HOMEBREW Digest #206 Fri 21 July 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Champagne Bottles (Steve Anthony)
  2 liter soda bottles (Ihor W. Slabicky)
  Kit Yeasts - Who Makes Them? (Marc San Soucie)
  Bye bye (Peter Klausler)
  which cider you on? (Dick Dunn)
  lager, plastic, cider (Donald P Perley)
  about two-liter bottles (MANSFIEL)
  Re: Re: Lager question (florianb)
  bigger bottles (Dick Dunn)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 20 Jul 89 10:34:29 EDT From: Steve Anthony <steveo at Think.COM> Subject: Champagne Bottles Chuck Ferguson writes: >I have heard it is feasible to bottle in champagne bottles. Some >champagne bottles have a lip on them that will accept a bottle cap and >some bottle cappers are high enough to cap a champagne bottle. >Unfortunately, I was not able to lay my hands on a suitable supply of >empty champagne bottles and I had no desire to drink sufficient >quantities of champagne to collect my own supply. You can get a supply of champagne bottles by going to New Years Eve parties, weddings, etc... and asking for the empties. Over a few years, I've garnered about 4 cases of the things. You do have to be carefull, as some of the bottles have the wrong size mouth. Bring a bottle cap to check. The black frosted bottles are definitely the wrong size. It's a pleasure to get some Dom Perignon bottles and sip the champagne and then at a later date sip your own homebrew from the same bottle. With regard to capping, I've tried regular caps, but haven't been able to get a good seal. So I'm switching to the plastic champagne caps (reuseabe) and the wire holders (not reuseable, but cheap & biodegradeable). Another advantage is that the quantity of bottles to be washed is lower per batch. Finally, the amount of brew in each bottle is perfect... a pint for me and a half-pint for my wife. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 89 10:37:26 EDT From: iws at rayssdb.RAY.COM (Ihor W. Slabicky) Subject: 2 liter soda bottles ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 19 Jul 89 12:57:45 EDT From: ferguson%X102C at HARRIS-ATD.COM (ferguson ct 71078) Subject: Bottling in 2 Liter Pop Bottles Has anyone else tried bottling in 2 liter bottles that can confirm my findings or warn of possible hazards? Does anyone have any data on the rupture strength of 12oz. glass beer bottles? My only concern would be about the alcohol in the brew leaching some of the plastics out from the bottle. Yes, some liquors are bottled in plastic - wines, too. I'd go with those types of plastic bottles rather than the soda bottles since they are made to hold alcohol. This is based on what I have read in Packaging magazine, which covers all sorts of packaging stuff, including the use of plastic bottles for wine, beer, and alcohol. I do not recall any specific plastic types which should be used or not used. You may be completely safe, since your brew stays in the bottle for a relatively short time. Most plastic bottles (like the 2 liter plastic sode bottles) are made from layers of various materials, to give them strength and to make them less porous to gas pass through. If you keep soda in a plastic bottle for a year or so - it'll go flat. Soda in glass bottles keeps it's carbonation for a long time. I would recommend that you get nice, clean, undented, and unscratched plastic bottles for your brews. You might try a local bottling plant and buy some of their empties before they ever fill them. The other thing to remember is that the cap is made of aluminum and screws on. The threads may wear out and deform after some time. This may not be noticable to you, but the bottle will not hold the carbonation. Switch to fresh caps even if you don't switch bottles that often to prevent this. Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 89 11:06:31 EDT (Thu) From: mds at wang.WANG.COM (Marc San Soucie) Subject: Kit Yeasts - Who Makes Them? Here's an interesting one for you that I just stumbled over. I haven't done much kit brewing, preferring to slop together my own recipes from relatively raw materials (extracts and stuff), but lately I've been trying out some kits in order to try their malts. Recent purchases have included Dogbolter, Bierkeller (unhopped), Kwoffit Bitter, Telford's Nut Brown Ale, and others that I cannot recall. In each instance the kit was accompanied by a cute little packet of dried yeast. Some are packed in papered foil, others in foil, others in plastic. I have had some excellent beers made from some of these kits, notably the Dogbolter and Kwoffit, and in each instance it struck me that the yeast was exuding particularly fine aromas as it worked. This led me to think that some cheap culturing would allow me to use one of these fine yeasts in a scratch batch, producing a superior batch of beer. This in turn led me to my local homebrew supply shop, the newly redecorated Beer And Wine Hobby in Woburn, where I expressed my satisfaction with the Dogbolter yeast to Karin Baker, the proprietor. Karin, in her rather inimitable fashion, twinkled her eyes and let out a quick chuckle, then proceeded to laugh outright, after which she said, "Well, I'll let you in on a little secret...", whereupon she informed me and my friend that Dogbolter yeast is actually Edme yeast, repackaged for Dogbolter. Me being slow to catch on, I asked "How about Kwoffit?" She said, "Same there", and with a sweep of her hand toward her racks of malt extracts, said "Almost all of those yeasts are Edme. They package most of the kits for the malters." She was most amused, and I was most surprised. I have had good luck with Edme yeast in the past, but I certainly didn't expect this. Could it in fact be the case that special aromas and flavors were the result of malt flavors, hops, and/or temperature exclusively, that yeast was not a factor? I am still rather amazed by this turn of fact. Or is it mere supposition? Has someone pulled wool over Karin's eyes as well? Are there further facts out there to reinforce either side of this question? Let us hear... Marc San Soucie The John Smallbrewers Massachusetts mds at wang.wang.com -or- uunet!wang!mds Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 89 10:41:17 CDT From: pmk at bedlam.cray.com (Peter Klausler) Subject: Bye bye I am moving from Cray Research in Minnesota to Cray Computer in Colorado. Please remove my subscription to the homebrew digest, until we get some e-mail connections established at my new job. I'd ask for recommendations for pubs and supply shops in Colorado, but tomorrow's my last day in the office and I don't think responses would make it here in time. So, instead, I'll just bid you all farewell; thanks for the great brewing information. Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 89 07:47:15 MDT (Thu) From: hplabs!utah-cs!cs.utexas.edu!raven!rcd (Dick Dunn) Subject: which cider you on? The discussion about corn/table sugar -> cidery taste reminds me of a talk at an AHA conference a number of years ago. In that talk, Michael Lewis (UC Davis) asserted that using ordinary table sugar in a beer did *not* cause a cidery taste. They had done some careful brews and blind tests. His conjecture was that "cidery taste" was folklore, aided by the difficulty of reproducing taste-test results when there's a significant time lag between them. Beers brewed with a lot of table sugar had less body, of course. I'd add to that the fact that a lighter beer is less able to mask any contamination or off-taste. So...has anyone followed this thread of reasoning since then? I don't really recall how long ago this was, but it has to be at least five years. The myth/fact of cidery taste remains as healthy as it's ever been...so have we gained some information (somehow refuting what Lewis said then) or lost some information? --- Dick Dunn {ncar;ico;stcvax}!raven!rcd (303)494-0965 or rcd at raven.uucp Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 89 13:39:48 EDT From: perley at glacier.crd.ge.com (Donald P Perley) Subject: lager, plastic, cider > >What would you recommend--bottling or further aging in the carboy? >Thanks. > >[Florian Bell, Boonesborough, Oregon] If what you want is a lager, then age it. Eckharts "Treatise on Lager Beer" (or something like that) has a table of reccommended lagering times vs temperature. In short it says: colder = longer. If you are sure fermentation is complete, you can cap the lock to keep oxygen from diffusing in. re: plastic soda bottles I always do at least a few on batches that I don't keg. As well as checking carbonation, they are better for taking "off site" because of the bigger size, and I don't mind as mutch if I don't get them back. Remember to keep them in the dark, even more than regular beer bottles. The caps will gradually wear, and won't seal as well after too many uses. Either rotate them out of your inventory as you drink more soda, or your homebrew shop should be able to get new caps. (or get an odd reputation for begging screw soda caps from your friends.) re: cider >What is required for cider brewing in terms of equipment and >ingredients? Are there any good books on the subject? Finally, >does anyone know any good recipes for Cider? Garden Way puts out a good book on making hard cider, a mix of history and technique, it is a couple hundred pages. As far as equipment, if you have a good set of brewing equipment that should be most of it. An titration acidity test kit will help ($5-$10 at a winemaking shop), and a press if you are starting from apples instead of sweet cider. If you have a choice, get or make the sweet cider with a good percentage (around 1/3) of crab apples, and avoid the desert type apples (mac, red delicious) in favor of ones with stronger flavor. The simplest thing you can do is pasteurize the cider (170 F for 10 minutes), add sugar (cane) to get OG ~ 1.080 (it will probably start around 1.045-50, so roughly a 5 lb bag per 5 gallon batch). Use champaigne yeast and proceed just as if it was beer. I reccoment a 2 stage ferment. This will give a dry sparkling cider. semi-dry to semi-sweet is trickier, especially with commercially grown apples. -don perley Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 89 12:23 EDT From: MANSFIEL at ECS.UMASS.EDU Subject: about two-liter bottles Two-liter soda bottles are made of polyethylene-terephthalate (PET). This material is permeable to both carbon dioxide and oxygen. If beer (or Coke for that matter) is stored in PET for any length of time longer than, say, a month or so the beer will lose its carbonation and will become oxidized. If you have ever seen coke in 2-liter bottles on sale real cheap it's possible that it has been around awhile and is on the flat side. As for the "rupture strength" of glass bottles, there is not a simple answer. Glass has reasonably good tensile strength, but it is a brittle material and fracture machanics are a very important consideration. Imperfections in any material such as scratches, voids, cracks, etc. can dramatically increase the stresses in the material in the vacinity of the flaw. The more brittle a material is, the more dramatic these increases in local stresses can be. As a result, the amount of pressure a glass bottle can hold depends on depends on the flaws in the bottle as much as it depends on the tensile strength of the glass. It should be noted that when one uses glass for bottling that only containers designed to hold pressurized contents (beer, soda, champagne, etc) should be used. Personally, I prefer to use new (unscratched) bar-type brown glass bottles. The brown glass isn't any stronger, but it prevents at least some amount of light from getting to the beer. Though it is unlikely that scratches on the surface of the bottles are goingto cause problems under normal circumstances, using unscratched bottles may provide a larger margin for error in case of accidental overpriming or contamination at the time of bottling. Todd Mansfield Univ. of Massachusetts MANSFIEL at UMAECS Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 89 13:22:10 PDT (Thu) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: Re: Re: Lager question So I have had two replies to the bottle-or-not lager question, one advising immediate bottling and the other advising aging for a month minimum. Although the sg is where I expect the final sg to be, the bubbles are continuing to come at a rate above what I usually get for brews ready to bottle. Therefore, I will let it sit in the carboy for a couple more weeks at least. John Polstra advised... >Hey, Florian . . . throw out that s**t. Buy a liquid yeast, *any* >liquid yeast. You'll never regret it. The complete absence of "crud" Yes, I plan to go to liquid yeast and propagate it, just as soon as I finish remodelling the kitchen, change the grease in my transmission, split up all the firewood for winter, finish with the landscaping, etc and so on and so on. Just too many hobbies... On the question of 2-liter bottles, I think I mentioned in a digest about a zillion issues back that a friend of mine bottles in those things. He demonstrated their robustness by throwing a pressurized bottle up into the air and letting it crash down on the pavement without exploding. He also mentioned having thrown one out of a speeding car... They are probably good for withstanding the pressure. The other questions have to do with light spoilage and leaching of the plastic. It looks kind of strange, too, when one puts beer into a soft drink bottle. Hey, now that we are on the subject, can't soft drink glass bottles withstand the pressure of beer? How could one get a bottle any thicker than a Pepsi bottle? [Florian Bell, Boonesborough, Oregon] Return to table of contents
Date: 20 Jul 89 08:26:40 MDT (Thu) From: hplabs!utah-cs!cs.utexas.edu!raven!rcd (Dick Dunn) Subject: bigger bottles > I have heard it is feasible to bottle in champagne bottles. Strictly, nit-pick-ily, no. It's possible to bottle in American sparkling wine bottles, but not Champagne bottles... >...Some > champagne bottles have a lip on them that will accept a bottle cap and > some bottle cappers are high enough to cap a champagne bottle. Almost all sparkling wine bottles have a crown-cap rim. In principle, this is because good sparkling wine (made in the "methode Champenoise") finishes fermentation in the bottle with a metal crown cap on it. The last stage of preparation has slowly inverted the bottle to bring the yeast to the cap. The neck of the bottle is frozen, the bottle is brought upright and opened, the carbonation ejects a plug of frozen wine with the sediment, and the bottle is corked and wired. But I digress... So there's a reason for the crown-cap rim on some bottles. Bulk-fermented sparkling wines ("Charmat" process) don't go through the riddling/disgorging process, but they all seem to have the same style of rim anyway. The catch is that Champagne bottles...in fact, all foreign bottles...use a larger rim than American bottles. It is just barely possible to cap the foreign bottles with normal caps with some cappers--BUT it is also possible to crack the rim and drop a piece into a bottle while you're bottling! So I recommend sticking to the American ones. If you're not sure, just compare to a beer bottle. This suggests a good source of sparkling wine bottles: Find a restaurant that serves a "champagne brunch" (usu Sun) and make arrangements with them to pick up their bottles. You may need to offer the help a couple of bottles of homebrew, and be sure you show up to get the bottles if they agree to save them, but you should be able to get enough bottles for a lot of beer in just a couple of Sundays. Certainly the bottles are all strong enough for beer; sparkling wines are bottled at much higher pressures. TRY the bottles with your capper before the bottling session. I've found that they just fit under my slot-machine capper. The magnums won't fit it, but I have a hand capper (the two-lever style) that I can use on the magnums. HOWEVER, I found that this hand capper got into an argument with some of the regular bottles and would crack the second rim section (the part the capper pulls against from below) on one style of bottle. This is not something you want to discover while you're bottling! Magnums (if you can get them) work just as well as standard-size bottles, but they're a lot harder to come by. (Same caveat for foreign vs domestic applies here--the crown sizes are the same as for the regular.) A magnum is great for parties. I've never had the luck to get my hands on anything larger, but I think I've seen that at some size they don't crown-cap the bottle. (That may even apply to a jereboam.) > I heard of a homebrewer who bottled in 2 liter pop bottles and decided > to try it myself. I used one 2-liter Watney's bottle as a test. It seems to have worked well. I don't know how it's going to be to clean it after it's been used a few times, but the first shot worked fine and all the mentioned advantages hold for it. It has some brown tint to it, but I don't know whether that is really functional, since it's not very dark and the inherent transmission properties of the plastic (probably PET; anyone know for sure?) are surely different from glass. --- Dick Dunn {ncar;ico;stcvax}!raven!rcd (303)494-0965 or rcd at raven.uucp Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #206, 07/21/89
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