HOMEBREW Digest #4117 Thu 12 December 2002

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  brewing as a career (Ups474)
  Re: Fridge Guy Type Question ("Kent Fletcher")
  RE: backwards mash flow ("Martin Brungard")
  Re. WL vs Wyeast ("John Misrahi")
  RE: Brewing as a profession ("Bridges, Scott")
  Wyeast-Whitelabs/Backwards mash flow/EtOH & Tobacco/Gueuze (David Harsh)
  Re: Experiments with corn, the final chapter... (Jeff Renner)
  Using an A/C for a beer cooler (David Towson)
  Belgian brewing water (David Towson)
  Re: clogged keg & all-grain setup (Jeff Renner)
  Ayinger trademark, Wyeast vs White Labs (Calvin Perilloux)
  RE: Experiments with corn, the final chapter... (Inland-Gaylord)" <BSmith51 at ICCNET.COM>
  yeast info pages? (Rama Roberts)
  Whole-House Water Filters for Homebrewing (Donald and Melissa Hellen)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 00:11:08 EST From: Ups474 at aol.com Subject: brewing as a career I can see how heavy lawsuits and liability insurance can cause serious problems for the brewing industry- and for clubs at homebrew shops. Try to look at it in a more positive light; if prohibition hits again- rename your homebrew shop an "alternative food store" and keep selling the same stuff- malt is an "all-natural sweetener" and yeast is a "natural source of B vitamins". Besides, it can't all be bad for those of us who can brew for themselves. Remember; at age 32 Al Capone made over $32million a year- quite a bit from "penny beers". "Public service is my motto" -Al Capone Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 00:36:28 -0800 From: "Kent Fletcher" <kfletcher at socal.rr.com> Subject: Re: Fridge Guy Type Question Richard Foote <rfoote at mindspring.com> asked about equipment for a walk-in reefer: (snip) > So my question: What are the pros and cons of going with a small window > unit air conditioner versus a commercial refrigeration unit to provide > refrigeration for this? I would especially like information on startup and > operational costs. Having read the fridge posts on HBD for some time, I > know moisture comes up quite often on the list of concerns. Is one better > than the other in this respect or is there no difference? A refrigeration unit would definitely be a better choice. Window type A/C units are not nearly as effective in removing moisture and maintaining temperature, because they move less air. A properly matched condensing unit/fan coil combo should also be cheaper to operate, because it works more efficiently. Of course, the down side is that the initial outlay will be higher for reefer equipment, unless you can get a good deal on used equipment. Another consideration is what temperature you will be maintaining in the box. A/C units are not designed to make a room as cold as a refrigerator. If you just want to maintain ale fermenting temps, no problem. But as the room temp gets colder than the design temp, not all of the refrigerant will evaporate in the evaporator, and the compressor will see it's life severly shortened by being flooded with liquid refrigerant. If you want to maintain lagering temps, you should definitely go with dedicated refrigeration equipment. Hope that helps, Kent Fletcher brewing in So Cal Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:45:41 -0500 From: "Martin Brungard" <Martin.Brungard at trow.com> Subject: RE: backwards mash flow Rick asked about incorporating a reversed (or upwards) wort flow in a RIMS. I posed the same question a few years ago and even performed some experiments. My results and subsequent calculations showed that the idea isn't workable. In my experiment, I used an intake manifold made of slotted copper with a braided steel sheath filter. I quickly found that the manifold was not nearly large enough to handle the desired flow. I have harped on this before, getting a good RIMS flow is a product of having both a large intake manifold/filter and allowing only a limited pump suction on the intake manifold. After the experiment failure, I sat down and calculated the various forces at work in a mash tun under a flow condition. Even though I'm a civil engineer that deals with flow through porous media regularly, it took me a moment to recognize that gravity is a relatively insignificant part of the tendency of a grist to compact. The upward flow direction is almost inconsequential! The MAJOR force component is the flow velocity and head drop across the grain bed. That's why I advocate the limited pump suction...it limits the compaction force on the grain bed. The idea of having an overflow or other sort of intake at the top of the mash is pretty hard to work out. The specific gravity of the grain and husk is very close to that of water. The grist will pretty much float to the top and clog whatever you have up there. I guess it wouldn't be too much of a problem if your pump and piping system could pass all the grist bits, but that may be problematic. I use a regular water/grist ratio of about 1.25 qts/lb in my RIMS. There is no need to use a thinner ratio in a RIMS. A word of advice for RIMS pumping control. Install an open standpipe into the base of your mash tun or into the outlet pipe of your RIMS. That way you can monitor how much pump suction is applied at the bottom of the grain bed. If you apply too much suction, the standpipe will suck air. You need to throttle the system flow so that it does not suck air. Here are a few more suggestions for successful RIMS use. Add the mash water to the system and bring the system to the desired strike temperature before adding the grain. Use a calculator such as Promash to determine the strike temperature for your desired starting mash temperature. Since your preheating the entire system, set the mash tun thermal mass to zero for the calculation. Do not pump while you're doughing in the grain. Plan on using a very low flow rate for about the first 15 minutes of the mash. You don't want to do any temperature adjustments or steps in the first 15 minutes. For those using a standpipe, the water level will be no more than about half way down the standpipe. As the conversion progresses, the permeability of the grist improves a great deal. The water level in the standpipe will rise as the permeability improves. After that initial conversion, the flow rate can be increased and temperature adjustments and steps can be more successfully accomplished. I suggest adjusting the flow so that the water in the standpipe is an inch or two from the bottom of the standpipe. If you are using stickier grists like wheat and rye, you may still have problems if you apply this much suction. Plan on using rice hulls with sticky grists. YRMV. If you do get a stuck mash from over pumping, stop the pump, stir the grist, and restart the pumping at a lower rate. Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 09:55:03 -0500 From: "John Misrahi" <lmoukhin at sprint.ca> Subject: Re. WL vs Wyeast Well, I thought i'd don my asbestos undies, and wade into the great yeast wars of '02. My 0.02$ is that the whole 'which is better?' debate is a waste of time. I started out using Wyeast because the friend who started me brewing had used it. The LHBS he frequented carried it. It made good beer. (In spite of my many efforts to ensure otherwise!). Then I discovered White Labs. Also made good beer, even when i didn't really have a clue what I was doing. Pitched many tubes and pouches straight into the fermenter, inadequate cell count and all. They did the job. I tend to make starters nowadays regardless of which brand I use. The beer comes out fine. I do have a few strains from each company that i've used several times each. There are strains that are pretty common (ie the 'chico' american ale yeast, say) and others that are pretty unique. For example, I really love the Wyeast Thames Valley , and Lambic Blend. And there is nothing in the Wyeast repertoire that comes close to the WHite Labs Belgian Saison (i think, my favourite belgian yeast to date), or the Burton Ale (nothing better for a bass or double diamond clone, IMHO). So, why not spend our time debating the pros and cons of each strain, instead of knocking either company? They both sponsored our last homebrew competition. They both do a fine service to the homebrewing community (though, up here in the Great White North (tm), White Labs would be wise to increase its number of suppliers *hint hint*). Cold In Canada John Misrahi [6631.2, 17.4] Apparent Rennerian Pothole? Thats luxury! I have to ferment directly in my mouth. On brew day I fill up my mouth with wort in the am and drop a few yeast cells in and 3 hours later I swallow. Wish I had a pothole to ferment in. -Mike Brennan on the HBD "Ah, Billy Beer... we elected the wrong Carter." -Homer Simpson "Fryer oil is like underwear, it needs to be changed once in a while or it breaks down" - Andrew Perron Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 08:47:56 -0500 From: "Bridges, Scott" <ScottBridges at sc.slr.com> Subject: RE: Brewing as a profession Chiming in a bit late on this discussion. Here's my opinion. I looked very seriously at opening a brewery about 7 years ago. When I say seriously, I mean to the point of creating a business plan, shopping for investors and financing, scouting locations, talking to distributors, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, etc. So, I came as close as you can without actually quitting my day job. While at the time I was extremely disappointed that it didn't work out, in retrospect I'm glad that it didn't. The bottom line is that the reason we didn't execute the plan was....money. We favored a micro brewery rather than brew pub since we didn't want to deal with the restaurant hassles. Plus, in this state (SC) brewpubs can't package for off site sales like they can in some states, so opportunities for growth were very limited. It takes a lot of money no matter which avenue you choose. Restaurants have a lot of infrastructure that requires serious money. Remember that a brewpub is a restaurant with a brewery attached not the other way around. Very few brewpubs can create the revenue required to stay in business without a lot of food business. Micros require the ability to bottle, keg or both. Like so many things, in bottling lines you get what you pay for. Keeping air out of the bottle costs serious money. Very few PPM of air will stale a beer quicker than you can say HSA. So, it is a tradeoff between cost and beer stability. A good bottling line can cost $1,000,000. Stainless steel is ungodly expensive. Don't forget operating cash to carry you through the first months or year until you actually start selling enough beer to pay the bills. Grain is cheap - for everything else grab your ankles. What we found was that we couldn't raise enough capital to make it go without giving away control to venture capitalists. All this is to say that it costs big money to open a brewery. Now are there exceptions? Yes, I'm sure. It is possible to start a brewery on a shoestring. But I would wager that the vast majority of these don't sell a lot of beer or make much money. As far as personal financial rewards go, I agree with the prior comments that say don't go into this business for the money. The professional brewing community is a great bunch of people from the folks that I have met. It truly is a "community". Aside from the larger breweries that act more like big businesses (ala Jim Koch), the many people I've talked to were very inclusive and helpful - very similar to the home brewing community that we have here. The people that really make money in the business are not the brewers, generally. If you want to brew as a profession, do it idealistic reasons, like the reward you get from meeting the challenge of creating a great craft beer. Don't do it because you think you will make a bunch of money. My $.02 Scott Bridges (Home) brewing in Columbia, SC Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 10:50:42 -0500 From: David Harsh <dharsh at fuse.net> Subject: Wyeast-Whitelabs/Backwards mash flow/EtOH & Tobacco/Gueuze Greetings- A couple of cents each on recent threads Wyeast vs. Whitelabs I've used both, had great results for both. The standard Wyeast smackpack requires a double step-up compared to one for Whitelabs, in my experience. Other than that, I don't really think there's a significant difference in "quality" - at least not that I've observed. Backwards mash flow- I've never used a pump, but I've used CO2 to clear things in reverse. It seems to work - I've only had to do this once as stuck mashes are pretty rare. Ethanol and Tobacco I have to point out that there are major differences between alcohol and tobacco products. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is physically addictive. Physical addiction is rare for ethanol, and I'm not sure has been entirely proven. "Responsible" use of alcohol does not entail health risks; no safe level of tobacco use has been determined. This doesn't make me comfortable with the endless lawsuits; certainly both industries market to children and especially teenagers. I just know that if I don't want a drink with dinner, the person at the next table having one doesn't cause a smoke cloud to drift over my table. I think I have a right not to smoke just as I have right not to drink. Making Gueuze- The best homebrewed versions I have enjoyed always had one thing in common - the yeast starter. Get a 1 to 1.5 quarter starter flask and dump in the dregs from every bottle of gueuze you drink over a few months. Just make them good ones. Let the beasties grow for a while - you'll be amazed at what appears! Fair warning, if you have anyone with expertise in microbiology in the family, they may tell you exactly what is growing, and you might not really want to know... I've been told that available Lambic yeast blends leave a bit to be desired, but have no personal experience. The people who have told me this do and they have been pretty adamant. That's it for now. Dave Harsh Bloatarian Brewing Leaugue Cincinnati, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 12:11:20 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Experiments with corn, the final chapter... Brian Smith <BSmith51 at ICCNET.COM> laments from Bogalusa, LA >Well listers, as you may remember I was trying an experiment with some >freshly ground corn meal from the parish (county) fair. I mashed as per >Jeff R's instructions and had an unusually long lag time when pitched. > ... I made 6 gallons of hoppy, spicy, malt vinegar. I hope this isn't really the final chapter, Brian. You can still try it again with good yeast. it wasn't a fair trial of the corn meal. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 12:21:14 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Using an A/C for a beer cooler In HBD 4116, Rick Foote asks about using a window air conditioner as a refrigeration plant for a walk-in cooler. I have been wanting to do that ever since I saw a picture and construction details of such an arrangement at http://home.swbell.net/bufkin/cold_storage_box.htm . And one of these days, I'm going to do it. There is, however, one caveat I'll offer. I see no reason why this scheme should not work well so long as you don't want to go much below 60 degrees or so. But none of the window units I've played with have thermostats that can be set much below that. So unless you either modify the thermostat, or replace it with another temperature controller, you won't be able to keep the compressor running to get down to lower temperatures. But there is also a problem with trying to go too low, in that, if you push your luck too far, you'll ice-up the evaporator (cooling coil), and then the thing will just quit working. That may be more of a problem with bigger window units than with the little unit used in the example I cited, but I can't say for sure. But since you already have the insulated box, I'd darned sure go for it. Dave Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 12:30:34 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Belgian brewing water Just a quick note to say "thanks" to Jan Willem van Groenigen for posting the extensive compilation of Belgian brewing water characteristics. It is obvious that his friend put a great deal of effort into the project, and I very much appreciate it. Dave Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 13:05:39 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: clogged keg & all-grain setup "Rich Lanam" <rlanam at kaplancollege.edu> writes from Warren, NJ >I had read about how hops used to be put directly in the cask. Without >thinking through the possible side-effects, I put hops directly in my >keg. Well, it clogged he whole thing up and I ended up spending a few >hours reducing the pressure and transferring the beer. I hope someone >can learn from my mistake. This is called dry hopping, and it is still done to add hop aroma. It does not add bitterness, or at least not much, and so you still need to use hops in the boil. The trick to successful dry hopping is to use a nylon mesh hop bag. These cost a buck or so at HB shops. I always boil mine before use, and soak it is a bleach solution when I remove it. >I am primarily an extract brewer, but have done all-grain twice. My long >term goal is to someday brew professionally. What type of inexpensive >all-grain setup would most closely resemble a small professional >installation -- or at least provide experience in controlling the >variables that I'd need to become familiar with? I think a propane fired RIMS would be a good approximation. These are available from many suppliers or you can make your own from stock pots or old Sankey barrels. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 11:15:03 -0800 (PST) From: Calvin Perilloux <calvinperilloux at yahoo.com> Subject: Ayinger trademark, Wyeast vs White Labs >From Graham Down Under (who's probably going out at night to cover up those signs about the salties, just to keep the tourist numbers under control): >> if he named it Ayinger. There would be no copy >> right involved as there is a town by that name in >> Germany, so he could say its named after the town. And there was a town of the name Budweis in what is now the Czech Republic, still called that on some German maps I had recently, but you won't get far naming your product Budweiser! Likewise for some other place names like Erdinger. It might be a different matter if those place-terms had become part of the common English/American language (z.b. Hamburger, Frankfurter, usw.). What's the legal copyright term for that? Doesn't matter. Back to the yeast debate: Count me as one who uses both Wyeast and White Labs, and who'd like to see them both remain in business long term. White Labs is quicker/easier (IMO) and is good for those impulse weekends when I swing by the brew shop and decide to make (name your favourite beer) the very next day or so. Wyeast, on the other hand, is good to have around the house with all the other ingredients for weeks when I don't feel like I have the time to get to the local brewshop before the next planned brew session. The longer shelf life has its advantages then. Perhaps the farther you live from a brew shop, the more attractive Wyeast looks, due to the shelf life that lets you buy a lot of batch ingredients when you do make it to the shop and then brew later at your leisure. Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 15:08:32 -0500 From: "Smith, Brian (Inland-Gaylord)" <BSmith51 at ICCNET.COM> Subject: RE: Experiments with corn, the final chapter... No, I'll give it another try, probbly will just do something a little more simple, rather than my holiday ale. And I am going to get some 2 row to mash with the corn just to make sure I have the enzymes. Brian > -----Original Message----- > From: Jeff Renner [SMTP:jeffrenner at comcast.net] > Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 11:11 AM > To: homebrew at hbd.org > Cc: Smith, Brian (Inland-Gaylord) > Subject: Re: Experiments with corn, the final chapter... > > Brian Smith <BSmith51 at ICCNET.COM> laments from Bogalusa, LA > > >Well listers, as you may remember I was trying an experiment with some > >freshly ground corn meal from the parish (county) fair. I mashed as per > >Jeff R's instructions and had an unusually long lag time when pitched. > > ... I made 6 gallons of hoppy, spicy, malt vinegar. > > I hope this isn't really the final chapter, Brian. You can still try > it again with good yeast. it wasn't a fair trial of the corn meal. > > Jeff > -- > Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net > "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 13:21:08 -0800 (PST) From: Rama Roberts <rama at retro.eng.sun.com> Subject: yeast info pages? There have been some several discussions lately about which yeasts are which (WL Platinum, YCKC, etc). It'd be great if this were captured somewhere for future reference (and don't say "that's what the archives are for".) I tried contacting Scott about his yeast source pages at: http://smurman.best.vwh.net/zymurgy/yeast.html but haven't heard back from him, yet. Are there other references out there that are being kept up to date? If WL won't identify their sources, maybe BYO can add another column for Source on their pages? http://www.byo.com/referenceguide/yeaststrains If *nobody* wants to do it, I'll put something together and try to convince Pat to host it on hbd.org. - --rama Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 16:30:32 -0500 From: Donald and Melissa Hellen <donhellen at horizonview.net> Subject: Whole-House Water Filters for Homebrewing Jeffrey Fenton wrote: >I want to use a whole house water filter to filter my beer >after a primary or secondary fermentation and was wondering >if anybody had good results with it compared to an actual beer >filter. I use one with a 5 micron filter in it when I feel the need to clear my beer or get floating stuff that doesn't settle out of it. I can't compare it with a commercial filter made for brewing, but there is at least one sold for the purpose that looks suspiciously like what I made out of a whole-house filter for about $30 (US). >Also is there a homebrew store in Mansfield, OH or near there. >I can't seem to find one. Thanks for the help and advice. I do know there is one in Akron. I don't know how far that is form you, though. Both of my "local" suppliers are at least an hour away from my place. There was one right in my town (Chillicothe, OH) but it closed down. It was mainly an extension of the old drunk's hobby and wasn't managed as a growing business. It didn't have much to recommend it as far as selection or quality. Don Hellen Return to table of contents
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