HOMEBREW Digest #305 Fri 17 November 1989
FORUM ON BEER, HOMEBREWING, AND RELATED ISSUES
Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator
Re: Sanitation and water (boubez)
Re: Sanitation and Water (iwtio!korz)
kegging (Steve Harris)
Re: first-timer wants help w/light ginger-ale (kipps)
Sanitation (Dave Suurballe)
Re: Large batches and cooling (Buz Owen)
Stirring, Long Ferment, Bottles (Marc San Soucie)
Re: Bursting Digests (rdg)
Send submissions to homebrew%hpfcmr at hplabs.hp.com
Send requests to homebrew-request%hpfcmr at hplabs.hp.com
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 10:30:45 EST
From: boubez at bass.rutgers.edu
Subject: Re: Sanitation and water
Doug Allison writes:
>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,
I am a newcomer to homebrewing, but I have a few comments about this. I am now
in the process of waiting for my FIRST batch to complete its fermentation.
When I first started, I cleaned the plastic fermenter with some white powder
that the lady at the store recommended (ingredient: active oxygen). I rinsed
it properly (I think) and I filled it with 1/2 gallon more water that I should
I then removed that extra 1/2 gallon (using a sanitized cup, of course :-)).
Everything else went according to plan. BTW, I used bottled spring water.
Yesterday, I tasted some of that water, and it has a horrible, bitter after
I'm positive it'll show up in my beer. Now what I think happened is that I
didn't REALLY rinse as much as I thought I did, leaving some of the taste of
the sanitizer in the container. So I'm really suspicious about NOT rinsing
your containers, unless (and I don't know about this) bleach does not leave
The other point I want to make is that, according to Papazian' book, (I don't
have the book here, but I think I remember correctly) the homebrewing
equipment does not need to be STERILIZED, only SANITIZED, to give your yeast
an edge over the competition. I think that he also says that a lot of the
commercial breweries don't sterilize either, they just sanitize, but I'm not
as sure about this. Well, this is all. What do more experienced brewers think?
boubez at caip.rutgers.edu
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 08:54:33 PST
From: willa at hpvclwa
Mark Stevens is looking for a good reference on hops.
Try contacting the USDA! A couple of years ago, a USDA hop guru gave a very
informative talk at a brewing conference held in Portland Oregon. I think
his name was Al Honnold (Hannold?). He developed the Willamette and Cascade
varieties, and others. Try calling the USDA at 503/326-3733 (a Portland branch
office). You'll have to be the detective: try to get the phone number of the
hops research facilities located here in the NW.
. . .Will
HP Vancouver Division
willa at hpvcfs1.hp.com or ...!hplabs!hpvcfs1!willa
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 10:27:14 mst
From: att!iwtio!korz at hplabs.HP.COM
Subject: Re: Sanitation and Water
The PBS program that Doug Roberts refered to is: The Brewers of Helston. A
very interesting program (I saw it about a year ago, so it keeps coming around
- consult your local listings) and I too was shocked by their sloppy (by
homebrew standards!) sanitation proceedures. However, in defense of the
brewers of Helston, they mentioned, that since they were a small operation,
the govt. allows them to serve after only 10 days of fermentation. They are
making ale of course and if the fermentation starts out with a bang, most
bacteria don't have a chance and the beer is gone within 14 days, which is not
enough time for bacteria to really spoil the beer. We homebrewers, on the
other hand, often bottle beers and keep them for months. Notice that a lot of
letters about gushers start out: "... the beer tasted good [etc., etc.] after
4 weeks, but all the bottles opened after 8 weeks, foamed-up all over the
place, tasted sour, and had lost their sweetness..." This is not uncommon
because it takes a while for the bacteria to get going. So, my advice is, if
you cannot resist finishing off a batch after only 4 weeks, then you could be
more lax in your sanitation proceedures, but if you're making lagers and plan
to "lager" them for six months, good sanitation is imperative. For the rest
of us, develop a good sanitation methodology, make it a habit, and stick with
it -- after a few batches, it becomes second nature.
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 89 10:56:11 EST
From: etnibsd!vsh at uunet.UU.NET (Steve Harris)
I'm an absolute beginning homebrewer, but I have friends who are quite
experienced. As I recall, somebody said that there are two styles of
Cornelius keg taps (is that the right term? -- the gizmos to which you attach
the gas-input and beer-output hoses).
You will want to settle on one style and accumulate equipment compatible with
that style, so before you invest, find out which style is going to be
easiest/cheapest to obtain in your area.
Somebody please correct or expand on these remarks as I don't want to mislead
any other novices.
Steve Harris -- Eaton Corp. -- Beverly, MA -- uunet!etnibsd!vsh
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 09:32:09 -0800
From: kipps at etoile.ICS.UCI.EDU
Subject: Re: first-timer wants help w/light ginger-ale
> 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
> 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?
I've never heard of such a recipe, but I have an idea. There's a soda extract
(available from most homebrew suppliers) called Ginger Beer. This extract is
dark, like root beer, but has a nice ginger/clove snap to it. If made
according to the instructions (with sugar and champange yeast), it has an
alcohol content of less than 1/2 percent; a lot lower than what you want.
What would happen if you added this extract to a low-hopped malt base? For a
5 gallon batch, I'd try something like 5 lbs. of an American light (dry) and 1
1/2 oz. Cascade hops (1 oz. for boil; 1/2 oz. for aroma). If you added the
extract (and maybe some cloves and cinnamon) at the end of the boil, I'd think
this might give you a brew with all the flavor of ginger beer and an alcohol
content of 3 to 4 percent. Actually, I think I might try this myself. You
might also want to prime with 1/2 cup of molasses and 1/2 cup corn sugar, I've
found this gives beer a more soda-like carbonation.
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 09:38:20 PST
From: hsfmsh!hsfdjs!suurb at sfsun.West.Sun.COM (Dave Suurballe)
> 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!
Just because he can do it doesn't mean we can. That beer was certainly all
sold on draft and it was all gone within two weeks of pitching the yeast.
Most of us keep our beer around longer than that.
The brewer was definitely infecting the batch, but the population he
inocculated (from his hands) was small enough that it couldn't grow to the
tastable threshold before the beer was all gone. An absurd example in our own
life is the fact that nobody sterilizes their beer glass before pouring beer
into it. Sure there's bacteria in the glass, and it infects the beer, but it
doesn't have time to make a difference.
Check it out, Doug. Pitch your next batch with your bare hands, then ferment
and bottle as usual. Drink one bottle every week. When you can taste the
infection, compare the elapsed time to your normal shelf life.
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 14:54:28 -0500
From: Buz Owen <ado at BBN.COM>
Subject: Re: Large batches and cooling
In HOMEBREW Digest #304, Henry (H.W.) Troup <HWT at BNR.CA> writes:
> I couldn't move the batch! 45 litres x 1.060 = 47.7kg + container
> -- for non-metric people, 105 lbs.
> This still wouldn't help me to get it from the warm kitchen to the
> cool basement, though.
You could syphon the wort down to the basement, cooling it at the same time.
The only problem I can see with this is that the tubing will be heavy when
filled with wort. Common sense suggests using a single long piece of tubing
well secured at the upper end. Syphon enough water to fill the entire length,
for a few minutes, to make sure nothing will pull loose when syphoning the
Date: 16 Nov 89 15:23:24 EST (Thu)
From: mds at wang.WANG.COM (Marc San Soucie)
Subject: Stirring, Long Ferment, Bottles
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. You wouldn't want those little yeasties to
> get spread out and lonely in all that wort after all, would you?!
Heavens! The lonelier they are, the more vigorously they go at it when the
boy yeasties meet the girl yeasties, and the more yeasties you get, and the
better the fermentation! Peace, Love, Yeast!
Stirring is a Good Thing. I use a sanitized spatula, and whisk up a good froth
in the cooled wort, so the yeast will have a good oxygen supply during the
initial stages of fermentation. Considering that so many professionals ferment
in open tanks, I hardly see the harm.
Stuart Crawford writes:
> Despite being urged to "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew", I'm a bit
> concerned about the batch currently undergoing secondary fermentation.
> This batch (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 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.
My two all-time fermentation winners are a recently bottled lager - four months
in the fridge at 55 degrees, and an amber ale which has sat happily at 60-70
for five months now. I am a lazy bastard of a brewer, too stubborn to buy a
turkey baster to use in testing the S.G. of the beer, so for all I know the
ale was done three months ago. It is still bubbling a trifle, but as others
have noted, that doesn't always mean anything. If I was good about my
sanitization, the ale should be fine still. The lager is downright yummy.
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 was lucky enough to find a bar run by a guy who thought home-brewing was
the damned strangest thing he'd ever heard of, but if I really wanted them,
sure, take 12 cases for $20.
The best technique, though, is to make good enough beer that people come to
you with bottles, rather than you having to hunt for them. I usually found
that a case-of-bottles-to-a-six-pack-of-beer ratio worked wonders. I got
cheap and cut it back to four bottles when my supply of empties got too big.
But since the beer was better, nobody called the cops.
Marc San Soucie
The John Smallbrewers
mds at wang.wang.com
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 89 17:10:09 MST
From: rdg at hpfcmi
Subject: Re: Bursting Digests
Full-Name: Rob Gardner
> Subject: Problem with digest format -- cannot burst reliably.
> <text of message>
> <your signature here>
I think this should be fixed now. I change any leading '--' to '- '.
ps. we have *500* subscribers now!
End of HOMEBREW Digest #305, 11/17/89
HTML-ized on 06/29/00, by HBD2HTML version 1.2 by K.F.L.
webmaster at hbd.org, KFL, 10/9/96