HOMEBREW Digest #4168 Tue 11 February 2003

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  Fermenter recirculation #4 - results (David Towson)
  RE:  Competitions (val.dan.morey)
  Just wondering............. ("greg man")
  MCAB recipe ("Gordon Strong")
  Anchor Steam an IPA?  Yes, I know.... (David Harsh)
  Re: Equipment does matter ("Dave")
  Subject: response to competiton ethics ("Steve Alexander")
  re: Equipment does matter (John Schnupp)
  Re: Heat exchanger coil (Daniel Chisholm)
  More competition... (Bev Blackwood II)
  Singing to your yeast ("Bridges, Scott")
  What to do, what to do... ("kent tegels")
  Re: Equipment does matter ("Mike Dixon")
  beating a dead horse with brewing equipment (Ed Jones)
  The Big Dogs and Bigger Equipment (Michael Hartsock)
  $4K systems yada, yada, yada ("Sven Pfitt")
  Water Heater Warning.... ("Dennis Collins")
  Philmill II ("Dan Listermann")
  Re: Competing with the "good" brewers (Bill Wible)
  Must be the equipment (Jim Bermingham)
  Temperature changes ("Ian Watson")
  PVC in a rectangular cooler (beerbuddy)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 16:23:48 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Fermenter recirculation #4 - results In HBD 4128, I posted a message saying I had begun an experiment to determine the effects of using a pump to provide continuous recirculation of the contents of my cylindro-conical fermenter while fermenting a high-gravity (1.075) porter. I posted progress reports in HBD 4130 and 4131. Since then, I have done one additional batch (a 1.080 biere de garde) using this technique. Both batches were 10.5 gallons before blowoff. This message summarizes what I have observed during these experiments. Continuous recirculation prevented any yeast from settling in the fermenter, and thereby made all of the yeast available to the fermenting wort. This resulted in extremely vigorous fermentations that produced a great deal of blowoff, so much in fact, that my blowoff container overflowed for both batches, and I had two sticky messes to clean up. So lesson one is, "be prepared for a lot of blowoff". I now have a 5-foot blowoff hose that reaches to a 5-gallon bucket on the floor. Gas generation for both batches dropped from several bubbles-per-second to less than a bubble-per-minute (using a 5/8-inch ID blowoff hose) after five days, and the SG did not drop after that. The porter had a formulation and mash profile that encouraged a good amount of unfermentables, so the SG only dropped from 1.075 to 1.031. I had used a quart of Wyeast 1056 heavy slurry that produced gas after only fifteen minutes, but to be sure the pumping hadn't inhibited the yeast, I added 22 grams of rehydrated Nottingham dry yeast to see what would happen. Nothing happened; fermentation was done. For the biere de garde, I used a formulation and mash profile that encouraged a highly fermentable wort, and I pitched a 3-quart starter of Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity yeast. For that batch, the SG dropped from 1.080 to 1.016 in five days. In my HBD 4131 update, I noted that work being done on the wort by the pump appeared to be producing a considerable amount of heat that had to be removed by the fermenter cooling system. I saw this again with the biere de garde. In both cases, I had to drop the ambient temperature into the low-to-mid 50s in order for the thermo-electric cooler to develop enough efficiency to maintain control. This condition continued even after fermentation was complete, so long as the pump was running. But in both cases, the fermenter temperature immediately started dropping toward ambient as soon as the pump was shut off. I have not made any isolated measurements of this effect to date, because I haven't figured a way to simulate the viscosity and particulate-content of fermenting wort without the heat of fermentation. I could use the actual wort, I suppose, but I'm not inclined to play games with a good product once I've gotten there. Another effect that I find interesting is that the pumping prevented the yeast from flocculating. So the settled yeast could be drained from the dump valve very easily. Without recirculation, the yeast always assumed a thick, gluey consistency that took a half-hour or more to slowly ooze out. I must add, however, that I haven't reused any of this yeast, so I can't say whether its characteristics have been altered. As for how the beers turned out, I can comment on the porter, but it's too soon for the biere de garde, which has just started cold-conditioning for a couple weeks at 45 degrees. I am quite pleased with the porter, with the minor exception that I want to back-off on the bittering next time. It's nicely balanced for a robust porter, but still a bit bitter for me. I used to be a hophead, but the older I get, the less my stomach can deal with it. I've had one other opinion on the porter so far, and it was very positive. So my little experiment doesn't seem to have hurt it. I have noticed, however, that three weeks after bottling, I still have to pour carefully to avoid getting yeast. The yeast seems to be caking more slowly than usual, probably due to the lessened tendency to flocculate. So to summarize, I've had very fast and thorough fermentations with substantially reduced tendency for the yeast to flocculate, and a troublesome amount of heat generated by the pumping. I haven't noted any harm to the beers so far. I will continue to use this technique so long as the cold weather lasts, but I'll have to knock it off when warm weather comes unless I can find a way to get rid of the excess heat. Dave in Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 15:39:49 -0600 From: val.dan.morey at juno.com Subject: RE: Competitions Bill writes: "If they graduated Siebel? If they write a regular technical column for Zymurgy, How about somebody who wins first place in the same category 9 times out of 12 competitions over 4 years, and take BOS 5 of those times, using the same recipe and the $4k system?" Bill, what about homebrew shop owners and BJCP judges? Shouldn't both these groups have more knowledge than us amateurs? Wouldn't this be an unfair advantage? How do you know it is the same recipe? As a judge you shouldn't see this information before or during the competition. Why couldn't this individual just be a better brewer? I don't understand what Siebel or being a technical author have to do with equipment? You are trying to convince us that equipment makes the difference aren't you? "At some point, this stuff starts to hurt competitions. Yeah, you don't want to turn away anyone's entries, but how about the 10 or more entries that you don't get from people like me, because we know about the people who always win?" Sound like you are upset about not winning. For most people the main reason for entering contests is to get trained feedback and suggestion for improvement. We have an individual in the Chicago area that wins a lot of contests. I hear his beer is outstanding. If you can place ahead of him, then you know that you crafted a truly exceptional beer. Just curious, have any judges written, "Try a RIMS or HERMS next time. This will take this beer to the next level?" I doubt it. "Why on one hand do you say disallow BOP beers, but on the other hand say that beers brewed on similar systems "at home" are OK?" It called a tax determination tank (TDT). Homebrewer's do not use them. Those who use TDT have there own contests. My neighbor went to BOP, and still knows little about beer or how it is made. Sounds like the BOP basically does most the works and sells you the finished product. I'm apposed because he didn't make it. The TDT makes it a business and a professional product (though not necessarily better). "And the guys with the $4k systems who write for Zymurgy should be competing against them - not me, with my plastic Gott cooler and my 6 gallon glass carboy in my basement." Sounds like you don't. Maybe someone would let you brew on their $4k system, will then win BOS then? Perhaps you should organize a contest for the occasional or less experienced brewer with less than $X invested. Face it, it is the brewer. Cheers, Dan Morey Club B.A.B.B.L.E. http://hbd.org/babble Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 20:27:03 -0500 From: "greg man" <dropthebeer at hotmail.com> Subject: Just wondering............. OK On Saturday I did the whole parti-gyle thing an it went good real good, in fact I got the first beer at 4 gallons to be 1.084 and the second beer at 8 gallons 1.027. with 14 lbs of grain!!!!!!!!(one of those lbs was added to the second mash) But I was real happy with those numbers you brainiacks can do the math an see why I'm so happy ;) Anyway enough bragging........the hydrometer I used only goes up to 80? So being to lazy to go into the basement and find my other one I measured it with this one. Being that I guess it read about 1.084 for the big beer, do you think that is accurate? Seeing that It's not meant to go that high? Can it actually give me a reading for a high gravity beer? Just wondering.............gregman Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 22:00:13 -0500 From: "Gordon Strong" <strongg at voyager.net> Subject: MCAB recipe Thanks to the BURP club of DC for a great job running the MCAB V competition this past weekend. As requested by the organizers, here's the 2nd place Strong Scotch Ale recipe. It was made on a pico brewing system (http://www.pico-brewing.com/). You'll need a big mash tun to hold all the grain... Strong Scotch Ale Recipe for 5.5 US gallons 15 lbs Paul's Mild malt 15 lbs Crisp Maris Otter 6 oz UK Roasted Barley 1.5 oz Northern Brewer (Ger), whole, 8.5% at 60 .5 oz Northern Brewer (Ger), whole, 8.5% at 30 WLP028 Edinburgh Ale yeast Mash at 158F for 2 hours. No sparge. Collect 9 gallons, boiling hard the first runnings to caramelize (maybe boil down the first gallon to a quart; I did this by firing up the kettle just before starting to run off). Boil for 2.5 hours. Final boil volume 6 gallons. Ferment at 60F for 3 weeks Keg & force carbonate Age at least a year before serving (age at competition: 21 months) OG 1.130 (!) 32 IBU Mash again to make a dark mild: Add 2 lb Crisp Crystal 80 and 1/2 lb of Crisp Chocolate. Add water and mash again at 151F during the long boil. Sparge and collect 6.5 gallons. Boil 1 hour, adding 1 lb Turbinado sugar during the boil. Use 3/4 oz N.B. 8.5% hops at 45. Ferment at 65F with your favorite English ale yeast. OG 1.040, 18 IBU. Drink while waiting for the Scotch Ale to mature. Ready to drink in about 2-3 weeks. Gordon Strong Beavercreek, Ohio Dayton Regional Amateur Fermentation Technologists Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 23:44:29 -0500 From: David Harsh <dharsh at fuse.net> Subject: Anchor Steam an IPA? Yes, I know.... Greetings- Had a brain collapse the other day. It was a flight of California Commons and IPAs lumped together, the commercial ringer inserted was an Anchor Steam as a California Common. Dave Harsh Cincinnati, OH Bloatarian Brewing League Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2003 22:04:02 -0800 From: "Dave" <brewingisloving at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Equipment does matter My responses are below the quoted text. "I'm not buying it. Equipment does matter. You can't tell me a guy putting on a roof with a power nailer doesn't have an advantage over a guy trying to do the same job driving nails with the back of a screwdriver, and that the results are going to be the same. We've also had the golf comparison - "should Tiger Woods be allowed in an amateur golf competition?" I think that's getting closer to an accurate analogy, since we're talking about a combination of equipment and experience. How about Walter Ray Williams, should he be allowed to bowl in a regular, local league, or an amateur tournament? Even though both of these guys have clearly crossed the line from amateur to pro, the answer is that these guys could be allowed in any level of competition, and it could be made fair for everybody using the proper handicaps. Golf and bowling are both games that use handicaps in competition. Unfortunately, we have no way to handicap brewing competitions based on someone's advantages due to experience and equipment. Anybody familiar with "Iron Chef"? How about if we give the Iron Chef the Henkels, the Kitchen Aid and all the other electric appliances, and we give the challenger a set of plastic utensils to work with? Would that be a fair competition? If the challenger is a great chef, shouldn't he be able to overcome that lack of equipment with all his knowledge and experience? After all, you'd say the chef makes the meal, not the equipment, right? Or does equipment just possibly make a difference? (Not that Iron Chef is ever a fair competition anyway.)" Bill, Your analogies made in this argument, as well as your arguments for why good homebrewers should be disqualified (which have been made nil by other posters), are unfair and unreasonable, respectively. As the later has been dealt with, I'll show why your analogies, above, are not examples that parallel brewing. The guy on the roof with a power nailer gets quicker results, and maybe even better ones, but brewers have time to formulate recipes, and have to turn over control to the yeast to do much of the work. Tiger woods might benefit from better equipment, but better equipment isn't going to make yeast forget about millions of years of evolution. Also, unlike with golf, a brewer can account for the peculiarities of his or her equipment. Tiger woods cannot make a steel drive shaft behave like a graphite shaft. Also, most properties of the better equipment that brewers use don't have an effect on the quality of the beer, but, rather, on the ease of making the beer. The results of the iron chef competition depend on split second decisions. Brewers can plan their brew day for weeks and can take as long as they want to brew the beer. In addition, in none of these analogies does the person have to wait weeks for a biological organism to compound all of the mistakes made during the brew session. If Tiger Woods' ball had to fly through the air during forecasted rain and hail storms, at a rate of 1 mile per month, and had to account for how the grass growing would effect his ball, while rolling at such a slow rate, then we would have a situation that was, maybe, analogous to brewing. Cheers, Dave Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 01:18:50 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Subject: response to competiton ethics I was asked to forward/post this message to HBD. I think it's self explanatory. > I have been homebrewing for 5 years now. I have always been a partial mash > brewer..ie extract with specialty grains. I am at the point where I design > all of my own recipies so the question of kits winning in competition is > beyond me. The point I would like to make, and prove, is that it is > technique that wins competitions. You can take the best ingredients and > combine it with the best system and if your technique is flawed you will > produce a poor beer. > > I am a member of a homebrew club that is comprised of primarily all-grain > brewers. I hear them tell their horror stories of stuck mashes and missed > conversions, etc.... I have tasted many great beers and many "bad" beers > from the group. Taking the next step to all-grain has no appeal to me. I'm > sure it is interesting but I do not have the, space or desire to add > additional steps that I can screw up. > > This past year I won 1st and 3rd Best of Show in our "local" HB competition. > The all-grainers were baffeled that an EXRACT brewer could produce beer that > was good enough to win BOS! Both of my beers were extract with specialty > grain. But, as was mentioned in many of the posts about this subject, I take > great care and pride in my brewing. I love to make beer and, apparently, it > shows. > > Highly technical brewers I think can get too caught up trying to perfect > their equipment set-ups, or their conversion charts, or the Ph of the > mash(can you tell I don't know what the hell I'm talking about?) and lose > sight of what they are really attempting to do. > > Brew from the heart and less by the book and you won't be complaining about > what kind of system people have because YOU will be the one winning the > medals! > > Dan Gestwick Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 00:06:14 -0800 (PST) From: John Schnupp <johnschnupp at yahoo.com> Subject: re: Equipment does matter I was going to reply, then I decided it wasn't worth it. Then I read some more and it got me spun-up. Then I decided to wait. Now I decided what the heck, it's not like I never spoke out of turn. From: Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> Subject: Equipment does matter >I'm not buying it. Equipment does matter. I'm not buying it either. Equipment doesn't matter. Ok, it does get old sometimes having one person win all the time. If that isn't motivation to try and do better what is? I mash in a Gott cooler, use copper/brass/SS, boil in a an old aluminum pot and ferment in glass. I've won before. Ok, not BOS, but if I only enter 3 beers do you *really* think I'll win BOS? >You can't tell me a guy putting on a roof with a power >nailer doesn't have an advantage over a guy trying to >do the same job driving nails with the back of a >screwdriver, and that the results are going to be >the same. The power nailer will go quicker. As for the same results, well that depends on the guy swinging the screwdriver. What do you know about roofing? I can tell you this, the nails don't care what hammered them. As for making sure the shingles and nice, neat and installed correctly, well that's up to the person doing the job. >since we're talking about a combination of equipment >and experience. How about Walter Ray Williams, should >he be allowed to bowl in a regular, local league, or >an amateur tournament? How about pool (8-ball or 9-ball, take your pick)? Personally, I'd love to see one of the pros shooting pool in my town. I'd stand in line for the chance to play them. I'd probably learn something. ===== John Schnupp, N3CNL ??? Hombrewery [560.2, 68.6] Rennerian Georgia, VT 95 XLH 1200, Bumblebee Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 08:30:57 -0400 From: Daniel Chisholm <dmc at nbnet.nb.ca> Subject: Re: Heat exchanger coil Christian Rausch wrote: > I am putting together a RIMS or HERMS system and was curious if anyone using > a system like this would like to weight in on the length of the heat > exchanger coil. I am planning on a coil of 60'. The diameter of the coil > will be 3/8" . A couple of thoughts. I added a mini-HERMSy coil to my system, about ten or twelve feet of 3/8" copper tubing. This is too short for most purposes - I was able to maintain heat and gently ramp the temperature throughout the mash (going from 145F at the beginning to 160F-ish by the wort coming out of the HERMSy coil was (IIRC) 164F). On the other hand, I have a counterflow wort chiller that uses 25' of 3/8" tubing for its inner (wort) loop. It is amazing just how much flow resistance 25' of empty (air-filled) 3/8" tubing produces - try blowing through a 25' coil of tubing to see what I mean. When chilling, my pump is able to push wort through this at only a lethargic pace. Unless you have a pump that's quite a bit more powerful than mine (and if so, please email me privately with make/model info! ;-), I'd have reservations about trying to push wort through sixty feet of 3/8" copper tubing - it would flow, but probably much too slowly. (And if you really want to see flow resistance: my immersion chiller is a 25' loop of 1/4" tubing. This length of 1/4" tubing is _so_ restrictive, that I can apply full garden hose pressure (30-40 psi), and the flow rate through it is _not_ excessive!!!) Now while the flow through a counterflow chiller must happen in series, this is not the case with an immersion coil (such as an immersion chiller, or a HERMS coil). One thing you could do to get around this flow resistance problem would be to use two or three _parallel_ 20' (say) lengths of 3/8" tubing. You'd need a 1-to-3 flow splitter/manifold at one end and a 3-into-1 manifold (same thing) at the other. This would provide the identical surface area (after all, it is the same sixty feet of tubing submerged in your hot water), and this would reduce the flow resistance dramatically (off the top of my head, I'd guesstimate that it'd have less flow resistance than 25' of 1/2" tubing, and more surface area than 25' of 1/2" tubing). If this small bit of added plumbing at each end of your loop doesn't bother you, this would probably give you a very high performance HERMS coil. - -- - Daniel Fredericton, NB Canada Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 06:50:18 -0600 From: Bev Blackwood II <bdb2 at bdb2.com> Subject: More competition... > "As far as micros - anybody who thinks the BJCP should let > local micros enter these amateur competitions so the > local homebrewers will beat them is just deluded... > ...No amateur could compete with these guys." This is just plain laughable. I've had bad homebrew (Hell, I've MADE bad homebrew) but I've had really bad micro beer (and worse, paid money for it!) Just having equipment isn't enough, you have to have the skill to use it properly, a solid knowledge of the chemistry and biology... It doesn't stop there. Is Tiger Woods a great golfer because he plays with a particular club? The manufacturers of his equipment sure want you to think so! However, If you gave me Tiger Woods' golf bag, (and caddy) and set me down at Augusta, I'd make the groundskeepers angry and the squirrels in the trees scared. When I got my big rig, it took about 5-6 batches to even get the sparge down right. Even now, I still feel the best beers I make (and I have the competition results to prove it) come from my old Gott cooler. Where I draw the line is whether someone is being paid to produce beer on a commercial system. That's the GABF and World Beer Cup folks' domain. I had a professional brewer (who made exceptional homebrew with a Gott cooler as well) once explain why he didn't enter that beer in homebrew competitions. It's a no-win proposition for him. If he loses at competition, then people can say they are "better than a pro." If he wins, then people will whine about him being a professional, despite him brewing under the same conditions they did (I.E. At home, on the stove, etc.) So he couldn't win either way. -BDB2 Bev D. Blackwood II http://www.bdb2.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 08:46:54 -0500 From: "Bridges, Scott" <ScottBridges at sc.slr.com> Subject: Singing to your yeast >Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:08:47 -0500 >From: "John Misrahi" <lmoukhin at sprint.ca> >Subject: re. singing to your yeast > >Abe Kabakoff write about singing and professing love to his yeast. Well, I >don't go that far. I play music to my yeast starters and my fermenting >beer...Not always...But I find some acid jazz is just the thing to get a >ferment hopping. Either that or some Steely Dan. No long lag times there. I >have no data to back this up, and as always, YMMV. > >I have to be careful what's on the radio - I fear that if it accidentally >heard some Celine Dion or N'Sync, the poor yeasties might go dormant or >start autolyzing before they even have a change to ferment/ Singing to your yeast is one thing, but whatever you do... Don't wear plaid when brewing! I won't be held responsible for the results if you do..... Right, Skotrat??? Sorry, I couldn't resist. Scott Bridges Brewing in Columbia, SC Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 07:51:43 -0600 From: "kent tegels" <ktegels at msn.com> Subject: What to do, what to do... Greetings, On Saturday, I managed to get my hands on some WhiteLabs WLP320 as a backup to another batch of American Wheat we've got going from a culture. Turns out that I didn't need a backup at all, so now I need to this yeast up. I'm looking for ideas on what to brew with it. Since I'm a fan of fruited beers, I'm hoping someone will have a good blueberry or cherry recipe. I'd also like to try a smoke-accented or puesdo-Rauchbier at some point, if anyone thinks this yeast would work with that. I'm still really new at this, so the easier the better. Thanks! Kent Tegels [633.3, 267.8] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 08:56:22 -0500 From: "Mike Dixon" <mpdixon at ipass.net> Subject: Re: Equipment does matter Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> writes... > > I'm not buying it. Equipment does matter. > I actually saw in the last HBD where a few people agreed with you at least a little bit. Personally, I don't at all. I won 27 ribbons total last year in 5 regional competitions. Every competition had 150+ entries, and one had almost 300. At the largest I took two first place ribbons, three second place ribbons, and a single third place. Ok, here is the kicker. I do it with an old beat up cooler as a lauter tun, a copper coil in the bottom of the tun, some foil across the top of the mash, a pot from the kitchen, some cinder blocks, a burner, and a kettle. If I am making a small beer, I lauter in a bottling bucket with a copper coil. Equipment doesn't make beer, the brewer makes beer. I'll put my Armstrong system beers up against those made on a $4,000 system anyday. All a system can do is regulate a mash temp, and you can do that yourself with a thermometer, a burner, a kettle, and stirring. Competition ribbons are awarded to brewers who brew to style with the lowest possible amount of flaws. Simple as that. Cheers, Mike Dixon Wake Forest, NC www.ipass.net/~mpdixon/homebrew.htm Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 06:18:13 -0800 (PST) From: Ed Jones <cuisinartoh at yahoo.com> Subject: beating a dead horse with brewing equipment You know, usually I just ignore what Bill Wibble says and move on about my day, but if he insists on beating a dead horse then I'll add my own kick. Recently he said: "I'm not buying it. Equipment does matter. You can't tell me a guy putting on a roof with a power nailer doesn't have an advantage over a guy trying to do the same job driving nails with the back of a screwdriver, and that the results are going to be the same." I can and will tell you that just because a guy has a roofing nailer it doesn't make him a better roofer. I've roofed a lot of homes so I have the experience to know better. The advantage a guy with a roofing nailer has, assuming he's a decent roofer, is time not quality. You still have to know how to lay out a course of shingles and keep them from creeping, regardless of whether you use a hammer or a nailer. In fact, I've seen crappy roofers with power nailers do a worse job than a good roofer with just a hammer becuse they get in a hurry or don't know how to lay out a roof. Equipment matters more in terms of efficiency gains than quality of work. Just ask the Amish Bill, you're wrong about the equipment making a significant difference in terms of quality. Experience and know-how are what matters. Equipent saves you time and marginally improves the quality of output assuming you know how to control the input and that requires experience. You may not agree with the rest of us, but at least let the topic die. ===== Ed Jones - Columbus, Ohio U.S.A - [163.8, 159.4] [B, D] Rennerian "When I was sufficiently recovered to be permitted to take nourishment, I felt the most extraordinary desire for a glass of Guinness...I am confident that it contributed more than anything else to my recovery." - written by a wounded officer after Battle of Waterloo, 1815 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 06:22:52 -0800 (PST) From: Michael Hartsock <xd_haze at yahoo.com> Subject: The Big Dogs and Bigger Equipment Wow... I even promised myself that I wouldn't reply to this thread. But I feel I must. I really don't believe that big buff equipment makes much if any difference. Any hunters or fishers out there? How many of you have hunted or fished next to the rich kid or doctor that went out and spent a small fortune on a scope or a fly rod and failed to bring in the smallest game? Then how many of you have been deer hunting with the seventy year old man who smokes in his deer stand wearing a blue snow suit and invariably brings in the biggest buck? Seriously, experience matters, not big time equipment. Secondly, my grandmother hasn't bought a new pot or pan in DECADES. You can buy all the Emeril brand equipment you want from the most expensive stores... and I guarantee your cooking won't hold a candle to that woman's haphazard sunday meal. I went to a wine making contest last year. The winner was an old woman that won with a '84 CONCORD that she fermented in bucket. Concords aren't even supposed to age! Buy your $4,000 systems... but I feel that you are either lazy or compenstating like the guy with a new vette. mike Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 09:27:37 -0500 From: "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98 at hotmail.com> Subject: $4K systems yada, yada, yada OK, lets list the most important things to brewing beer... My opinion is: First tier (1) Sanitation (2) Yeast health and pitching volume (3) Properly oxigenated wort (4) Fermentation temp (5) Proper wort makeup (see second tier) Second tier (1) Wort with good hot break / cold break (a) boil time (b) wort chilling technnique (2) proper wort fermentability (a) grist makeup (b) mash processing (3) Ration of bitterness to malt sweetness for balance (a) hop selection (b) hop schedule for boil time Looks to me like those fancy schmancy systems are contributing to the lower level in most regards. Even Fermentation temp control can be achieved at a modist cost for the most part, Refrigerator with thermostat, or heat lamp in the winter. I've only been brewing for three years (not counting the 15 years that I made wine, and beer that had a propensity to sour)... and the best I have ever done is a third in the regional for the NHC so I'm not one of those guys who always wins. I do fair at the LHBC (State of Franklin) style comps, but better at the open comps because I like Belgians and brew them mostly. What I mostly brew doesn't fit the comp schedule, so I don't always enter the style comps. Look back thorugh the archives at what advice is given to new brewers in this and other forums. What are the things we say are key to making good beer. It is not expensive hardware. Do we decieve the new brewers for our own benefit? I don't always brew on the two tier system. My next beer will be in a 5 gallon Gott cooler and boiled on the kitchen stove because I'm a Brew-a-holic and need a fix (and I'm not brewing outside in 26F weather). Why don't the Micro and Brew Pub beers worry me? Because those guys are too buisy trying to make good drinkable beer to sell to the public. They don't have time or the privelage to experiment to the extent we do. It is those guys (and gals) with more time to brew at home than I have do that worry me. You know, the ones brewing every chance they get, pouring over books gaining knowlege about the fermentation process, yeast characteristics grain types and hop characteristics. Looking for better ways to sanitize their equipment. better yeast propogation and wort areation. They are my competition and they worry me....... Steven, -75 XLCH- Ironhead Nano-Brewery http://thegimp.8k.com Johnson City, TN [422.7, 169.2] Rennerian "Fools you are... who say you like to learn from your mistakes.... I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the cost of my own." Otto von Bismarck Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 09:32:20 -0500 From: "Dennis Collins" <dcollins at drain-all.com> Subject: Water Heater Warning.... Although this is not necessarily brewing related, it happened during brew day and I thought it would be worthwhile to pass on. While preparing for a club brew out at my house on Saturday, I got all my equipment set up and needed one last item from the closet where I keep everything. This also happens to be where the water heater sits. I brushed the spigot on the bottom of the water heater, and by brush, I mean I barely tapped it, and the sucker snapped right off. The hot water from the tank gushed out everywhere and it was 15 or 20 seconds before I could turn the inlet valve to the tank off. By then, there were gallons of hot water all over the floor and the contents of the water heater was chugging out of the hole where the spigot broke off. Long story short, I was able to summon help (thank God for friends) and get the thing repaired and actually hold the brew out with only about a 90 minute delay. The warning is this - the spigot that broke was plastic. A cheap plastic faucet that, over time, with the heat from the hot water, had become brittle and was waiting for any excuse to let go. I can only be thankful I was there when it did. The condition of the plastic was abysmal and if I hadn't "helped" it along by brushing against it, it might have failed on it's own - while no one was home. Not a nice homecoming. In addition, you have to hope that the broken spigot threads come out without damaging the threads on the tank or you are looking at a new water heater. So the advice for all you homeowners out there is to go home tonight and look at that spigot. If it's plastic, no matter how old it is, replace it as soon as you can with a metal one. Heed this advice, you won't regret it. Dennis Collins Knoxville, TN http://sdcollins.home.mindspring.com "Fools you are... who say you like to learn from your mistakes.... I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the cost of my own." Otto von Bismarck (thanks Steven, no quote is more appropriate in this case) Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:06:39 -0500 From: "Dan Listermann" <dan at listermann.com> Subject: Philmill II Nate Hall asks about the Philmill II. I design and make these mills. I like them. Let me know if you have any questions. They can pass 9.5 pounds per minute powered with a Craftsman Drill crushing wheat malt from a standing start. They are infinitely adjustable with the twist of a single knob running, standing still, empty or full. Further they have an overload spring built into their adjustment mechanism to pass foreign objects. Dan Listermann Check out our E-tail site at www.listermann.com Free shipping for orders greater than $35 and East of the Mighty Miss. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:20:15 -0500 From: Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> Subject: Re: Competing with the "good" brewers >Last fall, Anchor Steam came in next to last in a >flight of IPAs I judged. I would think so, since Anchor Steam is NOT an IPA and you guys judged it out of category. Bill Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 09:49:16 -0800 From: Jim Bermingham <jbham6843 at netscape.net> Subject: Must be the equipment Bill tell me how the equipment does it. Mine has been setting in the garage the past three weeks and hasn't made a drop of beer. During the 42 years since I made my first beer, I hope that I've learned how to make a better beer. The ingredients are better and the equipment. Is this hobby of ours about making a better beer than you can buy? Or is it about winning competitions? If you're interested in competitions, by all means enter. You may not win but you should get great feedback on what others think of your beer. If you're like me you don't always get honest feedback from friends, neighbors or sons-in-law. I know my sons-in-law had better tell me that my beer is better than the store bought kind. If I can't make better beer than I can buy, I sure am wasting a lot of time and money. I could have bought a lot of beer for what I have invested in my home brewery. I still buy a lot of beer. I don't make all the types of beer that I like. I currently make four different beers. Seven or eight years ago I was trying to make a different beer each time I brewed. None of them was was the quality I was striving for. I probably could have bought better beer at the time. I decided to limit many types of beer to just four and concentrate on making these the best I could. Hopefully I am still learning and improving on these four beers. If you want to enter a winning beer into a competition, limit yourself on the number of entries and concentrate on one beer type. When you have mastered this beer move on to another. You don't have to be a professional to be a good brewer. You do however, have to strive to learn everything you can about making beer and do your best to make the next beer you brew better than the last. Jim Bermingham Millsap, TX Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:47:25 -0500 From: "Ian Watson" <realtor at niagara.com> Subject: Temperature changes Hi all I have a programmable thermostat on my furnace, and it is set to 68 F in the day and 64 F at night. I am wondering if this will affect my beers fermentation to any noticeable degree. I am thinking there would not be enough time for the 5+ gallons of beer to change temperature in the 8 hours the temperature is at 64 F. Any thoughts? Ian Watson St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada [235, 71.9] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 16:00:23 +0000 From: beerbuddy at attbi.com Subject: PVC in a rectangular cooler Ok, now after this discussion of $4k systems - I have a $10 system question - I'm about to take the dive into all grain. I have built a manifold out of PVC for my rectangular Rubbermaid cooler, using 1/2" tubing throughout. I have a couple of questions for those of you experts on building from scratch. After taking out the existing drain plug, the hole through the cooler is just large enough (with about 1/32 of an inch leeway) for the tubing. What can I use to seal the hole? I was thinking of using a number of rubber gaskets between the final T fitting and the hole, but that might not be tight enough. I worry about using plumbers putty where it will contact the extract. Another question is what to use to seal the joints outside the cooler (I am leaving all inside joints free for cleaning). Red Hot Blue Glue says it is fine for potable water, but I don't know if it is stable at temperature. I only have one joint outside that needs it, the others are screw fittings. Lastly, I have a PVC ball valve (again, it says suitable for potable water) with 1/2" threading - anyone have any suggestions on the best way to go from there to my boiling pot? I was thinking of getting a 1/2" to 3/4" threaded fitting and adding a plastic spigot (bottling bucket type) to then go down to a standard tube to go the the turkey fryer. All advice greatly appreciated. I think I will be making a basic brown ale recipe for my first attempt at all grain, and I will use batch sparging until I can develop a sparge arm or some other method. By the way - I will be entering a Hazelnut Brown Ale into the next club competition, obviously brewed from extract, on the 'lectric stovetop in a concentrated boil, and fermented in glass under my kitchen counter. I don't care if I win, I just want some honest feedback about my brew that I just can't get from my friends. Timothy BeerBuddy North Bend, WA Return to table of contents
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