HOMEBREW Digest #480 Thu 23 August 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Mead info (CRF)
  gingered ale (cckweiss)
  Where do you get gaskets for porcelain caps? (Kenneth Kron)
  gingered ales (mage!lou)
  SBS Auto Mash - a beginner's viewpoint (Russ Pencin)
  Re: oxygen (Crawford.WBST129)
  juniper berries and courage (florianb)
  Sloppiness revisited (florianb)
  On Resealable Bottles (bob)
  Brewpot Blanket (Eric Roe)" <KXR11 at PSUVM.PSU.EDU>

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 08:07 EST From: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Subject: Mead info Hi there! I had received a request for info on mead from Mark Leone, and typed up the following, when I got more requests as well as seeing requests posted here. So, to save myself time and trouble, here's that same information. Anyone having any further questions should feel free to contact me. Below is my "basic" mead recipe and technique. As written below, it makes one gallon. What I do is adapt this recipe to meet my current needs, adjusting ingredients as needed. The overall technique remains the same. I generally age several months, then check it out. Aging times will vary with recipe changes and modifications. If it still tastes "rough" after 4 months or so, then I assume it needs a year to age, minimum. If you brew up the recipe precisely as written below, it will be ready to drink in as little as 3 weeks. If you decide you want a book about mead making, I suggest getting Acton & Duncan's book. Although I don't mess around with all the additive ingredients their recipes call for, the recipes are a good source of ideas, ingredient proportions, and probable aging times. About honey: *ALWAYS* try to find a source of fresh, raw honey! Health food stores are a good bet. Avoid pasteurized- and blended-to-death commercial honeys such as SueBee, which are also likely to contain additives. The flavor characteristics of the honey you use will be reflected in the mead you make. Two very popular mead honeys are clover and gallberry. Surprisingly, orange blossom is not particularly popular as a mead honey. About yeast: always use a chablis, sauterne, or other white wine yeast. Montrechet seems to be the yeast of choice. Although generally considered a brew, modern ale yeasts will over-carbonate a mead, leading to glass grenades. I doubt lager yeasts would work at all. So, stick with wine yeast. About bottles: you can use longnecks just fine. I like to use Grolsch bottles for mead, or the big 2 liter swing-top (like Grolsch bottles) Altenmuenster bottles. Finally: I am of course assuming that all equipment used is cleaned and/or sterilized, as appropriate, and shan't insult you by adding instructions to the recipe to do so. BASIC MEAD RECIPE (makes 1 gal): Fill a 1-gal enamel pot 1/4 full of water. Simmer 2-3 whole cloves (lightly cracked), 2 sticks cinnamon (broken up), and 2 slices fresh peeled ginger root to taste. Add 2-4 teaspoons orange peel (to taste; no white) and simmer further, again to taste. Add more water to bring contents of pot to 3/4 full. Bring to a high simmer. Add honey, *stirring constantly*. Keep at a high simmer, skimming off as much of the white scum that forms as possible. If the scum is yellow, turn the heat down. Once no more scum forms, turn off the heat, cover the pot tightly with lid, and leave for 8-12 hours (or overnight). If desired, strain or spoon out the spices first. Pitch the yeast the next morning, straight into the pot. If you want a starter culture, mix the yeast with honey and water the night before, when you cook up your wort. Replace the lid on the pot (the accumulated moisture will act as a seal) and leave for 12 hours. 12 hours later, rack into a gallon jug. It should be full to the base of the neck, but no more. Take a clean square of paper towel (not the outermost sheet), fold it into quarters, cover the top of the jug with it and secure it with a rubber band. This will be sufficient for the krausen stage of fermentation, although of course a regular water lock may be used. If the paper towel gets fouled by the krausen, replace it. Ferment at least 36 hours. The longer it ferments, the dryer (less sweet) the mead will be. If fermenting long enough for the krausen to subside, change to a regular water lock. Once fermentation has proceeded as long as you intend to permit it, place the jug in the refrigerator to shock the yeast and start it settling. Leave for 8-12 hours. Rack into a fresh jug, and replace in the refrigerator for a further 12 hours. If you want a sparkling mead, seal the jug first to allow carbonation to build. If you want a still mead, leave the fermentation lock on. The yeast may be killed off at this point by the addition of 1/2 cup (sometimes more is needed) *100 proof* vodka, or grain alcohol, if need be. (FURTHER NOTE: when I make mead, I don't like it to be too sweet, so I permit fermentation to proceed for a considerable length of time. However, unless you want a *very* sweet mead (in other words, you're willing to use lots of honey to create a situation which will quickly become unfavorable for the yeast), one usually needs to resort to the vodka/grain alcohol trick to get fermentation to stop. ) Yours in Carbonation, Cher "With one tuckus, you can't dance at two weddings." -- Yiddish proverb ============================================================================= Cheryl Feinstein INTERNET: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Univ. of Fla. BITNET: CRF at UFPINE Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 08:41:51 -0700 From: cckweiss at castor.ucdavis.edu Subject: gingered ale Doug Bonar laments the lack of ginger character in his attempt at a ginger pale ale, and has slow gushers. I'm the guy who started the most recent ginger beer thread, so here's the benefit of my experience. I prepared the ginger by grateing (sp.?) it, peel and all. I used about 2 or 3 oz. of ginger, liberally dosed with human blood. Hence my suggestion that you buy about twice as much ginger as you plan to use, giving you a handle to avoid grating down to the knuckles. I, too, used EDME yeast, and my recipe, other than the ginger, was a pretty basic extract + crystal pale ale formula. As to ginger character, I was pleased. It started out a bit overpowering, but after a month in the bottle it balanced nicely. There was a bit of ginger bite in the flavor, and a really nice ginger aroma to the brew. From your post, Doug, I'd guess that slicing the ginger didn't release enough of the flavor, as opposed to grating it. I strained everything out after the boil, so I don't think that was your problem. As for the gushers, I'd have to add my voice to the recent round of EDME bashing. This batch carbonated one bottle at a time for a period of about six weeks. I'd try three bottles, and all would be flat. Then I'd get a carbonated one. After 8 weeks all bottles were carbonated, and they have gradually been becoming overcarbonated. I've only got about three bottles left in my drinking supply, so it never got to be a problem. I never got gushers, just *lots* of carbonation in the glass. I wonder what's going to happen to the six pack I put aside for archival purposes... Someone recently asked why anyone would bottle in 12 oz. bottles. Well, I don't know what God had in mind when it was determined that the correct size for a beer was 12 oz., but if God did it that way, that's good enough for me. Don't second guess God's decisions. Use 12 oz. bottles or keg, or you risk hellfire and damnation! There, I feel much better. Ken Weiss Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 10:49:42 PDT From: kron at Eng.Sun.COM (Kenneth Kron) Subject: Where do you get gaskets for porcelain caps? The subject says it all. kk Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 12:21:26 MDT From: hplabs!mage!lou Subject: gingered ales In HBD #479 Doug Bonar writes: >... I didn't really know how to use the ginger. Following >someone from this list (who posted a while ago), I bought >a 5oz ginger root and planned to use about 1/2 of it. >... I think I went wrong when I strained it out with the spent >grains (at boiling). In any case, the beer (6 lb light DME >1.5 oz N. Brewers in boil and .5 oz N. B. seeping, 1 lb crystal >malt) had no ginger flavor or aroma. Any suggestions? I've made 5 batches of "Rocky Raccoon's Crystal Honey Lager" (CJoHB, p.180). However, I always add it during the boil (1 hour) and strain it out with the hops. I have to use a high temperature ferment (some friends are moving this weekend and need a place to store their fridge. Being the good soul that I am, I'm letting them store it in my garage.). The beer has a *strong* ginger taste that will diminish with aging (many months). 5 oz. ginger per 5 gal. beer is on the high end but still within reasonable limits. Louis Clark mage!lou at ncar.ucar.edu Return to table of contents
Date: 22 August 1990 12:50:36 pm From: pencin at parcplace.com (Russ Pencin) Subject: SBS Auto Mash - a beginner's viewpoint At the risk of being flamed for this long winded account of my my experiences with the SBS Auto Mash unit first offered at the Homebrew conference in Oakland, here goes nothing... I took delivery of Unit #1 about 4 weeks after the conference, being local, I just went and picked it up ( besides I got some mashing tips from the developer). HISTORY: I have been brewing for 20 months, strictly malt extract brewing, originally from different cans of commercial malt, but for the last 8 months only using Alexander Light extract and adding specialty grains to produce the style I wanted. To date, I have won 3 first place, 4 second place, 6 third place ribbons at various county fairs in the Santa Clara area. INITIAL REACTION: The unit is solidly built, being made up of an Aluminum outer pot and a heavy Stainless steel inner pot. The heating system is water jacketed, and appears to control the temperature to within 1 degree with no scorching due to the stirring unit. The control unit, while austere looking, is quit functional though not water proof or protected, ( the cord is long enough that this is no problem at all ). Having never mashed before, I took the developer's suggestion and brewed the Old 33 in CJOB but added 1 extra pount of pale malt ( 8 lb vs. 7 lb ). The mash went smoothly, by this I mean I didn't have to do anything, but I watched each minute tick off on the little LCD display. The real problems happened when the LCD said "Ready To Sparge", oh sh-- what does that mean? Well, I was sorta prepared for this, but I learned quickly that I wasn't ready enough, whata mess... 3 and 1/2 hours later I had what appeared to be boilable wort, pretty cloudy but usable. To my amazement, and an all grain brewer friend's as well, the SG for 5 gallons of wort was 1.048! I must have done something right. The boil went well, the cooling was another nightmare, prior to this I only boiled 3 gallons of wort and just submersed the Brew pot in the bath tub to cool. Well, that just doesn't work with this giant enamel canning pot I now use.. A quick call to a friend yielded a homemade chiller, and almost 2 hours later, the work was 70 degrees. The beer has now been bottle for about 1 week, and is by far the best tasting homebrew I've ever made! Perfectly clear, very malty, with a superb head. ( starting time: 6 am ending time 6 pm the same day... Do I really want to do this?) CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT Well, at this point I realized that I need some tools! Having just returned from the Conference, I was armed with plans for every imaginable accessory that one could want. First I built a wort chiller, the kind with two verticle stand tubes and 6 3/8th coils of copper tubing connecting them. I designed it sit in the brew pot with the lid still on it, ( actually I modified the first one to this design after using it once ). I the built the sparging system described by the Shop in Houston which uses a Picnic cooler and three 1/2 inch pipes with slits cut in them ever inch or so then manifolded together. I fired off the AutoMash at 6 am again,( only this time I want back to bed ), with the exact same recipe to check for consistancy. I crawled out of bed about 9:30, the AutoMash was happily blinking 'Ready To Sparge', oh sh-- not this again... I transfered the grains to the picnic cooler, ran the initial 2 quarts of wort through the cooler three times and started to get ABSOLUTELY crystal clear wort! I then added the entire 5 gallons of sparge water (170 degrees) to the cooler and patiently watched the wort fill my boiler. Less than a hour later it was done. I took a SG reading of the last wort to exit the cooler, it read 1.010 at 164 degrees. The 6 gallons of wort in my boiler had an amazing 1.051 at 164 degrees! and it was CRYSTAL clear. The boil went smoothly, the chiller was a DREAM. It took 23 minutes and 6 gallons of tap water to cool the wort to 75 degrees, what an unbelievable cold break I got, ( the chilling water was then poured into the washing machine for a load of clothes - great idea, thanks to whoever posted it). There were silver dollar size chuncks of protein diving for the bottom. I racked about 5 gallons of clear wort to a 7 gallon carboy with an SG of 1.056 and added one gallon of cooled water to make the SG 1.040 ( I had done the same on the previous batch, and my main goal was to reproduce the exact same beer). This beer has also been bottled for a week, and is indestiguishable from the first! (Start time: 6 am ending time 2:30 pm - amazing what the right tools can do for you. Also note that I slept through the 3.5 hours of the process!) The third batch went about the same, except I got another hour's bed-time, since I didn't need to watch the sparge, just transfered the grains, set the grain bed and poured the 5 gallons of sparge water in ( elasped time 20 mins), then went back to bed, no I didn't sleep, but that's another story... FINAL OBSERVATIONS Yes the unit is VERY EXPENSIVE, but if you check with your local club members you will find that a large number of them would be more than happy to RENT the unit for 25.00 a day, this is what convinced me to buy mine. The results of the AutoMash are absolutely reproduceable, and require no human intervention once started. When I did the first batch I had real reservations about all of the EXTRA work mashing required, but now that I have the proper tools and the Auto Mash, the elapsed time to brew an all grain is very close to what I was spending doing extracts, and the results from the all grain are truely spectacular! Basically, you couldn't get me to give it up for all the Pilsner in Germany! AND A QUESTION: The unit recommends an ACID REST at 95 degrees for 15 mins, where can I get information on this phase, I notice that many of the recipes in the Winners Circle Book include this step, it seems to work great, in that the PH of the mash as exactly 4.8 after the ACID REST which is the figure quoted in some of the recipes. I just want to know what's going on... Russ The Better Brewing Bureau BBS 1-415-964-4356 (24 hours 3/12/2400baud) Return to table of contents
Date: 22 Aug 90 13:00:22 PDT (Wednesday) From: Crawford.WBST129 at Xerox.COM Subject: Re: oxygen In Homebrew Digest #479 Pete Soper writes: > I once made a stout and due to one thing and another I ended up pouring the > ot wort collected from the lauter tun multiple times from one container to > nother before boiling it. That beer was miserable from the start and got more > iserable as time went on. The same recipe, made with care to avoid splashing > he wort, let alone pouring it, came out very well. How do you avoid pouring or splashing when you recycle the first runnings from the Lauter-tun back through the lauter-tun, and at the same time avoid disturbing the grain bed? It seems like it would be difficult to recycle without running into at least a little oxidation. How do you do it? Greg Return to table of contents
Date: 22 Aug 90 12:48:32 PDT (Wed) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: juniper berries and courage Dave Suurballe challenges me: >Just jump in and do it, Florian. If it's overdone, brew again with less >or no juniper and mix them half and half. If it's underdone, brew again with >much more juniper and mix them. > >And don't be so conservative. I have never tasted juniper berries, and you >have, but still it seems that one tablespoon is a very small amount for >five gallons of beer. Can they really taste so strong? Ginger is a pretty ...I will, by cracky, as soon as the first frost strikes and the berries have swollen to their full juicyness. If you saw how long my hair is, you'd know I'm not conservative...Yes, they do taste strong. Biting into one is like taking a mouthfull of gin and breathing it out the nose. I'll try the recommended 1/4 cup per 5 gal batch. Florian the longhair. Return to table of contents
Date: 22 Aug 90 12:42:30 PDT (Wed) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: Sloppiness revisited In Aug 21's edition, Algis persued my confession of sloppiness: >Are your beers very dry? Maybe your sloppy techniques are causing >wild yeasts and bacteria to use up all your sugars in the fermentation >tanks, leaving none to be used in the bottles. Also, if you drink >your brew fast, infections have no chance to overcarbonate the brew. >Finally, highly attenuative yeasts (yeasts that use up most of the >sugars) will leave less sugar for infections and wild yeast to work >on in the bottle, whereas less attenuative yeasts WILL leave more >sugar and subsequently increase chances of explosions vs. gushers >vs. simply overcarbonated beer. I agree though, that we should be >careful not to temp. shock yeasts so they wouldn't leave LOTS of >sugar behind (which, again, could lead to explosions). My beers all tend to be very wet, right down to the last drop in the glass. But seriously...I like the ales with a bit of sweetness, so I achieve that by either refrigeration of the kegged product or by use of medium attenuative yeasts. I've used just about every yeast you can name. No correlation there. Your point about the age of beers is well taken. Rarely does the bulk of my beer last over one month beyond maturation. I think in my case what saves my brews in spite of my cavalier techniques is that the climate is very dry here--essentially desert. As a naive example, I have one shower with wood T&G in it. In 10 years it hasn't developed mold. I don't know how accurate this hypothesis is, since it's really yeast spores and bacteria that are important. Florian Return to table of contents
Date: Wed Aug 22 18:15:54 1990 From: semantic!bob at uunet.UU.NET Subject: On Resealable Bottles Well, thanks for the feed back, flames and opinions on: Using resealable bottles vs capping bottles. To summarize the replies from the otherside of the debate: - This discussion has been had before and why did I start it again. Such is life with any news group, Sorry. - Not everybody wants to drink 16 or more ounces of beer ar a time. Many replied that they even use 6 ounce bottles. Two basic reasons for this: Beer tasting doesn't imply beer swilling; And beer is intoxicating and numbs the mind. - Larger bottles can be capped. If you don't like filling a whole lot of 12 ounce bottles then use bigger ones. Some even mentioned reusing plastic screw-on-cap soda bottles. - Assembly line production reduces the effort of capping 12 oz bottles. Self explanatory, but doesn't work with one person. - Most homebrewers use what's available. Excellent point. - Rubber seals wear out. This must be true. However; I'm using several year old seals and they work fine. I do plan to replace them soon however. - Replacement seals may be hard to find, or are expensive. This must also be true. Two brew stores near me sell them for about $5.00 for a gross. But they look much better then the ones which come on the bottles. - Not everybody can find a cheap source of resealable bottles. This must also be true. Hence: Most homebrewers use what's available. - Where can I got some resealable bottles. This something which I forgot. Not every state has a bottle bill. Here bottles have a 5 cents return value. Thus I go to my local 'redemption center' usually a beer store and ask if they have any of 'those resealable bottles with the funny tops'. At first they look at you a little but a short while later when hand them a few bucks their attitude changes. Thanks, to everyone! :-) - -- Robert A. Gorman (Bob) bob at rsi.com Watertown MA US -- - -- Relational Semantics, Inc. uunet!semantic!bob +1 617 926 0979 -- Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 90 22:20 EDT From: "(Eric Roe)" <KXR11 at PSUVM.PSU.EDU> Subject: Brewpot Blanket Several people have mentioned that they have trouble getting enough heat to effectively bring their wort to a boil from whatever method they're using. In HBD #477, Mark Montgomery writes: >Question: > Has anyone found a good solution? Maybe a cheaper outdoor cooker >from somewhere (mail order?)? A source for smaller burners in the 15,000 to >20,000 BTUH range? Magic?? If anybody has suggestions I'd dearly like to >hear them and since it seems others have the same problem maybe a post to >the digest wouldn't be out of line. I also considered a high BTU gas/propane burner, but then I came up with a significantly cheaper alternative. It's my $0.50 brewpot blanket. Instead of increasing the amount of heat that you have to add, how about decreasing the amount of heat that is lost when heating. I make the brewpot blanket out of a newspaper, which insulates very well. What I do is to take the newspaper and open the pages up. Then I overlap them so as to make a big sheet that will easily wrap around the brewpot. After making the blanket the correct length, I fold the thing in half lengthwise, which makes the blanket just about the right height for my ~8 gallon brewpot. I adjust the height so it extends from the top of the brewpot to within about 2 inches of the bottom of the pot. I figure this is a good safety margin -- I don't want the paper too close to the electric element (there is a lot of heat coming out from underneath the pot). Finally, I cut two oblong holes to fit the size and location of the handles of my pot. Then I wrap the pot around the blanket, and staple the ends together. The handles hold the blanket in the correct position. It works quite well. I've had six gallons going at a very rapid boil. The insulation of less than 1/4 inch of newspaper is good enough that you can easily put your hands on the pot without scalding yourself. Without the brewpot blanket, I doubt that I could get my kitchen stove hot enough to boil the wort. This is something you may want to try before going out and buying a more expensive solution. Think of it, you're brewing and conserving energy at the same time. Eric Roe <kxr11 at psuvm> Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #480, 08/23/90 ************************************* -------
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