Tilt Hydrometer

Controlling Fermentation Rate with Pressure

One thing I've noticed brewing under pressure in a corny keg and using a Tilt hydrometer is that pressure seems to effect fermentation rate. A beer that would ferment in a couple days in a carboy, might take 2-3 times longer under 10+ PSI, most likely this depends on the yeast strain. Further research indicates that the pH of carbonated water is between 3-4 and yeast prefer a pH of 4-4.5 so most likely, the added carbonation is having a real effect of slowing fermentation, even under warmer summer conditions that would make fermentation go faster. I've read about experiments showing that brewing under pressure has no effect on the flavor and in my experience that could be true, but I wanted to see if I left the temperature get a little on the high side due to summer heat and see if  the lower pH would counter the effect and the beer still showing no signs of heat related off-flavors, as if fermented slower under lower temperatures. For this experiment I brewed a double batch of Dead Ringer from Northern Brewer. 

 Both are under pressure and temperature has been allowed to do what it wants in my garage. I made a big 58 point starter for these batches (since I reduced he volume to 4 gallons for each keg, OG was 1.082 instead of 1.064 target for recipe), fermenting about 30 points in a 2 liter aerated starter before pouring off the top 1.5 liter and then pitching the bottom 0.5 liter, half into each corny keg. It took about 6 hours to show a noticeable drop in SG after pitching, not surprising with a robust aerated starter, WLP001 yeast strain, and pitch temp of 74F. Initially the Google Sheets report showed a fast fermentation until the pressure built up to 12 PSI as visible on the relief gauge. As pressure got higher fermentation rate slowed until a steady fermentation rate as seen in both carboys was established at about 17-18 points per day. I'll be keeping an eye on the fermentation to dry hop at around 30 points and then keep an eye out for an FG of 20 points that is stable before cold crashing. Of course the great part is the beer is already carbonated so am looking to get this on the tap soon. Will follow up on flavor in a couple weeks where I'll be serving at a birthday party. Looking forward to it, cheers!

Update July 6, 2017 : Both fermenter/kegs are showing a leveling off of SG at around 1.019 for Keg 1 and 1.017 for Keg 2. The extra fermentation in Keg 2 led me to cold crash and tap it first. The attenuation was already pretty high, over 80% so wasn't worried about residual sweetness or body. Usually, I would allow more time to let the fermentation fully stop or show a 0 or positive fermenation rate over a 3 day period, however I wanted to compare this somewhat green keg with the 2nd Keg that I plan to fully dry out for serving at the birthday party in a few weeks. I also wanted to check in advance for any high temperature effects during krausen  (up to 77F due to a summer heat spell and high fermentation activity). In my taste tests I noted no off flavors I've tasted before in overheated ferments, so it seemed the heat didn't affect it. Due to the beer being 9% abv, I could taste some alcohol heat, but in a pleasant way the mixed well with the malt and hops. The hops were primarily centennial with a wild card African Queen hops to mix things up a bit. The hops have a bit of spiciness to them that give it a nice complexity compare to some of the summertime session IPAs I've been drinking. My wife tested it too and gave me the thumbs up. We'll see if she actually wants more.

Keg 1

 

Keg 2 (same wort as keg 1) 

Written by Noah Baron — June 27, 2017

How to Log your Tilt Data to Google Sheets

Our latest version of the Tilt app (1.6) makes it easier to use our new Google Sheets cloud logging solution. Now you simply name your beer, enter your email as a comment, then you get a link with all your data emailed to you. No need to enter a cloud URL, you can now leave the field blank. Watch the video to learn more.

However, Baron Brew will still "own" or host the Sheet, so for greater privacy and control, we now offer a way to copy our entire cloud app as we used to suggest with our original app. Simply log in to your Google account, make a copy of the Google Sheet (here) and follow the instructions on the right hand side of the sheet as before (must be logged in to Google to see the instructions). You will also see how you can modify or make multiple templates for your brew log. We look forward to any feedback.

Written by Marcus Owens — February 15, 2017

Adding calibration points within your Tilt app.

Here is how you add calibration points to your Tilt Hydrometer.
After replacing the battery and using the "Tare In Water" feature, you can add additional calibration points. Here are the steps...
- Go to settings (click gear icon). 
- Under "Calibrate Specific Gravity" select the color Tilt you have from the dropdown menu.
- Place your Tilt in a known specific gravity solution (you can make one with sugar and water). We recommend using a solution of 1.110 and/or 1.061 (or there abouts).
- Once the Tilt settles in this solution click the "update" button next to the "Uncalibrated SG" field. That will fill in the value the Tilt is reading (which may be off slightly).
- Next type in the actual specific gravity of the solution you made. 
- Click the "Add Point" button.
That will add a calibration point within the Tilt app for your Tilt (in addition to the factory calibration). You can do this multiple times if you like. One or two points are generally sufficient if the factory calibration needs to be tightened up. After changing the batteries I recommend clearing those settings in your Tilt app by selecting the Tilt color and tapping on the "Clear" button within the "Calibrate Specific Gravity" section. Then repeat the steps if needed with the new battery installed.    
Cheers!

Written by Marcus Owens — February 21, 2017

Cloud Logging with Brewstat.us

One of the features built in to our iOS/Android Tilt App is the ability to send data anywhere you want. There are some cloud options out there (including our own Google Sheets solution), but Brewstat.us (brewstat.us) is a great option. It's purpose built for Tilt and so is super easy to setup. So I brewed a hoppy, high-gravity lager. Some call it an export lager or imperial lager with a target abv of 7.5%. My chosen yeast was Bohemian Lager from Wyeast. One of the things I've realized using the Tilt from it's earliest stages, is my brews are almost always underpitched. The results are not always obvious, but when using the Tilt you can see how long it can take to fully ferment when underpitched. As you can see in my Brewstat.us chart below, the beer really slowed down, toward the end, but hasn't really stopped, just moving really slow... something I probably wouldn't have realized before. I also was able to slowly heat the beer for a diactyl rest toward the end, as you can see with the multi-day temperature bump toward the end. The brew below is actually one of two 4-gallon batches in corny kegs that I brewed at 15psi. The other keg actually finished a week ago because I had accidentally poured more of the starter into it (this is how I know this one is severely underpitched), regardless I think it will finish soon and flavors should be good since I haven't opened the keg and exposed it to any oxygen or anything to infect it. Tasting the other part of the batch, I realized I wasn't a big fan of imperial lagers, too strong for me so I did some online research and found it was not unusual for breweries to brew high-gravity in smaller systems and then dilute the beer with carbonated water. I gave it a try and diluted it down by adding 2/5 gallon to 4 gallons, a small dilution but making the beer much more "normal" now with an estimated abv of 6% instead of 7.5% and final gravity of 18 points vs. 22 points, much more palatable! Next time I'll brew a normal lager and a much bigger yeast pitch.

 

Happy Brewing! And don't forget to check out Brewstat.us

Written by Noah Baron — February 06, 2017

Tilt Cloud App - Simplified Set Up Instructions

UPDATED March 7, 2017:

You no longer need to generate your own cloud URL (although you still can if you want). Just leave the cloud URL field blank, tap the check box, and enter your email address as a comment for the Tilt color you want to log. You can optionally name your beer as well.

# # #

We streamlined and simplified our set-up instructions. Just follow the on screen instructions embedded in the templates below:

Written by Noah Baron — October 23, 2016

How to Change the Battery of your Brewometer/Tilt

If you stop seeing measurements coming from your Brewometer/Tilt. Follow the steps below to change the battery.

Materials:

  • Rubber gloves (better grip for removing end caps)
  • Battery (CR123A 3-volt, non-rechargeable battery). LiFePO4 rechargeable will work but are lighter and require multipoint calibration, other rechargeable will not (voltage too high).
  • Pint glass of room-temperature tap water, make sure there are no bubbles in it for calibration.

    Directions:

    1. Unscrew end caps.
    2. Push internal assembly out of tube
    3. Pull out dead battery and discard immediately to avoid confusing new vs old.
    4. Insert fresh battery with positive (button end) toward weights.
    5. Insert assembly back into tube.
    6. Hand tighten circuit board end cap first, followed by weighted end cap. To improve calibration, make sure weighted end of assembly is pushed against cap.
    7. Drop into pint glass of tap water to calibrate and test for leaks.
    8. For more details, see the video below:

      Written by Marcus Owens — June 06, 2016

      Keeping with the Trend: An IPA Brewed at 15 PSI

      In addition to brewing lager under pressure, why not brew ale, specifically WLP001? I understand that some yeasts may not do well in this environment so let's find out with a Brewometer. So far so good...yeast seems perfectly happy. I pitched a bit warm, but hopefully a little warm would be ok similar to how a lager can be brewed "warm" under pressure. That said, I was happy to continue cooling it before the krausen started. This one's brewing much faster than the one in my carboy that was pitched 10 degrees cooler.

      UPDATE May 4, 2016: Both the carboy and keg appear to have about the same amount of time left, basically the carboy "caught up". Maybe the warmer temperatures are needed to offset slowdowns from pressure. I pulled out some of the beer from the keg and got mostly yeast, no strange off flavors, but obviously very yeasty. Seems like WLP001 works just fine under pressure. Later I will try brewing at even higher temperatures to see how fast it can brew and see if it can withstand summer brewing!

      Looking at the plot below over the last 3 days, shows a downward trend line for SG, suggesting still a little more time to finish up. I will start my Mosaic dry hopping tonight and look for a fully completed fermentation within the next three days followed by a cold crash and racking.

       

      Written by Noah Baron — April 25, 2016

      Brewing with a Brewometer - High Pressure Lager (Lager Brewed at 15 PSI)

      The cloud template we provide for Google Sheets let's you save data to the cloud and plot the data to a Google Chart. Google Sheets let you then publish your chart to the web either as it's own web page or as an embed for your blog. Below is a beer I'm currently brewing. It's a high pressure lager -- a lager brewed at 15 PSI and at ale temperatures. The pressure is supposed to make the beer taste like it was brewed at 50F, but not take as long. As you can see below the yeast was pitched at 1.056 so using the rule of thumb of FG is 1/4 of OG, the beer will finish at 1.014. It looks like it's almost done! Just to be sure I'd like to allow 3 days of being at the same gravity, some of the readings 3 days ago were up to 1.017, so I'll let it sit for another day before racking and starting a cold crash. Overall the beer brewed much faster and didn't need to use my kegerator space. I'll report back on the taste, but this graph looks pretty good to me. The temp didn't go above 68F at the highest krausen (steepest slope), so what's good for ale must be good for high pressure lager? A question I can test since the batch was split and have the 2nd half chugging along at 50F.

      Update 13 April 2016: Racking and transferring was a little more difficult than a carboy because there is no real racking cane, however it was easy to harvest some yeast that would be great to try for a 2nd round. Beer was already carbonated and tasted great, no sulfury, diacetyl, fusel, "belgiany" or other off flavor and very mild lager flavor. (i.e. creamed corn or metallic). Impressed with the results. Still a little yeasty due to lack of filtering and effective racking. Next time I'll pre-install one of those racking cane widgets or the like to avoid taking beer right from the bottom. Will definitely try again.

      My wife says it was "de-lish"!

      Recipe for 8.5 gallon batch: 18 lbs 100% bavarian pilsner malt, 2 ounces of US Goldings 60min, 2 ounces of Amarillo at 3min. Tap water treated with sulfite. Hops were kind of random, but it worked out. It's a very lemony, citrus flavor overall and could be mistaken for a wheat beer. Could be served with a lemon. Not too hoppy. Body turned out well-balanced. Looking forward to see how it finishes.

      Will update later on the other half of the batch brewed at 50F.

      Above: Setup using corny keg, valve, and iPad Mini Brewometer display

      Below: Live Data Stream!

      Written by Noah Baron — April 08, 2016

      Posting Brewometer/Tilt Data to the Cloud (Google Sheets)

      UPDATED March 7, 2017:

      You no longer need to generate your own cloud URL (although you still can if you want). Just leave the cloud URL field blank, tap the check box, and enter your email address as a comment for the Tilt color you want to log. You can optionally name your beer as well.

      # # #

      Hello fellow brewers! Here's how I (Noah) post my specific gravity and temperature reading from the Brewometer to my Google Sheets.

      The Brewometer iOS and Android app lets you post your data to the cloud. You will need two things to constantly send data to the cloud:
      1. A personal google/gmail account (we do not manage cloud data).
      2. A dedicated smartphone or tablet to leave plugged in/charging near your fermenter.

      As shown above, you can enter a cloud URL (web) destination. If configured correctly, the data will be saved to your personal google account. We have set up a Google Sheet template to demonstrate the functionality. You can copy the sheet and run it in your own account for your own use.

      In this example we will start by copying the 'Brewometer Cloud Template' to your personal Google Drive account. You must have a Google account (gmail) in order to complete this step. Open our template below by following the link below.

      Option 1: for Temperature in Fahrenheit

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1T3cGmwBx01ozWaBmrXIhdMKfzLF0Aafea9WaNsXidZE/edit?usp=sharing

      Option 2: for Temperature in Celsius

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gJA_H80iX--1j-P_HcjtB27V5G0L05ZJXI8lAzB0RoY/edit?usp=sharing

       

      After opening, copy the file to your account:

      Next, open the 'Script Editor' under the 'Tools' tab.

      Script editor will open another tab/window. Under the 'Run' tab select 'setup'.

      A dialog box will ask for authorization to run. Click 'Continue' to run.

       A new page will open. Click 'Allow'.

      Displaying IMG_2309.PNG

      From the 'Publish' tab, select "Deploy as web app..." 

      Select the parameters below to allow anonymous posting to your Google Sheet. In the 'Execute the app as:' drop down menu select 'Me' (this will be your personal gmail account). Under the 'Who has access to the app:' select 'Anyone, even anonymous' Click 'Deploy'.
      (Your Brewometer app does not require a username and password to post data.)

      Copy your Cloud URL from the dialog box, as seen below, and send or text your unique URL to yourself. 

      Now, open your Brewometer app and tap the gear button in the upper left hand corner of the home screen. Under 'Cloud Settings' paste the URL you sent to yourself and check the box below to start logging data to the cloud.

      To confirm the app is working, you can open your URL in your web browser and it should return a page with the word "success" followed by the row that was added.

      Example:
      {"result":"success","row":5}

      Rows in your cloud Google Sheet will show as "undefined" if there was no data to post. For example, you will see this when you enter your cloud URL in a browser. Anytime you check the box, data will be posted immediately (forced) to the cloud for each Brewometer showing on your screen. IF your phone is always on with the app open, the Brewometer app will post automatically every 15 minutes, saving up to 8 Brewometers worth of specific gravity and temperature data. (Again, the Brewometer app must be open with your smartphone or tablet plugged in/charging next to your fermenter, and your screen unlocked to post regular data.)

      Having trouble with setting up your cloud? We have a pre-configured sandbox cloud app you can test. Note that data from this cloud app will be erased without notice so do no use this app for actual brewing!

      SANDBOX Cloud App URL (copy and paste into iOS/Android Brewometer App):

      https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbzKkh8UrtqZnEjpYmJW9UZHcQ1eFOyTlxQHtfGqoBwzQXB89P4/exec

      SANDBOX Google Sheet (Read-Only) click to view and chart data:

      https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DXZSoJPorKAKdxDc_es6GM5EaFUM2pFW2x0VUwEheyM/edit?usp=sharing

      Questions or concerns? Contact us at info@baronbrew.com.

      Happy brewing! 

       

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      Written by Noah Baron — March 11, 2016

      Size and Dimensions

      We've had some questions regarding the dimensions of the Brewometer. How big is the Brewometer? Will it fit in my fermenter? The device is 3 5/8 inches (9.2075 cm) long by 1 1/8 inch (2.8575 cm) in diameter. It is designed to fit in a typical carboy. Here are a couple pictures with a Quarter and an iPhone to give some perspective. 

       

      Written by Marcus Owens — February 29, 2016

      Welcome

      Thanks for visiting the Brewometer website! We have a brand new Brewometer that is in its final stages of testing and will be available for sale in the coming weeks!