HOMEBREW Digest #4796 Tue 28 June 2005

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  invert sugar/candi sugar ("Peter A. Ensminger")
  Re: Harshness (perhaps staling?) (Fred Johnson)
  Tannins at the end of the sparge ("May, Jeff")
  Subject: help (RE pitching smack pack) (Steven Parfitt)
  Candi Sugar Inverted? (Randy Mosher)
  RE: Attention So. CA, So. NV, AZ, NM, TX, LA OK and AR homebrewers... ("Meyer, Aaron D.")
  Food-grade glue/sealer ("Jacobson, Jim")
  Beet vs Cane sugar ("Spencer W. Thomas")
  Harshness / candi sugar (Matt)
  Beer Stores in Houston (Peter Torgrimson)
  Re: help ("Greg 'groggy' Lehey")
  Re: chang'aa kills 49 Kenyans ("Greg 'groggy' Lehey")
  Re: Re: help ("Pat Babcock")
  re: Help with Harshness (RI_homebrewer)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 01:28:10 -0400 From: "Peter A. Ensminger" <ensmingr at twcny.rr.com> Subject: invert sugar/candi sugar Invert sugar is produced from sucrose by adding invertase and/or acid and heat. This breaks down sucrose (disaccharide) into its two components: fructose and glucose (monosaccharides). Pure invert sugars do not normally crystalize. Belgian candi sugar, which is crystalized, is NOT pure invert sugar. It is derived from sugar beets, as are many European table sugars. Thus, it might be argued that Belgian candi sugar tastes subtly different from American table sugar, which in most cases comes from sugar cane. I have heard that Unibroue (Quebec) uses regular table sugar (sucrose from sugar cane) in its Belgian style beers. They still taste pretty good to me! IMHO, Belgian Candi sugar (sucrose from beets) at $4 per pound is a waste of money when you can get table sugar (sucrose from cane) for much less. Sincerely, Peter A. Ensminger Syracuse, NY Beer data: http://hbd.org/ensmingr/ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 06:51:45 -0400 From: Fred Johnson <FLJohnson at portbridge.com> Subject: Re: Harshness (perhaps staling?) Regarding the loss of fresh hop flavor or perhaps increased "harshness" that occurs in my beers over a few weeks time, several have suggested problems with the water, especially the presence of a high sulfate. I had suspected the water a long time ago, so I started using the RO water from the nearby grocery store refill station. Very little mineral additions have been made (no sulfate added) and the beers still have the same problem. Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 07:18:11 -0400 From: "May, Jeff" <Jeff.May at uscellular.com> Subject: Tannins at the end of the sparge Jeff Renner got me thinking about tannins, and that's a good thing. How do you know when to stop sparging in order to minimize tannins. I usually just collect enough for the batch and never give it a second thought. I know it probably is not an issue with bigger beers, but I routinely keep a 5 gal batch of lawn mower beer one tap made from 6# of grain. A lot of time I batch sparge (depending on how much time I have). However, when I use a conventional sparge, I usually get ~95% efficiency according to ProMash. This has me worried that I may be over sparging. Oh, and I don't currently have any way to measure or change the pH. Jeff May Wilmington, NC AR[649.7,148.6] Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 05:52:55 -0700 (PDT) From: Steven Parfitt <thegimp98 at yahoo.com> Subject: Subject: help (RE pitching smack pack) KEITH R BUSBY Pondereth apitfching from a smack pack >Brewed an ESB yesterday. Oxygenated 15 secs, and >piched Wyeast 1028 (May 2005). I had smacked the pack >at 9:30a but there was no visible >swelling by pitching at 2p. Today at 10:30 there is >no visible activity and the water in the airlock is >being sucked into the beer. Can anyone tell me >what is going on and what to do? >TIA. >Keith .....snip..... First, smack packs should be smacked several days in advance. Some times you can get by with smacking a real fresh one 24 hrs ahead of time, but it is best to do it three days ahead and have a small flask of starter wort to pitch it into if it swells too soon. As to your current situation, if you have any dry yeast on hand (compatible with the brew style) I'd pitch it after mixing it with a half pint of warm water and letting it set for 15 minutes then stir and pour. What kind of air lock are you using? There should not be enough water in a 3-peice one to suck back into the fermenter. If you are using a blow-off tube into a jar with water in it, you may want to remove it and cover the fermenter opening with aluminium foil until you get some activity. If you do not pitch any additional yeast, it should take off in another day or so. You could get another smack pack, smack it and wait for it to swell, however the first one should have gone active by then any way. RDWHAHB. If it does not work out, learn from your mistakes. Good luck. Steven, -75 XLCH- Ironhead Nano-Brewery http://thegimp.8k.com Johnson City, TN [422.7, 169.2] Rennerian "There is no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks." Wings Whiplash - 1968 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:38:26 -0500 From: Randy Mosher <randymosher at rcn.com> Subject: Candi Sugar Inverted? Jeremy Hansen asked whether candi sugar is inverted or not. The question of candi sugar has been a hot topic in the AHA forum recently, so I thought I'd share my rather long post from a few days ago, with a few additions to address the invert issue. There is a tremendous amount of confusion on this subject among us homebrewers right now. I think a lot of the problem is related to the translation difficulties, and Belgian and American brewers assuming each knows what the other is talking about. Having just done the tech edit on Stan Heironymous' new book, Monk Brews, this subject came up a number of times, and I think we finally got it pounded into submission. Here goes. "Candi" sugar may refer both to rock candy (which is what we Americans tend to think it is) but also to a cooked liquid caramel syrup. In my experience, this is more often to be case when a Belgian is talking. On old Belgian labels and in brewing books, candi sugar invariably refers to the caramel syrup. Properly made, this is a class III caramel and is made from invert sugar combined with ammonium carbonate or similar source of nitrogen. The rock candy is definitely not inverted, as invert sugar won't crystallize. The two are not interchangeable. Caramel syrup has a considerable amount of both color and flavor, and the flavors are of a distinctly rich caramelly kind, quite different from semi-refined sugar. Here's a link to the Web site of a sugar company in Belgium that sells both: http://www.candico.be/industrieel/index3b800-600%20ENG.htm The white rock candy is a waste of money. Sure, it's shiny and cool, but it is identical in chemical composition to grocery store sugar. Cane or beet does not matter--the molecules are the same (although your grocery store probably has beet sugar if it makes you feel better). In Belgium, the rock candy is not so expensive, which is why it's used. Jeff Sparrow (Wild Brews) says the Belgian brewers laughed out loud when he told them how much we were paying for the rock sugar. I tried a little experiment and ground up some of the white, pale and "dark" rock candy, and tried to tell the difference. The white and pale (yellowish) ones were absolutely identical, and I think I might have been able to detect the slightest hint of character in the "dark." I plan on getting this blind in front of some judges and see what results I get. For most brewing purposes, I prefer turbinado or similar semi-refined sugar, or ethnic "concrete" sugars like piloncillo, jaggery and others. These were widely used in brewing in England, Belgium and France less than a century ago, so they're not such a bad fit with tradition. - --Randy ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| http://randymosherdesign.com My new book! http://radicalbrewing.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:44:52 -0500 From: "Meyer, Aaron D." <Aaron.Meyer at oneok.com> Subject: RE: Attention So. CA, So. NV, AZ, NM, TX, LA OK and AR homebrewers... >>> Asking about sports stadiums in the Southwest that serve craft beers... I'm not a sports fan, but on a recent trip to Oklahoma City, OK my wife and I enjoyed a repose at Coach's Micro-Brewery / Restaurant in the Bricktown area. I happened to notice that Coach's bar area abuts the ballpark there and their balcony connects to the stadium seating. I don't know if their beer is served in the stadium, but I would assume that a thirsty sports fan could visit their bar / balcony without leaving the stadium or miss the game. Note this is in Oklahoma so their on premises beer is at most 3.2% ABV just like the mega breweries - in spite of this their beer is decent. To ensure this information is correct, I would recommend you call the restaurant manager for details. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:21:58 -0600 From: "Jacobson, Jim" <Jim.Jacobson at qwest.com> Subject: Food-grade glue/sealer Hi everyone, thanks to all for a great source of information. I have a stainless fermenter from MoreBeer and the gasket for the lid is in need of repair. The gasket is a piece of tubing, slit lengthwise (to fit over the lid). The ends are butted together and glued to form a circle. The glue joint has come undone and I am trying to repair the gasket. MoreBeer suggested Superglue, but I'm not sure that it's food-grade. Can you please help with any ideas (manufacturer, product name, supplier, etc.) on a food-grade caulk/adhesive/sealer? Thanks in advance for your help, Jim Jacobson Broomfield, CO Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 10:42:47 -0400 From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <hbd at spencerwthomas.com> Subject: Beet vs Cane sugar Randy Mosher writes: > Cane or beet does not matter--the molecules are the same > (although your grocery store > probably has beet sugar if it makes you feel better). Yes, the molecules are the same. But if you open a bag of both and sniff, you will notice that they don't smell quite the same. A very small amount of impurities make it through the refining process. Will these make a difference you can taste in your beer? I really doubt it. I have had people point out to me that cane sugar can act differently from beet sugar in baking (one correspondant mentioned French Silk pie as a recipe in which she had found a difference). I have to assume that this has to do with some difference in crystal size or shape in recipes where the sugar is not completely dissolved, because I can't otherwise explain it. I have not tried looking at cane and beet sugar under a microscope to see if I can detect a difference, though. Yours in nit-picking, =Spencer in Ann Arbor, MI Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 08:41:13 -0700 (PDT) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: Harshness / candi sugar Thanks to everyone who responded to my very vague plea for help with harshness. There were too many suggestions to list here, but one tidbit from the past that may be worth repeating is that it's incredibly cheap and easy to eliminate problems associated with chlorine or chloramine in your water supply. Posts in the archives by A.J. deLange state that a small addition of campden (K metabisulfite) will remove chlorine AND chloramine. More precise numbers are available--but his rule of thumb is one 686 mg tablet per 20 gallons. My plan for the future is to start treating in this fashion, stop using bleach to clean/sanitize, replace my possibly chemical-infused hoses, and hope things inprove. If chlorine is the problem, should I expect my latest effort (a hefeweizen brewed using the same process that gave me problems before) to have less of a problem, because it is 70% wheat (i.e. less husks --> less tannins --> less chlorophenols)? - ------ I cannot definitively say whether candi sugar is invert sugar or not (based on its texture I'd guess it contains both, whatever that really means). However, I can cast serious doubt over whether it matters in the context of making Belgain ales. Consider the following: 1. Ommegang's Hennepin reportedly uses 20% cane sugar (I don't have a reference but you may be able to find it using a clever google search.) 2. Westvleteren supposedly uses "granulated sugar." (Again no reference but you may find this on the web somewhere if you look.) 3. Someone reported on the hbd forum that they were told that Unibroue uses "plain white sugar" during the Unibroue tour. 4. The Chouffe brewmaster states in Rajotte's book that he uses plain dextrose in La Chouffe. He does use dark candi sugar in McChouffe, for the color. Hennepin, Unibroue, and Chouffe beers taste great to me (the Hennepin maybe a bit grassy, but probably not from the choice of sugar...). Never had Westvleteren. As for theory, I have never seen any plausible argument as to why sucrose that is inverted before it is put into the wort should result in a different tasting beer versus sucrose that is inverted in the wort by the yeast. Has anyone? There are many practical issues (availability in liquid form, tradition, etc) that may explain why some breweries use (or previously used) invert sugar or candi sugar. Perhaps at one point candi sugar was the purest sugar readily available in Belgium. These issues are at least sufficient to explain why candi and invert sugar might be (or might have been in the past) widely used over refined sucrose or dextrose. Of course, the caramelized sugars in candi sugar do contribute _soemthing_. Whatever it is, if you want it you do have the option of making it on the stove with $0.50/lb sugar instead of paying $5/lb for real candi. Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 10:52:40 -0500 From: Peter Torgrimson <petertorgrimson at prodigy.net> Subject: Beer Stores in Houston What is the best store for buying beer, particularly Belgians, in Houston? Peter Torgrimson Austin, TX Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:01:00 +0930 From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> Subject: Re: help On Sunday, 26 June 2005 at 10:36:13 -0500, KEITH R BUSBY wrote: > Brewed an ESB yesterday. Oxygenated 15 secs, and piched Wyeast 1028 (May > 2005). I had smacked the pack at 9:30a but there was no visible swelling > ny pitching at 2p. Today at 10:30 there is no visible activity and the > water in the airlock is being sucked into the beer. Can anyone tell me > what is going on and what to do? Pray? 4 hours is not long enough for a smack pack to swell properly; I seem to remember a rule of thumb of "1 day per month age". In that case, you should have waited a day or two. Whichever way, you should wait until the smack pack is bulging before pitching. I've had to wait up to nearly a week. That doesn't mean that it won't ferment. But it will take the yeast longer to get active if it's pitched in that state, so it might be several days before you see activity. That's a danger period for the beer, because it gives other organisms a better chance to get established than they would have had if you had pitched a vigorous starter. But there's every chance that the beer will be none the worse for its experience. The water being sucked into the beer could mean that the yeast is using up the available oxygen in the wort, which would be a good sign. More likely it's a sign that the temperature has dropped since you pitched, which is neither good nor bad. Greg - -- The virus contained in this message was not detected. Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. See complete headers for address and phone numbers. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:02:33 +0930 From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> Subject: Re: chang'aa kills 49 Kenyans On Sunday, 26 June 2005 at 15:14:54 -0400, Peter A. Ensminger wrote: > A June 26 CNN news item reported that 174 people were hospitalized and > 49 Kenyans died after consuming chang'aa, an illegal corn-based homebrew > that is laced with methanol. Chang'aa is also known as "Rapid Results". > > The liver converts methanol into formaldehyde and then formic acid, > which can lead severe liver toxicity, blindness, and death. Methanol > poisoning has many similaities to ethylene glycol (antifreeze) > poisoning. Consumption of ethylene glycol leads to formation of glycolic > acid and other compounds. The lethal dose of methanol and ethylene > glycol is ~100 ml. Really 100 ml? That's a *lot*. Greg - -- The virus contained in this message was not detected. Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. See complete headers for address and phone numbers. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 20:35:06 -0400 From: "Pat Babcock" <pbabcock at hbd.org> Subject: Re: Re: help Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote .. > The water being sucked into the beer could mean that the yeast is > using up the available oxygen in the wort, which would be a good > sign. More likely it's a sign that the temperature has dropped since > you pitched, which is neither good nor bad. No, a temperature or ambient pressure change in and of itself is not a bad thing for your infant beer. Ah, but that it is sucking the water from the airlock into the fermenter could be! That's a potential infection source. Most of us don't use sanitized water, and, even when used, little is done to ensure that the water in the airlock remains sanitized. That's why I use the cheapest garden-variety vodka I can find in my airlocks. Doing so essentially equates "suck back" with "enrichment" :o) - -- See ya! Pat Babcock in SE Michigan Chief of HBD Janitorial Services http://hbd.org pbabcock at hbd.org Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 19:15:17 -0700 (PDT) From: RI_homebrewer <ri_homebrewer at yahoo.com> Subject: re: Help with Harshness Hi All, In http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/4792.html#4792-7 Matt (baumss127 at yahoo.com) asked for some help in diagnosing a harsh flavor in some of his beers. Many people have already replied and discussed tannins, polyphenols, chlorophenolics, and oxidation. Without actually tasting the beer, it's really hard to figure out what this may be. Another possible cause, that Matt somewhat discounts in the original email, is a low level infection that may cause some sourness. These low level infections do not necessarily cause haze, ring-around the collar, or gushing, even in 8%ABV beers. In the past, I had a "house flavor" and what I described at the time as harshness. I later learned that it was a low level pediococcus infection. Being really strict about sanitation, replacing all of your plastic brewing gear, and pitching large amounts of healthy yeast will go a long way to reducing low level infections. Having experienced beer judges or brewers (either informally or at homebrew competitions) taste your beers would probably help to narrow down what the actual harsh flavor is. Jeff McNally Tiverton, RI (652.2 miles, 90.0 deg) A.R. South Shore Brew Club Return to table of contents
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