HOMEBREW Digest #304 Thu 16 November 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Large batches and cooling (H.W.) Troup <HWT at BNR.CA>
  Sanitation and water (Doug Roberts  at  Los Alamos National Laboratory)
  first-timer wants help w/light ginger-ale (M. Strata Rose)
  distinguishing hops varieties (Mark Stevens) <stevens at stsci.edu>
  Yeast Mixing after Pitching (willa)
  Re: Very long secondary fermentation (dave)
  infection problems (BROWN)
  Re: Sanitation and water (mark gryska)
  Re: Very long secondary fermentation (John Polstra)
  BTU's and boiling (David Baer)
  Re: Yeast vs. Wort Temperature (Dr. T. Andrews)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 09:03:00 EST From: Henry (H.W.) Troup <HWT at BNR.CA> Subject: Large batches and cooling Pardon me, I'm new to the list. I see a discussion of large (31 gallon ==> 110 litre) batches, and as someone most cogently remark 'you have to cool it afterwards'. The biggest batch I ever attempted was 10 imperial gallons, 45 litres. I lost that batch because: 1) I couldn't cool it quickly 2) I couldn't move the batch! 45 litres x 1.060 = 47.7kg + container - for non-metric people, 105 lbs. Cahrlie Papzian's book 'Complete Joy of Home Brewing' shows a flow-through wort cooler. I'd like to have own of those, before trying another big batch. This still wouldn't help me to get it from the warm kitchen to the cool basement, though. HWT at BNR.CA (NETNORTH/BITNET) uunet!attcan!utgpu!bnr-vpa!bnr-fos!hwt%bmerh490 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 08:53:02 MST From: roberts%studguppy at LANL.GOV (Doug Roberts at Los Alamos National Laboratory) Subject: Sanitation and water The measures described by your friend Robert seem, well, phobic is the word that pops to mind. I've never had contamination problems as you've described, except for one time that I didn't clean all of my bottles thouroughly. I've always had satisfactory results using either bleach or sodium metabisulfate. On a related note: I watched a PBS show about a small British brew pub the other night, adn it was a real eye-opener with respect to sanitation/sterilization. The film showed the owner of the pub pitching yeast WITH HIS BARE HANDS!. He scooped a double handful from an open barrel and tossed it in the fermenter! The extreme sterilization measures you described: repeatedly scrubbing your hands with hexachlorophene, heating the carboys, boiling everything etc. strike me as being completely unnecessary. I would, instead, suspect (as you mentioned) your yeast. --Doug ================================================================ Douglas Roberts | Los Alamos National Laboratory |I can resist anything Box 1663, MS F-602 | except temptation. Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 | ... (505)667-4569 |Oscar Wilde dzzr at lanl.gov | ================================================================ Date: Wed, 15 Nov 1989 11:53:44 EST From: M. Strata Rose <strata at FENCHURCH.MIT.EDU> Subject: first-timer wants help w/light ginger-ale Hi folks! I'm a complete newbie at this, my only experience with home brewing so far (if I may make so bold as to use the term for this!) has been making root beer from yeast & commercial extract in my old college dorm days. I'm planning on moving out to the Great NorthWet in the spring, and am going to have a big going-away party. I'd very much like to have a light ginger beer to celebrate with. Ever since having a home-brewed gingerale once, I'm eager to create a particular kind of drink. It's like a very gingery gingerale, with cinnamon & a little clove flavor, very low alcohol but enough so that 3 or 4 bottles would map onto 2 or 3 bottles of good beer. I'll be avoiding some of the typical problems in that I don't plan to rack it into individual bottles. I'm quite positive we will go through a keg/carboy in just no time at all, so the bottles are a bit superfluous! So, 2 primary questions: 1) first and foremost, does anyone already have a recipe for the sort of brew I described above, or the name of a brewing/recipe tome that does? 2) am I better off just borrowing a plastic Belmont Springs water carboy from work and buying a fermentation lock, or do I need other stuff and would be better off buying a beginning kit from somewhere (please supply the "where" info, too!) Thanks for any and all help. I must say, the signal to noise ratio of this mailing list is impressive! I've picked up enough basics by osmosis in the past month to feel comfortable attempting this. I'm planning on leaving around March 1st, BTW, which seems like enough time to "mature" a low-alcohol sweet-tasting spiced beer. Would be great if I had enough time to brew a test batch beforehand, though! _Strata Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 12:08:27 EST From: (Mark Stevens) <stevens at stsci.edu> Subject: distinguishing hops varieties Does anybody reading this newsletter raise their own hops? I'm trying to find out if there is a way to tell varieties of hops apart by looking at them. A friend has hops growing in his yard, but they were planted by the former owner--a homebrewer--and my friend has no idea what kind of hops they are. "Brewing & Malting Science" has a chapter on botany of hops, but they don't go into how to tell apart hops varieties...other than to say what the relative alpha-acid content of each is. Only thing they really say is that there are two types of common hops; humulus lupulus (used in brewing) and humulus japonicus (ornamental without resins/acids). I assume that my friend's hops are humulus lupulus because they were planted by a homebrewer. But how can tell if they are high alph content hops (like Northern Brewer) as opposed to aromatic hops (like Fuggles)?? Anybody know of a good reference on this subject???? **UNRELATED QUESTION** Does anybody know how to submit an entry for Latrobe's contest to solve the mystery of "33"???? Supposedly details are available from retailers, but none of the retailers near my house seem to know about it. *** Mark Stevens (301)338-4892 stevens at ra.stsci.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 09:33:45 PST From: willa at hpvclwa Subject: Yeast Mixing after Pitching pms at Sun.COM (Patrick Stirling) writes: > 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. I have a rubber stopper (no holes) that fits my carboy (a size 6.5 or 7 I think). I sanitize the stopper in chlorine. After pitching, I plug the carboy, and roll it back and forth on the floor. This gets things mixed up without risk of contamination. . . .Will Will Allen HP Vancouver Division willa at hpvcfs1.hp.com or ...!hplabs!hpvcfs1!willa Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 09:19:26 PST From: whoops!dave at celerity.fps.com Subject: Re: 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 > We just did up a batch of "steam" beer and it took about that long to ferment. It seems to have come out OK; we tried a bottle of it last weekend (1 week after bottling) and it was still green, but tasted as if it were going somewhere. Excellent amber color, at least. David L. Smith FPS Computing, San Diego ucsd!celerity!dave or dave at fps.com "Repent, Harlequin!," said the TickTock Man Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 12:30 EST From: <BROWN%MSUKBS.BITNET at CORNELLC.cit.cornell.edu> Subject: infection problems Doug Allison writes: > 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. > So I made two batches of beer on 10/21, one all-grain, and one > grain/extract. . . 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 had similar problems a couple years ago. I moved to an extremely damp house that was prone to mildew (and I assume other airborned microbes). I immediately started having the same problems describe above, i.e. beers that initially taste good, but eventually developed infections which caused gushing. I eventually got rid of the problem by (1) Brewing only in the winter when mold counts in my house were presumably low (2) Replacing old hoses, lauter-tuns and generally keeping it clean and (3) Boiling the entire batch. From your experiment described above I would guess that your source of infection was somewhere in your lauter-tun or wort-cooling equipment (since only the all-grain is working slowly). If you used EXACTLY the same procedures on both batches, then I'd guess that the all-grain batch has more complex sugars which only the wild microbes can break down (the extract batch is mostly simple sugars which the beer yeasts completely convert). The yeast may be the problem, although I've made super-clean batches of beer with Edme ale yeast. Before I spent a lot of time culturing yeast, I'd make sure the other aspects of the process are super clean -- I believe, for example, that it's just not possible to sanitize an old hose. Buy a new one. Good luck -- this sort of problem is infuriating. Jackie Brown Bitnet: Brown at msukbs Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 12:57:11 EST From: mark at zippy.cs.umass.edu (mark gryska) Subject: Re: Sanitation and water Doug Allison writes: > ... 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. Hexachlorophene? Whoa! Perish the thought. Ok, relax and have a homebrew. There is a picture in Michael Jackson's World Guide to Beer of a brewer taking a sample from a large open wooden fermentation tank, he is just scooping it out and taking a peek to see how things are going. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that the beer being sampled is especially tasty. How can these folks get away with open fermenters, sticking things down into the beer??? Sheer numbers. If you have enough yeast fermenting away a stray bacteria here and there can't do much damage. Simple sanitation procedures should be sufficient, the next thing to take care of is the yeast. You are quite right in assuming that the dried yeast is the culprit in your contaminated brew. It just doesn't make sense to spend money on Malt and Hops and then spend time making the beer and then use dried yeast. Don't take my word for it, spend a couple of extra bucks and get yourself a pure liquid culture. Take your next brew split it into two carboys throw dried yeast into one and the pure culture into the other. Wait and see... So far so good, the next thing to take care of is reducing the lag phase. This is where the beer is suceptible to contamination. We want a lot of yeast fermenting strongly to pitch into the wort. According to Greg Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer": A good culture (strong fermenter) should be pitched at 8.5 g/gal (4 fl ounces of wort starter should produce 2-4g pure yeast.) This means using a starter of up to 88 fl ounces for a 5 gallon batch. In practice I have had good results using one pint. We have a good culture, fermenting away, at the height of krausen, and he goes to pitch... Wait, do we have a good environment for the yeast? (remember Napoleon's march on Waterloo) Aerate the wort, the yeast needs oxygen for the lag phase. What is the temperature? Drastic changes in temperature shock the yeast, pitch at a temperature close to your fermentation temperature. Try using a pure culture, if you haven't then you haven't tried to brew the best beer that you are capable of brewing. If all fails let me know and I'll send you a doughnut. Happy Brewing. - mg Mark Gryska gryska at cs.umass.edu mark at zippy.cs.umass.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 09:31:17 PST From: polstra!jdp at hplabs.HP.COM (John Polstra) Subject: Re: Very long secondary fermentation In HBD #303, Stuart Crawford <stuart at ads.com> writes: > 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. No, honestly, continued bubbling of the fermentation lock doesn't mean much of anything. Trust me. There is only one reliable way to determine whether your wort is fermented out, and that's by taking specific gravity readings. If you get the same SG (within a point or so) in two readings taken three days apart, it's time to bottle. After three weeks in secondary at 60 degrees, your wort is almost certainly fermented out. Don't worry though! The extra settling time will just give you clearer beer. -- 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: Wed, 15 Nov 89 11:38:26 PST From: dsbaer at EBay.Sun.COM (David Baer) Subject: BTU's and boiling I have a "COUNTRY COOKER" that is a portable burner that runs on propane. I believe it is rated at 32-35,000 BTU. With the the valve on full, it will boil a 33qrt pot of water in about 30 minutes. I suggest looking for Bill Owens book: "How to Build a Small Brewery at Home". He converts a 1/2 keg (15.5 gallons) into a boiler and uses a water heater core for the burner. His infusion technique and the counter-flow wort chiller are interesting but personally I think they are a little out-dated. good luck with the 1 barrel set-up, remember 100 gallons per adult/200 gallons per household is the current homebrew limit in CA. Dave Baer Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 89 19:04:44 EST From: Dr. T. Andrews <ki4pv!tanner at uunet.UU.NET> Subject: Re: Yeast vs. Wort Temperature ) [ dilemma: pitch now at 80\(de or go to work & wait ] Pitch it now. Around here, anything below 100\(de seems to work fine for ale. It doesn't hurt the yeast to be pitched at 90\(de, and later processing chews up any unpleasant products which might be generated in the first few minutes. Hey, if I had to wait for the wort to cool down to 80\(de, I'd never get any beer made! -- ...!bikini.cis.ufl.edu!ki4pv!tanner ...!bpa!cdin-1!ki4pv!tanner or... {allegra attctc gatech!uflorida uunet!cdin-1}!ki4pv!tanner Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #304, 11/16/89
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