HOMEBREW Digest #2546 Sat 01 November 1997

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		Digest Janitor: janitor@hbd.org
		Many thanks to the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers of 
		Livonia, Michigan for sponsoring the Homebrew Digest.
				URL: http://www.oeonline.com

  Extract and All Grain (Thomas Lowry)
  airlocks and hydrometers (Dave Whitman)
  airlocks (Kit Anderson)
  Small pumpkins v large pumpkins (Tidmarsh Major)
  yeast & artists ("P. Edwards")
  Gushers (VANDENB)
  Burner Types For Basement Brewery (dcarter)
  Re: Are flammable gases dangerous?  ( Was: Gas vs. Propane) (jjb)
  Re: Airlocks & Extract brewing ("Dan E. Gates")
  Hydrometer Calibration ("David R. Burley")
  Big vs small pumpkins (emccormick)
  Re: Extract brewing ( was: I am lazy ) (Jacques Bourdouxhe)
  Re:  Artful pitching rates (George De Piro)
  Lazy Homebrewers? ("Grant W. Knechtel")
  Re: picnic cooler (Alan Edwards)
  Oh, come on now! (Alan Edwards)
  Rusty Nail Porter (Al Korzonas)
  Water Analysis Help ("Kostelac, John")
  LP Gas, Optimal Airlock (Paul Niebergall)
  Airlocks -- All grain vs. Extract (Danny Breidenbach)
  Engineering versus Science (Paul Niebergall)
  E. coli in pH and alcohol... (Jesse Stricker)
  canadian beer prices (Chris Storey)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 00:06:51 -0800 From: Thomas Lowry <lowry at me.pdx.edu> Subject: Extract and All Grain I have been reading the HBD for around 3 years now and have seen this = thread come and go from time to time with never much thought other than = 'to each his own' running through my mind. That was until I read = Michael Gerholdts response to Matthew Arnolds comments about the = benefits of extract brewing. Well, I can sit idle no longer!! What seems to bother me most about this thread is it seems like we are = fighting among family members. It seems to me that it shouldn't be = extract OR all grain. What it should be is, extract AND all grain. = Extract brewing and all grain are just variations of the same = thing.....brewing your own beer. Extract brewing is just = that....brewing. All grain is mashing and brewing. Websters defines = brewing as 1. 'to make (beer, ale, etc) from malt and hops by boiling = and fermenting', 2. to steep (tea, etc). Based on that definition, I = would neatly fit both forms of brewing under that cap. As far as what method is lazy or not lazy, it again depends upon where = you are looking from. If life was slow and lazy enough that it afforded = someone the time to all grain brew, then that is great. If however, = life is filled with more meaningful things than beer (I know its hard to = imagine...I would give an example of something now but I can't think of = one!) and is filled with other choices, than extract is not the lazy = way, its the efficient way. And yes Matthew, the quote you responded to = does not call extract brewers lazy. On the other hand Michael, if = mashing and then brewing with all grain brings you to the point that you = say 'to consider making an extract beer with its savings in time and = effort would seem like something of a luxury - a self-indulgence.', then = I say, it's time you take a vacation. It appears your drive to all = grain mashing and brewing is being driven by more than the enjoyment of = 'doing it yourself'....if indeed that is the way you feel. And by the = way, how is taking 3-4 hours from ones already busy schedule to brew an = extract based beer (rehydrated beer as you state...which it isn't) being = lazy? Many times I wish I was lazy so I had more time to do some all = grain (which I do enjoy doing). My point to this thread is this: Extract and all grain are not and need = not be mutually exclusive. Brewing is the enjoyment of the process as = well as the drinking (I am talking about the hobbiests here. Obviously, = in the highly competitive brewing industry, that statement doesn't = apply....it should, but it isn't as universal). If you don't enjoy the = process, there are many fine commercially available beers ready for your = consumption. If you have the time, and enjoy the process, do some all = grain! If not, then brew with extract. If you don't like your extract = beer, get help! There ARE ways to brew some beers as well as all grain = using extract (I also believe that some types of beers are consistently = better made with extract than with all grain [again, that collective = gasp])!=20 So, let us go forth, hand in hand, with an understanding that we are all = part of the same big brewing family! Quit the bickering and try to support each other in expanding our = horizons rather than selling us a new religion. What happened to = 'relax, don't worry, have.......'? Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 08:05:11 -0500 From: Dave Whitman <dwhitman at rohmhaas.com> Subject: airlocks and hydrometers Mike Spinelli says: >I thought I'd >resubmit my rather unorthodox approach to airlocks for >comments/criticisms. > >What I now do is simply place a double folded piece of >aluminum foil right over the carboy mouth. Form it snugly >over the edges and forget about. Obviously, the C02 can >escape since I've yet to have a problem with the foil blowing >off. I think this method works surprisingly well, although I don't think I'd recommend it for a long secondary fermentation when CO2 evolution has slowed or stopped. In the absence of a CO2 purge, I'd guess that O2 diffusion in around the gap between the foil and carboy would be relatively quick. Forming it snuggly will help, as will having a large overlap over the top to give a long diffusion path. FWIW, I use this method with my starters, and haven't had one get infected in about 20 batches. My attitude is that in starters, I'm more worried about bugs or microbes getting in than a little adventitious oxygen (which would probably just encourage yeast growth). Of course, there's the whole open fermentation school that actually encourages a little O2 intake during fermentation; there are lots of way to make good beer. *** Graham Wheeler offers good advice to Harlan Bauer on hydrometer calibration, but I'd like to offer one minor correction: >Dave Whitman has shown by experimentation (private correspondence) that the >effect of surface tension on sg is negligible as far as beer is concerned, >particularly at lowish gravities that we commonly employ, but it may be a >wise precaution to get S.T. as close to beer as possible. What I found was that the effect of surface tension was not sufficient to explain the 0.003 deviation I was seeing at the low end on MY particular hydrometer. There is definitely an effect of surface tension on the position of the meniscus, and I agree that it makes sense to calibrate with a solution as similar as possible to the wort you'll be measuring. Finally, I'll join Graham, Dave Burley and Al K in asserting that the Brewing Techniques article's instructions for making standardized solutions was just plain wrong. Use the tables Dave Burley posted, and you'll get the proper results. - --- Dave Whitman dwhitman at rohmhaas.com "Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not Rohm and Haas Company" Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 08:38:32 -0800 From: Kit Anderson <kitridge at bigfoot.com> Subject: airlocks Mike Spinelli wrote; > What I now do is simply place a double folded piece of > aluminum foil right over the carboy mouth. Form it snugly > over the edges and forget about. Obviously, the C02 can > escape since I've yet to have a problem with the foil blowing > off. The only problem I would have in my house is fruit flies. They could get by foil but not a conventional airlock. - -- Kit Anderson ICQ# 2242257 Bath, Maine <kitridge at bigfoot.com> "I had the right rib, but it musta been the wrong sauce" - Dr. John Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 08:53:39 -0500 (EST) From: Tidmarsh Major <tmajor at parallel.park.uga.edu> Subject: Small pumpkins v large pumpkins I recently read an article on cooking with pumpkins, and the authors recommended the smaller cooking pumpkins rather than the larger jack-o-lantern carving pumpkins because the smaller ones have a thicker shell, and thus more meat. I would imagine that this would be desirable for brewing as well, yielding more starch to convert. The article also suggested baking the cleaned pumpkin until soft and then slipping the skin away from the remaining mush, which is ready to be used as pumpkin puree in whatever recipe one is using. This seems like a handy way to prepare for brewing, as well. Wouldn't baking the pumpkin until soft gelatinize the starches, allowing one to add the puree directly to the mash (preferably at beta glucanase temps to help with the sparge)? Tidmarsh Major Athens, Georgia tmajor at parallel.park.uga.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 97 09:12:07 -0500 From: "P. Edwards" <pedwards at iquest.net> Subject: yeast & artists in HBD #2544, Paul Niebergall takes issue with my earlier post on optimal pitching rates: >Ah, the art versus science debate lives on. <snip> I've sent a response directly to him, but I'll summarize (and rant a bit) here: - I consider myself more of an "artisan brewer", but I'm not going to put my head in the sand, either, if I see science that can help me achieve my goals. All the artists - sculptors, potters, painters, photographers, etc - I've ever met have a lot more knowlege about the technical side of their chosen medium than you might think. Knowing the science can make you a better artist. - I'm not willing to settle for less than the best I can achieve in my brewing. - Some people are happy getting by, and aren't interested in getting better. Fine. Then don't bitch at me if I write on your score sheet that I detect excess estery notes, solvent flavors, slight lactic sourness, etc, that I attribute to pitching rate and other yeast handling deficiencies, and score your beer a 29 or 30. Certainly, different yeast strains behave differently, and ferm. temp. plays a role, but all things being equal, the underpitched beer is more likely to have these by-products at levels that detract from the overall quality of the beer. - I believe that a manufacturer has an obligation to inform the end user of the _correct_ way to use the product. If the customer wants to cut corners, etc., then that's his/her business. And let's not forget that a _PhD in microbiology_ mis-measured his product initially, and it took a much less "scientifically educated" person who happened to have some common sense to point it out. Said PhD even tried to argue with me about it, until I had his product tested. This PhD still seems to think underpitching by a factor of ten is OK. It's funny, when he thought the vials contained 240-300 billion viable cells, he said, "pitch right from the tube" Now that he knows he's only putting 30-50 billion in there, he still says, "pitch right from the tube". Would you trust your car to a mechanic that said "Even though 5 quarts of oil in the crankcase is "optimal", you can get by with one"?? - --Paul Edwards, artisan brewer Broad Ripple Engineering Works Now fermenting: "Kiss My Entire Butt" Robust Porter Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 97 09:19:42 EST From: VANDENB at UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU Subject: Gushers About a year ago I switched from extract brewing to all-grain brewing, and the results have been varied, to say the least. Some batches I have liked a lot, ot hers have been disappointing in various ways. A recent DeKoninck clone gushes e nthusiastically as soon as I open the bottle. I was interested to notice that t he gushing seems to start at the bottom of the bottle, with copious amounts of gas bubbles rising from the deposit. Additionally, the beer has a hot pepper-li ke aftertaste. I suspect an infection. I keep all my bottles in chlorinated wat er. The same holds for air locks, racking canes etc. Carboys, filling buckets a re soaked in chlorinated water for an hour, then rinsed. Any insights? Return to table of contents
Date: 30 Oct 97 10:18:00 CDT From: dcarter at me2.splp.com Subject: Burner Types For Basement Brewery Hello HBD, I would like to try my hand at all grain brewing after many extract/specialty grain batches. The only problem I forsee (other than learning the process) is with full volume boils. I currently use an enamel on steel pot on an electric stove. It does straddle two burners for a nice boil, but does'nt hold five+ gallons. I want to construct a brewery in my basement so I can brew year round. I have access to water plus if I make a mess I can wash it down the drain. I'm particularly fond of those tier setups. What I'm not fond of is the idea of a propane burner in my basement. Our house is heated with natural gas, so I assume I could use a burner like the ones used on a gas range? Is there an electric type of burner that can do five gallon boils? I know there must be plenty of you brewing in your basement, what type of burner('s) are you using? Any Advice Appreciated, Dave dcarter at me2.splp.com Maybe I'm way off and should do this in the garage or on the patio, but that sure would suck in Jan. in Ohio. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:12:24 -0500 From: jjb at vnf.com Subject: Re: Are flammable gases dangerous? ( Was: Gas vs. Propane) Hey Bee-vuth, are flammable gases dangerous? With cold weather coming, does anyone have any "practical" advice on where to get (i=2Ee=2E, buy) an efficient, high output natural gas burner (= so that i don't have to use that evil pro-pain indoors)? Please don't tell me how to use propane safely indoors, or why natural gas can be dangerous outdoors (or anything with the letters "C", "H" or "O" followed immediately by a subscript number), all of which, I admit, is very useful information in its own right=2E Thank You - --John Buchovecky (jjb at vnf=2Ecom) Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 8:39 -0700 From: "Dan E. Gates" <dgates at cabq.gov> Subject: Re: Airlocks & Extract brewing Airlocks: Several years ago I broke my airlock and searched for a cheap alternative. What I found was that the plastic cups with lids and the bendable clear plastic straw (often free with a soda purchase at 7-11, etc.) work great. I placed one end in the rubber stopper and the other end in the cup filled with water, it was also effective as a blowoff tube. The only problem is that you need a place to sit the cup, maybe a carboy cupholder? Extract Brewing: Having brewed extract, partials, and all grain I do prefer the middle road. Extracts seem to offer a good and easy (not lazy) starting point to whet one's whistle while all grain took so long that I bored the entire time. Partial mashes, whether using liquid on dry (or both), allows me, myself and many friends enough freedom to vary the recipe and create a exceptional brew but not sacrifice a day to the beer gods. Now I truly admire those who brew all grain, and I admire those I know who are extract brewers, and faced with a choice of which I would choose given a choice I would choose both and drink them with a smile on my face. Dan Gates Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:58:27 -0500 From: "David R. Burley" <Dave_Burley at compuserve.com> Subject: Hydrometer Calibration Brewsters: On the subject of hydrometers and specific gravities of made up sodium chloride solutions, = Graham Wheeler was correct in his comments about specific volumes and specific gravity. Private correspondence from others asking me = for additional explanation on this matter, prompts me to address this pointy-headed question at the risk of my laid back reputation. Here's an example on how to do the calculation: I'll use the infamous example of 50 grams of salt diluted to 1 liter as in the errant BT article: Crystalline sodium chloride (table salt) has a density of 2.165. This means that 50.6 grams will displace 50.6/2.165 =3D 23.37 mls of air or, say, oil in which it is not soluble. So one would naively suppose that a solution of 50.6 grams made up to 1000 mls will have 1000 - 23.37 =3D 976.63mls~ 976.63 grams of water . This solution will weigh 50.6 g of salt +~ 976.63 grams of water ~ 1027 g per liter. Ergo a specific gravity of ~ *1.027* = This answer is more correct than the 1.050 suggested by the BT article, but still not *1.033* at 20C as indicated in the tables I extracted from CRC Handbook in my previous contribution on this matter. Why?There is also the correction for the volume(weight) of water as a function of temperature (998 g/l at 20C). So: A liter of water weighs 998 grams and 50.6 grams of salt should displace 23.37mls. So the grams of water in a liter of solution is (1000 - 23)* 0.998 =3D 975 grams. The total weight of the liter is therefore 975+50 =3D 1,025g or an SG of 1.025. Not bad, but further away from 1.033. Why? Because of the interaction of salt and water in which the crystal lattice of the salt is broken up and the ions are hydrated by the water molecule dipoles, the density of the solution is more than just a simple "additive volumes" problem. As you might = imagine, higher concentrations often give greater deviations. This is why the tables are published and why you can't know the specific gravities by simple calculation. Doing this calculation backwards SG =3D 1.033 implies that the total weight of 1000 mls is 1,033 grams. The salt of course weighs 50.6g (from the table), since that is how much we put in. Therefore if 1,033 grams is the weight of a liter of solution as indicated in the CRC Handbook, we know that 1,033 - 50.6 =3D 982.4 grams of water. So 982.4/0.998 g/ml =3D 984.4 mls of water = Therefore, the volume of 50.6 grams of salt in aqueous solution is 1000 - 984.4 =3D 15.6 mls. Or a specific volume of = 15.6/50.6 =3D 0.308 mls/gram in aqueous solution at this particular concentration. whereas the inverse of the density of the crystalline salt is 1/2.165 =3D 0.465 mls/gram. Showing what a little solvation energy can do = in breaking up the crystalline lattice and bringing dipoles of water closer to the ions in the salt, as pointy-headed chemists might note. Or maybe not. Given the density of crystalline sucrose is 1.5805, and from my previous contribution, the SG of 50.9 grams of sucrose is 1.0178, I leave it to the reader to determine the specific volume in aqueous solution of this hydrogen-bonded,non-ionic substance and compare it to the crystalline value. What does this mean about the errors in calculated specific gravities of sucrose solutions? = Next think about water and alcohol solutions. And maybe drink some. Keep on brewin' Dave Burley Kinnelon, NJ 07405 103164.3202 at compuserve.com Dave_Burley at compuserve.com = Voice e-mail OK = Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 11:15:04 -0500 From: emccormick <emccormick at usa.net> Subject: Big vs small pumpkins Vincent Voelz asked the difference between big and small pumpkins for brewing. The large pumpkins were bred for carving and little or no concern was given to the flavor of them. Amoung these varieties are the jack-o-lantern, Big Max and others. Small pumpkins are the ones to use for any cooking. Of these the small sugar pumpkin is the most common. I think another name is sweet sugar. There is also a Conneticute Field pumpkin and I have no idea which of the two catagories that one falls into as its an in between size. That doesn't mean you can't use a jack-o-lantern type pumpkin for brewing, just that it isn't the best choice. You'll get more of the pumpkin essense you're looking for in the beer using a small sugar or similar cooking pumpkin. - -- <Ed McCormick - e-mail: emccormick at usa.net> Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 12:43:28 -0400 From: bourdouj at EOA.UMontreal.CA (Jacques Bourdouxhe) Subject: Re: Extract brewing ( was: I am lazy ) Hi braumeisters; I started to homebrew 7 years ago, using extract like most of the newbies and "graduated" to grain brewing 2 years later.Yes, malt extract is the best and easiest way to dive into our great hobby, it allows the beginner to concentrate on the fermentation and the sanitizing process, the 2 most importants steps in homebrewing. After that, one can concentrate ( no pun intended ) on the influence of using diffrents hops and specialty malts. Some very good beer can be brewed from extract, but YOU CANNOT BEAT THE FRESHNESS OF GRAIN BREWING. Just to have one data point, I brewed a Pale Ale from extract 5 months ago, using exactly the same brewing techniques used when brewing from grain ( wort chilling, liquid yeast starter, no sugar ... ) but it has the extract TANG and YES, the malt extract manufacturer is a very serious one ( Munton and Fison ) . Don't tell me that instant coffee is as good as coffee made from freshly grinded beans , or that a pizza crust made from crust mix is as good as one made from flour , salt, water, yeast,oil and sugar. When I buy malt from Canada Malting I know I have a blend of Harrington and Manley, the same one used by Molson breweries. If I ask for, I can get the specifications sheet. Try to have the specification sheet from an extract manufacturer!!!. Al Korzonas is right when he says that grain brewers have generally more experience than extract brewers and do better in competitions, but that doesn't explain the whole story. I would like to hear from brewers who started from grain and graduated to !!! extract ( how many thousands are they? ). Now, I still want make it clear one more time that in my opinion EXTRACT BREWERS ARE NOT LAZY and the day someone will present me with a pale extract that is as good and as fresh as the wort from my lauter tun, I'll switch back to concentrate. The key word is Freshness. Maybe If I move down the road to Munton and Fison Malting plant... In conclusion: I am lazy, but don't brew from extract. Have a good brew Jacques in Montreal ************************************************* * Oh beer! O Hodgson, Guinness, Allsop, Bass! * * Names that should be on every infant's tongue * * ( Charles Stuart Calverley ) * ************************************************* Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 14:09:45 -0800 From: George_De_Piro at berlex.com (George De Piro) Subject: Re: Artful pitching rates Hi all, Paul talks about the "art" of yeast pitching. He says a few things that need to be commented on. The accepted pitching rate of ~1-2 million cells/mL/deg. Plato has been proven to be optimal through experimentation. Just because the "mega swilleries" do it doesn't mean it's bad! Certain brewing procedures are followed universally because they consistently produce high-quality results, whether you're making Budweiser or "Thick as Crude Oil Turbo-Hopped Imperial Stout." The reason that there is a range is because certain beers need more yeast to get the fermentation to proceed properly. Lagers, which should be pitched fairly cold, need more yeast/mL than ales. High gravity beers also need to be pitched at the high end of the range. Greg Noonan points out (in brewing Lager Beer) that very low gravity beers, or beers with a high level of non-malt adjuncts (sugar or rice) should be pitched at the high end of the range to assure complete fermentation in the nutrient poor wort. Yes, it is possible to make beer with lower pitching rates, but it will have a VERY high chance of developing off flavors and fermentation problems. Pitching a swollen Wyeast pack into 5 gallons of wort is an invitation to Brewing Trouble (and you don't want him around). In my opinion, the single most important improvement most homebrewers can make in their beers is to increase the pitching rate to a level close to the SCIENTIFICALLY accepted optimum. By underpitching you greatly increase the risk of infection; in my early days I underpitched and sometimes got mild vegetable notes in my beers. Bacteria present in the wort (and they are *always* present) can damage it if the yeast does not get off to a fast start. These early wort spoilers are killed off once fermentation begins, but if it takes 12-24 hours for that to happen, their damage is done and irreversible. A 12 hour lag time is too long. Sure, it will work, but you maximize the chance of making outstanding beer if you pitch adequately, provide oxygen for the yeast, and thus experience a very short lag. Another common problem that occurs with underpitching is increased esters. Ever notice how fruity some homebrews are? Just because the fruitiness isn't unpleasant doesn't make it right. In many cases, fruitiness (especially banana and pineapple tones) can be reduced/eliminated by pitching an adequate amount of yeast. I'm sorry to be ranting like this, but there are some places where science comes before art. Be as artful as you want when formulating recipes. Certain brewing procedures are founded on science, though. Yeast management is among them. By the way, I AM a scientist (as if my ranting and E-mail address don't give that away...). Have fun! George De Piro (Nyack, NY) Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:14:01 -0800 From: "Grant W. Knechtel" <GWK at hartcrowser.com> Subject: Lazy Homebrewers? Had to jump into this one, Michael Gerholdt wrote in part: <snip> >Matthew Arnold is a bit upset. He asks: >>How is brewing with extracts not "doing it yourself?" >This must be somewhat emotive and rhetorical, because the answer is >clear. <snip> Emotive, yes, rhetorical, no. <snip> >If you are using a syrup as your chief ingredient in making beer, you are >not doing the following: Picking the grain(s); milling the grains; >converting the soluble starches to sugars; extracting the sugars. >The steps above are significant and do entail some attention and >achieved skill. <snip> True, but, presume you mean selecting malted grains. As all grain homebrewers, most of us do not: 1. Select, clear and till land for growing barley. 2. Select variety of barley to grow. 3. Plant, cultivate and harvest barley. 4. Malt and kiln barley. Are we adopting a lazy way of making beer? All these steps are at least as significant as milling and mashing in affecting the taste of finished beer. To criticize anyone for omitting a step is a little hypocritical - obviously few of us have the time and space to *completely* make our own beer. All grain beer will usually taste better than extract beer, but that probably is due to freshness of ingredients, level of skill, and care taken. Camra research (can't remember where I read this reference) showed that in blind tests, all-grain and extract beers from equivalent recipes *and fresh ingredients* made by the same brewer, one was not preferred over the other. Of course, there are adulterated or mislabelled beer kits, extracts and other ingredients out there, and they should be avoided. Some beer styles can't be made from extract and that is the reason I started all-grain. I continue because I like the control. Brew as you like, but don't let your prejudices get in the way when discussing with other brewers. -Grant Neue Des Moines Hausbrauerei Des Moines, Washington Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:11:15 -0800 From: Alan Edwards <ale at cisco.com> Subject: Re: picnic cooler Vincen Voelz wrote: | I'm looking for a 10-gallon picnic cooler to serve as a dual mash tun and | lauter tun with a false bottom. . . . | I have had bad luck finding anything except the rectangular coolers. | Anyone know where to find these? Costs? Satisfaction? When my 5 gallon Gott (Rubbermaid) cooler gave out, I searched and searched for a 10 gallon Gott. Once I stepped into our local mega-sporting-goods store, I found plenty of coolers of all sorts. Think "sporting goods" or "camping gear". Call and ask before you actually go to the stores. I changed false bottoms, though. The Phil's false bottom that fits 5 gallon Gott coolers is too small for the 10 gallon version. The bigger one, though isn't quite big enough to get that nice tight fit, but it has an added bonus of having smaller holes (less grains get stuck in the holes). The thing floats up a bit and it took me lots of recirculation to get clear runnings--actually I was never totally satisfied with the clarity. I've seen some good ideas in the hbd on how to solve the problem of the false bottom being too small, but haven't tried any yet. The one I am going to try is to use some vinyl tubing to make a ring that will fit tightly in the bottom of the cooler and hold the false bottom down. -Alan Alan Edwards (ale at cisco.com) H3CO.____ O CH3 Systems Administration Manager, / \ || | Chile-Head, Homebrewer HO-< >-C-N-C-(CH2)4-C=C-C-CH3 Cisco Systems Inc 408-526-5283 \____/ H2 H H H H Capsaicin Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:27:52 -0800 From: Alan Edwards <ale at cisco.com> Subject: Oh, come on now! Totally optimizing airlocks? Please folks, put things into perspective! Plenty of people, especially throughout history, simply "put a lid on it". If you pitch a good starter, then the yeast will outnumber anything that makes it past your sub-optimal airlock. (Do you also hermetically seal the brew as it's being chilled and transferred into the fermenter? Uh, huh... How about purging your fermenter with CO2 prior to filling? Oh, please!) For my money, tossing a stopper and the two-piece airlock into a glass of iodophor solution is a miniscule amount of effort in my brewing day. (I use cheap vodka in the airlock in case it gets sucked back in, but I'm sure water will do just fine, as per my argument above.) Use a starter, it's one of the best remidies for infection problems. -Alan Alan Edwards (ale at cisco.com) H3CO.____ O CH3 Systems Administration Manager, / \ || | Chile-Head HO-< >-C-N-C-(CH2)4-C=C-C-CH3 Cisco Systems Inc 408-526-5283 \____/ H2 H H H H Capsaicin Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 12:50:21 -0600 (CST) From: Al Korzonas <korz at xnet.com> Subject: Rusty Nail Porter Dan writes (there was no email address in the post): >1. Old extract Not in my experience, but I would imagine that indeed a rusty can could impart a metallic taste. >2. Too high SG without conditioning starter (some bad math on my part) Doubtful. I can't see where the metallic taste would come from in this case. >3. Lousy central TX tapwater Get a water analysis. You begin to taste iron at 0.05 ppm, but also tin and manganese can lend metallic tastes. >4. chips in enamel pot Very likely. >5. just wait a few months and it will go away (AKA wishful thinking) Yes, wishful. Save it for a class when teaching off flavours. There is one more factor. Did you dryhop with Willamette? I have noticed a metallic flavour from dryhopping with these hops. Al. Al Korzonas, Palos Hills, IL korz at xnet.com My new website (still under construction, but up-and-running): http://www.brewinfo.com/brewinfo/ Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 11:32:29 -0600 From: "Kostelac, John" <John.Kostelac at COMPAQ.com> Subject: Water Analysis Help Greetings, I have been brewing (extract and partial mash or steeping) with Ozarka Spring water, but I would like to avoid that expense if possible. with that thought in mind I got a water analysis from the utility. (I had intended to use a 3 -4 micron filter with activated carbon at the tap to remove CL2 from the water, but I don't know if that is necessary, etc.) Now perhaps someone in this august group will help me understand this information as it pertains to brewing beer and wine. The report is divided into two pages. The first lists a number of metals. The really nasty ones are all very very low mg/l ratings, but several were higher. I have listed these. Though I assume these levels are safe for consumption, do they affect brewing? Aluminum .020 mg/l Barium (the highest) .228 mg/l Iron .080 mg/l Nickel .020 mg/l The second page is reproduced below. I don't know which of these fine minerals are good/bad for brewing or in what quantities. I appreciate any help in understanding these and/or suggestions in treatment i.e. filtration, etc. or additional ingredients to include in brewing. Private e-mail is fine as are public responses if they can benefit others. Thanks. Constituent Units are mg/l unless otherwise noted Calcium 33 Chloride 62 Fluoride 0.5 Magnesium 5 Nitrate (as N) 0.11 Sodium 108 Sulfate 2 Total Hardness/CACO3 102 pH 7.9 (no unit, of course) Dil. Conduct(UMHOS/CM) 690 (no unit) Tot. Alka. as CACO3 256 Bicarbonate 312 Carbonate 0 Dissolved Solids 367 P. Alkalinity / CACO3 0 No other notations are on the report. John When I die, I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not like his passengers. John.Kostelac at compaq.com JKostalot at aol.com John A. Kostelac 20555 State Highway 249 M/S 090103 Room 9111 Houston, Texas 77070 Office: 281.518.1120 Fax: 281.518.8186 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 13:38:16 -0600 From: Paul Niebergall <pnieb at burnsmcd.com> Subject: LP Gas, Optimal Airlock Just a couple of thoughts, Paul Hausman writes in HBD 2544: > "LP" is an abbreviation for "liquefied *propane*" gas. I don't know if this effects the remainder of the information presented in the post but, LP actually stands for "liquefied petroleum" not "liquefied propane". Either way LP (or LPG *liquefied petroleum gas* as it is usually written) is not the same thing as natural gas. Regarding the perfect airlock thread: Why not just insert a 3-foot length of 3/8-inch I.D. plastic tubing through a one-hole stopper. Insert the stopper end (tube attached) into your carboy and the loose end in a bucket filled with sanitized water (kind of like a small diameter blow-off tube). If you have a sufficient column of water above the free end of the tube in the bucket, oxygen diffusion into the brew space will be minimal. George De Piro writes about using a pressure cooker weight as a valve. The one that came with my pressure cooker allows a 10 psi gauge pressure to build up inside the cooker. I?m not sure if 10 psi of pressure will hurt the brew any. Just something to think about. Later, Paul Niebergall Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 15:33:20 -0500 From: Danny Breidenbach <dbreidenbach at nctm.org> Subject: Airlocks -- All grain vs. Extract Just in case anyone forgot --- billions of gallons of wonderful beer have been brewed at home with the ubiquitous, simple, plastic, S-shaped airlock. I'd bet a dollar that less than 5 gallons of beer have been ruined because of the limitations of this same airlock design. The thought experiments about the optimal airlocks are fun intellectual exercise. All of us who learned at Charlie P's knee -- remember: Relax! As for all grain vs. extract -- brew how you want. Drink it, share it, enjoy it, have fun, belch. Live and let live. Compliment others for their fine products if you like them; criticize constructively if you don't. People on both sides of the debate get far too uppity far too quick, and pretty soon it sounds like you're talking politics, egad. - --Danny Boy Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 14:41:23 -0600 From: Paul Niebergall <pnieb at burnsmcd.com> Subject: Engineering versus Science Regarding Artful Pitching: Yes, I was trolling for responses to my post concerning pitching rates. And I certainly got plenty! First off let me say to all the people who wrote and told me about the reasons you need to pitch an adequate number of yeast cells (and the dangers of underpitching), you are preaching to the choir so to speak. I completely agree with all (well most) of you comments. I always pitch a big starter and get excellent results in my beers. I also am not disputing the fact that somewhere in the neighborhood of between 0.75E+06 and 2E+06 number yeast cells per mL of wort per degree Plato has been established in some circles as an optimum range. The point I was trying to make is that most of us as home brewers do not have the means to count yeast cells and that this range is an arbitrary set of numbers that have been selected depending on performance criteria that somebody has defined as acceptable. As soon as you draw that lines, anyone can step on the other side. If you are dealing with numbers of such magnitude, you can really take a big step (see below). I still ask, what is an optimum starter for *Home* brewers? I have seen posts that indicate anything from less than a pint to over a gallon is adequate. Not to mention the fact that nobody seems to understand what the differences between a *slurry*, suspended yeast, and compacted yeast sediment are. So this goes back to the density of cells per unit of starter (which most of us cannot measure). And, what is an optimum range for lag time, and why? Regarding Lag Times, consider the following: According to 1 source of information (yet to be named or validated) the accepted number of yeast cells per mL of wort per degree Plato is anywhere between 0.75E+06 and 2E+06. Hmm, which one is it then? - that?s a pretty big range (like 1,250,000 cells per mL to be exact). Let?s examine this a little closer. In the above reference 2E+06 is approximately 2.67 times greater than 0.75E+06. If you are allowing a range for the optimum number of yeast cells per mL of wort, then you have to allow for an optimum range for lag time (nobody can tell me that there is one and only one optimum lag time - there has to be a range). Surely the optimum range of lag times closely corresponds to the range of the optimum number of yeast cells per mL of wort. They are after all, based on the same natural phenomena (yeast metabolism) so for the sake of argument, lets just say we are comparing apples and apples here. If it is acceptable to have a yeast cell count that is 2.67 times less than the upper limit of the optimum range (over 1 million cells per mL less), one would assume that you could have a lag time that was approximately 2.67 times the upper limit of the optimum range for lag time (upper in this case meaning fastest time, or lowest time value). I don?t know what the ?optimum? range for lag time is, but let?s just say that anywhere from 5 to 6 hours is extremely good (probably exceeds the upper limit of the optimum range). Using the 2.67 rule, you could have lag times anywhere from about 13.4 to 16 hours and still be within the optimum range (albeit, at the low end). So is a 13 to 16 hours lag time within the ?optimum? range? I could be based on this example. Is it ?acceptable? to most of the home brewers reading this forum? It probably is. SUPERWARP FLAME SHIELD MODE If you think 2.67 is ouragous and I am way off base, how about using 10 as an arbitrary range multiplyer? O.K., I will concede that a range multiplier of 10 probably is not valid for the lag time range, but how about applying it to the optimum yeast cell range? Consider that when you are dealing with numbers of this magnitude (in the millions), most scientists would tend to agree that you can be off by an order of magnitude and still be in the ball park. I know this will really frost some of you psuedo-science types out there, but if you are truly a scientist, are used to dealing with numbers that are inconceivable in magnitude, have studied enough natural systems long enough, you will one day, understand this. SUPER RANT MODE Science is science, and you can through all the pointy headed numbers at me that you like. I will catch them with my pointy little head and put them to some good, practical (read acceptable) use. Funny thing about engineering. You study all the math, numbers, computer programs, and theories that you can get your hands on. When you are absolutely certain that you completely understand all of it, you through it all out the window and go with your best guess. Kinda like brewing, isn?t it? Brew on, Paul Niebergall Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 15:31:03 -0500 (EST) From: Jesse Stricker <jds19 at acpub.duke.edu> Subject: E. coli in pH and alcohol... Earlier, there was some discussion of E. coli in fermenting beverages, and how much alcohol it would take to kill them off. I've always watched other people do experiments on this forum and thought, "Gee, one day I should do something like that." Since E. coli is my area of study, I decided that this would be the day. (Yes, there's some science ahead. And, no, I don't know anything about botulism, except that it's really nasty :) I made culture tubes with rich bacterial growth medium and absolute analytical-grade EtOH in varying concentrations. (Tubes were made to the following EtOH percentages: 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8%.) E. coli cells were added in identical amounts to each tube. The tubes were allowed to grow for one week at 37% and 250 rpm shaking (in short, microbe heaven). Tubes with anywhere from 0-4% EtOH grew quite nicely. The tube with 5% EtOH showed some growth (about 10% of the 0-4% tubes). Tubes with 6-8% EtOH showed no growth. To test if bacteria were killed or merely driven into dormancy, I added some of the 5-8% cultures to fresh media (diluting the alcoholic cultures 100x) and grew these fresh cultures. The 5% culture yielded normal exponential growth after one day of rest. The 6-8% cultures gave no growth after three days. As a baseline, I normally grow these E. coli cells in a tube this size, and they exhaust all available nutrients overnight. These cells will divide every 22 minutes under these growing conditions. I conclude that E. coli will grow in solutions of under 4% EtOH, and that a solution of 5% EtOH will cause E. coli to become dormant. (It won't grow, but it won't die, either. On the other hand, if it doesn't grow, there *probably* won't be enough to hurt you.) Anything over 6% actively kills E. coli cells. Two caveats: 1) This is a lab strain of E. coli, and as such is pampered, fat and happy. Real-world bacteria are better survivors. 2) However, the real world is much, much nastier than culture media. In, say, beer, you have hops, with their antibacterial agents. You have more complex nutrient sources. And, you have yeast, which greatly outnumber you and will go out of their way to produce nasty substances that will inhibit bacteria. (No, S. cerevesiae doesn't make antibiotics as such, but it will make some things that bacteria don't like.) In my almost-professional opinion, neither of these caveats are significant, and they probably come close to cancelling each other out. Disclaimer: If you make some beer and it kills you, it's not my fault. This information is provided for informational purposes only. That's why I call it information. For more specific information on procedures or anything else, e-mail me at jds19 at acpub.duke.edu. I'm a graduate student doing molecular microbiology, so I'll be happy to talk your ear off. ObNonScience: My friend and I just bottled eleven gallons of extract-brewed amber ale and Christmas beer. Summer was fine and all, but it's brewin' time now! If anybody has brewed good extract porters and would like to share their expertise, I'd appreciate it. We've been brewing for about a year, and are comfortable with liquid yeast/specialty grains/etc... - -- Jesse Stricker jds19 at acpub.duke.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 02:39:06 -0500 (EST) From: Chris Storey <cstorey at peterboro.net> Subject: canadian beer prices Homebrewers! This was in Thursday's Toronto Sun. Just one of the reasons we brew our own beer. Here is a break-down of 24 bottles of domestic beer which costs $29.15. Molson's- $9.70 Federal Gov.- $3.86 Ont. Gov.- $13.19 Deposit- $2.40 Now you know what got me started in making my own beer. 74 batches later it all comes down to TASTE. All you got to do is drink a domestic and then have a homebrew! Wow, what a difference. Need I say more? Also, 24 cans of domestic swill costs $33.95. Return to table of contents
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