HOMEBREW Digest #3144 Thu 14 October 1999

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		Digest Janitor: janitor@hbd.org
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		Livonia, Michigan for sponsoring the Homebrew Digest.
				URL: http://www.oeonline.com

  Refractometer (William Frazier)
  NA Beer (Ken Schwartz)
  Low/No alcohol beer (William Frazier)
  Re: Sankey ("Scholz, Richard")
  starter rates (Marc Sedam)
  pH tester, etc.. (larry land)
  Re: stepping-up starters ("Alan Meeker")
  Gravity ("Paul Niebergall")
  Beer over Miami? ("John Elsworth")
  crow (MVachow)
  Plato conversion (Spencer W Thomas)
  Stella Artois ("Rob")
  Czech Pilseners (Teutonic Brewer)
  cranberries ("Sean Richens")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 04:27:35 +0000 From: William Frazier <billfrazier at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Refractometer Rich Sieben asks about refractometers. I have a hand-held refractometer that is not temperature compensating. I use it mainly for checking the sugar content of grapes from my vineyard as they near ripeness. The instructions say that for accurate readings the sample and prism temperatures should be the same. I don't pay too much attention to this but I do reset the instrument to zero with distilled water before each use. This at least starts me off at zero at whatever ambient temperature I'm working at. I've used the refractometer during the sparge in my beermaking and I think it works quite well. A set of data is given below for SG readings taken from a recent batch. Time RI RI NRH Hot 60F 60F zero 1.101 1.096 1.093 13 min 1.102 1.096 1.093 22 min 1.067 1.065 1.063 32 min 1.041 1.037 1.037 42 min 1.018 1.017 1.017 52 min 1.009 1.009 1.008 Stop sparge and mix well mixed 1.053 1.052 1.053 RI- refers to refractive index. Hot-A drop of each sample was tested with the refractometer before cooling. The sparge was around 170F but the small amount of sample probably cooled rapidly. 60F-Each sample was cooled to 60F and was tested again with the refractometer and also with a narrow-range hydrometer I believe the data show that a refractometer can be used to cut off the sparge at a predetermined SG. The refractometer is so easy and fast to use that you could follow the SG minute-by-minute if you wanted to. I've been cutting the sparge off at about SG 1.015. By this time the runnings are quite pale and devoid of sweetness so I'm not missing much extract. There are many Brix or Plato to SG conversion formulas floating around. I've been using a formula given by William Secor... SG = 259 / [259 - P] The SG numbers match up quite well with a conversion chart provided by the place I bought the refractometer and also with data given in Greg Noonan's brewing books which I refer to frequently. Bill Frazier Johnson County, Kansas Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 22:28:29 -0600 From: Ken Schwartz <kenbob at elp.rr.com> Subject: NA Beer RJ asks about LA/NA brewing: > I suspect that in addition to brewing a high dextrin wort that I'd > either have to have a special yeast that could assimilate some sugars in > a cold respiration mode into some CO2 and some flavor compounds... Or, I > could brew & ferment a standard beer and then heat it to ~160F before > force carbonating to evaporate the alcohol. > > If anyone has had any experience making beers as such, I'd be interested > to hear from you. I have made beers as such. Please see my web page (URL below) for an article on this subject. - -- ***** Ken Schwartz El Paso, TX Brewing Web Page: http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 05:15:23 +0000 From: William Frazier <billfrazier at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Low/No alcohol beer RJ asks about making a low or no alcohol all-grain beer. I looked into this subject last winter. If the archives are up again there is a lot of info there on the subject. If not go back to Home Brew Digests on about February 17, 18 or 19th and pick up on a thread about the subject of removing alcohol from beer. Once, when on vacation in Koblenz, Germany I had the pleasure of drinking quite a few dark Malz Biers. I told my wife that I could really drink these German beers without any noticable effect only to find out later that Malz Bier contains no alcohol. Regardless, that beer was good. It was malty, sort of sweet, dark and had a great head. Last spring while in Holland I again tried some Malz Bier but, alas, the beer was just like American NA beer. I asked Siebel about German Malz Biers last spring and Joe Power was nice enough to answer. Joe says traditional German Ludwig's beer, going back to the nineteenth century, was made by fermenting wort with Ludwig's yeast (Saccharomycodes ludwigii). This yeast cannot ferment maltose so it produces low levels of alcohol. For a 10 to 12 Plato wort the alcohol would be under 2% w/w. Joe says beers fermented by this yeast taste pretty good albiet somewhat sweet. I asked Wyeast if they could provide this yeast. They can but initial costs would be around $200. As I understand it they would maintain the yeast and you could place an order for it through your homebrew shop as usual. I'm interested in trying this out but the initial cost is pretty steep. If one or more homebrewers would like to try it perhaps a Ludwig's yeast consortium could be formed. If anyone is interested let me know. RJ...This might not solve your diabetic friend's problem since maltose would be left over in the beer and that's probably a no-no for his/her diet. Bill Frazier Johnson County, Kansas Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 09:11:25 -0400 From: "Scholz, Richard" <RScholz at refco.com> Subject: Re: Sankey Jeff responded to Phil Sides remarks on Sankey kegs >I like Sankeys for several reasons, and Corneys for others. For a 5, 10 or 15 gallon batch, I wouldn't use Sankeys, but they work for me. I have a three vessel RIMS made of 10 gallon aluminum stock pots, so my brew length is 1/4 bbl...... He goes on to explain the process on removing, cleaning and replacing the Sankey value assembly. I have a 1/4bbl Sankey keg and I found an easier way. I got a replacement retaining clip from Kegman ( no affil, etc.) This gadget makes opening and closing Sankeys almost as easy as flipping the lid clip on a corny. Check out: http://www.ceisites.com/kegman/keg_kit.htm <http://www.ceisites.com/kegman/keg_kit.htm> for this and other keg parts. - --- Richard L Scholz Bklyn, NY Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 09:30:59 -0400 From: Marc Sedam <marc_sedam at unc.edu> Subject: starter rates Kyle: Your starter methods are fine, although I think the last step is superfluous. If you have 3200mL of actively fermenting starter and pitch in 19.8L, you'll have a 6.2X step-up--well within an acceptable range. I treat my yeast a bit differently. For ales I do a 10X step-up [50mL smack pack to 500mL to 2000L (note the smaller volume step) to the carboy]. I let the 2L starter ferment out completely in a gallon jug and let the yeast settle. On brew day I take the jug out of the fridge, decant off the liquid, and add a pint of canned wort. By the time I have the beer cool and in the carboy, the yeast is kicking butt and ready for a big meal. For lagers the approach is a bit different. I do the first step-up the same (smack pack to 500mL). However, instead of taking another three steps I pitch the 500mL starter into 2gallons of wort (in a 3 gallon carboy). Basically, I prepare an extract-based beer of a style that (1) I don't like to drink a lot of, or (2) I never tried before. I let this beer ferment for 10 days at the temperature I plan to ferment the "real" lager, then rack the rest of the "starter beer" into a 3 gallon keg and let naturally carbonate. When the "real" beer wort is at the proper temperature, I pitch the sludge of the other beer in its entirety. Fermentation starts off like a rocket. If you're a fan of Wyeast, I highly recommend that you try the WyeastXL packs. They have a volume of 175mL and, while the pack says no starter is necessary, I find that you only need to do one step-up to get acceptable results. I usually use these when I'm too lazy or busy to do the full yeast program described above. (no affiliation, blah, blah, blah) As an aside, the best thing I ever did for my yeast was to buy a pressure canner. Twice a year I'll make a 10 gallon batch of pale ale. Seven gallons goes to the fermenter and three gallons goes to quart jars and is pressure canned. I always have sterile wort sitting around for yeast ranching or, in a pinch, krausening. Cheers! Marc "Huisbrouwerij Zuytdam" -I think I read in the HBD archives that Steve A. 4X was correct for lagers, and 8X for ales? -Morkey Owings likes to go with 6X. If I go with Steve A., and my final starter volume is 6L, then the 4X schedule would be: -smack pack 50 ml 4 X 50ml = 200 ml for next step 4 X 200 ml = 800 ml for next step 4 X 800 ml = 3200 ml for next step last step at the target volume of 6L It is time for the HBD to weigh in on this matter, what say yea all? Kyle Bakersfield, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 09:53:56 -0500 From: larry land <lland at startext.net> Subject: pH tester, etc.. I am planning an attempt of sparkling Cyser. I believe I have a target pH, but would like to know if anyone has a favorite method / device for testing pH. (economically, please) Also, I have read that there is a ceiling for alcohol by volume levels on sparkling (champagne) wines of about 12%. I would like to find a reason why. [ I was planning about 15% or so...] Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your consideration. Emails OK. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 11:22:27 -0400 From: "Alan Meeker" <ameeker at welch.jhu.edu> Subject: Re: stepping-up starters Kyle asks about stepping up yeast: > -In BT this year it was published that you don't want to step up more than > 10X the current starter volume... -I think I read in the HBD archives that >Steve A. 4X was correct for lagers, and 8X for ales?... -Morkey Owings >likes to go with 6X.... ----------------------------------- I don't see any reason for there to be a limit on the dilution of yeast cells you can perform in stepping up the yeast. Whether you do a 4X, 8X, 10X, or even a 100X step up it will not affect the growth rate of the individual yeast cells thus the population as a whole will increase at the same rate in any of these cases (it will take you the same amount of time to get your desired yeast numbers regardless of the dilutions or number of steps involved). What is their rationalle for limiting the dilutions in your steps? I would argue that you are actually WORSE OFF limiting yourself in this way, because it forces you to go through multiple step-ups such as the scheme you outline below and this only increases your chances of contaminating your starter as at each step the starter is vulnerable to infection by microbes. ------------------------------------------ > -smack pack 50 ml > 4 X 50ml = 200 ml for next step > 4 X 200 ml = 800 ml for next step > 4 X 800 ml = 3200 ml for next step > last step at the target volume of 6L -------------------------------------------- My advice to you is to decrease the number of steps to a bare minimum. Ideally, this would mean going right from your 50 ml smack pack to whatever starter volume you are shooting for. Here, it looks like you have stepped up 50 ml to a total of 6000 ml. If you have a container big enough you can do it all in just one step to the 6 liters. Many people can't handle growing up this volume of yeast starter all at one time because they don't have a big enough container or the container is big enough, but the geometry would limit proper aeration (high volume to surface area ratio for instance although, you can get around this problem by using some sort of aeration system or a magnetic stirrer). In this case you will have to grow up the starter either in stages (steps) using smaller volumes which all total to the desired final volume or the entire volume culture can be split up into smaller containers that can then be grown simultaneously in parallel and later pooled. -Alan Meeker Baltimore Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 11:14:42 -0500 From: "Paul Niebergall" <pnieb at burnsmcd.com> Subject: Gravity patrick has some questions about Specific Gravity (SG): >anyway, after finishing the sparge I measured the gravity of the >~12-13 gal of sweet liquor to be 1.052. >unfortunately, after everything was over and the wort was in the two >primaries, I did not have a sterile pipette for measuring the O.G. so >I just skipped that part. now i'm trying to back calculate the O.G. >here's the question: is the relationship between volume and density >(specific gravity, actually) linear? i'm fairly certain it is since Ignoring temperature changes and assuming you have not done anything to change the density of the liquid, the SG of a liquid is a constant and is independent of the volume measured. If however, you reduce the volume of the liquid (through evaporation during boiling, for instance) you will increase the SG of the remaining liquid. If you then dilute the liquid by adding water (like topping off your fermentor) the SG will decrease. >we're just measuring the mass per volume. if the volume is decreased >by a factor of 1.2 while the mass of solute remains constant, the >density should increase by 1.2 as well, until the point where such a >system no longer shows a linear relationship. >it doesn't make any sense to multiply 1.052 * 1.2 since the result is >clearly too large. however, if I subtract the contribution of the >water (1.000) to the density and multiply the 0.052 by 1.2, the result >is reasonable (1.062). Density is the mass per unit volume. SG is the ratio of the liquids density to the density of water. What the 1.052 figure tells you is that if you have a given volume of wort it will weigh 1.052 times an equal volume of water. That is why multiplying 1.052 * 1.2 does not work to get the SG of the diluted wort. Anyway, enough of the science. The easiest way that I have found to think about SG when brewing beer is to use what I call "beer mass units" (BMU). This is not a real technical term, but here is how it works. If you measure the SG of your pre-boiled wort and it is 1.052, subtract 1, and think of that as .052 "BMUs" . As long as you dont add additional sugar or extract to your wort, the amount of BMUs remains constant and will not change no matter how much you boil off from your kettle or top off in your fermentor. You will always have .052 BMU's (I call this the "First Law of Conservation of BMUs"). To get the SG of the final wort, all you have to do is divide the original wort volume (the that you measured the SG in the first place) by the final volume of wort, multiply this ratio by your BMUs, and add 1. Example: Original wort SG = 1.052 BMUs = .052 Original Wort Volume = 12 gallons Final Wort Volume = 10 gallons Final SG = (12/10 * 0.052) + 1 Final SG = 1.062 Which is exactly what you did. >none the less, reasonable does not equal correct. What you have done is both reasonable and correct. Hope this helps Paul Niebergall Burns & McDonnell pnieb at burnsmcd.com "Illegitimis non carborundum" Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 10:06:10 PDT From: "John Elsworth" <elsworth at hotmail.com> Subject: Beer over Miami? Greetings all (or is that y'all?), I will be going to Miami Beach for business in a week and would like to ask the collective if anyone knows a good watering hole there. My interests lean towards English ales and the like, but any good beer is better than the usual bar swill (read "Bud"). TIA John Elsworth ______________________________________________________ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 12:07:07 -0500 From: MVachow at newman.k12.la.us Subject: crow Gee, I thought I was eating crow in agreeing that my extra-fridge synonymous-with-kegging statement was in fact a momily. Hell, I'm all for using 3 gallon kegs if they fit your bill. As a bachelor, I think that cheese and beer were the only two food groups to be found in the fridge anyway. As far as expense goes, I wouldn't pay $75 bucks for a keg either (except maybe for one of those 10 gallon jobs I've been lusting after), but the cheapest place I know to get kegs short of scrounging them, namely RCB Fermentation Equipment, sells 3 gallons kegs for $35; 5 gallon ball locks go for $12--go figure. Baching it, newly married, empty nesting? Sure, you probably have enough extra room in your fridge for a 3 gallon keg. Married with kids? Well now, a keg in the family fridge will likely have to go the way of the sporty little coupe you used to own. See, that's the thing with homebrewing. People get passionate enough about it that they can sometimes lose sight of practical costs. Sure, you can say that you can build a 3 tier RIMS set up for $100 (dare we call such statements a "blithily?") but don't forget to mention that you spent three months and four tanks of gas mooching around salvage yards, a month's worth of night classes at the JC learning how to TIG weld, and in the process burnt down the garage and incensed your SO past the bounds of conscience. I'm a self-appointed gadfly for truth in accounting; that's my hobbyhorse, and I'm riding it (and mixing metaphors) just as hard as one kinky little sub-sect among us are riding their mini-kegs. Mike Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 15:19:35 -0400 From: Spencer W Thomas <spencer at engin.umich.edu> Subject: Plato conversion >>>>> "Philip" == Philip J Wilcox <pjwilcox at cmsenergy.com> writes: Philip> For example 16 Plato is 1.065....There is Philip> an equation out there somewhere for a more exact Philip> conversion. Go to http://realbeer.com/spencer/attenuation.html and use the online calculator. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:18:11 -0500 From: "Rob" <vidhead at camalott.com> Subject: Stella Artois Help! I need a recipe for Stella Artois. Brother-in-law's favorite beer. I would like to make it for him for Christmas. Full grain recipe would be great. Or if anyone knows the hops. I'm pretty sure it is Maris Otter they are using, and I am sure there is some candy sugar in there too. It has been too long of a time to remember what it tasted like. Thanks in advance. Rob Brew Masters 1166 Butternut Abilene, TX 79602 1-915-677-1233 savebig at texasbrew.com www.texasbrew.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 20:47:39 -0600 From: Teutonic Brewer <claassen at swcp.com> Subject: Czech Pilseners John Thomasson wrote: >9# Czech Moravian Pilsner malt >Decoction mash: >20' at 140F >90' at 154F >10' at 168F I suspect that the Moravian Pilsener malt is fully modified just like the German stuff, in which case decoction mashing will overprocess the malt, resulting in less body and malt flavor (despite the melanoidization in the decocts). If it is undermodified, i.e. the Kolbach index is significantly less than 40, then decoction mashing is warranted. Anybody know the modification of the Czech malt currently available in the US? I like the step mash recommended by Fix in AOBT: 40C/15 minutes - 60C/15 minutes - 70C/20 minutes. I generally bump the 70C up to about 72C. A recent Helles of mine that used this schedule started at 1.048 and finished at 1.016. Change the malt bill to 8# Pils, 12 ounces Vienna and 4 ounces 20L crystal to account for the lack of decocts. If you insist on decocting, then mash in at 40C. Step directly up to 60C (no protein rest) and immediately pull a large, thick decoct. Saccharify the decoct at 70C-72C for 10 minutes, then boil for 10 minutes and mix back into the rest mash. Try to hit 70C-72C after the decoct is mixed back in so the mash quickly bypasses the 65-68C range. You may end up with a slightly lighter body than 1.015 with this because the rest mash will almost completely saccharify at 60C while the decoct is being handled. The real Pilsener Urquell has rests at 63C and 72C if I remember correctly (gotta dig out that old issue of BT...), but the 63C rest comes after two decocts have decimated the enzyme population, thereby significantly slowing the rate of saccharification of the rest mash at that step. >70 minute boil: >2 oz 3.9% AA Czech Saaz - FWH >1 oz 3.9% AA Czech Saaz - 30' >1 oz 3.9% AA Czech Saaz - 10' Try changing the 30' and 10' additions to 1 ounce at T-20' and 2 ounces at T-0'. Whole or plug Saazer is much preferred to pellet for the flavor and aroma additions since pelletization is bit rough on the delicate oils. >4. This will also be my first time to use 2278. I use 2124 Bohemian which, I believe, is derived from the Weihenstefan maintained strain equivalent to 2278 Czech. Fermentation is right at 9-10C. I find that the diacetyl rest depends a lot on the size of the starter I use; a larger starter reduces the need for or the duration of the diacetyl rest. Watch your yeast performance toward the end of the fermentation; if it gets sluggish, bump the temperature up. It helps to have force fermented a small portion of your wort with lots of yeast to know the terminal attenuation of your wort. And, yes, 2124 and 2278 fart a lot when they like their food source. >5. My water is very hard and high in carbonate. Slaked lime will knock out the carbonate (my usual water treatment is 50mg/l Ca++ from CaCl2 plus the slaked lime). The resultant water may be used as is or diluted with distilled. Doping 100% distilled water with salts risks not having enough trace minerals for proper yeast nutrition (been there, done that, not good); this is doubly risky if the yeast starter is not sufficiently large since the yeast must multiply more times over. Regards, Paul Claassen (Teutonic Brewer) (recovering decoction mashing addict) Albuquerque, Chile Republic of New Mexico Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:55:56 -0500 From: "Sean Richens" <srichens at sprint.ca> Subject: cranberries Jim Liddle writes: As a note, cranberries have a great deal of natural pectin and the heating can lead to excessive gel formation. I prefer to add fruit to the secondary and let the berries release their flavor their. Ken Schramm and Dan McConnell did an excellent presentation at the NO AHA conference and the results were clear cut that the place to add fruit (or vegetables) is in the Secondary. As a note, the rhubarb beer was great and I think this would be a really good choice for plambic. Also I prefer to run my fruit through a Moule' so that it is really pureed. ...and I have a follow-up question: The worst I get with adding cranberries (loads and loads of them) at the have an alternative at the liquor store tend not to complain. I can't decide if the haze nicely brings out the red colour or detracts from the beer. I add them at this stage because I want the carbonic maceration effect. Does this happen just as well in secondary? I could see losing less aroma in secondary because of the reduced scrubbing. I also don't have a secondary system that lends itself to fruit addition. I don't have any lids for pails, and since I usually make 6 US gallon batches right through (and use Wyeast 1007 so I'm scraping crap off my floor after no matter how much headspace I leave) I have avoided this. Any good systems for performing secondary with fruit much appreciated because it's the week after Canadian Thanksgiving and cranberries are cheap right now. Ta. Sean Return to table of contents
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