HOMEBREW Digest #4650 Fri 12 November 2004

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  Re: Copper ("Greg 'groggy' Lehey")
  Barley Crusher ("Joe Aistrup")
  Copper and bitterness (Michael Owings)
  Copper ("Harlan Nilsen")
  Toning down overspicing by blending (Danny WIlliams)
  Bitterness from copper? (Calvin Perilloux)
  6th Annual Palmetto State Brewers Open ("H. Dowda")
  copper vs stainless (Paul Hethmon)
  turkey fryer comments (Bill Velek)
  Re: Copper (Jeff Renner)
  Arrrggg... patooey ("Gary Smith")
  Food Grade Urea - FDA Guideline (Bob)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 15:09:46 +1030 From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> Subject: Re: Copper On Wednesday, 10 November 2004 at 22:56:28 -0500, Tom Clark wrote: > In the past I have used a copper coil to cool my wort by submerging the coil > in the wort and running cold water through the coil. I generally put the > coil in place while the wort is still boiling for about the last five > minutes of the boil: to sanitize the coil.. Then I am able very quickly > cool the wort. Yes, I do this too. > I completely quit brewing because all my brews kept coming out too > bitter. > > Could the copper have been contributing to the bitterness? I wouldn't have thought so. I'm not seeing the problem here. > I also have moved and we are now on a completely different water > system. So, perhaps the water is the problem. I know that without > filtering, I cannot get past the odor and taste of excessive > chlorine. That's an obvious issue. > When I complained to one of the water utility's board members his > answer was "Well if you can smell the chlorine, you know it's safe". > Apparently, even though he is a registered nurse, he doesn't know > chlorine can be deadly; that's why it is such an effective > sanitizer. But, if a little chlorine does a good job, a whole bunch > certainly doesn't do a better job of making the water safe! A lot depends on what you want to make it safe from. You can be reasonably sure that your water supply isn't deadly, but that doesn't make it good for brewing with. > I would like to get back into brewing but I don't like this > excessive bitterness. > > What say you on the copper? I don't think it's the copper, especially if you have only noticed it now. It looks like you need to find out what's in your domestic water and how to deal with it. I can't help there: I use rainwater and have different problems as a result. Greg - -- Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. See complete headers for address and phone numbers. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 08:23:43 -0600 From: "Joe Aistrup" <joe_aistrup at msn.com> Subject: Barley Crusher Steve Smith asked about the Barley Crusher. I have been using the Barley Crusher for a couple of years. I really like it. I bought my system with a 7 lbs. hopper, which is about right for the size of my system (half barrel, 10 gallon batches). On average, I have to refill the hopper about 3 times when I am milling the grains. Also, I use my electric drill when I am milling, which saves time, energy, and my sanity. To date, I have had no problems with my Barley Crusher. I can't say that it is better or worse than the other mills, but I can say that my Barley Crusher was worth the investment. Joe Aistrup Little Apple Brew Crew Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 08:58:33 -0600 From: Michael Owings <mikey at swampgas.com> Subject: Copper and bitterness The copper is definitely NOT causing your problem. Copper is widely used by brewers and homebrewers. In older brewerys the kettles and/or mash tuns were often fabricated of copper (thus they were sometimes nicknamed "coppers"). The culprit was probably either your water, or you were simply over-bittering the wort. It's hard to know without seeing a recipe, though. Filter your water and give it another try. Cheers -- tAfkaks - -- Teleoperate a roving mobile robot from the web: http://www.swampgas.com/robotics/rover.html Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 08:53:00 -0600 From: "Harlan Nilsen" <ramnrah at nebi.com> Subject: Copper Tom Clark wants to know if the bitterness in his beer could have come from his copper chiller. I really don't think so as I have been using a copper chiller for years and so have many of my brewing buddies. Think back to ancient (and not so ancient) times and you will realize their kettles were made of copper. I believe the real reason for the bitterness in your beer is from the chlorine. It will give a medicinal taste which is very much not to my liking. If you are using an activated charcoal filter in your filter, it should remove the chlorine. This is what I do all the time. You could also be getting a lot of astringency if your pH is too high. Be sure to keep it in the 5.3 to 5.5 range and you will clear up this problem. Hope this helps. Harlan 32nd Street Brewery Kearney, NE Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 10:42:25 -0500 From: Danny WIlliams <dbwill at gmail.com> Subject: Toning down overspicing by blending > I think my Christmas brew this year (a strong, spiced > doppel-bock lager) is overly spiced. It's got the > usual mulling spices, cinamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger > and a bit of cardamon. I added these after boiling > them an hour, at the end of the wort's boil. Anyone > know a way to tone it down a bit? (its in the 2ndary > fermentation now). Waiting might help, but I've found that nutmeg in particular never seems to tone down. You might want to consider blending with another, unspiced beer if you have one ready that is compatible with the spiced version. If they are still in kegs, this is obviously easy. If bottled, then I guess the best you can do is blend in the glass at serving time. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 07:51:17 -0800 (PST) From: Calvin Perilloux <calvinperilloux at yahoo.com> Subject: Bitterness from copper? Tom Clark in the previous HBD expresses worry that using a copper wort chiller is making his beer bitter. "I completely quit brewing because all my brews kept coming out too bitter. Could the copper have been contributing to the bitterness?" That's doubtful. I've brewed using the very same chilling method you use, and with numerous different source waters (six different widely varying ones, plus "dilutions" on occasion). The copper, I think would have nothing to do with it, but lots of other things could. Does this ONLY happen when you use the wort chiller? Best I can tell from your note is that you haven't tried without it. I assume you have lowered the hop balance in your beers already! (Please say yes) But one suspicion I have, based on judging classes I gave last year, is that what you are tasting could be astringency instead of bitterness. Since I can't taste your beer, I realise I'm making a leap here, but consider this nonetheless: Many people confuse astringency, which tends to show its presence on the front and top of the mouth, with bitterness from hops, which is centered more on the back of the mouth. This is the first thing I would consider. What causes that? Overly aggressive sparging is often quoted as a cause, but I reckon that small amounts of wild yeast are just as often the culprit. It's also possible that your brewing water is high in sulfates, and that's accentuating any hop bitterness. Also, without tasting your brew, I can't rule out the "sometimes-almost- astringent", harsh taste of chlorophenols. Here are more details on the above in regards to astringency avoidance: (1) Oversparging: Obviously, don't sparge too hot or too long as the gravity drops. If you're an extract brewer, though, this is ruled out right away. I reckon this is not the cause of most astringency we encounter, though. Just my opinion. (2) Wild yeast: Scrub, clean, sanitise, and make sure that everything is spotless before sanitising. I lost a half a batch of bitter once to a bad bottling bucket/faucet, or at least that's the part I threw out that remedied the problem. (The keg half was perfect.) Make sure your bottles are SPOTLESS as well before you sanitise them; I've spotted dirty bottles and astringency together. (3) Sulfates: Either use RO or distilled water to dilute the water you're brewing with now, or find some other low-sulfate water to brew with. (4) Chlorophenols: Will carbon filtering get ALL that chlorine out? I dunno. You might check the Campden tablet route to remove the last of the chlorine. Try an archive search for these methods. But like I said, without a specific taste of the beer in question, we're guessing at the sources. Yet is is most probably NOT the copper! (If you disagree, try brewing extract batches with and without it to compare, the latter using the partial-boil/ice-water chill method.) Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA P.S. As for chlorine in your water being "deadly", lots of things can be deadly, like table salt or tylenol (especially) or caffeine, when you ingest too much of them. The benefits of small doses of chlorine versus small doses of e. coli and v. cholerae have been noted for many decades. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 10:05:25 -0800 (PST) From: "H. Dowda" <hdowda at yahoo.com> Subject: 6th Annual Palmetto State Brewers Open Deadline for entries November 26th. Enter on-line. http://www.sagecat.com/psb/psbo6.htm Final competition of the Carolinas' Brewer of the Year! 1-2-3 BOS for Beer ($50-30-20) 1-2-3 BOS for Mead/Cider ($30-20-10) Just Good Beer Brew Off Great Prize Donors http://www.sagecat.com/psb/psbo6donors.htm 'Beer and Brats' cookout and potluck for judges and stewards and anyone else who drops by. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 13:19:40 -0500 From: Paul Hethmon <Paul.Hethmon at InsLogic.com> Subject: copper vs stainless Just found an interesting link for a source for copper brewing equipment: http://www.coppermoonshinestills.com He's got a 12 gallon "brewing copper" with a wort chiller for $400. Also does custom work. Paul Hethmon Farragut, Tennessee Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 13:08:17 -0600 From: Bill Velek <billvelek at alltel.net> Subject: turkey fryer comments In HBD #4648, Eric R. Theiner posted concerns about an electric turkey fryer. I, too, am concerned whether the wattage is sufficient for a vigorous boil, although I haven't actually made any calculations because I couldn't find the wattage listed anywhere on the page I viewed. Maybe I just missed it. Anyway, there might be a tendency for some people to think that just because the fryer can reach temps of 400 degrees or so while frying a turkey, that it will be more than capable of boiling water, but that isn't necessarily so. Remember that it takes significant energy to boil water and that a great amount of heat is dissipated by the steam, whereas when frying anything, the oil is not going through a phase change and therefore virtually all of the energy is going into heating the oil up. Moreover, I'm sure oil probably has less thermal mass than water. Now I know that the literature indicates that the fryer can also be used for steaming and boiling, such as corn on the cob, but how long does it take to reach that temp, and does it actually give a _vigorous_ boil that is best for brewing? For the price, I can't see getting something like that. The temperature control and timer features aren't needed for brewing, although I can see how they would be nice while frying a turkey. But I don't really mind standing there drinking beer while watching the fryer thermometer; it's no big deal, and it gets me out of the kitchen so my wife doesn't notice how many beers I'm drinking. ;-) Cheers. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 16:08:26 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Copper "Tom Clark" <rtclark555 at charter.net> writes that he used a copper immersion chiller in the usual fashion, but >I completely quit brewing because all my brews kept coming out too bitter. > >Could the copper have been contributing to the bitterness? In a word, no. At least not by itself. Copper has been used for centuries in brewing. As a matter of fact, the old name for a wort boiler in Britain is a copper, because that's what it was made of. >... perhaps the water is the problem ... excessive chlorine. > >We now have a filter which is very effective so perhaps with the filtered >water I could do better. I think you can beat this problem. certainly you want to get rid of all the chlorine. It's hard to say without tasting what you mean by bitter. it could be some chlorine compound such as chlorophenol, but that is usually described as medicinal or plastic-like. But, once you are sure you have gotten rid of the chlorine (Campden tablets can do this as well as filtering), then you need to look at other possible causes. Surprisingly, simple overhopping is an overlooked cause of bitterness, and some hops, especially high-alpha ones, can be worse. I trust you are calculating bitterness properly. Water chemistry can be involved. High levels of sulfates affect bitterness. Some sulfate is good in styles such as pale ales, but it is out of place in other styles such as pale lagers. The alkalinity of your water is similarly important, especially if you are mashing and not doing extract brewing. If the alkalinity is too high, then the pH of the mash or wort can be too high, which can make for harsh bitterness. If you get your city's water analysis, you can compare this to recommended brewing waters for different styles. You can get help here. >I would like to get back into brewing but I don't like this excessive >bitterness. One last suggestion is to find some experienced judges - a local brewing club, your local HB shop, or enter in competition. We are flying blind without tasting, but someone with experience could help better. 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: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 14:47:49 -0600 From: "Gary Smith" <Gary at doctorgary.net> Subject: Arrrggg... patooey I've finally done it... In 27 years of brewing I made my 2nd batch of nastyyyy beer. My first was my first batch in 77 when I didn't know better & kept lifting the lid of the plastic fermenter to see how it was doing. & oh ya, I kept it next to the furnace flue to be sure it was warm enough in the winter... This time I decided to re-use the yeast in the fermenter but along with it came the trub I couldn't remove from the earlier batch (don't ask why...). I also dry hopped this one & used the beano approach. My first attempt with beano & dry hopping was pretty good but this time I left it in the fermenter wayyy too long & didn't rack it into another fermenter for the secondary. OK... it's still drinkable but probably only by me cause I'm it's daddy & I won't easily pitch something I made but it really has a trub/yeast character that would only warm the cuccolds of someone with no taste or smell & likes it because of it's deep amber color... Besides... it's an 8% IPA & I'm a Beer ho... I really thought I could go through life with only that one notch o' bad beer on my stock but... I just carved #2. 10 gallons of something akin to Grecian formula... Arrrggg... patooey Gary ( who is crawling back under his rock...) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 20:53:49 -0500 From: Bob <bob at homebrew.com> Subject: Food Grade Urea - FDA Guideline Urea is currently approved by FDA as an additive in yeast used for baked goods and alcoholic beverages. It is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) classified. There is no known toxic effect of 1 percent levels of urea in food. Here is the FDA reference: http://tinyurl.com/5yhle Gotta go... gotta brew Bob Fruit Fly Brewhaus Yesterdays' Technology Today Return to table of contents
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