HOMEBREW Digest #52 Tue 17 January 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Black Currant beer ("V70NPT::LENO")
  mashing (Pete Soper)
  English Beer Bottles (Mike Fertsch)
  Re: To mash or not to mash (Dave Hollenbeck)
  replacement for plastic primaries (Donald P Perley)
  re: digest of 1/16/89, mashing (Darryl Richman)
  more on finings (rdg)
  All grains, trouble, etc (florianb)
  Mashing (David Baer)
  ????? (Jeff Miller)
  the all-malt vs. finings (Ihor W. Slabicky)
  primary fermentors, first time mashing etcetera (rogerl)
  Request Help on fixing beer (harvard!ima!wang7!klm)
  pale malt (Pete Soper)
  temperature/time, brew shop, San Diego visit (Frederic W. Brehm)
  closed fermentation vs. open (Mike Meyer)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 17 Jan 89 08:28:00 EDT From: JBAUER at BAT.Bates.EDU an added note on adding gelatin before bottling. If you run your batch through a piece of cheese cloth it will strain out a good amount of what the gelatin has attracted as well as other particals still in suspension. Does someone have an address for getting more info about the Zymurgy journal. Our local brew supplies folks just sell the stuff. Return to table of contents
Date: 17 Jan 89 08:56:00 EST From: "V70NPT::LENO" <leno%v70npt.decnet at nusc.ARPA> Subject: Black Currant beer I was at the Commonwealth Brewery in Boston this weekend and ordered what they called a Black and Gold. I expected their version of a black and tan. What I got was a rich amber ale with black currant as a flavoring. I was told that it wasn't verry popular. I fell inb love with it. Has anyone used black currant in beer before. Any recipes? They serve only there own beer and have about a dozen different types. I would recomend their in house beers, I can't verify the quality of their bottled beers. Scott "Let no man thirst for lack of real ale" -Commonwealth Brewing Co. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 09:53:40 est From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: mashing Does anyone have a good procedure for calibrating a thermometer around the 150 degree mark? Also, has anyone seen a source of Hydrion number 433 PH test papers? These span the range of 4.8 to 6.7. --Pete Soper Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 08:49 EST From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!meccad.RAY.COM!FERTSCH> Subject: English Beer Bottles Andy Newman <NEWMAN at Venus.YCC.Yale.Edu> observes: > ... I just finished > bottling a batch last night (that's not the warning). I > used two cases of empty Sam Smith bottles because they > seemed rugged and looked attractive. I notice, however, > one minor flaw with these bottles. The mechanical hand > capper I have doesn't fit the neck of the bottle correctly. I've had problems with other British beer bottles. I like the look and shape of Youngs bottles. They're short, with very broad shoulders, but have a smaller crown than American and Continental bottles. I believe all British bottles have a smaller crown. I use a double-lever capper. On most American bottles, I need to push the handles down approximately 2/3 to seal the cap. On bottles from the UK, I need to push the handles all the way down, and I still don't think I am getting a good seal. (I haven't noticed lack of carbonation in these bottles, so I guess I worry too much.) The moral of the story is that all crown bottles are not the same; expect variations from style to style. All bottles can be chipped by cappers if you are not careful. Mike Fertsch Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 09:10:57 mst From: Dave Hollenbeck <dbh at hpesdbh> Subject: Re: To mash or not to mash > > My local brew supplies > store claims that "it's not worth the trouble...the beer If you're satisfied with the results you're getting from cans, he's right. If you want ultimate control over your brew, mashing is for you. In fact, going all out with a step mash on the stove adds about 3-4 hours to the brewing day, and it's not difficult, just tedious. > a) What equipment should I buy? What's mandatory, > what's nice to have, and what's a total waste of > money? I've gotten by with only a nylon grain bag in addition to the standard extract brewing equipment. Of course, you need at least one vessel (plastic bucket) with a spigot on it. There are a few ways to support the grain bag, one of the more obvious being drill many holes in the bottom of another bucket and stack them. > b) What is the relative cost of, say, pale malt > versus canned malte extract and DME? My supplier I haven't really shopped around, but around here you can get grain for about a dollar a pound. It takes about 7 or 8 pounds to make a batch when the mash is reasonably efficient. > He doesn't stock quantities of > unconverted malt. Find another supplier. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 11:07:20 EST From: Donald P Perley <steinmetz!perley at uunet.UU.NET> Subject: replacement for plastic primaries Andy Newman writes: + 1) I currently use those large (~7 gallon) plastic lidded + buckets as primary fermenters. While they are generally + adequate, the lids are damnably hard to remove and install + without shaking the brew around a lot. It there anything + more -- um -- professional that is available that maintains + a good seal through, perhaps, a more precise manner? Many people use glass carboys for primary fermentation with a blow off tube. If you want to stay with the bucket format there is a company called "Utensco" (sp?) that makes all manner of stainless steel implements, including various sized buckets with clamp on sealing lids. A 7 gallon one with the lid drilled for a fermentation lock should do nicely, and you could probably use it for boiling as well (if you get into mashing, it is nice to be able to boil a full 5 gallons). Their phone number is 516-883-7300. I've never bought anything from them. They mostly make commercial restaurant stuff, but hopefully they will do small orders. -don perley Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 07:17:12 PST From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: re: digest of 1/16/89, mashing Andy Newman <NEWMAN at Venus.YCC.Yale.Edu> writes: "3) (Big question) I've recently become interested in trying "my own mashing. Up until this point I've been making beer "from various combinations of extract and adjuncts that already "have undergone starch conversion. My local brew supplies "store claims that "it's not worth the trouble...the beer "kits are much better these days"...even if he's being "truthful, I'd still like to try it. My two questions on "this topic are: Good for you. It IS more trouble than working from extract, and you'll have to find or build a couple of pieces. It takes substantially more time to brew. But the materials are a whole lot cheaper. "a) What equipment should I buy? What's mandatory, "what's nice to have, and what's a total waste of "money? You have to have a boiling pot big enough to boil the full volume of your beer + 20% (headroom and evaporation) at least; the more the better. I have an 8 gallon pot that works well for 5 gallon batches. You need to buy or build a lauter tun. The one shown in Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy should work real well: it is 2 plastic buckets, one fitting most of the way inside the other. The inside bucket's bottom is drilled with zillions of little holes. There is a tap at the bottom of the outer one. The one I use is a 10 gallon bucket with a tap at the bottom. I have a round piece of sheet metal that has been drilled with tiny holes and the outside covered with a rubber ring so it doesn't scratch the plastic. There are a variety of other designs as well. If you don't have one, you'll need a wort chiller. (I used to cool my 5 gallon batches in the sink for about an hour; I never lost a batch, but I worried a lot.) "b) What is the relative cost of, say, pale malt "versus canned malte extract and DME? My supplier "charges about 8 dollars for a can of low-brow "extract (3.3-3.5 pounds) and the same 8 dollars for "4 pounds of DME. He doesn't stock quantities of "unconverted malt. My local shop charges $1/lb. for 2 row malt. 2 row is probably the easiest and lightest colored malt to work with. Maltose Falcons members get 20% discount on meeting day. We have bought it from the maltster as a coop and the price was more like .30/lb., but we have to come up with a 500lb min. order. As a masher, you can expect to recover about 27-32 specific gravity points per gallon of water per lb. of malt. In other words, each pound you put into 5 gallons returns about 6 specific gravity points. If you are getting 1.055 out of two cans of malt, it'll take roughly 9 pounds of malt ot equal that. Depending what price you can get, that is at most half the cost. Great Fermentations in Santa Rosa and The Home Brewery in San Bernardino both do mail order, *crushed* grain at reasonable prices. (You must crush the grain properly, and a rolling pin, coffee mill, or blender is not going to work.) ----- Dave Hollenbeck <dbh at hpesdbh> writes: "I've seen it said that the specialty grains (dark and crystal) don't need "to be added during mashing - they can wait until the boil. This is true to a certain extent. The reasons vary with the grain being used. For example, crystal malts have already been mashed for you by the maltster, which is why they are sweet when you get them. There are no starches or enzymes left in them. Black malts such as chocolate, black patent, and roast barley, haven't got any starches, sugars, or enzymes left. So they don't need the starch to sugar conversion that is the main purpose of mashing. But boiling isn't the best treatment for grains, because with the higher temperature, other chemistry starts to leak out, such as tanins and oils. "I've also "seen it said that the dark grains contribute to a proper pH level during "the mash. Does anyone have any facts to share on this subject? If your water is alkaline because of carbonates, your mash may not get acidic enough for the enzymes to do their jobs. This is the problem early Munich brewers faced. But darkly roasted malts are acidic on their own and can eat up the buffering power of the carbonate water. This is why Dunkel is the daily beer of Munich. Hardness, per se, hasn't got much to do with it. It just so happens that that is how brewers used to determine what kind of water they had, and it is (apparently) easier to explain it this way. What is important is the acidity of the mash--it should be in the low 5s, or else the enzymes don't perform well. Brewers have resorted to all kinds of tricks to get there, and dark malt is just one of them. "I'd also be interested in hearing about time/temperature profiles that "people think are good or bad. Good or bad for what purpose? --Darryl Richman Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 11:14:01 MST From: rdg at hpfcmi Subject: more on finings Full-Name: Rob Gardner > 2) My understanding of the use of gelatine as a fining agent > is that it works in a purely mechanical fashion to remove the > yeast from the liquid. Just how complete is this removal? > Essentially, what I'm interested in is if I'm going to have > any problem bottle conditioning my beer if I add gelatine 24 > hours prior to racking them. My understanding is that the fining process is more a "chemical" one than mechanical. In particular, haze and particulates are attracted to the finings, which have an electrically opposite charge, then the finings settle out. Also, most sources I have seen recommend adding finings much firther in advance than 1 day. Byron Burch recommends at least 10 days for settling finings. Also, the finings are usually meant to remove stuff that causes hazy beer, like proteins, etc. They will not remove all your yeast, so relax. Rob Return to table of contents
Date: 17 Jan 89 08:38:37 PST (Tue) From: florianb%tekred.cna.tek.com at RELAY.CS.NET Subject: All grains, trouble, etc In yesterday's posting, Andy Newman asks several questions, My local brew supplies store claims that "it's not worth the trouble...the beer kits are much better these days"...even if he's being ... The local brew shop is full of balogney (spell?). Nothing matches the flavor and body of freshly mashed grain. However, as an almost-as-good substitute, some brew suppliers sell bulk extract from Great Britain. Steinbart's of Portland, OR sells excellent bulk extract (light, amber, dark) in 7# jars for about $7. With this much extract, one can do double malting, and obtain a brew nearly as good as fresh mashed. If anyone is interested, Steinbart's ships UPS to anywhere in North America, and the prices are reasonable. I can post an address if there is sufficient interest. They have a fairly extensive mail-order catalog. Andy also asks: a) What equipment should I buy? What's mandatory, what's nice to have, and what's a total waste of money? Here, I suggest getting a copy of Charlie Papazain's book "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing," which you can order from a bookstore. The next question: b) What is the relative cost of, say, pale malt versus canned malte extract and DME? My supplier charges about 8 dollars for a can of low-brow extract (3.3-3.5 pounds) and the same 8 dollars for 4 pounds of DME. He doesn't stock quantities of unconverted malt. Here again, the Steinbart extract can be competitive with fresh grain malt. To repeat my former comment, try Steinbart's for a more complete offering of products. Finally, Dave Hollenbeck asks about adding specialty grain during the mash or during boil. Because crystal and roast malt don't undergo starch conversion, they can wait for the boil, and be removed just prior to full boil. Their contribution will not be compromized. [Comments are welcome, and all disclaimers apply.] Happy brewing. florianb at tekred.tek.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 11:24:53 PST From: dsbaer at Sun.COM (David Baer) Subject: Mashing I just mashed a batch of Muchener this weekend and thought I'd share some of my techniques. First the equipment I find necessary: 1) The obvious spoon, scale, hydrometer, floating thermometer, primary, secondary, and large boiling pot. I use a 33qt monster pot that takes about 45 minutes to boil on my electric stove. 2) I also use a 20 liter water cooler/dispenser to sparge. I have modified the spigot so that it has a valve that regulates the flow of liquid and doesn't require any hands once it is set. I have a stainless steel colander as the false bottom. I have used a couple of different processes: 1) I heat up water to 180 degrees F (1.25 qts/lb of grain) and put it in the 20 liter cooler. I then very thoroughly stir in the grain ,and let it sit for 1 hour. This is called single-temperature infusion mashing and requires modified grains like American Klages. The ideal temperature for the mash would be between 150 and 158. I find 180 gets me at the higher end of the temperature range. Adding a little water to adjust temperature is the best way to get exactly where you want to be. The higher the temperature the more dextrinous the wort (it will have more body and sweetness) the lower the temperature, the more fermentable sugar produced. At any temperture in this range, complete sugar conversion should take place within 1 to 1.5 hours. I test the conversion with Iodine and if alls well, I commence the sparge. I add 4-5 gallons of hot (170 degree) water to the cooler, very slowly and carefully. It usually takes a good hour to sparge. I collect the run off in the moster pot and begin my boil. From here there is little difference between mashing and extract brewing, you boil, you add hops, you add, yeast, you age, you bottle, you drink. 2) The other process is step mashing and is done on the stove top. I add 1.25 quarts of water/lb of grain, to my monster pot and heat to 100 degrees F. I add the grain and stir it up real good. Then I heat it up (on med) stirring constantly until it reaches about 125 degrees F. I let it sit about 30 min. This is the protien rest. Again I heat up the mash stirring constantly. This time to the conversion temperature- between 150 and 158. I like to transfer to my 20 liter cooler at this time and let it sit for 1 hour, but you could leave it on the stove as long as you maintain the 150-158 range. Then I follow the same testing and sparging procedure as for infusion mashing. This is a very general outline but it basically works for me. I have made several successful batches using both methods. I really feel like a homemade kind of guy watching the sparge run clear. I also truly think mashing makes better beer. I think the ultimate control and the variables challenge me and keep me brewing better and better beer. For a good discussion of mashing "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Papazian is a quality text, also "Grains into Beer" by Scotty Morgan outlines the single temperature mash very clearly. Books are helpful, but hands-on experience will teach you best. Good luck to all you potential mashers, and hope this simple outline serves to motivate you to brew a great beer. Dave Baer Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 13:54:47 CDT From: Jeff Miller <jmiller at unix.eta.com> Subject: ????? I have a couple disertations here about my opinions on glass fermenters and ways to handle the fermenters to deal with slurry stir up. The second disertation has to do with the various questions asked about mashing and include comments on what I think are needed for a mashing experience, comments on boiling grains, and a final remark on time/temperature profiles. Sorry to be so long winded but maybe thats becoming my trade mark. Fermenters: I use glass instead of plastic because I am paranoid about the potential for scratching the plastic and ending up with a bad batch because some nasty bacteria liked the scratch. I don't like glass because of its weight, ease of breakage, and extreme sensitivity to temperatures. The good things about glass is that I think its a lot easier to clean and of course more resistent to scratches. To answer Andy's question about not stirring up yeast when he tries to siphon the beer out, first I would say relax and not to worry about it to much. I use the blow tube siphon starting technique with my glass carbouys. I usually just set on a high enough surface toward the end of the ferment and then just siphon out without having to move anything. I noticed an add in Zymurgy for a fermenting system that appears to stand upside down. It has an air inlet (doubles as a blow off during fermentation) and a drain in the 2 hole stopper for the carbouy. I liked the idea so much that I made one for my carbouys but I haven't had a chance to really use it yet. Anyway, I like these methods but I'm not sure how you would adapt them to your tight sealing plastic fermenter. Mashing: If you want to do mashing you had better have a supplier that will grind grain for you or you better have access to a grain mill. It isn't bad to grind up to 3# of grain to flavor a malt extract brew but it would be a real mess to grind enough grain for a 5 gallon all-grain brew with a bottle or rolling pin. You will also need to have a method for getting your grain out of the mash. You could try putting all the grain in a bag but I would bet that you will run into problems when you use lots of grain. The lauter-tun in JOHB is cheap and simple to make and it works great for me. I have also noticed sparging bags at Semplex and they might also work well. If you don't have one allready, you will want a thermometer so that you can watch the mashing temp. This may not be absolutly necessary since you could always brew using the addition of boiling water (again, go study JOHB, it gives some good basics). Other things that are nice but not necessary might be some iodine to tell if starch conversion is complete, a hydrometer to watch the mashing as well as measure the final beer alcohol content, and some 10 gallon garbage bags to get rid of the grain when your done with it. As far as the questions about adding specialty grains during the boil instead of the mash, I have never heard the storry about them adjusting the pH level but it would be nice to hear from anybody else that has heard this. The bad news is that I don't think you really want to add grain to boiling water. Grain conversion will stop at about 170F and if you boil the grain what you will end up with is a grainy taste with no conversion of the starches. Some may argue that there is little conversion to be done on some of the more highly roasted grains but I would still preach staying away from tossing them in during the boil. I second Dave's query about time/temperature profiles. I have tried a number of methods and lots of times I ended up with a starch conversion that wasn't complete. The best success that I have ever had was with a tripple decoction mash that I hoped would simulate the PU mashing curves (there was an article in New Brewer awhile back that had a graph of it). The mash started at a really low temp (maybe as low as 90F) ans slowly worked up in three jumps. I got complete conversion and a good light bodied beer that was high in alcohol. I'll have to look at the notes tonight to get the exact conversion times. The big problem with this one was the time it took to do. Jeff Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 11:12:08 EST From: uiucdcs!rayssdb.RAY.COM!iws at hplabs.HP.COM (Ihor W. Slabicky) Subject: the all-malt vs. finings HOMEBREW Digest #51 Mon 16 January 1989 From: rdg at hpfcmi Subject: Fish bladders, seaweed, etc Full-Name: Rob Gardner The process called fining is a good one to experiment with, but I think you'll find that you can make very clear beers without it. ... In all seriousness though, I would consider any fining agent to violate the "all-malt" creed, and its use is only to correct faults, and not to be put into your all-malt homebrew. I agree with Rob's posting and am surprised to see finings mentioned here. I thought that all malt meant just that (and implied the Reinheitsgebot (sp?) purity). How much of the gelatin (or other finings) stay in the brew even after it percipitates all the yeast? How do the big boys over in Germany or even the microbrewers here in USA do it? I'd think you'd want to keep that stuff out of your brew. On another note, root beers. I have made a couple of batches of root beer soda (non-alcoholic) using the root beer extracts that you buy (Hire's and some McCormick's) and using their directions on the packages. The first batch came out fine, but a bit to much yeast flavor for me and also too sweet. The next batch was made with less yeast and less sugar which resulted in a better flavor. However, others who tried it said there was no yeast taste at all. I bottled into Grolsch bottles and lost one or two bottles each time - a leak around the rubber stopper or, once, a bottle cracked. These bottle failures were probably due to the sterilization technique - place the bottles in a large pot filled with water and boil them. Next time I'll try the methods spoken of here: clean scrubbing and then washing in a dilute bleach solution followed by a clean water rinse and bottling. Ihor Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 13:58:45 EST From: rogerl at Think.COM Subject: primary fermentors, first time mashing etcetera Andy Newman writes: Subject: Errata >1) I currently use those large (~7 gallon) plastic lidded >buckets as primary fermenters. While they are generally >adequate, the lids are damnably hard to remove and install >without shaking the brew around a lot... I agree they aren't the easiest to use. This is the same one I have. If you have ever tried to open joint compond buckets, the techinque for opening these primary fermentors is the same. This does not cause the bucket to jiggle around to much. Put the bucket on the floor or other comfortable working heigth which is solid. Place the palms of your hands on the lid with your fingers over the edge. Keep the hands next to each other. Hook your finger tips under the lid as best you can. And pry a small section of the lid off by pulling up with the fingers while pushing down with the palms. Move around the lid about 6" repeat the pry. Repeat the pry/move until the lid peels off easily. There are more expensive plastic fermentors with screw lids. There are glass carboys. The carboy options seems to be the most popular option. Blow off tubes are easy to install, they double as secondary fermentors, etcetera etcetera etcetera. There are the old soda fountain cans, refered to as 'cornielus' (spelling?) cans. The 1988 special edition of Zumurgy has a discussion about using these hummers. The cornielus can looks like a real interesting option if you don't have to pay big bucks for the cans. >3) (Big question) I've recently become interested in trying >my own mashing....My local brew supplies store claims that "it's not >worth the trouble... >From what I've experienced it is worth the trouble. That is why I tried this for the first time myself this past weekend. >a) What equipment should I buy? I didn't buy a thing. Since I was using only a couple of pounds of grain I mashed in a 2 gal. stock pot. I created a lauter-tun with a linen towel, sterilized in bleach, and a large colander. Sparge water was heated in a canning kettle, that we have for canning of all things. Wort chilling was done in a sink of ice water. I know I lacked the tincture of iodine, to test for conversion, so I didn't worry and gave it a go anyway. The product of the mashing was sweet and it has seemed to improve the wort (at least at this stage) nicely. TCJOHB has a section on trying partial grain brewing. This is where I got my guidelines from. >b) What is the relative cost... >From what I can determine from the catalogs I get, there is a price advantage to all grain brewing. The delta difference varies dependent on what you buy, how much you use and the completeness of your mashing process. My calculations seem to say you can save from nothing to over half by using all grain. But then when you get into it this far you are also increasing the equipment costs, so the break even point changes yet again. The advice I was given was to let your personal taste and interest level determine whether or not to go to grains not the wallet. >4) I'm trying to track down a recipe for Oatmeal stout... Count me in to! Next: Rob Gardner writes: >The process called fining is a good one to experiment with, but I >think you'll find that you can make very clear beers without it. CAN'T AGREE MORE! I haven't used finings yet and even the lighter beers are clear. Keep the siphon hose out of the sediment and try chilling before bottling. >You should also know that gelatin is made from ground-up dead animals, so >your vegetarian friends might not want to drink your beer ;-) Other >fining agents include egg white, fish bladder extract, dirt, and >mashed up seaweed. I wonder who first got the idea that these things >could improve their beer!.... It must have been a frustrated wizard or a drop out from the 'Merlin School of Magic'. He probably tried eye of nuit, ear of bat and scorpion toes with no success.(Thank goodness) All seriousness aside. Roger (over) Locniskar Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 13:30:31 EST From: hplabs!harvard!ima!wang7!klm Subject: Request Help on fixing beer I brewed a batch of Bock beer two weekends ago. It is currently lagering at about 40 to 45 degrees F. After primary fermentation was complete, and I racked it into secondary, I took a sample for a hydrometer reading and taste testing. I goofed. I went way overboard with the dark grains. The beer is extremely dry and has a strong roasted flavor. It actually overpowers the hops somewhat. I used a total of about 3 oz. of Hallertauer. What I'm thinking of doing is adding a little bit of unfermentable sugar to my priming krausen to sweeten the beer slightly and add a touch more body. Also, boil in some more hops when I cook the wort that I will use as my krausen. (Yes, I am experimenting with krausening. I will post results in a few brewings.) Ok, so how much (or little) Dextrin powder do I want to add to 5 gallons to keep this beer from being too bitter? Anybody ever done this before? I'm open to suggestions. I won't be bottling this for about 3 weeks or so, so send those replies! Kevin McBride McBeer Brewery ..!ima!wang7!gozer!klm Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 17:40:03 est From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: pale malt Andy Newman <NEWMAN at Venus.YCC.Yale.Edu> writes: > b) What is the relative cost of, say, pale malt A 50 pound bag of 6 row pale malt costs me $33.08 with tax at my local shop. --Pete Soper Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 17:59:20 est From: fwb at demon.siemens.com (Frederic W. Brehm) Subject: temperature/time, brew shop, San Diego visit My brother-in-law (Thanks, Steve) sent me the ingredients for a batch of beer as a Christmas present. He sent two cans of extract, one of "Best Bitter" and another malt (sorry, I forgot the brand names), a package of hops, a package of Edme yeast, and some miscellaneous supplies and books. I have tracked down all the rest of the supplies and will brew my first batch this weekend. I still need a bottle capper and there is no listing for homebrew or wine making in the local telephone books, so my first question is: Can anyone recommend a good brew shop somewhere in the Philadelphia/New York area? There must be one around here somewhere! My dad's wine shop is in near Harrisburg, but that's a little too far for casual visits. The location in my basement where I plan to put the beer to ferment varies between 60 and 62 degrees. This is at the lower end of the temperature range for an ale (according to TCJoHB). My next question is At this temperature, is it likely to take closer to three weeks than to two weeks before it is ready to bottle? I realize that fermentation times vary, but what is the expected time? I am counting on three weeks because I will be in San Diego from January 29 through February 6. My mother will be taking care of my kids (what a great Grandma!) but I don't think she's interested in bottling my beer. So, since I will be in San Diego for a few days of work, and a few days of vacation with my wife and without the kids, my next question is (can you guess) Are there any interesting brewpubs or local brews to try while we are in San Diego? Thanks for your patience. Fred -- Frederic W. Brehm Siemens Corporate Research Princeton, NJ fwb at demon.siemens.com -or- ...!princeton!siemens!demon!fwb Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 89 18:22:04 PST From: meyer at tcville.hac.com (Mike Meyer) Subject: closed fermentation vs. open I've been thinking about trying a closed fermentation on my next batch of beer, but I have a few questions about it. >From my understanding, one boils their wort normally, then strains the wort directly (via sanitized strainer and funnel) into a carboy containing 2 or 3 gallons of (Question 1: cold or room temperature) water. They then seal it with a sanitized stopper until the wort is at pitching temperature ( a process which can be helped along by using cold water in the carboy, provided the thermal shock won't screw it up). When the wort is at pitching temperature, and the yeast starter ready enough, the yeast is added to the carboy, and a stopper with blowoff hose added (This blowoff hose can have its other end submerged in a pail of water, to minimize outside air contact until the positive pressure is attained, right?). Once the bulk of icky stuff is blown off, a regular fermentation lock replaces the blowoff hose. More questions: 2) What causes thermal shock and how can I be absolutely sure to avoid it -- I have this abnormal fear of my carboy breaking and spewing 5 gallons of sticky wort all over the kitchen floor. 3) What is the best way of monitoring the temperature of the wort in the closed carboy before pitching, or should I just start my yeast starter, let it work overnight, pitch it the next morning , and not worry? 4) Should I siphon into another sanitized carboy after two or three days, or would the increased risk of infection from the siphoning process negate any gain? Is it a better idea to rack into another carboy after a week instead? 5) Assuming that my existing sanitation procedures are adequate, will using the blowoff/ closed fermenter gain me anything besides gross tubing and more carboy cleanup? [it just so happens that I am having some infection problems, but I haven't been able to pin down the source, except to say that my last batch exhibited symptoms in EVERY bottle (i.e. not a bottle sanitation problem), and that the procedures I use for wort cooling, pitching, etc. haven't given me serious problems in the past. (minor problems, yes, but not since I gave up Sodium Metabisulfate as a sanitizer, and started using bleach) My hoses have recently been replaced, and I only have a few small scratches in my plastic fermenter. Can't remember offhand what brand of yeast I was using, but intend to look it up. ] 6) Since the blowoff hose doesn't touch the beer, I can use one of my older retired hoses, right? (Or can the blowoff hose back-up into the carboy?) So many questions, eh? I know, it looks like I have this phobia or something, but I'm just interested in picking the brains of the list, especially those who have used both methods and either experienced or not experienced a quantum leap in the quality of their beer. It seems that it can take a lot of the worry out of my beermaking, provided my pitching procedure and or yeast isn't the culprit. BTW, has anybody ever experienced a bacterial infection that made their beer slightly psychoactive? I had this one batch that was a lobotomy-in-a-bottle (or more accurately, half-a-bottle), and the alcohol content was not the culprit (3.6%). In the interest of science :-), my roommate has been trying to reculture the yeast from the remaining bottles... If he succeeds, someone will have to make it illegal. Another BTW, I forgot to tell you how my batch of Toad Spit Stout came out. It's really good stuff -- in my book, the recipe yields a drink very, very similar to Guinness, only missing the slight bite that we all know comes from Guinness adding the 3% pasteurized sour beer. (Betcha I could duplicate that at home, too...) Good recipe, and far simpler than the 'Super Stout' recipe from M.R. Reese's 'Better Beer and How To Brew It." That recipe, which we dubbed 'Vicious', yields something that is much more like a porter, as it uses black patent malt rather than roasted barley. It also yielded about an inch of trub and sediment at the bottom of each bottle. Incredible sludge, and I could go for a glass right now... ...think I will, in fact. See ya. Mike Meyer meyer at tcville.HAC.COM Return to table of contents
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