HOMEBREW Digest #776 Fri 06 December 1991

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  GRAINMILL (Jack Schmidling)
  Priming Experiments (C.R. Saikley)
  RE: Homebrew Digest #774 (December 04, 1991) (Progress Through Tradition  04-Dec-1991 2127)
  notes from a tour of Anchor (Dick Dunn)
  Re: Cranberry Lambic (Mike Sharp)
  Guinness in a can (again) ( Brian Kelley )
  Kitchen Aid grain mill (TSAMSEL)
  re: Coke-a-Brew I&II (chuck)
  Removing plastic keg odour? (Mike Dobres)
  Silver Solder (Bob_Konigsberg)
  Avoiding Boil Overs (C.R. Saikley)
  Re-using Yeast (Dave Sheehy)
  Anchor Brewery tour (Emily Breed)
  More than beer? ("DRCV06::GRAHAM")
  The extra ingredient in a can of Guiness draught. ("CCVAX::HAPANOWICZ")
  Pasteurized Pub Draught Guinness (Jay Hersh)
  sterotyping, soda kegs (krweiss)
  Underletting in sparging... (Kurt Swanson)
  Re: Barley wine yeasts (Evan McGinnis)
  Mead Making goes Hi-Tech (Bob Jones)
  Multi-keg Brewerys (Bob Jones)
  Crushed Grain Stability, pH Meters, and Copper Scrubbers (John Hartman)
  Re: Oxidized beer flavor (Christopher Gene BeHanna)
  Now About That Wheat ... (Martin A. Lodahl)
  Thanks For The Chuckle, CR! (Martin A. Lodahl)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 4 Dec 91 13:42 CST From: arf at ddsw1.mcs.com (Jack Schmidling) Subject: GRAINMILL To: Homebrew Digest Fm: Jack Schmidling SUBJECT: Milling Grain WARNING!!! This could be construed as a COMMERCIAL, close your eyes for ten seconds if it offends you. Do it NOW, or forever hold your fingers. ........................... Anyone who uses whole grains quickly realizes that makeshift grinders and food processors are all but totally unsatisfactory for milling malt. They create vast amounts of flour that make clear beer virtually impossible. They leave large amounts of grain untouched or merely broken. They pulverize the husks, which severely limits the quality of the filter bed when sparging. They are only used because nothing else is available that fits the budget of even the affluent home brewer. I just finished making a real grain MILL. This is not a grinder, blender, slicer or shredder. It is a genuine roller mill. It crushes malt, leaving ALL of the husk in tact and a minimum of flour. Not one grain can get through it without being properly milled. It does exactly what a malt mill is supposed to do. I built it out of surplus parts and a weekend's worth of labor. There are enough parts left at the surplus house to make about 5 more. If anyone is interested, I could build/sell them for about $200. Send me email and I will provide further details to anyone interested. .....COMMERCIAL DISCALIMER..... I included the cost to avoid being inundated with email from bargain hunters. js P.S. I will ignore all flames, private or public. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 91 18:10:04 PST From: grumpy!cr at uunet.UU.NET (C.R. Saikley) Subject: Priming Experiments The recent talk about the merits of priming with DME vs. corn sugar reminds me of an experiment I did some time ago. I split a single 5 gallon batch into 3 smaller batches at bottling time, and primed them as follows : Batch A - 1/4 cup corn sugar (remember it's 1/3 of 5 gals) Batch B - 1/3 cup DME Batch C - 16 fl oz of sterile wort The sterile (all grain) wort was pulled out of the original brew just prior to pitching. I kept it in a sterile jar in the fridge for the 3 weeks between brewing and bottling. About one month after bottling, I conducted a blind tasting with 5 knowledgable homebrewers and simply asked for preferences. The results were unanimous. All 5 liked batch C the best. Much to my surprise, 4 of the 5 liked batch A better than B. Carbonation levels were very close in all three batches, but batch C had a much finer bead, and was described by some as "smoother" than the others. I don't recall why A was preffered over B, and my notes aren't handy. Admittedly, this is all pretty crude and in no way conclusive, but it at least suggests that our homebrews may benefit from priming with wort rather than sugar or DME. Anyone else out there experimented along these lines??? CR Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 91 18:32:51 PST From: Progress Through Tradition 04-Dec-1991 2127 <"super::donham" at wagon.enet.dec.com> Subject: RE: Homebrew Digest #774 (December 04, 1991) Just a note of thanks to those who recently suggested using ammonia to remove labels from bottles. This tip cut my bottling time from two days to three hours! My usual method was to put two cases of labeled bottles (Schaefer bar bottles) into a tub with hot water and lots of bleach, then come back the next day and attack them with a scrubby to get the bloody labels off. This time, I used ammonia. After 45 minutes the labels had all fallen off! Live and burn... Perry Donham Educational Services Return to table of contents
Date: 5 Dec 91 01:16:01 MST (Thu) From: rcd at raven.eklektix.com (Dick Dunn) Subject: notes from a tour of Anchor It's been quite a few years since I last got to tour the Anchor Brewery, but I finally got there again today. I figure a bunch of this stuff is of interest to homebrewers, since Anchor is really the paragon of small breweries in the US...in some sense they're the most significant American brewery if you're considering criteria other than size. I don't want to spend too much bandwidth here, so I'll keep it pretty terse. (Ask if you want more detail.) If you are in the Bay area, go take the Anchor tour. Don't fuss at me; just go do it! Be sure to call ahead; you need reservations. Overall brewery stuff: 3 vessels--mash tun, lauter tun, brew kettle--all beautiful copper. Brewery is a showplace. Brewhouse 110 bbl capacity. (This is a brewer's barrel - 31 gal.) 37 employees. 1990 production 68k bbl; 1991 production est 75k bbl. (not bad growth!) Current beers: 6 were presented for tasting after the tour; notes such as I gathered: Wheat: about 70% wheat malt, rest pale malt, alcohol 3% wt Steam: 3.9?% alc, combination pale and crystal, all Northern Brewer hops. They formerly used mixture of hops (I recall Galena mentioned on earlier tour), now only NB Liberty Ale: all pale malt, only Cascade hops, alc 4.5% Porter: mix of pale, crystal, chocolate malt. Forgot to ask about hops Old Foghorn: barleywine, 7% Christmas: spiced brown ale, fairly strong (but < OF) Brewing process (Steam typical): 3 day primary ferment, 3 weeks in secondary, krauesened, then centrifuged, filtered (diatomaceous earth), flash pasteurized (170F for ~15 sec) and bottled. Liberty Ale is dry hopped. Misc notes: All alc given by weight; multiply by 1.25 for volume figure All barley malt is from 2-row. Oxygen - chemist says they end up with about 250 ppb in bottle. Bottling process is careful to let the beer foam up a bit, thus headspace is CO2. They do reculture their yeast--carefully! (Usual commercial procedure-- wash, adjust pH?) They're watching it for mutation all along. They don't reculture from Old Foghorn because of the strength. I asked about the current "cold filtering" (and not pasteurizing) hype that's currently the rage for television beers. They say it's a process developed by Sapporo, licensed in US. Very expensive, for large breweries only. Also some doubt whether their beers would make it through the filter without removing a lot of interesting stuff, let alone clogging the filter. Old Foghorn may be available in bottle again sometime early next year. The bottling line can now handle it; the problem is switching it between the two bottle sizes. (Background: Since the very first OF, Fritz has insisted that it go in the little "nip" ~ 6 oz bottles because of the strength. This is a massive vexation at all stages of bottling/handling.) The new bottling machines are said to be able to handle the bottles, so let's hope. Meanwhile, it's available on tap here and there...nirvana. I was really struck by how much different Liberty Ale tastes fresh from the tap as compared to bottles. On tap, it seems more like a cross between Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Celebration - the Cascades really come through in a way they never have in the bottle. Anchor is an inspiring place to visit--both from the brewing standpoint and because it's a business run the way a business should be: They all know what they're doing; they believe in it; they don't cut corners; they are out to do the best job they can, and they do. If you want to learn about brewing, this is one of a couple places to start. --- Dick Dunn rcd at raven.eklektix.com -or- raven!rcd Boulder, Colorado ...Simpler is better. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 7:52:49 EST From: Mike Sharp <msharp at cs.ulowell.edu> Subject: Re: Cranberry Lambic Dick Dunn writes: > Mike Sharp <msharp at cs.ulowell.edu> writes, among other things about Samuel > Adams Cranberry Lambic: > > > o wheat malt is not used in a lambic (but I'll concede this point > > since I've been known to use wheat malt too) > > Not true...wheat is likely to be up to perhaps 1/3 of a lambic. My statement has confused more than a few people. Lambics do not contain wheat _MALT_ they do contain UNmalted wheat. In fact, up to 40% of the mash is UNmalted wheat. Of course some of the pencil pushers are moving toward replacing part of this with rice or corn.... > > > o maple syrup is definately not used in a traditional lambic. > > True, but there may be a non-malt sugar added to the lambics with fruit... The only time I've heard of non-malt sugar being added is when making a Faro. I'm sure some producers do it, and it would seem likely that Lindeman's with their soda-pop sweetness _probably_ is one, but it is not _traditionally_ done. Of course many producers are abandoning whole fruit and going to syrups so who is to say whats happening now. (again, thank the bottom line for this) --Mike Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 08:49:26 CST From: andy at wups.wustl.edu (Andy Leith) Hello On the subject of decoction vs infusion mashes, Al Korz asks why would PU use a triple decoction mash? The malt that PU uses is specially made for them and is apparently extremely under modified. Dave Miller tells me that many of the German breweries are now using single step infusions instead of decoction mashes in order to save on energy costs. Fred Eckhart recommends using a protein rest even for pale ales, so last summer I tried two batches of bitter, one with a protein rest and one using my usual method of a single infusion at 153F. I couldn't detect any difference between the two batches. However, I always let the trub settle overnight in my fridge before racking to a second carboy, I then dump the wort through a funnel into another carboy and pitch the yeast starter. This seems to aerate the wort pretty well so that I always get a reasonably short lag time, even though the temperature is low (about 50-45 F) at pitching time. Using this method I always get a bright beer regardless of wether or not I use a protein rest. Andy Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 10:46:06 EST From: bkelley at pms001.pms.ford.com ( Brian Kelley ) Subject: Guinness in a can (again) Boy, did I screw up! Yesterday I posted a "how I think it works" on the new Guinness in a can. Last night I examined the carbonation device more closely and realized my last posting was quite incorrect. Previously, I had cut into the can from the side and did not totally remove the cartridge. Last night I took it apart. It is a sealed plastic container with only one pinhole. I suspect that the pinhole is not completely drilled through at canning time. They may just leave a very thin membrane. I suspect they pre-charge these cartridges with Nitrogen and keep them frozen. At temperatures low enough to keep the nitrogen liquid and not boiling, the membrane wouldn't be under much stress. When the can is at drinking temperature and opened, the membrane would rupture, releasing the Nitrogen... Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 10:57:55 -0500 (EST) From: TSAMSEL at ISDRES.ER.USGS.GOV Subject: Kitchen Aid grain mill I have a Kitchen Aid "heavy duty" mixer with a PTO. (Power Take Off) Thiss allows one to use certain attachments including a grain mill. Does any one out there use one and if so, how does it compare to the Corona? Ted Return to table of contents
Date: Thu Dec 5 10:50:56 1991 From: synchro!chuck at uunet.UU.NET Subject: re: Coke-a-Brew I&II I tasted a 'beer' that tried to use soda pop syrup (lemon-lime I think) as a major fermentable ingredient. The preservatives killed off the yeast, so the result was basically an aged mixture of syrup & wort. The stuff actually managed to taste worse than you would expect. - ----- Chuck Cox SynchroSystems chuck%synchro at uunet.uu.net Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 91 11:41:42 EDT From: Mike Dobres <DOBRES%DUVM at pucc.PRINCETON.EDU> Subject: Removing plastic keg odour? I recently invested in a plastic keg, I think its called a Eurokeg _ Its a six gallon barrel shaped vessel. The problem is that is has a very strong plastic/ chemical odour. How do I get rid of this smell? I tried soaking it overnight wi th a 10% bleach solution, but the smell still persists. The manufacturer recomm ends using SPG chemical cleaner, which my local homebrew store doesn't stock. I s SPG just a cleaner or will it also help remove the smell? Some have recommended sodium bicarbonate - I'll try that tonight, but I somehow don' t think it will work. Any ideas? Also -what is the smell - unpolymerized monomers perhaps? Thanks Mike Dobres Philadelphia, PA Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 09:18 PST From: Bob_Konigsberg at 3mail.3com.com Subject: Silver Solder The concern over antimony in silver solder should be laid to rest. Ingesting small amounts of antimony is harmless. Pewter contains antimony, and acid foods can leach small amounts of it. The real danger lies in inhaling it. Antimony in the lungs is deadly, in the stomach is not. I am talking of course of trace amounts. BTW, Anheuser-Busch does NOT want people taking their kegs, and has in some flagrant cases, taken legal action. BobK Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 09:36:41 PST From: grumpy!cr at uunet.UU.NET (C.R. Saikley) Subject: Avoiding Boil Overs >>From: IO10676 at maine.maine.edu >>When the wort forms a head and starts making a run for the edge >>of the pot, you pour a splash of cold water in it. Puts it >>right in its place, which is back in the pot. >And Martin sez: >>I figured this was worth a question to the digest. I have >>resorted on occasion to the "cold water" method, but dislike it >>since you have to watch out for boil-over again. So I normally >>just use the "blow on" method to reduce the foam. This is tough >>on those who hyperventilate easily, but is great in that you >>don't have to worry about another boil-over happening that batch. To which Kinney adds : >Boil over is caused by the formation of a viscous film of protein on >the surface of the soon-to-boil wort. When the steam escapes upward >at the onset of the boil, it blows a big wort-bubble all over >creation. To prevent boil-over, I skim the creamy head of protein >that forms in the pre-boil stage several times. Haven't had boil-over >in years. Another technique to minimize the chance of boiling over is to add a portion of your bittering hops before the boil commences. A common practice in commercial breweries is to add about 10% of the kettle hops for this purpose. I've tried it at home, and it definitely helps. You can still have a boil over, but it's less likely. If Kinney's hypothesis is true, I'd speculate that the mechanical action of the hops floating around on the surface breaks up the viscous film. CR Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 9:52:46 PST From: Dave Sheehy <dbs at hprnd.rose.hp.com> Subject: Re-using Yeast Paul Yatrou writes: > Now here's my question/suggestion: > - --------------------------------- > What about culturing yeast from your own bottles? > > .... > > This would allow you weeks/months before starting a new batch. > Also you have the benefit of "tasting" the results of the yeast > before you use it. > > Has anyone tried this? Yes, I do this routinely. I buy a package of Wyeast and brew a batch with it. I'm very anal with this batch (ooh, there's that word again. I guess we're just an anal bunch huh? :-). I save a sixer of this batch to use as fuel for yeast starters (I always use about a pint starter). I use the yeast sediment in the bottom of one bottle to make a yeast starter. That gives me seven batches for the price of one Wyeast packet. I just used up the last bottle from a sixer of British Ale yeast. That bottle was over a year old and had been stored at room temperature which can get up near 80F in the summer (I'm in the Central Valley of Calif. which gets mighty toasty in the summer!). Note that all succeeding batches after the first are first repitchings so there are no issues dealing with mutations and such. Oh, and the resulting beer from that last bottle was good too :-). Using this method I can keep several strains of yeast around and at hand to brew with. Dave Sheehy Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 09:52:02 PST From: Emily Breed <EMBREED at SFOVMIC1.VNET.IBM.COM> Subject: Anchor Brewery tour The San Francisco Brewing Company will be hosting (organizing?) a tour of the Anchor Brewery the evening of Tuesday, December 10. Call SF Brewing at (415) 434-3344 for more information. They'll also be having a Christmas ale tasting (well, they call it a "Crhistmas ale tasting") Wednesday, December 18. (Disclaimer: my only affiliation with SF Brewing is that I like to drink their beer. :-) ) Return to table of contents
Date: 5 Dec 91 12:21:00 EDT From: "DRCV06::GRAHAM" <graham%drcv06.decnet at drcvax.af.mil> Subject: More than beer? I have had lots of fun brewing beer since discovering this list. The mead variants are good, too. I found that I don't like hard cider, but I do love wine. I know wine making is usually eschewed on this list, and I won't try to buck that, (though I wish...). I can't find a wine related list on the Internet. Does anyone know of such a list. I can't get to usenet or Compuserve. Dan Graham Return to table of contents
Date: 5 Dec 91 13:42:00 EST From: "CCVAX::HAPANOWICZ" <HAPANOWICZ%CCVAX.decnet at bigvax.alfred.edu> Subject: The extra ingredient in a can of Guiness draught. I have yet to have a can of draught Guinness but I just remembered an article on the mechanism behind the can. After some hunting I tracked it down. I was debating on submitting a copy of this to the list but I decided that no one would turn me in. In any case I'll give a plug for the publication NEW SCIENTIST, its a weekly publication from Britian that covers the latest developments in science, engineering, technology etc. Check out an issue at your local library or buy a copy at a newsstand. Here goes enjoy a Guinness while reading New Scientist :^) The article is titled: "The extra ingredient in a can of draught Guinness" NEW SCIENTIST, 22 July 1989 p. 34 Written by Andy Coghlan "Guiness, the maker of the black, creamy beer for which Ireland is famous, has mangaged the impossible. The company has succeded in canning a form of Guiness that, until recently, was available only on draught in public houses and restaurants. The world's seven million Guinness lovers have a choice betwen two products: draught Guiness, a thick, smooth stout with a creamy-white head and Guinness Extra, which is available in bottles and cans. Guinness Extra has a coarser texture than draught Guinness and a head that is less smooth and creamy. According to Alan Frage, the product development director at Guinness, the majority of people who drink draught Guinness do not drink Guiness Extra. "We knew that draught Guinness in cans would give them the opportunity to enjoy their favourite brand at home as well as in the pub," he said. Forage and his colleagues began working to solve this problem in 1984. After four years of development work costing 5 million pounds, Forage and his team had perfected a tiny diaphragm, made of plastic, that cracked the problem. They tested more than 100 different techniques before settling on the so-called "in-can-system". People who buy draught Guinness in cans, which have been available throughout Britian since March, will find this system if they slice open the empty can. The device, which sits on the base of the tin, helps to mimic the tap in the pub. Draught Guinness owes its creamy texture to a surge of bubbles in the beer as it passes through a series of tiny holes in the special dispensing tap. The tap has a system of tiny holes which creates pressure differentials. These differentials force the gases out of solution and produce a "surge". Unfortunately, the gasses wil remain in solution if people simply pour Guinness from the barrel into a glass. The new system essentially mimics this process from the inside of a can. The device is a plastic chamber with aminute hole at the top, which sits on the base of the cans. For the system to work, the pressure in the can must exceed atmospheric pressure. The canners fill the can with beer that is cold enough, at between 0 C and 1 C, to retain gas that would bubble out of solution at higher temperatures. The canners put 440 milliliters of Guinness in a can that can hold 500 milliliters, in order to leave enough room for the creamy head to form. They alsom "dose" the beer with extra nitrogen, which raises the pressure when the can is opened. Once the lid is on, the pressures in the can and inside the chamber reach an equilibrium that forces beer and gas into the device. When someone opens the can of beer by pulling the ring-pull, it initiates the same process that happens in a tap for Draught Guinness. As the ring-pull comes off, the resulting drop in pressure forces beer and gas out of the chamber through the tiny hole, creating small, stable bubbles. As the bubbles rise up through the liquid, they act as centres where other bubles form. This is what causes the characteristic surge. The nuber of bubbles created and the small diameter of the bubble dictates the density of the head of the drink and its creaminess. The smaller the bubbles, the creamier the texture, says Forage, The only remaining problems for the designers related to the canning process. They had to invent a filling device that expels oxygen from the can, because the gas impairs the flavor of the beer. Now, Guiness has patented the system and owns the registered designs of all the engineering equipement that is unique to the packaging line. The secrect for drinkers, says Forage, is to make sure that the can is cooled in the refrigerator for two hours before serving. Otherwise, the beer bubbles out uncontrollably as too much gas has come out of solution to create excessive pressure. He says that the product is selling much better than expected" ||| Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 91 13:48:09 EST From: Jay Hersh <hersh at expo.lcs.mit.edu> Subject: Pasteurized Pub Draught Guinness Fiction. I have purchased 5 liter kegs of imported German, Austrian and Dutch beers where the kegs were clearly marked "Neither Pasteurized nor Conserved. Store Cold, Drink before ...." This would be completely illegal if such a regulation existed. - JaH - ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Hopfen und Malz, Gott erhalts Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 10:54:04 -0800 From: krweiss at ucdavis.edu Subject: sterotyping, soda kegs Robin Garr writes: >Not to start another flame (we've had enough, on other subjects), but I'd >respectfully point out that to stereotype wine-lovers as "pretentious >snobby weenies" is no more accurate than to stereotype beer-lovers as >"fat, burping slobs." Robin, you're using the term "fat, burping slobs" as if it was a BAD thing! Why gosh, if it fit on a license plate, I'd get BURPING SLOB for my next vehicle... the fat part just doesn't fit my somatype, though. But I'm working on it, I'm working on it. :-) On a more serious topic, I've noticed that Pepsi and Coke are both phasing out the 5 gallon stainless kegs for syrup dispensing in favor of cardboard boxes with plastic bladders. This would seem to indicate a coming glut of used soda kegs. Anyone noticed supplies increasing and prices dropping? If not, we need to re-evaluate the whole concept of supply/demand economics. Me, I'm gonna go hang around the back door to the local Pepsi bottler and see what's in their dumpster... - ------------------------------------------- Ken Weiss krweiss at ucdavis.edu Computing Services 916/752-5554 U.C. Davis 916/752-9154 (fax) Davis, CA 95616 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 13:18:37 CST From: kswanson at casbah.acns.nwu.edu (Kurt Swanson) Subject: Underletting in sparging... I've always wondered why underletting is necessary in sparging... I've always done it, but never knew why... Miller doesn't say why, just that it should be done... Any ideas? - -- Kurt Swanson, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University. kswanson at nwu.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 11:51:21 PST From: Evan McGinnis <bem at NSD.3Com.COM> Subject: Re: Barley wine yeasts > Date: Wed, 4 Dec 91 11:04:19 CST > From: dbeedle at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu (Dave Beedle) > Subject: Yeast for barley wine... > > I'm planning on brewing up another batch of barley wine soon (my second) > and am curious as to what yeast you folks might recommend. I read in Zymurgy > that most comercial examples of BW do not mak use of champagne yeast so...what > ale yeasts are up to the task? I've also found out (after the first batch) > about rousing the yeast during the ferment. Any comments? > In my last batch I used (dry) Whitbread ale yeast, and it seemed up to the task. I don't have my brewing notes here, so I don't know the OG drop, but it took the alchohol level to about 7%. (We were hoping for around 9%) I have also heard of people using an ale yeast for the initial fermention, and then pitching champagne yeast to polish it off. -Evan- Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 12:55 PDT From: Bob Jones <BJONES at NOVA.llnl.gov> Subject: Mead Making goes Hi-Tech !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Following is a (rather lengthy) post Micah gave me to post for him. He regularly reads the HBD that I give him via footnet. I think he feels guilty for being a HBD reader only. This contribution is solely his. I am merely acting as a conduit for his ideas and opinions. Bob Jones !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In an effort to put useful information on this net I am posting this draft of a mead making article that I'm doing. Hopefully it contains some answers to various questions about mead that I've seem posted. WASSAIL Micah Millspaw 12/4 The oldest of beverages ,the newest of techniques. High tech has come to mead making. Because of the commitment of time involved, many people are quite hesitant about getting into mead making. Generally it takes less equipment and the ingredients are cheaper than is needed for brewing. Someone who is extract brewing is already covered (equipment wise) to be a mead maker. To those veteran mead makers out there, you know the time and effort (mostly time) spent on a mead can be exceptionally rewarding. On the other hand something could go wrong and unnoticed for a year or more and that can be very disappointing. The amount of time we put into a mead can make the loss seem much worse than the loss of a batch of beer. It is also possible to radically reduce the length of time it takes to produce a consumable mead/ melomel/ methiglin. Let us consider some ways of reducing or eliminating the chance of disaster striking your mead. These efforts should also shorten the fermentation time. Meads are known to have long, slow fermentation times (1-4 months is common). This long term ferment tends to tie up a carboy that might be used more productively (for beer maybe?). The reason that it takes a long time to ferment out is that honey is woefully lacking in the nutrients that yeast needs to effectively metabolize the mead wort. The cure is to add yeast nutrients. Yeasts like ammonium salts, these are those little white crystals available at most homebrew shops. These will do the job of sustaining the yeast ,but there are some nasty side effects. If too much of the ammonia salt crystals are used their taste and aroma will remain in your mead(yuk). The only way to get rid of the ammonia taste/smell is to age it out, this often takes years. Fortunately there are better yeast nutrients. The best that I have used so far is bacto nitrogen base yeast nutrient from DIFCO. This nutrient is available from pharmaceutical and laboratory supply houses. The difco has no flavor/ aroma side effects but is rather expensive, the plus is a small amount will do lot. Detailed information for amounts to use should be provided when you purchase the nutrient. Recently a yeast nutrient for meads became available from Great Fermentations of Santa Rosa which they claim will ferment out a mead in three weeks at 70 degrees F. I have used this nutrient several times and have found that if the temperature is maintained it is possible to ferment out in three to four weeks. This nutrient is reasonably priced and is easy to get. Having addressed the need for yeast nutrients, it is a good idea to have some yeast to go with them. Liquid culture wine and champ- agne yeasts of high quality are easily obtainable. Many dried yeasts are also of interest to the mead maker. One for the most important features of a yeast to the mead maker is alcohol survivability. Meads in general and especially high gravity meads have alcohol levels far exceeding that of most beers. Prise de mousse (S. bayanus) and Pasteur champagne(S. cerevisae) are excellent for traditional and high original gravity meads. Epernay, a wine yeast is very complimentary to melomels(fruit meads). Most wine yeasts are entirely adequate for mead making. Try a few different ones if your looking for something unique in flavor. It is possible to use ale or lager yeasts (I've tried both) to ferment mead, I've been less satisfied with the results (flavor) when compared to meads made with wine or champagne yeasts. Some mead makers like to use "killer yeasts",these are identi- fied by the letter K preceding a name or number. The killer yeasts work well in conjunction with other saccromyces yeasts. The "killers" function is to eliminate competing wild yeasts. It is not normally necessary to use this type of yeast unless you choose not to boil your mead wort. (the not boiling is part of an ancient process and will not be discussed here) It is important to prepare a yeast starter so as to have enough yeast ferment your mead. As there is a great deal of information available about making yeast starters, I'll not go over it much. The only suggest- ion that I will give is to use confectioners sugar instead of dry malt extract in your starter, this removes the chance of strange flavors in traditional meads. The properly prepared yeast in conjunction with the essential yeast nutrients should result in a vigorous 3-4 week ferment. It is important to allow adequate headspace in the fermenter and the blow off method is recommended. After your mead has reached the desired specific gravity, it should be racked into a soda keg. Kegging the mead gives you control over carbonation levels and oxygen exposure problems. It is also possible to arrest the fermentation at a desired point by kegging and sub-micron filtration. I have had good luck adding fruit concentrates and essences to filtered meads. They are very stable compared to bottle conditioned fruit meads. A clean soda keg should be blanketed with CO2 prior to racking in order limit oxygen exposure. Fermented meads are very susceptible to oxidation. Oxidation will result in some very unsatisfactory flavors in the finished product. Decide if your mead is to be sparkling or still(flat). If the mead is to be still, rack into the keg, put on the lid and seal it with as low a pressure as possible (I recommend filtration). If the mead is to be sparkling I strongly recommend force carbonation. I've found that using " methode champenoise" with mead to be unpredictable and usually unsatisfactory. Rack into the soda keg, seal it then pressure up to 30-40 psi and set it aside for a while. Mead seems to be slow to absorb carbonation (compared to beer) and since mead should improve with reaso- nable aging this will all work out nicely. What to do with a 5 gallon keg of mead? It is possible to put it on draft in your home. The drawback is that the mead when present in large amounts could overwhelm you. The option is to counter-pressure bottle from the keg. Most counter-pressure fillers allow you to purge the bottle with CO2 prior to filling. Removing the normal atmosphere from the bottle is absolutely necessary limit oxygen exposure. The mead that you're putting into the bottle should be a finished and stable product and you don't what the oxygen to ruin your efforts. Before bottling, sample the kegged mead to ascertain its cond- itioning; age, carbonation level, etc...Cool the keg of mead down to 35-40 degrees F. so as to improve it ability to hold CO2 in solution. Clean your bottles and fill them up. Enjoy. Micah Millspaw 11/27/91 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 13:21 PDT From: Bob Jones <BJONES at NOVA.llnl.gov> Subject: Multi-keg Brewerys Reply to Andy Wilcox's request for info on multi-keg brewing systems. I use 3 of the 15 gal AB kegs. Their functions are : hot liquor tank, mash tun and kettle. All three are natural gas fired. I built a stand that supports the hot liquor tank and the kettle. The mash tun sits on a short stand on the floor. A mag drive pump moves the mash liquid from the mash tun to the kettle. I have essentially taken the classic four level brewery and made it two levels by employing a pump. Makes everything easy to look into without a ladder. I use an immersion cooler to cool the wort in the kettle before transfer to the carboys at ground level. The unique thing about my brewery is that the whole system is two kegs wide ( about 3 feet) and five feet tall. The mash tun is placed under the stand for storage when not in use. My wife even made me a cover for the brewery so it can be covered when not in use. I set out to design the most compact, flexible, efficient brewery that I could conceive of when I designed it. It has worked extremely well for about 8 years with few modifications. I did add the gas fired stand for step mashing a few years ago. I had been brewing 5 gal batches on the kitchen stove for about 5 years and was ready to get out of the house and in the garage. I only do step mashes for lagers but I always do a 170 mash out for all brews. I think this improves the mash efficiency and makes the beer more stable when bottled. Good luck on your brewery. Bob Jones Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 11:50:34 PST From: hartman at varian.varian.com (John Hartman) Subject: Crushed Grain Stability, pH Meters, and Copper Scrubbers Greetings All-- - --Stability of Crushed Grain-- I was wondering if some of the more experienced grain brewers can tell me just how long I can expect my crushed grain to keep if it's kept in a cool dry place, like say wrapped in paper and stowed in food grade plastic. How long have you kept crushed grain before using it? - --pH meter sources-- If you interested in pH meters, I have two sources besides Edmund Scientific. The first source is: Omega Engineering Inc. P.O. Box 4047 Stamford, CT 06907 FAX: (203)359-7700 Phone Orders: 800-826-6342 (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) Here's their product: Litmustik High Performance pH Tester, Model PHH-1X Range: 0 to 14 pH Resolution: 0.1 pH Accuracy: +-0.2 pH Battery 4 x 1.4V Battery Life 1000 hrs (it keeps going and going and ... ;-)) Operating Temperature Range: 0 to 50 C Dimensions: 5.91" H x 1.26" Weight 0.13 lbs. Cost: $44. It comes with batteries too. It's basically a pocket-sized meter featuring an "easy to read" LCD display and "single point calibration". I have no affiliation with them nor have I purchased or used one (yet ;-)). I called in and asked for a catalog. I received 50 lbs. of catalogs for all sorts of laboratory instrumentation, which is regrettable. Everything else in the catalogs is expensive with the exception of this meter. They don't look like they are exactly interested in us small fry so if you call to order play it cool. The other source is a familiar one--William's Brewing: William's Brewing P.O. Box 2195 San Leandro, CA 94577 pHONE Orders: 510-895-2379 FAX Orders: 510-895-2745 Brewing Advice: 510-895-2744 Their newest catalog now features a pH meter very similar to the one above. It too is a handheld electronic meter with +-0.2 pH accuracy, comes with batteries and costs $40. No I haven't bought this one either, nor am I affiliated. William's also sells 250 ml of pH 4.01 calibrating solution for $6.90 which can be used to adjust their meter. I suspect you can use it to calibrate the Omega meter as well. - --Copper Scrubbers-- I had trouble the first time I used one as a siphon filter. I placed it in a cheese cloth bag and attached it to the end of my vinyl hose with a sturdy rubber band. After one gallon of wort had passed through, the siphon came to a complete stop. Upon closer inspection the cheese cloth was found to be completely covered with a very fine film of trub. Furthermore the rubberband was constricting the flow as the vinyl had softened up in the hot wort. (I use a counter flow chiller). This effectively prevent any further flow through the siphon. Since then I've abandoned the cheese cloth and gone with just the scrubber loosely bound with a rubberband. It works quite well now with whole hops. I haven't tried it with pellet hops though. I know that I'm letting some of the trub silt through this way but most of it is caught by the hops which act as a filter themselves as the wort drains. Cheers, thank you for not flaming, and have a nice day, John E. Hartman (hartman at varian.varian.com) Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1991 21:46:02 -0500 (EST) From: Christopher Gene BeHanna <cb2s+ at andrew.cmu.edu> Subject: Re: Oxidized beer flavor larryba at cs.washington.edu writes: To get a similar example of light struck, get another bottle and simply set it out in the sunlight for a week or two. Don't use Miller (in clear bottles) - that has been doctored to be resistant to light struck. I reply: Miller, however, tastes like it's been light struck already. Blah. Chris BeHanna cb2s+ at andrew.cmu.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 14:38:43 PST From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!malodah at PacBell.COM> Subject: Now About That Wheat ... In HOMEBREW Digest #775, the famed Dick Dunn said: >Mike Sharp <msharp at cs.ulowell.edu> writes, among other things about Samuel >Adams Cranberry Lambic: > >> o wheat malt is not used in a lambic (but I'll concede this point >> since I've been known to use wheat malt too) > >Not true...wheat is likely to be up to perhaps 1/3 of a lambic. Important point, Dick: UNMALTED wheat is from 20% to 60% of every commercial lambic recipe I've seen. I know of no lambic brewer using wheat malt. That was the distinction Mike was drawing. >> o maple syrup is definately not used in a traditional lambic. > >True, but there may be a non-malt sugar added to the lambics with fruit... Mike's argument turns on the question of traditional usage of the term "lambic" (which has come to be a regional appellation in all but law, implying a very specific set of traditional practices and ingredients). Within the traditional definition of the style, fruits are acceptable adjuncts; maple syrup is not. I have no big hamburger with using maple syrup in beer, but don't call it "lambic". >... Maple is hardly traditional, but it is mostly sugar which > won't contribute anything to the body. But it WILL contribute to the flavor! Sorry to nitpick, but the issue here is a brewery ripping off the name of a "hot" style to sell a beer that has very little in common with beers having a legitimate claim to the title. Mike was pointing out that neither their methods nor results corresponded to the accepted usage of the term, and from what I saw in Belgium and have read in the literature, I have to agree with him! = Martin A. Lodahl Pacific*Bell Systems Analyst = = malodah at pbmoss.Pacbell.COM Sacramento, CA 916.972.4821 = = If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, = = Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) = Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 91 15:45:26 PST From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!malodah at PacBell.COM> Subject: Thanks For The Chuckle, CR! In HOMEBREW Digest #773 (so I'm running a bit behind ...), C.R. Saikley, bless 'im, said, concerning cutting the top off a steel keg: > It was, however, the second noisiest thing I've ever done! I can't help wondering what the FIRST noisiest was ... Then he went on to say: > -ps- While I'm at it, I think I'll test my new .sig. Whataya think?? > >************************************************************************* >* * >* If it's good enough for Martin : * >* Druid fluids that cause fartin, * >* Then I say we should be startin * >* On another batch o' brew! * >* * >************************************************************************* ... and there it was: at LAST, I understand the difference between "fame" and "notoriety" ... ;-) ;-) ;-) = Martin A. Lodahl Pacific*Bell Systems Analyst = = malodah at pbmoss.Pacbell.COM Sacramento, CA 916.972.4821 = = If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, = = Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) = Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #776, 12/06/91 ************************************* -------
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