HOMEBREW Digest #108 Fri 24 March 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  conf fees, CI$, SG, refrigs ("1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASES")
  Refrigerators for brewing (Michael Bergman)
  Second refrigerator (Darryl Richman)
  re: Lager yeasts (Darryl Richman)
  Regional Conferences and Competitions (Mike Fertsch)
  Meads (additives) and also an old recipe (Michael Bergman)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 23 Mar 89 07:24:00 EST From: "1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASES" <henchal at wrair.ARPA> Subject: conf fees, CI$, SG, refrigs 1. RE: Conference costs. Ok, you convinced me that a small society has to charge a slightly larger registration fee in order to meet the expenses of a national conference, but I won't be able to go at that price...so I'll have to settle for the $18.95 transcript for another year. Perhaps, what this tells us is that there is a real need for more regional conferences. For example...I know that there are lots of homebrewers in the Washington DC area but I have never heard of a local competition. The only one that I know of in this region is a competition held sometimes in Philadelphia in the Fall. Will someone out there correct me if I am wrong about this? What does it take to organize an AHA sponsored competition or conference...besides bucks? Also, can it be done cheaply? I notice that this stuff seems to go on all the time in California and the Southwest. 2. I predict that the COMPUSERVE....CI$ (I like it)...forum will fail. I have been a member of CI$ for almost 8 years, and it ain't hard to run up $50-100 monthly bills using a forum regularly. Even though I am pessimistic about the forum, I will heed Steve Conklin advice and try to participate overthere more frequently. I suggested some time ago that it would help if summarized portions of the discussions held here be transferred to libraries at CI$. Mea cuppa, mea cuppa...I didn't follow through because of the lack of real action in the WINEFORUM. With regard to letting Charlie know about how I feel....wouldn't it be easier if he could just listen in....after all, I'm not sure I know how to get messages to folks not in any kind of network or bulletin board....I remember vaguely something about envelops and stamps :-).....Many thanks to Dave Dunn for his instructional comments about network addresses. I never really understood what happens to my messages after they leave my machine. 3. RE: Specific gravity measurements. I'm not sure that the final FG that you obtain is any measure of the time to bottle. I had been taught (and experience has shown) that a brew is ready to bottle when the SG remains constant over the course of 3 days. (In reality, I don't test the SG that often...I merely look at the amount of overall activity and the head...a falling head is a good measure of a completing fermentation.) That FG might be 1.006, 1.015, 1.025 (or whatever) depending upon the amount of non-fermentable dextrins in the beer. I noticed that Nancy Vineyard recommends the use of Clintest paper strips (?) in this quarter Zymurgy. I think her recommendation has always been to measure the amount of sugar left in the ferment. If I'm not mistaken the amount of fermentable sugar should be less than 2%...don't hold me to this number. 4. RE: Danish lager Yeast. Is this what they call #2007 or is this #308. Can someone post the different characteristics of these yeasts. I have never seen this information anywhere...growth characteristics, expected attenuation, optimum growth characteristics, etc. 5. RE: Refrigerators. My refrigerator (15 cu ft) keeps to 49 degrees F on the DEFROST setting and 29 degrees F. No, I can't use the freezer with the DEFROST setting on. If I don't set the 'frig to defrost, the box stays a pretty constant 44 degrees F. Erik A. Henchal <Henchal at WRAIR.ARPA> Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 11:01:56 est From: Michael Bergman <bergman%medusa.m2c.org at RELAY.CS.NET> Subject: Refrigerators for brewing Most refrigerators have only a single thermostat, and no way of independently regulating freezer and refirgerator temperature. Some modern refrigerators have, still with a single thermostat, a degree of control in that you can adjust how much of the "cold" is sent to the freezer compartment and how much to the fridge. In particular, I had a 10 year old Sears Coldspot (made by Whirlpool, I believe) that had all the cooling capacity in the back of the fridge, and a fan that moved cold air around the fridge and freezer compartments. You could adjust the percentage of cold air going to each, and adjust the master thermostat, to get something like what you are after. I don't know whether it was flexible enough to do what you want, but suspect that the addition of an after-market baffle (i.e. a piece of cardboard taped over the vent) would have been sufficient to do the trick. Note that the freezer compartment was a separate insulated box, totally disjunct from the fridge compartment except for the vent--this was a "side-by-side" model. --mike bergman bergman at m2c.org Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 06:17:33 PST From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: Second refrigerator From: lbr at gatech.edu "My wife is considering buying me a second refrigerator for my birthday Happy Birthday! "The units she's looked at are your basic top/bottom refrigerator/freezers. "This should give me plenty of room in the refrigerator part. I'm a little "concerned about temperature, though. Miller and Noonan say ferment in the "45-55 degF range. Most refrigerators are set to maintain the low 40s. "Is the fridge's thermostat likely to hold 50, or will it require the "external on/off timer that some writers mention? Most refrigerators try to hold the temperature in the high 30s. It is usually not possible to set the thermistat for more than a bit above 40. When I first got my refrig, I used an appliance timer to approximate 50. This seems to work alright, although many writers say that temperature cycling is bad for your beer. Now I also have a chest freezer. I hooked the power cord into a deli-case thermistat, which I mounted on the front of the unit. It has a long capillary tube with a bulb at the end, and this drapes over into the freezer compartment. This is the way to go. Another local brewer has made a heat exchanger out of an old window air conditioner. He set it up to cool water, and he pumps the water through a series of plastic trashcans, each one containing a carboy. This is actually a better setup because it is expandable to whatever brewing scale you might work at. "Ideally, I'd like to use the refrigerator for fermentaion and maybe lagering "(lower 30s), and the freezer as a mini deep freeze (otherwise it's just "wasted). Is this feasible, or does the 50 degF ferment preclude using "the freezer? (This is a big selling point to my wife.) The answer, of course, is it depends. I have been able to use the freezer to keep my hops and 4 extra trays of ice cubes, but when you are trying to set the timer, you can miss high and nothing will stay frozen. Once you get a feel for what timer setting works, you should be able to use the freezer (until a heat wave comes along...). Before you actually store something in the 'fridge, fool with the timer a bit to find the tmeperature, and how much of an adjustment in time changes the temperature. Remember that your fermenting beer is exothermic, so you'll have a mini heat wave going on inside as well as out. --Darryl Richman Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 06:32:16 PST From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: re: Lager yeasts From: Rich Simpson <paramax!simpson at multimax.encore.com> "[...] I ferment in my basement so I can never depend "on getting really cold temperatures. Papazian has a bunch of recipes "that look interesting that I have been avoiding because they use lager "yeasts. How important is it to ferment beers made with lager yeasts at "really low temperatures? Will I get good results at 60-65 degrees with "a lager yeast or should I just stick with ale yeasts? You can get good results, but likely the style of beer you are making will change from lager to steam beer. The purpose of lagering is to get the yeast to slow down and take their time about eating, not to rush through it and wolf their food down ;-). In doing this, the yeast work more efficiently and leave fewer by-products behind, which means that you taste less fruitiness &c in the beer. This is why lagers are considered to have a cleaner, crisper flavor than ales. Lagering also facilitates the removal of haze, and you get a clearer beer. So you can ferment them at higher temperatures, but they will act and taste more like ales. --Darryl Richman Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 13:10 EST From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!meccad.RAY.COM!FERTSCH> Subject: Regional Conferences and Competitions > Perhaps, what this tells us is > that there is a real need for more regional conferences. For > example...I know that there are lots of homebrewers in the > Washington DC area but I have never heard of a local competition. > The only one that I know of in this region is a competition held > sometimes in Philadelphia in the Fall. Will someone out there > correct me if I am wrong about this? What does it take to > organize an AHA sponsored competition or conference...besides > bucks? Also, can it be done cheaply? I notice that this stuff > seems to go on all the time in California and the Southwest. Back in the 1983-1985 time frame (have I been really brewing THAT long?) the AHA ran a series of local regional conferences. They were one-day affairs, with lots of information, lots of comraderie, and lots of beer. I attended the three 'annual conferences' in Massachusetts, and thought them to be well worthwile. The cost was around $50. I felt it was a bit steep, but since there were no hotel or airline charges, I splurged. The better sessions were flavor perception talks (doctored beer to demonstrate particular flavors), mashing basics, and equipment discussion. Somewhere between 100 and 200 brewers attended the conferences. I know that Charlie P ran these things all over the country. I recall a conference in DC, in Philly, and other US 'brewing capitals'. In 1986 (I think), the AHA stopped the regional conference program. I asked Charlie P and he indicated that the AHA was losing money on the conferences - the attendance was just too low. That's too bad -- I think the AHA should reinstitute the regional conferences - maybe every other year would be appropriate. With regard to competitions, there are lots of local competitions 'sanctioned' by the AHA. The "Calendar of Events" in the front of Zymurgy lists some of the major ones. There are others that don't make it into the magazine - call the AHA and ask them if they know of any in your area. In New England we have four regional competitions each year. (The next one is April 1). In Philly there are two events, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. There is a competition in Philly on April 2 (E-mail me a note if you want more info). There is another one in Troy, NY on April 2. I don't know about the DC area. If you want to run a competition or a conference, call the AHA. Although they do not sponsor regional competitions, they have a program which 'sanctions' certain competitions. In general, just tell them the categories you will have, the estimated number of entries, and the experience level of your judges. As part of the "sanctioning", the AHA maintains lists of 'qualified' judges who passed a test and have judging experience. Other people on this net (are you still there Jay?) who can tell you what it takes to orgainze and run a sanctioned competition. - mike fertsch fertsch at meccad.ray.com fertsch%meccad.ray.com at a.cs.uiuc.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 15:38:29 mst From: oscar at hpdmmad I would like to be able to read stuff in your homebrew digest. How do I go about it ? notes ? oscar herrera oscar at hpdmmad Disc Memory Division Boise Idaho Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 89 19:55:45 est From: Michael Bergman <bergman%medusa.m2c.org at RELAY.CS.NET> Subject: Meads (additives) and also an old recipe This got lost in some mailer problems, so it may seem like a bit of a non-sequitur. Worse still, it may have gotten out and me not realized it, in which case it will be a duplicate. Let's all cross our fingers. > Date: 03 Mar 89 12:03 -0330 > From: <mhalley%MUN.BITNET at CORNELLC.ccs.cornell.edu> ... 1! Any damn-fool mead maker knows better than to BOIL his/her mixture. It is maintained at a temperature well below boiling for a protracted (1-5 hours) period, which, in the cases of either metheglyns or melomels aids in mingling the various essences of the ingredients as well as in sterilizing. Well. I know many damn-fool mead-makers who don't know better than to boil their must. Let me quote one: "Take nine parts of warm fountain water, dissolve in it one pint of pure White-honey, by laving it therein, till it be dissolved. Then *boil* it gently, skimming it all the while, till all the scum be perfectly scummed off, and *after that* boil it a little longer, so that at least one third part may be consumed. About a quarter of an hour before you cease boiling, and take it from the fire, put to it a little spoonful of cleansed and sliced Ginger; and almost half as much of the thin yellow rind of Orange, when you are even ready to take it from the fire, so as the Orange boil only one walm in it. Then pour into a well-glased strong deep great Gally-pot, and let it stand so, till it be almost cold, that it be scarce Luke-warm. Then put to it a little silver-spoonful of pure Ale-yest, and work it together with a Ladle to make it ferment: as soon as it beginneth to do so, cover it close with a fit cover, and put a thick dubbled woollen cloth about it. Cast all things so that this may be done when you are going to bed. Next morning when you rise, you will find the barm gathered all together in the middle ; scum it clean off with a silver-spoon and a feather, and bottle up the Liquor, stopping it very close. It will beready to drink in two or three days; but it will keep well a month or two. It will be from the very first very quick and pleasant." >From the writings of Sir Kenelm Digby, published posthumously in 1669. Digby was apparently fairly well known, and was chancellor to the Queen-Mother, which apparently included cooking and brewing for her. Next week I'll post a modern translation of this recipe. For the moment, I'll point out that this recipe appears to have been for a "table-mead" intended to be drunk with food, and to be pleasant and light but certainly not anything like a "fine wine". I believe the intent was something much more like ginger-ale, but lightly alcoholic. Digby has many recipes for Meads, ranging from 4/1 honey/water ratio to 10/1. ... 2! I have been making meads, some of which have taken prizes at competitions, for ten or fifteen years, and I have never found it necessary to add nutrient to my brew. Let it be known now, also, that I dislike "sweet" meads, considering them useful only for sundae syrups, and that I also find "small" meads without character. Well, I don't like meads that are *that* sweet either. But this is all a matter of taste. "Character" is not something I would expect from a drink that is billed as "light and pleasant." I do not consider that my brews warrant the cognomen "great", nonetheless. I do add acid and tannin IN NATURAL FORMS, (i.e., citrus fruit and strong tea). It is worth noting that discarding the inner rind and pith of the citrus fruit, while using the zest, juice, and fruit pulp, minimizes unpleasant bitternesses. I use one orange and one cup of double-strength tea for a 1-2 gallon batch, more accordingly for larger. I believe that "great" in this context has to do with alcohol content and complexity of taste. Acid is the primary nutrient that Duncan and Acton recomended, most of the rest they said were optional (except the epsom salts, which were to correct a defect in their water, that you might not suffer from). Discarding the inner rind of the fruit peel is recomended in the old recipes I have and in the modern translations that I have access to. Acton and Duncan simply don't offer any recipes calling for peel, I guess they really believe in their acid blends. 3! Perhaps this book suggests a need for nutrient because it uses wine yeast. It is a proven fact that bread yeast works better on meads than "brewer's" yeasts. The use of bread yeast also makes for HEAVY sediment and a real NEED for aging, however, the aging need not be as long as the two years stipulated previously. A four-month minimum is sufficient, although the products tend to continue to improve significantly up to about 18 months. "Brewer's yeast is only suitable for producing the ale-like meads in vogue in Napoleonic times and earlier. It is no use at all for producing wine-meads." They then go on to say that bread yeast produces acceptable results but is tricky to work with. If you rack carefully at the correct times, you should get fine results with it. I see no real conflict between what you have to say and what they say. ... --mike bergman bergman at m2c.org Return to table of contents
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