HOMEBREW Digest #1047 Mon 04 January 1993

Digest #1046 Digest #1048

		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  UV/fermenter (Jack Thompson)
  Alchohol and health (Phillip Seitz)
  Calculate First, TV and TJHB! (TiM)
  Some Questions about Lambic (George J Fix)
  Enzyme for brewing "dry" beers (Tom Kaltenbach)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1993 04:17:40 -0800 (PST) From: Jack Thompson <jct at reed.edu> Subject: UV/fermenter I am not competent to answer Tom Kaltenbach's question about the effect of UV on fermenting beer, but I can suggest a couple of things about light and UV in general (there's a reason that most beers are bottled in brown (or green for a few brews) bottles. Increased shelf life (Miller's and Henry Weinhard's must sell very fast!). Incandescent bulbs put out upwards of 75 microwatts/lumen of UV. That is not very much energy, but UV is a mutagen, and plastic, unless it has a UV absorber incorporated with it, does not slow UV down to any appreciable extent. A couple of things which you might do are to put black paper around the fermenter and paint the inside of the refrigerator with a titanium white paint. Titanium absorbs UV better than any other white pigment. Looking forward to reading any other postings to your question. Jack Thompson Thompson Conservation Laboratory Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 93 16:27 GMT From: Phillip Seitz <0004531571 at mcimail.com> Subject: Alchohol and health Now that the holidays are safely over, HBD readers may be interested in a recent review article on alchohol consumption and health published in the November 1992 issue of NUTRITION ACTION HEALTH LETTER (Vo. 19 #9). This is a publication of Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit organization that focuses on nutritional issues. Their article is footnoted for those who wish to peruse the original publications in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICIEN, LANCET, JAMA, etc. First the good news: moderate consumption of alchohol lowers your risk of heart disease. For instance, a study of 44,000 men by the Harvard School of Public health found that those reporting consumption of one half to two drinks a day had a 26% lower risk of developing heart disease. These findings have been reinforced in studies by the American Cancer Society and other organizations. (A "drink" is defined as 1/2 ounce of pure alchohol, or in homebrew terms about one can of Budmilloors). The director of the French National Institue of Health and Medical Research is quoted as saying that "there is no other drug that is so efficient [at preventing heart attacks] as the moderate intake of alchohol." Why is this? It appears that alchohol has a significant ability to raise HDL cholesterol levels (this is the "good" cholesterol); drinkers have been found to have 10-15% more HDL than non-drinkers. "As alchohol intake goes up, HDL goes up," according to the director of the Framingham Heart Study (although it should be noted that after 2-4 drinks a day there is no increased benefit in further consumption). However, the article also notes that there is no direct link between alchohol and reduced risk of heart disease--the above studies show correlation, not necessarily cause--and there is a possibility that differences in lifestyle between drinkers and non-drinkers may account for some of the effect. Now the bad news. Actually, this comes in two parts. The first part is that while alchohol consumption lowers risk of heart disease, when it passes from moderate to heavy it increases risk of cancer, stroke, and death from other causes. There is therefore a balance between risk and benefit, and it cannot be stated that more you drink the better off you are. The second part has to do with the definition of "moderate". This differs for men and women. "Moderate" alchohol consumption for men lies somewhere between one and two "drinks" a day (note that this means quantity of alchohol consumed, not the bottles of doppelbock!). Basically, once you pass 2 drinks a day the scale tips toward the unfavorable. As the article says, "At four drinks a day, while a man is 25 percent less likely than a non- drinker to die of heart disease, he is 30 to 35 percent more likely to die of cancer or stroke. He's also more likely to become addicted to alchohol." (p. 6) A handy reference chart with the relative risks is printed on this page for those who like to gamble. Women have it tougher: the break point appears to be between 3-7 drinks a week, with increased risk of breast cancer being the major problem. One study showed that women drinking 3-9 drinks a week cut risk of heart disease by 40 percent, but increased risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. Doctors therefore urge women to take their own medical history into account when regulating alchohol consumption, but can't offer any firm guidelines. The reason is that while the cancer risk goes up for women, many more women die of heart disease than of cancer--by a factor of about 3.5 to 1--so reducing heart risk at the cost of increased cancer risk may have net advantages. In the opinion of one of the co- investigators on the above-mentioned (3-9 drink) study, "A drink a day for a woman is not too much. There's little health reason to stop." (p. 6) Just in case any of your are thinking about it, the article also notes that binge drinking does not provide the health benefits of smaller portions regularly spaced out. Drinking your week's allowance of booze in one sitting doesn't have the same effect. In spite of all this, the pundits are reluctant to encourage people to start drinking, or to drink more. In my own opinion this is at least partially due to a cultural bias against drinking, but it is also true that a substantial minority of drinkers cannot control their consumption. Also barred are pregnant women, people taking certain medications, and people driving or operating other machinery. In other words, if you're in the moderate range (up to 2/day for men, 1/day for women), don't worry. If you're drinking more, well, you might consider worrying a little. Anybody who's interested in further information should contact CSPI at 1875 Connecticut Ave., NW, Sutie 300, Washington, D.C. 20009. Telephone: 202-332-9110. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1993 02:20:33 -0500 From: TiM at world.std.com Subject: Calculate First, TV and TJHB! Always Compute First. Just a reminder for those of us who are still in our 20th or so brewing...I just finished a double brewing session, making a stout (the last batch at 7 weeks was great, but I made a couple modifications for this batch), and a Pilsner on its back. The Pilsner was from a recipe in ZYMURGY. After I ground the grains and mashed, I thought the grain looked a little thin, but what was I to know, I've been running around brewing bunches of 1.055-60 beers the past few months. When the O.G. came out at 1.036 I nearly died...THEN I went to my handy dandy Darryl Richmond shareware converted to EXCELL and mucked with spreadsheet and found that no extraction rate possible would have been able to hit the O.G. of the published brew with the bill of grain listed....normally I ALWAYS run things through the spreadsheet or at least calculate them out on a piece of paper by hand... The first time you're brewing anything, don't trust what you read. Compute it yourself factoring in experience with your own equipment. Live and Learn. Strange Things On TV. My wife was sitting in the living room writing on our portable with some nameless noise on TV when she suddenly called me into the room. Apparently it was some cop show (on Saturday evening) and they were going to arrest some guy for having a 'still'. When the cameras followed into the guys house it was obvious from the Cajun-type cooker and setup that he was home-brewing. In the back of the squad car as they were loading everything in was a copy of Papazian's JOY OF HOMEBREWING! The cop gave this grand speech about how normally this stuff would come out ok but all he has to do is deviate from the recepie and it could kill someone...They were still convinced they had a hard-liquor still. This probably wouldn't have made it to the Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 93 17:12:59 CST From: gjfix at utamat.uta.edu (George J Fix) Subject: Some Questions about Lambic The temptation to join a conversation which on the one hand involves hot-side aeration (HSA), and on the other Martin Lodahl & Lambic, is too great to pass up. Martin's reply in HBD#1045 to Steve Anastasi's interesting post in HBD#1044 reminded me of a number of questions I always wanted to ask him. Since these topics are current, I thought now was as good a time as any to do so. I have always assumed that in a beer style like Lambic, where flavor complexity is taken to the outer limits possible in a grain based beverage, that the usual rules do not always apply. I suspect that this may be the case for Lambics as far as HSA is concerned. This, however, like everything else in this post, is more of a question for Martin than a statement of fact by me. Negative effects due to HSA are usually reflected in a flavor the Germans call "Herbstoffe." Roughly translated this means "grain bitter" or "grain astringency." Although, I do not have Martin's vast tasting experience with Lambics, the ones I have tasted in Europe have never shown any indication of Herbstoffe. Sometimes I pick up astringent tones in bottled Lambics which have been imported to the U.S. I believe, however, these flavor tones are artifacts, i.e., resulted from the beer's long journey across the Atlantic, and are not intrinsic to this beer style. There are some theoretical considerations which suggest HSA should be a nonissue. Ironically, the same issues arise in a project I am currently working on which involve beers very far removed in character from Lambics. Herbstoffe arises from the presence of what could be called HSA aldehydes. These in turn arise from the interaction of ethanol in beer (as well as some other things) and products which were oxidized on the hot side of wort production. The HSA aldehydes have been isolated, and definitely display "grain astringent" flavors. Moreover, it has also been shown that most Saccharomyces will ignore them. Thus, in most beers, if present, they will spill over into the finished beer and display Herbstoffe. With Lambics, on the other hand, there is a good deal more to the story. As Professor Verachtert and his students at the University of Leuven in Belgium have shown, there are a large number of microbes which get onto the playing field. It is conceivable, although definite proof is lacking, that some of these might find the HSA aldehydes inviting targets, and reduce them to alcohols. Given the large fatty acid composition of Lambics, the alcohols would probably be converted to esters, and form a small part of the very large ester pool in Lambics. If true, this would mean that all of the splashing of hot wort that takes place in Lambic brewing does no harm. What bothers me (slightly) are the implications of this for North American Lambic brewers. At the present time they will not be dealing with a "full deck" with respect to the relevant microbes, and this conceivably could be an important issue. To cite a specific example, we have in the Southwest a number of really dedicated Lambic brewers. A couple of these have gone to great lengths to simulate the actual Lambic brewing environment, including both splashing hot wort as well as having cob webs in their brewing area. While I really enjoy tasting their beers, they consistently have a flavor tone which I will oversimplify and call "metallic." I do not remember ever tasting anything like this in Europe, although I have tasted something like it in selected bottles which were imported to the U.S. I, of course, defer to Martin for a final judgement on "metallic" gflavors in Lambic. But, assuming for the moment that they are artifacts and not intrinsic to Lambics, this raises the issue of the possible need for brewers in North America to modify the traditional process. If I were given a vote, I would place as No. 1 on the list the removal of the cob webs; removal of splashing comes further down on the list! However, in general which of the rules we use for normal beer (whatever that might be!), should be followed, and which should be rejected in favor of traditional Lambic practice? Martin, I realize this is the first working week of 1993, and everyone has a lot to do. Thus, I hate to put a number like the above in a good friend's lap at this time. Nevertheless, when you have the opportunity, I would really enjoy your insights into these matters, even if they are only preliminary and tentative opinions. George Fix Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 3 Jan 93 22:30 EST From: tom at kalten.bach1.sai.com (Tom Kaltenbach) Subject: Enzyme for brewing "dry" beers Last Thanksgiving I was in the Chicago area and I picked up a "dry beer" kit made by Glenbrew of Scotland. I usually don't buy kits or hopped malt extract, but I was intrigued by this kit because I've never really understood how the mega-breweries go about making a "dry" beer. This kit apparently is imitating Michelob Dry, as there was a big picture of a Michelob bottle on the label, minus the Michelob name, of course. The reason I am posting this message is that the kit included a packet that was stamped "DRY PILSNER ENZYME, ADD WITH YEAST". Presumably this contains an enzyme that helps break down the higher, unfermentable sugars in the wort into simple sugars that can be metabolized by the yeast. Use of such an enzyme might be an interesting new variable to try in different recipes. Does anybody know what this enzyme might be? Is there a commercial source for it? Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #1047, 01/04/93