HOMEBREW Digest #3696 Tue 31 July 2001

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  Beer and Plague (Denis Bekaert)
  Plague ("David Craft")
  Wales and GBBF Bound (drew bertrum)
  Old Homebrew Books ("Mark Tumarkin")
  phosphorus in beer (Joe Yoder)
  Jet-powered beer cooler (Jeff Renner)
  stir plates & yeast damage ("Pannicke, Glen A.")
  stirring a high grav beer ("Alan Meeker")
  St. Arnolds ("Joseph Marsh")
  New England (Barry Wertheimer)
  PBS. . . . RIP? (SimondsVachow)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 22:30:58 -0700 (PDT) From: Denis Bekaert <Denis-B at rocketmail.com> Subject: Beer and Plague Ant Hayes asked about plague and St. Andrew's admonition to drink only beer and not water...so, although it's a bit off-topic (OK, a lot off-topic) I thought I'd give it a go. Like the many controversies that sometime rage here in the Digest, there really is no one correct answer. It depends on what you mean by plague. For example, if you mean the Black Death plague that raged in Europe, that one was transmitted by flea bites (bubonic plague). However, some forms of plague can be airborne, and I guess that's what your doctor friend was thinking about. OK, now we get more on-topic here, so pay attention! There is a very famous and true story that epidemiologists (study of disease transmission) relate that is one of my favorites. London was in the grip of a cholera outbreak that was killing hundreds of people, and since it was before we understood how cholera was transmitted, people tried all kinds of things to avoid infection. Leaving London was often the answer, but only the wealthy could afford to do so. Then a London doctor by the name of John Snow, noticed that in one of the poorest sections of the city where large concentrations of people were dying of cholera, the only people not becoming ill were BREWERY workers. Why? Because they were drinking beer rather than the local water, which was loaded with the cholera organisms since the water company for that section of London had its intake pipe downstream of the sewage outlet into the Thames river. The moral of the story: drink beer to avoid cholera. Actually, there is a very modern slant to this story. I'm a Public Health veterinarian and traveled extensively while on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, sometimes into areas where local water was not safe for visitors to drink. I always advised my companions to drink bottled beer rather than water since the pH and the alcohol of beer makes it safe to drink. Good reason to drink beer, too. OK, Ant, now you have an answer for your doubting doctor friend. Now, back to brewing.... Denis in Beechgrove, Tennessee where Moonshine is our history, but brewing is our passion Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 07:30:38 -0400 From: "David Craft" <David-Craft at craftinsurance.com> Subject: Plague If I remember my medieval history, the Plague was spread by the fleas on rats that visited from passing ships. At this point in time, no one knew what caused much of anything, when it came to the human body. Most plagues were blamed on evil spirits and unpopular individuals. Beer was very popular for two reasons. One, water was always suspect and killed many people, usually by Cholera. Because it was boiled, beer was generally safe. Any bacterial infection in beer was usually tolerated by the body. Two, grains could spoil or be eaten by rodents and beer was a safe way to store grain. See the connection! Beer kept our ancestors from getting Cholera and the Plague! Prost!, David B. Craft Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 04:48:12 -0700 (PDT) From: drew bertrum <drewbage1847 at yahoo.com> Subject: Wales and GBBF Bound HBDers, Hello from the road! I'm currently sitting in the town of Goodwich in Wales looking out on Fishguard Bay. Had a nice pint of HB and Draught Bass last night. Anyway... Tommorrow, I'm inbound to Paddington Station and the start of the GBBF. Hope to see some fellow brewers there. I'll be the guy running around in a grey Maltose Falcons t-shirt regretting having to pour out a half of a half pint (in order to make it through the tasting you know) If you see me, be nice.. I've been on the road for more than a week and a half now! - -- Drew Beechum Webmaster, www.maltosefalcons.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 09:11:58 -0400 From: "Mark Tumarkin" <mark_t at ix.netcom.com> Subject: Old Homebrew Books Hey ya'll, Not too long ago, there was a thread concerning early homebrew books from back in the "old days." I recently came across a very interesting book of this type. It was given to one of the members of my homebrew club as a gift and I was able to borrow and read it this weekend. The name of this book is "The Homemade Beer Book" by Vrest Orton. It was printed in 1973 (by Charles E. Tuttle Company), but is actually a reprint of a book originally published privately in 1932 and never sold publicly. The book is a compilation of talks given by and to members of a secret society of amateur brewers in Vermont. The original book was given to the less than 300 members of this secret society. Secret society, you ask? Well, you remember a dark little social experiment called Prohibition? This book was written by members of a group called The Company of Amateur Brewers, formed by a group of Yankee brewers who were unwilling to accept the lack of beer (or the low quality products available from the bootleggers) and banded together to learn to brew their own. Here is a quote from the inside cover - "As well as these practical methods and recipes for brewing good beer in the home, the reader will enjoy a beer view of history, rich data on drinks and drinking customs of old New England, an account relating how beer was brewed in the ancient days, and much other diverting and curious lore not found in modern books." These "modern books" being from the early 1970's, the time of this book's reprinting. This is not a book you'll turn to for either brewing techniques or recipes. For example, they advise "Put on your cover tightly (be sure there is a hole in the top for steam to escape or you'll lose the cover) and wait for the wort to come to a sharp boil. When it does this, let it boil briskly for twenty to thirty minutes. If you boil longer it will do no harm but you must boil at top speed for twenty minutes at least. The important thing here is to have the cover on in order to keep in the sweet fumes and to preserve the flavor." Or look at the following recipe, called the Company Special and some of the accompanying text - "This recipe in my estimation is the finest ever put together for the small volume domestic brewer. It is the result of years of experiment. I have thoroughly tested it myself and no less than nine of you employ it in its essentials. It is simple yet produces the best beer that can be made from malt syrup in the home. Along with the instructions for this special brew you will hear many suggestions which will prove most helpful in all other brewing operations, no matter what recipes you use. So heed these things with open ears. The following materials are the required ones:" Water 5 gallons Malt Syrup 1 can Hops 1/4 pound Sugar 2 pounds Yeast 1 cake Salt 1 level tablespoonful Well, as you can see, we've learned a thing or two since then. But the book is fascinating reading anyhow. They talk about old recipes, beer cocktails and drinks of earlier time, historical brewing info, tech tips, etc ... in short all the things we continue to discuss today. This group is in many ways a precursor to our own HBD and homebrew clubs. And I think they'd feel comfortable here with us. Well, they'd have to learn to use these damn computers, and the occasional bickering and flaming might put them off. They were a much more formal and polite group. But the topics they cover and the attitudes they had are still found here. These were homebrewers, of an earlier time no doubt, but very much members of our community. They even had to deal with SWMBO. Though they didn't know the current terminology (probably weren't familiar with the term Beer Bullets either), they certainly understood the concept. Check out the following, taken from the chapter entitled The Origin and Aims of The Company - "The rolls of The Company of Amateur Brewers are open to good men and true, because if there be more men who believe as we do, we want to associate with them. We want the benefit of their companionship and their knowledge. We have another feeling, although this is not subscribed to by all our members. I refer to the astounding fact that the brewing and imbibing of good beer is a pleasure almost wholly confined to the male of the species. Among us are no out-and out misogynists, and we do not believe in issuing any manifesto on the subject, but truly it seems a great consolation to us that puny man may at last indulge in one exclusive pleasure. It is not that we, as men, are jealous or resentful of our lovely counterparts. But man is a lazy creature! There are times, many times, when he feels the strain of polite society , when he would escape from the charming necessities of being on his good behavior before the delightful creatures who often demand good behavior. These are the times when he wishes to retire with a group of "kinspirits" and drink beer. The female, for the most part, is willing to allow him to do this, as she does not apparently love that noble beverage. Thus we have our place cut out for us.We know where we can escape. The brewing and drinking, in masculine society, of good beer, is our last frontier, our last refuge. Let us make the most of it! We may never have another." Well, the more things change.... anyhow this probably won't be an easy book to come across, but you may find it an interesting read if you do locate a copy. Mark Tumarkin Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 09:20:24 -0500 From: Joe Yoder <headduck at swbell.net> Subject: phosphorus in beer Brewers, I have a friend with kidney problems whose doctor has told him that he can't drink beer because of the phosphorus content. Also can't eat wheat bread, beans, or anything else that contains phosphorus. Is there any way to make a beer that is phosphorus free or has very little. It is my understanding that it comes from the grains? Any help would be appreciated. thanks, Joe Yoder Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 10:19:25 -0400 From: Jeff Renner <JeffRenner at mediaone.net> Subject: Jet-powered beer cooler From Oz CraftBrewing Digest and worth passing along: >Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 09:11:05 +1000 >From: TOLLEY Matthew <matthew.tolley at atsic.gov.au> >Subject: Jet-powered beer cooler > >Bloody Kiwis :) > >http://www.asciimation.co.nz/beer/ Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at mediaone.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 10:24:44 -0400 From: "Pannicke, Glen A." <glen_pannicke at merck.com> Subject: stir plates & yeast damage Mike Lemons writes: >It seems that everyone was talking about starters except me. I was >talking about intermittent stirring during secondary fermentation. I >am going to try some high gravity ales when the weather cools off in >the fall. I'm sure a magnetic stir contraption could be figured out, though working with the convex bottom on your carboy would be a challenge. The other alternative is a shaft-driven mixer. But then you have to contend with a sanitary shaft seal. Rather than muck about with trying to get a sqaure pag to fit in a round hole (now look who'se talking ;-), you might want to try another alternative. Unfortunatley it doesn't involve too much cool equipment (darn), but works well for me. I rouse my yeast for high grav beers in the secondary and I krausen them as well to get max attenuation. Sorry, but sweet barleywine makes me sick. I usually transfer the batch from a plastic primary to a glass secondary when fermentation starts to subside. Before transfer I'll skim and store some of the yeast for later. Use a secondary with some headspace, like 5 gallons in a 6.5 gal carboy. Once fermentation appears to cease, I'll rouse the yeast every day for a couple of days by placing the glass carboy on a folded towel or carpet and just swirl it. Tip it on one end and rock away. The floc'd yeast disperses with no problem. Do this with the lock in place because you will liberate CO2 in the process - unless you like shooting solid rubber stoppers at you prized beer glasses. If you use a corny, you just temporarily remove the lock, shake the bejesus out of it and vent. Once rousing appears to have lost it's effect (it may have dropped a few points), activate the yeast harvested earlier (or a new high attenuation strain) with a little wort and pitch it when it foams. This should drive your attenuation over the edge. Further rousing usually is of no effect. Aging the beer further is up to you. I've been fiddling with mixing yeast strains in the barleywines and find that this schedule allows me to do so with some interesting results. Unless you go with a Belgian strain or something like that for the krausening stage, your primary strain will dominate the profile. I'd live to be able to stir up my fermenting beer once in a while too, but I just haven't found any method which is practical other than a good old fashioned rousing. >but I keep hearing Captain Kirk's voice in my head >saying, "High gravity fermentation . . . The final frontier." It's better than "She's dead, Jim!" or "Dubious, Captain." I've heard those voices for a few batches before ;-) >I've read the book _Barley_Wine_ by Allen and Cantwell from the >Classic Beer Series. It didn't contain very much useful information. As opposed to any other book in that collection?!? DOH! And I still purchase them.... >What would be a good yeast to use? I've heard the Scottish ale yeast >mentioned, but I've never liked Scottish ale, so I would rather use >something else. I have used Irish or British style yeasts for the primary, followed by a Scottish Ale yeast krausening. Works well. So does an American Ale style yeast followed by a Trappist High grav strain. Lots of room to experiment there! Carpe cerevisiae! Glen A. Pannicke glen at pannicke.net http://www.pannicke.net 75CE 0DED 59E1 55AB 830F 214D 17D7 192D 8384 00DD "I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short." - Blaise Pascal Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 10:59:57 -0400 From: "Alan Meeker" <ameeker at mail.jhmi.edu> Subject: stirring a high grav beer Oooops, in responding to Mike Lemons question on using stir plates for yeast I somehow missed that he was talking about using one for the secondary with a high-grav beer, not for making a starter: "The stirring would not be for purposes of aeration, but rather for rousing the yeast. With a cylindro-conical fermentor, you can just blow in some CO2 from the bottom; It's going to be a bit trickier with a glass carboy." "So, the yeast would be somewhat stressed in this situation. From high alcohol if nothing else. Do you still think that it would be OK to knock them around a bit?" If you're making a barleywine the yeast will indeed be stressed-out, primarily from high ethanol, but I don't think you'll have a problem trying to keep them roused using a stir plate. Since you just want to keep them "in the action" rather than promoting aeration, you won't need to have very vigorous stirring, thus, there will be less of a chance for damaging the yeast. In fact, I did this with the last barleywine I made for just such a reason. Since I had it in a smaller (3 gallon) carboy I didn't have any problem with the coupling, and a moderate speed kept the yeast in solution nicely. Can't say I really noticed any difference one way or the other in the resulting quality of the beer though. The yeast I was using was Wyeast 1056 (aka Chico). -Alan Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 10:35:46 -0500 From: "Joseph Marsh" <josephmarsh62 at hotmail.com> Subject: St. Arnolds You're both right. The black death was mostly pneumonic (spread by coughing, etc.) but water born disease was normal. I've been reading up on the 30 years war from 1618-1648 and found out that the normal practice for butchers, tanneries, other nasty business was to dump their wastes in the city water supply. Read local river. The KINGS of the time couldn't get the guilds to comply with laws forbidding the practice. Typhoid, para typhoid, cholera were all common. Have a nice day Joe Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 15:10:10 -0700 (PDT) From: Barry Wertheimer <bmwerth at yahoo.com> Subject: New England As traffic has been light of late, I thought I might bore the collective with my travel plans and seek out recommendations. We will be touring in New England for about a week, from Providence, RI to Maine--mainly along the coast, as well as the NH mountains. To complete the picture, I will have my family along (kids ages 10 -> 17), so it will not be a beer-based expedition. Nonetheless, there should be opportunity or a couple of well placed pub stops. I would appreciate recommendations for beer hunting along our route. I also am open to suggestions on places to visit/stay, things to do, etc. Thanks much. ===== Barry Wertheimer Palo Alto, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 22:30:30 EDT From: SimondsVachow at aol.com Subject: PBS. . . . RIP? Anyone got any scoop on Precision Brewing Systems? I ordered a Maxichiller about a month ago and have neither received the goods nor heard a word from PBS. My card was not billed, and I've gotten no reply to email inquiries. Phone calls yield a "memory full" response. Has PBS gone the way of Stainless in Seattle? Mike Vachow Return to table of contents
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