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comment using champagne yeast as a secondary yeast for fermentation?
I agree with Denny about the yeast flavor of the White Labs yeast. Very distinctive. Similar to a taste in Long Trail Brewery's Triple Bag that I think comes from the yeast. Also, the champagne yeast would produce a very dry beer if left to ferment out.
comment Alternative/Non-traditional Brewing Practices
That is good to know and very interesting. Shelf life is not yet an issue for us. We struggle to keep up with what we drink. :)
comment Water PH level and the effect on original gravity
I have also recently re-started using a water conditioning system adding soda ash to my well water to decrease acidity We think most of our processes are good. For an imperial stout, we used 20lbs 2 row, 4lb crystal 60, 2 1/2lb chocolate, 1 lb flaked barley and 1/2lb black patent. Mashed at 154 for 60 minutes. Sparged at 168. Had sparge water left, the SG was 1.034 when we stopped. Just ran the above through BeerSmith and OG expected was 1.117. Changed the batchsize to 6 gal which is closer to what we have, OG went to 1.098. May have answered my own question. Still seems like a lot of grain.
comment Water PH level and the effect on original gravity
Brewchez, not sure a good story, but much longer. Really trying to figure out how we missed the OG on our last beer by so much. Expected 1.125 or so and had 1.080. I am new to your site and should have added information, but really wanted to know if PH levels would effect OG. We were going through our process to determine what was wrong, and I couldn't find the answer to that. I appreciate the answers below. Didn't think it was our problem. We have recently gone from brewing in pots to a three tier gravity system using half barrels. Our OG was fairly consistent using pots.