HOMEBREW Digest #31 Tue 20 December 1988

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Peels and pieces (C78KCK)
  re: Need help with carbonation control... (Darryl Richman)
  Yeast Bank (hplabs!amdahl!uunet!ingr!tesla!steve)
  Help with stopped fermentation (jmellby)
  carbonation (Algis R Korzonas +1 312 979 8583)
  RE: Homebrew Digest for December 19, 1988 ("1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASE")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 20 Dec 88 07:19 EST From: C78KCK%IRISHMVS.BITNET at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU Subject: Peels and pieces cheryl Feinstein writes: >>also make liqueurs and hope to get into vinting someday. n ==I too am a dabbler in liquers and cordials (any handy ==defintions to tell the two apart?) and I would like to ==pose a question about them. ==many of the recipes I have use the skin or peel from a ==fruit. I have always wondered if this was safe in light ==of all the pesticides and things they put on green fruit ==to make it look ripe. ==I maybe laboring under a presumption, but I figure if the ==fruit has been waxed, then the pesticide is in a layer between ==the skin and the colorization on the outside? ==I don't live in a citrus zone, so all our oranges and such are ==shipped in. ==Thoughts anyone? ==R.allen Jervis ==voyager at irishmvs.bitnet Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 88 06:08:03 PST From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: re: Need help with carbonation control... Two things comes to mind regarding inconcistent carbonation levels. The first is that measuring corn sugar by volume is a somewhat risky proposition. Depending on how it gets packed, you can see quite a difference in the actual amount you get, just like flour (or water treatment salts). And since you are carbonating at a relatively low level (although I usually use 90gms, which is roughly 1/2 a cup, for British style ales), this difference can become very evidient. In order to get truly repeatable results, you should add corn sugar by weight. The other aspect may be when you bottle. If your beer is more still sometimes when you get to bottling, it will have less fizz later on. If it has merely slowed down, or appears still because of a cold snap, you could end up with higher levels of carbonation in your finished product. If, at bottling time, you take a gravity reading and it shows that you are still at 1.020, the beer probably still has some fermenting to do (unless it is a barleywine...). On the other hand, if you are down to 1.008 (and you didn't add great quantities of sugar), you wouldn't expect it to go any further. This is the reason most of the books suggest that bottling time has come when the beer doesn't move for 3 days. --Darryl Richman (The Falcon's Nest homebrewer's BBS sysop 818 349 5891) Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 88 15:45:58 CST From: hpfcla!hplabs!amdahl!uunet!ingr!tesla!steve Subject: Yeast Bank Full-Name: Here is a report on the "yeast bank" system of freezing yeast cultures for long-term storage. I bought this system about 6 months ago, but wanted to wait until I knew whether it worked or not before talking about it. It has worked well for me, and here is a commentary on what it is and how it works. The "Yeast-Bank" is sold by William's brewing in San Leandro, CA. (and maybe others). It consists of a one quart plastic freezer container which contains five culture tubes, a bottle of "Freeze-shield" solution, a glass eyedropper, and instructions. The culture tubes are about 3/4" by 3", with a cap which seals tightly, and are individually wrapped in sterile packages (like disposable syringes). The solution is a pale blue, with no discernable odor. The following is the way I use the system. It is mostly the same as the directions suggest, but there are some differences. There are some assumptions that I make when I brew and culture. One of these is that tap water is essentially sterile. This is probably far from true, but it hasn't caused me a problem yet. I don't like to brew with this water, but I will rinse with it after sanitizing.I buy a bag-in-a-bag type of yeast starter and break the inner bag. When it swells, I soak a 16 oz bottle, stopper, and airlock in a strong bleach solution for at least 45 minutes, then rinse with hot tap water. I prepare a solution using about 2/3 cup light DME and 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient by boiling the solution, then immerse the bottom of the pan in ice water to quick-chill it. I put the solution in the bottle, pour in the yeast starter from the bag, and put on the airlock. A few days later, when activity has slowed, I brew a batch of beer. When it is time to pitch, I sanitize the eyedropper, shake up the starter solution to suspend all the yeast, (Time out for another brewing assumption. I assume that baggies out of the box are essentially sterile. If I need to shake a carboy or bottle, I will wipe around the top with a strong bleach solution on a paper towel, then put a baggie over the opening, put my hand or thumb over the mouth of the bottle and baggie, and shake.) and use the dropper to fill as many culture tubes as I need with the starter solution. I put the caps on loosely, and stand them up in the frig for awhile for the yeast to settle. I take the rest of the starter and pitch it in the new beer. Later, when the yeast in the culture tubes has settled to the bottom, I sanitize the dropper again, and use it to remove the starter solution from the top of the yeast. I sanitize the dropper again (to prevent ever contaminating the "Freeze-shield" solution) and fill each tube about 3/4 full with "Freeze-shield". I put the caps on the tubes tightly, and shake them to mix the yeast into the solution. Then I wrap the tubes in paper towels, label them, put them in the plastic freezer container with the lid on, and put them in the freezer. The instructions recommend doing this to slow the freezing rate of the cultures down. The amount of yeast sediment in each tube is about the volume of a grain of barley. I also keep the "Freeze-shield" solution in the freezer when I'm not using it. To re-start a culture, I make a solution as above, thaw and shake a culture, and add it to the starter. There is usually no activity for about 24 hours, then the starter takes off. I always make sure that the gas coming from the airlock smells good before I pitch. It takes about 3 or 4 days for the starter to get ready to pitch, and after pitching, I get a good fermentation going in about 12 hours. The instructions say that you can save cultures from subsequent starters, up to three or four generations of yeast, but I don't do that. It's too easy to just make a bunch from the original starter. Replacement culture tubes are 5/$2.50, and the solution is a few bucks for 4 oz, which lasts a while. If I make six cultures from a package of yeast, my yeast cost ends up being less than $1 a batch. It really doesn't take much time, since I always make starters anyway. I have successfully frozen and re-started both ale and lager strains with no problems. I hope this helps someone. I would like to hear comments from anyone else who has used this system. If anyone out there has the analytical gear needed to figure out what's in freeze-shield, or is familiar with the medical world and knows where to get the culture tubes, call me or send email. Happy Holidays! Steve Conklin, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, AL 35807 W(205) 772-4013 {tesla!steve at ingr.com | uunet!ingr!tesla!steve} Relax! Don't worry. Have a homebrew. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 88 08:55:12 CST From: jmellby at ngstl1.csc.ti.com Subject: Help with stopped fermentation Help! I need some fermentation suggestions. I am in the middle of a batch: 2 Cans Munton & Fison Old Ale Extract 2 Lbs Pale Malt 2 Oz Northern Brewer Hops 1 tsp Gypsum 2 Packages of Ale yeast (from the Monton & Fison cans) For a 5-gallon mix. It started at 1054 and by the next morning was bubbling as furiously as anything I have ever had. BUT! Two days later it stopped bubbling. I measured it and transfered to the secondary. It was 1024. I hoped it would continue in the secondary, but no luck. It 1024 a reasonable specific gravity for this? Can I go ahead and bottle it or should I wait? I need some suggestions. Surviving the American Dream John R. Mellby Texas Instruments jmellby%ngstl1.ti.com P.O.Box 660246, MS 3645 Dallas Texas, 75266 (214)517-5370 (214)343-7585 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 88 10:26:39 MST From: hpfcla!hpcea!hplabs!utah-cs!iwtsf!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 312 979 8583) Subject: carbonation Full-Name: The problem that you are probably experiencing Tony, is that your carbonation is coming from two different sources. One is the priming sugar (which is consistent) and the other is bacterial infection (which is inconsistent) -- that explains why the same amount of priming sugar causes widely varying carbonation. I also think you may be a little shy with the sugar -- I use 1/2 CUP to 3/4 CUP of dextrose for priming. My advice is to increase your priming sugar to 1/2 CUP and re-evaluate your sanitation procedures. Al. P.S. The Beatles mention homebrewing in Rock and Roll Music: "...we'll be drinking homebrew from a wooden cup..." Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 88 19:16 EDT From: <CRF%IFASGNV.BITNET at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> Subject: ALBANY? Hello again! Is there anyone out there from Albany, NY, who tried to reach me direct? I was editing a file, and _something_ from Albany flashed across my screen as I was typing which ended in "How's the weather?" Since I'm a pretty fast typist, part of it was obscured by the cursor as it moved. And, there was no new e-mail for me. So I've *no* idea what that was all about! If someone can enlighten me, please do! Thank you! Cheryl Feinstein (call me "Cher") "CRF at IFASGNV.BITNET" Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 88 18:23 EDT From: <CRF%IFASGNV.BITNET at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> Subject: HOPEFULLY HELPFUL ADVICE Hello, everyone! This posting is going to reply to several things I've seen in the last couple of digests, and also to answer some direct enquiries I've had. This last is to cover any e-mail that goes "boing!" I will also be attempting to reach individuals directly; I would appreciate it if anyone I successfully reach acknowledges both receipt of e-mail and tells me which gateway worked. First, for those who have already asked, or are wondering: the answer is yes, the historical re-enactment group I'm a member of is the Society for Creative Anachronism. If you've just read this and are now wondering what the SCA is, contact me and ask; I'll gladly explain. To Darryl Richman, regarding your microscope and such: I'm not entirely certain, but it is possible that your 'scope has sufficient magnification to let you see the structure of yeast cells. To do this, you will indeed need a stain. If you can, contact someone you know with access to microbiology equipment and stains. You could try to do it at home, but in my opinion would not be worth all the muss, fuss, and bother. To do the other things you mention, such as a cell count (this would be your "yeast density") would be difficult outside a lab. If we can communicate directly, I'll be glad to tell you more about basic microbiology, and give you a better idea of what's involved. Feel free to ask. I would also suggest you check a campus bookstore for a book on basic microbiology; it's not a difficult subject, so don't be phazed. To Tony Giannnone, regarding his carbonation problem: after several cases of trial-and-error, I finally took the advice I'm about to offer you. I haven't had a whit of trouble since. Let your wort go until fermentation _stops_ or 14 days pass. If the brew is still fermenting at 14 days, check the specific gravity; it's probably ready to bottle (NOTE: the 14 days is no joke-- I did a Russian Imperial Stout with something like 18 lbs. of malt in 5 gallons, plus grains, and it was still fermenting quite nicely at 14 days!). Once the fermentation stops, bottle ASAP, priming with 7/8 cup corn sugar. I have found the usual 3/4 cup to be too flat-- the 7/8 cup (suggested by the friend whose advice this was) has produced a nice, snappy degree of carbonation every time. Thanks for your attention; I hope this helps. Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Dec 88 22:49:00 EST From: "1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASE" <henchal at wrair.arpa> Subject: RE: Homebrew Digest for December 19, 1988 Darryl: I saw your question to Cheryl and thought that I might respond. I have been a microbiologist for 17 years and a homebrewer for about a year. I hope I don't step on anyone's toes by jumping in . :-) When you pitch your yeast you would like to get about 10 million cells per milliliter final concentration. In the laboratory, we use a hemacytometer to count microbial cells. A hemacytometer is a special glass slide with a grided area of defined size and volume. In order to get accurate counts takes a little bit of training. You can purchase a hemacytometer from any good scientific supply house. (If you need a recommendation, send me a note.) If you don't want to buy a hemacytometer, you can approximate the amount of yeast you are using by counting the cells in a single microscopic field. However, you need to standardize this a little. I suggest the following: 1. Begin a fresh starter. 2. At regular periods (every 8 hours, or even shorter depending upon your schedule) withdraw a small volume of liquid with a sanitized (preferably sterile) eye dropper or pipet. 3. Place one drop on a microscope slide and float a cover slip on it. (One drop will be about 0.02-0.05 ml). You might have to dilute you sample at later stages, because there will be too many cells. 4. Count all of the cells you see in at least three microscopic fields. Determine the average. 5. Continue until the fermentation has completed. 6. Graph your results. I have not performed this experiment with beer wort, but I have used this method in other systems. What you should see is clearly defined periods: lag, exponential growth phase, a peak number of cells, and then a steady decline. The total number, that is the quantiative results, is not important. When it is time to pitch your yeast, your starter should be in that exponential phase of growth that you identified. The beauty of the system is that yeast only grow to a particular density (about 100 million cells per milliliter depending upon the strain) regardless of the volume or container they are placed. Once you standardize your observations you should be able to monitor all of your yeast preparations. I would be interested in hearing about your results if you attempt this. Bacteria (lets hope you don't have any :->) are usually identified using Gram's Crystal Violet. You can purchase a Gram staining kit from the same places that sell hemacytometers. Yeast cells can be stained using a variety of methods. One method I favor is trypan blue which is excluded by living cells. This allows you to estimate the number of living cells in your culture. If you give me a little time I might be able to make more specific recommendations or send you a reference. Your public library should have some basic manuals on microbiology that can help you with some of the techniques. Again send me a note if you get stuck and I'll see what I can do. Frankly, I wouldn't bother with the microscope, since all of that it is not really necessary. If you pitch about 5% of your batch with actively growing starter (for lagers, use about 10%)....and you should use a fresh starter before the yeast has completely settled...you should approximate the right amount of yeast for active fermentation. Your own experience and intuition is probably all you really need to get good fermentations. I don't use a microscope except for solving some very special homebrewing problems. A microscope is useful for tracking down problems with bacterial contamination. If you get some experience identifying problem bacteria, you might be able to diagnose sanitation problems by examining your mash, wort or beer at different stages. You can also inspect the condition of your yeast if you are storing it for long periods of time. (Actively growing yeast have regular, round or oval shapes with multiple buds.) I hope that this has been helpful. ERIK A. HENCHAL, Ph.D. <henchal at wrair.arpa> Return to table of contents
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