HOMEBREW Digest #4584 Thu 19 August 2004

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  About racking when there's floating fruit and/or hops ("Steve Smith")
  re: Steam Injection Into Mash Tun -- Anyone Use This? ("-S")
  Re: Cutting tops off kegs (Nate & Brenda Wahl)
  RE: Therminator (eIS) - Eastman" <stjones@eastman.com>
  RE: Keg Conversion (Steven Parfitt)
  RE: Cutting tops out of kegs (eIS) - Eastman" <stjones@eastman.com>
  re: Therminator (Michael Owings)
  Wort Chilling in Hot Climates (was: Therminator) (Kevin Wagner)
  Re: Therminator (Tidmarsh Major)
  New Mashing Ideas (from internet post) (cboyer)
  loss of judge, mentor and good friend ("Walsh, Susan")
  Listen to your yeast (Tidmarsh Major)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 23:26:45 -0600 From: "Steve Smith" <sasmith at in-tch.com> Subject: About racking when there's floating fruit and/or hops Thank you all for suggestions (on HBD and by private e-mail) on how to rack beer out of a primary fermenter that contained massive amounts of floating choke cherries and leaf hops. I actually was going to cancel my post, realizing that I needed to rack before I would get an answer... I didn't cancel because the automagical reply with the cancel # never came back to me. Nonetheless, it is a timely topic since the fruits of summer are here, begging the question of how they might taste in beer! Anyway, because of the large amount of floating fruit, I used a sanitized middle size (9" diameter) steel mesh strainer (the kind you rinse vegetables in) to carefully strain out much of the floating fruit and hops. As you might expect, there was still loads of hops suspended in the beer. Several times I tried to rack, which resulted in continued plugging of the racking cane, and I got tired of rinsing out my mouth and lips with Maker's Mark (which is much better sipped slowly) to lessen the chance of contamination by mouth when restarting the siphon. So, instead I partially submerged the strainer with the racking cane pressed against it and that filtered out the debris, which worked well enough. I was surprised to find that instead of ending up with six gallons in the secondary as I planned, I got just under five. You see, having pastuerized the fruit in the wort, there was only so much room to top up my 7.5 gallon primary fermenter with water. Well, the beer at the first racking stage tasted terrific (won't know until later if it's infected), so I determined that instead of the Choke Cherry Stout I planned, I now have a Choke Cherry Imperial Stout! I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but I particularly liked the idea of inserting the racking cane inside a larger diameter screen-tipped tube, which allows free flow of liquid to the racking cane tip. However, as others replied, there is also simplicity and functionality by merely bulbing the rack cane tip with sanitized screening, or even with a sanitized hop bag. As always, the best result comes from what least disturbs the beer! Tutti-Frutti (awww Rudy), Steve Smith Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 04:09:41 -0400 From: "-S" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: re: Steam Injection Into Mash Tun -- Anyone Use This? When the autoresponder doesn't autorespond ... post, post again. Charles Boyer writes about some HBD posts by the long lost Charlie Scandrett of Brisbane, >Way back in HBD 1905, Charlie Scandrett proposed a system to inject steam More like 1995. Charlie is one of the folks I learned a lot from back then ... the attitude that walls are meant to be scaled and journals meant to be read more than any details. >What I am wondering is this -- granted, steam is a dangerous thing if >mishandled, but the payoff for this -- better heating, no scorching, >simplicity, etc., Yes ! As I stated in my article on mashing systems (Zymurgy Mar/Apr 03), the fundamental problem with heat transfer into the mash or boiler is localized heating which produces hi temps and caramelization then eventually scorching. The origin of this thought (in my universe) traces directly back to a Charlie Scandrett HBD post on caramelization in 1993 or 1994 I think - well worth a read. Scorch only happens when local temps are well above the boiling point (~480F). This is only a minor problem w/ the boil, as convection of the wort prevents temp extremes In the mash things are much different .... RIMS type heating and direct tun heating (esp through thin, poor heat conducting stainless) are potentially problematic. Both steam injection and HERMS (which recirculates hot water or wort) avoid even the possibility of scorch. Hot water infusion also avoids scorching potential. Inthat article I tried to cover the major mashing system designs and the heating methods from a fundamental point o view. One minor downside of steam injection is that it continuously dilutes the mash with the condensed steam. It's perhaps only a quart or two for very hot (~150C) low pressure steam, but it's several times that for ~100C steam ... considerable. Also the heat transfer from flame to canner to steam to mash is fairly inefficient, but one big inefficiency of flame to pot is present in all direct heating systems. I will make one extension to C.Boyer's comments. Steam heating systems can be simple or they can be safe, but not both. The average HBer certainly doesn't recognize the huge heat transfer that 130C steam will bring to bear when it condenses on your 25C skin ... far worse than boiling water scalds. If you've ever had the experience of a split or slipped bit of tubing sending wort across the floor and making a terrible mess ... imagine that a similar accident with low pressure steam can cause scarring or even blindness in an instant. In addition, low or ambient pressure steam vessels will quickly transform themselves into hi-pressure vessels and then shrapnel bombs if their outlets become clogged. Yes all of these objections can be overcome ... only use approved pressure vessels with properly desiged relief valves, and carry steam in fixed piping which is double jacketed or wrapped for safety. Suddenly simple & cheap is out of the picture. Steam injection is a terrific heating method, but I have considerable reservations for safety reasons. It certainly could be done safely, but I personally feel that HERMS and variants are a better approach. I went over my reasons in a fair bit of detail in the article. HERMS {with recirulating wort} initially seems complicated due to the manifolds, pumps and plumbing, but the fact is that ALL mash heating systems REQUIRE some form of mechanical heat distribution (stirrers or pumps) and you'll need a manifold of some sort to sparge & lauter. >Problem is, I can find nary a bite on designs, practices, etc., >other than the two articles I mentioned above. My *recollection* is that Charlie Scandrett used a 20L pressure canner as his steam source. He somehow attached a valve and some flex copper tubing as his injection steam via. Charlie recommended overweighting the pressure regulator weight by a significant amount. I think Charlie is quite bright and wrote a load of great posts, but drilling holes in a pressure canner then increasing the pressure by overweighting the relief mechanism detract from that position. Anyone know what Charlie Scandrett is up to ? -Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 06:07:54 -0400 From: Nate & Brenda Wahl <cruiser at coastalwave.net> Subject: Re: Cutting tops off kegs Interestingly, a plastic spray paint can cap fits exactly over the valve body on a Sanke; put a bolt/washer/nut assembly through its top, centered as a pivot, and use it to swing around a piece of metal bent just right, hose-clamped to your grinder/cutter of choice. Instant circle cutter! A buddy of mine liked it so well that he welded up an adjustable pivoting assembly based on the idea, and he has cut dozens of perfectly round holes with it over the years. But he now uses a plasma cutter instead of a grinder. Sweet! Oh, use a new cutoff wheel, or at least one that you only use on SS. Cheers, Nate Wahl aka Oogie Wa Wa Oak Harbor, OH, Now where'd that sticky go with the coordinates? Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:11:22 -0400 From: "Jones, Steve (eIS) - Eastman" <stjones at eastman.com> Subject: RE: Therminator Braam, If your problem is due to the high temperature of your water during the summer, the Therminator(tm) won't help. It is still just a counterflow chiller, and the water temp is the limiting factor. One thing you could try is to pre-chill your cooling water by running it thru an ice-water bath before going to your immersion chiller. Make another immersion type coil and set it in a bucket of ice-water. After your normal immersion chilling process drops your temp down to 80 or 90 or 100F, change the setup to run your chilling water thru this new coil before it goes to your immersion chiller. This will drop the temp of the cooling water, which in turn will allow you to get your wort temp even lower. Don't try to chill the water from the start, as all you will do is waste ice. You should be able to get your wort down to 65-70F using this procedure. Steve Jones, Johnson City, TN State of Franklin Homebrewers (http://hbd.org/franklin) [421.8 mi, 168.5 deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 05:33:33 -0700 (PDT) From: Steven Parfitt <thegimp98 at yahoo.com> Subject: RE: Keg Conversion Check the 3rd picture down for a view of three kegs. One already cut, one being cut, and one with the previous cut lid setting on top of it. http://thegimp.8k.com/photo3.html I used an air powered die grinder with a 4" cutting disk. It takes about an hour and a half to cut out one lid. The die grinder is held in a pivot that drops into the opening for the valve assembly in the keg. It allows me to cut a true circle and can be adjusted from 8" to 12" diameter. Steven Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:36:55 -0400 From: "Jones, Steve (eIS) - Eastman" <stjones at eastman.com> Subject: RE: Cutting tops out of kegs I've used both a sawzall and an air powered cutoff tool to cut tops out of kegs. The sawzall is much quicker, but leaves quite a rough edge that needs some work. The cutoff tool (with 3" cutoff blades) worked great, but took about 30 minutes. It left a perfect circle that only needed a light touchup with emery cloth. Use eye & ear protection, and fill the keg about half way with water to stabilize it and help deaden the noise. I made a little wooden jig to hold the cutoff tool that rotates on the center post of the sanke keg. I adjusted the jig to set the proper diameter and worked it around the keg, making several passes rather than trying to cut all the way thru on the first pass. You can see the result at http://hbd.org/franklin/public_html/members/sj/kettle_mods.html, the next to last picture. Steve Jones, Johnson City, TN State of Franklin Homebrewers (http://hbd.org/franklin) [421.8 mi, 168.5 deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 07:50:33 -0500 From: Michael Owings <mikey at swampgas.com> Subject: re: Therminator In hbd 4583 Bramm Greyling wrote: ================================== > I live in a particularly hot climate and neither > counterflow or immersion chiller work good enough. > I have built numerous different chillers but I can > still only brew in winter. > Do you think this will help ? Any comments ? > My biggest problem is that the water temperature is > too high during summer. I also brew in a very warm climate in the summer (southern Louisiana US) and regularly cool down to the low 40s, even in the dead of summer with a large immersion chiller (around 55 feet of 1/2 inch ID copper tubing). The idea is to start with tap water from the hose as the initial cooling water, but then I switch to pumping ice water from a tub into the cooler coils. I use a cheap immersible pump (around $50 USD from WalMart -- I think they get cheaper). The tub is a cheap plastic tub filed with ice and water. The water exiting the cooler is simply directed back into the tub of ice-water and recirculated. Simple, and significantly cheaper than the Therminator. Hope that helps -- m - -- Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web: http://www.swampgas.com/robotics/rover.html Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:24:35 -0700 From: Kevin Wagner <kevin.wagner at watchmark.com> Subject: Wort Chilling in Hot Climates (was: Therminator) Braam writes: > I live in a particularly hot climate and neither > counterflow or immersion chiller work good enough. > I have built numerous different chillers but I can > still only brew in winter. Since you already have an IC and a CFC, use the IC to pre-chill the cooling water ahead of the CFC! Put your IC in a bucket and fill it with ice, add water to the bucket until it just covers the ice and stir in half a cup of rock-salt (the salt will allow the water in the bucket to drop below 0 deg C without freezing). Now run your tap water through the IC and into the CFC. Run your wort through the CFC as normal. Stir the bucket of ice a couple of times during use. -K ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 12:49:21 -0400 From: Tidmarsh Major <tidmarsh at bellsouth.net> Subject: Re: Therminator Braam writes: > > My biggest problem is that the water temperature is > too high during summer. > I have a similar problem here in Alabama. I use an immersion chiller on the water inlet hose of my wort chiller. In other words, I run my cooling water through a copper coil immersed in a bucket of ice before it flows into my wort chiller. Seems like others have reported success circulating ice water through an immersion chiller with a pump or gravity feed. Tidmarsh Major Tuscaloosa, Ala. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 14:22:48 -0400 (EDT) From: cboyer at ausoleil.org Subject: New Mashing Ideas (from internet post) Hello all, Below is a post of a message that was posted on an internet discussion board that's generating some debate where-ever it finds it's way. I would be interested in reading comments from John Palmer, Steve and anyone else regarding this. Mine are at the end of the post. The original discussion is here: http://www.beertools.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1252 Quote: "I'm probably going to set off alot of debate with this posting, but this is current brewing science knowledge that I gained through my recent training by Weihenstephan (Freising, Germany & world's oldest brewer founded in 1096!) and UC Davis, two of the most respected brewing science institutions in the world. Some of these concepts are even contrary to my Siebel training, but as most know, brewing is a science and art that continues to evolve. Here we go: 1) First Wort Hopping: Don't ! This was a technique adopted by German brewmasters in the early 80's under the premise that it produced a "finer bitterness" than traditional early kettle hopping. NONE do it anymore! The reason is that they found out that this method of hopping is detrimental to head retention. The current technique is to begin hop charges 10 minutes after the onset of a vigorous boil. Weihenstephan's professors contend that if you perceive a harshness in your bittering additions, it is a hop variety or crop issue, not the application of the hops themselves. This rings true in the traditional sense since German brewers have always maintained that the use of low alpha varieties (nobles) produces a finer hop character in beer. 2) Step mashing as a method of increasing dextrines to increase the viscosity (mouthfeel) of beer: Even though it is true that this mash technique does increase dextrins as an end result, it has been discovered that the perception of rich body in beer by humans is not related to dextrin content, but rather is a psychological reaction to some yet to be identified property in beer. They determined this through extensive blind trials where identical beers were sampled, half as-is and half with added dextrins. 100% of the respondants rated the body of the beers as identical! Now what does this mean to us as brewers? With the fully modified malts available to us today, it is pointless to do anything other than a single step infusion mash. And, with the great excess of enzymes that are present in our malts (remember almost all fully modified malts are designed for big brewers with high adjunct rates), this means conversion can be achieved much faster than once believed. The current recommendations for all fully modified malts is a mash at 68~70C/154~158 with a pH of 5.3 for only 20 minutes prior to recirculation until the runnings are clear. Then sparge with 168 degree water, stopping the runnings at 2.5P/1.010SG. Then top up to kettle volume. Running beyond this gravity floor will only extract tannis and lipids. The idea here is to maximize extraction while minimizing grain contact. This goes a long way toward the elimination of tannins (harsh, husky flavors) and lipids (head killers and can create clarity issues) being entrained in the wort. The complete science regarding this technique is outlined in both Charlie Bamforth's and Michael Lewis's new books that are available from the Association of Brewer's publishing arm, Brewer's Publications. You can order them online from www.beertown.org. 3) Wort Aeration: If possible, don't! The reason is that it is not the wort that needs the oxygen, it is the yeast. By oxgenating the wort instead of the yeast starter, it will cause an over production of cells due to the excessive oxygen presence. This then leads to the production of unwanted esters and higher alcohols that will compromise beer flavor. When oxygenating starters, you cannot use pure O2... the reason is that the uptake occurs too fast and without a dissolved O2 meter ($$$), you cannot tell when to stop. The way to properly do this one is to aerate using a high pressure aquarium pump, sterile air filter and a stainless steel aeration stone, all of which are redily available. It is virtually impossible to over-aerate using air, so you will avoid oxygen toxicity problems that will occur if trying to do this with pure oxygen. I know these topics are contrary to what most people have learned and read about (me included!) and particularly go against traditionalist notions. In the case of the 20 minute, single rest, high temperature infusion mashing technique, remember that all of the mandates we learned were based historically when barley varieties and malting was very poor. This reality required heroic steps to produce a good wort, but they have been proven to no longer be necessary, and in some ways, detrimental. Upon returning from this recent training, I instituted these practices in my brewery and they definitely work. My biggest concern was centered around the mashing regimin change. I kept obsessing that the short mashing time might lead to a reduction in wort color or hue. Nope! Not only did the wort turn out great, but I chopped 70 minutes out of my day! Give these a whirl. I think you will be pleased with the results and you didn't have to pay thousands of dollars to find out like I did." My comments, and feel free to correct me are: Oxygenation of starters: I do it, and my beers are fine. Ten seconds, that's it. I would rather a little too little than not any, and IMHO, a starter is very fragile thing. Dang if I am going to ruin a brew before I even dough in! While the writer may be correct in his assessment of oxiygenation of a starter, I also think that minimization of risk of infection is a good thing in a starter. Yes, I know I could use HEPA filters and an aquarium pump, but I trust my "O2 wand" to give a short blast and get my yeasties on their merry way. YMMV. Aeration of wort: Air is 21% oxygen, roughly (very slightly less). A good oxygenation level is 20% -- if you believe conventional wisdom (Fix?) Therefore, it is virtually impossible to over-aerate a wort. In fact, you will not get 100% uptake. But you will be in the ballpark of 15+% O2 if you aerate properly. Here, I disagree entirely with the author. Again, YMMV. Single Infusion Fast conversion, yes...in a commercial or laboratory setting. Doubtful in a homebrew setting where things are normally far from optimum. I have heard thirty minutes, minimum, however. I run 40 and start checking for conversion. It is my belief that thirty minutes in an inefficient mash tun like a non-circulated mash tun in a homebrew setting (think: cooler) will yield very low efficiency in such a short time frame. To quote John Palmer, whom has given me and many many others the ability to brew a solid AG brew through the lessons in his fine textbook: QUOTE from How to Brew: "Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified. Less modified malts are often available from German maltsters. Brewers have reported fuller, maltier flavors from malts that are less modified and make use of this rest." END QUOTE. In other words, the guy is correct in one sense, and in another entirely incorrect. Do they use German malts in Weihenstephan? Probably. I'll read your comments when I return from the Carribean, it's almost time for me to go and suffer with cold Caribs on an island beach. :-) In the meantime, Cheers, Charles Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 17:48:58 -0500 From: "Walsh, Susan" <susan-walsh at uiowa.edu> Subject: loss of judge, mentor and good friend On Tuesday August 17, Michael Hansen, lost his battle with cystic fibrosis. Michael was a National ranked BJCP judge. Michael was past-president of THIRSTY (Iowa City, IA) homebrew club. He is survived by his wife Joelen and son Matthew. Services are Saturday (August 21) from 1- 3pm. A celebration of Michael's life will be from 3- 5pm. Please toast Michael and his family. Susan Walsh President of THIRSTY Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 19:41:29 -0400 From: Tidmarsh Major <tidmarsh at bellsouth.net> Subject: Listen to your yeast Heard the end of an interesting report from NPR on the way home this evening. Scientists at UCLA are listening to the sounds made by yeast. http://www.npr.org/features/feature.php?wfId=3859762 Tidmarsh Major Tuscaloosa, Ala. Return to table of contents
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