HOMEBREW Digest #149 Fri 12 May 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Hot fermentation, priming, novice problems (gateh)
  problem water (Pete Soper)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 11 May 89 09:20:35 edt From: gateh%CONNCOLL.BITNET at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU Subject: Hot fermentation, priming, novice problems I'm brand new to this list as well as to home brewing, and now that I've received a couple of digests I can see this list is going to be invaluable to me. I'm in the middle of my first batch now - a basic recipe with some modifications of my own, attempting to produce a beer similar to Schell's Braun, if anyone is familiar with it. Martin Lodahl asked about problems with the house being too hot for proper brewing. While I'm not sure about whether or not it is possible, I have heard of a fairly cheap and simple solution for keeping your brew at a reasonable temperature. Place your fermenter in a small tub of water, drape old towels over the fermenter and down into the water. The evaporation will keep the brew suprisingly cool. (Apologies if you've already heard of this one). Doug Bonner wondered about using regular sugar for priming - from the reading I've done I understand this is verboten. If I recall correctly it adversely affects the taste of the beer. My question: this first batch had/has a potention problem: as I was transferring the hot wort to the primary fermenter, there were some physical problems with my funnel and the seven gal. carboy I use. As a result a hop or two ended up in the fermenter. At the least I imagine it will alter the flavor - but will it ruin the batch? It's been brewing 3.5 weeks (now in secondary fermenter) at 55-60 deg., but sp. grav is only 0.01 - it's supposed to go down to 0.006-0.004. It smells like beer with sh*t in it - pretty skanky. Looks good, though, and doesn't taste as bad as it smells. It was encouraging to hear that it can improve markedly in the bottles - it looks like the only hope for this batch. Gregg TeHennepe (pronounced "Rookie worries") *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=* Gregg TeHennepe | Academic Computing and User Services Minicomputer Specialist | Box 5482 BITNET: gateh at conncoll | Connecticut College Phone: (203) 447-7681 | New London, CT 06320 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 11 May 89 17:21:21 edt From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: problem water Let me tell you about my water. It is from a community well that serves perhaps 25 homes. It has a total hardness of only 100 parts per million which wouldn't seem to be too bad. However this water is deceptively alkaline. While it starts off with a pH of 7.4, it contains buffers that resist acidification. This means a given amount of acid naturally present in homebrew ingredients will have less effect on pH than it would on softer water. Worse, and the part that I cannot understand is the fact that after boiling this water (very vigorously with exposure to air and after having been aerated to start with), the pH goes to 9.2 and the buffering effect is stronger than before. This is the opposite effect that I'd grown to expect from reading the popular literature about water preparation. I repeated this experiment three times, using an electronic pH meter and careful titrations to convince myself I was getting this backwards effect. Based on my experience, alkaline water is terrible for almost any kind of homebrewing. Only recipes calling for lots of roasted grains work out properly without resorting to drastic measures. Roasted grains contribute a lot of extra acidic material and so can overcome the buffering of the water and get the pH down to a proper range for the wort boil and fermentation in this situation. The range of the wort pH at the start of the boil should be 5.2 to 5.8, depending upon who you read, although most suggest a range of 5.2 to 5.5 is the ideal. Who cares if this is a bit high, you might say. Well, there are a whole slew of bad things waiting to happen when the pH gets too high, but just to name one: most spoilage bacteria run away and hide when the pH of a medium falls to 5.8 or below. Above this they can thrive and give you a hard time. Also, for all grain brewing, the pH of the mash is a critical factor since, as one example, astringent tasting tannins can dissolve out of the grain if the pH gets too high. I've also noticed a correlation between high pH and crummy hot breaks, but this is also backwards from common wisdom and so is possibly superstition. So alkaline water is a special kind of misery and the one I have to live with. I wish I knew why boiling with aeration doesn't help or something else I could do to counteract this. As it is I've started bringing gallon jugs to work where the water is very soft. Return to table of contents
Pete Soper, Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd., bldg D Cary, North Carolina 27511 USA phone 1 919 481 3730 arpa: soper at encore.com ( uucp: {talcott,linus,bu-cs,bellcore,decvax,necntc}!encore!soper Return to table of contents
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