HOMEBREW Digest #2981 Thu 18 March 1999

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		Digest Janitor: janitor@hbd.org
		Many thanks to the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers of 
		Livonia, Michigan for sponsoring the Homebrew Digest.
				URL: http://www.oeonline.com

  I'll be your back door man, baby! (pbabcock)
  wort pH ("Fred L. Johnson")
  Homebrew supply store list (TPuskar)
  Poor Extraction (Dan Listermann)
  Judging variability (Paul Dey)
  Chitosan, $3 X 40 = $120, outatown (Dave Burley)
  Nottingham Lag Times / Water Treatment (Ken Schwartz)
  wheat malt extract (JPSimo1106)
  Cleaning carboys (fridge)
  Domestic Versus European Malts (Randy Shreve)
  The Demise of Another Local Homebrew Shop (BreslerHS)
  re:Local HB R.I.P. (Matthew Comstock)
  never done a mead or pLambic for that matter (Nathan Kanous)
  Cleaning Carboys ("Bob Scott")
  Bulk Buys (Dan Listermann)
  Stock Ale (Nathan Kanous)
  Support My Local HB Store... ("Penn, John")
  Cleaning Carboys ("Eric R. Theiner")

Beer is our obsession and we're late for therapy! Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild's 13th annual Big and Huge - 28 March 1999: Rules and forms at www.globaldialog.com/madbrewers Send articles for __publication_only__ to post@hbd.org If your e-mail account is being deleted, please unsubscribe first!! To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE send an e-mail message with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" to request@hbd.org. **SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE REQUESTS MUST BE SENT FROM THE E-MAIL ACCOUNT YOU WISH TO HAVE SUBSCRIBED OR UNSUBSCRIBED!!!** IF YOU HAVE SPAM-PROOFED your e-mail address, the autoresponder and the SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE commands will fail! Contact brewery at hbd.org for information regarding the "Cat's Meow" Back issues are available via: HTML from... http://hbd.org Anonymous ftp from... ftp://hbd.org/pub/hbd/digests ftp://ftp.stanford.edu/pub/clubs/homebrew/beer AFS users can find it under... /afs/ir.stanford.edu/ftp/pub/clubs/homebrew/beer COPYRIGHT for the Digest as a collection is currently held by hbd.org (Pat Babcock and Karl Lutzen). Digests in their entirity CANNOT be reprinted/reproduced without this entire header section unless EXPRESS written permission has been obtained from hbd.org. Digests CANNOT be reprinted or reproduced in any format for redistribution unless said redistribution is at absolutely NO COST to the consumer. COPYRIGHT for individual posts within each Digest is held by the author. Articles cannot be extracted from the Digest and reprinted/reproduced without the EXPRESS written permission of the author. The author and HBD must be attributed as author and source in any such reprint/reproduction. (Note: QUOTING of items originally appearing in the Digest in a subsequent Digest is exempt from the above. Home brew clubs NOT associated with organizations having a commercial interest in beer or brewing may republish articles in their newsletters and/or websites provided that the author and HBD are attributed. ASKING first is still a great courtesy...) JANITORS on duty: Pat Babcock and Karl Lutzen (janitor@hbd.org)
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 20:31:04 -0500 (EST) From: pbabcock <pbabcock at mail.oeonline.com> Subject: I'll be your back door man, baby! Greetings, Beerlings! Take me to your lager... Marc continues on with... > You're missing the point. No; I don't think I am. > Of course, every homebrew shop wants 100% market > share. Who wouldn't? I was making the assumption that the brewery isn't > going to sell you grains at cost--no one is that fiscally bereft. It's not > like you're likely to buy a ton of their beer. If you homebrew and need to > buy hundreds of pounds of grain, you have your own product to consume. What > I am suggesting is that if you have to give SOMEONE a profit, why not > support the local store? Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. And I don't argue the point. HOWEVER, I argue that a HB shop owner using that as the sole reason for a brewer to purchase at his shop is intellectually bereft. Adjust, adapt. Be competitive. (Note I assumed that $3 was half your profit in the original post, so I gave the brewpub some credit for fiscal responsibility...) > I'll play devil's advocate and ask why *should* you buy from a store? Will > the local brewery supply you with hops? Maybe...but you may only get > two-four options. Will they provide you with yeast? Maybe, but you'll ... > buy grain by the sack, but by the pound (5, 10, 20lbs, whatever). The > result of losing volume to the backdoor deal means the average price per > sack goes up which means the price for smaller quantities goes up effecting > a much larger percentage of brewers. You assume that the "back-door dealing" groups depend on the pub for all their brewing needs. I don't think that's very realistic. And you seem to assume that they're a larger group than the "elite" I've known them to be. I don't think that's very realistic, either. In my experience, few home brewers are able to cultivate that type of relationship with their local brewpub(s), but it's a big world and I live in such a tiny part of it. In any case neither point has anything to do with the arguments I presented. My points are/were (a) it is highly doubtful that the "back-door dealings" between a brewpub and a group of home brewers will have a marked effect on a shop owners bottom line (unless, of course, they're the horde you illustrate them to be...) and (b) where competition occurs, one must take action to adjust, adapt and remain competitive. Stating that someone *should* buy from a shop because of greater variety does nothing to answer the question of WHY someone would do the back-door routine with a brewpub, does it? It'd be safe to assume that that variety existed before and even as the brewer was "back-dooring" the brew pub, no? So the intelligent question for the shop owner to ask is WHY that brewer found it necessary to go there? Answer that question and find the method of COMPETING with the answer, and you're treating your home brew shop as a "real life business." But, I stress that these back-door dealings are _normally_ not worth reacting to. There will always be some who will do the dealings. If you're still moving your inventory and making a profit, don't bemoan the few lost sales. > Maybe the cost of grain is already at the maximum your market will bear. > So, in order to meet the minimum monthly profits required to keep a small > business in existence you have to bump the price of other products up a > little. Hops go up 10 cents an ounce. Carboys are up a couple of bucks. > Yeast goes up a buck. Suddenly you're effecting a MUCH larger clientele. You're asking a lot of your customers. I once made a comparison between HB shop service and McDonald's. I'm about to go there again: do you really think that when a consumer buys a pound of ground beef, bag of rolls, Ore-Ida fries and some condiments, and whips up his own quarter-pounders that he is for one moment considering the impact of these actions on the fast food industry? Why do you feel that a home brewer should behave any differently than any other consumer? Aside from a few, you have no basis to make such an assumption, or to demand such consideration. Here's the gig, Marc: if to remain competitive selling sacks of grain, you have to raise prices across the board to the extent that you threaten your own existence, the solution is NOT to compete on that item. Stop carrying it. You cannot be competitive in that sector. Most "back door deals" do not include extracts, and, as you point out, hops and (a variety of) yeasts. Focus on what's profitable. If that thins the till too much, perhaps your area cannot support your shop. The demographics could be all wrong -- something few small shop owners check into before opening up on their corner (a lot of bank loan officers do, though...). Demographics change, too. Perhaps your treasure trove of brewers moved or moved on? Maybe, to survive, you need to diversify. Sell other items that appeal to another group of customers. Brew & Grow, a local shop, sells home brew supplies AND gardening/hydroponics supplies. Wine Barrel Plus, another local shop, sells home brew supplies, wine making supplies, cigars, baseball cards, liquor, fine beers and wines, deli items - a LOT of things. Merchant's Fine Wines and Merchant's Warehouse, two other local shops sell/sold home brew supplies and deli items, imported foods, fine wines, 400 ales, liquors. And, when one of the stores found that they were having trouble competing in the home brew sector (due to the proximity of other local shops, mind you - no "back dooring" involved) they reduced their home brewing supply inventories and focused on where their profits were. That's always an option, too. > Competition is more than just price. It's service, reliability, and > customer satisfaction. Noted, but if they're buying their grains from the local 'pub, they're obviously not satisfied with that aspect of your business, right? > Try to find those at the local brewery. I'm sure > they're nice, but I've heard plenty of micros in several states bitch about > the number of petulant homebrewers who complain when they can't stop a > production process to fill up their Ball jar with fresh yeast. Pro brewers Um, that sounds a bit like hyperbole to me, but the world is full of all kinds. One never knows, do one? > People call the HBD a great > homebrewing club, but serving solely selfish interests like bulk grain > buying winds up limiting products and overall choice. Whoa, there sonny! Yer horse just fell off a cliff! The HBD is not condoning nor arranging (nor condemning, for that matter) purchase made or not made from a home brew shop. You appear to be letting your emotions read far more into a simple statement -- based on economics -- than is there. Unfortunate, but it occurs. Remember: you brought up the grain buys, and you cited the dollar amounts used in the analysis. Recall: the statement made was that back door dealings are likely not the source of the "downfall" in retail home brew supply. Notice how that DOES NOT sound a whole lot like: "go out and buy your grains from the local brew pubs." As the HBD, I think I can say we advocate: "Think globally, buy locally." Personally, in my entire brewing "career", I've bought one grain mill via mail order (from a brew shop in a Massachusetts), one hundred kegs for my brew club (from a brew shop in Georgia) and one pound of hops via a "group buy" - the main reason for that is the difficulty I've encountered trying to buy whole styrian goldings in our locale. And that's in OVER 25 years of doing this stuff. My sacks of grain? They come from Wine Barrel Plus in Livonia. A local home brew supply store. My yeast? From Wine Barrel Plus, Merchant's Warehouse, and Brew & Grow -- all local. My hops also come from the aforementioned shops. Never bought anything but finished beer from a brew pub. Oh, yeah: and a tee shirt or two. So watch your assumptions and name calling. Or I'll accuse you of whining. Again. Nyah! (Don't get me wrong,though: like any other red-blooded American consumer, I'm not averse to getting a good deal. Just that most of the "good deals" don't meet my timing requirements -- a service aspect the local home brew shops easily meet!) Since you can't see it, it is likely others can't as well, so I state it right here: The conversation was started on AOL (and allowed to migrate here) to open discussion in order to HELP home brewing in general -- including a focus on helping local home brew shops better serve their local patrons (you apparently missed that in the original posts, focusing on the back door and whining issues instead). But keep in mind that it's a actually a one-way street: home brew shops must serve their patrons just as any other business in the US must serve their's. The shop depends on the sales dollars; not the converse. Part of the problem, too, is that this relationship gets turned around in a lot of minds out there. Frankly, the RESPONSIBILITY for their own viability rests on the shops. Anything the home brewing community does to aid them above and beyond fitting the necessary demographic profile is a bonus and should not be part of a business plan. > If your boss told you that they could easily fill your role with a temp and > not pay benefits, you'd be out the door like a hot potato. Why don't they? In the economic analysis, except in some of the lower-paid positions in the company, the contract pay vs salary and benefits analysis doesn't always wash. Contract PROFESSIONALS can be more costly than salaried employees because they have the ability to renegotiate their contracts on an annual (sometimes as often as quarterly) basis. And their benefits are being paid by the company at a much higher rate than for a salaried employee -- in the form of higher hourly rates. Dramatically higher. The difference is that you aren't tied to them long term, so they make good project chasers and "specialists". Someone to get the job done, and then be cut loose. > Because loyalty, in its many forms, has a benefit that far outweighs the > cost. Unfortunately, in today's corporate America, that equation really no longer works. Employee loyalty does not feed the bottom line. It's customer loyalty that does. You have to CULTIVATE that loyalty; you cannot simply expect it to exist simply because they have shopped in your store. And customer loyalty can be a costly thing to maintain -- look to the auto industry for rebates; the grocery industry for coupons: all efforts to cultivate and maintain customer loyalty. And, customer loyalty comes from many things -- service, selection, price, among others. But consumer desires and motivations are fickle things. A customer is rarely loyal for any better reason than that they're satisfied with your service, selection/product and your price. Any one of those precariously balanced items can easily fall to the other side, swaying that customer's "loyalty" to someone else. Remember the "Buy American" campaigns mounted by the Unions in answer to the import threat of the 80's? Not "buy because of equal or better quality," not "Buy because of better selection" nor "buy because of better service." Just buy because it's made in America. They whined, to be frank. They expected you to buy American simply because you were American. And they weren't any more successful with it than you should expect to be with your arguments. It wasn't until they addressed issues with complacent industry and increased quality and productivity (which lowers prices) that they were able to stem the tide in many arenas. But, due to our inability or unwillingness to deal with the competition at hand, the steel and consumer electronics industries have pretty much been lost to another country -- and we almost lost the automotive industry to boot. I see a parallel in your discussion, though foreign competition is not involved. > Be loyal to your local establishment and think about its benefit to > the overall homebrewing community. Otherwise we'll all be back to Pabst > Hopped Malt Extract as the only choice around. Remember, it's good to be > passionate and emotional about brewing. If homebrewers were interested in a > homogenized economy where everyone got everything as cheap as possible, we'd > all be drinking MGD Light or Milwaukee's Best. It's not like (even with > bulk buying) you could EVER make beer as cheap as the big boys. If you want > cheap beer, drink swill. If you want to be able to create product of > unparalleled depth and creativity, homebrew. Nice chest thumping speech, but, doesn't tell my why I should buy from your shop vs the local brew pub. Otherwise, your hand-waving just goes to reinforce my point: too many home brew shops are depending on -- no! DEMANDING! -- the good will of the local home brewing community rather than taking measures to ensure they earn that goodwill and remain competitive and viable. More the pity. They'd miss my point, too. > Thanks for putting up with my diatribe. Pleasure. Hope you've enjoyed mine:) Of course, shop owners are free to run their business as they choose, and no-one -- no matter how well intentioned -- can come in and change that. Just please accept the converse and don't demand that consumers of your product operate under some ideals beyond the norm. I would rather this discussion take the intended course: how do we attract more to our hobby and ensure the customer base is there to support the supply base we've become used to? The organizations we thought were out there to do that have other mission statements or are simply missing the mark. We need to save ourselves. There's a whole lot of HBDer's out there and we all have ideas. Let's let some rip... [Except where noted, these are MY opinions; and do not necessarily reflect those of the HBD, it's other Janitor, or the Steering Committee.] Sorry for the long post. See ya! Pat Babcock in SE Michigan pbabcock at oeonline.com Home Brew Digest Janitor janitor@hbd.org HBD Web Site http://hbd.org The Home Brew Page http://oeonline.com/~pbabcock/brew.html "Just a cyber-shadow of his former brewing self..." Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 08:32:49 -0500 From: "Fred L. Johnson" <FLJohnson at worldnet.att.net> Subject: wort pH Mark Bayer states that too-low a pH of the wort can result in poor hot break. I have heard this before but without specific information. Could you, Mark, or anyone else specify at what point does low pH cause such problems? I presume that this is not an all-or-none phenomenon and that there is a measureable degree of hot break that will be produced at different pH levels. Can anyone provide a reference with more specific information? - -- Fred L. Johnson Apex, North Carolina USA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 21:23:14 EST From: TPuskar at aol.com Subject: Homebrew supply store list I travel up and down the East coast quite a bit. Whenever I have free time I like to find the local homebrew supply store and look around. I've found a wide assortment of shops with a wide range of talent as well as supplies. I dare say I've learned something from just about everyone I visit. My question to the collective is this: Does anyone have a database of homebrew shops suitable for a PDA like a Palm Pilot or even in some software suitable for a notebook computer? I usually lug a copy of Zymurgy or BT or BREW Your Own with me, but they take up a lot of space and get kinda heavy. I'd be glad to help put a list together if someone would be interested in dividing up the states and share a suitable source of advertising. No editorial comments needed--just searchable addresses. Private email to discuss this would be welcome. Tom Puskar Howell, NJ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 21:55:07 -0500 From: Dan Listermann <72723.1707 at compuserve.com> Subject: Poor Extraction I wrote: >>"One of the prime reasons that brewers get poor extractions >>is poor crushes. This is especially common >>amoung beginning all-grain brewers because of a fear >>of getting a stuck mash. Inconsistant crushes cannot >>be looked upon as an advantage." Joe Rolfe (rolfe at sky.com) writes: <Once you "see" good crush - you just know if it is good enuff or not. The more likely reason for crappy extract or batch to batch inconsistency, (outside of normal boundaries what ever that works out to for the beers you brew with your equipment) is old, stale or otherwise mishandled (many hands are touching this before you in most cases) malt. The next would be poor lautering, followed by pH/temp control, then i'll buy into the crush.> I can only speak from my experiance. I can only recall blaming bad extraction on poor malt once. It was malt that I malted myself. Considering that the last time I brewed with my own malt I got 28 points, it may have not been the malt. I have, however kicked myself over neglecting to mind the crush. This problem can usually be diagnosed by inspection of the spent grains. If the grain was under crushed, there are usually ends of grain that starch can be squeezed out of. I can't ever recall deciding that the commercially produced malt produced a poor extraction because it was "old or stale." How much moisture can a grain have to effect extraction enough to measure? I don't know, but I will bet that you could easily tell that there was a problem by chewing a sample. If you suspect a problem with your grain, there is a test that you can perform. I am sure that there is a formal, officially accepted way of doing this, but this works. Weigh out a known quantity of grain and crush it heavily. If your mill is unadjustable or you don't want to fool with a difficult adjustment mechanism, run it through a few times. You might want to reweigh the crushed grain. Weigh a pot and do a mash with the grain. A little on the runny side helps. After the mash, reweigh the pot, mash and water. Subtract the weight of the pot and the weight of the grain to find the weight of the water remaining. Take a cooled or temperatured corrected gravity reading. Divide the weight of the water by 8.34 lbs. per gallon and multiply it by the gravity expressed in points. Divide this number by the pounds of grain to arrive at the extraction rate in points per pound per gallon. An example is probably best. Say that you have a pot that weighs 3 pounds. You weigh out a .75lbs. of grain. You make out a runny mash using a little more than half gallon of water. After conversion you find that the whole thing weighs 7.92 pounds. Subtract out 3 pounds for the pot and .75 pounds for the grain. The remaining water weighs 4.17 pounds. Divide this number by the weight of a gallon of water - 8.34 pounds to arrive at the volume of water - .5 gallons. Now say that the gravity of the wort is 50. .5 gallons times 50 is 25 points and since you used .75 pounds to make it, the potential extraction of the malt is 25 divided by .75 or 33.3 points per pound per gallon. I developed this method while trying to determine how efficient mashing in bags is for partial mashes - about 20 points per pound per gallon for pale malts limited to a pound per bag. If you suspect that the malt is responsible for poor extractions try this. I doubt that it will be the case very often if at all. Again, it has been my experiance that the larger portion of the poor extraction problems comes from under milling. Rapid or poor lautering techniques are a distant second. Dan Listermann dan at listermann.com or 72723.1706 at compuserve.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 21:10:12 -0700 From: Paul Dey <alldey at uswest.net> Subject: Judging variability For those who enter competitions on an infrequent basis or have entered only once or twice, I want to offer a recent experience. It may help you put your scores into perspective. For example, a recent poster lamented the judges criticism of excessive DMS in a Cream Ale. My first though was, "what, its supposed to be there!". By the way, I'm a BJCP certified judge myself and enjoy entering beers in competitions and comparing the notes of others to my own...though I'm always biased when evaluating my own beers. Anyhow, I recently sent a robust porter to the "Best of Brooklyn" and the same beer to the Boston competition. Both relatively large competitions with a history of pulling off successful events. I scored the beer a 36 before sending it and noted low carbonation and fair at best head retention. Otherwise, I thought it was a fine example of the style. The Boston judges thought so as well assigning scores of 38 and 38 from a certified judge and an apprentice (the table's a little light but I know how hard it is to round up judges). They noted excellent hop/malt balance and nice coffee notes though it was dinged for lack of carbonation. The Brooklyn boys didn't like my beer and struggled to give it a 24 (which rates in the "good" category compared to an excellent rating by the previous judges). These judges, who were ranked as recognized, certified and certified, managed to find astringency (not uncommon in Robust Porters but interpretation of objectionable levels varies), oxidation, and metallic thinness among other comments. I could argue these points, but on re-tasting find a slight harshness in the finish that some may not like. It may be due to my high carbonate water. My point isn't to knock judges or a particular event, but instead to warn that no matter how qualified the judges, there is a degree of randomness in beer evaluation. Don't blindly accept some "expert's" prognosis but instead add it to your database and get others to comment on the beer and especially note how well you like the beer yourself. It also helps to send a beer to a couple competitions if you really want to hone a recipe. Oh, and send your beer to Boston not...oh, just kidding George :{) Paul Dey Cheyenne, WY Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:47:56 -0500 From: Dave Burley <Dave_Burley at compuserve.com> Subject: Chitosan, $3 X 40 = $120, outatown Brewsters: Harry Ewasiuk asks about Chitosan and its usefulness in fining beer. Chitosan is a complex carbohydrate extracted from the shells of shrimp and the like. It makes up part of the exo-skeletons of many mollusks and beetles. It has been on the market for quite a few years now with many, many proposed uses, but none that I know of which are major. I suspect it is a solution looking for a problem and exists because the source is so plentiful as a waste product around fisheries. Why not contact the Department of Fisheries (probably U.S Dept of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland via Internet or phone 202-555-1212 or US Govt. Information) and the similar agency there Canada and ask them. Check out the Internet. Please let the HBD know your findings. I do not know of its use in beer commercially or by homebrewers, but it wouldn't surprise me if it had been tried. - ----------------------------------------- I first wrote: "I thought Pat Bacock was old enough that he learned to do mathematics in his head. Guess not! $3 x40 bags = $120." Then I got a tongue in cheek note from Pat saying that *I* was the one who couldn't read, since he said if <HALF> of the profit $120. Thanks for being the ever vigilant HBD Janitor! 2X$120 IS $240 as he said. I continued: Nevertheless, hardly a difference between a viable business and bankruptcy. More likely the decline in economic activity is a problem of home brewing and winemaking as a hobby. Hobbies in the US, like any trend, ebb and flow with time. I agree with Pat's position but suggest that another approach for Homebrew/Wine stores to generate floor traffic is to expand or perhaps consolidate with another merchant locally with hobby related products, like cooking, baking, cheesemaking and other related hobbies. Inventory ( so sales/investment will go down) may go up, but these hobbies are easily cross-pollinated and could build the strength of the brewshop up to a more stable entity. This is a little like the insurance game, take enough risks and the probability is you will be stable over time. We would all be happier if HB stores were around for the foreseeable future. - -------------------------------------------- I'll be out of town for a week or so. I'll respond to any e-mail when I get back. - -------------------------------------------- Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:39:05 -0700 From: Ken Schwartz <kenbob at elp.rr.com> Subject: Nottingham Lag Times / Water Treatment Catching up on past HBDs after spending the weekend in the NYC area to attend the Holyfield-Lewis fight. What a cluster-f**k that was. And $5.75 for Bud on top of it all. Sheesh. Charles Beaver asks: "I just reviewed the 1998 postings on Nottingham yeast usage. About 75% claimed an explosive start to fermentation but the other 25% referenced very long lag times. I have recently used this yeast twice and found both times that the lag time was huge. Has anyone found the cause of the increased lag?" I have had both extremes of luck with Nottingham. For the very most part, it's a good, clean, neutral yeast that I even used once to make a credible Pilsner. However, in two cases I can recall (an American Wheat ale and a recent Vienna Fake-Lager), I had longer than expected lag times (18 hours or more) associated with obvious solventy/fusely notes in the flavor. There was a strong banana component to the aroma in the Vienna that has faded away, but the off-flavor persists. Not as bad as 85-degree-fermentation beer, but there. In the case of the Vienna, I also noticed that the rehydration "starter" did not foam as much as usual. Now, Lallemand says that foaming is not necessarily an indication of anything other than release of trapped air, but the lack of activity struck me enough to make a mental note of it and I wonder if the percentage of viable yeast was so small as to require overgrowth to compensate (see George de Piro's article in the latest Brewing Techniques for a good discussion of pitching rate vs growth vs esters & fusels). In this case also, I only pitched one package, whereas I normally pitch two. Both the wheat and the Vienna were well-aerated. The Vienna in fact was aerated with pure O2 with two one-minute blasts. I wonder if some mishandling of the yeast occurred that might have reduced the viable population? The expiration date was 11/01 so I know it was a fresh lot. Thomas S Bartlett asks: "Is water treatment really something i want to get myself involved in? In other words, will it significantly improve my beers, or simply make things more complicated?" I have on my web page some introductory information on water treatment along with a program called BreWater. Between these two resources (and plenty of other great info in many brewing books) you can make water treatment a truly simple part of your brewing routine. While trying to "duplicate" world-famous water profiles (to the extent possible at least) is kinda fun, another approach says make the water compatible with your brewing chemistry and don't sweat the details. My approach is to use RO water from the water store and add easy-to-find brewing salsts to suit, using BreWater or other software to guide me. Gypsum, chalk, baking soda, non-iodized canning salt, epsom salts, and calcium chloride make up my water treatment arsenal. The CaCl2 is a bit hard to find; I bought a bunch from HopTech (www.hoptech.com) a while ago and am still using the same bag. The other salts can be found at your HB store, the gorcery store, and the pharmacy. - -- ***** Ken Schwartz El Paso, TX Brewing Web Page: http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer E-mail: kenbob at elp.rr.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 05:54:10 EST From: JPSimo1106 at aol.com Subject: wheat malt extract To the collective malted intelligence: I need some information regarding wheat malt extract. Are there any problems similar to regular barley malt extract that I should be aware of? I was thinking of issues like the age of the extract, brand, color... Much appreciated, John Simonetta Randolph, MA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 07:31:23 -0500 From: fridge at kalamazoo.net Subject: Cleaning carboys Greetings folks, In HBD#2980, Andrew Nix asks what others use for cleaning carboys. I have found that "sudsy ammonia" from my local grocery store works great and is cheap too. I use a mixture of 3 parts water to one part sudsy ammonia. I fill my carboys and let them set for an hour or so before brushing with a regular carboy brush. I then let any solids settle out and pour off the ammonia mixture into 5gal buckets with tight-fitting lids until needed again. I rinse the carboys with clean water and store them stoppered, with a half-gallon or so of iodophor solution inside. I reuse the ammonia solution several times before I pitch it. A half-gallon jug of sudsy ammonia costs less than a buck. Hope this helps! Forrest Duddles - FridgeGuy in Kalamazoo fridge at kalamazoo.net Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 19:25:44 -0500 From: Randy Shreve <rashreve at interpath.com> Subject: Domestic Versus European Malts European base malts are significantly more expensive than domestic alternatives for obvious reasons. For the average (American) home brewer, is the extra cost for the European varieties really worth the extra cost? Are the flavor profiles of these malts THAT much different from what we have available to us here in the states? Thanks! Randy Brewing frugally in Salisbury, NC (almost time to buy a new sack of malt!) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 07:31:47 EST From: BreslerHS at aol.com Subject: The Demise of Another Local Homebrew Shop "...don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone; they've paved paradise and put up a parking lot." - --from "Big Yellow Taxi" by Joni Mitchell Goodale Homebrew Supply (of Columbus, Ohio) is closing its doors forever at the end of this month. We are losing a great resource here in Columbus. Not because Goodale was the only homebrew supplier in town, but because it was a DIFFERENT supplier. We have another good supplier in town, but Bob Cotterman, the proprietor of Goodale, had stuff you usually can't just walk in off the street and buy from anywhere else. Other stores will "special order" for you, but that's not the same as being able to walk into Bob's and say you wanted to put together an all-grain version of that recipe you found that takes 12 different specialty and pale grains, and he'd have them all. If you wanted pale malt, you could have your choice of Belgian, 2 kinds of British, US, and German. If you wanted genuine imported Belgian Pils, Munich or Special "B" it was there. If you wanted German grains, he had those, too. English crystal, US crystal, 10, 20, 40, 60, 80, 100L and so on -- you name it. Torrified, flaked, or raw -- wheat, corn, rye, or oats... I'm going to miss all that, and so will others here who also look upon their ingredients as if they were little treasures newly discovered. Bob carried the largest selection of keg parts I've ever seen outside of a catalog; poppets and gaskets of every shape and variety, and Bob knew which parts fit which kegs. You've got an old Firestone with a leaky poppet, he's got the replacement part to fit. Bob was also a community resource. He gave good brewing advice to all who wanted it, but never assumed that he knew it all. He gave discounts to homebrew club members to encourage communication among local brewers. I would often find a couple of brewers standing around tasting little bits of this grain or that, comparing tasting notes and creating recipes. I guess that didn't happen often enough, though. The members of the SODZ Homebrew Club will especially miss the shop. Besides the few percent offfor members, Bob allowed us to meet there once a month -- he even offered to purchase the chairs. We all owe him a great deal of thanks for his hospitality. "So," you ask, "what put Bob's little treasure chest out of business?" To some extent, all the things mentioned in this same HBD thread lately: declining numbers of new brewers probably being number one, experienced brewers buying bulk grain from other sources, competitors undercutting price on the biggest volume items, and the seasonal ups and downs, to name a few. In an effort to deal with the seasonal variation in brewing business, for a few years, Bob had a bicycle shop at the same location. Sold mostly bikes in the summer when the brewers didn't brew much, and sold brewing supplies in the winter when most people didn't bike. But the rent was too high and profits weren't all that good. So he moved to a smaller, less expensive location and gave up the bicycle business, but the homebrew business just isn't strong enough to keep him afloat. Another factor that played part in the decline of Goodale Homebrew Supply was that a local beer, wine and deli decided to start selling brewing supplies. They're cheap; much cheaper than Bob. But you can only buy one or two kinds pale malt, extracts and a few common specialty grains. There's no variety, there's no knowledgeable staff (they know beer, but not brewing), no brewing aids, no bookshelf, and there's no connection to other brewers. In a word, it's cold. There are fewer new homebrewers, so the market is undergoing consolidation. But we are losing some of the quality and diversity in our marketplace. I suppose it's a natural progression, in a business sense, but it's unfortunate just the same. It's like the disappearance of the neighborhood hardware store (with the friendly jack-of-all-trades who knows every brand of bathroom faucet and how to fix them). Sure, we get cheaper parts at the mega-hardware store, but there's no one there to teach you how to install them. So, we homebrewers are poorer for the loss of another homebrew supply shop. The hobby suffers (and I don't know where I'm going to go when I need imported Belgian Munich or German Rauchmalt). I guess I'll be special ordering or catalog shopping, things I haven't had to do before now. Will I patronize the other quality homebrew shop in Columbus more now that Goodale Homebrew Supply is gone? Probably, but only if they satisfy my needs as a homebrewer. Give me quality and variety! To some extent isn't that what we all want, why we became homebrewers in the first place? I will not set foot in the deli turned homebrew supplier; what they are doing is anathema to the spirit of homebrewing in my opinion. But I will do my best to support my local homebrew supplier, and I hope you will do the same. You never know when you might need that last-minute purchase of ____________. Good luck and good brewing, Herb Bexley, Ohio P.S. I originally intended to write an obituary, but it seems I've written a eulogy. Sorry if I've rambled, and thanks for the bandwidth. --HB Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 04:50:06 -0800 (PST) From: Matthew Comstock <mccomstock at yahoo.com> Subject: re:Local HB R.I.P. ajphoto writes: "because when they do stop in, they openly brag to each other about the deals they got at Localdemise.com." And you post the epitaph on hbd.org ajphoto writes: "...forget all about those who took the time and talked them through their first brew" hbd.org talked me through my first brew. Maybe Internet sales is putting local homebrew supply shops out of business like Walmart is killing 'Mom and Pop' local stores. Maybe local homebrew supply shops should notice the trend and go online - and offer competetive pricing. I like my local store. But I've been disappointed more than once by out-of-stock, or over-priced items. I won't pay $35 for a 5 gallon carboy just so I will be able to ask advice on what hops I can use in the place of the out-of-stock Fuggles. Matt Comstock in Cincinnati _________________________________________________________ DO YOU YAHOO!? Get your free at yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 08:15:02 -0600 From: Nathan Kanous <nlkanous at pharmacy.wisc.edu> Subject: never done a mead or pLambic for that matter Jim Williams asks about foolproof ways to make mead and pLambic with a caveat that he'll be moving in 6 months. He then states: > I know that the pellicle in a Plambic should not be disturbed. It will definately be disturbed if I > have to move it to another city! I guess it's reasonable not to want to disturb the pellicle on your pLambic. However, sometimes you don't have a choice (anybody want to help me move next month?). What I'll do is add some fruit to my pLambic after I move. That should start a secondary fermentation and bring the pellicle back to the top. Thoughts? nathan in madison, wi Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 06:24:36 -0800 From: "Bob Scott" <rrscott at jps.net> Subject: Cleaning Carboys Andrew Nix wondered abut cleaning carboys. Suggest soaking with a strong solution of dishwasher detergent (or TSP) overnight and then use a carboy brush. The solution should feel "slicky" to the touch. To get the sides clean, set the carboy on a towel on the floor and tilt it towards you with one hand. Use the carboy brush in an up and down motion as you roll the carboy to scrub all the surface area. Bob Scott Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:32:19 -0500 From: Dan Listermann <72723.1707 at compuserve.com> Subject: Bulk Buys John Varady ( rust1d at usa.net) writes: <One thing a shop owner could do, is to organize the bulk buy. Rather then being cut out of the loop, start the loop off. Make bi-monthly (or bi-annual) bulk purchases available to the customers. Require that they advance order at least 100 lbs and perhaps discount normal prices by 25-30%. This way everybody is happy. The shop owner still makes some profit and can order more then they could normally stock knowing that it is already sold. The home brewer gets his malt cheaper and doesn't feel the need to hunt down the bargain prices at other sources.> I own the homebrew shop in Cincinnati. We have a continous deal for bulk buying. You can buy any amount of grain by the ounce or pound at our regular price off the shelf. If you buy a bag of malt off the shelf, you get a 15% discount. It is our inventory bought with our money. If you are in a hurry and prepay, we will special order for 15% off. It is out of our order cycle, so shipping will be expensive. If you are not in a hurry and prepay, we will sell you a bag for 30% off. It is not our money and we can slip it into our order and shipping cycle. We have a deal with a local micro that lets us discount a domestic malt 50% off under these same circumstances. Dan Listermann dan at listermann.com 72723.1703 at compuserve.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 08:35:05 -0600 From: Nathan Kanous <nlkanous at pharmacy.wisc.edu> Subject: Stock Ale Hi Collective, I've read some information about Old Ales and Stock Ales historically undergoing a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. Has anybody tried to make a stock ale in this fashion? Anything to report / suggest? Thanks. nathan in madison, wi PS Bill Rogers, send me an e-mail so I have your address Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:44:34 -0500 From: "Penn, John" <John.Penn at jhuapl.edu> Subject: Support My Local HB Store... Went to my local HB store and talked to the owner who is a very nice guy and has been very helpful over my 3+ yrs of brewing. He lamented the loss of business to brewpubs, etc. I've seen his variety of offerings drop and the prices increase, but not too unreasonably. He has some business over the Internet, possibly from those of you who've lost your own local stores. If you're interested try (www.mdhb.com) and yes I have some self interest here in that I'd love to see my HB store stay around. He has been helpful and there's nothing to compare to getting your malt locally. Try shipping 33# of bulk LME anywhere and see what that final cost is! Don, the owner, has also introduced their own packaged kits which have been popular and I must commend him for also offering 2.5 gallon kits. I do know of some who don't drink that often or who like a large variety and a 2.5 gallon kit would be ideal for someone starting out or someone who doesn't drink that often. If I hear of some people starting out I will certainly recommend that they try some of the smaller 2.5g kits at my local HB store. 6oz bottles... Once again I noticed the small brown bottles of Goya Malta at the local grocery store for a mere $2.87 a 10 pack and have been tempted to buy them just for the bottles even though I've never tried Malta... especially after seeing that one post today of a store offering empty bottles at $1/ea!!! Wow! Yeast question... I recently had a problem with my Nottingham yeast starting within 24 hrs so I pitched some Morgans Ale yeast in addition and it took off by the next morning. My final gravity was quite a bit higher than I expected (1.019 vs. expected 1.010-12). Anyone know what the attenuation is for Morgans Ale yeast? I usually don't have a problem with Nottingham and this weeks batch I had no trouble with my Nottingham taking off by the time I checked it the next morning. John Penn Eldersburg, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:01:46 -0500 From: "Eric R. Theiner" <logic at skantech.com> Subject: Cleaning Carboys Andrew Nix asks: How does everyone out there scrub the inside of their carboys??? What detergents to you use??? I use Straight-A. And I will state for the record that I own the company that manufactures it, LOGIC, Inc. All sales pitches aside, I will say that I have a 50# keg of Straight-A that sits right next to my brewhouse sink. I use it liberally while cleaning and am quite happy with my results. For a carboy, I will throw in about 1/3 of a cup, fill it with cold water (I didn't bother to plumb a water heater into my brewhouse), and let it set. Last night, for example, we transferred a batch of strong scotch ale from a 6.5 gallon primary into a secondary. I put a little water in the bottom of the primary, swished it around, and repeated to get out the spent yeast and loose particles. I then put in the 1/3 cup of Straight-A, filled it with water, and had a beer with the guys. 30 minutes later, I poured out half of the solution, shook it, poured out the rest, and rinsed. Sometimes I do use a bottle brush to reach the carboy's "shoulders" if I feel impatient, and sometimes I let it set for a few days. NBD. Check out our website http://www.ecologiccleansers.com (Sorry for the commercial nature of this message, but if I didn't believe it was the best stuff to use, I wouldn't be making it.) Rick Theiner LOGIC, Inc. Return to table of contents
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