HOMEBREW Digest #4047 Sat 21 September 2002

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  Where to get FermCap? ("Rob Moline")
  Mini-keg datapoint - I like 'em ("Anthony Hazlett")
  Microbreweries in Alaska? (Scott & Cherie Stihler)
  re: Colorado Brewpubs (R.A.)" <rbarrett at ford.com>
  Headless hefeweizen (Paul Kensler)
  Re: Hefeweizen Problem (Jeff Renner)
  Oktoberfest Advice/Munich Pubs & Sights? (MED)" <Thomas.Penn at med.ge.com>
  RE: Decoction debate (Paul Shick)
  Budvar vs Urquell yeast (Dr. Pivo's dream?) (Paul Shick)
  Drying fresh hops ("Mark Kellums")
  Thanks.  WAS Kegging Help ("Michael O'Donnell")
  Re: Kegging help for the feeble-minded (Tony Verhulst)
  Re: Cincinnati (Jake Isaacs)
  smoking malt at home (Jeff & Ellen)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 23:11:31 -0500 From: "Rob Moline" <jethrogump at mchsi.com> Subject: Where to get FermCap? Dan, Try Bacchus and Barleycorn at (913) 962-2501....they don't list it in their web cattledog, but they are a pretty comprehensive shop...and I'm sure they don't have time or space to list everything on their shelves. You can also go to Crosby & Bakers website...they won't sell to you...but the link below lists shops that carry their products...and C & B are a US distributor for Quest-Siebel. http://www.crosby-baker.com/RetailLinks.htm I buy mine from C & B in quarts or gallons. As for the HpTech product, I don't think it is the same as FermCap, but there are many producers of industrial foam controllers for many applications.....and the hopTech product, being approved for beverage use seems to be a viable alternative. You could always ask the HopTech folks whether it will be effective and safe in a boil......1-800-379-4677. Cheers! Gump "The More I Know About Beer, The More I Realize I Need To Know More About Beer!" >From: Dan Stedman <dan at stedmanbrewing.com> >Subject: Where to get FermCap? ><P>Yo Gump - any ideas where we can get FermCap in amounts less than 55 lbs? >The only place I can find it is Brewers Wholesale, and they will only sell >me 55 lbs of it (for $316). I would prefer to not buy a 100 lifetime supply >of it, so any ideas would be appreciated.</P> ><P>On a related note, I have used the foam control that HopTech sells and it >seems to work. Is this the same stuff? I've never tried it in the boil. I'd >LOVE to have something to knock down my frequent boilovers! Unfortunately, >they want $6 for 2 oz's of it, which seems a little pricey.</P> ><P>Dan in Minnetonka</P> - --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.386 / Virus Database: 218 - Release Date: 9/9/2002 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 22:33:06 -0700 From: "Anthony Hazlett" <tony_hazlett at hotmail.com> Subject: Mini-keg datapoint - I like 'em On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, beerbuddy at attbi.com commented on Mini-kegs - >I saw some 5L mini-kegs at the homebrew store the other day. They look >like little tiny kegs and just have a little CO2 cartridge for dispensing >and storage, but you still prime for carbonation. I like the small size >cause they'll fit in my fridge (I'm in an apartment), but think they might >be easier and take up less space than bottles. > >Has anyone used these before? Comments, complaints or thoughts on cleaning >and sanitizing? I've had mini-kegs for three years or so, and found them very useful. They are not the single best solution for storing beer, but on the whole they've been worth the investment. First the pluses: A) Mini-kegs are cute, cheaper than a real kegging setup and less complicated and geeky, all good points with 'She Who Must Be Obeyed'. A) Three mini-kegs fill much faster than 48 bottles when making the usual 5 gallon batch (actually, it's more like 2.5 kegfulls.) B) Drop a bottle, make a mess. Drop a mini-keg, make a dent. If the tap is on it, you'll probably make a mess, but my tapper has survived some pretty nasty falls. (I did buy the metal one, not the cheaper plastic version.) C) The mini-kegs (minus the tap) fit in every fridge I've ever had. The Phil-tap horizontal tapper (yadda yadda, bought one for my brother, not working for listermanns, yadda yadda) lets you store and dispense them on their side, so you won't even have to move the shelves in the fridge. D) One mini-keg equals about ten bottles, and makes a nice amount to take to picnics and smaller parties. E) People seem to enjoy working the tap, which gets them to at least TRY the homebrew - my tequiza-drinking coworkers switched over completely till the two minis ran out. F) I've never had a mini-keg leak CO2 or beer. YMMV. Now the drawbacks: A) Empty longnecks are cheap (and frequently free.) A mini-keg system can cost almost as much as a real-keg system. B) Bottles are see-thru, mini-kegs aren't. You will be doing all your cleaning, sanitizing, and inspecting through a single one inch hole. (The light wand & mirror I got to inspect scuba tanks works really well, but it's not something most folks have lying around.) C) Three mini-kegs take up MORE space than a case of bottles, because of their shape. (Hey, Phil, why not make some squared-off minis? I'd buy them for sure!) D) A mini-keg with a vertical tapper is 14+ inches tall. You will have to pull out at least one shelf from your fridge. And nothing else is anywhere near as tall, so the remainder of the space is wasted. E) They're made of coated lightweight steel, so they WILL get dings and scratches. And scratches WILL rust if not treated. F) You will need at least one cartridge to push each mini-keg each time, and you may need more. (With practice, you get more milage per cartridge - eventually you'll be able to swap the tap between kegs and not lose what's left in the cartridge, but one cartridge just won't quite push out both minis.) I find I take the mini-kegs to parties more than I use them around my house. It's made me go to more parties, which is another plus for the system. Their days are numbered, though, because I've found a new system I like even more - the Tap-A-Draft from Sturman BG (yadda yadda, just a customer, bought one and liked it, yadda yadda.) It uses plastic vessels just a little larger in size, so my usual batch fits in two jugs vice three mini-kegs. The jugs are clear blue plastic, so I can see the beer (no skunking problems yet, even with a nice hoppy IPA.) They are DESIGNED for horizontal use, and have a much smaller tapper, which screws onto the jugs rather than having to force a drawtube through a bung like the mini-kegs. The system was cheaper than the mini-kegs too, I recall paying about $40 at Beer, Beer, & More Beer (yadda yadda, they're my closest shop, really nice place, don't work there either, yadda yadda.) And being plastic means no rust, ever. Drawbacks for the Tap-A-Draft: it's almost all plastic, so it's more easily broken than the metal mini-kegs & tapper. I have managed to break off the tap handle (dropped a full mini-keg on it) and also to crack the coupling (still holds in the beer, but slow-leaks out the CO2.) I fully expect to move up to full sized kegs in a couple of years, but for now I can honestly recommend either of these two systems. Best of luck with your brewing! Tony Hazlett Westernmost Member of the MH&TG Now brewing with grain just east of the SF Bay area, some distance removed from (0, 0 Rennarian). Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 22:28:49 -0800 From: Scott & Cherie Stihler <stihlerunits at mosquitonet.com> Subject: Microbreweries in Alaska? Lou King wrote: >I'll be going to Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska. Does anyone >know any microbreweries in those cities, or good brewpubs? In Juneau there is the Alaskan Beer and Bottling Company which is the largest microbrewery in the state. In Skagway there is the Skagway Brewing Company. Unforunately, the Ketchikan Brewing Company has recently closed up. There is talk that the business might be sold and a brewpub opened but that has not yet happened. For contact information as well as links to brewery webpages please go to the following URL: http://www.mosquitonet.com/~stihlerunits/ScottsDen/Beer/Breweries/Breweries.html If a brewpub is eventually opened in Ketchikan I will update the information on my webpage to reflect that. At any rate, I hope this helps and I hope you have a great trip up here! Cheers, Scott Stihler Fairbanks, Alaska Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 08:52:22 -0400 From: "Barrett, Bob (R.A.)" <rbarrett at ford.com> Subject: re: Colorado Brewpubs Phil Leonard asks about Colorado brewpubs. Back in May, 2000 my wife and I did a one week journey from northern New Mexico up to central Colorado and then back to New Mexico. We visited many, many brewpubs on our trip. The one that I always remember is Il Vicino in Salida, Colorado. Very small. With the brewery in what looked like a closet along the side. They have many GABF and World Cup awards for their beers. The American Brown Ale and IPA were the best. Talked for quite a while with the brewer who was nice enough to share the ABA recipe with us and step it down to a 5 gallon batch!!! Well worth the drive if you're within 200 miles. Pubcrawler has this address: 136 East Second Street Salida, CO 81201 (719) 539-5219 http://www.ilvicino.com/ilvicino/salida.htm We make the beer we drink!! Bob Barrett Ann Arbor, MI (2.8, 103.6 Rennerian) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 05:57:54 -0700 (PDT) From: Paul Kensler <paul_kensler at yahoo.com> Subject: Headless hefeweizen John Misrahi laments "Can anyone tell me how a hefeweizen could have zero head or head retention? I mean absolutely zero! Nothing! It just makes a teensy bit of foam which fizzles away" John, I suffer from the same problem. Others might respond with advice to do a decoction or an infusion mash, to do or to not do a protein rest, to increase the priming sugar etc. but I've tried all that and all my hefe's are headless to some degree or another. Certainly not that big rich head I see when I pour a fresh bottle of Paulaner or Franziskaner. I've had batches that are as thin and headless and fizzy as diet pop. I suspect its the yeast. I've read that hefe yeasts are extremely prone to autolysis, and that there are protein-degrading enzymes within the yeast cells that are released upon cell rupture. Seems to me that some of this is going on at the end of fermentation and/or in the bottle. Most commercial hefe brewers filter their beers, then bottle condition with a lager yeast so they avoid the autolysis problem. I've used Wyeast 3068, and two different White Labs yeasts (I can't recall the product numbers, but it was their standard and the hefe IV) and they all have left the beers delicious but headless. For future plans, I might try other yeast strains although I really like the clove and banana flavors of the "traditional" strains and I don't think sacrificing those flavors for a big head is worth it (those bland "American" hefeweizen strains come to mind). I might try coarse filtration and re-pitching with a stable yeast. Or perhaps handling the yeast differently might make them more stable? My current standard practice (for all batches and all beer styles) is to make a starter using a stir plate, pitch into the wort and aerate with an air stone and aquarium pump. Perhaps more or less oxygen in the wort, or bigger or smaller starters, higher or lower gravity starters, etc. would make a difference? I'd like to see if other HBD readers have any suggestions on the subject, although this issue has been raised regularly in the HBD over the past few years and I've never seen an epiphanous (is that a word?) solution. Regards, Paul Kensler Gaithersburg, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 09:21:08 -0400 From: Jeff Renner <JeffRenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Hefeweizen Problem "John Misrahi" <lmoukhin at sprint.ca> writes: >Can anyone tell me how a hefeweizen could have zero head or head retention? <snip> >single decoction, i can post the steps we followed if it will help Sounds like my "John the Baptist Hefeweizen" that I made many years ago. I named it that because it had no head and a thin body. Those of you who paid attention in Sunday school or know the opera Salome will get it. I had (mis?)malted my own wheat and then did a protein rest. The result was that the head and body forming proteins were evidently greatly degraded. I suspect that this is your problem - that your mash spent too much time in the proteolytic temperature range, roughly 50-55C. This can be a problem with decoctions and well modified malts. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 15:39:41 +0200 From: "Penn, Thomas (MED)" <Thomas.Penn at med.ge.com> Subject: Oktoberfest Advice/Munich Pubs & Sights? I will be making my first pilgrimage to Oktoberfest in Munich, any advice on how to proceed, great Munich beer halls and bars, and must-see Munich sights? Tom Penn Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 10:20:46 -0500 From: Paul Shick <shick at jcu.edu> Subject: RE: Decoction debate Hi all, Dave Harsh and Steve Alexander make some very good points about the pros and cons of decoction in response to a question by Bob Pelletier. Dave, in particular, questions whether you can duplicate the flavor of a decoction mash by adding Munich or melanoidin malts to the grist. A few years back, I tried to do just this by adding DeWolf Cosyns Aromatic malt to certain German lager styles, with pretty good success. It worked particularly well in a dunkel bock and a Maibock (about .5 and 1 lbs, respectively, for 5 gallon batches.) Several judges speculated that these beers were decocted when they were entered into competitions, even at 2 years of age. It didn't seem to work as well in lighter styles. I tried up to 5% aromatic in various German or Bohemian Pils and found it added some toasty notes, but it didn't taste "decoction-like," at least to me. I've done a few decoctions of Helles and Pils in recent years, but I tend to agree with Steve that the extra work isn't justified. In my case, I find that if I spend an extra couple of hours with an intense mash session, I get much more careless about more important parts of the brew: attention to yeast health, etc. So I've pretty much given it up to focus on "the basics." Unfortunately, DWC Malt is no more. I'm told that Dingeman's has picked up the entire line, but I haven't seen any of it yet. Has anyone tried the Dingeman's versions of Aromatic? Special B? Are they up to snuff? So, in short, you can get somewhat close to decocted flavors by adding certain specialty malts. Whether this is a good alternative for you depends on how much you enjoy playing with classic brewing techniques. Paul Shick Cleveland Hts, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 10:49:13 -0500 From: Paul Shick <shick at jcu.edu> Subject: Budvar vs Urquell yeast (Dr. Pivo's dream?) Hi all, I've been thinking about Bohemian Pils lately, in light of the availability of new yeasts. My first attempt to play with these new strains involved splitting a ten gallon batch between two carboys, one fermented with Wyeast 2278 (rumored to be from Pilsner Urquell) and White Labs "Cesky Budejovice" (their seasonal, supposedly from Budvar.) Both were given 2 liter starters, very active, and lots of O_2, pitched at 54F and kept at 50F for three weeks of primary fermentation. The beers were racked to secondaries at 3 weeks (and new batches started on the primary yeast cakes.) I was shocked at just how different the beers were at this point. The 2278 batch had fermented from OG 1.055 to 1.012 (about as expected) and had the "dry but malty" character that makes this yeast so cool. The hop character (8 oz of Saaz pellets, 2 oz of Sterling whole for 10 gallons) really came through nicely. There was no perception of diacetyl in the 2278 batch. The Budejovice batch was dramatically different. It had dropped only to 1.016 and had a pronounced diacetyl character (that really intensified the impression of maltiness.) The hop character was pretty much overshadowed by the malt/diacetyl, although it's fairly balanced (about 40 IBUs.) The lower attenuation seems in keeping with what I know of Budvar/Czechvar, but the diacetyl level suprised me. I was hoping for some perceptible diacetyl in the Budvar batch, and I'm hoping that enough of this lasts through the lagering to be noticable, but right now, it's a bit much. This just might be the yeast that Dr. Pivo has been pining away for, though, with his endless quest for diacetyl character in a Pils. Since this first sampling, I've talked to a local brewmaster who's planning to use the Wyeast version of the Budvar yeast (Wy2000) for a "lawnmower beer" for his brewpub. Dave Lodgson apparently suggested that he pitch the yeast at or below 50F, then let it warm to about 58F during primary fermentation before chilling for lagering. This might help with reabsorbing diacetyl, although I'd be surprised if there wasn't still some perceptible level of it in the finished beer. (We'll see how the brewpub patrons feel about that!) Of course, I may be entirely wrong in my assumption that the White Labs "Cesky Budejovice" is really the Budvar yeast. Have other people who've tried this strain had the same outcome that I've had? Has anyone used both the White Labs and Wyeast 2000 strains? Do they appear the same to you? Finally, I'm assuming some reabsorbtion of diacetyl will occur in the secondary (at about 50F.) It's already racked off the primary yeast cake, so a traditional diacetyl rest is less likely to take care of any excess diacetyl. My guess is that if the beer is still too "diacetyly" for my taste in a few weeks, my only recourse for saving it would be to krauesen with some freshly fermenting wort. Any other suggestions? Paul Shick Dreaming of BohPils in Cleveland Hts, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 11:07:22 -0500 From: "Mark Kellums" <infidel at springnet1.com> Subject: Drying fresh hops Sebastien, Here's a good site with info on drying hops, http://www.usahops.org/farm_dry.cfm. Up until this season I dried my hops on screens laid out in my garage. It usually took about 3 days for them to dry completely. If the weather was especially warm it might take only a day. This year I bought a food dehydrator with a temperature control from 95 to 155 degrees. At 155 it takes four packed trays about 3 hours to dry. At that temperature they're extremely dry and friable. I then let them sit out at room temp for a few days to reabsorb some moisture and soften a bit. I'm pretty happy with the resulting hops. Don't shy away from using your homegrown hops for bittering. Just use the average alpha for that variety and you'll be in the ballpark. Mark Kellums Decatur Il. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 09:16:13 -0700 From: "Michael O'Donnell" <mooseo at stanford.edu> Subject: Thanks. WAS Kegging Help >Thanks to all of you for the sympathetic words (oh, and to the pin-lockers >for the good-natured heckling!) I'm glad to hear that others have done the same; something about being sure that one isn't standing out in a foolish league of one's own that makes one feel better somehow. This is, apparently, one of those lessons my dad always grouped under "character building" cheers, mike >Ah, the beauty of pin-lock kegs! > >Yes there is...............Pin Lock Kegs!!!! Pin Locks Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!! > > but look how much smarter you are from this little episode. > >But by far the best thing you can do is what you have already done, that is, >actually make the boo-boo. Now, subconsciously, you will be a lot more >careful and I doubt this is a mistake you will make again even if you make >no changes at all. > >And don't feel too bad. There likely isn't one of us ball-lock >keg guys who haven't done that once or twice, sometimes with >expensive hardware hanging off the other end (Hey, Jim?) - and >those who say theu haven't are probably lying :^) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 13:46:02 -0400 From: Tony Verhulst <tony.verhulst at hp.com> Subject: Re: Kegging help for the feeble-minded Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit > So I'm cleaning a batch of kegs tonight...... > I notice that the new o-rings seem to make the connection a bit stiff, > so I lean on it. This gets my eyes closer to the keg, which allows me > to see that I am cramming it down on the "Gas-IN" side. Oops. People have mentioned pin locks (natch) but for some, that's not feasible. Pin lock kegs,in general, are harder to find. Also, they're a bit taller than ball locks and for some, that's a problem. I use stainless steel ball lock connecters. I find them more pleasant to use, will last longer than you'll live, and are impossible to miss-connect. I guess plastic disconnects are soft enough so that you can mix up the connections *if you really force it*. Not so with SS. Tony V. LS6-b "6N" Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 16:43:04 -0400 From: Jake Isaacs <rjisaa0 at uky.edu> Subject: Re: Cincinnati > Any beer hounds out there want to have a beer? Wish I could join you, but I occasionally make it up to Cincinnati (I'm in Lexington, about an hour south) and always stop at the Barrelhouse Brewing Co. on 12th street. Good beer and good solid food (I like the muffaletta sandwich). They have cask ales on Friday and Saturday, I think, and an IPA on nitro. There is also a Rock Bottom Brewery downtown, but it's a little "corporate" for my tastes. I haven't tried the other brewpubs in town. -Jake Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 22:08:43 -0400 From: Jeff & Ellen <JeffNGladish at ij.net> Subject: smoking malt at home Most everyone writing in on smoked malts seems to advocate smoking for many hours fairly close to the heat of the fire. I'm not sure why all this smoking time would be necessary, because after a very short time, the malt would be completely infused with smoke and then would subsequently be cooked for the remainder. The cooking changes the character of the malt you are using, so if employing this method, be sure to use malts that don't count in your efficiency or basic flavor profile (except the smoke flavor, of course). I like to keep the malt farther away from the heat, so I built a box with screening shelves, which I connect to a Webber grill with 16 feet of aluminum ducting. I know it's extreme, but I really like smoked beers. Lately I've been smoking this way for about 90 minutes, but I smoke all of the malt in the recipe. If it turns out too smokey for most people, fine. It diminishes with age anyway. I use less intense wood than hickory or mesquite. For my palette it gives the beer a bar-b-q taste. I'm lucky to have a bunch of orange trees in my back yard which is excellent for smoking. Very mild, almost like Beechwood, the authentic German smoking wood. Other fruit trees are also good. Maple and Apple are wonderful. I think if you cook the malts close to the heat on a smoker, you should probably rest them for a week before brewing to kind of off-gas some of the chemicals they absorbed. If cold-smoking, mash in when the fire goes out. Jeff Gladish, Tampa, Fl. Return to table of contents
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