HOMEBREW Digest #196 Fri 07 July 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Re: Using crystal malt and other grains (dw)
  Re: Homebrew Digest #195 (July 06, 1989) (Gordon Hester)
  HB.DIG#195-Relaxation, sanitization, success, and crystal. (florianb)
  Crystal Malt (iwtio!korz)
   (Darryl Richman)
  Sanitizing And Crushing (pri=8 Marc San Soucie ms 019-890 x76723)
  Excess fermentation and bad beer (Erik Asphaug)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 6 Jul 89 07:46:00 EST From: "1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASES" <henchal at wrair-emh1.army.mil> Subject: RELAX I support the conclusions with regard to the resilience of homebrewing. It is easy (with emphasis on the "easy") to make very drinkable brew using the guidelines in Papazian's book. To put things in perspective, beer and ales were (and probably, still are) brewed without chlorax, without hydrometers, and without even thermometers for at least seven centuries in Europe. Similar fermentables have been brewed in parts of Asia and Africa without fancy equipment for even longer. I hope that any beginning brewer would not feel intimidated by any of the scientific or quantitative data. Guidelines for sanitation, etc are just that...guidelines. The most important aspect of the craft is doing what works for you....have fun....keep it clean.....and RELAX, HAVE A HOMEBREW. ERIK A. HENCHAL <Henchal at WRAIR.ARPA> Return to table of contents
Date: 6 Jul 89 08:10:10 EDT (Thursday) From: dw <Wegeng.Henr at Xerox.COM> Subject: Re: Using crystal malt and other grains In regards to crystal malt: >1- How do I go about crushing it? How crushed does it >need to be? The general idea is to break (crack) the grain into three to five pieces. When I first started using grain I used a rolling pin for this. Later a friend loaned me a grain mill, which is much quicker if you have several pounds of grain to process (but not necessary for a pound or two). You don't have to worry about getting exactly three to five pieces, but breaking each grain in half probably isn't enough and making flour is way too much. Some homebrew supply shops have grain mills and will crack the grain for you. This seems like a reasonable alternative (though you may have to pay a few cents extra). >2- When do I add it to the wort? I add cracked crystal malt when the boil water is cold, and remove it just before the water starts to boil (before I add the malt extract and hops). I used to simply dump the grain into the water, and then strain it out with a kitchen strainer. Later I bought a nylon grain bag, which makes removing the grains trivial. /Don Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 89 11:16:11 -0400 (EDT) From: Gordon Hester <gh0t+ at andrew.cmu.edu> Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #195 (July 06, 1989) The postings on sanitation have been most enlightening. Thanks to the posters. One poster mentioned not using a bottle brush when cleaning bottles. I, after my first frustrating experience trying to dislodge mold from bottles to put my first batch in, obtained a very handy bottle cleaning device. I think it's called a "jet washer" (well, I think it's called a jet something, anyway - obviously no problems of commercial affiliation here.) It consists of a brass fitting that attaches to the faucet in my kitchen sink (with the help of a simple adapter - it is threaded to fit a faucet of the type commonly encountered in laundry tubs or gardens) and has a roughly U-shaped brass tube on it, so that the business end of the tube points upwards. You turn the water on (after turning on your hot water tap in your sink, of course) by putting a bottle down over the tube - a valve at the end of the tube is operated by a wire running along the tube, so you get the bottle safely over the tube before it squirts all over the place. The tube has a farily small diameter, so the water velocity is fairly high. I have found this thing immensely convenient - it cleans out most bottles in a couple of seconds, and those with exceptionally stubborn moldy deposits are generally handled by a couple of repeated squirtings and brief soakings. Of course, I soak the bottles in a bleach solution after cleaning - I use a fairly weak solution (about a quarter cup in a bathtub full of water, where I do my soaking much to my wife's annoyance), soak for at least 24 hours, and then just take the bottles out and put them upside down in their box (lined with clean paper) to drain for half an hour or so - no rinsing, and I've detected no bleach flavors or anything. I think this jet thing cost about $10 at my local brew shop - may well be available for less elsewhere. I think there are similar devices that don't have the valve on them (in fact, I seem to recall seeing a picture of one in Papazian's book). I'd recommend against them - it would be a pain to have to turn your faucet on and off for every bottle, and the valve arrangement makes that unnecessary. If anyone wants the brand name, send me mail - I MAY still have the packaging at home. gordon hester gh0t+ at andrew.cmu.edu Return to table of contents
Date: 06 Jul 89 08:55:24 PDT (Thu) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: HB.DIG#195-Relaxation, sanitization, success, and crystal. Digest #195 contained several comments from contributors attesting to the resiliency of homebrewing. Some quotes: Steve Anthony said, >an effective yet unobtrusive sanitization procedure for me. I realize that >this is all very unscientific and that many might argue that my procedures >aren't rigorous enough. However, I feel I'm getting good results (as I >said, no spoilage to date, after 5-6 years of brewing). As always, Chuck Ferguson said, >appreciation of the rewards. A first-timer reading a newsgroup like >this or conversing with an experienced homebrewer might get a >distorted view of what is important in homebrewing. Experience >homebrewers tend to delve into esoterica when discussing their art. >I am talking from experience here. I first got interested in >homebrewing when a fellow with whom I worked told me he had brewed >before. He told me all about the process in great detail and I was >baffled. He showed me a whole closet-full of equipment for I really enjoyed these comments. In 1978, I got interested in home brewing, so I picked up a copy of Fred Eckhart's "A Treatise on Lager Beer". After reading it, I decided that homebrewing was too expensive, too long, too detailed, and not worth the effort. It wasn't until 9 years later that by brother-in-law, a veteran homebrewer, set me straight on just how easy and rewarding homebrewing was. Within a month I was brewing better beer than I could buy in stores. I have never gotten carried away with meticulous sanitization, never worried about yeast not doing its thing, and so on and so on, after two years. The worst thing that has happened in these two years has been a ruined batch of cider from using Campden tablets. I believe the most important things are to use good ingredients, use enough time, take a certain amount of care with sanitizing, and to enjoy the hobby. By "certain", I mean whatever works for YOU or ME. Beer is a funny thing. It seems to take on attributes of its home, almost the character of its brewer, something which has been mentioned by both Papazain and Miller, and mentioned by my friends who home brew. Once you work out a system, things seem to go right after that. Finally, Gordon Hester asks about crystal malt: >1- How do I go about crushing it? How crushed does it >need to be? >2- When do I add it to the wort? Some things I have seen In the past, I have cracked the crystal malt with a rolling pin. Now, I use my old grain mill. One shouldn't crush the grain to the point that it powders. I derive its goodness by heating it to just below the boiling point in a kettle, then straining it into the brew boiler. Some of the books recommend skimming it off, but you should be careful to get all the grain out before boiling to avoid tannins in the grain husks. [Florian Bell, Boonesborough, Oregon] Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 89 16:24:19 mdt From: att!iwtio!korz at hplabs.HP.COM Subject: Crystal Malt >In digest #195, Gordon Hester writes: >How do I go about crushing it? Unless you have a grain mill, put the grain in a plastic bag and roll over it with a rolling pin. >How crushed does it need to be? Your goal is to _only_break_open_the_husks_ (not break the malt into small pieces). Ideally, if you could break each grain in half, that would be perfect. >When do I add it to the wort? I put the crystal malt in a grain bag, put it in the kettle with the cold water, and slowly bring the water to a boil (so the sugars in the crystal malt have time to dissolve and so the wort doesn't scorch). As soon as the wort comes to a boil, remove the grain bag. Next, I add the extract and hops and do the main boil. I put a gallon of boiled, refridgerated, airated, tapwater in the primary (so it doesn't crack from the hot wort), pour the wort into the primary, place the grain bag in a huge funnel in the top of the primary, and pour more boiled, refrigerated, airated, tapwater through the grains to bring the level in the primary up to the top of the carboy. The reason I pour the water through the grains is to get the last bit of sugars out of the grains. A few extra notes: 1. If you crush the grains too much, you will have trouble keeping them in the grain bag (if you use one) or getting them out of the wort (if you don't). Also, if you don't use a grain bag, you will have problems sparging (see CJoHB glossary) because the grain bed will be too fine. 2. If you boil the grains, you will have problems with chill haze and astringency. Boiling the husks will cause tannins to be released which will react with the proteins in the wort to produce chill haze when the beer is cold. 3. Crystal malt is fully converted, don't bother to mash it. 4. Crystal malt will add body (and subsequently head), a little sweetness, a little more alcohol, and quite a bit of color to your final product. If you wish to not add color, try Cara-Pils (R) (Dextrine) malt. [I have not tried Cara-Pils so I'm just passing on what I've read]. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 89 08:56:32 PDT From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: From: Patrick T. Garvin "Subject: How reliable is Papiazan, and where is he not to be trusted? I have to agree with your general attitude. Being of a technical bent, I like to know what's going on and why. I personally find Papazian's book almost patronizing in tone. However, I understand that he's trying to reach more of the public than just me. He does know what he's saying, he's just trying to be entertaining enough to hook someone who's not a technical freak into giving this thing a try. The other aspect is that people have been brewing for a long, long, long time and it just works. The technical aspects are minor refinements to the process. That's why he advises "don't worry, be happy", or something. "Papiazan, in his book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" is a little too "vague about certain aspects of brewing, for my satisfaction. If you're really serious, he's too vague about all of them. My particular gripe is that he has a table of water hardness values, but since we all know that Carbonate ions are BAD, he doesn't include them in the table. Well, that's just nonsense, and makes his table useless to me. "Being told not to worry, that everything will turn out all right, always sets "my teeth on edge. I'd prefer to be given information rather than platitudes. There are other books. Get Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer" or even Miller's "The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing" (which it isn't). Get the MBAA's publication "The Practical Brewer" to find out what the industry does and why. Look at "Malting and Brewing Science" by Hough, et al. "What I'm wondering is how good is his science? I'm aware that he writes "for the layperson, and naturally wouldn't go into quite as much detail as "he might otherwise. Papazian won't steer you wrong, but you aren't going to find out why he's right and when you can ignore his rules from his book. "He suggests using, one or two ounces of clorine bleach per five gallons of "water, while one of my kits suggests five ounces of bleach per five "gallons of water. Someone I work with (who has had "some Chemistry") "was of the opinion that five ounces of bleach per five gallons was "insufficient to sanitize. It's a question of strength and time of contact. It's also a case that what we do in our kitchens could never be considered sterile or even sanitized; but our yeast will out if we are just good enough. Physical cleanliness and any reasonable amount of bleach crosses this line. I haven't had any chemistry (since high school), but I would expect that you would have to know a lot about what is hanging around to decide what strength for what time period is sufficient for sterility. "So, I pose the question to the experienced brewers of the list, what "procedures do you follow when making beer, as respects sanitation, etc. As I said above, if you are good enough, the yeast will out. I don't even measure bleach--I use a couple glugs in a bucket and test to make sure that the smell is strong and I can feel it on my hands (being quite alkaline, it has that slimy feel). Everything after the boil gets at least a five minute soak. "(I'm brewing my first batch this weekend, and am feeling the "nervous "father" sensations). [...and in the next message...] "I had panicked when nothing had happened after three hours. I guess I "should have paid attention when Papiazan said "Don't worry." and also ""The yeast have a mind of their own". "After ten hours, there was a healthy head of krausen on top of the beer, and "it had pushed the tube out of the cork. I was never so happy to see anything "in my life. 10 hours is just fine. Sometimes conditions aren't so good and it takes longer (24...48...even more). Usually this results from underpitching, because the yeast don't move onto their fermentation phase until they have reached a level of about 10^7 cells/ml. Homebrewers are notorious underpitchers because nobody wants to hassle making a starter several days ahead. Good luck with your beer; I hope it all turns out well. Cheers! --Darryl Richman Return to table of contents
Date: 6 Jul 89 16:46:52 EDT (Thu) From: wang!mds at uunet.UU.NET (pri=8 Marc San Soucie ms 019-890 x76723) Subject: Sanitizing And Crushing In reference to Steve Anthony's description of his sanitization procedures: My own procedures differ in the odd detail here and there, but what you are doing sounds like a perfectly reasonable compromise between slavish attention to cleanliness and sloth. After all, why should brewing be an unpleasant chore? I haven't had a speck of contamination yet, and for the most part I do things pretty much as you have described them. Except for sucking on siphon hoses. Never could make it work that way... Gordon Hester asks about "well crushed" grains: > How do I go about crushing it? How crushed does it need to be? > When do I add it to the wort? When brewing with grain additives, you're doing something akin to making a fine spaghetti sauce - toss in a bit of this and a pinch of that and a couple huge handfuls of hot peppers and... Crystal malt is a malt which has been processed to contain crystallized sugars within its kernels. Crushing allows hot water to pull more of these sugars out of the grains. Degrees of crushing probably do not greatly affect this activity, so long as the grains are opened up. Extreme crushing (grinding) may actually have negative side effects, such as allowing nasty bits of the grain husk to contribute possibly harsh flavors to your beer. I buy some of my crystal malt pre-crushed, and crush the rest by hand with a heavy glass in a mixing bowl. I wear a leather glove to protect my hand from the day, sure to come, when the glass breaks. This technique is so stupid as to be laughable. Someday will I buy a proper crusher? Other grains, such as black malt or roasted barley, can be treated more like the little red peppers in Szechuan food - more crushing for more flavor, less for less. In some stouts I like a knock-me-off-my-feet assault of flavor, so I grind the black malt up into atom-sized particles. This is an acquired taste, as many find ground black malt too aggressive. I can't get enough of it. Papazian does have a chapter, or section thereof, about using grain adjuncts. He recommends putting them into the cold water as it is heated, and removing them when the water comes to a boil. This is a lazy enough technique for me, so I have never strayed far from it. Professionals and all-grain brewers will surely have a host of improved suggestions to make, and if I ever see one which isn't a lot of work, I'll surely try it. Basically, do what you have time for. Whole grains, uncrushed, will add nice flavors. Crushing will add more. Grinding still more. Stop when you've had enough. Drink the result. Marc San Soucie The John Smallbrewers Massachusetts Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 89 18:02:25 MST From: asphaug at hiips.lpl.arizona.edu (Erik Asphaug) Subject: Excess fermentation and bad beer Although our first two batches of ale have turned out decent enough (the second batch was awarded a number of complements by guests who weren't even drunk yet) we have had problems with the aging process (the beer, not ourselves so far). While the first weeks of top popping go well, after a few more weeks at ca. 75 - 80 degree temperatures (or even lower here at the lab) the brew fizzes excessively and then foams all over the place when poured, and raises somewhat of a stink. Only a loving father coul drink such a poor production. My question is: Do we have a problem with wild yeasts or the method of our aging? I have noticed that the brew kept in the fridge held up well, and even improved -- although I'm certain that as the brew became scarcer, each bottle was enjoyed more. But the stuff left in the cupboard deteriorated within a matter of a month. Another matter entirely: My friend is interested in visiting the local feed store in order to sprout his own barley or whatever -- i.e., make this here brewing process cheaper than purchasing a nice sixpack of Pacifico and one of Watneys for later. If any of you out there are the victims of overtight pursestrings, please let me know of a horsefeed ale worth brewing and drinking. Gan Bei! Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #196, 07/07/89
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