HOMEBREW Digest #3550 Wed 07 February 2001

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  Re: Castlemaine xxxx (Stephen Neilsen)
  Ballentine ale (Hop_Head)
  50 litre kegs (Ant Hayes)
  Fining beer in a CC fermenter (Ant Hayes)
  Hot Weather Homegrown Hops (Ken Schwartz)
  SORGHUM MALT ("Hill, Steve")
  Lallemand Kroner Yeast (mohrstrom)
  new toys to play with (Marc Sedam)
  Budvar (Wyeast 2000) Yeast; Organic ME; Dirty hops ("H. Dowda")
  RE: low final gravities, Phillers (Brian Lundeen)
  Starting boil early (The Freemans)
  Can grolsch bottles handle higher carbonation? ("H Stearns Laseur")
  Re: Lurker - Coming Out of the Closet (Jeff Renner)
  PRESSURE COOKER ("Hill, Steve")
  Victory's new brew ("Spinelli, Mike")
  false bottoms (Gene Collins)
  MCAB3 ("Dave Sapsis")
  Goofy question ("Peed, John")
  Sight glass ("Strom C. Thacker")
  Re: Sorghum Malt ("Sean Sweeney")
  Re: 50L Kegs, Starting the Boil Before the Sparge is finished ("Mike Pensinger")
  Alcohol Content ("New Brewer")
  Seeking advice on exhaust hoods ("Strom C. Thacker")
  oak chips (Jason Gorman)
  Re: headspace and carbonation (chris buck)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 17:14:03 +1100 From: Stephen Neilsen <sneilsen at bigpond.net.au> Subject: Re: Castlemaine xxxx XXXX. First question would have to be...why?!!!!! Typical of Australian commercial beers Castlemaine is brewed with a large proportion of cane sugar. In fact, the XXXX bottles used to boast of the quality qld cane sugar used in production. I would guess that about 50% of the sugars should come from cane sugar. The hop will be Pride of Ringwood, but very sparingly Not much point in trying to balance the maltiness achieved by cane sugar !!. The finished beer should be cold, wet and fizzy with the flavor profile of sparkling spring water. Stephen Neilsen Australia Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 01:16:17 -0500 (EST) From: Hop_Head at webtv.net Subject: Ballentine ale A friend of mine would like me to teach him to brew, and he mentioned that he would like to try something like Ballentine (sp?) ale. I am not familiar with this ale and cannot seem to find it in my area. Can anyone give me an idea for a recipe to recreate this brew? Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 09:33:50 +0200 From: Ant Hayes <Ant.Hayes at FifthQuadrant.co.za> Subject: 50 litre kegs Jason Gorman asked >I was at a local micro-brewery last week and found that they had 50L kegs as >decoration. I was wondering if anyone knows of any breweries that distribute >their beer in 50L kegs. Perfect size for a boiling pot. 50L kegs are the standard for draft beer in South Africa. My mashtun is made from an old keg, and my boiler from two welded together. The difficulty is getting hold of a keg that has been scrapped as the breweries out here don't sell their kegs. Ant Hayes Gauteng; South Africa Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 10:40:20 +0200 From: Ant Hayes <Ant.Hayes at FifthQuadrant.co.za> Subject: Fining beer in a CC fermenter I carry out primary fermentation in a stainless CCV. At the end of fermentation I draw off the yeast from a valve at the bottom of the cone, and then pump the beer to a 50L conditioning keg, using the same valve. I have been reluctant to use gelatine finings in the fermenter, in case doing so clogs up the valve. How to people using CCVs fine their beer? Ant Hayes Gauteng; South Africa Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 06:10:56 -0700 From: Ken Schwartz <kenbob at elp.rr.com> Subject: Hot Weather Homegrown Hops Gene Collins asks: "I was wondering if it would be worth my time to grow hops here in Oklahoma. It gets so hot here in the summertime that everything melts (me included). Most posts on this subject comes from you fellows in the northern regions." I'd be willing to wager it gets hotter here in El Paso than Oklahoma! I grew hops last year for the first time. Since I wasn't sure how it'd go, (our soil is poor and our average summer humidity is about 15%), I planted them in containers so they'd be easy to chuck if they totally failed on me. I also put them on the east wall of the house where they only got a little direct sun, in the cooler morning (a mountain to the east also provides shade for a couple extra hours in the morning). The house next door reflected plenty of light in the afternoon. So I'd guess they got four hours of direct sun a day. I had them on an automatic drip system getting about a quart of water twice a day (this is important), and I put gravel over the soil surface to help hold in moisture. For a trellis, I ran maybe 10'-12' of twine from each of the pots to a scupper on the wall above, two twines per pot in sort of a "V" pattern. They grew pretty well (considering) though in mid-summer they got rather wilted and dry. All four reached the top of the twine and a couple doubled back down a couple feet. I got a few cones of Cascade and Nugget, but no Perle or Willamette, though this might not be unexpected in the first year. They came back a bit by September but didn't produce any more cones and by mid-October they looked ready to bag it for the year. This past weekend I transplanted them to larger 5 gal buckets (they were in rather puny planter pots, also perhaps partly to blame for their performance) so I hope this will help. They are already putting up green buds so perhaps the growing season will start sooner and I'll have better results before the hot weather sets in, come April and May. I had also given identical rhizomes to a neighbor who likes gardening and wanted to grow hops for me ("why sure!"). They were planted in direct sun (mid-March) and barely got out of the ground before becoming Fried Green Hops. All instructions I have seen say "plant in full sun" but I think this means Yankee sun and not Desert sun. I think this is key for growing hops here. Other directions and good info in general can be found at http://www.freshops.com Good luck & let us know how it goes for you if you try it. - -- ***** Ken Schwartz El Paso, TX Brewing Web Page: http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer E-mail: kenbob at elp.rr.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 08:27:09 -0500 From: "Hill, Steve" <SHill at advanta.com> Subject: SORGHUM MALT Ant Hayes mentions that he has been using sorghum malt for the last 6 months. I find this very interesting. I was at "The Craker Barrel" restaurant a few months back and they were selling Sorghum Malt Extract in 2lb Jars; I bought two jars. I recently moved and actually just unpacked the jars two nights ago. I wanted to try them out in a golden ale I make to see what it tastes like in a beer. (and NO, I am quite sure it does not taste like chicken) Anyone else try sorghum? Ant, please elaborate as to the taste and mashing requirements, it would be very helpful. Thanks. Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 08:02:54 -0500 From: mohrstrom at humphreypc.com Subject: Lallemand Kroner Yeast Has anyone use the (now discontinued) Lallemand Danstar Kroner yeast? I have come by a quantity, and am curious about fermentation temp ranges, characteristics, etc. Mark (snowbound sans luggage) in Connecticut Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 09:39:19 -0500 From: Marc Sedam <marc_sedam at unc.edu> Subject: new toys to play with I was the fortunate recipient of a high temperature pump for Christmas. I had planned to use it today to brew a mild, but this damnable flu going around makes that appear to be a pretty stupid endeavor. Sooooo, I have some time to get more info. I plan to use the pump for recirculating the mash on my direct fired kettle. I know HERMS would be better, but I don't have the heat exchanger just yet. More correctly I don't have the heat exchanger at all. If I run the recirculation slow enough, will I be able to do a step mash OK? Also, how slow is slow. Clearly this pump has a throughput of several gallons/minute based on testing with water. Does anyone have a recommended recirculation rate? Do you speed it up when it goes into the kettle at all. Is extraction improved? Pumps are cool. Does anyone use the pump to move beer between fermenters? I know sanitization is the key. I think boiling water runs through the pump and your occasional PBW rinse will solve that well enough. Cheers! Marc Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 09:43:09 -0500 From: "H. Dowda" <hdowda at axs2k.net> Subject: Budvar (Wyeast 2000) Yeast; Organic ME; Dirty hops Used a pack this past weekend. Smacked on Friday. Saturday late afternoon the pack was turgid, not swollen, actually. Odor odd, some sulphide, as expected, but also a scent reminiscent of emesis. Pitched to a 1.5 qt starter. Sunday mid day, bubbles every 15 seconds, no foam; afternoon, the same. Monday AM first hint of krauzen, PM a little better. Same odor profile, more to emesis side. Since wort was likely dead anyway, pitched into well oxygenated wort. Tuesday AM, no activity. This doesn't seem reasonable, but I've not used this yeast before. Comments (e-mail fine) from those who have actually used this yeast will be appreciated. Does anyone have a source for CERTIFIED organic malt extract, hops? Recently bought 8 oz. of Czech Saaz from a well known and previously reputable seller. It was full of large stems and hop plant leaves. Never could get the hops to 'sink'. Anyone experiencing problems with 1999 Czech Saaz? Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 08:48:21 -0600 From: Brian Lundeen <blundeen at rrc.mb.ca> Subject: RE: low final gravities, Phillers Stephen Alexander writes: > A 62C mash will give ~80% attenuation and a 72C mash will give ~40% > attenuation (see Kunze on Jump mash). I would expect your > 68C mash to yield > something like 55-60% attenuation of the wort, tho' it > depends on other > factors. Well, I suppose this is as good a lead in as any to my problem which is the opposite. I habitually (apart from a stout that quit on me about 1.020) end up with lower terminal gravities than I want. This has reached a new low with my last batch, a 1.053 pale ale, finishing up at 1.006. That's 88% apparent attenuation, assuming my hydrometer is accurate (which it may very well not be, since I have never checked it against a known solution). Some particulars on the latest batch, including some things I did that I suspect may have contributed to the low TG: Grist was mostly pale, some Munich, some 60L crystal mashed 1 hour with 1.25 qts/lb at 67C (checked in several places throughout mash, most sitting at 66-68 for the duration, although again I have no idea how accurate my Hanna CheckTemp1 digital thermometer is), pH was 5.5 Ran off into kettle (no mashout, no sparge) and added in sufficient RO water to reach pre-boil volume. At this point, I had to run out for a couple of hours and I neglected to measure the temperature at this time. When I got back, it was in the 30's. Could I have inadvertently left the beta amylase active during this sitting period? Fermented with Wyeast 1318 at 65F, roused daily for several days in the primary, then racked at 1.013 thinking it was nearly finished, even though there was still a good krausen. I chose to rouse because I was a little concerned for the yeast's health. I underpitched (XL pack straight into 22 liters of overchilled wort)and it took almost two days to get a decent krausen forming although I wasn't too worried since I had treated the wort with lysozyme (a lactobacillus killing enzyme). Given that, I really expected this one to poop out on me, but it did just the opposite. Thoughts, suggestions? Axle writes of his Philler: > My question is > If the filler > leaked any faster I wouldn't have to worry about pushing down > on the filler > to fill bottles, is this how they all are or did I get a bad one ? I would say you got a bad one. I would also say your experience with Phil's Phillers is not uncommon. I also got a bad one, it would stick partly open, it leaked, it foamed, it was just a royal PITA to use. Now, I'm not going to complain too loudly, as both Paddock Wood and Listermann offered to replace it. I just chose not to bother and went back to using my old plastic spring tip which has served me well for many years. I'm still apologizing to it for my little fling, and I believe it has forgiven me. In any case, there have been a few people in the various brewing forums complaining about problems with their Phillers. Given the comparatively small on-line population, I view the number of complaints about the product as indicative that there may be a quality control problem. Perhaps Dan has some stats to dispute this, but needless to say, Axle, you are not alone. However, you should have no problem getting it replaced. Cheers, Brian Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 08:57:17 -0600 From: The Freemans <potsus at Bellsouth.net> Subject: Starting boil early There should be no negative repercussions from starting the boil before the sparge is finished. I routinely do this. IMHO a boil is a boil. I do however take into consideration that a portion of the wort is boil away during the remaining time it takes to fill the boiler and I do not collect quite as much as I would if I were not starting early. Trial and error with the final gravity can help resolve just how much. Once I have about 4 inches of wort in the boiler on "the perfesser", I start the boil burner. I have already bumped the temp of the wort being pumped up to the boiler up to about 170 degrees by simply running it through the heat exchanger. It saves time, and in your case relieved you from having to do the "heavy lift". Bill Freeman aka Elder Rat K P Brewery - home of "the perfesser" Birmingham, AL Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 08:58:45 -0600 From: "H Stearns Laseur" <h_stearns_laseur at email.mobil.com> Subject: Can grolsch bottles handle higher carbonation? I would say so. Anyone that has brewed in the Middle East is probably very familiar with the German Rauch Apple and Grape juice bottles that are similar to the grolsch bottles. They have the same hinge mechanism but are liter bottles and not the smaller pint? bottles. I use my Rauch bottles for ales and lagers and have never had a bottle explode. I have also used as much as a cup of sugar to prime a batch. I would think my larger Rauch bottles are weaker than the smaller grolsch bottle as Rauch bottles are longer. Soak the gaskets in your beer so as to provide a better seal for your beer priming and forget about it. If you are at all concerned go ahead and put a towel over your bottles. Later Stearns Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 10:08:49 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <nerenner at umich.edu> Subject: Re: Lurker - Coming Out of the Closet Gene Collins <GCollins at cranecarrier.com> asked >I was wondering if it would be worth my time to grow hops here in Oklahoma. >It gets so hot here in the summertime that everything melts (me included). >Most posts on this subject comes from you fellows in the northern regions. I >have heard some lore about some individuals trying it here but no real >success stories. I'm sure that Jeff Renner probably has some wisdom about >this. Since I was asked I guess I ought to answer. All I can say is that I've heard it is possible to grow hops in every state. I'd suggest checking ou the links at http://realbeer.com/hops/. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 11:03:10 -0500 From: "Hill, Steve" <SHill at advanta.com> Subject: PRESSURE COOKER Hello, I am looking for a very large pressure cooker. I would prefer stainless steel. A while back I found a site that produced "professional" sizes and was located in Canada. Unfortunately, I lost the website. Anyone with any sources would be VERY helpful. I LOVE PRESSURE COOKING THAT MALT for the that VERY YUMMY maltiness! Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 11:40:38 -0500 From: "Spinelli, Mike" <paa3983 at dscp.dla.mil> Subject: Victory's new brew HBDer's > Victory Brewing has made its 1st brew exclusively for Ludwig's Garten in > Philly . It's called Mad King's Weisse. A strong (6.2%) pale colored > hefe weizen with a pronounced hoppiness not unlike that of Schneider > Edel-Weisee. Beer is only available at Ludwig's and the brewery on tap. > Mike Spinelli Cherry Hill NJ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 11:57:58 -0600 From: Gene Collins <GCollins at cranecarrier.com> Subject: false bottoms Thanks to al who contacted me directly about growing hops. I plan on being in Seattle next week. I wanted to buy a false bottom from Stainless In Seattle. My question is are they still in business? Someone told me that they might not be. Secondly, will they sell direct to me if I just show up there? Gene Collins Beer Consumption and Heavy Truck Specialist Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 09:54:17 -0800 From: "Dave Sapsis" <dsapsis at earthlink.net> Subject: MCAB3 So far, plans are progressing nicely to assuring a quality gathering of amatuer brewers for MCAB3. We are working on updating the link from the MCAB site to link directly to the MCAB3 site. Information currently at http://www.bayareamashers.org/mcab3/ included information on accomodations. We have secured a block of rooms at a reduced rate at the Berkeley Radisson Hotel on Berkeley's marina. This is an unbelievably beautiful location right across the Bay from The City. The Marina is only about a mile from the event site at Pyramid, and offers the (oxymoronic?) mix of being right next to the action of the east bay, but removed and peacefully serene due to the Bay itself. We are very close to posting the list of qualified brewers and their styles - for any of you out there that have qualified, please check over the list to make sure it is accurate. If not, post a note to Mike Riddle (riddle at sonic.net) indicating the error. Formal letters indicating submission rules will be sent out soon. The speaker list for the technical session is also shaping right up. In following with some of the orginal motivations behind the creation of MCAB in the first place, the technical session will focus on beer evaluation and the role of amateur brewers in advancing the art and science of brewing. There will be talks and tasting seminars on flavor analysis, beer styles, and experimental designs. The competition itself will be used to test hypotheses related to judging effects. It promises to be interesting, informative, and hopefully humorous as well. So far we have: * Ray Daniels * George Fix * Scott Bickham * Martin Lodahl * Louis Bonham * John Palmer * Peter Garofalo * Mike Riddle A number of other notables are currently tentative, so it can only get better. As all the speakers get established, and formal titles for their talks get firmed up, it will get posted to the website. Of course we are relying on a great turnout of judges to do the real work. Registration info will be ensuing shortly, but anyone wishing to get put on the list can email me. It looks like there will be two sessions -- Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Commercial vendors who would like to set up a display are encouraged to contact Dave Brattstrom (davidb at cdepot.net) who is handleing that stuff. More to come soon. - --dave sapsis Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 14:13:55 -0500 From: "Peed, John" <jpeed at elotouch.com> Subject: Goofy question Does anyone know what happens when you pitch two different kinds of yeast? Anyone ever wanted to mute or modify the effects of a certain yeast by pitching it with another one? John Peed Knoxville, TN Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 16:09:03 -0500 From: "Strom C. Thacker" <sthacker at bu.edu> Subject: Sight glass Brian Lundeen and others have been discussing sight glasses vs. other methods of measuring kettle volume. I rigged up a system, probably derived from someone else's setup from a web page, that allows me to use a sight tube without tapping into the kettle wall (except to attach a screw near the top, which you could probably devise an alternative for if you really didn't want to drill the ss). Here's my description of it from last March. (Brian, I'm not worried about the tiny volume of wort in the sight tube not reaching boiling temps. If I were, I could simply blow gently on the end of the tube until there was no more wort in it and then let it fill up again to exchange the existing wort for new.): Posting 2: Extracted from file: 3280 Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 09:54:46 -0500 From: "Strom C. Thacker" <sthacker at bu.edu> Subject: Sight tubes I have a sight tube setup that works (for me, at least) without any extra welding or a bulkhead into the kettle (1/2 barrel sanke). The basic principle is to tap into an existing fitting on the kettle drain. I fitted my kettle drain with a brass T, with a female pipe fitting facing up. Into that I placed a compression fitting, which was attached to an approx. 2' length of polypropylene tubing (polypro tubing is cheap, food grade, and heat resistant, but too stiff to use with hose barbs/clamps). Make sure the tubing rises above the level of the top of the vessel, and you shouldn't need to drain it back into the kettle. This tubing is milky white, but clear enough to see wort or even water through. A couple of inches below the top of the tubing, I wrapped a small piece of approx. 1/2"-wide copper long enough to go around the polypro tubing with a couple inches to spare on either side (thick wire might work, too). I then attached the copper to the top ring of the sanke keg with a ss screw to keep the top of the sight tube stationary. The polypro tubing is pretty stiff, so the whole thing doesn't move around much at all (giving, I hope, consistent volume measures). The fittings should be available at a hardware or plumbing supply store, and I got the tubing from US Plastic (http://www.thomasregister.com/olc/usplastic/) (yadda, yadda). Calibrate and mark with a permanent marker. The trick, which I learned the hard way, is to attach a valve or air cock of some sort to the top of the sight tube. Leave it open except when draining the vessel. If the top is open when you drain it, you will suck in large amounts of air and, at least in my case, the flow will slow to a trickle or stop altogether. I haven't checked to see if my sight tube yields measures consistent with other types of setups, but so far my yields to the fermenter have been consistent with the rough measures given by the sight tube. This setup isn't as pretty as others, but it works for me, it's easy, and it's cheap. Of course, YMMV. Hope this helps! Strom Thacker Newton, MA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 15:11:12 -0600 From: "Sean Sweeney" <glutenfreebeer at home.com> Subject: Re: Sorghum Malt We have been using sorghum malt as the base malt for some time now in our Gluten Free Brewing Project. Until our most recent batch, we had been using red sorghum, most commonly utilized as animal feed. Although the red sorghum was acceptable, there was always a tannic bite lingering in the background that we could do without. It took a bit of doing, but we finally found a source for what you probably use now, white sorghum. This is a grade of sorghum grown specifically for human consumption. Our latest batch, which is our first attempt at a lager as well, uses malted white sorghum and millet. The next batch due up will swap malted corn for the millet and use a just finished batch of malted sorghum that was kilned to be crystal malt. Now there's something you don't find on your brewstore shelves very often... 'Yea, I need a pound of 20L Crystal Sorghum'. I guess that would be right next to my Black Patent Buckwheat. Please feel free to contact me via email. We can exchange sorghum stories. Sean Sweeney Gluten Free Brewing Project and the Amateur Hop Growers Journal http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/brewerytap/555/index.html E-mail: glutenfreebeer at home.com > Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001 09:17:20 +0200 > From: Ant Hayes <Ant.Hayes at FifthQuadrant.co.za> > Subject: Sorghum Malt > > I have been incorporating sorghum malt in my mashes for the last 6 months. > The results are quite pleasant, and add a new dimension to tired recipes. Is > there anyone else who has tried this - I would like to swap notes. > > Ant Hayes > Gauteng; South Africa Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 15:26:04 -0600 From: "Mike Pensinger" <beermkr at bellatlantic.net> Subject: Re: 50L Kegs, Starting the Boil Before the Sparge is finished I know that Bass Ale and Guinness are packaged in 50L kegs. I will dispute the value of them as boiling pots for a 10 gallon batch though. They work out to be 13.2 gallons and I experienced boil over in them when putting 11 plus gallons in to boil. They do however make great mash tuns. I have made a 1.070 beer in one before with 28 lbs of grain. There was room for a little more but it would have been VERY full. Bob Barrett asks: >are there any repercussions from this process that will affect the beer? We >have made this recipe 5 or 6 times before and always wait to start the boil. >Is there anything that we should notice will be different about this batch >vs. the others? Do most homebrewers start the burner on the brew pot before >the lauter/sparge is finished? I too do this and the only thing I have had a problem with (I did not think about it first) is when you FWH. I think the proccess works best if the heat is kept at a constant temp (i.e. 150-160 F) And starting the boil early will add bitterness instead of the flavor and aroma. Mike Pensinger beermkr at bellatlantic.net beermaker at mad.scientist.com Mikes Homebrewery - Norfolk Virginia (in lay-up while suffering in Chicago till April) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 08:32:22 +1100 From: "New Brewer" <new_brewer at hotmail.com> Subject: Alcohol Content Hi all, I am relatively new to the brewing game and a friend of mine has just challenged me to brew him a beer that has a 12% (by volume) alcohol content. I am still using can kits from my local homebrew store so I am thinking although it will be just a simple matter of adding more sugar to the wort, the resulting product will not be very pleasant to drink. Does anyone know of a way to boost up the alcohol content while still retaining the beers drinkability? Cheers, Newbie. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 16:58:12 -0500 From: "Strom C. Thacker" <sthacker at bu.edu> Subject: Seeking advice on exhaust hoods SWMBO doesn't like the smell of boiling wort (it seeps up through the basement ceiling into the kitchen above), so I'd like to either buy or build a simple exhaust hood that I could vent outside via a dryer vent or the like. I've searched the archives but have not found the definitive solution. Does anyone have any advice? How many CFM would be necessary (I typically brew 12 gallon batches)? Would it be easy to construct something with a muffin or other kind of fan and aluminum flashing shaped into a large cone, for example? Has anyone tried this? Thanks, Strom Newton, MA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 15:05:02 -0800 (PST) From: Jason Gorman <beergod at msuspartans.com> Subject: oak chips I have seen several posts stating that oak chips should be boiled to sanitize. I want to make a scotch ale with oak chips and soak the chips in single malt scotch. Will this sanitize or should I take the extra step and boil my wood? What would be a good recommended amount of wood to add to my beer? Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 21:51:41 -0500 From: chris buck <cbuck at jhmi.edu> Subject: Re: headspace and carbonation It seems a year and a half of periodic lurking is still not enough to learn all of the finer points of posting etiquette. In my first-ever posting I left out my location: Baltimore, Maryland. The JHMI in my email address is for "Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions" - where I occasionally run into long-time HBDer Alan Meeker (sorry - can't resist the shameless name-dropping). I guess it's my mission to beat the carbonation thread to death. In order to try to keep my earlier post semi-contained to the subject of "how to test for the O2 model of the 'high-fill/low carbonation effect,'" I left out my reasoning for why I like the O2 model better than the pressure-inhibition model. I don't like the pressure-inhibition model because I'm skeptical about the idea that CO2 bubbles form in the bottle during priming. I've never seen the supposed bubbles accumulate at the surface - even in beers with great head retention. I always do a couple of clear-glass bottles per batch, so unless such bubbles were microscopic, I'm sure I'd have noticed them. The CO2 starts off in solution when it's created by the yeast (it's secreted as [HCO3-] and [H+], I think?). So in the absence of CO2 bubbling, you'd have to assume that the beer is slightly supersaturated with dissolved CO2 right up to the point that equilibrium with headspace CO2 is reached. So high and low fill bottles should both reach similar heaspace pressures at similar levels of carbonation. I'm not clever enough to use math to back this up, but it seems logical. Even if bubbling is occuring during bottle priming, my math-less intuition is that headspace CO2 would reach equilibrium with the beer pretty quickly. Partly this comes from experience with carbonate-buffered cell culture media I use at work. A half-liter bottle of medium can become de-carbonated (and therefore higher pH) in a matter of hours. And likewise if I put de-carbonated medium into a 5% CO2 incubator, it'll re-carbonate in a matter of hours. Along the same lines, I get the impression that kegged beer becomes carbonated in just a matter of days - not the weeks it takes for a high-fill bottle to carbonate (I've never kegged beer, so correct me if I'm mistaken). Though I concede that in a keg, there's more surface area per unit volume than there is in a bottle. Which brings up yet another experiment! The CO2 bubble model might be testable as follows: high-fill two bottles then leave one upright and lay one down on its side. I did a rough and ready measurement - in a bottle with about 1/2" of headspace, there's something like 1.4 square inches of surface area in an upright bottle, and 2.4 square inches of surface area when you lay the bottle on its side. Also, the top-to-bottom diffusion distance goes from 9 inches in an upright bottle to less than 2.5 inches in a laid-down bottle. So if re-dissolving/diffusion are playing a role, you'd expect the laid-down bottle to carbonate faster. On the other hand, if it's just a matter of how much O2 there is in the bottle, both bottles should carbonate equally slowly. OK, now a question/possible explanation about the reported phenomenon of halfway-filled bottles exploding. I've heard the theory that yeast evolved to make ethanol both as a microbicide, and a way of "storing food." In my understanding, if glucose concentrations fall below respiration-inhibiting concentrations (<0.4%) and there is O2 available to the yeast, then they can aerobically metabolize ethanol. Presumably the yeast ate up all the glucose in the beer during the gluttonous orgy of primary fermentation. So what's to stop the yeast in a bottle half-filled with air from chewing on the ethanol in the finished beer? Is there some other respiration-inhibitor around? What's to stop the yeast from using up every last molecule of O2 to oxidize ethanol? Could aerobic fermentation of ethanol give enough extra CO2 to account for exploding bottles? Return to table of contents
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