HOMEBREW Digest #62 Mon 30 January 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Re: "PLEASE READ THIS"  (Donald P Perley)
  Bottling in plastic (Tony Ernst)
  hangovers, lagering, etc. (rdg)
  Re: Pale Ales? (lbr)
  blowoff (Jay Hersh)
  pony kegs and competition (Jeff Miller)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 10:02:26 EST From: Donald P Perley <steinmetz!perley at uunet.UU.NET> Subject: Re: "PLEASE READ THIS" hplabs!harvard!ima!wang7!klm writes: > I came to the realization that I >had gone a bit overboard with the real dark grains. The wort had >completely fermented out and resulted in an extremely dry beer. > >I would like to add a bit of Dextrin (non-fermentable sugar) to my >priming mix at bottling time in an attempt to sweeten the beer, add >a bit more 'body' and balance out the roasted flavor. If you assume Dextrin will affect gravity in the same way as malt or corn sugar (but not ferment, of course), then 1 pound would add about .007 to .008 to your SG when added to a 5 gallon batch. A moderately heavy bodied beer might be in the 1.015 range (this might be more than you want). If by "overboard with the real dark grains" you mean that the beer is too tannic, you could use gelatin finings, as that will take some tannin out along with the haze. I have never added dextrin powder, just making a reasoned guess. If it is way off the mark, hopefully it will prod someone into posting a correction. -don perley. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 10:43:06 CST From: tee at vielle.cray.com (Tony Ernst) Subject: Bottling in plastic In September 1987 I was in Thunder Bay, Ontario. When I went to buy beer, and the woman asked me what kind I would like, I said "How about something local - something I can't get in Minnesota." I ended up buying 'Conner's Best Bitter'. It was from a local brewery, and came in 1.5 liter plastic bottles. So I know it has been done commercially, and even though I almost didn't buy it (beer in plastic bottles???), I didn't taste the plastic. On the other hand, I don't think I would ever put MY beer in plastic bottles. I think good beer deserves more respect than that. Tony Ernst "Don't worry, Be hoppy!" ARPA : tee%cray.com UUNET: uunet!cray!tee Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 14:58:35 MST From: rdg at hpfcmi Subject: hangovers, lagering, etc. Full-Name: Rob Gardner FYI Dept: Several people have mentioned that hangovers might result from leaving too many hop oils/sludge in the beer. Well, our guru (Charlie Papazian) emphatically states that the mulititude of B-vitamins found in yeast (and thus yeast sediment) do wonders for helping prevent hangovers. > From: rogerl at Think.COM > > Well, after 60 hours the water in the fermentation lock is finally on > the correct side. This is the first time it has taken so long to get > the flocculation to start. Ergo my concern appears to be unwarrented. Lager yeasts are generally slower to start. I start mine at room temp, and when signs of fermentation appear, I stick it in the fridge. > From: hplabs!harvard!ima!wang7!klm > > I would like to add a bit of Dextrin (non-fermentable sugar) to my > priming mix at bottling time in an attempt to sweeten the beer, add > a bit more 'body' and balance out the roasted flavor. > The question is how much? I've never used Dextrin powder before, but > I've heard that a little goes a long way. Should I use a 1/2 cup for > 5 gallons, or much less, like around 2 to 3 Tbsp.? I have used lactose (another unfermentable sugar) with success. As I recall, 1/4 cup was plenty. I would certainly use no more than 1/2 cup of dextrin powder- that will give the beer lots of body. > From: hplabs!harvard!ima!wang7!klm > > Is anybody here entering the Homebrew Contest this year? > > I am brewing a Porter tomorrow and, if all goes well, will consider > entering it just for the hell of it. I don't really expect to win > anything, I just think it would be fun. Those are exactly my expectations about entering the national homebrew competition. And even if you don't win anything, you get back comments from beer judges telling you exactly what's wrong with your beer, what's good about it, etc. For only $6 per entry, it's a great deal. I had some frustrating results in last year's competition, but I think I've forgiven the AHA by now. Problems included: - Judging one of my beers in two different (diverse) categories; Did they mix up my beer with someone elses, or did they mix up my target category, or what? I guess I'll never know. - Returning some score sheets with highly *unconstructive* criticism; I have no problem accepting "harsh" criticism, as long as it's constructive, ie, as long as it is specific about problems, and suggests solutions. Some of the comments were not only content-free, but actually rude. "Better luck next time." Thanks a lot! - Returning score sheets for a particular entry with incredibly divergent scores (ie, 10 and 41!); I used to attribute inconsistent scores to "bad bottles" but then I asked myself, "Self, when was the last time you opened a bottle, and it was bad?" And the answer was never. Perhaps a bad judge? May I suggest reviewing for large inconsistencies and re-judging? I guess all of these problems can be attribited to bad luck, but I just perceived ineptness at the time, since the previous year I had no such problems. I still plan on entering beers in the competition again in the hope that my experienced judge hit ratio will be better. Rob Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 13:40:17 EST From: lbr at gatech.edu Subject: Re: Pale Ales? florianb%tekred.cna.tek.com at RELAY.CS.NET writes: > I posted a query with rec.food.drink asking for pale ale recipes, and got > no reply. I've tried the usual 6-7 lbs amber extract, 1 lb crystal malt, > and 1/4 lb roasted malt, with 2 oz Cascade boiling, and 1/2 oz Kent > Goldings finishing. I obtain a pale ale that is challenging, but nowhere > near Samuel Smith's. I have come to the conclusion that the water formula > is primary in determining the flavor and body.In addition, knowing when > and having the ability to stop fermentation is also useful in obtaining > the proper sweetness. This is my first posting to this newsletter, so I might as well point out up front that I'm a purist. I've been brewing since 1980. I know from long experience how difficult it is to figure out what is causing the problem(s) and hence what to do. I could write 50 pages on red herrings I've chased. I tried all kinds of malt extracts and procedures and got many drinkable but no great beers until I started mashing. Water composition is a red herring here, unless you have really weird water. That is, you're okay unless your water has well over 1000 ppm hardness or has nasty things like iron or lots of Mg. What do you mean by stopping the fermentation? Ales are either fermented out completely and primed with sugar or wort, or are kegged with a little fermentation to go. You can control sweetness by using more malt or malt extract. You can also add dextrins to the wort. Dextrin powder available at homebrew suppliers; I've not used it. I control sweetness by controlling the mash temperature. English brewers add complex unfermentable sugars and of course have a degree of control over mash pH and temperature that we homebrewers can only dream of. Traditional pale ale is made with hard water, containing calcium sulfate (gypsum), magnesium sulfate (epsom salts), and NaCl. Adding Burton water salts to soft water will give you what you need. BUT--the water is more important in the mash that in the boiler or fermentor. You're on the right track if you're trying to make drinkable beer in the style of pale ale. You may be able to make small improvements, but if you want to rival imported pale ales you can't do it this way. Use malted barley, crystal malt, maybe some roasted unmalted barley, and quality hops (I prefer whole, but many like pellets). Once you've taken the leap to mashing you might use pure culture yeast, too. This produces a noticeable improvement, but is not as big a leap as extract to mashing. To me, you're question is similar to saying "I've tried a dozen cake mixes but I can't rival the best restaurant chocolate cake. What can I do?" The answer is start from scratch with quality chocolate, not cocoa. I don't believe that one can make pale ale or pale lager from extract that can stand up to head-to-head taste tests with good commercial beer. Well, so much for a first posting. In the future I'll not be as dogmatic nor as long winded. I know that in what is ostensibly a followup posting I've not been helpful. Sorry. IMHO you're a year of difficult work away from that great pale ale. It's time for me to go home and compare my Pilsner (malt, leaf Saaz, Wyeast Danish lager yeast) to Pilsner Urquell. (Well, I can dream, can't I?) I suspect my wife will prefer my brew--it's a little softer due to the yeast and the lower hop rate, and she's a wimp when it comes to hops. She doesn't even like Guinness! I suspect *I* shall be humbled. But I know that none of this batch is going to waste. Len Reed gatech!holos0!lbr Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 15:00:08 EST From: jhersh at rdrc.rpi.edu (Jay Hersh) Subject: blowoff Mike Fertsch was wondering why big brewers don't use blowoff. I think he or someone else indicated that at least one of them does. I was pondering this question with the people at catamount a few months ago they didn't know eihter but I think I have now realized the answer. What do homebrewers typically do that commercial brewers typically don't. Aerate the wort! When wort is aerated there is lots of free oxygen in solution in it. For those of you who have been studying yeast metabolism, something I have been looking into a lot lately. Aerobic fermentation, where free oxygen is utilized, occurs via a different chemical reduction process than anaerobic fermentation. It yields far more energy than anaerobic fermentation does, allowing the yeast to reporduce more rapidly. Since it uses a different reduction mechanism it produces different fermentation by-products, many of these the "higher alcohols" like fusel alcohol. Homebrewers aerate their wort and add typically small amounts of yeast which then reproduces during aerobic fermentation until the free oxygen is totally used up. The yeast then switches over to anaerobic fermentation. This creates the foam up that gets blown off. Yeast is also quite interesting in that many of the higher alcohols produced can be reduced at a later point in the fermentation process. This may account for the fact that many people who don't use the blowoff technique still produce beers with no nasty off flavors as a result of these fermentation by-products. The big brewers on the other hand add a quantity of yeast that is sufficient to ferment the size batch they work with. The yeast is worked up to a critical quantity before hand, and my guess is this is either done via anaerobic methods, or if done aerobically it occurs in such a manner as to force the yeast to have already metabolized the high order alcohols. Aerobic fermentation is typically not done in the fermentation vats, therefore the quantity of by-products and the resultant foam up is proportionally less than that which would occur for homebrewing. It all sounds logical huh?? Of course being a poor misguided engineer I'll bet some biologist will come along and blow this theory straight to hell. In any case well informed rebuttal or support of this theory is welcome as I perfer to see misconceptions laid to rest rather than propogated. - jay h Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 89 11:37:18 CDT From: Jeff Miller <jmiller at unix.eta.com> Subject: pony kegs and competition A friend of mine entered a Spruce Beer for me last year and it took home a ribbon. Needless to say, I have a number of beers down that I plan on entering this year and of course I hope to take home lots more ribbons. Now a question. I have been trying to use regular kegs to keg my homebrew and I just recently got a pony keg. It's great because it holds 3.86 gallons so it fits a 5 gallon brew with some left over to bottle. The question is that I also just found out that the pony kegs (of G.Heileman descent) are supposedly made out of aluminum and may require some sort of special waxing treatment to protect the beer from the aluminum and the drinker of the beer from Alzheimers. So the question at hand is, does anybody know anything about this? I was thinking about melting some parafin in hot water and tossing this in the keg to coat it. Anybody got any other ideas? Jeff Miller (jmiller at eta.com) Return to table of contents
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