HOMEBREW Digest #303 Wed 15 November 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Sanitation and water (doug)
  BTU Ratings (Mike Fertsch)
  Yeast pitching (Patrick Stirling)
  Very long secondary fermentation (Stuart Crawford)
  BTUs (Ed Falk)
  San Antonio brewery info (BROWN)
  Re:  sterilizing & kegging (John Polstra)
  Problem with digest format -- cannot burst reliably. (Chris Shenton)
  Other sources questions (Chris Shenton)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 06:43:39 EST From: hisata!doug at gatech.edu Subject: Sanitation and water Some thoughts on recent comments about water and sanitation. I have had a lot of trouble with my homebrew kicking into a late fermentation, resulting in gushing after being in the bottles for 3 or 4 months. Many of my beers have a slight sour flavor, which I think is caused by lactobacillis. (Can someone more knowledgeable confirm this?) I have tried repeatedly to be as clean and sanitary as I can, but my results are mixed. Some beer is delicious, some has the slight sour flavor, and a few batches gush. Only 2 of 13 batches have been completely undrinkable (so far). I asked my friend Robert for advice. Robert is an electronmicroscopist/ microbiologist/chemistry professor/homebrewer. He pointed out that the usual homebrewer's sanitation practices are just that: sanitation, not sterilization. He advised sterilizing with a 1:3 bleach/water solution (I still don't make it this strong). He said NOT to rinse, that you just recontaminate, unless you're rinsing with sterile water. Once the bleach solution dries, he says it's mostly inactivated. Also, if you've sterilized equipment used while boiling the wort, the organics in the wort should neutralize the bleach. As far as tap water goes, it is usually quite contaminated, and you're running a risk using it. He claims even distilled water isn't guaranteed to be pure, and bottled spring water can have lots of critters swimming in it. The only way to be sure is to boil it in a pressure cooker, essentially autoclaving it. If you can't do this, at the least it should be boiled 10 mins. So I made two batches of beer on 10/21, one all-grain, and one grain/extract. I sterilized everything with a very strong bleach solution, I boiled every drop of water 30 mins (but not in the pressure cooker), I repeatedly scrubbed my hands with hexachlorophene, I even heated the carboys--slowly--in the oven to 300 degrees. (Robert assured me that would also do in any residual chlorine.) The yeast was rehydrated in sterile water before pitching. (A highly recommended practice.) Both batches got off to a flying start, fermenting nicely. The grain/extract finished working and was bottled on 11/4. The raw beer tasted great, without a hint of bacterial sourness. The all-grain batch, however, is still slowly working. I've got a very bad feeling about this! This is typical behavior of an infection. With all I did to insure cleanliness, I have just one more suspect.... THE YEAST! The latest issue of "Zymurgy"--a marvelous issue, BTW--points out in a couple of articles how contaminated package yeast can be, as well as how limited its viability is, depending on storage conditions. Both batches were made with Edme dry yeast. The last, gushing batch was made with Munton & Fison. I'm strongly considering culturing my own (see "Zymurgy" again). Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it a pain? Is it worth it? BTW, Robert is a nice guy and brews good beer. (He uses a little instant coffee in his porter. You couldn't identify it if you didn't know what it was, but it adds to the "dark" flavor.) However, he's something of a perfectionist (to be polite), and I would take his advice with a grain or two of salt. But I was desperate, so followed his advice. Also, he has offered to take some of my gushing beer to the lab and culture it to let me know what got in it! Doug Allison UUCP: ...!gatech!hisata!doug Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 09:38 EST From: Mike Fertsch <FERTSCH at adc1.adc.ray.com> Subject: BTU Ratings Guy Ruth asks about BTU's and batch size: > With a little calculation, I was able to figure that a minimum heat source > should put out approx. 15,000 BTUs. I used the following figures: > 31 gallons at approx. 8#/gallon > 1 BTU to raise 1# of water 1 degree F > temperature change of 60 degrees to achieve boiling > ======= > 14,880 BTUs I think 15,000 BTU's are way too little for boiling 31 gallons of wort. Missing from these calculations are any thermal losses. If the kettle is perfectly insulated, and no heat escapes from the lid, 15,000 might be enough. I believe stoves are rated in BTU/hour. WITH NO THERMAL LOSSES you will get your water to 200+ degrees in an hour. It has been a long time since thermodynamics class, but also missing is the energy necessary to bring 212 degree water to 212 degree steam. (I recall the 'delta-H' of transformation being 10 kcal/mol - I can't convert this to BTU's, but I believe this is significant.) A 15,000 BTU burner will NEVER get 31 gallons to boil. I have friends who use Coleman-type propane burners (available from a sporting goods store) rated at 26,000 BTU. They are great for boiling six or seven gallons of wort. They heat the wort in a hurry (<20 minutes) at full throttle, and keep a moderate boil going when throttled back. Personally, I use a 120,000 BTU propane burner. It sounds like a jet engine. It was marketed at a "Creole Cooker"; I cook Creoles in it :-) 120,000 BTU is way overkill for 6 gallons of wort! Even throttled back, I have difficulty controlling the boil. I suspect that it would be sized 'just right' for 31 gallons of wort. I have another colleague who brews in 25 gallon batch sizes. He uses an industrial kitchen stove. He got it from a restaurant. I don't know its BTU rating. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 08:59:06 PST From: pms at Sun.COM (Patrick Stirling) Subject: Yeast pitching I've tried several methods of adding yeast to wort: sprinkling the dry yeast, rehydrating it in warm wort, and rehydrating in warm water. I haven't found any appreciable difference. Rehydrated yeast should be better on paper, because that way you'll find out if the yest is OK before it's too late! Also the yeast gets a head start and should get going faster. I have also pitched at temperatures varying from 70F to 100F. At higher temps (>80 or so), the fermentation sometimes (usually!) ends prematurely, at around "half" the SG (e.g. 1.050 -> 1.025), but at the proper temp it ferments to closer to 1/4 SG (1.050 -> 1.013). I don't like the idea of stirring, it sound too risky to me, and slooshing in a cup or so of rehydrated yeast should cause plenty of turbulence by itself. You wouldn't want those little yeasties to get spread out and lonely in all that wort after all, would you?! Oh, about Guy's BTU calculations. There's no time in the BTU's because it doesn't matter how slowly (or fast) the heat is added - 1BTU raises 1lb water 1F, period. So you have to add 14,880BTU to get your 31 gal to a boil from about 150F (your 60F raise). Stoves should be rated with BTU and time, e.g. a 15,000BTU/hr stove would take an hour for your set up. Unfortunately I have no idea whether 15k BTU/hr is a table top range or a blast furnace! patrick Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 10:22:22 PST From: Stuart Crawford <stuart at ads.com> Subject: Very long secondary fermentation Despite being urged to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew", I'm a bit concerned about the batch that is currently undergoing secondary fermentation. This batch (a San Francisco Steam style) is being held at a relatively constant 60 degrees farenheit, and contains a *lager* yeast. The primary fermentation was vigorous, and I transferred to the secondary fermenter after about 4 days. What worries me is that after 3 weeks in the secondary fermenter, there is *still* a gentle, but constant, stream of bubbles emerging... indicating that fermentation is not complete. Isn't this a rather long secondary fermentation---even for a lager yeast? Thanks in advance, Stuart Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 10:56:45 PST From: falk at Sun.COM (Ed Falk) Subject: BTUs > > 14,880 BTUs > > The one thing missing from the calculation that I'm very interested in > is a reference to time. For all I know I could be heating the kettle > several hours to achieve a rolling boil. If I were to get a burner > that's too hot, I wouldn't want to start a melt down either. Can > anyone help? 1 BTU = 1055 joules 14,880 BTU = 15.7e6 joules 1 joule = 1 watt*sec. So for example, a 1000 watt heater would take 15,700 seconds = 4.3 hours. Note that that's just to bring the water up to boiling point. It takes another 971 BTU/lb = 240,800 BTU/31gal = 70.5 hours to actually boil it all away. Also, you have to cool it afterwards. I suppose commercial breweries use heat exchangers. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 15:25 EST From: <BROWN%MSUKBS.BITNET at CORNELLC.cit.cornell.edu> Subject: San Antonio brewery info I'm going to be in San Antonio, TX in a few weeks. Are there any interesting brewpubs or local beers I should not miss? Thanks, Jackie Brown Bitnet: Brown at msukbs Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 09:45:27 PST From: polstra!jdp at hplabs.HP.COM (John Polstra) Subject: Re: sterilizing & kegging > I have been sterilizing my bottle caps in chlorine for 7 years now > with no problems. Man, that's paranoia! Fifteen minutes should be *plenty* :-) -- John Polstra jdp at polstra.UUCP Polstra & Co., Inc. ...{uunet,sun}!practic!polstra!jdp Seattle, WA (206) 932-6482 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 14:11:57 est From: Chris Shenton <chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov> Subject: Problem with digest format -- cannot burst reliably. I am using vm to read the homebrew digests and am having problems bursting them. It thinks things like peoples signatures and other separators beginning with a dash at the left margin are message separators. Example: <text of message> -- <your signature here> gets burst into two messages; the <your signature here> has no headers, so appears to have no text. I asked vm's author for help, and here is his reply: Kyle Jones writes: > Chris Shenton writes about digests: > > Is there a standard message digest delimiter, a proper number of > > dashes, etc? Or is vm looking for any number of dashes at the > > beginning of a line, terminated by a newline? > RFC 934, "Proposed Standard for Message Encapsulation", specifies that > any line whose first character is `-' and whose second character is not > ` ' (space), is to be considered a message separator. > When a RFC 934 conformant digest is created, message lines beginning > with `-' are supposed to be prepended with "- ". The digest bursting > agent will strip these characters before presenting the message to the > user. So it appears that any line beginning with a dash -- not followed by a space -- will act as a message separator; this happens *a lot* in signatures, but also when people use a line of dashes to set off their recipes, etc. Would you be able to add this prepended ``- '' to the offending lines? I don't know how many other mail-reader bursting algorithms fail to work without it, but I don't see how they really could at all in the present state. Does anyone else have this problem? I'm losing a lot of good info! Thanks in advance. _______________________________________________________________________________ It's a good thing these lines don't start with ``-'' Internet: chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov ( NASA/GSFC: Code 735 UUCP: uunet!asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov!chris Greenbelt, MD 20771 SPAN: PITCH::CHRIS (DECNET) 301-286-6093 =============================================================================== Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 09:52:59 est From: Chris Shenton <chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov> Subject: Other sources questions Ed Falk writes: > Where can I get empty bottles? My friends are just about tapped out > and when I go to bars and ask them, they just look at me funny. I've had good luck at a local chili house which serves good beer. That doesn't really help, but they also serve bad beer in returnable longnecks. For the price of the deposit, and the guarantee of a sample of the next batch, I get a couple cases, with the handy stackable, luggable cases. I've never been able to get more than 4 cases at a time, but I guess they want me to come back and buy more chili... Not the most simple or reliable, but the price is right. I have had some luck at bars and art-openings obtaining mass quantities of champagne bottles (New Year's Eve is not that far away!). Great for mead, wine, and not bad at all for beer. I've priced Grolsch-style bottles (rubber gasket around ceramic cap) at canning and gourmet places and they're prohibitive, especially in the quantities I need. Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #303, 11/15/89
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