HOMEBREW Digest #4889 Tue 15 November 2005

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  RE: More on false bottoms ("Mike Sharp")
  Theminator ("Murray Aldridge")
  Re: Elderflower "Champagne" (Bob Tower)
  Re: Elderflower Champagne Brewing Advice (Bob Tower)
  re: Pressure limit of glass jug (John Schnupp)
  Re: Pressure limit of glass jug (Bob Tower)
  RE: slotted false bottoms (Nate & Brenda Wahl)
  TIG Welding Kegs / Back-Purging ("Martin Ammon")
  Re: Elderflower "Champagne" ("Dave Burley") (Eric Wescott)
  Pressurized Glass (Rick) Theiner <rickdude@tds.net>
  ester result (Matt)
  Need advice -- All-grain system ("markmier@netzero.com")
  RE: Bad year for hops ("Dennis O'Brien")
  5.2 by Five Star (Erik & Marina Nelson)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 22:12:38 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: More on false bottoms Michael asks: "What is v-wire?" It's a wire whose cross section is roughly a V shape. You make false bottoms out of it by tig welding straight runs spaced slightly apart onto transverse rods. Slotted tube is made by welding a spiral run on longitudinal supports. It's tricky to get it right, and you need to use shims to maintain the correct spacing. A local fellow who makes brewing equipment makes his own, but there are companies that specialize in it. http://www.johnsonfiltrationindia.com/product.htm Also, Hendrick Screen in Kentucky. It's hard to source (and expensive), and hard to fabricate. That's why I use perforated stainless. I measured mine tonight: 1/8 D holes, on 3/16 centers, staggered layout. This is 40% open area. Yeah, the "standard" size is 3/32 on 5/32 centers which corresponds to 33% open area, but I have a plastic false bottom with those specs, and it clogs badly. A *real* pain to clean. Of course, the plastic version might not have as clean a hole as a metal version. In any case, I've been using a larger screen with good results. Easy to clean, and when pumping, you hardly know it's there. "I would ideally like to have a false bottom that is above the output valve on a modified keg." <snip> "A concern I have with this is that too much mash liquid being below the false bottom where there is no grain" I agree with that; it's better to minimize the deadspace below the false bottom. Putting it above the outlet valve makes it pretty high, assuming the valve goes out the side of the keg. My current mash tun has a brass NPT to compression elbow threaded into the center of the false bottom. A copper tube goes from there to the compression fitting outlet on the wall of the kettle. I used teflon compression ferrules, so it could be taken apart. When this is assembled, even finger tight, it's quite solid, and very low profile. I don't think you want to stir that close to the bottom anyway. I've seen a tangential outlet line that was in the very bottom of the keg, and came out through the skirt. That looked ideal to me. I'm building a larger mash tun from a keg myself, and have been planning on putting the outlet at the very bottom of the keg, either tangentially through the skirt, or else running straight down through the center of the burner (with a heat shield). See the S-10 or Z-10 burner: http://www.solarflo.com/impinged.htm MoreBeer.com sells the S-80, but I don't want the center jet. The problem with running straight down is that even though these burners are very compact (flame height of 2-3", burner is about 3" high) it puts the valves about 6-10" below the bottom of the mash tun. Also, you'd need either a sanitary ferrule and clamp down there somewhere, or else a compression fitting, so that the keg can be removed for dumping. So, I'll probably either stick with the same system I have (internal elbow and tubing) or use the tangential outlet, possibly removing one pair of jets from the burner. I'm cutting my keg off at the shoulder, so hinging the bottom isn't an issue (the mash tun opening is full-width this way). In summary, stick with perforated stainless or one of those pre-made stainless false bottoms, but keep it close to the bottom of the tun. I don't see much wrong with a screen below the valve, using a tube that goes to the outlet valve. It would be worse to have 3 inches of dead space below the screen. Regards, Mike Sharp Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 17:54:04 +1100 From: "Murray Aldridge" <aldridge at fjc.net.au> Subject: Theminator Re: Tony Wilkinson My theminator works fine with the boiler on the bench and the Therminater and carboy on the floor. It doesnt seem to slow the siphoning process at all. Keeping material out of a closed system chiller is important as if any remains it is a clear focal point for infection. The Therminatoer does not come apart. You clean by flushing and back flushing. I use cold water then water as hot as possible. I then sterilise with iodophor. This is done before and after use. The manufacturer recommends that after, I think, 8 or so brews you flush with phosphoric acid to remove what is technically know as "crud". The cold break can easily be removed by collected the chilled wort then racking it to a fermentor after it has settled leaving it, or most of it behind. Murray Aldridge Sydney Australia Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 23:17:01 -0800 From: Bob Tower <tower at cybermesa.com> Subject: Re: Elderflower "Champagne" Dave Burley warns of the dangers of bottle conditioning sweet beverages: -snip- Daniel is trying something very dangerous. Fermenting sweetened Elderflower wine in a bottle. I know some contend you can make rootbeer by just adding some yeast to a sweetened extract of same and safely get rootbeer for the kiddies. Don't believe it. I know some do it, but I don't believe it is a safe practice. Perhaps using plastic bottles is better, but not much IMHO. -snip- While I agree with Dave to error on the side of caution when it comes to such matters, it is doable. Plastic PET bottles can withstand tremendous pressure (100+ PSI I am told but cannot confirm this as fact). Commercial soda pops are typically carbonated to 40-50 PSI, so there's plenty of safety zone when it comes to pressure. I have on numerous occasions bottled rootbeer carbonated with ale yeast in PET bottles. I was once told by a brewer that yeast shut down under pressure, 60 PSI if I remember correctly. Thus the pressure possible in a bottle is self limiting. In my experiences with this technique, never have the bottles or caps failed under the pressure (I've probably done about 100 bottles this way over the years) nor have the bottles or caps become distorted, indicating that they were reaching or had passed their maximum pressure capacity. As a test, I even stored several bottles for months at a time (in a sealed five gallon bucket in case any of the bottles failed) at temperatures of 70 F. or higher. Yes, the bottles were very carbonated (along the lines of champagne) when opened but they did not gush or indicate wildly or dangerously high pressures. I don't recommend storing the rootbeer for long periods of time however, as the yeast becomes more and more prominent in the flavor. It is best drunk quickly. Refrigeration is another thing that can be used to stop or at least slow down possible renewed fermentations (once adequate carbonation is achieved). However, I have noticed that certain types of yeast will eventually adapt and begin fermenting again, albeit slowly. Not knowing much about elderflower wine, does it require extensive aging or is best consumed young? If long term aging is required, then I could see that it could present problems, especially if bottled in glass champagne bottles. Pasteurization (via a hot water bath) could be used, but would entail much more labor and the heat may have a negative impact on the flavor of the wine. When I first started homebrewing, I had a few batches where I ran out of bottles on bottling day. In a pinch I used some plastic water bottles. It hadn't occurred to me that these were not the same type of bottle as a soda bottle, although it was the same material (PET). The water bottles are much thinner since they are not intended to hold pressure. In every instance, there was failure, but it was not the bottles that failed, it was the caps. But the failure was not catastrophic. In the tops of the caps a hairline fracture would occur as the cap bulged out and then beer would slowly foam and leak out of the crack. As comparatively thin as the bottles were, they held up to the pressure. Granted, the pressure they were holding was likely 10-20 PSI, nowhere near champagne pressure levels. But my point is that even these thin water bottles held up. If a true soda type bottle is used, it would take an unnaturally (and unlikely obtainable) high pressure for them to fail in a dangerous way (plastic shrapnel). And even when I've had plastic bottles fail, their failure was fairly benign. My advice to Daniel would be to try one soda bottle of elderflower wine in a strongly sealed container (like a fermenting bucket with something heavy set on top of the lid) in an out of the way place where no one will be harmed if the worst happens. Watch it for several months (or the longest conceivable time the wine will be stored) and see if the bottle fails. My guess is that it won't fail. Otherwise, if you don't want to risk it, then bottle the wine in plastic bottles, wait a few days or until you get the carbonation level you desire, then refrigerate the bottles and begin rapidly drinking. The worst that can happen that way is that you'll wake the next day with a hangover. Let us know how it goes. Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 23:36:42 -0800 From: Bob Tower <tower at cybermesa.com> Subject: Re: Elderflower Champagne Brewing Advice Craig S. Cottingham was giving yeast advice to Daniel Pittman regarding his Elderflower champagne: -snip- That's a good starting gravity for cider, though. I've been told that White Labs WLP775 finishes fairly sweet, though their website says it finishes dry. -snip- I've used White Labs English cider yeast many times for my various ciders and with starting gravities between 1.047 and 1.052 my finishing gravity always ends up at 1.000. Coincidentally, whenever I've used Wyeast's cider strain with similar starting gravities I've also ended up at 1.000. Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 23:42:57 -0800 (PST) From: John Schnupp <johnschnupp at yahoo.com> Subject: re: Pressure limit of glass jug From: BRIAN AND DAWN BUDRIS <budris at optonline.net> >Clear DayDoes anyone know what the pressure limit is for a 1->gallon glass jug (apple cider type)? I was going to experiment >and try to use them as mini kegs instead of the PET bottles >that I currently use. I don't know that I'd do that. OTOH, lots of people told me that I was nuts for using CO2 to rack my beer from one carboy to another. I seem to remember that the guy who told me about racking using CO2 did an experiment where they taped a rubber stopper into a glass carboy and cranked up the pressure. I think it blew around 30-35psi. I'm pretty sure that a smaller vessel would take more pressure. In addition, you need to take into account the thickness of the glass. >I want to try this because PET can't be used to store beer for >more than 3 months without noticeable oxidation. Maybe you need to drink more. Where do you live? I'll be right over. >Should a glass jug be able to hold up to the 8-12 PSI pressure >that I use to dispense beer without exploding? I think it should but you could always do a couple reliability/failure tests to find out the upper limit. >Also, does anyone know where to purchase glass jugs that are >larger than 1 gallon (with caps)? Nope. They do make 4L wine jugs but that's not much more than a gallon. What about carboys? You might need to make your own cap. You might also consider some 2 or 3 gallon kegs instead. John Schnupp, N3CNL (once in a) Blue Moon Hombrewery [560.2, 68.6] Rennerian Georgia, VT 95 XLH 1200 Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 23:43:41 -0800 From: Bob Tower <tower at cybermesa.com> Subject: Re: Pressure limit of glass jug On Mon, 14 Nov 2005 10:42:45 -0500 BRIAN AND DAWN BUDRIS wrote: Clear DayDoes anyone know what the pressure limit is for a 1-gallon glass jug (apple cider type)? I was going to experiment and try to use them as mini kegs instead of the PET bottles that I currently use. I want to try this because PET can't be used to store beer for more than 3 months without noticeable oxidation. Should a glass jug be able to hold up to the 8-12 PSI pressure that I use to dispense beer without exploding? Also, does anyone know where to purchase glass jugs that are larger than 1 gallon (with caps)? -BJB - --- DON'T TRY IT! They will explode and you'll require a trip to the emergency room to extract all the glass from your bodies. If you want a mini keg, then get a 2.5 gallon Cornelius keg. They are made of stainless steel and will hold pressure to 130 PSI. Or if that is too expensive, then try a Party Star keg. I believe they are 5 liters which is a little more than a gallon. Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 05:52:57 -0500 From: Nate & Brenda Wahl <cruiser at coastalwave.net> Subject: RE: slotted false bottoms Michael wrote: "I would ideally like to have a false bottom that is above the output valve on a modified keg." and "A concern I have with this is that too much mash liquid being below the false bottom." Then don't raise the bottom, lower the valve! My mash tun outlet is welded to the bottom dome of the keg, not the side, offset from the center a couple of inches. With my screen in place (HD 1/8" pitch woven wire screen w/ 3/32" wire, from a scrap yard, $1/lb!) it leaves about a pint of volume between it and the bottom. A 1/4" bolt also comes up through the center of the dome bottom (silver brazed), up to a nut, fender washer, through the screen, then another washer and lastly a wing nut, all SS, which supports the screen, top and bottom. Works very well. You could even rig up a 'bushing' above the center bolt somehow to keep the bottom of the stirrer from flopping around. The only difficulty is dealing with the protusion of the outlet, easily accomodated by the way the tun is mounted. Cheers! Nate Wahl Oak Harbor, OH (64, 145) - -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Free Edition. Version: 7.1.362 / Virus Database: 267.13.0/168 - Release Date: 11/14/2005 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 07:18:29 -0600 From: "Martin Ammon" <SURFSUPKS at KC.RR.COM> Subject: TIG Welding Kegs / Back-Purging Michael Yep that's sugar alright. You can leave it but it sure is hard to keep clean. The way I purge gas on the back side is I split the out side of argon reg. to a T and a needle valve to a length of lite hose with a small piece of tubing for the probe. I fold a piece of foil little larger than the item to be Tig I seal it with foil tape over the item place the probe into the pocket you made with the foil seal it. Turn on the needle valve a little don't take much gas in that small area Tig the front side and you will find the inside looks just as good as the out side (in my case better sometime). I buy the foil tape from my local hardware they have two different rolls the one in the plumbing dept. used for sealing ducting is higher in price than the roll by the foil insulation. I make a foil pocket for each item to be Tig. Give this a try I think you will like the out come. Martin Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 08:27:49 -0500 From: Eric Wescott <eric.wescott at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Elderflower "Champagne" ("Dave Burley") As a cider, wine and mead maker who dabbles in beer... I have to echo the idea to let the beverage ferment completely, clear in secondary, then prime with some regular sugars and add a non-fermentable sweetener at bottling. Non-fermentable sweeteners include all your normal pink, blue, and yellow stuff, but also actual sugars a bit off the beaten path, like Lactose. You could also use maltodextrin, which can taste a bit sweet depending on your pallet. I'd suggest picking the one that you and your audience thinks tastes the best, and sweetening to taste before priming at bottling. The levels of alcohol you are looking at are more cider-like than champagne/wine. That's fine - think of it like a wine cooler. I've made many sparkling ciders (including a white grape cider that was awesome!). Fermenting white sugar does not add any ill flavors. It does not add any flavors really. Normal, purified white sugar is regular cane sugar that has been seperated through centrifuges and similar action (no bleach, despite popular opinion) from the molasses that is present in all natural sugars. It is pure sucrose, and will ferment 100% leaving almost no other flavors. You could also use a mead trick for melomels to help preserve more fruit flavor by adding the fruit into the secondary. Instead of adding the flowers up front and letting them go through primary (where many flavors can get changed and scrubbed away), add them at secondary like a dry-hop. Let them sit for about a month to leech out all their goodness. Since this is a bit out of the realm of beer, you might get more luck on some of the other lists which might have more specific experience with this sort of thing. The Home Vintners Digest (http://hbd.org/mailman/listinfo/hvd) might be the most applicable digest. You could also try a wine specific forum (I like: http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewforum.php?f=2) Happy brewing. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 8:56:38 -0600 From: Eric (Rick) Theiner <rickdude at tds.net> Subject: Pressurized Glass BJB asks about using "glass kegs." I think my message here may be one of many that say... DUDE, DON'T DO IT!! One of the problems with glass is that it is brittle and a chip or tiny crack will result in the entire thing shattering-- and with 8-10 psi behind it, you have the potential for significant injury. On a microscopic level, aged glass is far from the fluid, uniform state that it appears to be. A much safer method would be to use 5 liter minikegs... and other than the ease (or lack thereof) of draining them during the cleaning process, I can't see any drawback as compared to trying this with glass. Rick Theiner LOGIC, Inc. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 09:38:06 -0800 (PST) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: ester result Steve mentions a startling result regarding esters--that their production is independent of temperature if oxygen is controlled. My first reaction is "where can I read more about this?" Steve is there a reference available? If this result applies to the kind of brewing we practice then it has some serious consequences, even if we can't control for oxygen very well in practice (which I certainly cannot). I can think of a few interesting implications/questions: 1. It's well established that all of the oxygen is gone within a few hours of the wort being oxygenated. Thus, after a few hours the ferment temp has little/no effect on ester production!? 2. I believe from reading certain studies that production of fusel-derived esters has some real dependence on the levels of the associated fusel. If this is true, and if the result Steve reported applies to fusel-based esters, then presumably production of FUSELS is also independent of temperature when oxygen is controlled!? (And thus also independent of temp after the first few hours...) 3. This means that (at least as far as esters and maybe fusels go) we don't have to care about fermentation temps. We only have to care about the PITCHING temp, and maybe not even that if we can do some extra aeration. This is extremely good news if it's true. But it's also a little hard to swallow without more info. Would love to learn more about this result. Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 21:10:36 GMT From: "markmier at netzero.com" <markmier@netzero.com> Subject: Need advice -- All-grain system Hi all. Daily reader, infrequent poster. I'm looking to get back into all-grain brewing. I've done it before (using the cheapie plastic bucket / Phil's Phalse Bottom/sparge arm system), but left all my equipment behind when I moved from Houston to near Seattle. That was 7 years ago, and I'm itching to get back to it (extract brewing is fine, but...). Now there are more choices out there than there were, and I wanted to get the Collective's opinion. I need a mash/lauter tun and HLT. I've already got a propane burner and 8-gal brewpot (though I'm also looking to upgrade to the Polarware 10-gal brewpot for Xmas). Constraints: *I only brew 5-gallon batches, single-temp infusion. It is unlikely that I'll ever want to make a 10-gallon batch. I have enough trouble drinking all the beer I make as it is. :) *Most recipes I make would have a max of 12-15lb of grain. If I wanted to make a barleywine, I would just add extract to the boil, no sweat. *Cost isn't much of a factor, within reason. I'm perfectly fine with spending $500 or so. $2000 would be a bit much. *I don't need a fully automatic HERMS/RIMS with PID controllers and automatic control valves and lights and all that. I brew because I enjoy it, not because I need a massive quantity of beer automatically made for me. I can tinker later, if I want to. Options, as I see it: *2-cooler system. Morebeer's 5-gallon or 10-gallon Gott systems would work fine. *"Minibrew.com" system. *Brewing sculpture, from morebeer. I think this is probably overkill, space is at somewhat of a premium. But the B3-500 DOES look pretty sweet. *Some kind of "homebrew" homebrew system (heh). I am a chemical engineer, and reasonably proficient with putting together mechanical things, though my welding sk1llz are... ummm... very primitive. So, does anyone have experience with the Minibrew system? It looks pretty cool. It is definitely bigger than I would need, and I'm not sure about the insulative powers of HDPE (as compared to the Gott system), but otherwise it looks great -- valves, level glasses, thermometers, etc. Could even add an immersion heater to the HLT. I guess I'm leaning toward the 10-gal Gott system, though maybe even the 5-gal would be sufficient. The Minibrew looks great, but it is much bigger than I need. Is it an issue for it to be so much bigger than my anticipated batch size? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance for any help. Respond to the list or to: markmier AT netzero D0T net Mark Mierzejewski Kirkland, WA [1890.7, 294.6deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 17:34:25 -0600 From: "Dennis O'Brien" <obrien.dennis at sbcglobal.net> Subject: RE: Bad year for hops First time poster. Bob Hall commented on his hops a few days ago. I had my first go at growing hops this year. I planted 4 rhizomes: Cascade, Goldings, Liberty and Sterling. I was not expecting much, but expected better than what I harvested, which was less than an ounce of Cascade, and nada from the other 3. I live in the Fort Worth area, which is rather dry. We are 20 inches below normal precipitation for the year. My sprinkler system lost its programming in June and it was probably a couple weeks until I discovered it. Prior to then, all four plants were looking good. The Cascade proved to be very hardy, and probably would have produced more had I properly pruned it earlier (it was a learning experience). The other 3 never seemed to recover from that. By July/August, only the Cascade had any additional growth. The Liberty shows no signs of life at this point. I'm not sure what I will replace the Liberty with. Anybody have any recommendations on heat-tolerant hop varieties? Dennis OBrien 970.8, 233 Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 18:53:02 -0800 (PST) From: Erik & Marina Nelson <erik_marina at yahoo.com> Subject: 5.2 by Five Star Has anyone ever used the 5.2 by five star? I need something to lower my ph since my city just changed my water setting. It went to a 8.2 from a 7 before mashing and when I was mashing before it would hit a 5.2 perfectly. I want to know is there any off flavors and will be beer be clear or cloudy from and what about the taste. Thanks Erik Nelson Sauk Rapids, MN www.cloudytownbrewers.org Return to table of contents
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