HOMEBREW Digest #90 Thu 02 March 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Clever Hack to Mash Grain (Dr. T. Andrews)
  bbeginners book ( CHAVEZ)
  Re: brewing kettles (Dwight Melcher)
  Mead and pH: recipes (Michael Bergman)
  Yeast Engergizers and Nutrients (Mike Fertsch)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 28 Feb 89 22:21:14 EST From: Dr. T. Andrews <tanner at ki4pv> Subject: Clever Hack to Mash Grain This evening, in order to add a little extra gravity to a canned mix, I mashed a couple of pounds of grain. The standard procedure to start: make hot water, mix with grain; stir; check temp. Now, it takes a certain amount of time for the starch conversion to take place, and I was more interested in eating supper than in stirring and fretting over a pot of grain on the stove. Solution: stick the mess in the oven, which was still warm from supper. Set the oven for about 150\(de. Eat supper. I got a good conversion, according to the iodine test, and in good time. Allow a little extra time to clean dishes. Dr. T. Andrews, Systems CompuData, Inc. DeLand Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 89 12:22:31 EST From: gcs08724 at zach.fit.edu ( CHAVEZ) Subject: bbeginners book Mr Rob Gardner I was wondering if you have any suggestions for a good book on home made beers. This is the first I will be attempting this task, so it would be nice if there is a good easy to follow instruction on this. Thank you, Reuben Chavez Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 89 08:56:43 MST From: hplabs!utah-cs!boulder!akelei!crispy!dwight (Dwight Melcher) Subject: Re: brewing kettles The 33 qt. ceramic on steel pots are also sold as "canners". That is, big pots that you can use for canning fruits and vegetables. In Boulder, even the expensive places sell them for around $25. I'm sure they can be had for less if you can find them at a big "everyday low price" store. I've been using one for awhile now and haven't had any problems. It's really great not to have to mess with two 5gal pots when doing a full wort boil! Dwight Melcher boulder!akelei!dwight Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 89 10:46:21 est From: Michael Bergman <bergman%odin.m2c.org at RELAY.CS.NET> Subject: Mead and pH: recipes OK. My book is called "Making Mead" and is by Bryan Acton and Peter Duncan. They have this to say: "Honey and water alone represent a very poorly balanced "must", which is why meads made from these two ingredients alone ferment very slowly and mature rather poorly; such mead requires perhaps 8 years before it is drinkable. There is no need to mature mead for so long if the must is first adjusted to conform to the basic rules of modern mead making." They then go on to say that the necessary elements are: good yeast acid tannin good quality honey yeast nutrients water Apparently magnesium salts are one of the trace elements necessary--they say that there can be problems using distilled water due to their lack. They say (assume from now until I say different that all "facts" are attributed to this book) that insufficient acid can cause the yeast to produce "peculiarly flavored substances" that spoil the mead, and make it taste "like cough-mixture". "Meads should contain no more than 2.5-3.5 parts per thousand acid (sulphuric acid standard). Pure meads must therefore need only 1/2 to 3/4 oz acid per gallon." They go on to say that melomels (fruit juice/honey water mix) and other honey drinks in which honey is not the only sweetener should be treated like regular wines as regards acidity. Citric acid is the traditional acid used and "many like the flavor it imparts", however, they recomend 1/3 tartaric acid to 2/3 malic acid for "superior meads". Nutrients: (per gallon) Ammonium Phosphate 1 tsp Vitamin B1 2.5 mg or Marmite .25 tsp Epsom Salts (Magnesium sulphate--mentioned earlier) .25 tsp potassium phosphate .25 tsp (2 grams) "Meads that lack astringency lack character." 1/15th or 1/20th of an ounce grape tannin per gallon. They also give "beginners additives" as follows: per gallon juice of two lemons 1/4 tsp Marmite pinch of Epsom Salts 1 tsp Ammonium Phosphate 1 Tablespoon very strong tea "Advanced mead maker's additives" 4 gms Ammonium Phosphate 2 gms Potassium Phosphate 1 gm Magnesium Sulphate 1/2 5-milligram vitamin B1 tablet 2 gms Tannic acid 6.5 gms Tartaric acid 10.5 gms Malic acid 3.5 gms citric acid They suggest multiplying these quantities by 20, mixing with two pints water, then using 2 ounces of the mix with each gallon of must, and keeping the mix in the fridge. They recomend sedimentary white wine yeasts for the average brewer, although "Tokay yeast" is good but requires fermentation at 95 degrees farenheit. They particulary recomend Sauternes and Steinberg for beginners. It should be noted that the object of the authors is to produce a dry white wine sort of mead--they do admit the existence of sweet meads but produce them by using the same recipe and racking it earlier to slow the fermentation. Since the yeast is bottom dwelling, racking has a rather significant effect. Most of the mead-makers I know are not always so patient as to age their meads for the minimum two years Acton and Duncan recomend, and divide meads up into two categories: "quick", or "light" or "small" meads, and "great" mead. I believe that there is some historical justification to this, but don't have documentation at hand. I'll ask around. The quick meads can be drunk after as little as a few days, and are probably more like a ginger ale or root beer than a true wine, although they can be considerably stronger. Usually the quick mead recipes call for less honey, as the yeast will not be given time to ferment it all. I seem to have wandered away from the original question of how much acid to add to the must to keep the yeasties happy, as well as gone on at length. I will add one more recipe; jackie brown didn't say what kind of fruit s/he had ready, so I will pick one at random. Peach Melomel: 6 lbs peaches 1/30th ounce tannin 3/4 pt elderflowers nutrients (as above) 2 1/2 lb acacia honey Graves yeast water to make one gallon 1/4 ounce tartaric acid 1/4 ounce malic acid Press the peaches (after removing pits). Dissolve the honey is 4 pints warm water, blend in the peach juice along with acid, tannin, and nutrients. Add 100 ppm sulphite (2 Camden tablets). After 24 hours, add the yeast starter, allow to ferment for 7 days before adding the elderflowers. Ferment on the flowers for 3 days then strain them off and top off to one gallon with cold water. Ferment untilthe specific gravity drops to 10, then rack. Rack again when the gravity drops to 5, and add 1 tablet. Then proceed with the "basic procedure" Basic procedure (for any mead)(according to Acton and Duncan) rack again as soon as a heavy deposit forms or after 3 months, whichever is sooner, and add another campden tablet. rack again every 3-4 months, adding a tablet after every second racking. Mature. Drink. Note that they say that melomels can be drunk sooner than meads, after only a couple of months, and reach full maturity at about 2 years. They advocate campden tablets rather than boiling to sterilize the honey because they feel that after boiling for a long time most of the essences of the honey that make it honey are gone. Disclaimer: I have not used these recipes myself. Furthermore, neither has my employer. The book is published by "Amateur Winemaker", South St., Andover, Hants, England. I got my copy at a local winemaking shop. --mike bergman at m2c.org Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 89 14:40 EST From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!meccad.RAY.COM!FERTSCH> Subject: Yeast Engergizers and Nutrients I've seen recipes for mead (and sometimes beer, too) which call for YEAST ENERGIZER or YEAST NUTRIENT. I assume that these are the same, but just what do they do? I think I read somewhere that these powders contain lots of amino acids, and that amino acids act like little yeast vitamins. Is this all they are, or do they also adjust the pH of the must/wort? Are they really needed in beer, mead or wine? I don't use yeast nutrient/energizer in my beers. My reasoning is that wort usually has lots of proteins and amino acids from the malt. When I mash, I do a 'protein rest' (30 minutes at 122 degrees F) to help break down large proteins into smaller amino acids. I've been lead to believe that the increased amino acids help the fermentation and the reduced proteins reduces the haze in the finished beer. Am I right, or should I use this 'magic powder' in beer? Will increased nutrients decrease the initial lag time of the ferment? I've also seen ACID BLEND. What is this, and how does it affect the beer or mead? mike fertsch Return to table of contents
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