HOMEBREW Digest #434 Thu 07 June 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Re: Precision Scales (dw)
  Wyeast bag *not* bursting, but almost (RUSSG)
  CAMRA "Good Beer Guide" (Pete Soper)
  Brewpubs, tastings (Tom Hotchkiss)
  Re:  beer babble suppression (Greg Wageman)
  Weighing small amounts (Mark Montgomery)
  Relatively Inexpensive Scale (Dave Sheehy)
  #433, sparging problems, etc (florianb)
  Brewing your first batch (LONG MESSAGE). (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583)
  Flames, Cider, MEad, Kegs (JH the flamed)
  Sanitizing fermenter lids; "burnt steak" ale (CONDOF)
  Re: Colorado Brewpubs (doug)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 6 Jun 90 09:28:22 EDT (Wednesday) From: dw <Wegeng.Henr at Xerox.COM> Subject: Re: Precision Scales >Can somebody suggest a different source? I bought an electronic scale from COMB (a manufacturers closeout catalog). As I recall it cost about $40. I don't remember the exact accuracy specs (probably not 1 gram), but it's better than any other scale that I could find at a similar cost. It measures in grams, but will convert to ounces. I use it to measure hops. A local "head" shop can probably sell you a 1 gram scale, but you may find that to be an unacceptable source. /Don Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 09:23 EST From: <R_GELINA%UNHH.BITNET at mitvma.mit.edu> (RUSSG) Subject: Wyeast bag *not* bursting, but almost I just used a batch of Wyeast (American ale, don't remember the number) and everything was ok, and my brew is bubbling away. The package was dated April, so acording to the instructions it should have taken 1-2 days to swell. Well it swelled in 12 hours at 80 degrees. It swelled to the point where it was absolutely solid; no give at all! I got concerned (not worried *:), so I cleaned the package and put it in a clean ziploc bag, just in case. But as I said, no bursting, and all was OK. I *still* feel that the extra work of the Wyeast is worth it; I have a porter that is clean as can be; the first homebrew I've tasted that doesn't have that recognizable homebrew yeast taste. On a different note, I find the Mellby beer ratings interesting, but a little too long-winded. Maybe an abridged version? I also like the brewpub reviews, but only for the beer, and as it pertains to brewing styles (and I may someday find myself in a strange place in need of a *real* beer *:). I think we could do without the food reviews. Russ Gelinas R_GELINA at UNHH.BITNET Anti-disclaimer: I have my grubby little fingers in everything. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 09:35:13 EDT From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: CAMRA "Good Beer Guide" When you go to England, stop by a WH Smiths or other bookshop and get a copy of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) publication "The Good Beer Guide". It cost 5-6 pounds last year and should be about the same this year. It is a very detailed guide to steer you toward pubs that tend to have the very best ales. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 8:47:37 MDT From: Tom Hotchkiss <trh at hpestrh.hp.com> Subject: Brewpubs, tastings Full-Name: Tom Hotchkiss Well, I can't bite my tounge any longer. To all of you complaining about postings concerning tastings, brewpubs, etc. I have just one thing to say: stop your whining. I can think of 3 reasons why the postings are appropriate in addition to the fact that I enjoy them. 1. Discussions of brewpubs and qualities of commercial beers *are* relevant to homebrewers for the simple reason that in order to advance your skill as a brewer you need to develop your palate and your knowledge of beer styles. In order to improve your own brew, you need to be able to taste and evaluate your beer and then decide what you might want to change in future batches. The best way to develop your tasting and evaluation skills is through practice, which generally involves tasting many beers of many different styles. I think brewpubs are an excellent example since often (in my opinion) the quality of their beer lies somewhere between decent homebrew and high quality commercial beer. Therefore, brewpub beer provides an example of an improved beer that may be closer to your homebrew than commercial beers. (Note that there are *many* exceptions to my comment about quality improving from homebrew, to brewpub, to commercial beer; that's not the point. The point is simply that sampling beers at brewpubs can be an excellent way for homebrewers to get ideas about how to change or improve their own beer.) 2. Not everyone has access to or reads notes (i.e. rec.food.drink). So moving postings to rec.food.drink means that some people who are interested in the postings will miss out. 3. If you're not interested in a particular posting, how much of your precious time does it take to page past it? You certainly don't have to read it if you're not interested. Let's keep this forum open to everything relevant to homebrewing, which includes beer styles, brewpubs, and tastings. Tom Hotchkiss Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 09:17:56 MDT From: pmk at craycos.com (Peter Klausler) > With respect to using bottled water, the Colorado Springs tap water is of very > good quality for brewing. I'm sure this is true in most of the Springs; however, I don't trust MY water. Last fall I received a letter from the Colo Spgs water department warning me against letting any children in my household drink the local tap water. It may be a problem local to the southern end of town; colleagues who live in the northern part of the area didn't receive the warning letter. But it was enough to cause me to switch to alternative sources. I mail-order supplies because liquid yeast cultures are not sold in any of the local homebrew stores, and as long as I'm dealing with GFSR for yeast I might as well have them send me everything else. (Grain is an exception, of course.) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 08:43:23 PDT From: greg at cemax.com (Greg Wageman) Subject: Re: beer babble suppression Ken Weiss writes: >While I tend to agree with Jay as regards my interest in Mr. Mellby's postings, >I'm opposed to censoring the material. I've probably posted my share of items >that were not directly related to Q&A on the mechanics of brewing beer. It's >the nature of an open forum that some material will be seen as irrelevant by >some readers. > >I can't say I'd miss the Mellby files, but I would very much miss the feeling >I have that this Digest is open to general beer related discussion, and not >just nuts and bolts informational postings. I second that. Those of you who feel you are suffering from information overload, I humbly suggest that's *your* problem; trying to shut people up isn't the answer. Personally, I find the mix of articles and interests in this newsletter to be just about perfect. I'm grateful to all for pointing me in new directions, and not just in homebrewing. Florian the complainer writes: > 2 I don't see a need here for discussion of brewpub data. As Jay > mentioned, it is a forum for homebrewing, and I can't see much > about brewpubs that have to do with homebrewing. Unless there's > a point about brewpubs that is relevant to homebrewing, could > we please move these discussions to rec.food.drink? A tabloid > of such low SNR is where swillpub discussion belongs anyway.\ Methinks you assumeth too much. You assume everyone has a newsfeed. We don't. You assume that no one is interested in brewpubs. I am. The authors of the articles evidently are. I believe the homebrew and brewpub industries have very close ties, and the success of the one is related to the success of the other. In my opinion, anything that raises the quality and character of the beer available to the unwashed masses is a Good Thing. Many of us are spoiled, having homebrew supply shops popping up everywhere. God save us, I expect to see one in a shopping mall any day now. I don't know about when any of you started brewing, but when I did, the only place to get supplies was from mail-order places that advertised in the back of Popular Science. "Homebrew" was what nerds did with computers in their bedrooms... Let's try to keep the perspective. The title of this newsletter says, and I quote, "FORUM ON BEER, HOMEBREWING, AND RELATED ISSUES". I think that about says it. -Greg, the indignant greg%cemax at sj.ate.slb.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 08:24:24 PDT From: ncpmont at pepsi.AMD.COM (Mark Montgomery) Subject: Weighing small amounts In response to John Polstra's question re: inexpensive scales for weighing small amounts of additives for brewing water enhancements: I had the same problem and just couldn't talk myself into spending the better part of a hundred dollar bill just to be able to weigh out gram weights. After discussing the problem with friends at work it was suggested that I try the local gun shop. Yes, gun shop ! I picked up an extremely accurate powder scale on sale for $29.95. The only minor annoyance with it is that it's calibrated in grains but the conversion is a small bother. Mark Montgomery ncpmont at pepsi.amd.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 10:22:03 PDT From: Dave Sheehy <dbs at hprnd> Subject: Relatively Inexpensive Scale Full-Name: Dave Sheehy >Does anybody have any ideas about where to obtain a precise but >inexpensive scale? Well, you could buy yourself a reloader's scale. >So, to do this right I need a scale with a precision of around a tenth >of a gram. (Well, OK, I could make do with precision of one gram.) There is a catch here. Reloader's scales are marked in units of grains (no pun intended). A pound is equal to 7000 grains (don't ask me why or even why the unit of measure is grains in the first place!) so one gram is about 15.4 grains. The scales are accurate to a .1 grains which is well in the precision range that you would like. >Can somebody suggest a different source? By "inexpensive" I suppose I >mean "substantially less than the price of a laboratory balance scale." How does under $50 sound? For some reason $37 is the figure that sticks in my head as the price I paid for my scale (mail order) but that was a few years ago. Ask your local firearms enthusiast for a copy of their "Shotgun News" for a list of mail order sources. Dave Sheehy Return to table of contents
Date: 06 Jun 90 13:04:55 PDT (Wed) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: #433, sparging problems, etc In #433, Norm Hardy asks: >I recall reading somewhere that all dry yeasts seem to act more like ale >yeasts than lager yeasts, that is, even though some are labeled as lager, >they don't perform well below 55f. >Red Star lager yeast seems much better than it's ale counterpart. Hey, when I can't comment on the acting carrers of most dry yeasts, cause I havent' tried them, but certainly Red Star Lager works well down to 32 degrees F in my home town. For a dry lager like Pils, RSL goes in quick, kicks ass without taking prisoners, and cleans up well afterwards. Ya gotta let the SO2 smell bubble out, though. This is coming from wild yeasties in the pack, or I ain't called Flo. I am disappointed with some of the Wyeast liquid packs in that they take forever to ferment out. But here again, this is most likely water and other conditions dependent. For a reference, see George Fix's article in the 1985 special grain issue of Zymurgy magazine. He points out that the true path to good fermentation is a single one, but other alternative paths exist which can become significantly populated when conditions change, etc. Jackie Brown says, >Here's my problem. At both transfer and bottling time I noticed a >pronounced odor and flavor of phenol in the mead. When I I haven't sniffed phenol since the sixties, but I'm wondering if the aromatics of the honey could be mistaken for phenol, if they were in combination with other by-products of fermentation? Ken Weiss remarks, >yeasts were available at R&R last Saturday) Also, I'm trying a ginger flavored >ale, sort of modeled on the Vagabond Ginger Ale in Papazian's book, except I'm >aiming for a drier, more pale ale quality. Any recipe suggestions? My plan is >6 lb. of light extract, 1 lb. of crystal malt, 3 oz. of grated ginger root, For a drier product, you could try 20 L crystal, if you can find it. The EDME should work well. John Polstra sneaks this one in: >So, to do this right I need a scale with a precision of around a tenth >of a gram. (Well, OK, I could make do with precision of one gram.) > >I have been told that inexpensive triple-beam balance scales are sold >for the purpose of measuring small amounts of other, er, chemicals. >The local source for such scales was described to me as "Big Nicky," In as much as Big Nicky went straight and opened up a vegetarian taco shop, I think you'll need a second source. May I suggest "Big Eddy's"? Edmund Scientific 101 E. Gloucester Pike Barrington, NJ 08007-1380 1-609-573-6250 I got my catalog right here and there are a couple listed.#B36,028 has a 1/20 gram sensitivity and calibrated to 0.025 grams and sells for $xx.xx where xx.xx is about 25. #B36,029 has 1/10 gram sensitivity and larger capacity (a double beamer). It sells for about twice as much. Florian [Who is in no way connected with Edmund Scientific and who writes this gibberish after hours at my workplace.] Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 16:19:58 mdt From: hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!ihlpl!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583) Subject: Brewing your first batch (LONG MESSAGE). A few days (?) ago, someone asked for basic homebrewing instructions. I realize that this may bore intermediates and advanced brewers, but you all know that this is where you started, some people who receive this digest may be afraid to ask basic questions, and finally, the more people that we can get involved in homebrewing, the better for all of us (better prices, more homebrew stores, better quality overall). Here's my attempt at the basics: Most important things to keep in mind: 1. Sanitation - you *must* clean everything thoroughly with bleach solution (two tablespoons of unscented household bleach in one gallon of hot water). 2. Don't worry. If you keep everything clean, you can't make undrinkable beer. It may not be Pilsner Urquell, but it will probably be better than OLD BUDMILOORS. Ingredients: 1. a 4 to 5 lb. can of pre-hopped malt extract [I started with Munton & Fison's OLD ALE kit] 2. 6 gallons of good-tasting water 3. a package of ale yeast (usually comes with the extract) Equipment: 1. a 3 to 5 gallon enamel or stainless pot (some say aluminium is good also, I avoid it) ($10-50) 2. a 5-7 gal food grade plastic bucket or glass carboy (from bottled water - you can usually get one just for the deposit ~$7) 3. 48 - 12oz. longneck bottles (ask a bartender - you can usually get them for the deposit plus the promise of one of your homebrews) 4. bottle cleaner (brush ($1) or jet ($5)) [the Jet is great] 5. a few tablespoons of bleach 6. long spoon [don't use wood on cooled wort - wood harbors bacteria] 7. airlock and stopper to fit your carboy or the hole in the bucket lid you have made [make sure your supplier explains its use]($2) 8. syphon hose, racking tube, bottle filler ($5) 9. large funnel ($3) 10. capper [this is where clubs come in real handy - most clubs have a good capper or at least a club member can lend you theirs] ($5-20) 11. 50 new crown caps ($.50) Where to get this stuff: 1. Try the supermarket and hardware store for most of it. 2. Go to a local homebrew shop - they can help you too. 3. Mailorder [one place that I know of that is good and the owner (Greg Lawrence) is knowledgable is Lil' Olde Winemaking Shoppe in Sugar Grove, IL - (708)557-2523 - they used to charge a flat $3 shipping charge no matter how much you ordered]. Proceedure: 1. throw out the instructions that came with the malt [they always suggest you add sugar] 2. boil 4 gallons of good-tasting water 3. pour into clean plastic milk containers 4. chill overnight in the fridge [you will use this to cool the hot wort (unfermented beer)] 5. bring 1 gallon of good-tasting water to a boil in the pot 6. take the pot off the heat and mix in 3 to 4 pounds of pre-hopped malt syrup [this will minimize scortching] 7. bring to a boil again (watching out for boil-over) 8. while the wort is boiling, sanitize carboy [see "Most important"] 9. after 30 minute boil, take the pot off the heat 10. move the carboy to its final resting place, preferably a cool (65-70F) dark, non-dusty place (remember, the carboy may overflow and make a big mess, so choose the location with this in mind 11. pour 1 gallon on COLD pre-boiled water into the carboy [so it doesn't crack from the hot wort] 12. pour the wort [pronounced "wert"] into the carboy 13. add enough COLD pre-boiled water to bring the level of the liquid to approx. 8" from the top of the carboy or bucket 14. sprinkle the ale yeast into the carboy 15. attach the sanitized airlock 16. cover the carboy with an opaque plastic sheet [minimize oxidation] 17. wait two weeks (there should be no visible fermentation and the beer should have almost cleared: should not look like chocolate milk - if it does, keep waiting) 18. boil 3/4 cup corn sugar in 2 cups water (priming sugar) 19. pour the priming sugar into a second, sanitized, 5 gallon food-grade container 20. syphon the beer off the trub [gunk at the bottom, pronounced "troob"] in the fermenter into the priming container (be careful to not splash or otherwise aerate the beer) 21. gently mix with a sanitized (non-wooden) spoon 22. syphon the beer into clean, sanitized bottles and cap with clean sanitized caps 23. store at about 55 to 70 F for 10 days 24. relax, don't worry, have a homebrew! Don'ts: 1. Don't overdo it. "If one can is good, two will be even better!" Two cans of extract will cause more krauesen and could make a BIG mess in your brewing room. 2. Don't start the syphon with your mouth [it's full of bacteria] - use a sanitized turkey baster, or at least sanitize your mouth with whiskey. 3. Don't forget to sanitize your hands (often) or use sanitized rubber gloves. 4. Don't leave your beer uncovered - cover the pot after you are done with the boil, put the airlock in the carboy as soon as you're done filling it, etc. Later: 1. Try using unhopped extract and hop pellets or leaves. 2. Try different styles of beer. By the way, the above recipe is for a simple ale. 3. Try adding specialty grains along with your malt extract. 4. Try mashing you own - starting from grains instead of extract. For more information: 1. Buy a book. I bought Charlie Papazian's "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" and it served me well plus it includes over a hundred recipes. 2. Post questions in the digest. 3. Join a club. 4. Subscribe to Zymurgy (an AHA publication - (303)447-8016 ) Happy brewing! Al. Return to table of contents
Date: 06 Jun 90 18:19:47 EDT From: JH the flamed <75140.350 at compuserve.com> Subject: Flames, Cider, MEad, Kegs I have received 3 direct mailings abusing me for flaming on Mr. Melby's postings, and ini the digest itself there were one or two people expressing a similar opinion. To set the record straight and end the discussion I am not suggesting censorship of the forum. I am suggesting there are other forums and reminding people as Rob G used to that it is polite to keep ones postings brief and to the point. My objection with Mr. Melby's postings was that there were several of them all very, very lengthy. A summary could have been posted and full versions sent as follow ups. OK?? On the question of my cider technique yes I do leave it in the fridge after taking it off the yeast I like it chilled. I was interested to hear that teh California Champagne Yeast (a new product I assume??) has different and apparently better properties when fermented out. I would be interested in hearing other results on this. To the poor person w/ phenol in his mead. I have never experienced this. Perhaps a bacteria got into the ferment before the yeast took hold. What type of yeast was used?? I have found that since I brew fruit meads the acidity is higher. I assume this helps discourage bacteria until the yeast takes over. Was yours a plain mead?? To those who talked about the FOXX bottle filler. My question is if you have a cornelius keg why fill bottles?? Friends of mine have a brew supply shop in Cambridge MASS called Modern Brewer that now sells 3gal cornelius kegs. I don't know the price. I believe they still have an 800 number, 1-800-SEND-ALE. Call for info, if you desire these kegs. I myself am considering the switch to cornelius kegs. What type of price ranges have people paid for keg, regulator and CO2 tank. Ihave heard everything from ~$140 to $225+ so I'm trying to get a feel for what I really should expect to pay. Thanks. - Jay H Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 90 21:24 PST From: <CONDOF%CLARGRAD.BITNET at CORNELLC.cit.cornell.edu> Subject: Sanitizing fermenter lids; "burnt steak" ale I use a large (7 gallon) plastic fermenter, which I sanitize by filling it with dilute bleach as recommended in "Brewing Quality Beers" by Byron Burch. To sanitize the lid, I have been jamming the lid in sideways, so it is about half covered in the sanitizing solution; this temporarily distorts the fermenter a bit. While my wort is boiling, I rotate the lid at intervals, so the whole lid gets sanitized. Well, I just noticed that this is not such a good idea, because the lid's lip is stiff and sharp enough to have thoroughly scored the interior of my fermenter, leaving scratches where bacteria could hide. So far, I have not had any problems with infections, but, to keep from further damaging my fermenter, I will be using sterilant-soaked towels to sanitize my lid. Speaking of Byron Burch, his book has been a generally excellent guide for me, but there is one thing that is terribly wrong with it. It says that any black grain used as a color adjunct can be added directly to your boil about halfway through. I did this and ended up with a brown ale that, at bottling time, tasted like burnt steak (I kid you not). I bottled it anyway to see if the taste will disappear with time. My local homebrew store proprietor, Don Siechert, however, advises making an infusion of the black grains by straining them through a coffee filter. I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds like a good idea. ============ Fred Condo. System Administrator, Pro-Humanist (818/339-4704). INET: fredc at pro-humanist.cts.com BitNet: condof at clargrad matter: PO Box 2843, Covina, CA 91722 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 90 01:38:28 EDT From: hisata!doug at gatech.edu Subject: Re: Colorado Brewpubs Richard Stern sez: [stuff deleted] > As for Major Kelly brewing at the Antlers in Colo Spgs: I wouldn't hold > my breath expecting good beer. He's just a homebrewer, and I wasn't very ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ > impressed with his homebrew last time I tasted it. Surely you didn't mean that the way it sounds! JUST a homebrewer?! :-) Doug gatech!hisata!doug Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #434, 06/07/90 ************************************* -------
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