HOMEBREW Digest #1259 Sat 30 October 1993

Digest #1258 Digest #1260

		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  More on steam injection (WESTEMEIER)
  "Clean It Up" (pblshr)
  Channeling/Steam heat (korz)
  Beer hunting in Belgium: Part 7 (General information) ("Phillip Seitz")
  Re: PH Malt (Jim Grady)
  Post-boil wort handling question. (Michael Berger)
  Tree parts and an occasional herb ("Edward F. Loewenstein")
  Plans for Grain Mill (matth)
  PVC wort chillery (David Atkins)
  Wyeast (Ulick Stafford)
  Who Put the phor in Iodophor? (Mike Fertsch)
  re:Beer hunting in Belgium: Part 5  (R.) Cavasin" <cav at bnr.ca>
  Hops FAQ, Part 3/5 (npyle)
  DLB Homebrew Competition (Thomas G. Moore)
  Re: Agrees with COPS show, et al. (Paul deArmond)
  Make Your Own ... (Bob_McIlvaine)
  Wyeast lag times / viability / dry yeast (Drew Lynch)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1993 21:27:55 -0400 (EDT) From: WESTEMEIER at delphi.com Subject: More on steam injection I got deluged with queries about my posting on steam injection, so I'll try to respond here. First, I should mention that the originator of the technique is Dan Listermann, maker of Phil's Philler, Phil's Phalse Bottom, Phil's Sparger, the Philmill, etc. etc. Dan is an extremely creative guy, and he is constantly coming up with something new. I'm relying solely on memory here, since I wasn't taking notes, but as best as I can reconstruct it, the setup is like this: An ordinary pressure cooker (about 2 gallon capacity, I would guess) is modified by removing the pressure release in the center of the lid (NOT the safety pressure release, which is offset from the center on this one) and replacing it with a compression fitting. From that is run a length of flexible metal hose (the kind used for a gas line to a kitchen stove, I think) about 4 or 5 feet long. At the end of the hose is a fitting that connects to a short (8 inches) length of 1/4 or 3/8 inch copper tubing. The other end of the tubing is pinched shut, and many holes are drilled all over the length of the tubing (to let out the steam). A rubber stopper (with a hole drilled through it) is fitted over the tubing where it connects to the hose. If you mash in a Gott (Rubbermaid) cylindrical cooler, you have probably already removed the original valve. Stick the tubing into the hole, letting the rubber stopper seal it. Mix up your grains and mash water in the cooler as you normally would. Place the pressure cooker on your Cajun Cooker, and let the steam raise the temperature of the mash. Several people expressed fear that the steam would melt the plastic lining of the cooler, but in fact the steam doesn't touch it. Of course, you have to stir the mash constantly while you're raising the temperature with the steam, in order to circulate it, but it only takes a few minutes. Do this as often as you like. For me that would mean once, but it's just as easy to do a step temperature infusion with several steps. Incidentally, a single filling of the pressure cooker (oops, I mean steam generator) was much more than enough to mash the grain for a five gallon batch. I'll bet it would have handled a ten gallon batch on that same filling. It really doesn't add any measurable amount of water to the mash tun. After conversion, Dan used his steam generator again to heat the sparge water, by simply putting the steam probe in a bucket of water and stirring to circulate the heat. Then he sparged normally. Dan says he only put this rig together as a "proof of concept" prototype, and I don't know if he has any plans to market anything along these lines. It's an intriguing idea though. Ed Westemeier Cincinnati, Ohio westemeier at delphi.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 93 22:14:50 EDT From: pblshr at aol.com Subject: "Clean It Up" I assure the conversants (combatants) regarding the dialectic on "orgasm vs. basketball" that far raunchier things are cruising around the net and in the on-line services. Nonetheless, I agree that while beer humor is appreciated, other comments (such as this one) are a waste of space. It's everything I can do as it is to get through the HBDs in my mailbox. If you're going to make off-color remarks, at least have the decency to confine them to off-color brews! Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 93 15:34 CDT From: korz at iepubj.att.com Subject: Channeling/Steam heat Carl writes: >> ...due to a fluid mechanics phenomenon called "channeling" > >Which is what? As I'm sure we all know, liquid flowing through a porous substance will tend to take the route of least resistance. Channeling is one step further in the case of a substance like soil or a grain bed, in which if a much lower resistance path is found, then the liquid will tend to flow down that path, or channel. Two cases where channeling can cause a measurable loss to our extraction are: 1. when a 100% porous grain bag is used (i.e. as opposed to the type which is mesh only on the bottom), the runoff tends to go straight to the side of the bag and then run along the side of the vessel (between the bag and the vessel) down to the bottom, and 2. if you use a knife to cut a stiff mash -- the runoff will head straight for those channels you just created and tend to continue to use those channels, bypassing the other parts of the grain bed. ***************************** Ed writes: >clever gadget. He had an ordinary household pressure cooker that he >modified to run a steam line out through a ball valve. By simply injecting >live, low pressure steam into the bottom of his picnic cooler mash tun while >stirring the mash, he was able to raise the temperature to the desired point >very quickly. He also used the steam to heat his sparge water in the same >way. It all seemed so simple and logical that I wondered why I hadn't seen >it mentioned before. The only "con" I can think of is the danger of scalding the brewmaster or his/her family. Live steam can really do a number on skin and worse on your eyes. I once scalded my arm just by removing the kettle lid at full boil in the wrong direction. It took a good two weeks for the 1st degree burns to stop being tender to the touch. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 08:33:31 -0400 From: "Phillip Seitz" <p00644 at psilink.com> Subject: Beer hunting in Belgium: Part 7 (General information) Beer Hunting in Belgium: Part 7 of 7 General Information (by Phil Seitz) The following information is offered for anybody considering travel to Belgium. These are the bars we like, sources we found useful, and a few additional places we went that you might not find in the guidebooks. Cafes: L'Eblouissant. 27, rue Armee Grouchy, Namur. 081/73.71.39. A small cafe run by a very particular publican. Extensive beer selection, well cared for. Good meals during lunch, with food also available during dinner. Frequent concerts of Irish music. Previously called one of Belgium's best cafes by CAMRA, now relocated due to high rents but still very comfortable. Closed Sundays. Musee de la Biere (The Beer Museum). 19, rue de la Gare B/2, Lustin, on Route #947. 081/41.11.02 A funky place in a small town. Until last year nobody I know in the area had ever been there, though everybody knew about it. The reason is that is looks a bit weird from the outside. The exterior has hand-painted signs advertising over 1,000 Belgian beer glasses on exhibit, and God knows how many bottles, some of them dating from the 19th century. Looks a little like those roadside attractions advertising plaster-of-Paris dinosaurs and two-headed cows. Admission is 35 francs, which can be applied to a purchase in the, er, gift shop. The gift shop features 11 beers on tap (including the formidable Liefmans' framboise), as well as a good 100-200 in bottles. The interior is crammed with shelves of bottles and glasses, and many of these will actually be of substantial interest to beer geeks. Overall, a very pleasant atmosphere. If you speak French, the woman who runs the place is famous for being talkative and very well informed with regard to beer issues and developments in Belgium. The cafe is also home to a tasting club, the Guilde des Tates-Biere, whose final exam is rumored to include identification of certain beers by year of production. Lustin is south of Namur, on the Meuse river. The museum is open weekends and student holidays only, but special openings can be arranged for larger groups. De Stillegentier. Mechelen. We did not visit this cafe, but it was recommended to us as stocking nearly all the lambic and gueuze products currently on the market. Hey, we had to save something for next time! Beer stores: La Cave de Wallonie. 6, rue de la Halle, Namur Near the Place au marche de legumes. A specialty beer store run by one of the brewers of the Brasserie Caracole. The proprietor speaks some English, and if time permits is quite willing to discuss brewing issues and beers. Drinks Wets. 209 Steenweg op Halle, St. Genesius-Rode. 02/380.32.27 This one's a whopper. We ran into it when we got lost on the way to Beersel, and Jim accurately described it as the Belgian liquor barn. They sell a mind-boggling variety of Belgian beers and beer glasses, as well as selected imported beers. (Good: We found Anchor Liberty. Bad: They stock Rolling Rock.) The proprietors do speak some English, and they take Visa but no other credit cards. You'll need a car to get there, but a truck might be better. The gueuze/kriek selection alone ran along an entire 35-foot wall. Perhaps the most unusual of these was the Gueuze and Kriek Girardin in polypins. Just the thing for Mike Sharp's next party! Some notes: check expiration dates. Some of the old bottles you'll find are aged; others are just old and out of date, and taste that way. Keep an eye out for the Hanssens gueuze products; we considered these a major discovery, and their mention met with respect from our more knowledgeable Belgian beer sources. The Wets gueuze products are also available (presumably the owners of the store are the Wets of lambic blending fame, though we were told by others that the beer is now made by the still-formidable Brasserie Girardin). Other stores 1) Spice stores sometimes sell bitter (curacao) orange peel. It's hard and white, and bitter tasting. One such store is L'Herbier in Namur, around the corner from La Cave de Wallonie. 2) Don't forget the ordinary supermarkets. Most of them sell dark and light candy sugar in 1 lb boxes, and many have formidable beer selections, including local brews and glassware. Jereboams (3- liter bottles) are widely available, and the Sarma Star hypermarket outside of Namur must stock at least 100 beers--and the glasses. Keep in mind that a charge for the deposit on each bottle will be added at the cash register. On the other hand, the larger supermarkets take credit cards, so you can spend now and pay later. Books We really only used two books and a map as constant reference materials. One book was Michael Jackson's Beers of Belgium, which is available from a variety of sources. The other books was Peter Crombecq's Bier Yaarboek, which is not easy to find (check better bookstores in Brussels and Flanders). The former provided us with general information in a language we could read, and proved to be reasonably comprehensive in scope, if not always providing the obsessive depth we craved. The Crombecq comes in handy here, with detailed information on the breweries (in Flemish), as well as lists of all their products and the names these are sold under. This is extremely useful information that beer hunters can draw upon to make sure they don't unwittingly buy ten bottles of the same beer. CAMRA now has a good beer guide to Belgium and Holland, which lists much of the above information and includes reviews of cafes. As far as I know copies are only available in England, L'Eblouissant had one. THATS ALL FOLKS! This concludes our Belgian series. If you have any questions we hope you'll let us know; Jim [BUSCH at DAACDEV1.STX.COM] may be better for the technical brewing ones, and me for the ones on Belgium in general. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 8:56:26 EDT From: Jim Grady <grady at hpangrt.an.hp.com> Subject: Re: PH Malt In #1256, David Holsclaw asks: > Has anyone else had problems like this with mash PH? What do you > do? WARNING! I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS. I JUST VAGUELY REMEMBER READING ABOUT THIS! If I remember correctly, Dave Miller talks about using an acid rest in order to lower the pH of the mash. This is before the protein rest (& at lower temps of course). Using an acid rest is what allowed German brewers to brew lighter colored beers with the water they had. Check out the chapter titled "Mashing In, Acid Rest" (or something like that) in Dave's "The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing." Sorry, I don't have my copy on hand. - -- Jim Grady |"Root beer burps don't have to be said 'Excuse me'." grady at hp-mpg.an.hp.com | Robert Grady, age 4.75 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 10:04:03 EDT From: mberger at wellfleet.com (Michael Berger) Subject: Post-boil wort handling question. I've been brewing (occasionally) for about three years now. Just about every batch I've ever made has had an off taste (except for a particluarly memorable batch of Bruce's Dogbolter during my "kit" days). I started out with new equipment and have good cleaning practices...I sanitize anything that touches the wort/beer. After going through the HBD disgests, I've gotten LOTS of great information on mashing techniques and plan to try some. However, I think ny problems come after the mash. There's very little information on post boil handling of the wort and I'd like some suggestions on good technique. After the boil, I let things settle for about 15 minutes. I then strain the wort through cheescloth in a colander which is suspended over my plastic bucket primary. The straining through the cheescloth takes a long time since I usually use pelletized hops which combined with the other solids quickly make up a semi-impermeable barrier. I then let it cool overnight and pitch a starter in the morning. I transfer into a carboy after the kreusening settles down. I usually bottle after the bubbling through my airlock stops. I'd like some suggestions on better techniques so that I might eliminate my off-taste. Thanx in advance for any help. PS. How does new pub/store information get submitted to the "publist" digest???? Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 09:04:02 CDT From: "Edward F. Loewenstein" <SNREDLOW at MIZZOU1.missouri.edu> Subject: Tree parts and an occasional herb Greetings, Just wanted to shed some light (hopefully) on a few botanical points that have come up over the past few weeks. First, concerning spruce beer. Spruce is in the family *Pinaceae*, genus *picea*. Pines are in the same family, but the genus *pinus*. The resins produced by individual species between these genus differ, so for the gentleman who was planning on substituting pine for spruce, take care. Remember, pine resins are used to produce turpentine and lacquer! Your best bet is to use commercially available extract. For those brewers who think they might like to try a conifer flavored beer but are not sure they would care for the taste and don't want to risk pouring 5-gallons down the drain, let me suggest you go to a Greek restrurant and sample some retsina which is a liquor flavored with resins. The flavor is stronger than that of some spruce beers I have tried, but essentially the same. As far as hemlock (the tree) is concerned,genus *Tsuga*, it is not related to the famous poison cocktail of antiquity which was made from the herbaceous poison hemlock, *Centella conium*. Concerning the posting a few days ago about Woodruff ale. I must assume that the herb added is Sweet Woodruff, a wonderfully aromatic herb of the genus *Galium*, commonly known as the 'bedstraw family'. I have had good luck growing this plant here in central Missouri and believe it is able to be grown throughout the continental US. I plan on trying a Woodruff ale myself in the near future, I'll post the results. For those who are interested, sweet woodruff is perfectly safe for consumption. The FDA has listed it as "safe for use only in alcoholic beverages." Phillip Priefrock recently asked about growing hops in the midwest. I can assure you that few plants are easier to grow. Two years ago I purchased four rhizomes (root cuttings) from Freshhops (*insert standard disclaimer*), and harvested over five pounds of flowers this season. Freshhops advertizes in Zymurgy, but I don't have a phone number handy. Concerning starting the plants inside during the winter, don't bother. First of all, the rhizomes are only available in the Spring, and more important, actively growing hop bines grow VERY quickly and would soon take over most light tables (mine were all over 25 feet tall this year). I have had best luckgrowing, cascade, nugget, and pearle. Concerned about credentials? I am a research forester, currently finishing a PhD at the Univ. of Missouri. EFL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 10:13:56 -0400 From: matth at bedford.progress.COM Subject: Plans for Grain Mill Dion Hollenbeck writes: [ SNIP of many questions regarding tool availability & time & materials ] > >Bottom line, you may be able to make any commercial product for much >less than it is sold for if you ignore everything but the cost of the >materials. On top of that, you are not trying to make a living out of >it. If you really figure *everything* in, I would doubt you could >beat the retail price by much if any at all since anyone who intends >to remain in business will be buying in volume and getting prices on >raw materials which you could never come close to at onesey prices. Can you tell me why you brew beer then? Few people I've ever ,et who brew & keep purchasing *any* kind of equipment ever reach the level where the money they have spent on the brewing tools/materials makes it cost effective over the long run compared to just purchasing commercially available brews, even micro-brews. > >If you enjoy building things, by all means, you have my whole-hearted >support to go ahead. I even wish you the good fortune to improve upon >Jack's mill or any other brewing product for the betterment of all of >us brewers. But, please do not make light of the effort that goes >into producing the great products which are being offered to us. >Knowing what it takes to produce these, I am quite satisfied that we >as home-brewers are getting fair value for our money frome the vast >majority of brewing equipment manufacturers. > >Steve, I do not mean to single you out, this thread has popped up so >many times, I just took the opportunity of your post to reply to a >topic which has been bugging me for a long time. > I haven't gotten the impression that anyone has made light of the effort Jack or anyone else has put into producing effectvie roller mills designs. I've seen & used a MM at one of the HB shops I get supplies from. Jack did a good job on it. Most of the reviews I have seen have been pretty close to the mark regarding usability of the device. It gives a great crush but as many people have indicated the design could be improved upon some. Jack's a tinkerer, of that I am sure. A large majority of HB'ers *are* tinkerers and would rather spend the time doing something themself than run out & buy something. I don't see where this thread is any different than the ones from people designing/making better wort chillers, lauter tuns, kegging setups, or lager houses. No one said we aren't getting fair value from manufactured brewing equipment. I would agree that most of it is a good deal. However: 1) Everyone does things different and has different needs and 2) most of the time a redesign of an existing device can be improved upon. This has been shown time & time again. As for your questions regarding tools/time & materials for the task, the same can be said for *any* serious hobby that needs such things, such as wood working, electronics, automotive mechanics... ( I know, I have too many of these expensive hobbies already!-) ObHBD: I'm working on refinishing my basement & plan to set aside an area dedicated to brewing & beer storage (with the wife's consent no less!-). I'd like to hear from anyone who has done such a thing regarding they're ideas and/or experiences in a couple of areas: 1) How do you store carboys when not in use? I'm planning on building cabinets to store them upside down to cut down on pre-brew cleaning (such as is done for bottles). Anyone try this yet? 2) Since it will be in the basement dust could (will) be a problem. How do you keep it to a minimum on a *continual* basis, not just when brewing? 3) How many square feet does you brewery are take up? 4) What would you have done differently now that you've got it built and have been using it. If people desire I'll summarize the responses and post it (if it's small) or put it in the archives if it's larger. (I'm also working on getting info like this out of back HBD issues but that's not exactly the quickest task I've ever taken up...) Thanks for any & all input. -Matth Matthew J. Harper ! Progress Software Corp. ! {disclaimer.i} God created heaven and earth to grow barley and hops. Now he homebrews !-) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 09:48 CDT From: David Atkins <ATKINS at macc.wisc.edu> Subject: PVC wort chillery To the brewer constructing the PVC pipe chiller. Could filling the hollow of the copper coil with individual packets of reusable ice (that blue stuff you can freeze/refreeze) serve your needs? You could find the small ones (approx 1 X 3 X 1/2) and they may cool things down as well as help channel water around the coils. Keep up the shadetree brewing and let us know how your new-fangled chiller works out. David Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 10:00:13 EST From: Ulick Stafford <ulick at michaelangelo.helios.nd.edu> Subject: Wyeast Brian Bliss (1256) writes of disappointment with Wyeast. I am quite happy with the products. The trick is having a supplier who looks after them with TLC. My local homebrew store orders on the one day a week they package, gets the packages by 2 day air, and refrigerates them immediatly. The last pack I bought was 2 days old. I have never had any delay in getting a puff up, and generally use via a starter in 36 hours. RE hoppy starters what I do is can all the bottom sludge, boiling with my bottled wort for priming. When I have quite a few cans I throw 'em all into my pot and dilute to 5 or 7 Balling and boil up for a while. I then bottle the clear wort, cap, and 'can' for a while. Hey presto, I have enough bottles of the hoppiest sterile wort necessary for 3-6 months of starters. To make a starter all I do is drop a bottle into my chlorine bath to sterilize the outside and add it to the yeast in a she may bottle, shake the bejesus out of it and cap with an airlock in a 1.5 stopper. I will usually end up adding this to 2 or 3 bottles of starter juice in gallon jug for lager starters, and I always dump most of the wort off the top before pitching. I recently purchased a Maltmill to benefit from Jacks October special. I am very happy with the crush, although there are one or two minor problems. The mill has a hard time with wheat malt (well Briess red winter wheat, anyway), and I had to dilute with barley to crush. js did tell me this was a problem with cara-pils, so for very hard grain dilution is the solution. The other problem also related to cranking is the mill's lack of rigidity and short handle. I found that I had to kneel on the mill on the bucket, while holding it with my left hand and cranking with my right hand. It was nearly as bad as the Corona (although I was crushing 17lb of grain for a Doppelbock). I will have to mount it in some way prior to its next use. On that dopplebock, I got impatient and finished my boil too quickly. I put it in a acid carboy primary and I guess it was at least 6 gallons. I added a blowoff next morning (it was at high kraeusen after less than 8 hours at 48F - trick pitch with entire sediment from primary of previous lager) but the blowoff container was inaduquate and it blew over putting a puddle of doppelbock wort all over my conditioning beer cases in the freezer. While cleaning the freezer I became very dizzy and light headed, and realized that I was asphyxiating in the CO2. I went away got my breath and allowed the air to mix a bit more. It occurred to me that ashyxiation could be a problem in larger breweries. Comments? __________________________________________________________________________ 'Heineken!?! ... F#$% that s at &* ... | Ulick Stafford, Dept of Chem. Eng. Pabst Blue Ribbon!' | Notre Dame IN 46556 | ulick at darwin.cc.nd.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 10:42:24 EDT From: mferts at taec.com (Mike Fertsch) Subject: Who Put the phor in Iodophor? "Robert H. Reed" <rhreed at icdc.delcoelect.comasks about the 'phor' in Iodophor: >Question: what does the -phor designate in the name IODOPHOR? I have >used BTF iodophor which doesn't contain phosphoric acid and I have >recently obtained an iodine sanitizing solution that *does* contain >phos. acid. What gives? We've been through this before, but the -phor has NOTHING to do with phosphoric acid. The '-phor' suffix means 'carrier of'. Iodophor means 'carrier of iodine'. Period. FWIW - 'phosphorus' means 'carrier of light' ('phos' meaning 'light', and 'phor' meaning carrier). Phosphorus tends to radiate light. Check your Webster's dictionary and look up '-phore' The fact that SOME iodophors also contain phosphoric acid is purely coincidental. My Iodophor has no phosphoric, but I'd prefer one that does. Mike Fertsch Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1993 11:12:00 +0000 From: "Rick (R.) Cavasin" <cav at bnr.ca> Subject: re:Beer hunting in Belgium: Part 5 In Jim Busch's interesting Belgian travelogue, he mentions: >After a primary fermentation period, the beer is racked into >Chestnut casks--the brewer swears by them and recoiled with >horror at the possibility of using oak. This is interesting given the fact that Chestnut is one of the few woods that contain a *really* high amount of tannin. Oak has alot lower (with oak, only the bark contains enough tannin to make extraction for leather tanning worthwhile, Chestnut wood contains enough to be useful in this application) though not insignificant amount. I wonder if chestnut is chosen for this reason, or if the casks are so old that most of the tannin has already been removed. Hmmmm.... Cheers, Rick C. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 9:29:55 MDT From: npyle at n33.stortek.com Subject: Hops FAQ, Part 3/5 Hops FAQ, Part 3/5: - -- Q: Can I grow my own hops? How? A: Read this... Hops for beer-making grow from the rhizomes of female hop plants. Rhizomes look like root cuttings but have buds growing from them that will become new vines. Rhizomes also contain stored nutrients to support initial growth. Hops grow vertically as one or more vines that spiral up a twine or other support. Depending on latitude, location, and variety, they sprout from March or April and grow through the summer and early fall. A single plant can easily grow 40 feet tall when it is mature but growth in the first year is usually much less. In most instances by the second or third year the plants will exhibit full growth. Height is very closely linked to the amount of sunshine the plant gets. Hops grow best in full sun and you should pick a spot with the best possible southern exposure. Hops grow best in loose, well drained soil. Blended peat moss and sand make a good growing environment. In cases of poor soil drainage, it can be helpful to create a mound of soil a foot or so tall which will aid drainage. Hops need lots of water. As they grow be sure to give them a very good soaking at least once a week. There are reports that once-a-day waterings (up to 6.5 gallons per mound) give greater growth and yield. Mulch in the summer helps with weed control and also holds water. Hops also have big appetites; composted cow manure is an excellent well-balanced fertilizer for them. Once a bed has been prepared the rhizomes are planted about 4 inches below the soil surface with any obvious buds coming from the rhizome oriented to point upward. After several inches the new vines should be thinned so that just the most healthy and vigorous three vines are left to continue growing. This will be an ongoing process as new shoots may show up later, but the initial thinning is important. It's been reported that the young shoots that are culled may be steamed and eaten like asparagus. On the other hand, some growers espouse cutting the new shoots at all, allowing all vines to grow to full height. As the vines grow over a foot tall they should be trained to grow up a twine. This can be done by twisting the vine around the line. This may have to be repeated for a few days before the vine gets the idea. Hops will have a natural tendency to wrap clockwise looking down. The most common hops trellis consists of strings running from the roof of a building down to stakes driven into the soil near the plants. Another option, often used by commercial growers, consists of a large central pole, with strings running from the top of the pole down to the foot of each plant, similar to the spokes on a wheel. Expect the string or twine to hold a lot of weight as the vines grow tall. A 25+ foot plant may weigh 20+ pounds. Hop blossoms start out looking like large sand burrs, and then take on a characteristic cone shape as they grow in size. The size of a fully developed cone depends on the variety, varying from 1 to 2 inches long by 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. The hops are fully mature and ready for picking when two changes take place. First, immature hops have a damp, soft feel and when squeezed slightly tend to stay compressed. Mature hops feel more like paper, spring back when squeezed, and feel noticeably lighter. The second key test is to pick an average example hop and cut it lengthwise down the center with a knife. When ready to pick, the yellow powder (the lupulin sacs containing the essential oils and bitter compounds) will be a dark shade of yellow, like the stripes on a highway, and it will be pungent. If a light shade of yellow then its likely the hops are immature. When ready to pick it is best to snip the stems of the cones with scissors or a knife to avoid jarring the hops and knocking lupulin powder out or worse, pulling the center of the cone out with the stem, causing a great loss of lupulin. Touching hops plants can cause skin irritation in some people; gloves and long sleeves can help in this matter. Just-picked hops are roughly 80 percent water; if left alone they spoil rapidly. For proper storage most of the water is removed by drying. A good drying method is to lie the hops on a card or screen in an attic. Just a few hours during the heat of summer or a few hours more in cooler weather is enough to dry the hops. Use a before and after weighing (and trial and error) to try to achieve about 7-10 percent residual moisture after drying. After drying, hops keep best at low temperatures and away from oxygen. A kitchen freezer easily takes care of temperature but to get the hops away from oxygen is difficult. Tightly packing hops in canning jars will minimize the trapped air but be careful not to use too much force and break the all important lupulin sacs since this accelerates oxidation. Purging the canning jar of oxygen by blowing in carbon dioxide from a kegging system will also help prolong freshness. It's common to get 4 or 5 harvests per year by picking the biggest, most mature hops every 2 weeks or so as the flowers ripen. Patience and judgement are important since cones left on the vine too long turn brown and begin to oxidize and spoil, while immature hops have little lupulin to give. At the end of the growing season when the leaves have fallen or turned brown, cut the vines at the surface of the soil and if possible remove the twine. After cutting back the vines a layer of 3 or 4 inches of mulch and composted manure can be put over the exposed vines for insulation and nutrition during the winter. Japanese beetles are the number one nuisance in many areas. A common remedy is to position a "Bag a Bug" type beetle trap about 30 feet directly up wind from the hop vines. There is some concern that the "Bag a Bug" traps may actually attract more beetles than they catch, but that probably depends on the situation. Certain plants such as rose bushes may also attract the beetles, so it's best to keep those plants away from your hops. Also, the beetles' larvae live in the ground, and in cases of extreme Japanese Beetle infestation the surrounding lawn may need to be treated accordingly. A number of other pests, such as aphids, can harm hops, and can be treated with any number of pesticides. Since you will be consuming these hops, you should use low toxicity natural pesticides, such as 1% Rotenone dust, for direct pest control on the plants. As with any consumable, you should ensure that any pesticide is well washed before using the hops. Ladybugs are the best, most natural way to get rid of aphids and a lot of other bugs. However, it can be difficult to keep them on your hop plants once you run out of food for them. A good idea is to plant some cilantro/coriander between your hop hills. Ladybugs are attracted to this plant and it will keep their attention between feedings of aphids. You can even harvest the cilantro (the leaves) for cooking and use the coriander (the seeds) in Witbier. One other hazard is animals. A short fence of rabbit wire will keep cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. at bay, but won't do much against deer. Rhizomes are available from an increasing number of sources. American Brewmaster in Raleigh, NC and Freshops in Philomath, OR are two well-known suppliers. Cost is usually a few dollars each. They should be kept in plastic bags, moist and cold in your refrigerator until they are planted. Additional information about hop growing can be found in "Homegrown Hops" by David R. Beach. Also, the 1990 special issue of "Zymurgy" is devoted to hops and contains an article about growing hops by Pierre Rajotte. The AHA also has additional hops-oriented publications. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 11:29:55 -0400 From: cm199 at cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Thomas G. Moore) Subject: DLB Homebrew Competition Announcing DLB Homebrewers 2nd Annual Homebrew Competition on Nov. 20, 1993 in Westlake, Ohio. Judging begins 10:00 am. Entry fee is $5.00 per entry. Three or more entries-$4.00 per entry. Entries must be i 10-17 oz. green or brown bottles (Grolsch bottles ok) without labels. Drop off or ship entries to DLB Vineyards. 30311 Clemens Drive. Westlake, Oh. 44145. Entry deadline is Nov. 17 at 5:00 pm. For more info or competiton entry forms, contact: cm199 at cleveland.freenet.edu or 70334.3721 at compuserve.com (Pete Wilson-organizer) This is an AHA sanctioned competition. All entries will be judged according to the AHA style definitions. Sorry. No mead, cider or sake will be judged. - -- Will work for homebrew! Thomas G. Moore cm199 at cleveland.freenet.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1993 08:15:56 -0700 (PDT) From: Paul deArmond <paulf at henson.cc.wwu.edu> Subject: Re: Agrees with COPS show, et al. Whoa, now! Before everybody starts slagging John (the Coyote) Wyllie, let me say a few words on his behalf: Mr. Wyllie holds an important position at the ACME (tm) Co, as a product tester and risk analyst. Some of you may have seen his product demonstrations on Saturday morning TV, where he gets run over by steam-rollers, hit by large spring-powered boxing gloves, zooms around on jet roller skates, rides enormous sky-rockets, has close encounters with falling anvils, explosives, catapults, giant mouse traps, etc., and falls off cliffs a lot. His expertise in risk assessment in unparalleled and gives him a unique viewpoint that is denied to many of us. Higher alcohols are poisonous and many distilling companies adjust their fermentation processes to produce more of them, since they have considerable economic value as solvents, paint thinners, etc. They also take careful steps to make sure that it doesn't get into the potables. Some are a little less careful than others; the "cheap booze" hangover is one result. Reading Snuffy Smith cartoons does not constitute a good education in distilling, nor does watching TV. If you let the temperature on your slobber box get too high, just be sure that you take the first drink. As regards to regulations, think for a moment how regulations come about. The vast majority of regulations come into being because something bad has happened, and people don't want it to happen again. So they go to an enormous amount of trouble to get some pack of legislative critters to pass a regulation. Just try getting a law passed that prevents some fat-cats from ripping off the rest of us, and you will see exactly how troublesome a process regulation is. When taxation is involved, it gets even stickier, because the regulating agencies now have an interest in the outcome. Can you say "conflict of interest?" Higher taxes frequently mean bigger budgets, larger staffs, higher salaries. This sometimes leads the regulatory process astray. Here in Washington State, where the notorious COPS ephisode took place, we are priviledged to have some of the highest alcohol taxes in the US. We also have the Washington Liquor Control Board, which keeps us amused with continuing tales of pilferage, bribery, crime and corruption. I remember several years ago, when one of the commissioners was caught red handed replentishing his private stocks out of a State warehouse. More recently, a Seattle TV station ran a muck-raking piece on a "training conference" that the liquor industry threw for all the State Liquor Store managers. It was held at a resort in Coer d'Alene (bad move, taking the business out of the state) and mostly consisted of getting falling down drunk while being harangued by liquor sales reps. I'm waiting to see this on COPS. I suspect it will be a long wait. Paul. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 11:54:50 EST From: Bob_McIlvaine at keyfile.com Subject: Make Your Own ... What with all the comments about making your own malt mill going round, I had to chime in. A roller mill is a pretty basic machanical device. If your looking for ideas for designs, check out Dave Gingerys' book about building your own sheet metal roller. He shows you how to make it with hardware store stuff and hand tools. This book is part of a series he wrote about making your own metal working shop from scrap. The series includes a book for each of the following: make your own foundry, uses the foundry and hand tools to make a metal lathe, use these to make a drill press, use these to make a milling machine, and use these to make deeelux accessories for all of the above. Daves' books are available from Lindsay Publishing. By the way, I have the entire set and it can be done. Be forwarned, as those who have noted in previous postings, making it for yourself ..IS.. different than producing a retail product. When I designed the BruTemp digital brewing thermometer, I found out first hand! Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 93 09:20:49 -0700 From: Drew Lynch <drew at chronologic.com> Subject: Wyeast lag times / viability / dry yeast Lately, there has been a bit of liquid yeast bashing going on. I, for one, use it nearly all the time. The only time I revert to dried yeast is when I decide to brew on short notice. I encourage other folks to use liquid yeast as well. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are several issues not clearly defined, that may well effect brewer's success using the liquid yeast. Wyeast advertises that the older the package, the longer it takes to swell. The age of the package is an indication of the efficiency of your retail source. I purchased a package of Wyeast American Ale last night from The Fermentation Frenzy in Los Altos Ca. It was dated Oct 20. I burst the inner pouch at about 7pm last night, and it was quite swollen by 7am this morning. I have had older packages take 3-4 days to reach the same point. Aereate, Aereate, Aereate! I use a pump driven CF chiller. After reading a few posts on the subject (thanks!) I attached a small homemade nozzle to the outflow. I now get huge amounts of foam and (I assume) dissolved oxygen in the wort. I have found that lag times increase drastically with increased temperature differential between pitched yeast and receiving wort. I have gotten < 8 hr lag times pitching just a swollen Wyeast package (no starter) when the temperatures are well matched. Remember that dry yeast benefits from a higher rehydration temperature, and therefore may be more tolerant of warmer wort. I usually do use one or two steps between swollen package and pitching. I like to be certain. There is one gotcha here...each step is an opportunity for infection. Be vigilant. I am also curious as to when people consider the package swollen. If an older package is procured, folks may see that the package has marginally increased in size, and then use it -- dont! Wait until is is difficult to compress the package between thumb and forefinger. I have been tempted to let one package go until it bursts, just to see how far I can push it. Drew Lynch Chronologic Simulation, Los Altos, Ca. (415)965-3312x18 drew at chronologic.com Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #1259, 10/30/93