Vol. 4, No. 6 June 1997
By George De Piro
The last meeting was quite a fun one! Greg Zaccardi, owner and president of High Point Brewing Company, was our guest. High Point is proud to be America's first exclusive Bavarian-style Weizen brewery. He brought his pale Hefeweizen, High Point Blonde. He uses aunique yeast strain from a small brewery in Germany. The yeast gives the beer a nice spicy nose, rich with cloves, mint, and vanilla. The banana esters are more subdued than many homebrewed Weizens, which is a plus to my taste.
Greg talked a bit about the time he spent in Germany, learning how to brew, and also spoke about homebrewing. He was very impressed by the number of people that shared their homebrew at the meeting. Several people brought homebrew that they wanted "diagnosis" on.
BR and Bob shared a Biere de Garde that was quite nice. It was very clean, which surprised me because of the fact that they used Wyeast 2308 (a lager yeast) at very warm temperatures! Bill and I each brought our samples of Classic American Pilsners. They were quite different from each other; Bill's was sweet and a bit fruity, with the corn evident. Mine is one dimensional in its hoppiness. If you pay very close attention, you can tell that there is malt and corn in there, but they hide very well amongst the hops. Hopefully more people will try brewing this interesting style, I know I will!
Jim brought in a very nice dry Irish stout. It lacked the sourness of Guinness, but was quite nice, nonetheless. Rich with roast character in the aroma, but lighter in palate than the nose portends. Very true to style.
Greg was kind enough to give us a High Point T-shirt, which we raffled off. The lucky winner will wear it with pride, until it gets too many beers spilled on it. There were also a couple of announcements made at the meeting. In case you missed it, here's a summary:
The club has been invited to tour/drink at the Mountain Valley Brewpub, in Suffern, NY. While the response from the crowd was not overly enthusiastic, I'd still like to know if anybody is interested. If you are, please call me at 201-305-5074 during the day and let me know. We don't have a definite date, but I would like to do it on Saturday, August 16. I asked if members would be interested in hosting our own homebrew contest next year, and the response was affirmative. We should pick an organization committee and choose a date. If you are interested in helping out, call me at the above number.
The formation of the club yeast bank was announced. I have been working on putting it together, and there should be at least a few strains available within a week or two (if they aren't available already). Stay tuned for more on this topic. (Ed: see page 4) I hope to see more of you at the next meeting, and remember, the club only AHA "EXTRACT EXTRAVAGANZA" contest is coming up, so get one last brew done before summer!
This Month's Meeting: Our Guests are Joseph Schineller and Lee Schlesinger, of Hansens Time Square Brewery. As usual, it is at Mug's Ale House, 125 Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, on Wednesday, June11, 7:30 PM. See you there!
Note to readers: The Malted Barley Appreciation Society has joined the World Wide Web. Check out our page, courtesy of the New York Beer Guide, at: Malted Barley Appreciation Society.
We also have a new home page, under construction, by your editor, at: Malted Barley Appreciation Society Home Page.
Lastly, we have an E-Mail address. Any E-Mail can be sent to the editor at:
my E-Mail address. Keep those E-Mails coming in!
By Jim Simpson
This was my fifth batch of beer back in April '93. I got a lot of good comments on this beer and it took third place in the NYCHBG contest that year. I entered it as a Dark American Lager. The starting gravity was 1.069 and it stopped at 1.022. The secret was that I didn't crush the roasted barley. The beer was red with just a hint of roastiness. I let the grains sit in 155F water for 30 minutes before rinsing with hot water. I used dry lager yeast but using liquid yeast is recommended and keep the temperature around 50F for a lager or 65-68F for an ale version. And Good Luck!
Rhode Island Red Lager/Ale:
by Bill Coleman
Last summer, I finally broke down and bought a kegging system. I looked forward to not having to package separately each and every 12-22 oz of beer. What a relief! It certainly was a labor-saving device in that area. However, I found with my first couple of batches of kegged beer that a mysterious thing happened; the beer disappeared! In my bottling days, I was used to having bottles of my last seven or eight batches sitting in my cellar, so I could pick and choose from a good variety of styles for my sample for the evening.
But suddenly, I had three batches in a row, my last three batches, of which there was no beer left! Clearly, the ease of sampling kegged beer, without having to clean bottles afterward, had attracted me (and my roommate) to knock back a quick glass from the keg without venturing into the cellar.
This was not good. Obviously, I was going to start having to bottle my beer again, or there would be none left! Also, there were contests, meetings of the Malted Barley Appreciation Society, gifts to friends, parties, etc. Now, I could counter-pressure bottle all of these beers, and that has its advantages, but there are also certain styles of beers that really taste best with yeast in the bottle, and really only carbonate properly with natural conditioning. Those happen to be some of my favorite beers: Belgian Dubbles and Triples and Hefeweizens, for example. These would have to be bottle-conditioned, just as I had been doing.
But should I go back to the old-fashioned bucket? No! I had another idea! I decided to make use of my kegs as bottling buckets. I paid enough for them; I may as well get some use out of them! I also, through the generosity of my landlord, acquired a dishwasher around the same time I developed this bottling technique, which became an important part of the procedure. With the combination of these two items, a dishwasher and a keg, I have put together of bottling method that works very well for me. Some of it I devised myself, some of it, particularly with regard to the dishwasher, was based on techniques I read about in the Homebrew Digest.
The way I do it is this: when my beer has been sitting in the secondary for the proper amount of time, is clear and has not been going down in gravity any longer, I begin to prepare the night before by loading the dishwater full of bottles. Now, if, like me, you brew ten-gallon batches, I should warn you that, at least in my dishwasher, you cannot fit an entire batch worth's of bottles, unless, perhaps you put a lot of 22 or 16 oz bottles in the lower rack. I usually stick to 12 oz bottles, and I fit as many as I can in the dishwasher, both in the lower and upper rack. In the upper rack, you need to stick the bottles through the spaces in the rack, rather than sticking them on the pins, in order to get them to fit, at least in my dishwasher. I usually throw a little one-step in the dishwasher, though this is probably not necessary, and run the dishwasher through a complete wash, including the heat cycle. Note: make sure there is none of that anti-droplet stuff (whatever it's called) in the dishwasher: this will kill the head of any beer you put in those bottles!
I try to run the heat cycle twice before I go to bed. Then, I leave the dishwasher, closed, to cool overnight, so the bottles won't be so hot to handle when the beer is added the next morning. The next morning, it's time to sanitize. The keg, the hoses, the bottle filler, are all filled with one step, and allowed to sit.
While I'm doing this, I sanitize the caps as well. I usually at this time draw off a small quantity of beer (about two cups) from the fermenter. I get the final gravity reading, and then I add the proper amount of priming sugar to it, and boil it for five minutes or so. I prefer to add my sugar to beer, rather than water. At this point, the sanitizing is done. I run the sanitizer out of the kegs with a little CO2, which also cleans the hoses, the quick disconnect, and the bottle filler a little more. When the keg is totally empty, I rack the beer with the sugar in it first, and then the rest of the keg.
When it's totally racked, I seal the keg up, and shoot a little CO2 (with the PSI set very low, about 2 to 4) into the keg. I vent it, shoot it in, and vent it again, a couple of times, to make sure there is no oxygen left in the keg. After that, I roll it around on the ground a few times, and shake the keg up. This is to make sure the primed sample is totally mixed in. This is one of the advantages of using a keg as a bottling bucket; you never have to worry about stirring in the priming sugar, and you never have to worry about oxygen getting in your beer.
I let the keg sit for a few minutes, and then I hook a quick disconnect to a piece of tubing, which is clamped onto a bottle filler. I prefer the gravity type of bottle filler myself, and it works well in this application. The tubing is clamped on with the little radiator-type clamps which are found in hardware stores.
At this point, it's time to open the dishwasher! The door is opened, and the upper rack is pulled part way out. The front couple of bottles in the upper tray are removed first, and set on the door of the dishwasher. Then, the tube with the bottle filler is looped into the upper tray, so it just hangs over the door of the dishwasher.
If you don't have the CO2 on, turn it on now, at very low pressure, as noted above. 2 to 4 PSI should do the trick. If the beer flows too slowly, turn it up; if it foams, turn it down. This is another advantage to bottling this way; you have total control over the flow of the beer. In addition, there is much less likelihood of any unwanted oxygen being introduced into bottles at this late date. From here on in, it's easy! You just take a bottle out of the rack, hold it up to the filler, and remove it when it's filled. Then, you cap it. Any drips that come from the bottles or the filler will fall on the open dishwasher door. When you're done, you just close the door, run the dishwasher, and presto, the mess is gone!
I've found that this technique has saved me a lot of clean up, and a lot of concern about oxygen being added to the beer while bottling. I hope some of you out there reading this try it, and let me know how it works for you.
By George de Piro
The club is now going to take on the task of gathering, storing, and maintaining a yeast bank. The yeasts in this bank will be available to all club members at no charge. We encourage people to use yeasts from the bank, and to deposit new yeasts that you come across in your beer adventures. An inventory sheet will be updated and distributed to all club members periodically.
The yeast bank will be kept at Hop, Skip, and a Brew. Jim (in his infinite kindness) has agreed to help people "withdraw" yeast from the bank. A second, identical collection will be maintained by George at his home, in case disaster should strike the club collection. To make a withdrawal, simply visit Jim during regular store hours. Together, you will "wake up" the selected yeast by transferring it to a small vial of sterile wort. Following the directions below, you will be ready to pitch an ale yeast in less than one week. Lager yeasts will take longer; allow two weeks for them to grow to pitching volume. We only ask two things in return: share your homebrew with us at the club meetings, and return the vial that the sterile wort was in. The club can't afford to purchase new ones constantly!
Why use yeast from the Malted Barley Appreciation Society Yeast Bank?
Well, the reasons are many. Some of the better ones are:
1. It's part of your membership benefits (i.e., your paying for it with your dues), so you might as well get your money's worth!
2. Some really interesting yeasts are available already! 3. Unlike commercial yeast suppliers, we'll gladly tell you the source of the yeast, so you'll know exactly what you're getting.
4. By following the procedure outlined below, you will be pitching close to the optimum # of yeast cells into your wort. This is essential to making the best possible beer. Some of you May be intimidated by these instructions, but don't be. It is really easy to grow yeast cultures, and the rewards are tremendous. You'll be amazed at the quality of the beer you can make!
Yeast Propagation Procedure
1. Using a sterile loop, remove a small amount of yeast from the sterile water and transfer to the vial of sterile wort.
2. Reseal the both vials, then shake the vial of sterile wort (with yeast in it) to aerate. Try to shake the vial several times during the next 30 min. 3. Keep the vial at ~80 F to speed growth. Don't worry if it's colder, it will just take a little longer to grow.
4. After 24 -48 hours you'll see a little layer of yeast at the bottom of the vial. This means that the yeast is ready to be "stepped up." Simply shake the vial to stir up the yeast pellet and pour it into a container that contains ~50 ml of sterile wort (lower gravity worts work better than high gravity ones). Aerate by shaking or oxygenating. Maintain sterile, closed fermentation, just like when fermenting a full batch. Keep this "starter culture" at ~65 F. I find that 1 quart glass milk bottles make excellent starter flasks. A #7 stopper fits the opening perfectly, allowing an airlock to be fitted easily.
5. You'll see active fermentation within a few hours, with a Kräusen forming just like a normal size batch. After 24-48 hours, when the Kräusen starts to fall, you can step the culture up to ~500mL. Do this in the same way as step 4. If you are growing a lager yeast, now is the time to lower the temperature to ~55 F. Keep it in the mid-60's if it is an ale yeast.
6. Once again, after 24-48 hours (longer if growing lager yeast), you are ready to step the culture up to the next level. This time you can add an ale culture to as much a 5 L (1.25 gallons) of sterile wort. If you're making 19 L (5 gallons) of beer, you only need to step up to 2L (½ gallon). A lager yeast should only be stepped up to 2 L. Remember to aerate the culture! Glass, 1 gallon, "Ocean Spray" cranberry juice bottles are good for larger starter volumes. A #7 stopper will fit the opening if put in up-side down.
7. In another 24-48 hours you can pitch your yeast! It is best to pitch just when the Kräusen begins to fall, but you can successfully pitch within a day of that point. If your brew session is delayed much past the high Kräusen stage, you should feed the yeast about 24 hours prior to pitching to ensure rapid onset of fermentation. Remember to aerate your wort after pitching. You will see signs of fermentation within a few hours. This greatly reduces the risk of off flavors developing in the beer. If your are making a beer with a starting gravity of more than ~1.062 (~15.5 P), you May want to start with an even larger culture. This will ensure a rapid and complete fermentation.
It is my hope that this yeast bank will inspire all of us to brew a more diverse range of beers. It will also serve to preserve special strains that you May come across. Even if you culture your own yeast at home, it is a good idea to have a back up at a different location.
by Bill Coleman
Editor's Note: In last month's issue, Jim Simpson's article, Of Bocks and Eisbocks, was badly mangled. Jim had two recipes for a Maibock, an extract and an all-grain one. Somehow I combined the two recipes into one! The proper recipes are as follows:
Sidbock (named after my late cat) Maibock. (all grain makes 12 gallons)
This is the partial mash ingredients for five gallons:
This is the full mash recipe:
Starting Gravity 1.070
Finishing Gravity 1.016
PS: If anyone made the recipe as listed in last issue, save me a bottle! I'd love to try it!
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