HOMEBREW Digest #307 Tue 21 November 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Cranberry Beer (Tim Phillips)
  contamination is relative (Dick Dunn)
  full boil (iwtio!korz)
  Priming timing problems ? (Kenneth Kron)
  Re: Belgian Beers (Martin A. Lodahl)
  "Short" Fermentation? (Martin A. Lodahl)
  mead (Ed Falk)
  Re: Sanitation and water (follow-up) (doug)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 08:06:37 PST From: tcp at esl.ESL.COM (Tim Phillips) Subject: Cranberry Beer In an effort to brew something creative for the holiday season, I took one of Papazian's recipes that called for 10 lbs of sour cherries and substituted 6 lbs of cranberries. The yeast looked happy when I re- hydrated it, and since I had pre-chilled my bottled water I was able to get the wort, cranberries, and additional water to 68 degrees for pitching almost immediately (which I did). The problem is, the yeasties are not doing their thing. No activity. Does anyone have any experience with cranberries? I suspect either a problem with pH (are cranberries too acidic--more so than sour cherries?), or a problem with the cranberries containing some kind of natural yeast inhibitor. Any suggestions? Everything still smells fine (!), but I need to get something going before the stray bacteria realize they have five gallons of wort all to themselves! Thanks! -Tim Phillips Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Nov 89 09:15:50 MST (Mon) From: hplabs!gatech!raven!rcd (Dick Dunn) Subject: contamination is relative Talking about being surprised by the clip of someone pitching yeast with his bare hands... Keep in mind that we aren't starting with sterile conditions anyway, and that the main idea is to give the yeast the upper hand in the wort. The bacteria on your hands is likely to be a small amount relative to a double- handful of yeast. That's a LOT of yeast; you can't really duplicate that relative amount of contact with the normal homebrewer-sized 12 g or 2x7 g package(s). Also, the environment of a brewery is a lot different from the environment of your kitchen...the main microorganisms in the air will be different. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 10:38:07 mst From: att!iwtio!korz at hplabs.HP.COM Subject: full boil In Digest #306, ferguson writes: >I brew 10 gallon batches all the time using extracts. You don't boil >all the wort, just the extract and enough water to keep it soupy. >Perhaps an all-grain brewer could do the same for large batches --- >boil and chill a concentrated wort then dilute to desired sg in the >fermenter. I'm afraid you've missed one important issue in extract brewing and two for all-grain: utilization. Hop utilization is much higher for a full boil than for a partial. The same holds true for how much fermentable material you will get from your grain -- the lower the boil sg, the more fermentables you will extract. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 09:50:35 PST From: kron at Sun.COM (Kenneth Kron) Subject: Priming timing problems ? Background: When I prime I usually put 3/4 cups of sugar/5 gallons into some warm water and pour this directly into my fermenter. I then slosh it around some and let it sit for 20 min. then go ahead and bottle. And I have gotten very good results so far. Problem: What I did this time (it was a rough day) was add *dry* sugar to the carboy and when I got done bottling, I noticed the quantity of sugar in the bottom of the carboy which led me to remember the step I left out. So I decided to leave the beer in the bottles and see what happened. Well what happened is, it's been a little over a week and I opened a bottle and while it had some carbonation it was pretty flat. So I don't know if should I uncap all the bottles run around and add sugar to them all or "relax and ..." (which I'm almost out of!!!) or what. I am going to save this beer (even though it was flat I could tell it had promise!) but I'm wondering what ideas the list has on this??? BTW I have a keg which will be free on Dec. 9. Kenneth Kron Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 13:11:19 PST From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!mal at hplabs.HP.COM> Subject: Re: Belgian Beers In HOMEBREW Digest #301, Joe asked: "I tried a few Belgian beers recently (orval & bios) The taste is quite different from most other beer. Looking through CJOH I gathered that there is a special type of fermentation process... ... Is a special yeast used (of course) and can it be cultured from the bottle?" In HOMEBREW Digest #302, Al replied: " ... Traditionally, Trappist Monks made Belgian Lambics and used wild yeasts (which apparently also carried in lactobaccillus). They didn't pitch yeast - they just left the fermentation vessels open to the air and waited for something to float in and take hold. I wouldn't recommend this proceedure. " And now, to add to the confusion, I'll toss in my $0.02. It's my understanding that Trappist Ales and Lambics are two distinct styles. The open-air "pitching" method applies to lambics, and only seems to work in a very small geographic area blessed with the right blend of breeze-borne wild yeasts and bacteria. The Trappist ales are pitched using methods more like what we're accustomed to, but with very different yeasts, resulting in the intense spiciness most seem to either love or hate. Dave Miller in CHBoHB gives a recipe for Trappist ale that is utterly unremarkable, except for its recommendation of pitching with yeast cultured from a Chimay bottle. I haven't tried this yet (give me a break! I'm not finished fooling around with stouts & porters, then there's the IPA in the spring, and the barleywine, and ...), but there's definitely enough sludge in the bottom of the average Chimay bottle to make this a plausible suggestion, if the yeast hasn't died in transit & storage. Experimenting with this could be very pleasant indeed ... = Martin A. Lodahl Pac*Bell Minicomputer Operations Support Staff = = pacbell!pbmoss!mal -or- mal at pbmoss.Pacbell.COM 916.972.4821 = = If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, = = Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) = Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 13:45:04 PST From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!mal at hplabs.HP.COM> Subject: "Short" Fermentation? In HOMEBREW Digest #306, Toufic Boubez asks: "My batch has been fermenting for 6 days now, and was still active last night. Our heating broke down last night and the temperature in the apartment dove down to below 58 (the lowest reading my thermometer has). This went on throught the night and this morning the fermentation was quiet. Should I bottle as planned this week-end, or wait for the temp. to go back up when we get our heat back and take specific gravity readings if the fermentation gets re-activated? Also, what effect will this have on the taste? Thanks." My first batch was a tale of one panic attack after another, and I stampeded myself into many hasty (and regrettable) decisions, but still ended up with drinkable beer. One of these decisions was to bottle after less than a week in the fermenter, never above 60F and dipping below 40F each night, from the mistaken concern that autolysis was just around the corner. The recipe was for Brown Ale, and called for 3/4 cup corn sugar for priming (too much for this style), but there was probably enough unfermented sugar left in the beer to provide adequate carbonation without it! The taste was very sweet, but the bottles didn't explode. The point! -------> Don't be in a hurry. If it's only been there 6 days, it could probably stand another week, unless your apartment is normally very warm indeed. It's a very resilient process. If you decide to wait, you might try "rousing" the yeast by rocking the fermenter back & forth (easiest and safest with a plastic carboy), which will sometimes restart fermentation. It's easy to be misled by the appearance of the ferment: recent postings in this digest have discussed bubbling long after the gravity stopped changing, and I've had the experience of racking beer I thought had stopped fermenting, only to find that it was still chugging along in the bottom 8 inches of the carboy. When in doubt, don't just do something; stand there! = Martin A. Lodahl Pac*Bell Minicomputer Operations Support Staff = = pacbell!pbmoss!mal -or- mal at pbmoss.Pacbell.COM 916.972.4821 = = If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, = = Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) = Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 13:24:42 PST From: falk at Sun.COM (Ed Falk) Subject: mead I started my first batch of mead Saturday morning, my recipe is 4 lb Honey + water to make 1 gallon juice of 4 oranges 2 tsp yeast nutrient 1 tsp pectin enzyme wine yeast Within hours, some horrible-looking matter had precipitated out of the wort; I assume that something reacted with the orange juice but I'm not sure. After about 24 hours, the precipitate had settled to the bottom of the jug and what's on top looks like I'd expected. Does this sound normal, or have I made some horrible mistake? -ed falk, sun microsystems sun!falk falk at corp.sun.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 16:37:08 EST From: hisata!doug at gatech.edu Subject: Re: Sanitation and water (follow-up) I've received some excellent suggestions, both in this newsletter and via e-mail, regarding my sour, gushing beer. I had posted some rather ridiculous advice my friend Robert gave me regarding sanitation. Please remember three things: 1) Robert works in a microbiology lab where such procedures are routine; 2) I was desperate because I was tired of this repeated problem; 3) Robert is, um, more particular than most of us would be about most things. Rergarding alternatives to dry package yeast: A pure culture is ideal. Liquid cultures sound like a good bet, but where do you get them? The "yeast" issue of "Zymurgy" indicates that, at 68 degrees, 90% of the yeast is dead in two week if sold in a foil pack, and 90% is dead in three months if stored in a plastic tube. Recommendations for reliable--and quick!-- sources? (I'd still like to try culturing my own yeast. I'd also like to grow my own barley and hops. :-) I'd also like to be independently wealthy so I wouldn't have to work for a living! :-))) The suggestion of an errant mold slipping into the equipment is an excellent one that I hadn't thought of. Indeed, here in the South, it was an awfully humid summer. We had mold growing on our books, boots, and even the painted front door. My sinuses ran heavily, even on a rainy day when all the pollen is scrubbed from the air, because mold spores were flying. So this is a very real possibility, and may explain why this has been a repeated problem for me. (And yes, I replaced my siphon hoses. I'll try ANYTHING to fix this problem.) Thanks again to everyone for suggestions. And please pass on ideas for a better yeast culture! Doug UUCP: ...!gatech!hisata!doug Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #307, 11/21/89
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