HOMEBREW Digest #1821 Sat 02 September 1995

Digest #1820 Digest #1822

		Rob Gardner, Digest Janitor

  Upside-down trub/mystery solved ("Michael R. Swan")
  Advice on Bottle Labels (Victor Hugo)
  Comment on Pat Babcock' chilling experience ("Keith Royster")
  carbouy cracks ("David Wright")
  Brazilian Beer Recipe (Brian Anthony Reichert)
  Wild Hops? (Tom_Williams_at_RAY__REC__ATLANTA)
  Airborne yeast/Mini-still ("Michael R. Swan")
  Separating wort from hops (Tom_Williams_at_RAY__REC__ATLANTA)
  Re: Celis correction (Douglas R. Jones)
  We just did our first batch and have some questions ("Alex R.N. Wetmore")
  Alt yeast (Jim Busch)
  Acid Washing (John DeCarlo              )
  Gott Conversion ("Richard Scotty")
  No head (Rolland Everitt)
  Wild hops (Rolland Everitt)
  floating trub (Mark C. Bellefeuille)
  protein rests (Samuel Pottle)
  Cheap carboys (Alex Mounayar)
  defrost clock (DONBREW)
  Galvainzed Steel --DON'T DO IT (Steven Lichtenberg)
  Mini keg fun, Chimay dregs (harry)
  Uncl: Homebrew shelf life ("Calvin Perilloux")
  Galvanized stuff (Harralson, Kirk)
  Refrigerators and Defrost Cycles (MJones)
  re: scum skimming (John DeCarlo              )
  Organic Hop Plugs? (Russell Mast)
  A Lurker's view ("Taber, Bruce")
  A whole bunch of stupid questions (Mario Robaina)
  Grape Beer? ("Mark G. Schmitt")
  Attenuation Limit Data Request (Kirk R Fleming)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 8:39:47 -0400 From: "Michael R. Swan" <mswan at fdic.gov> Subject: Upside-down trub/mystery solved A month or so ago, I posted a question about mysterious upside-down trub. After cooling a two and a half gallon all-grain batch, I poured the wort into a five gallon carboy to allow it to settle. (Specific gravity: 1.045) I also pitched the yeast (Wyeast American Ale, in a 25 oz. starter) at the same time. Although I tried to strain the wort through the whole hops, a *lot* of hot and cold break material made it into the carboy. In the past, I waited a few hours for the wort to seperate and then racked the clear wort off the trub and pitched the yeast at that time. In order to aerate the wort, I vigorously shook up the carboy numerous times during the first three hours. Each time, the trub settled to the bottom. However, the last time I shook the carboy, the trub rose to the *top* of the carboy above the layer of clear wort. The beer turned out fine, although very cloudy. Now, in HBD #1819, Jim Busch appears to have solved my mystery (albeit in response to a different question): >Actually, pumping air through wort helps the trub to rise to the surface >in the same mechanical fashion that a floatation tank works. The trub >latches on to the air bubbles and rises to the top of the tank. Usually, >this is done inline as the cold wort is sent into the floatation tank, >then the bubbles rise to the top of the tank, pulling trub with them. >After a rest period of between 4 and 6 hours, the wort is pumped out from >under the trub and off to the fermenter. This is very typical in German >lager breweries. Mike Swan Dallas, Texas mswan at fdic.gov Standard disclaimers apply "You know where you stand in a hell hole." Spinal Tap Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 09:12 EDT From: vic at iglou.com (Victor Hugo) Subject: Advice on Bottle Labels > >First, Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions about the "partial mash kits". I think I'll wait until I come up with a decent kettle and burner and go for an all grain batch (IMO it seems cheaper and more rewarding:)) > >Now another question. > >What is the best way to lable bottles? This may seem shallow but I really hate to soak...soak...scrub....etc for hours trying to get the commercial labels off of my growing collection. Are there any "easy-off" labels out there? Should I just go with some of the larger mailing type labels. > >And another related question. > >Has anyone run across a good shareware/freeware label program specifically for beer labels? I'm using windows 3.11 and have a bj-200ex printer. Macro's for WP 6.1 would also be helpful. > >Any help would be appreciated! Private E-Mail is fine...but I'm addicted to HBD so I'll see any responses. Thanks in Advance. > >Vic Hugo > Vic Hugo vic at iglou.com "save the trails" Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 09:27:38 +0500 ET From: "Keith Royster" <N1EA471 at mro.ehnr.state.nc.us> Subject: Comment on Pat Babcock' chilling experience And yet another kudo to Pat Babcock for his informative chiller experiment. In a subsequent post, Pat stated that he felt the CF chiller was superior to the immersion simply becuase it is more efficient (and time is valuable). Yet a comment in his original post caught my eye: > The CF chiller was cleaned by circulating clean water through it. > IM chiller required additional manual cleaning to clear break > material from on and between the coils. This troubled me, as I have been using a CF chiller and have been "cleaning" it this same way, as I beleive most brewers do. If the break material clings to the outside of an immersion chiller with such tenacity that it requires scrubbing to remove, then why should we beleive that a good blast of water through a CF chiller will adequately clean it out? This layer of gook that may be building up inside is a great hiding place (and grazing field) for all sorts of nasties. It will also protect them to some degree from the effects of any sanitizing solutions you may siphon through before you use your CF chiller the next time. This has caused me to rethink which is better and I beleive that I will be switching to an immersion chiller soon. Other benefits seem to be that a better break is acheived (argueable) and that this break is formed *in the kettle* where my whole leaf hop bed can filter it out of the wort. CF chillers are faster, there is no denying that. But I have a hard time beleiving that homebrewers would be so concerned about adding another 15-20 minutes to their brew day that they would add such unnecessary risks. As usual, YMMV. I understand that this thread (CF vs immersion) has been hashed out many-a-time before and I know of plenty of brewers who have been using a CF chiller successfully for years. More power to ya! +------------------------------+------------------+ | Keith Royster, E.I.T. | Beer that is not | | Environmental Engineer | drunk has missed | | NC-DEHNR / Air Quality | its vocation. | | (704) 663-1699 | | | N1EA471 at mro.ehnr.state.nc.us | - Meyer Breslau | +------------------------------+------------------+ Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 09:34:16 EST5EDT From: "David Wright" <LSMAIL at osp.emory.edu> Subject: carbouy cracks Scott Hadley wrote about cracks in the neck of his carbouy. I have also seen small fissures in the neck of my carbouy's and have attributed them to using the handles that attach to the necks to carry the carbouy's. I asked the people at the homebrew shop that I go to here in Atlanta (Brew Your Own Beverages - BYOB [unsolicited plug]) and they said they had never noticed anything in there carbouy's but had never heard of a carbouy breaking off ath the neck. I have noticed these cracks on two of my older carbouy's and have decided to take the approach of to keep using them until the cracks get noticibly worse. David Wright Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 1995 22:13:57 +0600 From: breicher at vt.edu (Brian Anthony Reichert) Subject: Brazilian Beer Recipe I am looking for a Brazilian beer recipe. If possible it should try to emulate the Brazilian beer Xingu. Any Brazilian beer style will do though. Posting a can be done here or personal e-mail will be fine. Thanks in Andvance, Brian breicher at vt.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 10:04:25 EST From: Tom_Williams_at_RAY__REC__ATLANTA at ccmail.eo.ray.com Subject: Wild Hops? In HBD #1819 Jim Webb writes about wild hops: > there is a HUGE area covered with wild hops (maybe up to 1/4 acre in > area). It's scarey to see how they cover over trees, bushes etc. Hmmmm.... sounds like a much less aggressive strain of the "ground cover" that we have here in the south called Kudzu. > I thought it would be interesting to harvest some of the wild ones (the > price is right for sure). The ones I've crushed have a very pleasant > aroma, and definitely very different from my Cascades. I've never looked very closely at the flowers on Kudzu, but I will now. For you southerners who have witnessed the amazing power of this plant in our climate, imagine a hybrid Cascade/kudzu. We would all be hopheads out of necessity. > Should I be concerned by my own hops, which are planted about 200 yards > from the extemity of this wild patch? If it's kudzu, you should be concerned for your hops, house, automobiles, children, and any domestic animals within range. Tom Williams Raytheon Engineers & Constructors twilliams at ccgate.ueci.com Norcross, Georgia, USA P.S. Kudzu is a Japanese import. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 10:14:48 -0400 From: "Michael R. Swan" <mswan at fdic.gov> Subject: Airborne yeast/Mini-still The Dallas papers recently reported a story involving the fermentation of blood sugar by airborne yeast. I am posting this to find out if there is any truth to the theory or whether this is just another case of a slick lawyer confusing a jury. According to court records, a driver accused of intoxication manslaughter had a blood-alcohol content 2 1/2 times the legal limit and a history of drunken driving. However, his lawyer persuaded jurors to acquit his client of the charges in the death of a police officer by producing a forensics expert who told jurors that the vial that contained the driver's blood actually had become a "mini-still" in which airborne yeast produced the alcohol in the sample. Authorities said that the driver had a blood-alcohol level of at least .25 percent; the legal limit is .10 percent. The prosecution's forensics expert witness testified that the driver would have had to have consumed 28 to 30 10-ounce glasses of beer during his six hours at the bar to have that much alcohol in his blood at the time of the collision. But the defendant's expert testified that officials who drew the driver's blood contaminated it by exposing it to air, allowing yeast to enter the sample and ferment the blood sugar into alcohol during the sixteen hours before the alcohol level was tested. Given the problems many of us seem to have with wort aeration and long lag times, is this theory scientifically possible? Mike Swan Dallas, Texas mswan at fdic.gov ("The views expressed above do not in way represent those of my employer.") Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 10:24:31 EST From: Tom_Williams_at_RAY__REC__ATLANTA at ccmail.eo.ray.com Subject: Separating wort from hops Steve Zabarnick writes about the frustration of siphoning cooled wort from the kettle. I have also seen posts from others describing ways to filter wort when siphoning. I thought these were all counterflow chiller people. Like Steve, I also use an immersion chiller and an enameled steel kettle. Lately I have been using hop plugs in a hop bag, however I have ordered some whole hops and I plan to quit using the bags. Unlike Steve, I have not experienced the frustration of siphoning from the kettle for the simple reason that I don't siphon; I pour the wort into a glass carboy through a large funnel. I use a sanitized saucepan to ladel from the kettle until the kettle is light enough to pick it up and pour directly. The funnel has a fine screen in the neck, and I put a kitchen colander in the bowl of the funnel to catch the bigger pieces. There is a photo of C. P. doing this in TNCJOHB. The screen in the funnel gets clogged with finer material, but overall this process is so easy that I don't understand why one would siphon. Since the wort has been cooled, hot-side aeration should not be a concern, and I thought aeration of the cooled wort was desireable anyway. Am I missing something? Tom Williams Raytheon Engineers & Constructors twilliams at ccgate.ueci.com Norcross, Georgia, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 11:03:03 -0500 From: djones at iex.com (Douglas R. Jones) Subject: Re: Celis correction >Date: Tue, 29 Aug 1995 12:43:35 -0700 >From: alan at mail.utexas.edu (Alan P. Van Dyke) >Subject: Celis correction > >Few people seem to know that Pierre Celis is also known in the yeast >circles to be a master yeast rancher. He keeps his secrets well, >unfortunately for us homebrewers. This may be true for what they us in their White etc. But I know (based on information provided by Southwest Brew News and Peter Camps) that they use Wyeast 1098 in their Pale Bock. I have made 3 batches based on their recipe. Doug > - -------------------------------------------------- 'I am a traveler of | Douglas R. Jones both Time and Space' | IEX Corporation Led Zeppelin | (214)301-1307 | djones at iex.com - -------------------------------------------------- Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 14:27:15 -0400 (EDT) From: "Alex R.N. Wetmore" <alexw+ at andrew.cmu.edu> Subject: We just did our first batch and have some questions A couple of friends and I are just starting out brewing and started our first batch last night. We have a couple of questions about the process that we used and how it might affect our beer. Question #1: Currently the best fermentation temperature that we've been able to reach (constantly) is about 75-80 degrees (its hard to say for sure, we are using one of those LCD thermometers that sticks to the side of the fermentation bucket. The 80 degree mark is sort of red-orange and the 75 degree mark is sort of blue-green, so we are guessing that the temp is around 77 to 78). Is this acceptable or should we try and lower it? The apartment where we are brewing stays very hot (top floor of a building with no air conditioning). To keep the fermenter cool we have it in the kitchen sink sitting in cold water (we add ice to it a couple times a day) with a towel wrapped around the fermenter to bring water around the whole tank. We have a fan blowing on it. We asked about keeping the fermentater cool a few days ago and most people seemed to reccomend this method. Should we be worried about it being this warm (ideal temp seems to be about 65-70 for a Ale, which is what we are making (specifically a Porter)). Question #2: It took a long time (~5 hrs) to cool the wort down to 78 or so last night. Is this bad? Most directions seem to say "Cool as quickly as possible". We used the above method to cool. We also stirred the wort a few times with a santized spoon. How could this affect our beer? Question #3: We activated the yeast according to the directions on the packet (it is M&F Ale Yeast). This meant putting the yeast in boiled water that had cooled to about 43 degrees c. The instructions that came with the beer kit said just to throw the yeast in without activating it. We have had very early fermentation (its going at it already, about 14 hours after pitching the yeast), so it appears to have been okay. What are the pluses and minuses of activating the yeast this way? thanks, alex Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 15:08:20 -0400 (EDT) From: Jim Busch <busch at eosdev2.gsfc.nasa.gov> Subject: Alt yeast <Altbier snipped from Miller snip <Yeast - Brewers Choice - Belgian Ale Ah yes, thats *so* authentic! (I can see the Germans rolling over in their graves.....) Jim Busch Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 95 15:15:43 EST From: John DeCarlo <jdecarlo at mitre.org> Subject: Acid Washing I was wearing acid-washed jeans the other day and thought "Hey, wouldn't this be good for my yeast, too?" Seriously, though. I noticed a question on this subject in HBD 1819. Specifically asking about vinegar. I want to add to that list: Carbonic acid (what you get when you dissolve CO2 in water). AKA seltzer. Any scientists care to comment on washing your yeast in seltzer? John DeCarlo, MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA--My views are my own Fidonet: 1:109/131 Internet: jdecarlo at mitre.org Return to table of contents
Date: 31 Aug 1995 13:59:49 -0700 From: "Richard Scotty" <richard_scotty at msmgate.mrg.uswest.com> Subject: Gott Conversion I use two 10 gallon Gott coolers - one for a mash tun and one for a hot liquor tank. I made my conversions on the cheap. I removed the spigots and ran some vinyl tubing through a #1 drilled stopper and ran the stopper into the hole vacated by the spigot from the inside so the hydraulic pressure helps hold in firmly in place. This has never leaked (serious temptation of the brew gods here). The tubing runs to a Phil's Phalse bottom in the mash tun and terminates just inside the wall of the cooler on the hot liquor tank. I then placed a butterfly valve in-line in the outflow tubing to allow fine adjustments to the sparge water / wort flows. I believe I got these valves through Brewer's Resource (no affiliation) but its been a long time and can't recall with certainty. Total cost per Gott was $2.00 (not including Phalse Bottom). It's not elegant, but its cheap, effective and worthy of consideration. Rich Scotty - Brewmaster - Crapshoot Brewery Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 16:53:24 -0400 From: af509 at osfn.rhilinet.gov (Rolland Everitt) Subject: No head Michael Genito is wondering why his beer does not retain a head. Could the reason be oils of some sort? Rolland Everitt Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 16:55:37 -0400 From: af509 at osfn.rhilinet.gov (Rolland Everitt) Subject: Wild hops Jim Webb wrote about a nearby patch of wild hops that seem to be under attack by some insect. A friend of mine who grows hops says he has a problem with japanese beetles at this time of year - they like hops as much as we do apparently. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 09:43:11 -0700 (MST) From: mcb at abrams.abrams.com (Mark C. Bellefeuille) Subject: floating trub In HBD #1819 Jim Busch <busch at eosdev2.gsfc.nasa.gov> writes: > Actually, pumping air through wort helps the trub to rise to the surface > in the same mechanical fashion that a floatation tank works. The trub > latches on to the air bubbles and rises to the top of the tank. Usually, > this is done inline as the cold wort is sent into the floatation tank, > then the bubbles rise to the top of the tank, pulling trub with them. > After a rest period of between 4 and 6 hours, the wort is pumped out from > under the trub and off to the fermenter. This is very typical in German > lager breweries. I don't use a floatation tank; however, in my last IPA (split between 7.5 and 5 gal fermenters), I had all the trub floating at the top of the wort after a couple of hours in my airstat controled freezer (68F). I use a CFC with an aeration wand (3/8" copper with 4 small holes drilled just past the vinyl tubing). The water temp was not very low here last June so I don't believe the pitching temp was at 68F; but, it must have been close since I got my expected *creamy* colored wort at the output side of the CFC (It's always *neat* to watch the crystal clear wort enter the CFC and the cloudy outflow. I don't get the 'large flake' type of break I've read here in the hbd. My particles resemble a coloidal(sp?) suspension.). Since I had already pitched and couldn't tell what state my yeast had entered I let it ferment with this floating cake rather than rack and possibly adding O2 at the wrong time. It was broken up by the fermentation and settled out. I racked after 4 days, dryhopped after 1month, kegged after 2months. It tastes great. Here's the part I don't understand: Only one of the two carboys had floating trub. In the other (5gal), the trub settled onto the bottom. I racked after 4 days, dryhopped at racking, and kegged after 10. (Yes, I was out of home brew!:-) Any ideas why I would have 'floating' vs 'settling' trub in the same batch? Mark - ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mark C. Bellefeuille mcb at abrams.com Abrams Airborne Mfg Tucson, AZ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 95 03:29:42 -0500 From: pottle at cs.wisc.edu (Samuel Pottle) Subject: protein rests I have some questions about protein rests. To wit (no, not the beer style): - What are the relative merits of a rest at 50 vs. 55 C? Under what conditions would each be appropriate? - Why is a protein rest considered undesirable (as opposed to merely unnecessary) when using highly (protein-)modified malt, such as pale ale malt? - What does this portend for beers (e.g. dry stout) that use both pale ale malt and raw barley? Sam Pottle "And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water." -- Numbers 21:16 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 02:24:00 EASTERN From: Alex Mounayar <Alex.Mounayar at shrmed.com> Subject: Cheap carboys Back In #1813 MEMBRINO TIMOTHY wrote >Does anyone know of a source for cheap 5-gal. >carboys? I'm in the Philly >area and the best >price I've found is $20.00. I'd have no problem with mail ordering but >also wonder if anyone in >this area has found a great source unknown to myself. I have bought 5 gal carboys for $10 at the READING CHINA and GLASS outlet (usual disclaimer) store in Lancaster, Pa. I understand there is another of their outlets, probably the main one, in Reading, PA which may be closer to you. Now that the subject has been brought up... I have been looking for 6.5 gal carboys at a reasonable price but have not been able to find any for less than $25. Anyone know where to get these at a more reasonable rate? Thanx, Alex Mounayar Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 08:27:55 -0400 From: DONBREW at aol.com Subject: defrost clock > What is a defrost clock, how does it work, how can I recognize it beyond a >doubt and what would happen if I didn't disable it? The defrost clock is exactly what the name implies, that is, it turns the refridge off for a time each 24 hours so that it defrosts and the water runs down to the pan in the bottom. What?, you never emptied the pan ;-) nobody has RDWHHB. But the problem still stands that for a time each day the refridge won't run. Somewhere on the back or underside of the refridge there should be a circuit diagram, it had to be there when it left the factory anyway, that can help. The clock will be a small (1"X 1" maybe) "black box" with a knob sticking out of it for setting the time, in practice you are supposed to set it to go off in the middle of the night, when nobody will be opening the door. Usually they put it it in an easy tyo see place like right at the bottom rear. I will rephrase that, pull the refridge out from the wall so you can get down on the floor and look into the "working" area at the bottom. Okay, now look for the little box with a knob and two wires on push terminals coming out of it. Try turning the knob to make sure it is a knob not a protrusion. That is it. BTW, UNPLUG THE REFRIDGERATOR before sticking your hands in there. Just take the two wires off the terminals and splice them together in your choice of ways, tape together, splice tab, cut and twist, etc. Oh, yeah the clock may actually have more than two wires going into it, so you would have to trace the circuit. Don Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 08:29:14 -0400 (EDT) From: Steven Lichtenberg <steve at inet.ttgva.com> Subject: Galvainzed Steel --DON'T DO IT In todays (Friday) issue DONBREW recommended using galvanized fittings instead of brass for attaching drain valved to the kettle. I have posted this before and will do so now, DON"T DO IT. The zinc that is used to coat the steel when placed in an acid environment(beer) will leach out. In surprisingly small quantities, this is lethal. There are several da\eaths each year from community picnics etc. where people will mix lemonade in a galvanized trash can for large quanities of people. There are posts like this all too often re lead aluminum etc. Many of them are reactionary (you may think this is) but heavy metal poisoning usually takes a long time, in the case of zinc, this aint so and dead ids dead..... Now back to brewing, Could anyone out there give me amy help with the following problem. My last two attempts at making yeast starters have resulted in infections within the starter. I think I am using proper technique but I have been getting too many problems for it to be random. I got some slants from a friend (Itrust the slants to be good) and tried to grow them up. I use sanitized mason jars (8 oz, 1 pint and 1 quart) and step up the yeast. By the time I get to the quart size, there is a definite infection (ring around the top of the jar, phenolic smell and taste etc). Could this be a function of summer heat (incredible heat wave and drought int the mid atlantic states) nad just too many wild things in the air for my system or could it be something else. I know this is kind of sketchy info but if anyone could offer any suggestions, I owuld greatly appreciate it. TIA **** ---- "There's always time for a Homebrew!" ---- **** O|~~| ------------ Steven Lichtenberg --------------- |~~|0 `--' ---------- steve at inet.ttgva.com ------------- `--' -------- Programmer/Analyst - TTG --------- ---------- Alexandria, VA ------------ ----------------------------------- ENJOY LIFE--THIS IS NOT A REHEARSAL Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 10:15:58 -0400 From: hbush at phoenix.Princeton.EDU (harry) Subject: Mini keg fun, Chimay dregs First off, someone posted a while ago about using a Carbonater (tm) and a Co2 bottle in lieu of the 16 gram cartridge in your Fass-Fritch tap. I don't remember who, but they mentioned force-carbonating with this arrangement. This idea intrigues me for the main reason that I have a couple of flat minikegs of beer (no I wont go into the reason). 1) Could the original poster (or anyone with experience in this) contact me with details? 2) I'm a little leery of running a Mini-keg up to 30 psi. Is there a minimum pressure for force carbonating (even if it takes a few days more)? I guess I'm looking for the C02 vapor pressure on top of a medium-carbonated vessel of brew prior to opening and dispensing. Secondly, I've never understood the Hoopla about Belgian Ales (just my taste, I guess). Duvel proved to me that there IS such a thing as too much head (perish the thought!). The couple of Lambics I've tried reminded me of bad Champale (remember Champale malt liquor? I remember trying some of my father's long before I was legal and not being impressed). Well, not giving up, I bought a bottle of Chimay Gold label, and liked it! I had a couple of uninoculated slants in the fridge and infected them with the bottle dregs. So here's my question(s). 3) Am I wasting my time here? Does anyone know if the brothers use a different strain for bottle conditioning only and that's what I'm culturing? 4) If its worthwhile trying to use this yeast, got any good Chimay-clone recipes to go with it? On any of the above stuff, private e-mail is fine, I'll post any interesting results that come of it. harry (new e-mail address, same old jerk!) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 1995 10:27:06 EDT From: "Calvin Perilloux" <dehtpkn9 at ibmmail.com> Subject: Uncl: Homebrew shelf life Steve Schultz writes recently: >I am noticing a definite pattern: My beers often taste very good after < >2-3 weeks in the bottle, but after not much more than 4-5 weeks, they a< >in decline. < I would suspect two things: Oxidation, and (perhaps) sanitation. I doubt that over-aeration of the hot wort is the cause, due to the yeast using up that oxygen during the ferment and the fact that you aren't having these flavor problems when the beer is young. I also don't think you have a problem with sanitation, since you mentioned the hops fading, and that sounds like an oxygen problem, not added flavors from bacteria, but I'll mention sanitation anyway just for others who might be interested. I personally suspect too much O2 being brought in during transfers and bottling, so let's start with that. I had noticed the very same thing in many of my early homebrews, which I found to have a fine balance of hops and malt (OK, not ALL of them, but a few did), but after a month or more there would be a steady decline in the quality. I did not notice the same situation with my later kegged versions, even those from the same batch as bottles! I had 3 gallon kegs, so some was bottled, most kegged. The bottles were often filled from a splashing spigot, but the kegs were CO2 purged (as was the secondary fermenter, etc.) and then filled using tubing that ran to the bottom of the keg to prevent splashing. That led me to attribute the decline of my bottled beers to oxidation and so I started using methods to prevent splashing during bottling time. Improvement! Also, in my early brewing days back when I was told that there was no reason not to use the 2 year old dry yeast pack attached to the malt extract can with a rubber band, I also had short shelf lives on a few of those batches. Wild yeast and/or bacteria are my guess for the root of that problem that I had. This doesn't sound like your problem. How to tell the difference? The former case resulted in beer with the familiar oxidized, "old", cardboard flavor that you can experience by buying a dusty bottle of imported commercial beer that's been on the store shelf since 1990. On the other hand, wild beasties result in slowly increasing carbonation levels with each successive month of warm storage, sometimes a wine or phenol aroma, and a significant thinning of the beer. This is not to be confused with proper aging, in which a beer that is high in residual sugars at bottling time has those sugars eventually eaten by the (descendants of the) yeast you pitched, instead of random beasties. I've seen numerous cases where people actually like those "off" (to me) flavors, though! On more than one occasion I have been served a sample of beer that had been "aged to perfection" for a year or even more by the proud brewer, who loved that "complex" aroma and flavor profile. This is appropriate for strong ale, some Belgian beers, but not for most beer styles, which should be served either relatively fresh (most ale) or cold lagered and clean (lager, of course). Steve, if you're not doing it already, here are some suggestions: First, make sure you have lots of viable yeast to pitch and make sure all your stuff is well sanitized (you're probably doing this already). Second, try avoid any splashing when moved the fermented beer, whether to the secondary or into the bottles. If you have CO2 handy, purge the vessels before transferring beer, and look into a counter pressure filler (if all the talk about the trouble they give hasn't discouraged you). At the least, fill those bottles with a tube that reaches down to the bottom and can provide a smooth, non-foaming flow, and note that often the least turbulent flow is with the faucet wide open, not barely cracked and and squirting beer down the filling tube! You can't help but lose some hop aroma over time, and yeast autolysis will get the beer eventually, but let's hope these measures slow the process. Calvin Perilloux "Bayerisches Bier, dehtpkn9 at ibmmail.com Staerker als Heimweh" Erding, Germany Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 95 10:31:19 EST From: kwh at roadnet.ups.com (Harralson, Kirk) Subject: Galvanized stuff DONBREW at aol.com writes: <snip> > Also, if you can't find brass nuts, go to the electrical dept. at the > hardware store and get galvanized conduit nuts. I have been using galvanized > parts inside my tun and boiler for a couple of years now and am still alive, > the only trouble is some of the really cheap ones will rust after awhile. Just to show my ignorance: If galvanized parts are OK, why not use a galvanized tub for a boiler? These can be had for VERY cheap, and will hold at least 15 gallons. I always just assumed that they would not be suitable to brew in. What do the materials experts say? John, are you out there??? Kirk Harralson Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 95 8:00:27 CDT From: MJones at swri.edu Subject: Refrigerators and Defrost Cycles I'm a little confused, it has been my experience that you want to keep the defrost timer in the circuit for the following reason: to melt the frost on the evaporator coils. If this doesn't happen ice builds up on the coils and greatly reduces the cooling capablity of the system. My homebrewing buddy and I aqquired a free fridge this past year, because the owner frankly was a klutz and broke the glass encased heating element that fits in the evaporator and was tired of messing with it. So we bypassed the defrost timer and set up an external thermostat, everything worked great at ale temps (60-65 F). However, when trying to lager the fridge would refused to go below 58F after a few days (so now we have batch of bock lager that was fermented and "lagered" at 60F, bummer). Upon opening up the fridge we discovered that the evaporator coils were encased in ice, blocking all airflow over them. Our fix was to replace the heating element that the original owner took out and put the defrost timer back in the circuit. Now the fridge can stay at lagering temps as long as we want it to. IMHO you should keep the defrost timer in the circuit, it turns the evaporator coil heater on to melt the frost buildup. As far as the defrost timer dying in defrost mode, yes it could happen. But over 7/8 of the time the clock is in normal running mode so it is a small envelope of opportunity. If its an old fridge and you are concerned then buy a replacement clock as a preventitive measure. To Jeff M. Michalski who wondered if his fridge was ruined. Has your fridge given you any problems in the last year (even at colder temps) using your external thermostat? If not, then I wouldn't worry about and keep brewing! Mark Jones Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 95 11:36:43 EST From: John DeCarlo <jdecarlo at homebrew.mitre.org> Subject: re: scum skimming Curt Speaker writes: >I think I have to disagree with Jim Dipalma regarding scum skimming: >I always skim the scum off my mead, but never beer. If these high-MW >proteins have been denatured (cooked) and form scum, they most likely will >end up in your hot/cold break and will not contribute significantly to >protein haze in your beer. I have made some suprisingly clear beers without >skimming the scum; irish moss does help, however. My perspective is quite simple. Since skimming the scum at the beginning of the boil means you have completely eliminated any chance of boilover, you have to have *very good* reasons to *not* do this. I have much better things to do with my time than keeping a close watch on my brewpot for potential boilovers. John DeCarlo, MITRE Corporation, McLean, VA--My views are my own Fidonet: 1:109/131 Internet: jdecarlo at mitre.org Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 12:41:12 -0500 From: Russell Mast <rmast at fnbc.com> Subject: Organic Hop Plugs? > From: Jim Larsen <jal at gonix.gonix.com> > Subject: organically grown ingredients > Ive been requested to brew a beer using only organically produced > ingredients. While the term has not been precisely defined... The term is precisely defined. If whoever made the request doesn't know what it means, they have no business making such requests. It's a very simple concept: you don't use factory-types of chemicals in the process anywhere. Organically grown plants (which would include barley and hops) are plants which have not had any artificial chemicals used as pesticides, coloring agents, or for processing and packaging. To make organic beer, use organic ingredients and don't use stuff like bleach, chemical yeast nutrients, sulfites, and whatnot. I've seen organically-grown Malts for sale in some catalogs, they cost a bit more than the regular stuff. Not sure about hops. I think the catalog was from St. Pats of Texas and I recall they had some note in their catalog about being proud members of some organic co-op of, uh, something. They could probably fill you in on any details you'd need. > From: MClarke950 at aol.com > Subject: Hop Plug Utilization? > Now the question, has anyone gotten lower alpha acid utilization from > this type of hop? How about aroma? Nope, I've always been pretty impressed with the bitterness, flavor, and aroma of this form of hop. If anything, they are stronger than I expect, and I've lost points for overhopping beers in competetion. Though a couple of those times, I think they were tasting other flaws and mistaking them for overhoppyness, so take what I say with grain of salt and tsp. of gypsum. (I am, after all, just an all-grain brewer. Actually, I'm probably going to make an extract-based braggot this weekend...) -R Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Sep 95 14:06:00 EDT From: "Taber, Bruce" <BRUCE.TABER at NRC.CA> Subject: A Lurker's view I may not be a great homebrewer, but I am a great bitcher and complainer so..... here are my 2 cents. I'm sure I represent the vast majority of HBD subscribers when I say * I'm a lurker.* I've been reading the HBD faithfully for about a year and one thing that ticks me off is the number of great questions that are answered by private e-mail instead of by posting. This has been mentioned before but it's worth repeating. I read lots of great questions that I never see answers for. INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW ! Please don't ask for responses by private e-mail unless you plan on summarizing the results for the rest of us. Also, those who say " I'll forward the results if there is enough interest", how the hell are they supposed to know who is interested? There are many ( hundreds ?....thousands ? ) of faithful readers who access the HBD though freenet systems across North America. I read it faithfully for months on Ottawa's Freenet before subscribing personally. Trust me when I say " if you're interested, then there are others out there in cyberspace who are interested to". Just look at that crazy religion thread. Who would have dreamed that any homebrewer, ( a group known for their intelligence and good taste ), would respond to that stuff ? In yesterday's HBD, W. Ruccker asked about calculating extract efficiency. I WANT TO KNOW TOO ! Russell Mast asks if there is any truth to C.P.'s claim that grain husks have lots of lactic bugs. I WANT TO KNOW TOO ! Dion Hollenbeck stated that he communicated with a poster with some suggestions on how to solve his foaming beer problem. WELL, I WANT TO KNOW TOO ! We all know how to page-down when needed. Let's try to use this great forum to help EVERYONE. Let's keep the private e-mail to a minimum. One last personal opinion, then I'll shut up. Please feel free to post any of your favorite or interesting recipes. I'm sure many people save them. I know I do. Who knows when I'll have the urge to whip up a batch of Pumpernickel Pumpkin Coriander Kreik. We'll talk again soon. Bruce ~~ replies by private e-mail only please~~ Bruce Taber TABER at IRC.LAN.NRC.CA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 14:57:08 -0700 (PDT) From: sprmario at netcom.com (Mario Robaina) Subject: A whole bunch of stupid questions If I had paid more attention or had kept the old hbd's in a more orderly fashion, I wouldn't be asking these questions. Alas, I did not, so I am asking (and I apologize): (1) Anyone happen to have the Radio Shack temp control part #, and know if it is still available? I remember a while back someone saying that it is no longer available except through ordering by part #, or something. (2) After a couple dozen batches of ale, finally think I'll try a lager. Can anyone point me to some good net sites to help out? Specifically looking for information on pitching temps (yeast and beer shouold be the same temp, I assume, but what temp? Cool down to 55? Cool down to whatever ferment temp you're aiming for?) (3) Last but not least, I'm trying to investigate the best way to adpat my newly purchased draft system to take ball and pin-lock kegs. Already have heard a little about the male/female flare set-up (which I assume is similar to the one recently published in Zymurgy, but I'm not sure). Anyone have anything that works particularly well for them? That about raps it up. Like I said, I apologize -- I know this has been convered in some fashion before, but I neglected to save the back-issues. I have learned my lesson. Quick tip for anyone going to draft system: look around a lot before purchasing "re-built" corny (soda) kegs. Most homebrew places sell them for $25 and up used, and they can be had and refurbished pretty easily for less than $10 if you're willing to look around. Thanks to all who responded to my earlier request; I've been led to some much more reasonable sources of kegs.. -John (still pretending to be sprmario at netcom.com) Return to table of contents
Date: 01 Sep 95 20:02:29 EDT From: "Mark G. Schmitt" <102160.1456 at compuserve.com> Subject: Grape Beer? I have been blessed (cursed?) with a grape arbor that is bearing grapes in a big way. My problem is what to do with them. I have been all-grain brewing for about 5 years but have no clue on how to make wine. Has anyone ever made a grape wheat or a grape mead or anything along those lines? Thanks, Mark Schmitt Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 18:49:22 -0600 From: flemingk at usa.net (Kirk R Fleming) Subject: Attenuation Limit Data Request Thanks to everyone who provided input on my questions re: judge's 'more malt' comments on my ordinary bitters (OG in the 34-37 range). I finally got a chance to start looking over the recipes and procedures and making my proposed changes. I wanted to see if SUDS' predicted FG values responded to malt changes (maintain OG but reduce pale malt while increasing crystal, carapils, wheat, etc). It does not. Apparently SUDS does a simple calc based on OG and a fixed percentage to get FG predictions. So...what I think I need is a table of apparent attenuation limit values for various grains such as those just mentioned. I've looked thru all my stuff and haven't seen any such data, but feel it must have been gathered only about a million times by now. Can anyone help before I go off and start up a bunch of unecessary forced ferments? [Based on the attenuation values published for Wyeast ale yeasts, the particular yeast used to get the data should not matter much, and according to deClerk it does not.] Private mail responses welcomed, or course. KRF Colorado Springs Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #1821, 09/02/95