HOMEBREW Digest #214 Sat 29 July 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Wood Beer (Tom Hotchkiss)
  Beer rating scales (Robert Virzi)
  Why not to boil grains (Michael Berry)
  various (florianb)
  Correction to prior posting (Gary Benson)
  Polstra, Lager, Steam Beer (Gary Benson)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 28 Jul 89 8:06:54 MDT From: Tom Hotchkiss <trh at hpestrh> Subject: Wood Beer I'd like to add my 2 cents worth to a topic that came up a few days ago. Someone inquired about the use of wood chips in beer. Well, I tried adding some oak chips to Charlie P's India Pale Ale recipie. I steamed the chips about 15min. before adding to the primary fermenter. I added a large handful (probably more like 2 handfuls) to a 5 gallon batch. When moving the beer to the secondary 3 days later, I was afraid that a fat handful of chips for 3 days wasn't going to do much. So, I added another fat handful of steamed oak chips to the secondary (the first set of chips was left behind in the racking process). I left the beer in the secondary for about 1 month (I know, too long) and bottled. Last night I tasted the first bottle and... The combination of a dry, high alcohol (OG = 52, FG = 02), oaky beer nearly knocks you over. I'm pleased with the results but the oak flavor is too intense. So, if you try wood chips, I'd suggest using a modest quantity on the first attempt since a lot of flavor comes out of those little buggers. Tom Hotchkiss P.S.- I don't know if this made any difference, but I steamed the chips using a small quantity of water. When adding the chips, I also added the water used for steaming. I also don't know how long you have to steam the chips, but it appears 15 min. was enough. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 89 10:20:31 EDT From: Robert Virzi <rv01 at gte.com> Subject: Beer rating scales Hi all! I am planning on having a party soon, where all the guests bring some exotic or unusual beer. The idea is to have a beer tasting, similar to that commonly done for wines. Some of the brews will be homebrews, others will be of the store-bought variety. My question is, does anyone have brew-related scoring sheets, similar to those used for wine tastings but adapted to brews? Typically, these sheets have the particular items-to-be-tasted listed as rows, with characteristics-to-be-rated appearing as columns. The characteristics are things like color, taste, aftertaste, etc. I suspect that these characteristics are different for brews than for wine, for example 'hoppiness' might well be included. Does anyone know of a standard set, applicable to a broad range of brews, that we could use? If so, please e-mail or snail-mail me. I'll post a summary of what I recieve if there is enough interest. Bob Virzi rv01 at gte.com GTE Labs 40 Sylvan Rd Waltham, MA 02254 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 89 08:38:56 mdt From: Michael Berry <mcb at hpfcls> Subject: Why not to boil grains Andrew (Drew) Lynch <atl at ardent.com> asks: > I have noticed quite a few people mentioning that when using whole > grain malts, (crystal, chocolate, etc.) that they should not be > boiled, only steeped. Where does this fit into the brewing process? > What is the proper "steeping" temperature. And, most importantly, why > not boil? For the same reason that you don't boil the tea bags in the water - too many tannins get into the brew. When you make tea, you boil the water, take it off the stove (or whatever), and let the tea steep. The same should be done with grains for homebrewing. Michael Berry ARPA:mcb%hpfcls at hplabs.HP.COM UUCP:hplabs!hpfcla!mcb Return to table of contents
Date: 28 Jul 89 08:36:29 PDT (Fri) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: various In HB.DIG #212, Darryl Richman comments: >Have you been to Merrie Olde Englande? A pint of "Bitter" is not very, >on average. (The neat thing about having a zillion little breweries is I agree with this. The term "bitter" apparently applied earliest to the hopped variety of ale. But then Darryl comments: >When the English found that they could grow quite nice hops, suddenly >it appeared in everyone's beer. (In fact, "beer" is supposed to be >a contraction from "bitter".) So, you could have ale or bitter. Hold on a minute...According to Webster's, both "beer" and "bitter" derived from the Old English, but from different words. "beer" also appeared in the Old High German. Certainly, beer was brewed long before hops was added, and it looks as if it was called something like "beer" long before hops was added. ::::::::: There were several comments (mostly negative) from various people about dry yeast. I suppose I have to speak up in defense of dry yeast for the following reasons. First, it is simpler to use. Second, it can be kept in storage for months and still be utilized. In addition, I have found that Red Star Ale Yeast produces fruity (call it estery, stinking, winey or whatever) tastes, which I happen to like a lot. This taste reminds me of the original Red Hook (which is rumored to be a mistake, maybe they used Red Star in the beginning!), which is no longer available, and which I would pay handsomely to taste again. Besides, even if there happen to be off tastes (which I have never noticed, and my friends have never noticed in my ales), the product is still better than most commercial beers, and that's the bottom line, anyway! If one has time, money, and inclination, it's good to go to liquid yeast, but if not, then dry yeast is a good compromise. :::::::::::: Daryl Richman also adds: >My only experience with an extract-brewing pub is two of the McMeniman's >(Cornelius Pass, Raleigh Hills) and their beers seemed acceptable to me, >although they were all a bit sweet and overly hopped. (No, I didn't get >to try Ruby Tuesday... I wasn't there on a Tuesday, I guess ;-). I have >had the same experience at mashing pubs as well. (I'm not picking on Daryl, it's just that he raised some good points.) My experiences with the brews produced by the McMeniman's would not allow me to call them acceptable. Incidentally, some nymnoid behind the bar at the Cornelius Pass was blabbing on about how great the McMeniman's swill was, and in the process mentioned that they were mashing. Who knows? Finally, in HB.DIG # 213, John Polstra says: >Just as a data point, I've taken homebrew as carry-on at least 4 or 5 >times. There's never been any hassle with the security people. Recently, I tried to bring back a 1-liter bottle of scotch from England. When I got to Portland, I was really hassled about it. They even made me open the bottle and let them smell it! On the other hand, when I took a half case of beer back to a friend in Oklahoma, the security wanted to know what was in the carry on. I said, "A whole bunch of beer." They let me through without hassle. [Florian Bell, Boonesborough, Oregon] Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 89 09:12:04 PDT From: hplabs!rutgers!fluke.com!inc (Gary Benson) Subject: Correction to prior posting This is a correction to my earlier submission to the Digest. I mentioned a newsletter called "Noggins". It is actually "Noggins Brewsheet". I said it looked to be especially for homebrewers. Wrong again. It is a monthly sheet put out by Noggins Westlake and Noggins Brooklyn Square, which judging from the major part of the text are brewpubs here in the Seattle area. Apparently they use the Brewsheet to disseminate information about what beers they are brewing and featuring at their two locations. There is a "Homebrewers Corner", which is where I got the information about John Polstra and the Brews Brothers. Finally, I said John had taken third place in the "Munich Ale" category of the AHA competition. Actually his entry was in the Munich LAGER category. The President of the Brews Brothers, took first in the British bitters category and was overall winner in the Pale Ale classification. Sorry about the misinformation - next time I won't try posting from memory! -- Gary Benson, inc at tc.fluke.COM Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 89 14:35:53 PDT From: hplabs!rutgers!fluke.com!inc (Gary Benson) Subject: Polstra, Lager, Steam Beer Greetings -- Last weekend on the counters of two local homebrew shops (Libert Malt Supply and the Cellar, both in Seattle) were copies of a single-page newsletter called "Noggins". I had never seen it before, but it looks to be put together specifically for area homebrewers. The issue I read extended congratulations that I wanted to pass on to the readers of the HomeBrew Digest. A regular contributor here, John Polstra, took a third place in the Munich-style Ale category in the AHA competitions! According to the article, John is a member of a local club, The Brews Brothers, another member of which took a first place in Pale Ale I believe. Just wanted to pass that along, and ask if John would post a little about the Brews Brothers, maybe the prize-winning recipes (and some hints on technique!) In a recent Digest, John was urging "florianb" to start using liquid yeast, saying that it was the single most important contributor to his brewing of fine beers. I'd be curious to find out other secrets to his success. I am relatively new to homebrewing, and while my brews are usually better than commercial decoctions, I can't yet call anything I've done a "fine beer". But then I've only ever used dry yeast... My last brew was my first attempt at a lager. I do not own suitable refrigeration equipment, so I was hoping the cool Washington State spring would cooperate. It did for a time - about 2 weeks of nearly continuous 55 degrees F in the garage, but just as activity was slowing down, it turned warm (65 at night, 70 days). My timing was getting tight -- I was leaving on a 2-week trip. I cleared out my food-fridge and put the carboy in there for about 1 week at 40 degrees, then bottled. Now, after 1 month in the bottle, there is a distinct sour component to the taste. Any ideas why? It was an all-extract beer: OG 1060, FG 1020 (in fact, it was 1020 the whole time it was in the secondary). It tastes and smells fresh, but I wonder if during the 65 - 70 degree period I somehow got an infection? This is not a "cidery" taste, just sour. A side note: a local micro-micro brew called Kuefner Brau (which may be out of business by now) was VERY sour tasting the 4 times I had it. It was kind of hard to get used to, but not really offensive when the beer was REAL cold. Anyway, right now I'm 24 hours into my first try at a "Steam Beer", and wanted to check on something I was told...that this type of beer uses lager yeast, but at ale temperatures. Is that correct? Are there other things that differentiate Steam Beer? What kind of fermentation time am I likely to experience -- like ale or like lager? The primary took off like a shot (Red Star lager yeast started in 1 cup of wort plus a tablespoon of corn sugar). But now, a day later, it has slowed down to one bubble every few seconds. Last night, I couldn't keep water in the S-shaped airlock I use - the gas was pouring out so fast. Is this thing going to be over before I have time to go to the secondary fermenter? With this kind of activity, would I do better to just forget the carboy and use a single-stage fermentation? I am NOT worried, mind you. Even my limited experience tells me that it is very difficult to do anything really *wrong*, that things usually work out well as long as I maintain a reasonable level of sanitation and don't try to rush things. This newsgroup has been invaluable in learning these important lessons, and as usual, I thank all who contribute and especially Rob Gardner, our fine moderator. Gary Benson, inc at tc.fluke.COM Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #214, 07/29/89
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