HOMEBREW Digest #1015 Wed 18 November 1992

Digest #1014 Digest #1016

		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Aging Beer Temperature (Gerald_Wirtz)
  info on beer in the news (John Adams)
  How long does steam beer take? (Rob Bradley)
  aging beer (Geoffrey Sherwood)
  What's brewing in West VA.? (Guy D. McConnell)
  beer vs ale/stout recipes. (taylor)
  RE:lagers without lagering? (Greg Winters)
  Re: Beer aging multiple choice (C) (Nick Zentena)
  Re: aging beer (korz)
  AcoustiMash Debut (Chuck Cox)
  Re: Aging Beer (Peter Maxwell)
  info on beer in the news (Carl West)
  re freshness of beer (Chip Hitchcock)
  Grainmill (connell)
  quality and freshness ("Doug Olson, ISVG West, Mtn View")
  mashing specialty grains from Micah Millspaw ("Bob Jones")
  Candi sugar availability (Phillip Seitz)
  Boiling Tun from Keg? ("John Cotterill")
  weirdness in Leistad's book (Frank Tutzauer)
  Culturing those yeasty boys (Frank Tutzauer)
  Anchor's Sumerian Beer Project, Essay II ("Stephen E. Hansen")
  Re: Aging Beer ("Donald G. Scheidt")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 7:28 EST From: Gerald_Wirtz at vos.stratus.com Subject: Aging Beer Temperature I have a question as to what temperature you should age beer (Ales) in bottles. I'm storing the beer in my basement with temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees. Is this OK? or should I keep them warmer? What effects do lower temperatures have on aging? Same questions for fermentation stages. If I let the temperature drop below 60 at night is this a bad thing? So far all seems to be going well but with Winter approaching I was just wondering. Thanks - Gerald Wirtz - Stratus Computer Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 08:28:16 -0700 From: John Adams <j_adams at hpfcjca.sde.hp.com> Subject: info on beer in the news You may be thinking of The Anchor Brewing company. They have brewed two batchs of Sumerian beer which was taken from a 4000 year old transcription. Neither batch was made available commercially although I was able to try their second batch. John Adams Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 10:31:19 -0500 From: bradley at adx.adelphi.edu (Rob Bradley) Subject: How long does steam beer take? I'm planning to brew a steam beer soon, using Wyeast California, brewing in the low 60s and having an SG in the high 1040s. I'd appreciate any estimates on how long I can expect it to take to ferment to completion. Thanks Rob (bradley at adx.adelphi.edu) Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 07:58:47 -0800 From: sherwood at mv.us.adobe.com (Geoffrey Sherwood) Subject: aging beer Jack says (about the study which claimed draft beer doesn't improve with age) that either: > 1. His "research" is seriously flawed. > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. I can see a third possibility -- we are comparing apples to oranges. Most commercial beer is filtered to remove the yeast. Perhaps the residual yeast is what contributes to the maturing process. As every homebrewer knows, beer develops tremendously in the bottle from the end of the first week (its probably not carbonated prior to that, so its not in the running) to its fourth or fifth week. The taste difference is so dramatic it could not be missed. Therefore I bet it wasn't checked. Draft home-brewed beer also improves with age, though much more slowly than bottled beer (never have figured out precisely why, though I understand the same thing happens with wine -- splits mature years earlier than full bottles from the same barrel -- and we are dealing with a much larger ratio here). And even a fourth possibility -- and this one is pure speculation -- heartier, more strongly flavored beers benefit most from aging, though eventually they do go downhill. A major part of this seems to be the degradation of hop flavor (I had a two-year old bottle of 'bitter' I made that was anything but -- and it was *very* bitter when I made it). Perhaps the beer he checked is so lacking in character that there is nothing for aging to bring out. Just some random thoughts, Geoff Sherwood Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 10:07:06 CST From: guy at mspe5.b11.ingr.com (Guy D. McConnell) Subject: What's brewing in West VA.? I asked this on the Brewe... er, that "other" homebrewing forum, and got exactly no response. My brother's job is relocating him from Tallahassee FL. to the Charleston West Virginia area at the end of this month. What is the beer/brewing climate there? Any micros, brewpubs, or places with decent selections of good beer? I gotta know this so that I can properly prioritize a visit after he moves. Thanks for any info, posted or emailed! - -- Guy McConnell guy at mspe5.b11.ingr.com or ...uunet!ingr!b11!mspe5!guy "And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one for dessert" Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 11:10:00 EST From: taylor at e5sb.osdhw.syr.ge.com (taylor) Subject: beer vs ale/stout recipes. Hi everybody.... Can anybody help us out, We've been having an argument about the difference between beer and ale.. how its made, taste etc.. Is there anyone out there that can show some light on this question. We are not expert brewers so if this is a stupid question I'm sorry about that, but how are you going to find out right.... We have some that can't tell the difference between the two in taste or anything else...please help... Second, I'd like to make a extract sweet stout for X-MAS. Does anybody have any good recipes, I would appreciate it..... Thanks for your ears and eyes to read this. Todd...... Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 08:47:37 PST From: Greg.Winters at EBay.Sun.COM (Greg Winters) Subject: RE:lagers without lagering? In response to the question about making a bock/lagering in a cold cellar, I offer the following humble opinions - 1. If you are in the 45 - 50F range that should be fine for producing a bock using a true lager yeast (might I suggest Wyeast Bavarian -;). I don't think I would try with the 1056 ale yeast, at least not for a true bock, although it may make an interesting beer. You also probably don't want the temp to fluctuate more than a few degress daily. 2. Attached is an excerpt from a wyeast summary for the Bavarian strain - 2206. Bavarian Yeast Strain used by many German breweries. Rich flavor, full bodied, malty and clean. Medium flocculation, apparent attenuation 73-77%. Optimum fermentation temperature: 48 deg. F (9 deg. C). As you can see the recommended fermentation temp is 48F, which should be just right for you. I have a fridge and just made one at this temp and so far the results are wonderful (still bottle conditioning). Personally I don't think you need to go down to the 32-25F range to produce a good lager. I have produced several and never went down quite this far. The bottle conditioning also takes much longer. Mine take 5-6 weeks at about 42F. 3. Regarding diacytle production - there has been some discussion regarding this recently. I believe the end result was to raise the temp towards the end of the secondary to about 60F for a day or so then take back down. I'm sure someone will correct me if this is in error. I have tried this twice, but am unsure of the difference it made. So, give it a try! Greg Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1992 10:30:18 -0500 From: Nick Zentena <zen%hophead at canrem.com> Subject: Re: Beer aging multiple choice (C) On the topic of beer improving with age. I'd go with "C" Where C is: The beer going into the keg is already aged[Either lagered or what ever]. Since many bottle before aging the beer can improve with age upto a point. This is of course a rather obvious point. I assume what the quoted source was trying to say is that finished beer is at it's best when it's finished aging. He was also talking about HIS beer. I doubt his research is relevant to high gravity ales that are intended to be put up for several years after bottling. Of course beer is at it's best coming out of a hand pumped wooden cask. But thats my research-) Nick ***************************************************************************** I drink Beer I don't collect cute bottles! zen%hophead at canrem.com ***************************************************************************** Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 12:03 CST From: korz at iepubj.att.com Subject: Re: aging beer Jack writes: > The following is excerpted from THE NEW BREWER, May/Jun 1992. The article is > by Fred Scheer, Frankenmuth Brewery. > > .................. > > "In my research of draft beer, I found that one of the biggest problems is > the age of the beer. As with bottled beer, draft beer does not improve with > age!" > > "Draft beer is at the peak of freshness and taste the day it is put into the > keg. Ideally, a brewer would be able to fill his kegs in the morning and get > them back empty at night. But because this is not the case, the beer loses > quality each day after it is kegged." > ................... > > This view seems at odds with the conventional wisdom of hombrewers and I see > two possiblities: > > 1. His "research" is seriously flawed. > > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. > > js Perhaps all that is "wrong" is that Mr. Scheer is talking about a very narrow part of the continuum that is beer. Filtered beer is DEAD. It will not change much with time other than to become more and more oxidized (the extent of which is dependent on how well it was handled during production). Some styles of beer indeed are meant to be consumed almost immediately -- Bitter is a classic example -- however, it should be consumed only after it has conditioned not (as Mr. Scheer contends) the day it is kegged. In England, a pub is only as good as its Cellarmaster, who skillfully alternates between soft and hard splines (porous and non-porous "plugs" that either let CO2 escape or not) until the beer is properly conditioned. Once conditioned, yes, they would prefer to have it consumed all in one day. Other beers are meant to be aged. For example, lagers need to be, well... lagered! Perhaps George Fix could comment on the exact chemical reactions that take place during lagering, but its net effect is to make the beer more stable so it could be stored and consumed during the summer when brewing before refridgeration made summer brewing impossible. Another beer that improves with age is the strong ale. Lambiks are often aged three or more years before serving -- the 200 or so chemical reactions that take place in a modern lager or ale are NOTHING compared to the number of reactions taking place in a gueuze or kriek! Our beer is undoubtedly ALIVE. It will change in character as time marches on in different ways, some positive, some negative. Jack-- your second point is in part true -- tannins, to various extents, are extracted during sparging and steeping (in the case of specialty grains used in extract/specialty beers). They impart an astringent flavor to the beer which does indeed mellow over time. Tannins and their mellowing are why red wine improves with age. One negative aspect is the oxidation I mentioned earlier (in Chimay Grand Reserve it is welcomed actually, but that's another story). Bottom line -- I feel that Mr. Scheer is being a bit narrow-minded concerning beers and although the Frankenmuth beers are better than virtually all of the industrial beers I've tasted, Frankenmuth Brewery tends to be a bit narrow-minded when it comes to brewing also (e.g. their Bock is nothing more than an American Dark Lager). Al. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 12:18:02 EST From: chuck at synchro.com (Chuck Cox) Subject: AcoustiMash Debut You may recall my descriptions of the AcoustiMash. It is an industrial coffee-maker that I bought from Bose for $1, then converted to a semi-automatic half-barrel mash tun. I had an opportunity to brew the first batch about a month ago. I brewed a stout because the roasted flavor can conceal a number of sins. I brewed only 10 gallons just to be cautious. Basically, the system worked as expected, with no nasty surprises. I can't tell much about the efficiency, because I used way too much mash water, and had to reduce the sparge (misread my own calibration marks, and overrode the automatic timer). Instead of 10 gallons of 1050 wort, I ended up with about 12 gallons of 1040. The system should easily handle half-barrel batches. It was no problem to operate the system solo, but a brewing partner/assistant would make things go smoother and faster. The grain mill handled 19 lbs of grain in less than 5 minutes. The output was indistinguishable from hand-ground Corona crush. The automatic mash-in and sparge timers worked great, and the flow rate out of the showerhead was just right. The coffee spigots are very controllable, it was easy to maintain the sparge flow. Stirring a large batch could get troublesome, I need a stronger spoon or some automatic stirrers. The custom-made false bottoms worked great. Because of the shape of the urn bottoms, only 1/2 inch of offset is required. Some solids did clog one of the valves, but it cleared by jogging the handle. The burner brought the wort to a boil in about 15 minutes, and the welded-on support arms were very stable. I miss being able to watch the fermentation, but I'll get over it. Here's a quick overview of the new system: Grain mill: motorized Corona with large hoppers Hot water/mash/lauter tun: double urn 16 gal automatic coffee maker with 12 gal water jacket pair of stainless steel mesh false-bottoms Brew kettle: keg with a large hole cut in top, and matching stainless steel lid 35000 btu Cajun Cooker propane burner with extension arms Fermenters: kegs with cores removed Coming improvements: transfer/recirculation pump rolling platforms for fermenters more precise thermostat - -- Chuck Cox <chuck at synchro.com> Don't blame me, I voted Libertarian. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1992 11:05:42 -0800 (PST) From: Peter Maxwell <peterm at hpdtlpm.ctgsc.hp.com> Subject: Re: Aging Beer Jack Schmidling writes ... > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. Well, 2 brews back my freshly bottled version was overpoweringly caramel in taste, due, I'm told, to the particular malt extract I used. Now, almost 3 weeks later it's amazingly more mellow. If the original was a "defect", so be it, but as far as I'm concerned the beer has improved with age. Peter Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 11:02:39 EST From: eisen at kopf.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Carl West) Subject: info on beer in the news The beer was `Ninkasi', the brewery was `Anchor', the year was 1990. The beer's all gone. There are articles in: _Archaeology_ July/August 1991 _The Philadelphia Inquirer_ March 1, 1990 _Discover_ January 1991 Carl WISL,BM. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 11:33:56 EST From: cjh at diaspar.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Chip Hitchcock) Subject: re freshness of beer wrt the quote from Fred Scheer about beer being best the day it's kegged, js responds > This view seems at odds with the conventional wisdom of hombrewers and I see > two possiblities: > > 1. His "research" is seriously flawed. > > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. There are several other possibilities: * Scheer is exaggerating the smallness of the window of prime taste. * Homebrewers bottle their beer well before the peak time described by Scheer, and can taste the improvements as it reaches that peak. * Homebrewers store their beer more carefully than most warehouses/dealers/ shippers/retailers, allowing it to keep for a longer period of time. * Scheer's work applies to weak commercial beers and not to the heartier styles favored by many homebrewers (consider the difference between a light white that is drinkable a few months after bottling and dead in two years, and a noble red that takes up to a decade to begin to mature and may be good for fifty years). Note that another advocate of up-to-the-minute freshness is Jim Koch (who has been lambasted here as a marketer who happens to contract beermaking, rather than a brewer as he describes himself); he's gone so far as to claim that at a brewers' conference in Seattle everybody \chose/ to drink Olympia (which I think falls somewhere between Coors and Bud) because it was so fresh. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1992 14:04:29 EST From: connell at vax.cord.edu Subject: Grainmill Does anyone have any experience using a KitchenAid mixer with a grain mill attachment to crush malt? I'm not sure it would be appropriate since the manufacturer's literature says that one should only grain 10 cups of grain into flour at a time. Perhaps the load on the machine for a coarse grind is so much lighter that the much larger volumes needed for all-grain brewing would be possible. Is its coarsest setting coarse enough for brewing purposes? Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 12:05:07 PST From: "Doug Olson, ISVG West, Mtn View" <olson at sx4gto.ENET.dec.com> Subject: quality and freshness > > This view seems at odds with the conventional wisdom of hombrewers and I see > two possiblities: > > 1. His "research" is seriously flawed. > > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. Perhaps, instead, the various components of beer are not universally affected by aging. Some flavor components will improve (nuances due to spices in a holiday beer, for example) while others will decay. A beer will thus appear to improve over time only if it has substantial components of the former nature. That said, I prefer my beers fresher than not. DougO Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 12:40:00 PST From: "Bob Jones" <bjones at novax.llnl.gov> Subject: mashing specialty grains from Micah Millspaw > re: mashing specialty grains > notice some do NOT mash these, but steep separately in the water being > heated for mash-out temperature elevation. Are there negative implications > to mashing chocolate/roasted, etc. I believe that there are some possible unfavourable side effects to mashing chocolate malt and darker caramel malts. When mashing the specialty grains along with the normal part (pale grains) I've noticed a tendency for the finished beer to have metallic notes. When the chocolate malt is added only in the mash out, the metallic notes are not present. Nor does my water contain significant traces of iron. It is however possible that the extraction of metallic flavours from the darker malts is related to my high calcium hardness water. But what ever the cause, the mash out only use of the darker specialty malts is a cure. I've had no problem with roasted barley in the mash itself, but have on occasion put it in the mash out in order to get a more subtle effect from the roast. micah 11/16/92 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 21:15 GMT From: Phillip Seitz <0004531571 at mcimail.com> Subject: Candi sugar availability I recently brought back 14 lbs. of light and dark candy sugar from Belgium, and took a box of the dark stuff into my local specialty store to see if more was available. Both the proprietor and I have noticed a distinct resemblance to rock candy, and reference to Rajotte's _Belgian Ale_ appears to indicate that they are made by an identical process. This entails dangling cords into a vat of slowly cooling sugar solution, which encourages the sugar to crystalise around the string. As far as we can tell these two products are the same thing, though the Belgian variety comes in substantially larger chunks. Rock candy is available in light and dark, as well as in flavored varieties, and can be purchased by the pound. The only drawback is that since its a confection rather than an industrial brewing ingredient it still has the string. Presumably this would have to be fished out of the brew kettle once the sugar has been dissolved, but might offer the advantage of letting you dangle the sugar in suspension while it melts. (Belgian candi sugar is about the size and consistency of small gravel, and makes a hell of a racket as I stir it around the bottom of my pot.) Of course, leaving the string in would give a new definition to "ropiness". Those interested can inquire at their local specialty stores. If you're without one, you can contact: Al Lann King Street Gourmet Cellar 210 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314 (703) 683-5439 Al says the stuff would cost about $3.00/lb, and that he'd be willing to ship. Standard disclaimers apply--I derive no benefit from any sales he might make, and have no financial or other interest. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 13:46:40 PST From: "John Cotterill" <johnc at hprpcd.rose.hp.com> Subject: Boiling Tun from Keg? Full-Name: "John Cotterill" I would like to make a boiler out of keg used by the major brewries. From the outside, these kegs look like they are aluminum. Are they lined somehow on the inside or are they in fact solid stainless?? Are there any kegs to stay away from?? JC johnc at hprpcd.rose.hp.com Return to table of contents
Date: 17 Nov 1992 23:16:24 -0500 (EST) From: Frank Tutzauer <COMFRANK at ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu> Subject: weirdness in Leistad's book Ok, I'm back. This question pertains to Rog Leistad's YEAST CULTURING FOR THE HOMEBREWER, G.W. Kent, 1983. I drag out the book, look at the table of contents, and notice Chapter Four, Variations. According to the Table of Contents, this chapter contains information on Priming or Kraeusening (pp. 26- 27), Equipment (pp. 27-28), and Other Ways of Maintaining Cultures (pp. 28- 29). I think, cool, maybe he talks about freezing, and flip to page 28. Equipment ends halfway down the page, but the remainder of page 28 is...BLANK. So is page 29. Page 30 begins, Chapter Five, Insuring Success. Where's my info on Other Ways? Those others of you that have his book, take a look and tell me if yours is the same. Are you also missing the subsection, or did I get a defectoid?.... later, - --frank Return to table of contents
Date: 17 Nov 1992 23:15:39 -0500 (EST) From: Frank Tutzauer <COMFRANK at ubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu> Subject: Culturing those yeasty boys I'm a new yeast culturer, and just brewed my first batch with cultured yeast. I have some specific questions, but I would also like to outline my procedures so that you all can comment on them, good or bad. Here's what I did: First, I've been freezing yeast in glycerin, er, that blue stuff (glycerol? Dammit, Jim, I'm a social scientist, not a chemist). For my first experiment, I chose Wyeast Irish Ale. It has been frozen for 5 months. I thawed to just where I could get my innoculation loop (read very long needle) through the ice, scooped out a glob of yeast, and put it in a just boiled and cooled starter, and affixed an airlock. Question 1: Is this step necessary, or can I go straight from the freezer to the agar plate? Well, I had too much starter--about 150 ml--but it seemed too hard to prepare a smaller amount. (Next time I'll either prepare small amounts and can them or I'll prepare it fresh and dump the excess.) Anyway, it took a long time to get any visible activity--about a week. Finally, I got something that looked like a real starter. I know that part of the problem is the small pitching amount compared to the size of the starter, but, Question 2: How much of the lag time is due to the fact that the yeast was frozen? Well, after the starter got going, it looked, smelled, and tasted just great, so I flamed my loop and streaked my plates (actually, half-cup canning jars). I used the "thirds" method: Dip the needle in the starter, streak a third of the plate, reflame, draw the loop through the streaked portion, streak a second third, and repeat for the final third. I gotta work on my technique; this was harder than it sounded. Also, the agar was softer than I suspected, making dragging the loop tough. Question 3: How solid should it be? I can look up my recipe, but I suspect enough variation that it probably won't be that informative. Just tell me how hard the agar/wort should be. Ok, a few days later, I had yeast growing in my streaks, but I also had a thin film of yeast covering the whole surface of the agar. It was definitely yeast, it looked and smelled yeasty, and there was nothing else growing. Still, there were no isolated globs. There were thicker parts in the streaks, and the thin film. Question 4: Should I change this condition, and if so how? Having learned my lesson about too big a starter, I boiled up some more wort, and poured off about 15 ml into a small (30 ml) jar. I scooped a glob of yeast from the plate and put it in the jar. A day or two later, I dumped this ministarter into a 6 ounce starter, and thereafter treated it like a Wyeast package. I built up to about a pint and a half. The starter seemed to be of exceptional quality and I'm looking forward to the beer it produces. After grabbing the yeast I put the agar plate sealed, upside down, in the refrigerator. Question 5: How long will this last? Is it worth trying to brew from the plate again, or should I go back to the freezer and start over for my next use of this yeast? Thanks for answering these questions for me. Also, if you have any general comments about my procedures, feel free to make them. Thanks. Finally, because of all this yeast-culturing activity, I dragged out my copy of Rog Leistad's yeast culturing book and noticed something very strange, but that's a little off topic, so I'll ask about it in a separate message. - --frank Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 22:05:42 -0800 From: "Stephen E. Hansen" <hansen at Sierra.Stanford.EDU> Subject: Anchor's Sumerian Beer Project, Essay II [The following is a bit long but I think will be interesting to many of you.] My wife used to work for the Stanford library's development office (e.g fund raising). One of her responsibilities was working with a "Friends Of The Libraries" group known as the Library Associates. After she left there she kept up her membership in the Associates. Anyway, last month we got an invitation to one of their fund raising events and one look told me that we would have to make the sacrifice and attend. This group of aging book lovers was going to the Anchor Brewery! The event was to begin with tasting and a tour, a light supper, and then a talk by owner Fritz Maytag about his Sumerian Beer Project. It turns out that Fritz is on the Stanford Library's "Visiting Committee" (whatever that is) and hosted the whole event. The event started at the tasting room with hors d'oeuvre's and any of Anchor's products you cared to try (the Maytag Blue cheese was a nice touch). The tour that followed was essentially the same one I had about a year earlier, but that one wasn't followed by a catered meal. After a light supper we grabbed a beer and settled into the thirsty work of listening to Fritz Maytag tell us about Anchor's Sumerian Beer Project. He had someone walking around with a 35mm camera taking pictures throughout much of the baking and brewing and used them to illustrate the talk. Back in 1987 Fritz Maytag read a couple of articles by the University of Pennsylvania's Professor Solomon Katz about a newly discovered Sumerian tablet containing a hymn praising Ninkasi the goddess of beer and brewing. This 'Hymn to Ninkasi' looked to contain just enough information to determine the brewing processes of the time. Maytag, Katz, and various other scholars spent two years researching Sumerian and other ancient brewing techniques and in 1989 brewed up what Fritz called Ninkasi Essay One. The resulting beer was served at the conference dinner of the 1989 Microbrewers Conference. Well, they've done it again. Ninkasi Essay Two was made earlier this year and unlike Essay One which was made from about one third "bappir" bread and two thirds barley malt, this batch was, if I remember correctly, a 60:40 mash of bappir and emmer wheat malt. Their researches led them to believe that this type of wheat was common to ancient Mesopotamia and was likely to have been used in conjunction with barley. Another change was that this time the bread was baked in a wood fired oven up in Mendicino, CA. This gave the resulting bread a darker caramelization and the beer a malty liquid bread flavor. After the talk was over we headed back the tasting room where we were treated to a taste of Ninkasi Essay Two. It was quite drinkable and the little old ladies in the group loved it. This is an unhopped beer, and while Anchor's heavily hopped Liberty Ale is more to my taste, I was surprised just how tasty it was. If you make it over to the brewery don't expect to find some Ninkasi on tap as I got the impression that is was only brought out for special events. But there were probably a few lucky people who took the tour the following day and got a taste as there was one bottle that didn't get emptied that night. I was fortunate enough to walk away with an empty with the specially designed label. Back in 1989 Chuck Cox got a copy of a six page paper describing the project and posted the following to rec.food.drink. > The first few pages of the paper explain how they researched the > recipe and processes. In particular, they used the 'Hymn to Ninkasi' > (approx 1800 BC) as a basis. > > This hymn praises Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of brewing, > and clearly describes the brewing process. The original (cuniform?) > and translated (english) versions of the poem are provided in the > essay. > > >From 'The Sumerian Beer Project', Anchor Brewing Company, August > 1989... > > ... > > Hops were apparently unknown at this time, and from a brewer's point > of view this is very significant because today's beers benefit > enormously from the flavors and aromas of hops. And even in the most > modern brewery today hops have a beneficial effect on preventing > spoilage of beers. There is inconclusive evidence of alternate > flavorings or spices in Sumerian Beer, so we chose to use none. > > A sweet substance of uncertain nature is mentioned twice in the Hymn. > We used honey and dates, because we believe these were the most > likely. > > To the modern brewer the most interesting aspect of these ancient > beers is that they were made from bread. Actually, as the Hymn makes > clear, the loaves of bread ("bappir") are mixed with malted barley to > form a mash, and thus, just as in some modern breweries, the natural > enzymes in the malt will convert other starch sources to sugar forming > a complex, sweet unfermented wort. Our Sumerian scholars told us that > this "bread" was not only used in brewing, but was stored in > government warehouses on the national highway system. For this and > other reasons we gradually formed the opinion that the bread must have > been very dry if it would keep indefinitely. Baking experiments with > barley, and advice from several sources led us to conclude that this > bread would thus have been "twice baked." > > We used a ratio of about one third "bappir" bread to two thirds malt > in our mash. With hindsight we would dare to use more bread. We > think it would give our beer more flavor. > > Other facts which may interest our fellow microbrewers are as follows: > > -bread (bappir) from barley, roasted barley, malted barley and honey > -Original Gravity: 11.1 Plato > -Final Gravity: 2.6 apparent > -alcohol: 3.5 %/wgt > -mashed with typical "upward infusion" mashing temperatures > -syrup of dates added to final mash > -wort not boiled > -wort cooled quite gradually to simulate lack of modern cooling > -pitched with a standard top fermenting yeast > > Anyone desiring further technical information may write or call us at > the brewery in San Francisco. (415) 863-8350 > > --- End of 'The Sumerian Beer Project' excerpt --- [On another note. They were brewing this year's Christmas Ale when we were there. Tim, the head brewer, said that it will be similar to last years but lighter on the spices. Their plan was to have it hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving, November 27.] Stephen Hansen - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Stephen E. Hansen - hansen at sierra.Stanford.EDU | "The church is near, Electrical Engineering Computer Facility | but the road is icy. Applied Electronics Laboratory, Room 218 | The bar is far away, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-4055 | but I will walk carefully." Phone: +1-415-723-1058 Fax: +1-415-725-7298 | -- Russian Proverb - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 92 10:48:45 PST From: "Donald G. Scheidt" <aw2.fsl.ca.boeing.com!dgs1300 at bcstec.ca.boeing.com> Subject: Re: Aging Beer >From HOMEBREW Digest #1014, Tue 17 November 1992: >Date: Mon, 16 Nov 92 22:47 CST >From: arf at ddsw1.mcs.com (Jack Schmidling) >Subject: Aging Beer > > The following is excerpted from THE NEW BREWER, May/Jun 1992. The article is > by Fred Scheer, Frankenmuth Brewery. > .................. > > "In my research of draft beer, I found that one of the biggest problems is > the age of the beer. As with bottled beer, draft beer does not improve with > age!" > > "Draft beer is at the peak of freshness and taste the day it is put into the > keg. Ideally, a brewer would be able to fill his kegs in the morning and get > them back empty at night. But because this is not the case, the beer loses > quality each day after it is kegged." > ................... > > This view seems at odds with the conventional wisdom of hombrewers and I see > two possiblities: > > 1. His "research" is seriously flawed. > > 2. People who claim that their beer improves with age are > simply confused by the fact that the defects in their > beer sometimes mellow out or become less obvious with time. Fred Scheer's research is not necessarily flawed; nor are the homebrewers necessarily wrong in claiming improvement with age. Filtered, artificially carbonated draft beer is, of course, at peak fresh- ness and taste from the moment it is kegged. There are no longer any yeasts doing their thing in the beer, so it is a "dead" product in that is no longer maturing and aging on live yeast. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as a lot of the most famous beers around are packaged like this, including Pilsner Urquell and Jever Pils; this is the way of modern lager brewing. Most continental lager brewers, even the German and Czech makers of 'Helles' lagers and Pilsners, will say the same thing: the beer is aged and then clarified, and the filtered beer, freshly packaged in the kegs, is at its peak at the moment of packaging, and it's downhill from there. This does not necessarily imply that it's an immediate, steep path downhill, just that the beer is no longer improving, and is slowly deterioration. This is not meant to be a put down the Frankenmuth beers, BTW. I've had the Dark and the Pilsner in bottled form here in Seattle; my first recommendation would be to package the Pilsner in dark brown bottles, instead of the current green package. It would also be nice to get it unpasteurised (which I hope is the case with their draft beers). The Dark was reasonably good, somewhere between a Bavarian 'Dunkles' and a Vienna Amber Lager. In either case, these beers are quite vulnerable to the elements, especially heat and light, and benefit most from attention to packaging and handling. As a personal aside, I recently had the opportunity to compare Pilsner Urquell, purchased in a Prague supermarket and brought home, with an imported Pilsner Urquell bought here in Seattle. There was simply no comparison: the P.U. sold in Prague was packaged in a standard brown half- liter 'Euro-bottle', the kind in which you see many of the German imports packaged, and was not pasteurised. The P.U. sold here was pasteurised and sold in the green glass bottle, and stored in the usual harsh lighting environment of the well-lit grocery store. The Prague bottle was fresh and clean, and clearly near its peak of flavour; the Seattle bottle was skunky, with a cooked-cereal flavour. The recent arrival of unpasteurised kegs of P.U. in our fair city was a pleasant occasion indeed, but the ultimate in flavour of this beer is to be found as close as possible to the brewery. Now, this seems at odds with the 'C.W.' of homebrewers, because a lot of us continue fermentation and conditioning nearly all the way to the day of con- sumption. Even some of us who add carbonation to our kegs still prime the beer; this packaging of beer, that continues to aging on live yeast cells, results in a "living" product, akin to Sierra Nevada's bottle-conditioned ales, the unfiltered German Hefeweizens, and the Belgian Trappist and abbey ales. The British are perhaps more keenly aware of this, and not just in home-brewing circles; the largest brewers in the UK tried foisting the infamous "keg" ales on the public. These "keg" ales were top-fermented like the famous cask-conditioned beers, but after a short period of aging, they were filtered and sold in pressurised kegs. The resulting bland, gassy, "dead" product resulted in the formation of CAMRA, and the rest has been history for over twenty years now. The British brewers' reasoning was the same in this case: it was easier to market a product already at the 'peak' of its freshness, than to train pub workers in the ancient art of main- taining and serving "live" cask-conditioned ales at their peak of aging and flavour. Homebrewing revives this art of packaging and drinking "live" beer. There was also a recent discussion here in the HBD about Worthington's White Shield, a bottle-conditioned ale. There is also a good example of bottle-conditioned lager available in the USA as an import, that being Christoffel beer from the Netherlands. The French and the Belgians also have several specialty beers, bottle-conditioned, that are called "bieres de garde", or laying-down beers, meant to be kept for several months - even as much as a couple of years - before drinking. Thus, as per the second statement, those people who claim their beer improves with age could have a valid point. "Live" unfiltered beer *does* improve with age. Flavours mellow and meld, and these beers reach a peak of flavour weeks and months after packaging, whether in the cask or the bottle. Similarly, Fred Scheer's research holds true for "dead" filtered beers, which are at their peak upon packaging, and are best consumed as soon as possible. - -- Don | If we do not succeed, then we run the dgs1300 at aw2.fsl.ca.boeing.com | risk of failure. | - not-yet-former Vice President Dan Quayle Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #1015, 11/18/92