HOMEBREW Digest #465 Mon 23 July 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  homebrew as craft or art, not science (Dick Dunn)
  Hayes Homebrew Supply (814) 867-775" <BLI at PSUVM.PSU.EDU>
  Brick Malt and Dictionaries (Mike Zentner)
  framboise (Donald P Perley)
  Re: Quick maturing mead/melomel? (Chris Shenton)
  Homebrew in Virginia (Brian Glendenning)
  brain-disengaged postings and homegrown hops (Pete Soper)
  Grain Mills (Rick Myers)
  various (florianb)
  mead (florianb)
  Cornelius keg query (Mark.Leone)
  Trisodium Phosphate (Jeff Benson)
  Crushing grains (Gerald Andrew Winters)
  Meads, don't rush em (Jay H)
  Palstic water carbouys (nntas)
  re: Coors announcment (Mike Northam ext 2651)
  brewpubs & breweries in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh (David Coombs)
  Re:  Homebrew Digest #460 (July 16, 1990) (Brian Rice)
  Diatribe; "Beer Hunter" (CRF)
  "Beer Hunter" is coming! (portal!cup.portal.com!dbell)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 19 Jul 90 20:59:26 MDT (Thu) From: ames!gatech.edu!raven.eklektix.com!ico.isc.com!rcd at decwrl.dec.com (Dick Dunn) Subject: homebrew as craft or art, not science Chris Shenton <chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov> writes > The recipe was amusing in its naivete, but how much better are ours? We > don't seem to have much better of an understanding of things than he did. I disagree rather strongly here, but perhaps you've got to have been around homebrewing for a while to see how far it's come. We still have moderate undocumented variations in the ingredients we buy, but it's not that bad. We've got procedures tuned up pretty good. Sometime see if you can find a copy of the first editions of Charlie's _Complete_Joy_... or Fred Eckhardt's book. Those will put things into perspective...and they were late '70's. I think back to the beer I made then...and even more, to the procedures I was using then...yeeeek! > The usual controversies point this out: aluminum/stainless?... This controversy still holds in cooking in general; no reason we should be immune to it. >...boil the grains?... I don't know why this one keeps coming up. It's been a fair few years since the homebrew folks figured out that something wasn't right, par- ticularly with amber and darker beers, and traced it down. (It took a while because people had to have enough control over the rest of their procedures.) >...extract versus all-grain?... That's a matter of how much you want to do yourself. It's not a contro- versy over which is better (or it shouldn't be, anyway)...it's how much work you want to expend to get a certain amount of control. Think of it as analogous to cooking. After all, we *are* making food, y'know. Some folks like to cook from scratch, some from mixes, some eat out of a cardboard box. >...And most of our ingredients -- like his > -- don't tell us enough about themselves to allow reproducibility: what > *is* in that can of extract? do you know what your grain's Lovibond is? How > many of you have gotten your water analyzed? Again, consider a cooking analogy: I can make great pies without knowing the pH of the apples or precisely how ripe the cherries were. But I do know that I've got Pippins and not Delicious, or Montmorency and not Bing. In the same way, I may not know the precise details of the malt and the hops, but I know whether I want something light or fairly dark, and I care about whether I'm using Eroica or Saaz. In other words, I think the pursuit of detail not only has diminishing returns; I think we're at the point where they're starting to diminish. Most of us aren't interested in the sort of precise reproducibility the big commercial brewers are. We want it to be close enough that batch # 42 of the favorite brew is pretty much the same as # 37 if we use the same recipe, but most of us are playing around with recipes all the time anyway. Then, too, we don't have complete control over everything. If you get a new batch of hops that's 7.1 instead of 6.9, what are you going to do about it? > We need to demand that our suppliers tell us what they're selling us, and > get more serious with our technique... Obviously I don't agree. I don't mean that Chris is wrong; I'd just rather not be so serious. ("Relax..." as the man says...) >...I hate seeing First Place recipes in > Zymurgy which say something like ``Initial Gravity: unknown''; I mean, come > on! it must have been pure luck that the batch turned out well!... No, why? Failing to take an initial gravity reading won't spoil the beer! And if you forget to take the reading, are you going to toss the batch? Of course not! They're recipes, not formulae. Take them as ideas, as jumping-off points. As I say, I wish you could see what it was like ten or twelve years ago... if you could, today's procedures would look like straight science by comparison. --- Dick Dunn rcd at raven.eklektix.com -or- raven!rcd (303)494-0965 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 09:11 EDT From: "JEFF BRENDLE S:(814) 867-775" <BLI at PSUVM.PSU.EDU> Subject: Hayes Homebrew Supply In reply to the person who didn't receive their bottle caps... I'm a Penn Stater who does all of my ordering from Pat Hayes, she is still in business. The HHS is operated by her as a part of a natural foods place called The Granary up in State College. I just received another box of goodies from them last week in order to brew my Oktoberfest so I think it's safe to say they are still in business...btw, I did get a gross of caps w/ that order so they'd no doubt have them is stock. Best answer is give her a call at (814) 238-4844. Jeff :-) Jeff Brendle Consultant, Penn State Berks Campus Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 09:32:51 -0500 From: zentner at cn.ecn.purdue.edu (Mike Zentner) Subject: Brick Malt and Dictionaries Brick Malt: Does anybody else have problems with the amazing hygroscopic properties of dried malt extract? Seems like if I don't use the whole bag and close some of it up, it solidifies. This must be due to moisture it collects while the bag is open, becuase I tried double bagging it and still got solids. Sure, you can brew with it, but it becomes difficult to measure out. I'm not ready to convert my cabinet into a dessicator, any ideas or other experiences? Definitioins: If we've got to get technical on definitions, what is waste? Craig, what do you do with the water exiting your wort cooler? If it was me, I'd probably just let it go down the drain. In my case, then, it doesn't matter how the exit temperature compares with the temperature of the wort. All the enthalpy is going down the drain, no matter what. Then, my definition of waste is how much water do I decide to run down the drain. Using the same flow rates in both types of coolers, the double coil where the feed is split and merged at the inlet and outlet, respectively, would waste less water, if we go with your assumption that it would cool the wort faster. If the same inlet flow rate is used with both coolers, the total residence time of the water in the cooler is the same in both cases. This would indicate that both systems have the same capacity to absorb heat. This would certainly be the case if you were continuously mixing your wort while the cooling was taking place (I've never used one of these, so I don't know if that is the procedure or not). If you don't mix the wort, I'm not sure which would be the best cooler, but I suspect that the one with the flow split would be better since the area in contact with the coldest water would be less localized. Anyhow, my point was, if one cooler cools faster than the other, unless I'm using the hot outlet for some energy recovery elsewhere, the word "efficient" is correct if both coolers use the same flow of water. The value of one cooler over the other could depend on a lot of things: relative flow rates, degree of turbulence reduced by splitting flows, mixing the wort... Again, I don't claim to know which is best, depending on how it is used. You can find practical examples of both strategies (serial and split flow) in many texts on heat exchangers. BTW- Craig, you're right. There's a lot of great food in Champaign. At Purdue, there's no analogy to Papa Dels, Taco Johns, or Lil Porgys. Mike Zentner zentner at cn.ecn.purdue.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 11:06:52 EDT From: perley at glacier.crd.ge.com (Donald P Perley) Subject: framboise >There is also an over-riding dryness, but I expect that to pretty much vanish >with aging. (However, just out of curiosity: does anyone else think that >the source of the astringincy/dryness might be the raspberry seeds that found >their way into the fermenter?) >What I'm thinking of doing next time is letting the raspberries ferment >longer. Four or 5 days has been cited by some local brewers as an approximate >maximum fermenting time, as after that period the fruit will begin to decay >without cold storage to prevent spoilage during further maceration. Any >comments? According to Jackson, the Belgians put the fruit in to secondary fermentation for months, and leave the seeds in (at least for cherry). Were you the one who was thinking of dropping some yogurt in for lactobaccillus? Did that work? -don perley Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 11:17:11 EDT From: Chris Shenton <chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov> Subject: Re: Quick maturing mead/melomel? Mark.Leone at F.GP.CS.CMU.EDU writes: > I'm planning to try my hand at making a raspberry melomel (a mead with > fruit). I understand many meads take at least a year of bottle > conditioning, but that others are relatively quickly maturing. Ha! and Ha again. A quickly maturing mead... If only there was such a thing - -- I think we'd all go off beer and drink lots of mead. Seriously, I made a raspberry mead/melomel. Took about 6 weeks to ferment. It tasted pretty good right out of the fermenter, but now -- a year and a half later -- it tastes divine. I have another mead that's about a year old, and it's almost undrinkable; it fairly reeks of alcohol, and in general, it's very unmellow -- simply needs more time. > I'd like to make a quick maturing mead first, to figure out what I > like. What ingredients should be avoided to get a quick maturing > mead? Is the variety of honey used important here? I think if you dropped the honey, your mead would mature rather quickly :-) That stuff just ferments slowly. And it takes a while to mellow the flavor. Think of it like wine, not in the same time-context as beer. I used orange blossom honey -- more delicate than clover. Also, save yourself some money: have you priced honey at the store?? about $3/Lb, and you need a lot of it! Go to a healthfood coop -- I paid about $0.99/Lb. Heck, that's cheaper than malt extract. > Anyone have a good beginner's recipe? Any other miscellaneous advice? > (I've read Papazian and scanned past issues of the Digest, so I have a > reasonable grasp of the procedures involved.) I used info from Papazian's CJOHB and Papazian & Gayre's book on mead. I used grape tannin instead of hops to balance the sweetness (more traditional). I also tried adding yeast (champagne, of course) and a little sugar after the fermentation was done in order to get a sparkling mead; didn't do anything -- probably too much alcohol. (There's a moral in there somewhere...) > Also, can I bottle mead in beer bottles? I have yet to find a free > source of champagne bottles... Sure, beer bottles are OK. Make sure the fermentation's fairly complete, and be careful if you're going for a sparkling mead: you don't want to wait that long and end up with bottle-rockets! I got lots of free champagne bottles from art openings; I also like to drink champagne, so those bottles are free, too. Go for it -- you won't be disappointed; just impatient. If you start now, it will be really tasty by Christmas 1991! Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 11:56:54 EDT From: Brian Glendenning <brian at radio.astro.utoronto.ca> Subject: Homebrew in Virginia Hi. I'm moving to Charlottesville Virginia shortly (!) and I'd like some pointers into the homebrew scene in the "vicinity" (e.g. I'd call Washington and maybe Baltimore in the vicinity). I'd particularly like to know 1) Where some good Homebrew shops are 2) Where to find some good brewpubs 3) Good mailorder places for both equipment and supplies Thanks! My first purchases are going to be a 100# bag of malted barley (which my local homebrew store in Toronto sells for about US$0.60/# - is this typical) a CO2 tank (I was renting here) and maybe another cornelius keg (cylindrical pins). Oh, and a hand grain mill. Incidentally, occasionally discussion comes up about what kind of homebrew to serve to commercial beer drinkers. I made a party beer that was very succesful, and pretty simple to produce. 8# pale lager malt, 2# munich malt, lightly hopped (I don't have my notes here), MeV liquid bavarian Lager yeast, IG=48 (yes, my sparge is still inefficient!), fermented at ~50F in a fridge. People loved the stuff, and I enjoyed it too. (This was supposed to be a somewhat-lightened-oktoberfest-style beer, but since I've never had a real Oktoberfest beer I can only report that it was malty and tasty). Brian - -- Brian Glendenning - Radio astronomy, University of Toronto brian at radio.astro.utoronto.ca utai!radio.astro!brian glendenn at utorphys.bitnet Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 11:59:26 EDT From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: brain-disengaged postings and homegrown hops Donald P Perley with the long memory writes: >I am a little short fused about this because I once asked about using >all tin solder on the copper (as is done with copper pots) and it >generated a weeks worth of warnings about tin being an alloy of lead. >NOT ON MY PERIODIC TABLE! Yes, yesterday was Deja Vu day for me too, since I am the person who made that ignorant remark about tin on Usenet a couple years ago. I certainly wanted to leave the planet after that episode. ___Home grown hops I have some data about home grown hops to share. I've collected three batches of hop cones from my two Cascade plants so far. The first batch, a whopping 5/8 oz, I tossed into a boil and so its history is over. The second batch weighed 4 1/4 oz as picked. Sitting in a single layer on a sheet of cardboard in my attic for 30 hours (from noon one day to 6pm the next), this set of hops dried to a weight of 7/8 ounce. Since hops are about 80% water I think this batch has roughly from zero to 5% moisture left. The outside temperature during drying was about 95/70 and the temperature in the attic peaked at around 125. The second batch weighed 11 5/8 ounces as picked and was dried during a similar 12-6, 30 hour period. The outside temperature was about 85/65, it was overcast the attic peaked at only 100 degrees. This batch weighed 5 3/8 ounces after drying, so it went from about 80% to 40% moisture. The optimum from what I've read is 10-12%, so as you can see I overshot the first batch and undershot the second. I can see now why one would want to make a dryer of some sort - not to gain speed but to gain consistency. What I plan to do for the next batch picked is to segregate a small amount with a known starting weight and do the drying over a weekend so I can check the progress once or twice by weighing the subset group of cones. I doubt I can get it much closer than what I got with beginner's luck but it should help me avoid leaving too much moisture. My strategy for storage has been to pack the cones into pint and quart canning jars and then run a thin brass tube down the inside of the jar and blow CO2 up from the bottom for a couple minutes while holding the lid almost closed. I don't know how good this really is for purging the air but it's fun, cheap and painless. I keep the jars in a freezer. - ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Pete Soper (soper at encore.com) (central NC) +1 919 481 3730 Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd, bldg D, Cary, NC 27511 USA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 11:00:42 MDT From: Rick Myers <cos.hp.com!hpctdpe!rcm at hp-lsd> Subject: Grain Mills Full-Name: Rick Myers >From: flowers at sp1.csrd.uiuc.edu (Craig L. Flowers) > >A question: what are all grain brewers using to crack their grains? I think >those coffee grinders you see in grocery stores would be great but I don't know >how to get one or how much they would be. Most I have seen have at least three >setting for different coarseness. > > -Craig (flowers at csrd.uiuc.edu) I use a "Corona" corn mill, manufactured in Columbia. These are adjustable from barely cracking the grain to making flour, and are available from many homebrew supply shops and mailorder houses. I had one of the local homebrew shops order mine. They cost from $45 to $50, with a large hopper accessory being about $12 extra. Rick - -- - -- *===========================================================================* Rick Myers Hewlett-Packard Colorado Telecommunications Division 5070 Centennial Blvd. Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (719) 531-4416 INTERNET: rcm at hpctdpe.hp.com *===========================================================================* Disclaimer: standard Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 90 10:53:19 PDT (Fri) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: various In #464, Cher writes, >Next: is there or is there not such a thing as a bag for holding adjuncts >during the boil? Or, should I just plan on using cheesecloth when I'm ready >to brew up my oatmeal stout? I guess you could use a burlap toe sack to "boil" your adjuncts. But I don't understand...You shouldn't be boiling adjuncts in any case. Steeping the crushed (cracked) adjunct grains in hot water (170 degrees) for 20 minutes is sufficient to derive their goodness. If you are using oatmeal, then you had better do a mash of some sort to convert the starch to sugar (as far as possible). Boiling the adjunct grains is going to give your brew a pucker. Then, >Last: any tips on freezing a Wyeast culture pending future use? For example, >should I freeze it as is, or start the culture? The packages of Wyeast clearly state that you shouldn't freeze the pack. It's my understanding that freezing yeast without some sort of additive will result in damage to the cells. Now I'm not a yeast expert and several people have given us information on freezing yeast in HBD before. (Some cross-talk may be helpful here.) What's wrong with refrigeration? Florian Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 90 11:06:27 PDT (Fri) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: mead Mark Leone writes: >I'd like to make a quick maturing mead first, to figure out what I >like. What ingredients should be avoided to get a quick maturing >mead? Is the variety of honey used important here? There seems to be more lore about mead making than about any other home brewing practice. First, it doesn't take 20 years for mead to mature. You can drink it as soon as it clears in the bottle. You won't grow hair on your eyeballs or turn into Mr. Hyde, and you will probably enjoy the brew. The point is that it improves with age. The Barkshack Ginger Mead in Papazian's book is supposed to be "quick-maturing". I've used a simple recipe calling for 3# honey/gal brew, one cup strong tea, 1 tsp citric acid, 1/2 tsp ascorbic acid, and 1 tsp yeast nutrient. It tasted great as soon as I bottled it. It was better after six months, and after one year, it was in the commit sin catagory. I recommend experimentation rather than recipe, and using your own tastes as a guide. Then, >Also, can I bottle mead in beer bottles? I have yet to find a free >source of champagne bottles... I insist on bottling it in beer bottles (Grolsh swing-tops preferred), since it is potent stuff. To drink a whole champagne bottle of mead (and still have your personality intact the next day) will require some assistance, preferrably from your sex partner. Florian Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 14:20:49 EDT From: Mark.Leone at F.GP.CS.CMU.EDU Subject: Cornelius keg query Just out of curiosity, is it possible to attach a normal, hand-pumped beer tap to a Cornelius keg? I.e., if you're bringing a keg to a party, do you have to lug along your CO_2 cylinder, etc.? Not that I'll be able to afford a kegging system anytime soon... :-( - Mark Leone, mleone at cs.cmu.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 13:23:12 CDT From: Jeff Benson <benson at chemsun.chem.UMN.EDU> Subject: Trisodium Phosphate Ken Giles wrote in HD #464: >I have a counterflow wort chiller (copper inside) which I cleaned once with a >bleach solution and since with trisodium phosphate (TSP). Does anyone know if >TSP >has the same oxidizing properties as clorine? How are other people cleaning >their >counterflow chillers? Miller says that caustic soda can be had at some hardware >stores. Has anyone tried it? Seems a bit too dangerous to me, but I don't want >to ruin my chiller (only been used twice, so far). Trisodium phosphate is a non-oxidizing agent by virtue of the fact that the two ions of which it is composed, sodium and phosphate, are both electrochemically very stable. By comparison, the active ingredient in chlorine bleach, hypochlorite ion, is electrochemically (mildly) unstable and has a tendency to grab a couple of electrons out of whatever's handy (a nearby copper metal atom, for example, which then picks up a water to become blue copper hydroxide). TSP wont do that and should be safe for your chiller. In fact "The Condensed Chemical Dictionary," 10th ed. by Hawley states for TSP (found as: sodium phosphate, tribasic) under the category of uses: "Water softeners; ... metal cleaner; ... food additive;". Sounds pretty safe to me. On the other hand, the same reference lists "caustic soda" as sodium hydroxide, which is non-oxidizing but is strongly basic, much stronger than bleach for equivalent concentrations in water. I'd be worried about what such a strong caustic would do to metal, countertops, sinks, hands, etc. if it were accidently splashed. It might clean your chiller ok (its the same stuff as in drain cleaners) but then again it might damage it beyond repair. I wouldn't risk it. Jeff Benson Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 14:49:25 EDT From: gerald at caen.engin.umich.edu (Gerald Andrew Winters) Subject: Crushing grains Craig L. Flowers writes: >A question: what are all grain brewers using to crack their grains?... I use the Corona hand-crank flour mill. It took some practice and several beer trials but now I am quite happy with it. I wouldn't dream of buying pre-crushed malt. It is available in many homebrew supply stores around the country. Gerald Winters gerald at caen.engin.umich.edu Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 90 13:37:08 EDT From: Jay H <75140.350 at compuserve.com> Subject: Meads, don't rush em Mark Leone asks about quick maturing meads (well melomels specifically). I have made about 1/2 dozen meads in the last 2 years. My first was a blueberry, really harsh at first sort of like Boone's Farm (cheap wine...). I didn't know enough at the time to let it age. I stopped drinking it cause it wasn't too hot, but didn't pour it (good move) After the 6-8 month mark it changed DRAMATICALLY. I had the last bottle the other day (over 2 years old) and it was great. Sorry to say Mark that all the other meads (cinnamon orange, cranberry, strawberry-blueberry .....) have behaved the same way. My recipes are fairly straightforward, 12lbs light clover steeped at 180F, yeast nutrient, hops and irish moss boiled down prior to adding the honey and fruit to steep. They're all very simple and I can't see any way to change the recipe to speed up the process. From what I know about yeast biochemistry (all self taught out of College Library Biology books at various levels) yeasts produce a variety of types of alcohol and the concentrations of the various types have a lot to do with the fermentable sugars. My guess is that in mead a fair number of "higher" alcohols are produced and it requires time for these to break down. I won't swear by that theory but it seems to be consistent with what I have learned. I highly advocate patience. To rush after a good mead is most likely a waste. Your tastebuds will be duly rewarded in time. - Jay H Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 12:31:51 PDT From: nntas at robots.span.nasa.gov Subject: Palstic water carbouys Does anyone have an opinion or fact relating to the use of plastic water carbouys for secondary fermenters? I read in Burch's book where he seems to indicate that they are acceptable and as good as glass. I have access to a source of cheap plastic units and I am considering using them as backup secondaries(I already have a glass carbouy). If they are not as good as glass how good are they? How long could you leave beer? How well will they clean up? Thanks alot. Tim Sauerwein Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 13:37:13 PDT From: Mike Northam ext 2651 <hplabs!fpssun!mbn!mbn> Subject: re: Coors announcment I quoted an article which said: "Coors said the special strains of barley used in Coors products are grown only at higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming." Tracy Bowlin responded: I feel compelled to dispute the information or at least clarify. Just for your information That's not the only reason that Coors grows in the Intermountain west and is expanding it's storage facility. Anheiser Bush is currently constructing a large malting plant it the city where I live, Idaho Falls, Id., this is about 130 miles from Burley. To which I add the following additional disputation: The Snake River Valley (where Idaho Falls, etc. is located) doesn't seem to me to be the 'higher elevations in the Rocky Mountains' :-) (For those who haven't been there, it's the lowest-lying land in the region, and quite flat, though surrounded by mountains, and quite lovely in a desert sort of way, IMHO.) Mike Northam mbn at fpssun.fps.com Home:123 11' 40"W 45 37' 14"N (503) 641-3151 x2651 {tektronix}!fpssun!mbn *FPS Computing has a company spokesperson, and it's certainly not me* "Every now and then things become clear." Jane Siberry, "The Walking" Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 17:06:17 -0400 From: David Coombs <coombs at cs.rochester.edu> Subject: brewpubs & breweries in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh I'm expecting to visit Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in September. Which brewpubs and breweries should I be sure to visit? Thanks, dave - --------- David Coombs Dept of Computer Science coombs at cs.rochester.edu University of Rochester ...!{ames,rutgers}!rochester!coombs Rochester, NY 14627 USA Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 90 00:58:28 -0400 From: Brian Rice <rice at zip.eecs.umich.edu> Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #460 (July 16, 1990) Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 90 10:31 EST From: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Subject: Diatribe; "Beer Hunter" Hi there! Regarding the ongoing "diatribe" discussion, and John DeCarlo's comments in dig #464: firstly, I agree with him; secondly, he's right about how serious cooks handle their ingredients. Before taking this any further, let me say that I spent 17 1/2 years in a family restaurant business, am a serious cook with a serious interest in cookery of all eras and cultures (you should see my cookbook library!!), and have cooked for up to 250 people (approximately) at a time in the SCA. Historically, the concept of measurements in cookery is very new, dating from sometime around the 19th Century. Take a look at medieval, or later, cookery manuscripts and you'll see things like: "take your chicken, kill him and pluck him, and put him to boil with onions and such spices as please you." Traditionally, it was taken for granted that the cook knew what he or she was doing, and that no further information would be needed. Experienced cooks today behave in much the same manner. I, myself, don't very often reach for measuring instruments in cooking unless cooking something delicate like pastry, where proportions of ingredients can be critical. (N.B.-- brewing pretty much does fall into this category for me; I do measure my grains and such, but will guesstimate such things as how many of them there hops pellets makes half of the ounce). This is because experience has taught me to eyeball measurements pretty accurately. An anecdote illustrating this: a friend of mine used to work in the historical re-enactment settlement at (if I remember correctly) Jamestown. She told me about another worker there who had been the local "housewife/baker" figure for years, cooking and baking at an open hearth. A reporter was doing a story on the settlement and was interviewing this woman, who was making bread for demonstration purposes during the interview. The woman scooped up a double-handful of flour, eyed it critically, and said "That's about 4 cups of flour." The reporter scoffed. A measuring cup was produced, the woman repeated her actions, and the flour was measured. She was right to within a tablespoonful or two. Ask any experienced cook how long to cook something, and the answer is likely to be, "until it's done." Thus, I am of the view that in brewing one attempts to produce *virtually* the same taste/flavor every time, not *precisely* the same taste/flavor. To me, this is where much of the challenge and fun lies. "Precisely" the same is (IMHO) for mass-produced commercial products. This is not to say, however, that I don't think we should be provided with more information on brewing supply labels. I very much do! After all, another aspect of serious cookery is the development of the ability to gauge and use *quality* ingredients. So, all in all, I shall continue to approach brewing the same way I approach cooking: as being as much an art and skill as it is a science, with plenty of room for variation and creativity. Thinking in exact balances and parts per million is something I do at work; I refuse to do it during my fun! Elsewhere in the news: I subscribe to _TDC_, the Discovery Channel magazine. August's issue arrived in yesterday's mail. So: Jackson's "The Beer Hunter" will be airing Thursdays at 10:30 PM, beginning August 23rd, with episodes repeated the following Saturdays (Sunday mornings, actually) at 2:30 AM. Each episode is 1/2 hour long. The first is "Burgundies of Belgium" and the second (Aug 30th/Sept 1st) is "California Pilgrimage." If enough people indicate that they would like me to do so, when next month's issue comes out I'll post the airdates and titles of the other 4 episodes. Also: the cover story of this issue is billed as "Brewmasters: Revival on Tap", and is entitled "Pint-sized Brewing." While I haven't had time to actually read the article yet, it appears to focus on the smaller commercial breweries, micro-breweries, beer-pubs, and the growth of the latter 2 entities in this country. As the articles which appear in _TDC_ are almost invariably excellent, I feel pretty confident in recommending the article without having read it yet. Yours in Carbonation, Cher "God save you from a bad neighbor and from a beginner on the fiddle." -- Italian proverb ============================================================================= Cheryl Feinstein INTERNET: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Univ. of Fla. BITNET: CRF at UFPINE Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 23:16:32 PDT From: hplabs!portal!cup.portal.com!dbell Subject: "Beer Hunter" is coming! At last, the long-awaited running of Michael Jackson's "The Beer Hunter" is coming to The Discovery Channel! I just received my August-September program guide today, and was pleased to see the announcement that the series will be running Thursdays at 10:30 PM ET and repeated Saturdays at 2:30 AM ET (that really seems to be Sunday AM...), starting August 23. It will run for six weeks. The accompanying article by Thomas Bedell was a pretty fine introduction for the viewing public, covering Mega-Brewers, Micro-Brewers, homebrewers, the AHA, and Charlie Papazian, all in nine pages! Mr. Bedell focusses quite heavily on the F. X. Matt Brewery in Utica, NY, discussing the history of small and large brewing in the US, and the recent immense increase in micro-brewing. There is a nice anecdote to start out with with Bedell's wife suggesting he try an Anchor Steam in a restaurant on day, then telling him he ought to start a bottle collection with the Anchor. From there to micro-brewers, to home-brewers, to home-brewing himself, to the kitchen spills, and all the other places we've all been! True beer culture coming to (some of) the great TV wasteland! :{) ===================================================== Dave Bell dbell at cup.portal.com ===================================================== Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 90 15:36 EDT From: "As I mentioned next week in my talk on reversible time..." I've been away for awhile, so here's the catch-up: >I always peel my ginger, then smash it, before putting it into the boil. >Peeling ginger is indeed a pain -- if you approach it like peeling >an orange. The trick, as I was taught in a local chinese cooking class, >is to use a small knife held parallel to the surface, and *scrape* >the skin off. That works better than all methods that I have tried, >and in particular, it works better than using a potato peeler. Being a Southpaw, I have always had trouble with potato peelers. Does anyone know of a Left-Handed Potato Peeler? I've been able to improvise with either a small knife or a "normal" peeler when I make Sassafras Tea (ie root beer w/o the brewing) but instead of smashing the ginger root, wouldn't it be better to stuff it into a food processor (not a word processor :-) and shred it evenly, and save all the juices for the boil? Also, anyone have any good recipes for Root Beers? >> What are people's opinions on copper? I >> notice all the good breweries use *large* copper boiling kettles, so >> it can't be bad, right? >Does anyone know if this is really true? I thought they used bronze. If I remember correctly, copper conducts heat more evenly than most other metals, and that's why many of the finest pots and pans have copper bottoms (but is this why some batteries have copper tops? :-). I don't know if bronze is better, but I prefer copper-bottomed utensils over most other types. (I seem to be getting into this a bit late. Sorry for the duplicity) Does anybody know about the thermoconductivity of bronze? While I'm in a writing mood, the latest issue of Natural history has a neat article in it about the initiation rituals of an Amazon River Tribe and how they brew their corn beers. I think the editors read our minds! :) Captain Kirk AYDLETT at UNCG.BITNET Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #465, 07/23/90 ************************************* -------
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