myself...
    Definitely "doable". I was just stating, that it would be nice to read the same info, after it had been rewritten and targeted for the home brewer.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maylar View Post
    Some of their advice is more than a bit daunting for a home brewer. The whole restarting a stuck ferment thing with Reskue and racking etc is fine if you're trying to save a 1000 gallon commercial winery, but that ain't gonna happen in my brew room.

    Their charts of yeast characteristics are certainly useful, IF you use only Lalvin yeasts. Which I don't.

    Thanks for the link. But no, I'm not gonna memorize that.
    No one said anything about memorizing it.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  15. #15

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    [QUOTE=pdh;261400]> So I'm curious. What do you think would be the difference?
    > What bad would happen to your mead if you followed their advice?

    Differences that I can think of:

    1. Temperature and pressure probably vary significantly from one point to another in a 1000-gallon fermenter, whereas in my smaller carboys both are more uniform. Same may go for pH and S.G. However, my carboys are probably subject to more rapid changes in temperature if the ambient temperature varies; whereas in a larger fermentation vessel the heat that's generated by fermentation may not escape as fast.

    I actually think the 1000 gallon vessel would have you beat in all of these things. Pressure doesn't change more because you are smaller. Obviously that's not a problem or they wouldn't still be making fermentation vessels at the size you can buy them. I don't see how on earth gravity and pH would be any different . They have pump overs, and can mechanically stir as if a small motor boat engine is attached. I bet there is more "motion" in a professional vessel than in your carboy to continue to keep things well stirred. As far as temps are concerned. Anything over around 150 (debatable) gallons demands temp control. You carboys will fluctuate more than in a jacketed tank for sure. So there wouldn't even need to be an "escape" of heat as none would ever build up if monitored correctly.

    2. I may be able to sanitize a 1- or 5-gallon carboy and its filling equipment more thoroughly than a 1000-gallon tank and its filling equipment.

    Not sure why you think that. They have sprayers and pump cleaner through their hoses and pumps. I would think they are cleaner, or at least as clean as any homeboys gear. Especially considering the financial risk factor.

    3. I can probably stir my fermenters more thoroughly in order to mix (e.g. mixing nutrients or other additives into the must), to stir up the yeast, and to de-gas. I seriously doubt you would have any advantage. Have you seen the power they have to stir and or pump over?

    4. I've heard on this forum that off flavors from autolysis is more likely in a large fermenter -- apparently the higher pressure at the bottom is not good for the yeast corpses. Much less of a problem in a 1-gallon jug. That is a moot point as evryone know you should continually rouse the must so no yeast ever gets buried at the bottom for any period of time.

    5. Economics -- the financial consequences of a failed or stuck fermentation are much greater with a 1000-gallon batch. This may encourage higher pitching rates for a larger fermenter, for example -- i.e. give it more yeast than it probably needs, and if you err then make darn sure you err on the high side, just to be sure. The scientist at the labs test these things in small batch environment mucgh like your homebrew set up. A yeast needs x amount of what ever weither he is alone or with 600 trillion friends.

    6. We may be able to monitor fermentation progress and adjust on the fly easier than a commercial operation could -- so perhaps they're more "stuck" with whatever they start with, whereas we have more and better opportunities to correct problems after initial pitching. I'm sorry I don't get your thinking here either. To me there is now difference.

    And maybe there are more.

    I don't at all mean to be disrespectful here. I guess it just shows how differently someone can see something. I have 2 friends who own meaderies and 2 more in the begging process as well as myself. So I don't have a ton of experience. I've only been in 4 different meaderies, but to me I don't think we have one single advantage at home. They have better gear to do all the things we do at home and it gets done in a more thorough fashion.

    Have you ever spent any time in a meadery my friend?

    I don't at all mean to seem disrespectful. Please don't take it like that. It just seems strange to me, how resistant lots of people are to embracing science. Do you employ TOSNA by chance. Lots of people really like that. Some of us were doing that long before Sergio posted it on the internet. That's in the Scotts manual. Even the adjustments are in there for the different YAN requirements. Segio didn't invent any of it. He learned it by reading the manual. If you look on one of the post I started a year or more ago. I started it because I thought we were feeding too much. I asked him to come over and comment on some of our stuff. A few months latter he revised his protocol based on the discussion we were having at the time in that thread.

    I'm all for everyone making their stuff how they want. That's fine. Nothing feels better than the feeling that one gets once they have waded around long enough to embrace what they feel is "the right way" for them. I just remember how overwhelming it was when I first jumped in and all of the conflicting information. It's overwhelming to see all of the misinformation and bad advice there is one the web even today!

    I'm just trying to help newcomers get past all the shitstorm out there, and land on some sound advice that works wither you make 1 gallon batches or 1000 gallons at a time.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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