HOMEBREW Digest #4119 Sat 14 December 2002

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  RE: Using an A/C for a beer cooler ("JZ")
  Dry hopping in cornys ("Michael Maag")
  RE: pumpkin pie beer (keith)
  Re: Bottle Conditioning (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Brewing as a profession ("Mike")
  Re: Cider clearing.. how much? ("Jim Dunlap")
  Re: Hop bags and bleach (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Bottle Conditioning (Michael Grice)
  Woodworking - Beer Case Plans? (Bill Wible)
  RE: Bottle Conditioning ("Sven Pfitt")
  Gott cooler thermometer placement ("jeff")
  MCAB Qualifier and entry info? (Bev Blackwood II)
  Re: Yeast info pages (Rama Roberts)
  Converting to natural gas ("Jason")
  Old Water Questions (AJ)
  Head Retention ("Jeff Stith")
  Cylindroconical Fermenter (Jennifer/Nathan Hall)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 21:36:18 -0800 From: "JZ" <jamilz at citlink.net> Subject: RE: Using an A/C for a beer cooler Unlike a few others, I've had tremendous success with my A/C walkin-cooler. I heard all sorts of horror stories about why it wouldn't work from lots of different folks. However, it was Regan at Beer, Beer and Morebeer that explained how to make it work. First, he explained that an A/C unit didn't pull moisture out of the air as well as the commercial units, but it DID pull moisture out of the air. The trick is to do three things, seal your walkin space so no moisture gets in (a continuous moisture barrier), insulate the heck out of it, and step down the temperature in stages so the unit doesn't ice up. I have a three different temp probes on my 4 x 6 x 7 foot walkin cooler. I've got the cooler working at 36F (measured on the beer bottles) for the past 12 months. One is a high/low on the air coming out of the unit. Last week it registered 2.3F! (Of course, outside ambient was around 45, so that helped.) Yes, I'm sure I'm pulling liquid through the compressor, but I'm betting that $150 clearance A/C unit will go at least 5 years before it breaks, probably 20. I bought a 12,000 btu clearance unit from Fry's for $150. I opened the front panel and pulled the thermostat wire and routed it directly to the switch, bypassing the thermostat. I then hooked up a Ranco temp controller from http://www.morebeer.com which I slowly worked down to 36F over several days. I live near Sacramento, California and last summer there were plenty of hot, drippy, 100F+ days, with at least one week around 110F. The unit never skipped a beat. The walkin is actually half of a shed. I filled the stud walls with regular fiberglass insulation, then put two 2" polyurethane sheets to give me 4" all around. I sealed the seams with that funky pink tape that makes an airtight seal after it sits for a day. (About $11 per roll, I think.) For the door, I made a bevel cut through the panels, staggering them about 3 inches. I put a little weatherstrip gasket in there and used more pink tape. Thanks Reagan!!! You saved me from buying a $1500 used walkin!!! I've got approximately 60 cases of beer in there sitting at 36F. Why I'm doing that is a whole other story. :-) JZ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 08:15:24 -0500 From: "Michael Maag" <MichaelMaag at doli.state.va.us> Subject: Dry hopping in cornys It is important to note, even with a very tight weave nylon bag, do not use pelletized hops. Only whole flower hops or plugs are suitable. The powered pelletized hops will filter through the bag, and you will have green beer. After a week of drawing off a pint each evening as a nightcap (weird dreams) as the powder settled out, the beer was great though. Mike Maag, in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 09:54:20 -0500 From: keith <kellum at adamsadv.com> Subject: RE: pumpkin pie beer Byron You'll probably end up with a better beer if you forget the pumpkin and just use the spices to get the pumpkin pie taste. I seem to remember researching the same subject a few years ago and finding that other brewers had come to this conclusion. Cheers! Keith Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 10:01:26 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Bottle Conditioning "Kenneth Peters" <kpeters6 at cox.net> writes: >In his book, "Homebrewing Guides", Dave Miller states that in bottle >conditioned beer, the yeast will have fermented the priming sugar within 24 >hours and the remaining time is only required for the beer to absorb the CO2. >If Dave is correct then a correct procedure MIGHT look like this: 1- prime >beer and let ferment in bottle at room temperature for 3 days, 2- refrigerate >beer and shake each bottle daily to facilitate CO2 absorbsion. I've searched >the archives on this subject and there seems to be a majority counter opinion >that the fermentation process takes longer and that other significant changes >are occurring at this time. .What is the current thinking on this? If Dave is >right, couldn't one save several weeks from fermentor to bladder :) I still think that Dave is full of CO2 on this. If it were the case, then you would notice a really big HISS! when you opened a bottle two days after priming. As it is, you get barely a pff. As CO2 is produced molecule by molecule by the yeast as it metabolizes the sugar (also molecule by molecule), I cannot imagine any mechanism whereby the CO2 would not go immediately into solution in situ rather than rise to the top of the bottle and then dissolve later. Have any of you Nashville brewers asked Dave what HIS current thinking is on this? BTW, I do think that occasional tipping of primed bottles to mix the sugary beer and yeast helps accelerate carbonation, but even that is probably of minimal help. 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, 13 Dec 2002 10:12:26 -0800 From: "Mike" <Mike at Bronosky.com> Subject: Re: Brewing as a profession I wonder if one of the major problems with brewpubs is not the same as for any business. (These may be wrong, I'm going from memory, but as a general statement they are true.) Most new businesses do not survive 1 year not alone 5 years. The reasons they don't survive: not enough start-up money, too much debt, unrealistic business plan. A local brewpub started something like 5 or 6 years ago. They bought the best German 10 Hexaliter brewery there was, $450,000. OUCH! This was put in a nice restauraunt. The kitchen was A/Ced, most of the cooling equipment had heat exchangers on the roof of a 5 stroy building taken there with water. The ventilation system, someone could smoke next to you and most likely you would not smell it. Nice. Problem was, when they got through building the facilities they were something like $2,000,000 in debt. That is OK in a town with enough customers that would patronize it. Well, when they opened the doors they envited all the doctors, lawers, government officials and other big-wigs but the union leaders were snubbed. I know, a good friend of mine was president of the local CSX IBEW. Now who drinks most of your beer, doctors, lawers, government officials and other big-wigs or the everyday hourly worker? They also hired a German brewmaster. This brewmaster used wheat yeast in all the beers except for the one lager that was made. It sold do good they couldn't keep it in stock. Instead of buying another lagering tank they stopped brewing it. A half million dollar brewery and not a lagering vessel to be had. Piss poor management! All the ales had a wheat beer taste. And the brewmaster would set at the bar and drink, guess what beer. Miller Lite. Would some one pick the guy up that just fainted. What I'm saying is, of all the brewpubs that make it and don't make it. I wonder if the reason is because the public care for brewpubs or because of management's poor planning and management. The fact that brewpubs start-up and survive proves that they can make it. Too many managers and investors are under the impression that "If you buiild it they will come." Yes they will but if your product, service and priceing is bad... Oh, the cost of a pint of the above brewpub's beer was in the low teens. Right where it should have been. Mike - --- [This E-mail scanned for viruses by Declude Virus] Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 07:22:47 -0800 From: "Jim Dunlap" <jdpils at attbi.com> Subject: Re: Cider clearing.. how much? Greetings, I made my first 5 gal batch of cider last year with unpasturized cider from a local mill. I added 5tsp of potassium metabisulfite mixed according to instruction (I think it yielded 75ppm) and 1.5 tsp pectic enzyme 24 hrs before oxygenating and pitching my yeast, WL English Cider from vial. The ferment went for about 4 weeks total SG=1050 FG=.999. I bottled with 1 ounce of pasturized cider. I never recall the cider ever being cloudy. It did take a long time for sulfur to dimimish. I hope this helps. Either it beginners luck or great instructions from my local homebrew shop, Mountain Homebrew Supply & Wine Supply (PS - My club Cascade brewer's Guild meets there and I think its an outstanding shop) Cheers, Jim Dunlap Woodinville WA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 10:29:36 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Hop bags and bleach David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> writes from Bel Air, MD >The hop bags I've seen are made of Nylon, which is damaged by Chlorine >bleach. If yours are Nylon, I hope you don't use a very long soak, and >you rinse them well afterwards. Good to point that out. Mine appear to be nylon, but the bleach solution isn't very strong, and I must confess that I don't bleach them every time, only when they've become stained by the beer. I soak them in the keg full of bleach water, and, of course, bleach is dangerous to stainless steel, too. But, again, a fairly weak solution and short contact time (few hours) is probably the reason I haven't had problems. 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, 13 Dec 2002 10:29:49 -0600 From: Michael Grice <grice at binc.net> Subject: Re: Bottle Conditioning "Kenneth Peters" <kpeters6 at cox.net> wrote: >In his book, "Homebrewing Guides", Dave Miller states that in bottle >conditioned beer, the yeast will have fermented the priming sugar within >24 hours and the remaining time is only required for the beer to absorb >the CO2. If Dave is correct then a correct procedure MIGHT look like [...] I'm not entirely sure I buy this (although if true I think you had an interesting idea). For instance, I bottled my last batch the Sunday before last. A week after I bottled it, I opened one. It had little or no carbonation, and tasted sweet still. Wednesday night I opened another one, and it had begun to carbonate (albeit not completely). Temperature shouldn't be a factor, as the beer is stored upstairs against an interior wall, where we keep the temperature fairly warm. I would buy the idea that the yeast ferments all the priming sugar within 24 hours, but it seems likely to me that you're likely to have some lag time depending on the yeast population in the bottled beer and on the health of the yeast. This is admittedly anecdotal evidence, and I should have taken hydrometer readings from my last two samples to support my position. Maybe on the next batch... Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 11:37:26 -0500 From: Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> Subject: Woodworking - Beer Case Plans? Hello, Everybody. I'm looking for woodworking plans to build one of those old wooden beer crates to store Grolsh bottles in. The cardboard boxes they come in are cheap and fall apart after not much use. So far, all I can find is: http://realbeer.com/spencer/beercase.html And it looks like this is a 6 x 4 (24) case for 12oz bottles. I need a 4 x 5 (20) case for Grolsch bottles, which are a little bigger. Anybody know of anyplace that sells these cases commercially, either as a built crate or as a kit you can build yourself? Bill Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 12:27:26 -0500 From: "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98 at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: Bottle Conditioning Kenneth Peters says; >In his book, "Homebrewing Guides", Dave Miller states that in bottle >conditioned beer, the yeast will have fermented the priming sugar >within >24 hours and the remaining time is only required for the beer >to absorb >the CO2. So the CO2 is all in the headspace? If this were true, when you popped the cap off a bottle of beer after 24 hrs, it would be under excessivly high pressure and make lots of Pffttt noise. Not so. The CO2 is absorbed into solution as it it generated. Think of what would happen if this were not the case.. Just for rough calculations, assume a 12oz bottle with 1 oz headspace and 3V/V carbonation. You would have 36 ounce volumes of CO2 compressed into a 1oz volume of headspace. At STP we have 15PSI, so the 36 volumes would be an astronomical 540PSI pressure! Talk about bottle bombs! I have opened bottles after three days and not gotten any significant pressure release noise. Recapped and a week later it was carbonated and did give pressure release noise. This is directly opposite what Dave Miller writes. Dave be wrong. Steven, -75 XLCH- Ironhead Nano-Brewery http://thegimp.8k.com Johnson City, TN [422.7, 169.2] Rennerian "Fools you are... who say you like to learn from your mistakes.... I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the cost of my own." Otto von Bismarck Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 12:13:25 -0600 From: "jeff" <philosophersstone at gbronline.com> Subject: Gott cooler thermometer placement I use a 5 gallon Gott cooler for my mash/lauter tun. I bought a Thermothingy from Zymico and used it to install my metal stem thermometer. It works very well with no leaks. My problem is that I think I installed the thermometer too high up the side of the cooler. I located it approximately 3/4 up the side from the bottom, where there is a flat spot with no ridges. Unfortunately, this puts the thermometer just below the liquid level (maybe 1-3 inches) for most of my mashes. I fear that my temperature readings are not accurate due to the thermometer location. What do you say? If I move it, how should I patch the hole that would leave? Jeff Pursley Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers Tulsa, OK Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 12:42:14 -0600 From: Bev Blackwood II <bdb2 at bdb2.com> Subject: MCAB Qualifier and entry info? Does anyone here know when (or if) the MCAB will be posting entry deadlines and shipping details on their website? Thanks to a good year for our club competitively we have quite a few area MCAB Qualifiers, but a lot of them are first-timers. The sooner we could get our hands on some details, the better. We'd also like to see a list of qualifiers, if possible. -BDB2 Bev D. Blackwood II Competition Coordinator The Foam Rangers http://www.foamrangers.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 12:12:28 -0800 (PST) From: Rama Roberts <rama at retro.eng.sun.com> Subject: Re: Yeast info pages Bill writes: >Have you seen: > >http://www.skotrat.com/brewrats/yeast.cfm Very nice! But its still missing lots of stuff, like: WL Belgian/Canadian Ale = Unibroue WL German Bock = Ayinger WL Zurich Lager = Samichlaus Any Brewrats out there? I'll help compile the info if you can update the pages. - --rama Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 16:49:46 -0600 From: "Jason" <jhayes75 at cox.net> Subject: Converting to natural gas I was wondering if anyone has successfully converted from propane to natural gas burners? I drilled my cajun cooker orifice to 1/8 inch. This seems to work but would like to know how i can increase btu. There is a 4 inch blue flame and the rest is yellow. I used a needle valve to regulate the gas. This might be all there is or maybe someone knows more. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 22:54:35 +0000 From: AJ <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Old Water Questions RE Jim Dunlap's questions in #4115 (sorry it took so long to get around to it): At the levels of hardness mentioned the water is still soft and, assuming that there isn't lots of sodium or potassium in it (which I wouldn't expect as I believe most of the water in your area comes from rain runoff) it shouldn't be too alkaline. As it is actually the alkalinity that one worries about you shouldn't be concerned about the small increase in pH. The increased hardness will help to offset the pH somewhat and I would expect mash pH with the "harder" water to be less that the pH earlier (though not by much). Given low alkalinity it should require very little acid to tweak the pH to exactly where you want it so that carrying over the flavor of lactate shouldn't be a concern. I still prefer the "natural" method of adding a bit of crystal for this job (though fully recognize that it's a personal preference which you may not share). With such soft water and any high kilned malt at all I'd expect low pH to be more of a problem and apparently it is. There are several ways to combat this and I think most brewers would reach for chalk (calcium carbonate) as their first choice as it neutralized excess acid and augments calcium at the same time. The problem is that it is not very soluble so adding it to tap water (especially at higher pH) results in very little dissolving. Thus you wind up adding it to the mash as a solid anyway so you might as well forget about trying to get it to dissolve in the mash water (which you can do by sparging with CO2 in imitation of the way nature gets it to dissolve but that's a PITA) and just put it in the mash. It still isn't very soluble (it must react with the mash acids as they are evolved) and because of this it can take a long time for you to observe its effect, the danger being that you will be tempted to keep adding more and more only to find that you eventually overshoot. You might want to try "pickling lime" which is just calcium hydroxide as sold to cooks (look in the canning section of the super market) for the purpose of neutralizing some of the acidity in pickles. It is about 100 times as soluble in water as chalk (1.8 grams per liter cold water as opposed to .015 grams per liter for chalk). If you make up a slurry, let it settle a bit (you don't have to wait until it's clear) and decant the liquid you'll have a solution with some alkaline authority in it. This you can add to the mash and you should see faster response to your additions. You could add it to the mash water as well. This would be the preferred way once you figure out how much is needed but it is the mash tun you tune for. If you have a reasonably accurate balance you can do test mashes in which you take a pound of the grist and add to it a quart and a half (or whatever ratio you like) of water at strike temp to which you have added x mg of Ca(OH)2/gal and check the pH. If still too low, try again with water at 2x mg/gal and so on until you get the desired strike pH or close to it. Then scale up for the entire recipe and treat the entire volume of water. Note that the pH of water treated with Ca(OH)2 is definitely going to be high but again it's not the pH of the water, it's the pH it creates in the mash tun. As a final comment Ca(OH)2 also contains beneficial calcium. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 17:02:57 -0600 From: "Jeff Stith" <jstith at kc.rr.com> Subject: Head Retention Hi All, I'm on only my third batch ever. It's a honey wheat which, as good as it tastes, it doesn't seem to want to hold much of a head! From the beginning, I'm getting about 1/2 inch which quickly settles down to nothing within a minute. Carbonation is good though. I fermented it 6 days in a primary fermentor and 9 days in a secondary. I did the 5 oz. corn sugar boiled in two cups water mixed in before bottling. I usually drink the beer chilled to around 50 degrees F then poured into a chilled or frozen glass. Thing is, this has been the same on my two previous brews: an Irish Red Ale and Winterfest. As a newbie, what can I do to improve head retention and increase that creamy foam head from the bottle to the glass? Thanks! Jeff S. Lee's Summit, Missouri "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 18:23:45 -0500 From: Jennifer/Nathan Hall <hallzoo at comcast.net> Subject: Cylindroconical Fermenter Just racked my first-time-ever-in-the-cyclindroconical to a keg and let me be the first to say it's a hell of alot easier than siphoning! I built this fermenter from Toledo Metal Spinning's 12.2 gal hopper and the Zymico conversion parts. 10 minutes to sanitize the keg and that's all it took. No messing with racking canes and spewing sanitizer all over the kitchen walls trying to wrestle a 6 foot long piece of tubing into submission! The beer was also much clearer after two weeks than I've ever seen in a carboy - dumping the trub and yeast once per day starting at about day 7 of fermentation definitely seems to have worked. Flavor is excellent, although I would attribute this to sound brewing practice rather than to fermenting in stainless. For those of you thinking about this setup, I would recommend it. One more thing - I'm using the hopper lid that TMS has designed for this particular hopper (14 ga. SS) without any type of pressure seal. Maybe I got lucky on this first batch, but there appears to be no increased airborne contamination risk. Lagering may be a different story. Return to table of contents
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