HOMEBREW Digest #5772 Fri 24 December 2010

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  Correction - Toys needed to use distilled method for measuring alcohol content (Fred L Johnson)
  Measuring alcohol ("A. J. deLange")
  Re: Four Roses Eggnog Recipe (David Huber)
  Smoking Grain ("Captain Jim")
  RE: Toys needed to use distilled method for measuring alcohol content ("Will Auld")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 07:48:25 -0500 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: Correction - Toys needed to use distilled method for measuring alcohol content I misspoke earlier regarding the need for a volumetric flask for measuring real extract. If I recall, you don't need to know the volume you start with. It is only important that you reconstitute the beer or wine to the same volume as before the boil. You can use any container with a narrow neck, which is what volumetric flasks have. Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 08:32:48 -0500 From: "A. J. deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Measuring alcohol This did not post yesterday (or today) because, apparently, "capi11ary", spelled correctly is a dirty word in someone's opintion. Many of the points have been covered but as I took the trouble to write it I guess it's worth the trouble to try to post it again. And, of course, beating the nanny software represents a small triumph if I can do it. Assuming that Sake is of about the same strength as wine I would look to the vintners for guidance. One scheme you may wish to investigate is the use of the "vinometer". This is a funnel with a capi11ary tube and it relies on the relationship between the surface tension of liquid and its alcohol content. One pours a little wine into the funnel and after it has run through inverts the funnel and reads the length of the column in the capi11ary which is marked in ABV. For the distillation method one needs a volumetric flask, a means of attemperating it, a distilling flask, Kjeldahl adapter, 700 mm Alihn or Leibig condenser and an adapter which adapts the output of the condenser to the volumetric flask. One adds about half as much DI water to the sample as the sample size e.g. for 100 mL sample, add 50 mL DI water. This is part of the "quantitative transfer" in which the sample is filled into a volumetric flask and attemperated to the temperature at which the flask is calibrated. The volumetric flask is emptied into the distillation flask and then rinsed with half the DI water which is swirled about and then added to the distillation flask and the process repeated with the second half of the DI water. Thus the goal is to get all the sample into the distillation flask and, thus, all the alcohol. The volumetric flask is then thoroughly rinsed with DI water and used as the receiver. Distillation proceeds until the volumetric flask's contents are a few ml shy of the mark, the flask is returned to the attemperating bath (it should have been surrounded by ice during distillation) and when attemperated, made up to the mark with DI water. After mixing (stopper and invert) you have a water solution which is of the same ABV as the sample (assuming you recovered all the alcohol during the distillation). The next step is to measure the density (or specific gravity) of the water solution and here's where it gets dicey. The method I have described is that promulgated by the ASBC for beer. TTB's approved (AOAC) method for spirits is very similar for things like liquers (where the alcohol needs to be separate) and, presumably the same general technique is suitable for Sake and wine. Anyway, you have basically three choices for determining the density of the water/alcohol solution. In order of cost of equipment: hydrometer, pycnometer, electronic densitometer. In order of ease of use: hydrometer, electronic densitometer (it has to be calibrated and cleaned), pycnometer. In order of accuracy: densitometer, pycnometer, hydrometer. Thus the easiest and cheapest gives the poorest accuracy. That should be the 4th law of thermodynamics. Assuming the hydrometer is the only practical method the problem is, as you have alluded, getting sufficient volume to float the hydrometer (which is a special hydrometer called a Tralle hydrometer intended for this purpose). It is very likely, depending on the length of the instrument (and the longer it is the more accurately it can be read), that more than 100 mL of distillate will be needed. That's easy enough to arrange simply by using a larger distillation flask and mantle and a larger sample. A 250 mL distillation flask is usually used for 100 mL of sample (and 100 mL of distillate) so we might assume that a 500 mL flask would be suitable for 200 mL sample and 200 mL of distillate. While it might be tempting to think about distilling about 100 mL into a 250 mL volumetric flask and making up to the mark thus diluting by a factor of 2.5 I wouldn't recommend that because the markings on a Tralle hydrometer are much closer together and thus hard to read accurately at low ABV. That's why hydrometers are not used when alcohol content of beer is measured. Another method which works with dry wines is ebuliometry in which the boiling point of the wine is compared to that of pure water in a special apparatus which employs a reflux condenser and narrow range thermometer (or, in the fancier units, two boiling chambers and condensers and a differential thermometer). The boiling point depression of the wine relative to the water is dialed into a little circular slide rule or entered into a table and ABV is calculated from that. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 14:07:34 -0500 From: David Huber <n3uks.dave at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Four Roses Eggnog Recipe I also enjoy making eggnog every year. Not only is it easy to make, it costs a lot less and, in my opinion tastes much better than the various brands of store-bought. The recipe I use is very similar to Jeff's and is a variation of George Washington's eggnog recipe. One of the issues I've had over the last ten years is that more and more people are reluctant to drink homemade eggnog because of a fear of the raw eggs. If anyone runs into these concerns, I have three different ways to handle this. One way is to purchase pasteurized eggs; I have found they are at least twice the price of regular eggs, and I usually don't see them (or actually, I simply forget to look) in the market, so this isn't my first choice. Another way to deal with this is to convince those who are reluctant that the alcohol takes care of any nasties. Obviously, this is only true if you put alcohol in it, and I have made batches without alcohol by request. Since I don't have my recipe handy, a back of the envelope calculation based on Jeff's recipe (assuming one large egg has a volume of 3.25 Tbs, and the alcohol is 80-proof) puts it at about 11.5% alcohol by volume. The third way I deal with this, and this is what I usually do, is to prepare the eggnog like I was making a custard. I whisk the egg yolks and sugar, heat my milk or cream separately to around 170F, then I temper the eggs, add it back to the pot, and heat the whole thing to 160F while constantly stirring. I then chill before adding the booze and folding in the whipped egg whites. The recipes usually tell you this, and I have found it to be true, that it is important to make this like 5 days ahead of when you want to drink it. I have found it helps the texture and taste, and I presume it gives the alcohol more time to kill off anything nasty if you didn't cook your yolks. Dave Huber Jessup, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:00:05 -0500 From: "Captain Jim" <jim at captainjimsauces.com> Subject: Smoking Grain Thanks for the tips. I'm going to be smoking about 100 pounds of grain for a local brewery. They're not going to want the color of the grain changed just some added smoke. My plan is to cold smoke by placing the grain on wooden frames with screen material on the bottoms. I'll run a dryer hose from one of my smokers into another. The heat should mostly dissipate before reaching the secondary smoker box. I thought I might wet the grain some to help the smoke stick. I'm not certain how long I should let the smoke flow. Looks like some have had good luck with a 2 hour smoke session. Does that seem about right? Thanks Jim BBQ Locally / Hot Sauce Globally www.captainjimsauces.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 19:38:22 -0800 From: "Will Auld" <will at auld.com> Subject: RE: Toys needed to use distilled method for measuring alcohol content I asked about the boiling method for determining alcohol %ABV. Thank you for all the replies. I use some Vodka with a 1:2 ratio with water to test the method. Initially I was using a formula from: http://www.monashscientific.com.au/BoilingMethod.htm with the formula from this site (Est %ABV = (SG2-SG1)/2.11 *1000) I just could not make it work. Then I looked at: http://valleyvintner.com/Tips&Links/MeasuringAlcohol.pdf as Bill & Sara suggested. This site has a table rather than a formula. Using the measurements I had and the table gave a result that came in at 1/2 of a percent from what I believe I had. Very nice, but watch out for that first site. Thanks again Return to table of contents
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