HOMEBREW Digest #4961 Sun 26 February 2006

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  water review - thank you ("D. Clark")
  re: Crystal (RI_homebrewer)
  Re: Producing doped beer for taste comparison (Dylan tack)
  Questions about Melomel, Polyclar, and Kegging (Jeremy Blum)
  Pale Ale Question (Brew Your Own) (leavitdg)
   ("Steve Laycock")
  Priming vs. Forced Carbonation Chart (Bob Tower)
  yeast stuff ("steve.alexander")
  Young's yeast (Randy Ricchi)
  peltier chips and heat pipes ("David Lewinnek")
  Re: Rowan Williams - Lagering ("Calvin Perilloux")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 21:30:23 -0500 From: "D. Clark" <clark at capital.net> Subject: water review - thank you Hi list, I'd like to thank Calvin and Martin for their comments about my water. I have been brewing all grain now for several years and most of my beers have come out okay, but never great. I'm pretty fussy about procedure and equipment, and sanitation is always a priority. When I used extracts, I would have to say that some of those beers were great or at least very good, but I never seemed to hit the mark when I switched . Obviously the problem here is my water, and the need to mash with an all grain system. So why don't I go back to extract brewing if the beer was so much better? Because, like most of the members of this group, I love the process of making my own beer from raw ingredients, and extract brewing just doesn't have the same attraction or the full range of styles that can be made. I would encourage anyone who questions their water to get it checked and then query our resident experts for their opinions. I have read a ton of stuff on water chemistry and I understand a lot of it, but that doesn't mean that I know what to do about my particular situation. Can't see the forest kind of a thing. So I'll be off to brothers for my water. I'm sure I can make some kind of arrangement ;>) And I think I'll try to get a pilsner style in before the weather gets too warm. Never have been able to get one of those to come out. Thanks again guys. Dave Clark Eagle Bridge, New York Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 20:18:07 -0800 (PST) From: RI_homebrewer <ri_homebrewer at yahoo.com> Subject: re: Crystal Hi All, In HDB #4959 Oscar (from somewhere in .au?) asked about crystal malt. Basicly crystal malt will add color, body, and flavor to your beer. How much of each of the characteristics you end up with depends on the amount and color of the crystal malt you use. Crystal malt comes in various colors that depend on how much it's been kilned (ie. toasted) by the maltster. Colors are usually listed by the Lovibond scale (sometimes the EBC scale for European malts). The higher he number, the darker the malt. Lighter malts don't contribute as much color to your beer as darker ones. Crystal malt tends to produce caramel-like flavors. Darker colored versions can also add dried dark fruit flavors too (like raisons, prunes, or dates). Really dark versions can also produce somewhat roasted flavors. How much you use depends on the style of beer you want to make. For starters, try using 1 pound (approx 0.5 kg) of 30 to 40 Lovibond crystal malt in a 5 gallon (approx 19 L) batch. This will produce a medium amber color and give you a firsthand example of the flavor. You want to steep the crushed crystal malt in approx 0.5 gallon (2 L) of water at about 150F for about a half hour. Steeping it in a disposable mesh bag makes it easy to remove. After it's done steeping, remove the malt, add the rest of your water, add your malt extracts from your kit, and procede as you normally do. Jeff McNally Tiverton, RI (652.2 miles, 90.0 deg) A.R. South Shore Brew Club Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 00:35:49 -0600 From: Dylan tack <dylan at io.com> Subject: Re: Producing doped beer for taste comparison > Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 13:54:56 -0500 > From: "Ben Dooley" <bendooley at gmail.com> > Subject: Producing doped beer for taste comparison > > First, does anyone have any suggestions on how to make small > quantities of "doped" beer for taste comparison? (reposted from last year) The BJCP study guide has a section on doctoring beer with readily available materials: http://www.bjcp.org/study.html#drbeer A company called FlavorActiV sells flavor standards for beer, but they don't come cheap: http://www.flavoractiv.com/ I noticed they are now marketing an "enthusiast" kit for craft brewers and homebrew clubs. The price is 95 pounds (about US $170). It has some interesting flavor standards that aren't covered by the BJCP guide (including "baby vomit" and "sweaty socks"). -Dylan Iowa City, IA Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 12:19:44 -0500 From: Jeremy Blum <blumj at gwu.edu> Subject: Questions about Melomel, Polyclar, and Kegging I would greatly appreciate any guidance that you all could provide with the following (probably) ill-informed questions. I am making my first melomel (with raspberries), which is currently in a secondary fermenter. As bottling time approaches, I have the following questions: 1) Is chill-haze likely to be a problem? If it is, I can add polyclar, but I would just as soon skip this if it is not necessary. 2) Is melomel susceptible to becoming light-struck, or is this just a problem with beer? I seem to recall it was the result of light interaction with hops, but I could be wrong. Also I have some other general questions. With polyclar, what would you recommend for sanitizing it? Should I put it in boiling water for 5 minutes (it seems like the plastic would melt if I did this)? Maybe add it to some amount of grain alcohol? My final question regards my last kegging experience. I made up a batch of Rocky Raccoon Honey Ale, and then transferred it to a keg. After cooling it, I applied 35 psi of pressure and shook it vigorously for 10 minutes. Then I reduced the pressure to 5 psi. The results were less than ideal. Initially I ended up with alot of head as the beer was dispensed, but not alot carbonation actually in the beer. So I applied 35 psi again and let it sit for a while. Still the beer wasn't adequately carbonated. Also, it took me 2-3 weeks to finish the keg, it seemed that towards the end of that period the beer was less and less carbonated. So questions - is there a better way to carbonate the beer initially, and is there any way to keep it adequately carbonated over a period of 2-3 weeks. Perhaps there is a problem with the beer that prevented adequate carbonation? Thanks in advance for any help. Regards, Jeremy Blum Takoma Park, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 14:56:34 -0500 From: leavitdg at plattsburgh.edu Subject: Pale Ale Question (Brew Your Own) I was reading through the March-April edition of BREW YOUR OWN, and noticed that on p.35, in describing how to make American Pale Ales (all-grain), after the sparge, and after collecting 6 gal of wort, they suggest to : "add 0.25 gallons of water and boil wort for 75 minutes" Why would Chris Colby suggest this? In other words, why not just increase the amt of water in the mash? Darrell Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 00:50:16 -0800 From: "Steve Laycock" <slaycock at discoverynet.com> Subject: Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 07:15:52 -0500 From: <zukoskyrobert at sbcglobal.net> Subject: Denver I will be moving to Denver shortly and am interested in Denver's brew clubs. What problems do brewers have with the water if any. bobz The water tastes just like Coors... that's the only problem with Denvers water as far as I know! ( :^) Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 23:49:15 -0800 From: Bob Tower <bob at constructotower.com> Subject: Priming vs. Forced Carbonation Chart I am experimenting with priming my finished beer in a keg rather than force carbonating as I have been doing for the past several years. My plan is to rack the fermented beer into a keg with the liquid tube shortened slightly to keep it out of the yeast sediment (I cut it so that there is about 0.5 quart (0.47 liter) of dead space), prime with corn sugar and leave at room temperature for 2 weeks, then dose with an appropriate amount of isinglass and polyclar, store the keg at 32 F. (0 C.) for 3 days then rack over to a serving keg. I have rigged up a pressure gauge to a gas disconnect so that I can monitor the pressure inside the keg as the conditioning progresses. My question is if I can correlate the pressure that I end up with in the keg to a force carbonation chart. IOW, since I will know the pressure inside the keg and its temperature, can I cross index that information on a force carbonation chart to determine the volumes of dissolved CO2? Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 04:02:27 -0500 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: yeast stuff If it's not too late I'd like to rouse a few yeast topics ... I expand briefly on /Fredrik's excellent points .... Making healthy yeast and making good beer are two different goals, and we should never lose sight of which is the top priority in any fermentation vessel. Yes I see there is a relation between threonine + pyruvate & propanol, but I just don't see the mix of 1- and 2-propanol at the moment. I can't answer /F's good question about the distribution of yeast in phases, nor do I understand how exactly we could measure this, except that I suspect that some of the papers (which I've neglected) on synchronous cultures might help. - --- Fred Johnson asks why we don't grow yeast on ethanol substrate ... well "we" do if we include bread and distillery yeast growers. I also suspect that dry yeast producers do too. I have some doubts about the economics ... On the commercial side they dump far more spent yeast than they pitch, so as long as yeast can be made lipid healthy, there isn't much point in growing cultures efficiently. On the HB scale we are forced to grow starters more frequently, so efficiency counts more heavily, but nitrogen, vitamins and the likelihood of a infection from the massive air introduction are all features that make the method more complex & costly. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 19:47:01 -0500 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: Young's yeast I picked up a couple bottles of Young's Special London Ale (bottle conditioned) this weekend and am about to culture the yeast from one of them. The date on the bottle ("best by" date?) is April 13, '06, so it's pretty fresh and hopefully I'll get some live yeast. My only concern is that they might have filtered and then bottled with a different yeast in order to keep the world from getting their hands on their proprietary yeast. Anyone know if they do this? Seems unlikely. I know that Wyeast London III is supposed to be Young's yeast, and I do like that yeast, but it didn't seem to me to be the same as the Young's I used to get from the late Yeast Culture Kit Company. We'll see, and I'll let y'all know how this works out. By the way, awhile back I posted here that I had success culturing up some 5 year old Brewtek CL680 lager yeast (I think it was called European). Well, I brewed with it and the performance was wonderful. Fermented strong and well, and the resulting beers ( I made three in succession), while still a bit young, taste wonderful. It's funny how my philosophy about yeast culturing has see-sawed back and forth over the years. When I first got into plating out yeast and storing on slants, I thought that was going to be the way I'd go from now on, just keep the yeasts I like and slowly build the yeast bank with many fine varieties. After awhile, it seemed like too much work and I vowed to just buy fresh once a year, brew all the beers I wanted with that yeast and then forget about it until the next season when I'd buy all new. Then, YCKCo goes out of business, followed by Brewtek, and I'm lamenting the loss of some of my favorite yeasts. Now, I'm back into getting a yeast bank going again. Part of the reason I got away from yeast banking (not that I had all THAT many strains) was that I thought I had to re-culture the stuff every 4-6 months in order to keep it healthy. This success with the 5 yr old stuff has me pumped. Since this was on slants, I figure I'll store on slants (or maybe stabs) again after cleaning up the yeast by streaking it out. I also have some yeasts that I stored in sterile distilled water. That stuff is about 3 years old and I haven't tried restoring them yet. They've been kept in the cellar at around 60F. The tiny dot of yeast on the bottom of each tube is white as can be yet. One last note: I remember someone posting to this list about successfully culturing yeast from a bottle of filtered Michelob beer. I thought I'd try doing the same with some Hacker-Pschorr Octoberfest, and although it took a few days, I did get some activity. I've let the stuff sit for a month or two now, and finally have the time to try building it up from there. I'd never commit a whole batch to an experiment like this, but I would pull a gallon or so of wort off from a batch to experiment. I'll eventually post here my results, for better or worse. Cheers! Randy Ricchi Hancock, Michigan USA Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 21:08:46 -0500 From: "David Lewinnek" <davelew at gmail.com> Subject: peltier chips and heat pipes In HBD #4956, Bill Velek asks about using peltier chips and heat pipes to control fermentation temperatures. I know of at least three people (including me) who use peltier chips (aka thermo electric modules, or TEMs) to control the temperatures of fermenters. I can't speak for the others, but I know I didn't use a peltier chip to save money or make better beer. Honestly, a converted fridge is a really good solution for cooling fermenters, and the old "fish tank heater in a water bath" is a really good solution for warming beers. I used a peltier chip because I think peltier chips are cool and I felt like wasting some money on a do-it-yourself project. You can see my setup here: http://hbd.org/discus/messages/26895/29631.html The biggest problems with my design are a lack of cooling power, and the expense of the 13.8V, 10A DC electric power that I put into the peltier. If I were building this setup again, I would try to figure out a way to hook up a bunch of the cheap NWCA peltier chips in series (to solve the cooling power problem), then use a high power SCR bridge like this one: http://www.newark.com/NewarkWebCommerce/newark/en_US/endecaSearch/ partDetail.jsp;jsessionid=JUUQB4UAJRKI4CXDUY2SFGQK2OTCIIV1SKU=16F557&N=0 to turn 120VAC household current into 120 VDC current with a huge ripple (to solve the problem with the cost of high current DC converters). Using a thousand watts of heating/cooling and 120V electricity dramatically increases the chances that the builder will get burned and shocked, so be sure that you're OK with this before attempting this project. As for heat pipes, my guess is that they won't add anything that putting the fermenter in a water bath won't do. However, I'd be very interested to hear about a fermenter built with heat pipes, even (especially?) if experiments with it prove me wrong. Dave Lewinnek Somerville, Massachusetts [647.4, 85.1deg] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 21:13:25 -0500 From: "Calvin Perilloux" <cperilloux at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Rowan Williams - Lagering G'day Murray! That was good advice on lagering in the last HBD: > Lagering, or cold conditioning, is an integral part of making true lagers. > 6 - 12 weeks of cold conditionioning at as close to 0C > will make a distinct and noticeable difference. > (Yes, looks like another fridge). I bet he wasn't wanting to hear the "new fridge thing" but it's worth it, it really is. And I can't resist the bait... > Calvin Perilloux (hiya Calvin, hows things, hope they are going well) Going great, you old scoundrel! And I'm still brewing, even with a little anklebiter underfoot 'round the homestead. (I'll drop you a note offline later.) > won [...] with a lager that had never > been out of the fridge (12 - 18 mths from memory). It was > remarkably clear and clean with very pure malt/hop flavours. Actually, I'm still doing reasonably well recently with those "back of the fridge" beers, which I find hit their peak in about 4-6 months and remain clean and prize-winning for 18 months or more, so long as they've been done properly from the start (which is not always the case). I think the key, once lagering is done at warmer temps like +4 C or so, is keeping the bottles in the back of my fridge right at -1 C to +1 C, which makes the wife howl about the (frozen) salad, but ruined salad is much less of a worry than ruined beer, right? That said, in Rowan's case, with a really good yeast starter, a modest gravity of say 1048, and healthy fermentation at 50 F, primary fermentation might finish in just 10-12 days, then after a diacetyl rest (if needed) go for a just a shortened lagering time before bottling. And drink bottled beer during that procedure, I guess. My last really good Helles even had only 12 days in secondary at 4 C, and then it went into the bottles, where it could then be further conditioned -- and you can put bottles in every nook and cranny in the fridge around your kegs. I suggest the warmer nooks (or on the door) for the first couple of months, and then move them to the back or coldest part afterwards. As for the Aussie basement, in some that I'd been in that claimed "18 C" year round, there was no insulation between it and the main house -- which had no aircon. So a hot blast of westerlies would bring the temps soaring in the house upstairs, and the basement would still *feel* nice and cool, but a look at the thermometer and the airlocks blasting away showed different. A min-max thermometer can help to make sure your temps are what you estimate they are. But really, Rowan, you need another fridge! You can never have too many. That's what the electric company guys told me, anyway. ;-) In any case, another fridge is cheaper and easier than moving to someplace like Thredbo where lagering possibilities are more open. Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA (previously Bondi Junction and Turrella NSW) Return to table of contents
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