HOMEBREW Digest #5364 Tue 08 July 2008

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  Deoxygenating water ("A.J deLange")
  conicals (Starkbier)
  Beer and Sweat 2008 (David Harsh)
  New to Homebrewing (Scott Birdwell)
  Souring a Witbier ("Dave Larsen")
  souring witbier ("Spencer W. Thomas")
  Software and Equipment ("Josh Knarr")
  Cooling Wort In Hot Weather (drsmith)
  Input for Newbie Questions (drsmith)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 09:02:30 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Deoxygenating water Water can be deoxygenated by heating. Note that it is not necessary to boil it. Getting it close to boiling will do if you allow enough time for the oxygen to escape (you will see little bubbles form well before boiling comences) but sparging with steam is effective in sweeping out the O2 and, as you have gone as far as bringing it to the boil and have to wait for it to cool down anyway the energy savings from not boiling for a few minutes seem minimal. Metabite is S2O5-- so the reaction with dissolved oxygen is S2O5-- + 1.5 O2 ---> 2 SO4-- thus 1 mole of metabite clears 1 and a half moles of oxygen. Tap water at room temperature contains about 8 mg/L dissolved oxygen which is 1/4 of a millimole and would thus require 1/6 mmol of metabite. Five gallons of water (about 19 liters) would thus require a little over 3 mmol of metabite. As the sodium salt has a molecular weight of 190.1 thats about 600 mg. For the potassium salt with molecular weight 222.32 about 700 mg would be needed. Campden tablets may be either sodium or potassium and come in different sizes. The last ones I checked were potassium metabite and weighed 695 mg (some of which may have been binder). Thus one Campden tablet per 5 gallons should be enough to deoxygenate 5 gallons of water. So much for the theory. I took about 5 gal of water right out of the tap. At 21.5C and 1005 mb its DO content was 8.5 mg/L. I crushed (the things are hard to dissolve) in a small amount of water and added 1 Campden tablet. These weigh 620 mg and I don't know if they are the Na or K salt. After 30 minutes the DO was 4.6 mg/L and the rate of decrease was slowing. So I added a second. Half an hour after addition of the second one the DO read 0.3 mg/L and I terminated because I have to get to work. Conclusion: to be on the safe side use 2 Campden tablets per 5 gal and wait a good half hour to hour for the reaction to take place. Crush the tablets in a small amount of water before adding and stir thoroughly though dont raise a froth. Note from the reaction above that if all the metabite is oxidized you will have nothing extra in your water except a little sodium and sulfate. Neither of these should be a problem for you or your beer. The water should smell and taste normal. The sharp smell of sulfur dioxide means too much metabite has been used. The only problem I have with this method is that unless you have a DO meter you are working blind. The sulfite smell is about the only indication you have that you have overshot. There is no way to tell that you have undershot. Given that wine makers typically put 6 (?) Campden tablets in 5 gal means you are doubtless safe WRT to excess sulfite unless you have an allergy to it. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 06:50:49 -0700 (PDT) From: Starkbier <starkbier at yahoo.com> Subject: conicals Ive chimed in on this in the past but will say it again. Conical fermenters are nice in a lot of ways but if you cant CIP em or spund the tank for pressure carbonation I dont see the benefit for homebrewers. Open fermentation is the easy, safe, good way to start. Try your stock pot, just sanitize with some iodophor (wipe down and air dry) and then use the lid to cover. You can peek in easily, skim yeast and even dry hop in one vessal. Rack into kegs or a bottline bucket with a homemade racking cane and then hand clean. Brewing in this fashion made many barrels of wonderful homebrew for me prior to buying a conical. Cheers, Jim Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 10:32:09 -0400 From: David Harsh <dharsh at fuse.net> Subject: Beer and Sweat 2008 Hello all- Just a quick reminder that Beer and Sweat 2008 will be held in Cincinnati on August 16th. Beer and Sweat is an all keg competition (your entry must be on tap) and we had 252 entries last year. Details on entering, registering as a judge, hotel reservations, etc. can be found at www.beerandsweat.org. We're not yet up for registration (we hope to be by this weekend), but be aware the entry deadline is August 2nd at 5 p.m. eastern time. If you were at the NHC 2008, you should be aware that the BBL knows how to throw a party. The other clubs that hosted usually provide a large presence as well. Ja-Eeep! Dave Harsh Bloatarian Brewing League Cincinnati, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 11:04:28 -0500 From: Scott Birdwell <defalcos at sbcglobal.net> Subject: New to Homebrewing David Harsh was answering newbie questions regarding different fermenters: >> Can anyone give me any tips, and address the issues of >> stainless steel v. plastic, along with sanitary v. standard fittings? > > Dude- you haven't brewed yet and you are concerned with getting a > conical or fermenting in stainless? Carboys are fine and until you > know you are going to do this ALOT, I'd stick with the glass > carboys. No issues with oxygen permeation, easy to clean and tons > cheaper than a stainless conical. I'd love to have a big conical > with sanitary fittings, but seems like a lot of cash to spend at the > outset. I agree with your points, David, but you might want to re-evaluate your point concerning GLASS carboys. As you may, may not, be aware, the Mexican manufacturer of 95% of the glass carboys in the US has ceased production. This means that we're left with Italian carboys and prices are up 30 - 50%! This leaves us with the BetterBottle PET carboys. Not a bad alternative, but it's nice to have options. You might want to check around a see if your LHBS has stock leftover at old pricing, but the major distributors have already gone up, even on existing Mexican carboys. Homebrewers: Treat your glass carboys with care, as replacing them is going to be very expensive! > Just remember that none of the cool toys that lots of us have are > required to brew great beer. Many swear by their fancy gadgets, but > the biggest step in quality in most people's beers are from a wort > chiller and swearing off dry yeast. Another good point! Time and time again, I've seen great homebrew (and craft beer) brewed on technologically-challenged equipment and have also had crap brewed on state-of-the-art equipment. The point being, the equipment doesn't brew the beer, the brewer brews the beer. Good equipment simply enables the brewer to brew with more ease and consistency. The rest is up to the brewer. My two cents worth, anyway. Scott Birdwell DeFalco's Home Wine & Beer Supplies Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 09:06:56 -0700 From: "Dave Larsen" <hunahpu at gmail.com> Subject: Souring a Witbier My Belgian witbier is a hit at home. However, it is an unsoured witbier. I've never played with souring before, but thought I'd give it a try. A witbier is soured with lactobacillus. I'm assuming that I'll have to buy seperate hoses and airlocks. I don't want to do it in my conical, because I might contaminate the seals. Will I have to keep a separate carboy, or can the carboy be cleaned of lactobacillus? When do I add lactobacillus? How long does it take to do its thing? Is there anything special I have to do? A witbier is not super sour. How do I control the amount of sourness? Part of me thinks I should just try and add lactic acid and call it a day. How much do I add for five gallons, though? Any thoughts on the subject would be appreciated. Dave Tucson, AZ http://hunahpu.blogspot.com/ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 13:48:00 -0400 From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <spencer at spencerwthomas.com> Subject: souring witbier > Part of me thinks I should just try and add lactic acid and call > it a day. Yup, that's the easy way to do it. Here's how to figure out how much: Make a dilute solution of lactic acid and water. Find the proportion that makes it pleasantly tart. Let's suppose that is 100:1 (1ml of lactic acid in 99ml of water). That's probably the proportion you're going to want to use with your beer. But you need to test it. So, draw off 100ml of your beer. Add 1ml of lactic acid to it and taste. How is it? Too tart? Not enough? Just right? And remember that carbonation will add some acidity, so err on the low side. But, you say, it's tough to measure 1ml! True, but your local pharmacy has help -- look for droppers that are intended for giving medicine to babies. They're usually calibrated down to 1/4 tsp, maybe smaller. 1/4 tsp is 1.25 ml. Alternatively, you can dilute the acid and add the diluted acid to the beer for your taste tests. Anyway, suppose you decide 1ml of acid in 100ml of beer is just right. You've got about 5 gallons of beer, or 19 liters, or 190 x 100ml. So you need 190 ml of acid (which seems like a lot, so 100:1 is probably high!) I did this, a long time ago. I think you want something like 10 or 20ml of concentrated lactic acid in your beer to give a nice tartness. But please don't just take my word for it. =Spencer in Ann Arbor Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 8 Jul 2008 17:14:55 -0400 From: "Josh Knarr" <josh.knarr at gmail.com> Subject: Software and Equipment By topic... RE: Software - I'm a Linux guy, so I use qbrew, and it has Windows ports for XP and Vista. http://www.usermode.org/code.html RE: Conical/Bucket/Carboy - I would suggest going with the glass carboy. Plastic is on the bottom of the list when it comes to brewing. I've made IPAs that have left the plastic stinking forever, which is why I went over to glass. Conicals are usually a ton larger than 5 gallons and also much more expensive. Then you get into the aluminum VS steel debate for pots and everything else. Anyway, I just use the bathtub. The enamel doesn't react with anything. RE: Bottling or Kegging - It depends on what you want to do with your beer. Bottling is nice because if you want to change flavors mid-run, it's entirely possible to make a case of raspberry and a case of blueberry whit simply by cutting the flat beer into two separate buckets. Also a keg is more prone to infection in my opinion because it's harder to clean than bottles and the beer is all collected in one place. On the other hand, bottling is tedious as hell and can be expensive if you want flip top bottles, etc. It also requires the constant investment in caps. It's largely personal preference, but I prefer bottles. Also if you ever want to do a beer trade with anyone, they're not going to want a plastic bag of beer, they're going to want a good old glass bottle. - --Josh - -- EB White - "Be obscure clearly." Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 18:38:07 -0400 From: drsmith <hbd at aperature.org> Subject: Cooling Wort In Hot Weather Dave Larson asked about cooling wort in hot weather. I also use an immersion chiller that I made myself from materials found at Home Depot/Lowes. IIRC, it's made out of 3/8" copper tubing that I bent around a bathroom trash can to make the coils. I then threaded 10ga coppor wire through the coils to hold them together. Overall, my chiller is much larger than the chillers sold in most homebrew supply stores, but back then copper was much cheaper. In addition to the chiller, I use a small sump pump in the bottom of an igloo ice cube cooler. I'll start with about 44lbs of ice and maybe a couple of gallons of water. On it's own, it can cool 6 gallons of 212F wort down to around 80 degrees in 30 minutes. I could achieve a bit more efficiency and a lower final temperature if I started out with tap water and then switched to the ice bath after the temp drops about 50 degrees. The important thing with the immersion chiller is the temperature differential. You don't need ice water when the wort is at boiling temperatures, but you do need it when it starts to get close to the temperature of the tap water. - --Darrin Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 08 Jul 2008 19:18:14 -0400 From: drsmith <hbd at aperature.org> Subject: Input for Newbie Questions Daniel asks about whether or not to splurge on a conical fermenter and kegs. First, welcome to the forum. I've read the HBD on and off over the past 8 years, mostly just lurking. You may not understand everything posted, but there's a lot of great information to be had. I can agree with your situation. I've bought and re-bought various pieces of equipment as I upgraded over the years. In retrospect, I did waste some money doing that, but at the same time, I also wasn't sure if this was a hobby I would stick with over the long term. My initial purchases were designed to save money and test out the waters before I made a high dollar commitment to the hobby. If you were learning to play the piano, would you buy a $1000 Yamaha digital piano or would you buy a $60,000 Steinway instead? Today, I would love to have a conical fermenter since it would save a lot of time and effort, but I don't _need_ one. I would say if you have the money to spend and the space to store it, go for it. As for kegs, I've never had good luck getting corny kegs to seal. Most of the time, they leak slowly around the top lid even though I've replaced all of the seals. Of course, all of my corny kegs were used and abused by the soda industry before I got them, so that may have had something to do with it. I recently went to using commercial sankey kegs and they are much nicer to work with but not very cheap. Finding a source for them is another problem altogether since I know of no one selling them to homebrewers. If you have someone to help you with bottling, it goes pretty quickly. I started out with bottling because it was really, really cheap. I would drink the commercial beer from the bottles, give them a rinse, and set them upside down to dry. For 5 cents each it was an easy, cheap way to get started. Kegs only came into my brewing after I was sure I wanted to continue the hobby. - --Darrin Return to table of contents
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