HOMEBREW Digest #1041 Fri 25 December 1992
FORUM ON BEER, HOMEBREWING, AND RELATED ISSUES
Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator
Re: Cold Basement Brewing of Ales (Will Leavitt)
food grade buckets (Carl West)
Re: yeast culturing (Jeff Benjamin)
Restricted Brewing/Koch/Pub-crawling/Berghoff/commercial beers/Richard (korz)
Sam Adams Already Boycotted (Brian J Walter (Brewing Chemist))
I Smell a Rat (Jack Schmidling)
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 09:44:25 EST
From: leavitt at mordor.hw.stratus.com (Will Leavitt)
Subject: Re: Cold Basement Brewing of Ales
rxh6 at po.CWRU.Edu (Randall Holt) writes:
> This is the first winter I've brewed in, and I'm a little disappointed
> to find that my basement hovers at a steady 52-55 degrees F. Sunday
> night I started a brown ale that didn't seem to want to kick off, and
> my best guess was that the temperature was too low...conceived of
> using a fish-aquarium heater to keep the temp up and steady at 62-65F.
I've got that exact situation, and came up with the same solution! I
bought a fully submersible aquarium heater-- it looks like a big test
tube with a stopper in one end. I drilled a 1" diameter hole in the
side of my plastic primary (above the waterline), and feed the heater
and it's cord through the hole. I threaded the cord through a rubber
stopper and sealed it with aquarium grade silicone glue, so the whole
thing is air tight.
Now, when I make ales in the winter, I dial the temp to exactly 65F
and brew away. I think a big advantage is the constant temperature--
My 5 gallon batches don't have the thermal inertia of brewery's 5,000
tank, and this keeps the temp dead-on. Within 3 days I'm to within a
point or two of the final gravity, and rack to an unheated secondary
I store the primary full of sterilizing solution with the heater
floating around in it, so its always sterile when I'm ready to use it.
Just a warning: unplug the heater before racking. It will overheat
and shatter it if is not submerged. Don't ask me how I know...
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 11:11:13 EST
From: eisen at kopf.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Carl West)
Subject: food grade buckets
> That said, anybody know a source for 3-4 gallon food-grade buckets?
Check out back of chinese restaurants, or any place that does alot of
frying. Some places get their frying oil in plastic buckets. That's
where I got mine. They're closer to 5 gallon though.
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 10:04:25 MST
From: Jeff Benjamin <benji at hpfcbug.fc.hp.com>
Subject: Re: yeast culturing
fingerle at NADC.NADC.NAVY.MIL (J. Fingerle) writes:
> In any event, I have been receiving responses on yeast culturing
> from a variety of people (THANKS!) but no one ever mentioned
> culturing from the 'sludge' at the bottom of the primary or
> secondary. If you can use the dregs of 2 or 3 bottles to culture,
> it seems to me that it would be much easier
> to simply save the sludge from a primary and use it several ounces at
> a time to start a culture.
> No one has mentioned this, so I'm wondering...is this valid?
Of course it is! I use this method all the time. Right after racking,
just pour the sludge into several small sterilized bottles, put an
airlock on them, and stick them in the fridge. They ought to keep for
several weeks. I find that using the muck from the secondary to be
a little better because you don't have all the trub in the sediment;
it's mostly flocculated yeast.
In fact, this method is one of the few ways for homebrewers to achieve
truly optimal pitching rates (besides being very economical). I posted
an article about this in digest #1036 ("All grain tips, yeast pitching
amount") a few days ago, but I'll recap the important part:
"Most references recommend a minimum pitching rate of 10 million yeast
cells per milli-liter of wort, plus another 1 million cells/ml for every
0.004 gravity increase above 1.040. ...The 10...15 million cells/ml
rate is easily achieved by adding 5 ml of thick yeast slurry per liter
In English(US)/homebrewer units, this desired pitching rate works out to
about 2/3 fl. oz. per gallon, or 3-1/3 fl. oz. per 5 gallons.
Getting this much slurry from a starter culture is difficult, but in the
bottom of every secondary you have enough to start a lot of beers.
You'll also find that pitching this much yeast drastically reduces your
lag times. Just use your nose to determine whether the yeast is good,
and if it smells at all off, pitch it in the garbage, not your beer.
Jeff Benjamin benji at hpfcla.fc.hp.com
Hewlett Packard Co. Fort Collins, Colorado
"Midnight shakes the memory as a madman shakes a dead geranium."
- T.S. Eliot
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 12:45 CST
From: korz at iepubj.att.com
Subject: Restricted Brewing/Koch/Pub-crawling/Berghoff/commercial beers/Richard
Ahmed B. M. Shuraim asked about making beer from non-alcoholic beer.
My dad had to work in the UAE for a few months and new of a few people
at "the compound" who would make their own beer. I believe this was
illegal, but I think the authorities allowed malt extract to be mailed
into the country, I'm not sure. I agree with Ed that alcoholizing
"near beer" as we call it here will work, but won't taste very good and
I too disapprove of breaking the law.
>>Obviously one of Koch's drones is reading the net for him:
> Obviously, so here's a message: if you really want to improve the
>wealth and stature of your company, then stop your litigious ways, and
>start spending your money on improving the quality and variety of your
>product, instead of wasting it on idiotic lawsuits.
It will take some time for him to get the message. I heard Koch on
a radio program here in Chicago and he was on his way to climb some
mountain in South America. He plans to leave a bottle of SA on top
of the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere (if I remember correctly).
However, I agree with Chuck, Jim and the person who Jim is quoting. I,
personally, am glad to see a beer with some flavor making headway in
the US mass market, but I am 100% against Mr. Koch's lawsuits, deceptive
advertising and misuse of the appellation "Lambic." I will boycott
I support the continued use of the HBD for finding out about good beer
places in "city X" if the response is via direct email. I have gone
through the trouble of discovering the good and the bad places here in
the Chicago Metro area and would gladly share this info with anyone
who asks. I agree that a two line request is a small price to pay in
the HBD for the vast amount of data that can be shared off-line.
>I agree with Richard Chillers that there is too much noise on the HBD
>concerning questions like "Where do I go in city X for a good beer?".
>He suggested that everyone consult the local phone book. While this is
>a good last resort, there are some other, far superior, choices.
>First, there are a couple of books:
> 1. A book by Pat Baker called something like "A Guide to Pubs".
> (Cost: about $4.00) It is an older book that came out before
> much of the recent revival in brewpubs.
> 2. Books by Steve Johnson called "On Tap" (~$15) and "The On Tap
> Companion" (~$10), published by the World Beer Review people.
> These are great books, with a separate page for each brewpub
> listing info about what kind of place it is (e.g. kind of
> food, kind of music, atmosphere, list of beers served). The
> Companion book was put out a year or so after the first book,
> because there were so many new brewpubs. Maybe they'll put out
> another one soon.
These books are almost out-of-date as they roll off the presses. It's not
that they are bad, but they are often very incomplete. Also, there are
a many great beer-drinking places, some that carry 10, 20... even 500 great
beers and these would not be in the book unless they brew their own.
>Then, there is a pretty extensive list that is available by anon ftp
>from sierra.stanford.edu (the archive for the HBD). Once connected, the
>file is in "/pub/homebrew/publist.Z". The list was put together by John
>R. Mellby (jmellby at iluvatar.dseg.ti.com) and is quite complete. It
>contains listings by *country*, state, and city. The U.S. has the most
>listings, but there are a surprising number of entries from around the
>rest of the world. I usually just print out the pages corresponding to
>the part of the world my upcoming trip will take me to.
Indeed. A much better suggestion, I feel, as long as it's kept up-to-date.
> While I am at it, we had dinner at the Berghoff in Chicago last week and
> tasted their Weisbier and Porter.
> Never having tasted Weisbier before, I can only say it was interesting but I
> have no idea why it is so popular with homebrewers. There was nothing at all
> memorable about it.
> The Porter tasted a bit heavy and strong for a Porter, but what do I know?
> Again, nothing memorable other than being able to get something besides Bud
> at a restaraunt.
I agree, but the Berghoff is a poor example of the pub-brewer's art. Their
beers are under-flavored and are brewed with the Budweiser drinker too much
in mind. Of course it's a matter of taste, but I feel their Porter is too
light-bodied even for a Porter (more like an American Dark Lager) and although
I have not tried their Weiss for almost a year, I must agree that it was
lacking in character -- not a good example.
Jack-- you should gauge your feelings about styles more by Goose Island's
brews -- they are much better examples of the style.
> >P.S. Where I live, there is no real beer.
> Can't tell where you live, but that is a common problem that has driven most
> of us to make our own. Although good beer is becoming more available, once
> you get hooked on hombrewing, you won't care anymore.
I was driven to homebrew because I could not find Bitter in the U.S.
Subsequently, homebrewing has gotten me to try many more styles than I had
been used to. I welcome the increased number of better beers available
commercially and drink perhaps one good commercial beer (e.g. Anchor Porter,
SN Celebrator, Orval, St. Sixtus, Westmalle...) for every homebrew I drink.
Besides giving me ideas for new homebrew recipes, they are a reality-check.
>"Why not attempt to use some advice from fellow HBDers to allow a higher
> percentage of great-pubs-visited rather than wasting time through trial-and-
>Because trial-and-error is how the people whom you are asking got _their_
So why re-invent the wheel?
>It might be all the geniuses getting ready to go visit their friends and,
>eager to impress them with a superficial knowledge of their locale, demand
>this information from a world-wide audience.
I doubt it. Most are probably people on business trips who have a few
hours to kill in a strange town. Richard-- your request to ban "Pubs in
town X" questions has generated more wasted bandwidth (this post included)
than six months of "Pubs in town X" questions.
>"I'll be heading to Austin, TX in the near future and I'd really appreciate
> any input on the best places (brew-pubs or good taverns) to visit."
>When I get questions like this I pull out the phone book and look up the
>addresses and phone numbers. Why can't you ?
The Chicago yellow pages has four pages of taverns listed, about 7 per
column-inch. Four pages with 171 total column-inches, means 1197 taverns.
Having not been to most, I have no idea which are good and which are bad.
This does not include the suburbs, nor is there a listing for Goose Island,
IMHO, the best brewpub in Chicago or the suburbs. As I mentioned above,
I feel that asking for this kind of info is valid, and as Jack said, should
be answered off-line.
I'm afraid I lost name of the person asking the question. Carbonation in
the fermenter is usually a sign of too much back-pressure in the airlock.
If you use a blowoff tube, don't put too much water in the catch-vessel
and don't overfill your bubbler airlocks. I agree with Walt that the level
of carbonation is probably not a big problem unless your airlock system has
clogged partway through fermentation and dissolved 2 or 3 or 10(!!!)
volumes of CO2 into your beer. If it has, just unclog and let the beer
de-gas before priming and bottling.
P.S. You won't hear from me for a few weeks -- I'm not boycotting the HBD,
I'm just on honeymoon Part 2. See ya!
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1992 14:19:41 -0700
From: walter at lamar.ColoState.EDU (Brian J Walter (Brewing Chemist))
Subject: Sam Adams Already Boycotted
I too support the boycott of Sam Adams, and also support Chuck.
It is truly sad to see a micro taking such a stance. In a business
so volatile as the micro/brewpub one we all need to stand together,
homebrewers included. It seems the BBC thinks elsewise, and is
seeming like the BudMillCoors people, trying to run smaller breweries
out of business, instead of welcoming the diversity.
I have been boycotting Sam Adams for some six months now anyways, due
to their advertising. They seem to put everybody down in promoting
the "Best Beer In America", and I think that is the wrong way to go.
Tell me how good your brew is Jim, don't tell me how bad everyone
else's is. And by the way, how is their beer the best in America?
According to the GABF results, their stock ale is the best altbier, and
their dunkelweiss is second best, but what of the Boston lager they
so proudly tout? Are you listening BBC kronies?
Down with BudMillCoorAdams.
Good Day, and thanks for listening.
Brian J Walter |Science, like nature, must also be tamed| Relax,
Chemistry Graduate Student|with a view towards its preservation. |Don't Worry
Colorado State University |Given the same state of integrity, it | Have A
walter at lamar.colostate.edu|will surely serve us well. -N. Peart | Homebrew!
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Date: Thu, 24 Dec 92 22:10 CST
From: arf at ddsw1.mcs.com (Jack Schmidling)
Subject: I Smell a Rat
I already expressed my views on this subject but can't help but wonder how
this real time exchange came about in today's Digest....
>Date: Wed, 23 Dec 92 12:15:52 EST
>From: todd at thoreau.nsc.com (Todd Vafiades)
>Subject: useful info
>I feel sorry for Mr. Childers in that he finds it necessary to attempt
>to "lower the noise level" by.....
And then in the same issue...
>Date: Wed, 23 Dec 92 15:10:32 PST
>From: Richard Childers <rchilder at us.oracle.com>
>Subject: Pub Crawls and phonebooks
>"I feel sorry for Mr. Childers ..."
>Call me Richard, if it doesn't blunt the edge of your Bic-sized
>flame." ... in that he finds it necessary to attempt to "lower the noise
What does Mr ...er Richard know that we (I) do not?
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End of HOMEBREW Digest #1041, 12/25/92