HOMEBREW Digest #532 Wed 07 November 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  dry "hopping" spices ("KBS::TONS::HOLTSFORD")
  Some "rookie" questions (Greg Beary)
  Re: 55 gallon trash containers (Jeffrey R Blackman)
  Re:  Homebrew Digest #531 (November 06, 1990) (Kevin Karplus)
  Being added to mailing list (Philip Homatidis)
  Wiring the Bru-Heat Boiler (John Polstra)
  Re:  Flaked Barley (bryan)
  Malt Liquor, Cream Ale (tking)
  Romulan ale recipe (JEEPSRUS)
  Romulan Ale (Lynn Gold)
  Comments on BrewCap (BAUGHMANKR)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 6 Nov 90 08:47:00 EST >From: "KBS::TONS::HOLTSFORD" <holtsford%kbs.tons.decnet at clvax1.cl.msu.edu> Subject: dry "hopping" spices Greetings Homebrewers -- Has anyone ever tried adding nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves or other spices to a secondary fermentor to try to get more spice aroma? The aroma emanating from the primary containing my holiday ale just smells like pale ale, barely any spice odors detectable. I guess I overreacted to last year's overspiced ale and cut back too much on the spices. Since I plan to dry hop in the secondary with Cascade pellets I am considering adding some spices then too. I realize this won't do much for *flavor* but I'm hoping it'll give the brew a festive nose. Any comments or suggestions would be apreciated. Thanks. Happy holiday brewing to all. Tim Holtsford HOLTSFORD at MSUKBS.BITNET HOLTSFORD%KBS.DECNET at CLVAX1.CL.MSU.EDU Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 08:37:24 MST >From: Greg Beary <gbeary at uswat.uswest.com> Subject: Some "rookie" questions Thanks to all of those that responded (in the newsgroup and via e-mail) to my post on the "Sick Brew". It eases my mind to know that the "brown mat" is how SN yeast behaves. While racking the Sick Brew off to the carboy, I became concerned about the effects of fluorescent lights on the beer in a glass carboy. I've read that the lights can have the same skunky effect on beer as natural sunlight (I'm no fan of Heineken). So I took a large plastic trash bag, cut a 3" hole in the bottom and but it upside down over the carboy. Is this really necessary? Also, is there any effect on the brew if its in a white plastic primary and exposed to large doses of light? After racking the sick brew, I saved a quart "off the bottom of the barrel" to try to use as another starter (see I wasn't worryin that it really was sick). It's very dark and has about 1/3" of trub in the bottom of the mason jar. If SN is a top fermenting yeast, did I get enough yeast? As I understand it, all I do with next batch is take the starter out of the fridge and dump it into my chilled wort. Will I have enough yeast beasts to get it going as quickly (within 12 hours of pitching) as last time? Thanks for all your help. Also a note to new brewers (like myself), using the yeast culture from Sierra Nevada is no big deal. It really was pretty painless (except for having to drink two bottles of Stout for breakfast on a Saturday morning). If the effect on the beer is as good as everyone says, I'll be staying with this technique for acquiring my yeast. Which begs the question, where on the scale of quality would the "old hands" put the use of SN yeast cultures. Also, since everything went well for me my first time out...what pitfalls await me in the future, or is this (culturing SN yeast) a no fail type of process? Thanks for all the information supplied directly and indirectly by this newsgroup. Greg Beary (gbeary at uswest.com) Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 8:35:18 PST >From: Jeffrey R Blackman <blackman at hpihouz.cup.hp.com> Subject: Re: 55 gallon trash containers Full-Name: Jeffrey R Blackman > Mal Card writes: > > Jeffrey Blackman's "6 Cooks Ale" brewed in a 55 gallon trash > > container sounds like a great idea for large batches. Why not? > > > > You could even complete primary fermantation in it to reduce risk > > of contamination (to say nothing about simplicity). > > 55 gallon trash containers are not made of food-grade plastic. > When I read about Jeffrey's use, I was tempted to post a response, > but I refrained since in his case, the beer spent a very short > time in the container. Certain plastics should not be used for > storing food. I'm not a chemist, so I'm not sure whether the > reason is due to flavors or something more dangerous, but I avoid > using plastic containers that are questionable. > Al. > > Regarding 55 gallon trash containers, here is the evolutionary process that I have undergone. Originally I used the trash container as the primary fermenter, without a hole dor an air lock. Every night I would skim the surface (with sterilized utensils) and then transfer into glass carboys for secondary fermetation. Eventually this process became combersome and I became much more concerned about contamination. (Never once did I have a batch go bad using this method.) I then switched to pouring the wort into the sterilized trash container with the additional H2O to make up the 10 gallon batch. Once this was stirred and somewhat cool, I transfered it then into glass carboys for primary and secondary fermentation. (Again, I never encountered a bad batch with this method). This is an easy way to get the wort evenly divided into two 5 gallon carboys. When brewing smaller (5 gallon batches) I skip the whole plastic primary fermentation set-up and transfer the wort directly into carboys filled with the additional water. I agree with Al that the trash containers are probably not "food grade plastic", but as long as they are sterilized and the plastic is not heated too much (I would guess too much might mean adding only the boiling wort) problems should be minimal to none. I now prefer using only the glass carboys and instead of brewing 1 ten gallon batch I have been brewing 2 5 gallon batches of different brews at the same time. This way I use the same amount of effort and get two great tasting brews to relax with! -Jeff Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 08:45:24 PST >From: Kevin Karplus <karplus at ararat.ucsc.edu> Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #531 (November 06, 1990) Borage is very easy to grow, and is available from in seed or plant form from most gardening supply places. It may even be possible to plant it at this time of year in California. Unfortunately for Paul Kelly, at Purdue you'll probably have to wait until next Spring. I've never heard of borage being used for blue coloring, and I don't care much for the taste, and no longer grow any. Blue is one of the hardest colors to get in food. Most of the edible blue substances turn red in acid. Kevin Karplus Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 90 12:40:24 EST >From: Philip Homatidis <PJHOMA%WMVM1 at VTVM2.CC.VT.EDU> Subject: Being added to mailing list Please add me onto the mailing list for this topic. Thanks. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 09:56:10 PST >From: polstra!jdp at uunet.UU.NET (John Polstra) Subject: Wiring the Bru-Heat Boiler In HBD #531, sherwood at adobe.com (Geoffrey Sherwood) writes: [ stuff about his new electric brewpot, aka Bru-Heat Boiler ] > The only hassle was that it comes without a plug and takes 220V. I > cobbled one together from a dryer cord, a 110 socket and 110 plug. The > gauge of the wire is small enough that I am sure I can run two or even > three buckets at once if I want from the same dryer cord ... There is a hazard you need to know about. The Bru-Heat is made in England, where standard house wiring is 220V (roughly). So over there, you just plug it into any old outlet in the house. But there, like here, the typical household outlet is a 15A circuit. In other words, it will supply up to 15 amps, then the circuit breaker will blow. As you noticed, the wires in the Bru-Heat cord are pretty thin. But they are thick enough to carry 15 amps without overheating. If the thing is plugged into a 15A circuit (normal use in England), you can have a short circuit (due to malfunction) anywhere in the system, and all that will happen is that the circuit breaker will trip. There won't be a fire, because the thin wires in the cord aren't going to carry much more than 15 amps (at least, not for long). Here's the problem: A typical 220V dryer circuit in the US has a 30 amp circuit breaker. That means it will supply 30 amps before the breaker will trip. If you happen to get a short circuit in the thermostat unit of your Bru-Heat, you'll get so much current flowing through the thin wires of its cord that its wires will probably melt or start a fire. This will happen before your 30 amp breaker will trip. If you want to use this device safely, you'll have to do one of two things: A. Add a separate 220V circuit to your house, with a 15 amp breaker. or B. Build a little box with a 15 amp breaker, like this: +-------+ | 15A | --------------------|circuit|===================== ^ |breaker| ^ Bru-Heat cord | +-------+ | Dryer cord The breaker should be a dual one (like the one on your dryer circuit) so that each wire is protected. That's necessary because in the US, both legs of a 220V circuit are hot with respect to ground. Of course, you might decide that the risk is small enough not to do anything about. That's your decision to make as you see fit. John Polstra polstra!jdp at uunet.uu.net Polstra & Co., Inc. ...!uunet!polstra!jdp Seattle, Washington USA (206) 932-6482 "Self-knowledge is always bad news." -- John Barth Return to table of contents
Date: 06 Nov 90 10:13:32 PST (Tue) >From: bryan at tekgen.bv.tek.com Subject: Re: Flaked Barley I heard about using flaked barley to enhance the head also, though I heard to use 2 oz. In my last batch I had about 4 oz. left of the 16 oz. that I had purchased last year, so I decided to use the rest of it. I also experienced an unusually large amount of foam blowing out of my primary, in fact, I still had about an inch a week later, when I racked into my secondary. Bryan Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 12:31:47 CST >From: tking at ux.acs.umn.edu Subject: Malt Liquor, Cream Ale I have a couple of questions: 1. Malt Liquor. What is it? How would you brew it? One of my favorite beers is Mickey's Malt Liquor, and I would like to try to duplicate it at home. Problem is, no one seems to know what makes "Malt Liquor" different from "Beer." 2. Cream Ale. Does anyone know how to make a Cream Ale? I rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy. Thanks in advance, Tim King tking at ux.acs.umn.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 10:30:13 PST >From: robertn at fm1.intel.com (JEEPSRUS) Subject: Romulan ale recipe Karl writes about Romulan Ale... <From: Karl Wolff <wolff at aqm.ssc.af.mil> <Subject: Romulan Ale < <Romulan Ale being among them. <When I was given a sample of it, I liked the taste of it so <much that I requested the recipe. I was given the following <information. < < 1 fifth of Bacardi 151 < 1 fifth of Blue Curaco < 1 2 liter bottle of Sprite or 7-Up < <In a large container mix all ingredients. Chill for approx <3 hours and serve. < <This is the only recipe for Romulan Ale that I know of as of <yet. If anyone has another recipe please enlighten me. I forwarded that to a "Trekkie" friend of mine, and this was his responce... 1 fifth of Bacardi 151 1 fifth of Everclear 1 fifth of Blue Curaco ... Mike has found this at Star Trek conventions. Mike said this is done in shots. The average human apparently cannot stand up to a tall cool glass of Romulan Ale. 8^} It appears to be a good idea to stay with "very short" cool glasses of Romulan Ale. Karl, maybe your recipe is the modified version for human consumption? If anyone is interested, you might cross-post to the SF Lovers Digest at sf-lovers at rutgers.edu I was on that net a long time ago. There are a LOT of subscribers, so you might just find some more ideas. RobertN robertn at fm1.intel.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 10:51:53 PST >From: figmo at mica.berkeley.edu (Lynn Gold) Subject: Romulan Ale >Date: Mon, 5 Nov 90 14:08:40 CST >From: Karl Wolff <wolff at aqm.ssc.af.mil> >Subject: Romulan Ale > > 1 fifth of Bacardi 151 > 1 fifth of Blue Curaco > 1 2 liter bottle of Sprite or 7-Up > >In a large container mix all ingredients. Chill for approx >3 hours and serve. > >This is the only recipe for Romulan Ale that I know of as of >yet. If anyone has another recipe please enlighten me. The only recipe I'M familiar with contains vodka, Blue Curacao, and Everclear, although I need to look up the exact ratios. - --Lynn Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 90 16:04 EST >From: BAUGHMANKR at CONRAD.APPSTATE.EDU Subject: Comments on BrewCap Greetings All: I watched the discussion on the BrewCap with interest and have stayed out of it until now primarily because Mike Morrissey (of New World Enterprise fame) and I designed it, so I didn't want to prejudice the discussion here with my point of view. Needless to say, I'm an avid fan of the gadget despite its peculiarities. Using it properly requires inverting not only a carboy but a few attitudes as well! Some complain that it's awkward to use and I admit that it is the first time you try it. But homebrewing itself is awkward the first time through and I still think the BrewCap is much less awkward than racking to secondaries and priming tanks. If I may indulge in a few comments... (Tom Maszerowski) moscom!tcm at ee.rochester.edu writes: >Even with this, it is not simple task to turn >over 5 gallons of wort in a carboy, you may want help. Hmmm. If you held the carboy up in the air and tried turning it over all in one motion then I would agree. However tipping it over and laying it down on its side on the floor or counter and THEN tipping it up, has never been more than a one-man operation for me. (Tim Phillips) tcp at phobos.ESL.COM observes: >when emptying the trub or filling >the bottles, the long tube (i.e. the fermentation lock) is going to suck >a lot of air. It's probably best to take the lock off temporarily. This is a point many people make. Yes, you do suck in air but the important point here is that CO2 is heavier than air and the CO2 blanket formed during fermentation for the most part shields the beer from the O2 coming in. Even if it doesn't succeed totally, since you aren't swishing the beer around the risks of oxidation, which is the concern here, is really quite minimal. In fact, it's no more a problem with the BrewCap than it is with siphoning from a carboy standing right side up. I've NEVER had an oxidation problem from fermenting with this system. >Any ideas on how to do blow-off with this method? In case of clogging, >is an upside-down beer volcano better than right-side-up (e.g. the floor >is easier to clean than the ceiling :^)? No one, to my knowledge, has ever blown up a carboy using the BrewCap. The reason being the blow-off tube is a 1/2" in diameter. By siphoning the wort into the carboy using a 1/4" ID siphon hose, nothing large enough to clog the larger 1/2" tube will ever get inside the carboy. Relax, don't worry, etc., etc.! While we're on the subject, the whole issue of volcanic carboys arose because Charlie Papazian in TCJHB says you can put a stopper in a carboy and blow off through a 1/4" ID siphon hose. As dozens of beer volcanoes around the country will attest, sooner or later you'll get burned if you keep using that technique. When Dr. Michael Lewis suggested the blow-off method almost ten years ago, he recommended blowing off through a 1" ID clear plastic hose stuffed into the neck of the carboy. NOTHING clogs one of those suckers! The 1/2" tubing employed by the BrewCap is a compromise on the 1" hose but we've found it to be sufficient. I wish Charlie would modify that part of his book but he'd rather ignore the issue for some reason. That has always puzzled me because Charlie has done more than anyone to spread the word on sound brewing practices. (Ken Giles) keng at epad.MENTOR.COM talked about the difficulty of trub removal: >The biggest problem we had was with the settling trub sticking to >the shoulders of the inverted carboy. The instructions for the BrewCap >warn you about this, recommending that you rotate the carboy quickly >back and forth about its vertical axis in order to dislodge the trub. >This was only moderately successful. I estimate that 1/4 of the trub >could not be removed because of this problem. 1/4 of the trub is indeed excessive and I'm hard pressed to say why that was your experience. Did you use a wort chiller? I do and have always been able to remove virtually all the trub and yeast sediment. I've never fretted over a couple of tablespoons of residual yeast. Obviously you were left with more than that. I'd like to hear from more brewers who have had this problem. It's one that keeps cropping up yet is one I've never had. Using an upside down carboy was a compromise over the ideal shape for the kind of fermentation system we were shooting for. A cylindro-conical vessel would be ideal but who could afford the tooling required to make one of those monsters? Carboys are relatively easy to find and are made of glass which are easy to clean and sterilize. Designing a cap to fit carboys, therefore, was the difference between just having an idea and having an idea you could share with everyone else. The shoulders of the carboy do tend to collect sediment more than we would have liked, thus the sharp twisting back and forth action that Ken wrote about. But when done regularly, and that means from day one, we always found it to do the trick.  As for hop pellets, don't be lulled into thinking they're nothing but powder. Upon rehydration, pellets can be found to contain whole leaves which would have a real impact on the way the BrewCap operates, especially when it comes to draining away the sediment. I suspect hop pellets are the cause of many of the complaints we've heard about not being able to drain the BrewCap properly. We use whole hops and strain through a copper wound pot scrubber enveloped in a fine mesh hop bag, both of which are attached to the bottom of the pick-up tube. This gives a remarkable clear run-off into the fermenter. >I see why loose hops would be a problem (unless) you use a hop bag. >Dry hopping does seem impractical, though. Dry hopping is a pain but it can be done if you tie the hops up in a fine mesh hop bag or a piece of ladies nylon hose and stuff it in after primary fermentation. The bag floats to the top of the fermenter, below the blow-off tube and out of harm's way. This problem of dry-hopping in the BrewCap has puzzled me for years. Recently I came up with a little homebrewer's sized "hopback", though, that seems to have solved the problem. It imparts the hop nose of dry hopping with none of the hassle, whether one is using a BrewCap or a 'normal' fermentation system, but that's a topic for another discussion. (Oran Carmona) ocarma at unssun.nevada.edu writes: >The system itself works very well for the >most part. My major complaint with it is that when you use it with a 5 Gallon >carboy, you tend to lose anywhere from 0.5-0.75 gallons in the process of >draining off the spent yeast/trub. Not really. This is another complaint we often hear and is the result of the mere PERCEPTION of lost beer rather than any ACTUAL loss of beer. It's just that when one uses the BrewCap, for the first time you see just how much yeast and trub is deposited during the course of a normal ferment! Sure, when you're draining that yeast away it appears you're losing a lot of beer as well. This is especially true with the BrewCap because you can see the level of the beer drop as the yeast is removed. But you either drain it away using the BrewCap or leave it behind in a regular fermenter. Either way, you lose it. I've done careful experiments just to see how much beer is lost from draining the yeast. This is a simple matter of collecting all the spent yeast into a jar for the entire ferment. I usually lose about 1/3 Cup of beer. Most people leave at least that much behind when racking to secondaries and/or primaries. So to the contrary, I've found that you actually lose *less* beer using the BrewCap than with a conventional system. (Some beer is lost during blow-off, of course, but I'm assuming everyone expects to lose beer when using a blow-off system.) >If I could figure out a way to make one that >would work on the 7 gallon acid carboys (which have a narrower neck) I'd use >the system much more frequently. The reason we don't advise using the 7-gallon carboys is that you would lose all the benefits of the blow-off method. Have you ever tasted the brown scum that floats on the kraeusen head and sticks to the side of the primary fermenter? Try it! The old controversy of whether to skim or not will cease as the astringent bitterness on your tongue lingers...and lingers...and.... >Does anyone know if there is a brewcap arrangement available for the 7gal >carboy??? Maybe one day, the above comments notwithstanding. >From: jayl at EBay.Sun.COM (Jay Littlepage - Global Information Resources) >I haven't tried the official BrewCap for closed fermentation, but I can >share my experience with my homemade BrewCap clone, which I put >together primarily for bottling.........Shortly before bottling I invert >the carboy on it's shelf to let the yeast settle into the neck. This is >a pain, and is the only time I have lost the cap (yes, it's a real mess!). Ahem! Please note that Jay wasn't using the BrewCap but a clone. The cap has a releasable wire tie that very securely holds the cap to the carboy. One point about hydrostatics is pertinent here. There is very little pressure on the BrewCap even though 5 gallons of beer weighs some 50 pounds. That's because water pressure is a function of the depth of the liquid in a container and not of its weight. At most there is only 1 pound of water pressure exerted on the cap itself. >Once it's set up, though, bottling is a breeze, very little trub gets into >the bottles, and the yeast is ready for collection. Sorry about the length of this response. I only wanted to comment on some of the negative experiences mentioned in this thread. I've tried to be sensitive to the fact that this shouldn't turn into a sales pitch. One of the nicest things about homebrewing is its diversity--in beers, techniques, recipes, brewers and equipment. The BrewCap is just one more entry in the field of fermentation systems. We took the BrewCap out of our basement because we thought it allowed the average home-brewer to avoid many of the mistakes commonly made during the fermentation process. We like it. Others don't. And that's why we like homebrewing. Cheers, Kinney Baughman, BrewCo BAUGHMANKR at APPSTATE Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #532, 11/07/90 ************************************* -------
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