HOMEBREW Digest #4186 Tue 04 March 2003

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  Re: DIMS (Drop In Manifold System) ("Steve Alexander")
  re: yeast under pressure ("Steve Alexander")
  Do you know that OTHER Bill W.? (Teresa Knezek)
  re: RIMS controls ("Steve Alexander")
  re: alcohol as fat ("Steve Alexander")
  Classic American Pilsner ("Dan Gross")
  RE: RIMS, Canned Wort, and CP Bottlers ("Sven Pfitt")
  RE: pigs vs tap-a-draft ("Jodie Davis")
  Follow-up on low OG ("Andy Mikesell")
  Bill W. ("Spencer W. Thomas")
  corney keg fridge (Joseph Passante)
  Re: Forms of Corn (Jeff Renner)
  Brewing Apprenticeship in Bene(lux) ("jason tyler")
  Screw Top capping (=?iso-8859-1?q?Joris=20Dallaire?=)
  Re: RIMS Design ("Michael O'Donnell")
  Frothy, foamy beer and turgid, tumid, and temerous folk (Charles)
  Which beers for a black and tan? (Brian Trotter)
  Re: RIMS Design (David Towson)
  Re: water and other natural resources ("Martin Brungard")
  Re: Collecting Yeast from Blow-off Tubes ("John W. Thomasson")
  Re: probe placement (Nate & Brenda Wahl)
  RIMS Temp Probe Location (Steven L Gardner)
  Competition Announcement:  The 2nd Annual BONES Bash (Bruce Millington)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 00:29:06 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Re: DIMS (Drop In Manifold System) Brian Lundeen asks, >A DIMS, or Drop In Manifold System, [...] >.Anyone in here actually using one of these? I've been using one (and occasionally promoting it on HBD) for a number of years, often referring to it as 'manifold insertion' or similar. It's about the most convenient simple system around IMO. A friend originated the current acronym and he's been using a DIMS in a 55gal mashing tun for a couple years and figured out the decoction scheme. It's definitely scalable. Bret Morrow notes .... >Yep, I have used this type of system off-n-on from my first solo all grain >batch about 10 years ago. The idea undoubtedly has been regularly reinvented, but Bret's may be among the earliest claims. > I use a slotted copper system soldered from >regular 1/2" copper & fittings. It has 3 arms that rest on the bottom of >the mash tun and go into a single copper pipe up and over the side of the >mash tun. I use plastic tubing up & over the top. I had difficulty with hard up-tubing since vibration & movement will unsettle the grist bed a bit. Mark Garthwaite says, >This is another >one of those instances where you slap your forehead and exclaim "Duh! >Why didn't I think of that before!?!?" Which is why the DIMS acronym is fitting - so simple it's almost stupid. I regularly re-invent my brewing hardware and after playing around w/ false bottoms and tubular screen systems I fell into using slotted 1/2" soft copper (refrigerator) tubing. I think the slotted copper manifold (just a simple 9 inch diam circle) is about the best lauter separator I've ever made. It just never sticks even though I've thrown some of the worst rye wheat grists at it. Anyway as much as I liked the copper manifold I wasn't happy with any of my old arrangements of attaching it to the lower tun connectors. Hard-pipe connections made it difficult to stir enough to avoid scorching. I switched to flex tubing connections down under the grist and that worked well except that I knocked off one or the other end of the tubing with a too-vigorous stirring and had the Lundeenian dilemma. After thinking about the problem it was obvious that we want the d*mned manifold totally out of the way during heating and mashing but it needs to be in place for the vorlauf and lauter so why not .... I didn't completely like using hard-tubing up & over the side. Even when attached to the tun w/ woodworking spring-clamps there was a little vibration and corresponding turbidity in the wort. Now I use 1/2" ID semi-rigid plastic tubing. The flex stuff may collapse under heat & pump (low) pressure. >Seems a DIMS would be a nice >alternative and very convenient for brewers who are reluctant to cut holes >in their kettles for drain ports. I consider it a benefit that my mash no longer requires an expensive stainless welded lower drain valve. I like to play w/ new hardware design and a sanke and a can-opener will net me a mash tun w/ no welding. >I do have one question though. Does the DIMS require siphoning to >start the flow of mash liquor? Unless you can find one of those rare self-priming food grade hi-temp pumps. I've a cheap vacuum pump with a fitting that I use to prime the system for "show". 99% of the time I just put a press-on plastic barb fitting in the iodophor bucket when I brew and use that as a 'mouthpiece' when I ... (is this PC?) orally prime my DIMS. >If so, how convenient is this? I'm >imagining starting the siphon by mouth and getting a mouthfull of >very hot wort if one isn't careful. Ouch! If you are using a pump you only need to prime the system past the pump head and not to the end of the outlet tube, so it's unlikely you'll overprime and get a mouthful. It's also completely acceptable to fill or backfill the DIMS pump, tubing & manifold w/ water . -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 00:31:33 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: re: yeast under pressure Mike Dixon and (George & Lola) discuss yeast under pressure, G&L asks .... > How much pressure could the yeast create in my fermenter before the > pressure killed them. Mike adds >I ran this little experiment once ... > I found the yeast I used became dormant >when the pressure reached 45 psi. Gleaned from several sources ... The rate of fermentation & growth will decline with any head pressure at all. At about 3bar (Mike's 45psi) yeast will cease to grow, but continue to ferment. When yeast cease to grow their energy req drops and the rate of fermentation drops greatly - just like a "stuck" fermentation. Yeast cease to ferment around 8 bars (120psi). This is used in commercial transport of fruit juice etc where they don't want to sulfite the product but must stop the native yeasts from fermenting. I'd expect yeast to eventually dies & autolyze if they cannot ferment. As Mike suggests you should expect variation based on yeast and environment. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 2003 20:57:37 -0900 From: Teresa Knezek <teresa at mivox.com> Subject: Do you know that OTHER Bill W.? On or thereabout 3/3/03, Bill W. spoke thusly: >I HATE when people call me Bill W. > >For those of you who don't know, somebody >who calls himself Bill W. is the founder of >AA. TeeHee... I hadn't even thought of that. hehehe. I bet he wasn't a homebrewer though. Incidentally, I think he *called* himself Bill W.... I'm pretty sure he's dead now, since AA was founded in the 20s or 30s, so you don't need to worry about any identity mix-ups... not that the brewing wouldn't be a dead giveaway. - -- :: Teresa :: http://www.mivox.com/ If Bill Gates had a dime for every time a Windows box crashed... Oh, wait a minute--he does. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 01:40:18 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: re: RIMS controls Dennis Collins writes of RIMS designs .. >If [150F target temp] >the probe is located in the mash tun, say, 1/2 way into the bed, then the >probe sees 148 and the controller continues to add heat to the wort Exactly as it should ! >[...] but in the meantime, the heater may have heated the >wort to 155 or so, but since the probe couldn't see it, it couldn't tell the >controller to quit heating. This is only true if the RIMS is designed poorly. You need two probes and complex constraints for a really good RIMS. == If we have a target mash temp of 150F, then we are seeking to achieve a temp of 150F in the bulk of the mash and not just at the RIMS outlet. If we want to preserve the mash enzymes we have a second constraint that the RIMS heater wort temp doesn't exceed the mash target temp by more than a couple degrees. Trying to control a RIMS with one temperature probe is a little lame IMO. You need to measure the heating chamber temp and the bulk-mash temp. === >Some folks put by-pass loops around the heater in their systems, frankly >I've never understood this. Controlling the heat ingress by solenoid bypass vs relay to the electrical heating elements is exactly analogous and there should be no difficulty in understanding. What's the difficulty ? >Perhaps it is with systems that use the HLT as >the heat source in which the temperature of the HLT water is hard to >control. Harder to control, but it's far easier to scale. >Regardless, a bypass loop puts a built-in temperature variance in >the mash because the wort will be alternately heated and cooled as the >by-pass is alternately engaged/disengaged. Right and a hearty - "so what ?". Calculate an upper bound on this "variance" (control error) and you'll see that it's in the noise, less than 1/10 degreeF by my estimation.. You're missing the big picture here. The time delay for any control or actuation difference around the control *loop* is many seconds, and so insisting the solenoid's <1 second response is inferior to a solid state controller's 8.3ms time is wrongheaded when it still takes several seconds for the heated wort to traverse the downtube. 'Bang-bang' (on-off) controllers are commonly used when the change in the actual control variable (the bulk mash temp ) is much slower that the rate at which we can modulate the control. This is exactly the case in a HERMS or RIMS. Faster is always better for on-off control, but the 'degree of betterness' fades fast when the rest of the system is already an order of magnitude slower. Go measure the temperature slew rate on those encapsulated thermocouple probes and then we'll have a chat about where real control system improvements can be found. >The best way to maintain a >constant mash temperature is by measuring the wort directly exiting the >heat source No. That's the best way to control the RIMS exit wort temp. Still probably good enough, but let's not make an art of compromise. Ideally we'd like to program in the rest temps and steps including the boost rates and then achieve results in the bulk-mash very close to these 'mash diagrams'. You should ideally apply heat at a rate sufficient to obtain the boost rate you desire *AND* prevent the heated wort from exceeding the target by much. Heated wort temp must exceed the bulk-mash target temp else the target will literally never be achieved. If the heated wort gets too hot then there are two solutions - either increase the pumping rate or else operate in "degraded mode" by applying less heat and compromising the boost rate. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 01:44:54 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: re: alcohol as fat Paul Edwards writes ... >It's true that beer contains no fat, however, the way alcohol is >metabolized makes your body think it does. Something like that. The ADA is trying to make the point that alcohol contains calories but doesn't raise blood sugar level like other carbohydrates. The metabolism doesn't really parallel fats. Alcohol consumption can cause low blood sugar episodes ! Apparently the alcohol interferes with glycogen creation in the liver which then interferes w/ glucagon release from the pancreas. This can occur several hours after drinking so beware. -S . Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 06:55:13 -0500 From: "Dan Gross" <degross at starpower.net> Subject: Classic American Pilsner I intend to brew my first CAP this weekend, and like Guy Gregory who just brewed a Classic American Cream Ale, I wonder about the best form of corn to use. I visited my LHBS yesterday and was pleased to find White Labs WLP833 German Bock (aka Ayinger) yeast in stock. They had flaked maize too, but I resisted because I want to try the double mash technique described by Jeff Renner in his Sept/October 2000 Zymurgy article about CAP. I would like to find degermed corn meal. Does anyone have a suggestion where to start looking? I checked in one health food store and everything they have contains the germ, plus it is all ground fine like flour. thanks, Dan Gross Olney, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 08:23:01 -0500 From: "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98 at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: RIMS, Canned Wort, and CP Bottlers skimping on posts here... Another reason for putting the thermoprobe right after the heater is to prevent scorching the wort in the event of a drop in flow..Like when a bunch of grain got past my false bottom on saturday and plugged up the partially closed valve which was restricting flow. Unfortunatly, I had switched my PID controller to manual over-ride. I got destracted by SWMBO and when I looked at my process temp, it was 180! Yikes! Bottled wort, Canned wort, Pressure cooker, Hot pack! I was making a Belgian Strong Dark Ale Saturday and took the second runnings just to see what I could get. I ended up with 3 gallons of 1.030ish wort and decided to boil it with a handful of galina for S&G to see what it would do. Then, when the boil was finished, I got the brainstorm of hot-packing four quarts to see if they would survive. I no longer have a pressure cooker, but need one. Anyway, hot-packing for those who don't can vegies is leaving the contents of the ball jars in boiling water for 30-45 minutes. It works fine for tomatoes. It will be interesting to see if it works for wort. I'll post a follow up in a couple of weeks. CP Bottler - Mine is at my web site http://www.thegimp.8k.com/photo3.html I got the design from looking at Steve Jones system. (http://hbd.org/clubs/franklin/public_html/members/sj.html) It is much easier to work than a stand alone hand held plumbing system. 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, 3 Mar 2003 08:53:26 -0500 From: "Jodie Davis" <JodieDavis at adelphia.net> Subject: RE: pigs vs tap-a-draft Darrell, Since I haven't used one I can't comment on the Party Pig. When I was shopping I found that several online retailers deemed the Tap-a-Draft as an improved solution. And since then they have stopped carrying the Party Pig. >From what I understand, the Party Pig uses a pouch that inflates to create pressure, while the TaD uses CO2 cartridges which cost $7 for 8 and you'll need two per container of beer. We bought a lot of extra bottles so I can't say exactly how long they last, but I'd guess 6-8 batches. You've probably found these, but here are links to info about both products: http://www.partypig.com/overview.html http://www.northernbrewer.com/mini-kegs.html I haven't tried it, but evidently one can force carbonate with the TaD. It'll take four rather than two CO2 chargers. We've been using the TaD for about 9 months now with one or two beers on tap in the fridge at all times. We've only had a problem with it once when we took it to a party. Not sure what Bill ultimately deemed was the cause of the problem, but we've had no problem since. The carrier/cooler is great. Tip: put an extra empty TaD bottle in it before putting it in the freezer. Hope this helps! Jodie >Jodie; > Please elaborate a bit on the preferability of the tap-a-draft over the >party pigs. Those of us who are not familiar with one or the other could >benefit from the discussion ... > >Thankyou. > > ..Darrell > Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 09:20:51 -0500 From: "Andy Mikesell" <andy_mikesell at yahoo.com> Subject: Follow-up on low OG Thanks to everyone who responded to my post regarding the low OG. I brewed 2 different batches this weekend and here are the results. The first batch I ran through my mill twice, at the suggestion of several members. - Target OG was 1042 - Actual OG was 1048 - Sparging run-off time was about the same as previous batches. The second batch I adjusted my mill to a finer crush and ran the grain through twice. - Target OG 1042 - Actual OG was 1052 - Run-off time was sooooo slooooow I had to stop the sparge on my Phil's Lauter Tun every few minutes. So next batch, I'll reset the mill to the previous setting and run the grain through twice. Thanks to all that responded! - ------------------------------------ Andrew Mikesell Westwood, MA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 09:42:12 -0500 From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <spencer at umich.edu> Subject: Bill W. > For those of you who don't know, somebody > who calls himself Bill W. is the founder of > AA. Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, died in 1971. It is the members of AA who call him "Bill W." following the tradition of anonymity, wherein members of AA are identified by their first name or first name and initial. For more information about Bill Wilson, see <http://www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/wilson01.html>. For more information about AA, see <http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/>. =Spencer Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 10:27:53 -0500 From: Joseph Passante <joe at ehrs.upenn.edu> Subject: corney keg fridge Adam: I choose a GE 9.6 cu ft fridge (http://products.geappliances.com/ProdContent/Dispatcher) for my keg refrigerator primarily because it would pass through the the door to my basement which is only 27 inches wide. The fridge is fairly compact (about 25 inches square and 5'6" high) and holds two kegs and a 5lb co2 cylinder. I had to remove the retainer on the bottom door shelf to allow clearance for the gas cylinder and stiffen the plastic bottom with plywood. The two kegs sit in the back of the fridge with the gas cylinder in front. This orientation allows me to us the two upper door shelves. I use the freezer to store hops. If you are interested I can send you a picture and measurements. - -- joe Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 10:49:37 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Forms of Corn Guy Gregory <ggre461 at yahoo.com> writes from Spokane WA: >I just made a Classic American Creme Ale today, for >which I used flaked maize as the corn-like grain. Congrats. Let us know how it turns out. BTW, not sure what you mean by "maize as the corn-like grain" as corn is maize, at least by US nomenclature. >I was wondering, what is the current favorite method >of adding corn to CACA's and CAP's? Corn flakes, >polenta, a can of shoepeg corn saved from fishbait? As is probably well known, I like to do a cereal mash with coarse degermed corn meal, but use flakes occasionally. 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: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 09:40:40 -0700 From: "jason tyler" <hordeum_humulus at hotmail.com> Subject: Brewing Apprenticeship in Bene(lux) I am contemplating an extended European adventure in the fall and plan to pay particular attention to a couple of countries whose fine beers have piqued my homebrewing passions: Belgium and Netherlands. In addition to biking from pub to pub sampling regional specialties, I would love to be able to spend some time apprenticing in one of the smaller, artisinal breweries there to get a better sense of what goes into these unique brews. Surely I don't expect to be learning any trade secrets, but I imagine that there is some valuable knowledge to be gleaned on the mashing and fermenting processes and I would love to get connected with local homebrewers and brewers who might be willing to put me up on exchange for labor (brewing or otherwise). Anyone out there in HBD land have any ideas where to start? Perhaps there is some sister forum to HBD that would be worth tapping into? Thanks in advance for any ideas. Feel free to e-mail me offline if this seems too esoteric to post for all. Jason Oakland, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 14:12:43 -0500 (EST) From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Joris=20Dallaire?= <jorisdallaire at yahoo.ca> Subject: Screw Top capping I am going to bottle a 12-pack of my next batch in a few different screw tops and compare the results. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone successfully use screw-top? - -------------- I used them all the time before swithing to bigger 22oz bottles and eventually kegging. They work perfectly - sealed good and twisted open. I used regular local Molson's bottles and capped them with an Emily-type capper, not even bench-type. No problem ever. Joris Quebec city, Canada Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 11:27:41 -0800 From: "Michael O'Donnell" <mooseo at stanford.edu> Subject: Re: RIMS Design >David Boice writes: >Subject: RIMS Design >OK this temp. probe placement thread has me good and confused. > > I'm in the process of wiring the basement brewroom in our new house and >will also need to redesign my three tier RIMS to a two tier RIMS setup >before it can be taken downstairs. So the question of temp probe placement >is quite timely for me. Currently my temp. probe is between the mash tun >outlet and the heater. From recent posts I understand the benefits of the >controller getting quick input but I question how having it "read" the temp >immediately after the heater would work. The problem I see is that in a >typical RIMS you are controlling the heater (either on or off) not the flow >rate. It's all or nothing. > > Lets say I start the pump recirculating the 120F wort and tell my PID >controller to take the mash to 150F. The heater will immediately kick on. >Because the amount of heat being put out by the heater is a fixed value ( at >least in my system) the variable that controls whether the wort exiting the >heater is less then 150F, more then 150F or right at 150F is the circulation >rate, which isn't controlled by the PID controller. If the exiting wort is >over 150F won't the heater just kick off, then as the controller reads 120F, >kick back on again, and start to chatter back and forth? If the wort coming >out of the heater is less then 150F then I would think it would stay on till >your overall mash temperature was close enough to 150F (say 145F just to >put a number on it) and then the heater would start raising the exiting wort >to over 150F and would start to chatter. That line of reasoning is why the >probe ended up where it did on the current design. > > I'm assuming I'm just not getting something here because so many people >DO have their probe right after the heater and they say it works. I think (and I might be wrong) that with the system you describe, you don't really have a PID control system, regardless of what the controller is capable of doing... with the heater output fixed and the flow rate out of the controller's hands, the controller can't respond proportionally (the "P" in PID) except by chattering the cycle time as you describe. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 11:56:00 -0800 (PST) From: Charles at thestewarts.com Subject: Frothy, foamy beer and turgid, tumid, and temerous folk I'm having problems with my draft system. I've used a small chest freezer (holds 2 five gallon kegs and 2 three gallon kegs) for several years now, and everything has worked well until about a year ago. Starting some time last summer, all of the beers started foaming excessively - I get a glass of about 1/3 beer and 2/3 foam on the first draw. Subsequent beers are less foamy. I've completely dis-assembled everything, cleaned everything in an oxygen-based cleaner (amazing what came out), sanitized in iodophor, and re-assembled it all - with the exception of the lines, which I replaced. Yet it still foams. Any ideas? I'm thinking it may be bugs in the three year old plastic fermenter, which won't be a problem anymore as I just switched to my new stainless TMS conical last weekend (maybe I'll retire the old one as a p-lambic fermenter). Or, it just occured to me, it may be due to beer backing up into the regulator some time ago (maybe I have some funk in there, though I thought I cleaned it pretty well). Got to get a check valve. Anyone else have this problem? What's the diagnosis? On Sun, 02 Mar 2003 David Perez <perez at gator.net> adroitly spots the error of my ways when he writes: > OK, I just couldn't resist this one!!! > "7/16 - Whines about the AHA not serving him and admonishes Mark Tumarkin > for having the tumerity to voice his positive opinion about the AHA, > "In the future, you shouldn't be so quick to defend the AHA and disregard > the criticism." > Did you mean Tumidity? If so, then yes, Tumarkin is Tumid. Actually, I meant temerity, but you're right - tumid works too (though, oddly enough, tumidity isn't in my copy of Websters). Chip Stewart Gaitherburg, Maryland, USA Charles at TheStewarts.com http://Charles.TheStewarts.com Support anti-Spam legislation. Join the fight http://www.cauce.org Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 12:18:08 -0800 (PST) From: Brian Trotter <sandinmysuds at yahoo.com> Subject: Which beers for a black and tan? For my next brew session, I want to make two batches of beer over a weekend. My goal in the end is to be able to serve glasses of "black and tans". Other than just making clones of Guinness and Bass (or Kilkenny's or whatever it's supposed to be), what is the key to a good black and tan? I'm guessing that the FGs of the beers need to be relatively far apart so they will not mix in the glass (assuming I poor it properly with the little spoon). I know that you can't just do it with any beer combination because they will mix together (I've seen it tried...) I'm sure someone in this forum has done this successfully. Thanks, Brian Hawaii (posting from rainy Florida) Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 16:18:07 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Re: RIMS Design Warning - This is a rather long post. If you're not interested in the subject, you might want to move along. In HBD 4185, David Boice says he's confused by the differing opinions being expressed concerning temperature probe placement. But he appreciates how flow-rate affects the relationship between wort-heater outlet temperature and mash temperature. In a previous post, I asked rhetorically whether my house temperature would stay at 70 degrees if my home heating system supplied a steady flow of 70-degree air while the outside temperature was 20 degrees. And then I said my house insulation isn't good enough for that to work. I should have added the caveat that it wouldn't work with any air flow rate I'd be willing to endure. Such a scheme would hold my house temperature very close to 70 degrees if I could stand living in gale-force wind, because the air in the house would be exchanged with reheated air faster than the temperature could drop significantly. (The hooker is that such rapid air movement over my body would cause *me* to lose heat too quickly, and I'd still feel cold.) But so long as the house loses heat due to less-than-perfect insulation, the inside air will always be cooler than the air the furnace supplies to maintain the temperature, and the amount of that differential will depend on how fast the air can be exchanged. The same situation exists in a recirculating mash system. If the mash tun loses heat slowly enough, and you can recirculate reheated wort fast enough, then the temperature at the exit of the wort heater will be so close to the mash temperature that the small difference won't matter in any practical sense. In that case, a single temperature probe either in the mash or at the heater outlet will work okay. But consider what happens if the flow becomes restricted due to mash compaction or clogging somewhere in the system (this can and does happen). If the only sensor is at the heater outlet, then reduced flow will cause the exit temperature to rise, and the controller will turn-off the heater. But as soon as cooler wort returning from the mash tun is sensed, heating will be resumed until the outlet temperature again rises too much. This will prevent overheating the wort, but it will also reduce the rate at which heat is being supplied to the mash. If the mash tun is very well insulated (a plastic "cooler" with styrofoam insulation for example), the mash temperature may hold quite well. But if the tun is an uninsulated metal vessel (keg or large pot for example), then the mash temperature may start to drop because the heater is not running often enough to make up for the lost heat. This can become a problem very quickly if the flow rate is severely reduced. Now suppose the only temperature probe is in the mash, and the flow becomes restricted. As the mash temperature drops due to heat loss from the tun, the heater stays on longer trying to raise the temperature, and that plus the reduced flow causes the heater outlet temperature to rise. If the flow is low enough and the tun is losing heat fast enough, then the mash temperature will remain below the setpoint, and with no outlet temperature sensor, the heater will keep running. If the heater is electric, it will eventually boil the wort in the heater chamber. That is why I think a good electric RIMS design that includes a poorly insulated mash tun should have two temperature sensors - one to monitor mash temperature, and the other to detect excessive heater exit temperature. One can make the same argument for a HERMS based on a coil in the HLT, but the potential problem is much less severe there because the highest temperature that can be attained is that of the hot liquor, which is typically manually controlled to around ten degrees above the desired mash temperature. If you want to use a single temperature control probe in an electric RIMS with a single-input controller, I would put the probe at the heater outlet to protect against overheating the wort. But be aware that heat loss from the mash tun *must* cause the mash temperature to be somewhat less than that at the heater outlet. To protect against low mash temperature, insulate your mash tun as well as you can, and include a dial thermometer or other means of tracking the temperature. Then run some tests using a long-stem dial thermometer or glass lab thermometer stuck various places in the mash to see how well the actual mash temperature correlates with the controller setpoint. If the correlation is good enough to suit you, then all is well. Otherwise, consider either using a "fudge factor" when adjusting the setpoint, or putting the temperature control probe in the mash and adding a temperature-operated limit switch at the heater outlet to shut off the heater if the system gets clogged. A pilot light wired across the limit switch will illuminate if the switch operates, signalling that you have a problem. (The lamp should have a voltage rating equal to the voltage used to run the heater.) Of course, if your controller accepts more than one input (a custom-programmed microcontroller for example), then the heater-exit-temperature sensor can be used as an input, and the controller can take appropriate action. On the other hand, if you want to use a single temperature control probe in a hot-liquor-tank-based HERMS, I'd put it in the mash where it can directly monitor the variable you really want to control. Then manually maintain the HLT temperature about ten degrees above the desired mash temperature to protect against overheating the wort if the system clogs. Dave in Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 2003 17:00:11 -0500 From: "Martin Brungard" <Martin.Brungard at trow.com> Subject: Re: water and other natural resources Patrick requested additional explanation regarding Residual Alkalinity (RA), acidification, and pH strips. I had suggested that acidification of his mash water may be helpful when brewing with light colored grists. I also indicated his water supply was a little too hard for pilsners, but that I probably wouldn't do anything to reduce the hardness. I can thank A.J Delange for providing me with excellent articles on this subject. I am largely regurgitating his information here. Although hardness and alkalinity are often key factors in the suitability of a brewing water, they are relatively independent of each other. Either factor can be adjusted without affecting the other. The concept of RA ties these two factors into a relationship suitable for brewer's use. A good illustration of the concept is shown at John Palmer's excellent website, How to Brew. A link to the page follows: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html Having a water high or low alkalinity or high or low hardness is not necessarily a bad thing as long as their combination results in a RA value suitable for the type of grist you're mashing. Light colored grists do better with RA in the range of -50 to 25. Darker grists do better with RA in the range of 25 to 100. Decreasing a water's alkalinity or increasing its hardness will reduce the RA. With water, its usually easier to add constituents than to take them away. For that reason, a low alkalinity, low hardness water is a great luxury. Just be prepared to mineralize as needed for the brewing style and objectives. Patrick's water is not too far from being a good starting point. Its just a little too hard. The alkalinity is an easy adjustment. Alkalinity is a measure of a water's Buffering Capacity, or resistance to pH change. A water with high alkalinity will require more acid to a pH change than a water with low alkalinity. Adding acid to a water will 'consume' some of the buffering capacity, resulting in a reduced alkalinity. I've been using 88% lactic acid for quite a while. I have adjusted my brewing technique to accommodate this acid's performance. I've performed an acid titration with my local water to assess how many drops of acid per gallon of water are needed to achieve a neutral pH of about 7 and a sparge pH of 5.7. Titration is an interesting process when working with more alkaline waters. The buffering capacity helps resist the pH change as acid is added, so each drop of acid changes the pH little until the buffering capacity is exhausted. Watch that pH when the buffering is gone though! The pH will drop much faster with each drop then. >From what I've seen not all pH papers are suitable for our use. I'm not an expert with them, but I understand that the plastic strips perform better than some of the papers. I use a pH meter to assess pH. I found that after a few brews, I don't have much need for the meter. My procedures have been tuned. But the meter was very valuable in the learning process! I'm betting high quality pH strips may be quite suitable for learning about your water and acidification requirements. In my original response, I suggested that the limit for adding calcium for Patrick's water was about 100 ppm. This increase in hardness also reduces the RA for the water. But if more calcium was added...say a higher level of sulfate was desired and a lot of gypsum was added...then the alkalinity would have to be adjusted higher by adding chalk. Its a bear to get to dissolve. Needless to say, if you are hardening a water, you probably don't need to acidify the mash water. But, you should still acidify the sparge water to the proper pH to avoid tannin extraction. The key to hardness and alkalinity is the RA concept. The nomograph shown in John Palmer's website is helpful, but it doesn't help visualize the interplay of alkalinity, hardness, and RA. A graph A.J. gave me several years ago is more illustrative of the interplay. Hopefully A.J. will publish it. His version is interesting because he took the time to plot various brewing waters of the world on the chart. Understanding how otherwise dissimilar waters like Burton and Pilsner still make great pale beers is easier with that chart. Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 17:43:15 -0600 From: "John W. Thomasson" <jwtjr999 at flash.net> Subject: Re: Collecting Yeast from Blow-off Tubes Beerologists, In #4184, Bob Hall from Napoleon, OH asks if there is a way to recover that lovely yeast that collects in the catch bucket when using a blow off tube. I'm sure there are many ways, but here's how I do it: http://home.flash.net/~jwtjr999/beer/blowoff2.jpg I have better photos, but am too lazy to FTP them to the web server. This photo should give the general idea of how the contraption is put together. In the instance of this photo, I was trying to prevent a mess rather than capture yeast. Those are 6.5 gallon carboys; 6 gallon (as Bob mentioned) are better, filled to allow about 2 quarts of head space or less. In one of my rare innovative moments, I discovered that 3/4" PVC pipe is a perfect friction fit inside the standard 1" O.D. blow off tubing sold by many HB shops. Insert a 3" piece in of the tubing into the neck of the carboy, and into that a short piece of 3/4" PVC pipe. >From there, plumb away using whatever fittings and lengths of PVC/tubing are needed to connect to the catch box. All the pieces are friction fit, so they can be disassembled for cleaning and sanitizing. It's hard to see in the photo, but there is a piece of tubing inside the catch box that stands about a half inch off the bottom. The catch box itself is a tupperware-type container, 2 gallons in size with fill level markings on the side. Once the box, lid and all the pieces have been sanitized, I add ~2 quarts of boiled and cooled distilled water. Once the action is over, I decant most of the water and swirl the yeast into solution for repitching, storage or whatever. A standard bottle brush is the perfect implement for cleaning the parts. I've repitched yeast collected this way as many as 7 times with no noticeable change in performance or flavor characteristics (Wyeast #2565). From an active 5 gallon ferment you can easily collect 6 fl. oz. of pure yeast solids, double that from 10 gallons. I have close-up digital photos somewhere. The yeast is very clean, and goes dormant pretty quickly in the distilled water. I have stored yeast collected in this manner in PET bottles at lager temps for many weeks, YMMV. Some strains store better than others. It works out pretty well if you use a few strains frequently. Now that I use more strains less frequently, I rely on slants for long term storage. Speaking of slants, does anyone have a source for sterile, pre-poured agar slants since Brewtek and YCKCo went out of business? At a buck a pop, I can't imagine pouring these myself. I may not have a choice. If Bob or anyone else has a question about this quasi-Burton Union setup, feel free to email. I will dig up better photos if pressed. Cheers, Johnny Thomasson Aledo, Texas "Friend... GOOOOD. Fire... BAAAAD." -The Frankenstein Monster Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 19:59:09 -0500 From: Nate & Brenda Wahl <cruiser at coastalwave.net> Subject: Re: probe placement FWIW, in my HEARMS, I put the RTD probe on an simple adjustable mount so that I can suspend the tip of the probe just into the grainbed, where it sits about an inch or two below the surface of the wort standing above the grainbed. I make sure that it is not directly under one of the manifold outlets. The idea is to have the controller modulate the 3-way valve between going through the coil or the bypass, to maintain the temperature of the wort entering the grainbed as constant as possible. The temperature of the wort above the grain and the thermal mass of the tubing/fittings downstream of the tee where the two flowpaths meet tends to moderate out any fluctuations that would be seen at the tee itself. I thnk it gives the controller a more stable value to work with, and since all of the flow is downward from there, it means that it really is controlling the temperature of the mash. The top at first, and then the bottom. Not the tun outlet with a lot of delay, and not the constant swinging of the manifold temperature. This would probably apply to RIMS, too. I use a simple on-off controller to hold the HLT temperature no more than 10-15 degrees above where I want the mash controller to hold or end up, in the hopes of not denaturing the enzymes going through the coil. I also have a thermometer on the tun outlet. When I put in a step, the controller makes the system provide heat; as the mass on top of the grainbed sees the temperature increase slowly, the controller backs off until it holds the temperature I want. A few minutes later, the outlet thermometer shows that the grainbed is heating up. With more heat returning through the coil, the controler then backs off more until the whole thing reaches equilibrium, with the tun outlet within a degree or so of the probe temperature. This takes another couple of minutes, depending on the grain bill and the flowrate (which I never run full blast). But it always gets there! I also think that insulating the mash tun helps a lot, too; it should minimize the grain on the tun sides from being much cooler than the bulk of the grain. I put the probe about 1/2 of the way out from the center if that means anything.. This setup seems to work very well after initially tuning it in. Just another data point. Cheers, Nate Wahl Oak Harbor, Ohio "I always knew exactly what my temperature was until I got a second thermometer; now I have no idea!" Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 21:10:02 -0500 From: Steven L Gardner <stevengard at earthlink.net> Subject: RIMS Temp Probe Location I have been following with great interest the thread on Temp Probe placement and tried moving mine closer to the heater outlet today while brewing... (Yes I got to brew on a Monday... the benefits of being self-employed) I have had a RIMS since '97 (originally 5 gal design from Rodney Morris) now bumped up to 10 gal with two heaters and have always placed the probe in the mash. As others have said " I don't know why" it just seemed like the place to put it I use a 48 qt Coleman cooler for mash/lauter tun with a Ranco temp controller (no PID) This is what I came up with for temps today while monitoring temps at the heater outflow, mash top(probe placement), and mash outflow (pump grant) Mash in at 148 and let it sit for 30 min, Then ramp up to 158 and hold for 60 min (an infused Bock) On the initial ramp heaters shut off at 158 (set point) Heaters 160 & mash out 154 after 10 min of running the mash out hit 158 and stayed there till the end After the system stabilized the heater temp would overshoot 1-2 deg for less than a min. and obviously the controller activated more often than in the past (about once every 3 min) I'm convinced that "closer is better" and when I can get the fitting I need , will try the probe at the heaters outlet. I think the system works fine as is and can't see the brief 2 deg overshoot as a problem regarding enzyme degradation.... was that not how this whole discussion got started? My .02 and thanks to all that posted... I'm still learning Steven G SE Ohio Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2003 21:43:46 -0500 From: Bruce Millington <bmillington2 at comcast.net> Subject: Competition Announcement: The 2nd Annual BONES Bash The Brewers of the Northeast Section (BONES) is pleased to announce the 2nd annual BONES Bash homebrewing competition. The BONES Bash is a BJCP sanctioned competition, and the 2nd leg of the Delaware Valley Homebrewer of the Year. The Bash will be held Saturday, March 29th at Victory Brewing Co. in Downingtown, PA. The competition is open to all BJCP beer style categories, including meads and ciders. Submit two bottles per entry at $5 per entry. Entries will be accepted from March 8 to March 23, 2003. You can get information and entry forms at our website: www.b-o-n-e-s.com. As always, we need BJCP registered judges. All judges and stewards must contact Bruce Millington at bmillington2 at comcast.net. Thank you in advance for your support! Bruce Millington Judge Coordinator, 2nd Annual BONES Bash Return to table of contents
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