HOMEBREW Digest #1313 Sat 01 January 1994

Digest #1312 Digest #1314

		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Kegging Sparkling Water, Propane Cookers, Bulk Extract (Dan Wood)
  Mead fermentation temperatures... (Steven Tollefsrud)
  Water adjustments (Ed Oriordan)
  Re: Beer King mini kegs (Peter Voelker)
  Holiday Cheer (Aaron Morris)
  Re: oven cleaning bottles (Alan B. Carlson)
  Dishwashers -- my $.02 (Greg Kushmerek)
  Is Steam A Dream ? ( was 'Dream Tun' ) (Conan)
  Re: Carboys in Texas (Dave Shaver)
  spruce (Michael Jorgenson 5-5891)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 30 Dec 93 09:37:13 CST From: wood at ranger.rtsg.mot.com (Dan Wood) Subject: Kegging Sparkling Water, Propane Cookers, Bulk Extract In preparing the justification for a kegging system, it occurred to me that I may be able to exploit my wife's fondness for those fruit flavored sparkling waters (e.g. Koala, Clearly Canadian). Capability to "homebrew" these could certainly tip the scales in my favor. Does anyone out there have experience in making this stuff using a kegging setup? Is sanitation and storage a problem? Does it have to be kept refridgerated? Can it be bottled without a (expensive?) counterpressure filler. TIA for any info. On the propane burner issue, I thought I'd add my two cents. I use a 30K BTU "Camp Cooker". Admittedly, I lose the excitement of boiling my wort in nanoseconds, however I feel that the fine control during the boil and complete lack of scorching problems makes up for the delays. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to boil five gallons. The Camp Cooker doesn't make any cool jet engine sounds though, more like an old librarian quieting noisy patrons. I use it indoors, with a window in the brewery wide open. No brain damamamamamamage so far so far so. On bulk extract: Brent and I used to split up the pails of bulk extract. Shoulda taped the sessions, could have made big $ on the home video shows. Now we split up bags of dry extract. Much easier to handle. Breiss is our current favorite. We've also tried M&F and Langlander. They were more expensive, and the beer was no better than the Breiss batches. The Langlander seems to contain some unfermentables: we consistently had high FGs. Happy new beers! Dan Wood, charter member, Fox Valley Homebrew and Athletic Association Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 13:40:20 +0100 From: steve_t at fleurie.inria.fr (Steven Tollefsrud) Subject: Mead fermentation temperatures... Victor Grigorieff (vgrigori at us.oracle.com) writes: > I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and have no trouble making ales and > lagers in my cellar (about 55 degrees). I am about to emabrk on mead-making > which (as I understand it) requires temperatures of 80 to 85 degrees. Dick Dunn (rcd at raven.eklektix.com) replies: > You don't need to be fermenting mead at anything like 80-85 degrees! > It would probably give you fast fermentation, and yes, mead fermentation > is sometimes very slow...but yeast at that temperature will produce off-tastes > in mead just as they would in beer. Don't try to compensate for a naturally > bucolic pace of fermentation by forcing it with higher temperature. Right on, Dick! I had a mead brewing experience which perfectly demonstrated the affect of too high fermentation temperature on the end product: I brewed 5 gallons using lavender honey I bought from a farm in Provence, and champagne yeast. I split the batch into two 2.5 gal. portions, placing one in the coolest room in the house (ale temps, 60-65 F), and putting the other on a shelf in a warmer room where the temperature was a steady 85 F. The warmer mead finished in about a week, while the cooler version took about three at its "naturally bucolic pace". The difference in quality was remarkable! The cool one was like nectar-of-the-gods: heavenly lavender bouquet, moderately sweet honey taste with a lightly sparkling carbonation, and a satisfyingly clean finish. Perfect as an aperitif or dessert wine. The warmly fermented mead, though it had the flowery bouquet, was flat and so dry as to curl your toes, leaving a bitter aftertaste. Seems the yeasties were in overdrive at 85 degrees, madly eating everything in their path, and leaving nothing of the honey sugars but a memory from the bouquet and a very high alcohol content. Sort of like a cheap dry white wine. This difference in yeast attenuation is still evident even after a year in the bottle: the cooler version hasn't lost its higher sugar content. I only regret that I didn't make more at the lower temperature. Steve Tollefsrud VALBONNE, France e-mail: steve_t at fleurie.compass.fr Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 10:22:29 -0500 From: edo at marcam.com (Ed Oriordan) Subject: Water adjustments Tom writes >Any of you water guru's out there have any comments or suggestions on what if >any treatment I should use? I am an extract brewer, and stick pretty much to >Pilsners / Munich Light etc. 1 gram in 5 gals gives Desired Yours Needed Gypsum Epsom Salt Calcium ???? 51 _____ 12 Magnesium ???? 56 _____ 5.2 Sodium ???? 35 _____ 21 Sulfate ???? 59 _____ 29 20 Chloride ???? 58 _____ 32.1 I am by no means a guru, but have been researching this a lot lately. You were correct in stating mg/l == ppm. To use this chart you should look up in Papazians book what the water levels should be for the style of beer you are using is. Fill this in the Desired column. Subtract the value of Yours(this is your water values given). The result will be pluged into the Needed column. If you need say calcium, you can get that by adding Gypsum. For each one gram of Gypsum you add 12 ppm Calcium, but you also add 29 ppm of Sulfate. If you don't need sulfate, then you could be in 'trouble' if you use gypsum to get the Calcium. To add magnesium and Sulfate use epsom salts. To add sodium and chloride add non-iodine table salt. Things to be careful of (or aware of)------ At low concentrations (< 30 ppm) Magnesium promotes dryness, at higher numbers it imparts an astringency (as well as a somewhat laxative effect). Magnesium is an essential yeast nutrient. Magnesium is present in sufficient quantities from the malt (usually). Sulfate also promotes dryness, but can give astringency as well, promotes hop bitterness. Calcium is useful in promoting a good break formation. Sodium and Chloride in too high a concentration can cause a salty taste (duh). Gypsum is more soluable in cold water than hot (mix it with cold). Don't base your additions on batch size, but on BOIL size. I wouldn't recomend going over 1 tsp Epsom or .25 tsp Table salt per 5 gallon boil. Gypsum and Epsom salts increase hardness also. I wouldn't worry too much if you're brewing with extracts, as you have no idea what is already in the extract (what if they used gypsum in the mash to lower the pH?) NOTE: A ballpark measurement if you don't have a gram scale is 1 tsp == 5 grams Working just from memory, if you are brewing Pilsners I don't think you need to do too much to your water. I think some values are gonna be high and some will be low, and by the nature of adding the above stuff you are gonna adjust 2 things at a time, which may put you in worse shape. Sources: Zymurgy winter 1989, Pale Ale by Terry Foster(Good Book!), Scotch Ale by Greg Noonan, Brewing Lager Beers by Greg Noonan, The Complete Joy Of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian. Ed O' Return to table of contents
Date: 31 Dec 93 10:47:27 EST From: Peter Voelker <71673.1015 at CompuServe.COM> Subject: Re: Beer King mini kegs hey all! This is my first posting, so I hope it comes out all right. There has been a lot of talk about the 5 liter mini kegs. I'd just like to add my $.02 worth. I've been using these for about 3 batches so far, and am DELIGHTED that I no longer have to bottle. These really has been no problems with them so far, and I would highly recommend them to anyone who is considering. About the overfoam on the first bottle, try bleeding off the pressure from carbonating first, you'll see that it doesn't GUSH out after that. I also only use just enough CO2 to dispense the beer. - --Peter Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 11:02:27 EST From: Aaron Morris <SYSAM at ALBANY.ALBANY.EDU> Subject: Holiday Cheer I brewed two batches of Holiday Cheer for Christmas '92, bottled around Thanksgiving, and received nothing but rave reviews from all who tasted it. I use more like 2 lbs of honey, but follow the rest of the recipe to a T. The spices were well balanced with no single spice being clearly identifiable. This year I brewed three batches of Holiday Cheer in early September, to give more time to age. Again, the results have been excellent! Just shows to go you that it's all a matter of taste, and Papzian touches on this in his description of the recipe when he writes something to the effect of: as strange as this recipe may sound, if you think you may like it, brew it. Well, I did and I'm glad! Holiday Cheer has become part of the Christmas season and my friends would disown me if I didn't brew it for the festivities! A micro on the west coast (Pete's? Sierra Nevada?) had a Christmas Ale last year that closely resembled Holiday Cheer, but I don't recall the name (I only tasted it once at a micro brewery show). Anyway, I beg to differ with those who don't care for the Holiday Cheer recipe and encourage those who may be inclined to brew a batch. It doesn't have to be Christmas to enjoy a Holiday Cheer! Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 16:38:50 CET From: Alan B. Carlson <alanc at adb.gu.se> Subject: Re: oven cleaning bottles Chris Evans writes in HBD 1312 in response to Jeff Frane's method of sterilizing bottles in the oven: > I've seen this mentioned before and I think I'll probably try it next time. > Seeing as that I don't necessarily want to sterilze the bottles, what is > the minimum temperature and time requiremnts be? 200F for 30 minutes? 350F > for 90 minutes seems to be a little bit of overkill :-) I sterilize my bottles in an oven set at 125C (appprox 260F) for 20-25 minutes and have had no problems with beer stored in these bottles. Like Jeff Frane, I put aluminum foil over the mouth of each bottle. This serves two purposes. The steam which builds up during the bottle baking/sanitation phase stays in the bottles and is not distributed all over the oven - which should increase the sanitation effectiveness. The steam comes, of course, from the small amount of water I've left in the bottles after having rinsing them. The second purpose of the foil is to keep beasties out of the bottles while they cool and I transport my beer to the bottling bucket, and while I bottle. I would imagine that being "capped" in this manner, the bottles would stay relatively sterilized for some time - maybe overnight. I haven't chanced it, yet :-) ABC - ------------------------------------------------------------ Alan B. Carlson Phone: +46 31 772 10 73 University of Gothenburg Fax: +46 31 772 10 99 Department of Information Systems email: alanc at adb.gu.se Holtermansgatan 1 S-412 96 Gothenburg SWEDEN - ------------------------------------------------------------ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1993 11:43:06 -0500 From: gwk at world.std.com (Greg Kushmerek) Subject: Dishwashers -- my $.02 I've been brewing for about three years now and while much of my brewing technique has changes (kudos to this forum for some great information between the flames ;-), my bottling practice is nearly the same as it was when I made my first batch. I clean my bottles with a jet-spray bottle washer within 48 hours of when I plan to bottle, and keep them covered for that hiatus. Then I put them in the dishwasher, labels and all (laziness that hasn't caused any problems for me yet) for a rinse cycle with a heat dry. I have had good success with this method. The heat treatment is probably the most critical portion of this success. Even if the sprayers don't get into the bottles, all that counts is that they are standing "bottom-up" so that the steam can get in and kill anything lurking in there. One warning -- when heat treating the beer like this, don't immediately take the hot bottles from the dishwasher and dump in wort/beer to prime. Let the bottles cool a little first. I've winced more than once as I've seen beer go "FIZZ" as I fill a hot bottle. I don't know if it's actually affected the beer, but something about it all just strikes me as wrong. Cheers, - --gk Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1993 09:16:38 -0800 From: pascal at netcom.com (Conan) Subject: Is Steam A Dream ? ( was 'Dream Tun' ) "Date: Thu, 9 Dec 93 11:52:16 MST From: pjd at craycos.com (Phil Duclos) Subject: Dream tun "I tried using steam to heat my mash tun last time and liked it a lot. I used a carefully converted pressure cooker. The result was rapid, even heating with a lot of convection in the liquid. I felt better about this method than the direct flame method and consequently did little stirring. My false bottom traps a gallon or so of liquid so I normally worry about carmelization. The mash also wasn't diluted as is normally the case with hot water additions. I use a keg for the mash/lauter tun but I suspect that this method would work well with a coller setup too." < description of setup omitted for brevity > I see a new device here, folks. If you've ever gotten serious about sterilization, then you've probably gone out and bought yourself a pressure cooker. If you haven't, a pressure cooker is a metal pot, usually about as tall as it is wide, with attachments that let the lid be locked down onto the pot. Also distinguishing the pressure cooker from an ordinary pot are two other details - a pressure valve ( that is, a hole with a weight on top of it ) and a safety valve. The pressure valve ( weight ) is calibrated such that its weight is just sufficient to contain the desired pressure, and excess pressure lifts it and lets the steam out ( surely these things haven't changed since the 1700s ). And the safety valve is a piece of pressure-resistant metal or plastic that ruptures at a predetermined stress point - one far below that of the cooker, itself. Now that these prerequisites have been outlined, I'll note that many similar devices exist, commercially, which make do _without_ safety valves ... such as coffee makers, espresso machines in particular. I have a bottom-of-the-line Krups espresso machine that relies upon a one-way valve that's triggered open by predetermined pressure, with an optional manual output valve for steaming milk ... but no safety. The water is contained in an aluminum block which is electrically heated, and the capacity is such that, even when full, it heats contained water fast enough that, once pressure is achieved and begins to release through the safety valve, and into the ground coffee basket ... it never loses pressure. It seems a fairly straightforward process to cast a block of aluminum large enough to hold enough water to heat and sparge a known volume of water and grain(s) ... then cast that self-same container of the aforementioned known volume directly atop or adjacent to the water tank, perhaps in the same block of aluminum, to better utilize waste heat. Or, perhaps something like a large old-style espresso pot could be designed, where water sits below, is brought to a boil, and, as steam, driven through the walls of an attached vessel, like a steam jacket, releasing pressure in very small and angled pores throughout the wall, to help the mash slowly rotate, kind of like directional retrorockets, except pointed inwards. (-: This latter design would provide a sort of 'double boiler' effect, and it would keep carmelization from happening, I believe. Some people might object that one cannot add water after heat is applied and pressure has built up. This is true ... but it is also true with my espresso machine. I have determined, beforehand, how much water is required to heat water, such that the output is precisely sufficient to heat a third of a large cup of milk until it foams to the brim, such that what is left in the reserve of steam, after passing through the ground coffee, is sufficient to fill the aforementioned large mug to the brim. I suppose a calculus equation could be determined but I found it with a few quick empty runs and refined it with one or two real tests. This could be turned into a line on the inside of the water container, on a commercial design ... or you could just be encouraged to fill it all the way up, assured that this is beyond sufficient for all possible combinations of materials you might choose to heat for long enough to mash, cook, or pasteurize ( although that latter might require another one of those pesky fitted pressure-cooker lids ). -=0=- "Please be careful with pressure cookers and high pressure steam - They are dangerous! So be careful." I thought about this a lot when I started tinkering with pressure cookers, and I think a lot of the risks are overstated. OK, it's dangerous, or it can be. But a good design can save one a lot of trouble, and most pressure cookers seem to be designed reasonably intelligently. I mean, they are not paticularly complicated machines ... basically, four components, and only two of them are really moving parts ( the lid and the pressure valve ). I'd probably drill another hole and add a pressure valve, purchased from a scientific company or maybe harvested from an auto tire gauge, myself. And maybe a second safety valve. Jack, I think you could have a lot of fun with this idea. It's all yours, and anyone else's who wants to use it and develop it. I have other fires to tend to ... - -- richard "Think of it as evolution in action." richard childers pascal at netcom.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1993 13:36:43 -0600 From: shaver at hci.cirr.com (Dave Shaver) Subject: Re: Carboys in Texas seiferrh at bandelier.cs.unm.edu (Justin) asks: > I once had the address of a place in San Antonio which offer > 7 gal carboys at very reasonable prices. I don't know about San Antonio, but Lynne O'Connor at St. Patrick's of Texas in Austin has them pretty cheap---$11 each packed in a styrofoam jacket. Her supply seems to be small but steady. You can send her mail at stpats at wixer.bga.com. Her number is 512/832-9045. I have no connection to St. Pat's other than as a very satisfied customer. - Dave Shaver Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 16:54:54 CST From: jorgen at orson.mayo.EDU (Michael Jorgenson 5-5891) Subject: spruce >Hello, this is my first venture into the world of E-mail and bulletin boards, >so please have mercy.I have a question I hope someone may be able to help me >with. I have been experimenting with brewing "Spruce Ales" lately and have had >a terrible time getting good spruce flavor into my brew. > >I'm using the new growth from blue spruce which I harvest in quantity >every spring. Now, when I use Mr.Papazians suggestions from TCJoHB and use > ~ 4oz added at the beginniing of the boil, I seem to get no flavor out of >my pickings at all. Doubling and tripling quanties didn't help much. > > Does anybody have any suggestions ? > > Also, has anyone else ever experimented with priming with honey ? If so, >what quantities did you use. I had failed to notice that I had run out of >corn sugar,and used honey out of despiration. The results were surprisingly >good ! > Thanks for your help. > Michael Jorgenson,507-255-7971 Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #1313, 01/01/94