HOMEBREW Digest #3067 Sat 26 June 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

  Cutting kegs (Harlan Bauer)
  Berliner Weisse (Nathan Kanous)
  Trusty old crock pot (Nathan Kanous)
  re: Berliner weisse ("Charles T. Major")
  Outatown, Thermometer Repair (Dave Burley)
  Re: Sparklers and Swans ("Jim Busch")
  Wacky thermometer (Demonick)
  Converting Kegs (Eric Schoville)
  Re: Cutting the Top out of a Keg (Zurekbrau)
  Cutin' Kegs? (Joy Hansen)
  Wacky? (Joy Hansen)
  false bottom mashers (SClaus4688)
  Wisconsin and Shepherd Neame yeast (Keith Busby)
  Stirplate problem/Electronics (Harlan Bauer)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 00:43:54 -0500 From: Harlan Bauer <blacksab at midwest.net> Subject: Cutting kegs I've cut up quite a few kegs, and I find for cutting a hole in the top of the keg, a Sawzall works quite well if you're at all skilled with the tool. I've been able to cut up to 3 kegs using a single blade. The secret--work very slowly so as not to overheat the blade. Also, fill the keg with water to keep it from jumping around, AND WEAR EARPLUGS!!! With this method, all I need is a quick file to smooth out the rough edges, and a little sandpaper to make it absolutely smooth--the saw cut makes it round. To draw the line, hook a loop of thin wire around the Sanke neck and draw a bunch of concentric circles. Why? Because once you've cut the first circle, you have no more point of reference in the event that the first cut is the wrong size. However, if you use some type of caliper, you can choose the corect line for the lid and get it right the first time. All my lids fit perfectly. Simply split the line and do not depend on using a file to correct your mistakes--go slowly and cut accurately. To cut the whole top off--chine and all--I use a Bosch variable speed saber saw and use the weld as my cut guide. Once off, use a large grinder and lay it flat on the metal and attempt to work it around quickly, riding only on the high spots. After a short time, the top will form a perfectly flat plane. And don't forget that when drilling holes in metal to drill an 1/8-in pilot hole first and to use the slowest speed possible and apply as much pressure as possible. If you don't, all you're doing is dulling the bit! There is absolutely no reason to use a cobalt bit on SS--a high speed steel bit is more than adequate when used correctly. Now, for an open invitation--if any of you are ever in the Carbondale (IL) area, I'd be more than happy to cut as many kegs as you'd like (however I will NOT cut kegs from micros!). It only takes about 10-minutes. Hope this helps, Harlan. If there's time enough to do it over then there's time enough to do it right the first time... Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:30:23 -0500 From: Nathan Kanous <nlkanous at pharmacy.wisc.edu> Subject: Berliner Weisse Rick, The stuff I've read indicates that L. delbrukii is a "resident" bacteria on malted grains. That's why Charlie P. et al have advocated the "sour mash" using a "handful" of unmashed barley malt. I'm sure if you really wanted it, you could check with Dan McConnell at Yeast Culture Kit Co. Nope, Dan doesn't pay me...doesn't even know me....but his products are first rate! Also, Wheeler and Protz have a short discussion on "souring beers" in their Brewing Classic European Beers book. Their procedure essentially is to hold the "goods" (either mash or wort) at about 140 deg F because L. delbrukii will proliferate while other bacteria and yeast can't handle the temp. Then, once you've accomplished the level of souring that you desire (pH based, maybe?) then you heat it back up to pasteurize, cool and pitch your yeast. They also mention that the folks at Kindl pitch a pure culture of L. delbrukii a "few hours" before pitching the yeast. I've never tried any of these techniques (don't you hate it when people post crap like this). I will, however, try it sometime this summer....it's just a matter of finding some time to "experiment". Good luck. nathan in madison, wi Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:34:21 -0500 From: Nathan Kanous <nlkanous at pharmacy.wisc.edu> Subject: Trusty old crock pot Here's a thought. I've been contemplating brewing some small "test batches" of beer and have happened upon my old crock pot. It seems that my crock pot will hold a temp between 150 and 160 deg F when the dial is set on "low". I'm in the process of building a small lauter tun to accomodate sparging of small quantities. I'm thinking I can easily manage 1 gallon batches in the crock pot. Anybody tried this? I can't see any reason it wouldn't work. I just thought I'd toss it out to everybody. I plan to use it primarily to test some different yeast strains and play with things like brewing a berliner weisse. Who wants to screw up 5 gallons of brew when trying to figure out how to sour beer? I'll screw up a gallon and not worry...5 gallons and I'm a little more upset, just because it takes a fair amount of time and effort. Later nathan in madison, wi Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 09:00:31 -0500 (Central Daylight Time) From: "Charles T. Major" <ctmajor at samford.edu> Subject: re: Berliner weisse I've got a berliner Weissbier in the fermenter now. I used a method recommended on the HBD awhile back by maltydog at aol.com. Mash the wheat and pilsner malt for 5 hours with about 2 oz of hops (he recommended Saaz but I used Mt. Hood because that's what I had on hand), sparge, cool to fermenting temps, and pitch yeast. He used a Belgian wit yeast, but I used Nottingham. Note that there is no boil involved. The lactobacilli come from the barley itself. He noted in one of his posts that a mash out killed off too much of the lactobacilli and didn't sour the beer enough. Also expect low efficiency, around 65%, which corresponds with my results: 3.5 lbs pilsner malt and 3 lbs of wheat malt for an OG of 1.036 in a 5 gal batch. It looks a little strange as the ferment gets going, with a sort of opaque mustard yellow color (not unlike a slightly paler version of a harvest gold refrigerator, circa 197?), but it has begun to clear. I'll report results in a month or so when it's ready to drink. Tidmarsh Major Birmingham, Alabama Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 10:05:26 -0400 From: Dave Burley <Dave_Burley at compuserve.com> Subject: Outatown, Thermometer Repair Brewsters: I will be out of town until July 15th. I will respond to e-mails at that time. Happy 4th of July!! ( or Independence Day for the Brits.) {8^) - ---------------------------------------------------- John Robinson thinks he has a thermometer problem. I don't know, since I can't ever remember measuring a boiling wort. But a boiling point of 220F doesn't seem that high for a sugar solution, depending on the concentration of sugar. There are several procedures for calibrating a thermometer, the easiest one is to measure a slurry of crushed ice/water in a thermos bottle and boiling water with the BP corrected for your altitude. Submerge the thermometer to the calibration line only. To get additional points, weigh a mixture of ice water from which the ice has been removed and boiling water and calculate the temperature as the average of the absolute temperature times the weight of each divided by the total weight. Also, see the HBD Archives. If you have a problem, it may be that the alcohol has separated in the capillary column. Chill the tip of the thermometer down as cold as possible and the liquid will collect in the bulb getting rid of the separation and then will work. A salt/ ice slurry may work, depending on the range of the thermometer. Otherwise, try dry ice/acetone or such, dippng it just long enough to get all the liquid into the bulb. Liquid nitrogen is too cold as it will freeze the alcohol. An independent check is a household medical thermometer. Of course, you will have to shove it all the way up to that line for accuracy. Just kidding. Adjust a water bath to ( as the British say) "blood heat" and compare the two thermometers. - ---------------------------------------------------------------. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 10:22:58 +0000 From: "Jim Busch" <jim at victorybeer.com> Subject: Re: Sparklers and Swans Dana wrote: <I can see a sparkler releasing most of the aromatics in a beer at <once but how can a beer be subject to "untold damage" by just a swan <neck. Wouldn't it act simply like a tube similar to the beer lines? I think you are more wise than our friends across the pond who are so animated about Swan necks and sparklers. Personally, I agree with the issue of sparkler use and abuse but the neck part is basic BS in my opinion. Ive been using a Swan neck engine for years, usually without a sparkler and love it. A lot of this issue of what the beer is like in the glass is determined by how much CO2 is in the beer in the cask prior to dispense. If the brewer keeps the volumes of CO2 higher (say 1.5 Vols) and then puts it through the sparkler, the end volume of gas in the beer may be closer to a southern pour beer which began closer to 1.0-1.2 Vols and was dispensed through a short neck without sparkler. Then there is the issue of grist formulation, the northern beers seemed to employ a higher degree of caramel malts to my taste while having less aroma hops. I brew a good deal of hoppy ales and its my practice to let the cask develop a higher degree of carbonation than is typical in a UK pub, say 1.5 vols. I then use a Swan neck without sparkler and get a hoppy, creamy aromatic pint that still has a good deal of condition in the glass but not overly carbonic/acidic/bubbly. By employing the dreaded cask breather, one keeps the air out for extended cask life and the degree of condition (CO2 vols) will decrease over the life of the cask towards the 1.0 Vol balance range. BTW, a German slow pour Pils is similar to the UK real ale idea in that it knocks out of solution CO2 which brings more hop aroma to the top of the foam while drastically altering the mouthfeel and finish which changes the malt foundation perceptions. One of my favorite quaffs is a slow poured 50 BU pils.... Prost! Jim Busch Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:48:54 -0700 From: Demonick <demonick at zgi.com> Subject: Wacky thermometer From: "John Robinson" <robinson at novalistech.com> >All was well until this last weekend. My first clue was when boiling >wort read 220F! Later, a sample drawn off for an SG check read >120F! A subsequent check with another thermometer revealed a >wort temp of 80 (still higher than I like, but water temps have been >quite warm here lately). Check the thermometer VERY carefully for a separation of the alcohol column. Sometimes a bubble of alcohol vapor will appear in the alcohol column and hence your readings will be higher by the size of the bubble. One way to remove such a bubble is to get all the alcohol back into the bulb, by using something very cold - ice water, salt bath, or dry ice in alcohol (rubbing). Once all the alcohol (actually, probably glycol) is in the bulb, let the thermometer slowly warm back to room temp while keeping it vertical. If you can not see a bubble, you might try the above trick. If you truely have no bubble then I have no idea what happened to your thermometer,but I do know that it's time for another one. Cheers! Domenick Venezia Venezia & Company, LLC Maker of PrimeTab (206) 782-1152 phone (206) 782-6766 fax orders demonick at zgi dot com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 10:18:50 -0500 From: Eric Schoville <eschovil at us.oracle.com> Subject: Converting Kegs Rick Lassabe <bayrat at worldnet.att.net> questions the easiness and the safety of cutting out the top of a keg using a grinding wheel. Once again, I would like to reitterate that it is _very_ easy and also safe. The blades that I have used are 6 1/2" fiber reinforced grinding wheels called a "Fastcut Metal Cutting Blade", made by Norton Company, Consumer Products, Worcester, MA 01606. The part number is 89098. The UPC label is 0 76607 89098 6. FYI, it cost about $2.50. I have used the above blades to both cut the tops out and cut the tops off, and find it very easy and safe as long as one wears long pants, eye protection, and ear protection. It is also very quick and very inexpensive, as one blade can handle several kegs. Now I am sure that a Dremel tool can do this, but in my experience with cutting metal with a hand-held Dremel, it takes a long time and you end up going through quite a few cutoff wheels. Plus, my hand/arm gets tired from holding the thing. I have some info on my experiences on my web page at http://home1.gte.net/rschovil/beer/3tier.html Eric Schoville Flower Mound, TX Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 11:28:44 EDT From: Zurekbrau at aol.com Subject: Re: Cutting the Top out of a Keg I read on the HBD someone posted that they used a 4 1/2 " disk grinder to cut the top out of a keg. I had my doubts about how that would work. I tried it this spring and it worked great. It took about 25 min. and I did not have to mess with oil. Rich Zurek Carpentersville IL USA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 15:25:41 -0400 From: joytbrew at halifax.com (Joy Hansen) Subject: Cutin' Kegs? Thanks, thanks, thanks, . . . . Few HBDers have specified what's being cut out! It's one thing to cut off the top of a keg, around the circumference and below the rim. It's quite different to cut out the keg top and leave the rim and handle ( my preference). Using a circular say would seem impossible for cutting the top out. I use a combination of nitride tipped drills, an angle grinder, sawsall with a bimetal blade, a saber saw with bimetal blade, and a rotary file in my electric drill or air tool. In fact, I use what ever is available to accomplish the cut out. All these are dangerous from the stand point of particles flying into an eye, hearing damage, and breathing Stainless Steel shards. I'm surprised that anyone would find the plasma cutting to be objectionable. The kerf is quite small, precise, and there isn't any oxidized metal to deal with. Oxy-acetylene cutting leave a real mess because of the oxidation resistance nature of stainless steel. Plasma is used for non-ferrous cutting because it works! Oxy-acetylene works by forming rust which is blown out of the kerf by the oxygen. Sure wish I could afford the $1500 for a plasma cutting outfit. Anyway, it's important that KEG CUTTERS realize that breathing the shards from stainless steel is a very hazardous activity and I think that a breathing mask is in order. Joy"T"Brew Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 15:08:18 -0400 From: joytbrew at halifax.com (Joy Hansen) Subject: Wacky? Could it be that you read the wrong scale, like Celsius rather than Fahrenheit? Joy"T"Brew Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 16:44:28 EDT From: SClaus4688 at aol.com Subject: false bottom mashers In hbd 3065, Jim Cave wrote: >I would just like to counter Jack Schmidling's comments about a false >bottom and scorching. I use a false bottom with a converted sankey keg and >have never encountered an incidence of scorching. I use a 35,000 BTU >natural gas Hotwater tank heater and can step ~45 litres of combined mash >and grain at a rate of 1.5 degrees F per minute without difficulty or >scorching by simple stirring. Having used a false bottom system for the past 5 or 6 years, and having only had one incidence of scorching (due to my own stupidity), I would have to cuncur with Jim on this. However, there is one problem with using a false bottom that I have not seen mentioned much. My false bottom, as I would guess many others are, is made of a stainless steel screen perforated with 3/32 inch holes located about an inch above the bottom of the tun. Some of the crushed grain bits inevitably fall through the holes in the screen during mashing. My experience is that those grain bits do not convert as readily as those above the false bottom. I.e., I can do an iodine test for conversion of the mash above the false bottom and have it come out negative, and then do the same test of liquid coming from the tap below the false bottom and have it turn black as night as soon as the iodine hits it. The area below the false bottom on my fifteen gallon mash tun holds about a gallon of liquid. I have always assumed that the reason for lack of conversion below the false bottom is that there is a relatively small amount of grain for the relatively large volume of water in that part of the mash tun. As a result, fewer grain derived amylase enzymes would be available in the false bottom area to accomplish conversion. I would guess that this problem is exacerbated by heating from below, which would have a tedency to heat whatever enzymes there are in the false bottom area above saccaharification range before having a substantial affect on the mash temperature above the false bottom. I deal with this problem by doing a small recirculation of about a gallon of mash runoff (for a ten gallon batch) about a half hour into the mash. I do it at this point to assure that there are enough enzymes still active in the overall mash to convert the starches that have slipped below the false bottom. Works for me. I was wondering if other false bottom mashers (nice band name there!) had similar experience, and how they dealt with it. -Steve Claussen in PDX Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 16:11:28 -0500 From: Keith Busby <kbusby at ou.edu> Subject: Wisconsin and Shepherd Neame yeast 1) I shall be moving to Wisconsin round about this time this year. I gathered a while ago from Steve Potter that the homebrew supply situation in Madison is not great. Is Milwaukee any better? We will probably be living halfway between the two. 2) Does anyone have any experience with the Shepherd Neame yeast (from YCKC)? I have used it twice now and have had very sluggish fermentation. The first time I attributed to inadequate aeration, but the second cannot be the case. It never really went into the usual maelstrom, never hiccupped, popped max once every 2 seconds, but is still going at 6-second intervals after 6 days. I have not taken a reading yet. Keith Busby Keith Busby George Lynn Cross Research Professor Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies University of Oklahoma 780 Van Vleet Oval, Room 202 Norman, OK 73019 Tel: (405) 325-5088. Fax: (405) 325-0103 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 17:12:07 -0500 From: Harlan Bauer <blacksab at midwest.net> Subject: Stirplate problem/Electronics I have an older model stirplate that overheats. It's not the motor, it's the potentiometer. The problem is that after a period of time, the VERY hot pot heats the aluminium case creating a stiring hotplate. I COULD solve the problem by making the control remote, but I'd rather replace the pot with something that doesn't cause the overheating. Any ideas? BTW, here's the data on the stirplate: Magnestir, Cat. No. 1250, Lab-Line Instruments, Inc. The pot is made by Ohmite Mfg. Co., Model H, Pat.No. RE-19607, 300v., Insulated The size of the pot is 1.5-in. round and 1.25-in deep, anything larger than this probably will not fit in the case. TIA, Harlan. Return to table of contents
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