HOMEBREW Digest #2853 Mon 19 October 1998

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		Digest Janitor: janitor@hbd.org
		Many thanks to the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers of 
		Livonia, Michigan for sponsoring the Homebrew Digest.
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  Northern California Home Brewer's Festival (Charles Burns)
  Recently threadless topic (PAUL W HAAF JR)
  Crunchy frog lager ("Richard Hooper")
  RE: Bridging from Homebrewer to Brew Pub or MicroB ("S. Wesley")
  Haafbrau1: Forgot to cross the T (PAUL W HAAF JR)
  RE:  Large Fermenters (follow up) ("S. Wesley")
  Poor head ("charles beaver")
  Whirling in a 1/2 bbl? (MaltHound)
  GFI/Acids in Beer/Acid in Soda/Hydro/Tannin (AJ)
  THANKS (Henry Paine)
  RIMS Heat Source Suggestions (Jean-Sebastien Morisset)
  More GFCI ("John A. MacLaughlin")
  mushrooms & homebrew (Mike Allred)
  CO2 Cylinder ROCKETS!!! ("Robert G. Poirier, Jr.")
  Re: Ginger (Tim Anderson)
  Yeast pitching temp / sanitation ("George De Piro")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 16 Oct 98 17:12 PDT From: caburns at egusd.k12.ca.us (Charles Burns) Subject: Northern California Home Brewer's Festival The Road to Napa Dave Brattstrom and I decided to go down together. Since I was only going to spend the day Saturday and return and Dave was off to Chicago that evening for the Real Ale Festival and 100 cask conditioned ales, it made sense to go in one car. Dave was kind enough to drive while I got to do some sight seeing for once. I arrived at Dave's house out in the boondocks around Plymouth at 8:30 AM with 2 kegs and various bottles. Dave and Dawne had a nice cup of tea and belgian waffle waiting for me. Yummy. We loaded the car with Dave's stuff (he'd sent 3 kegs ahead the day before) and off we went. Since Dave was driving and he'd just heard about some new barleywines at Corti Bros, we just had to stop there. I can't tell you how much $$ he spent on 14 bottles of beer, but some of those barleywines are 9 years old. Off we go back on the freeway again. We got to talking about golf and Dave describes this game of death valley desert golf. Get a 4 wheel drive vehicle, start at one end of death valley. Drive a few miles, pick a big rock or cactus as the next hole, get out and start hitting a tennis ball with your driver. Hey, Kevin, sounds like fun for our next group activity - a desert best ball scramble! Of course you've got to down a few homebrews before starting. We stopped at Pedricks Produce market off the freeway around Dixon. Picked up some pistacios, dried mango and another big bag of chips. Our plan was to arrive at Napa around 10:00, made it about 11:30. Added my 12 gallons to the biggest pile of homebrew I've ever seen and proceeded to trash my tastebuds with Gary's 115 IBU rocket fuel. I had a lot of fun, saw some old buddies (hi Randy and Dan and...) drank some good beer and wished like hell I could have stayed the night. Next year. Charley (drooling over these 14 bottles of Dave's barleywine in my pantry) in N.Cal Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 14:42:17 -0400 From: haafbrau1 at juno.com (PAUL W HAAF JR) Subject: Recently threadless topic I made an unhopped braggot using dark malt extract some time back. It was so good, I'm almost out. It was pleasantly sweet but not too sweet. It was well received by those who've tasted it. Actually, they were pleasantly surprised by it. If I make a hopped version, will it end up tasting more like a strong Ale or a barleywine? I've had La Fin du Monde, but never a barleywine. Has anybody tried making this with a wheat malt extract? If so, how was it? My previous batch had 1/2 gal dark malt ext. & 1/2 gal wildflower honey for a 5 gal batch. I used an Ale yeast. I let it age about 2 months after bottling. OK, I tried a couple before then, but this is when it started tasting really good. I must have been psychic, because I labeled the last 4-6 bottles as witches braggot, with appropriate backgrounding in the labels. I probably made this batch in Feb or March at the latest. Wassail, Paul Haaf haafbrau1atjunodotcom ___________________________________________________________________ You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail. Get completely free e-mail from Juno at http://www.juno.com or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866] Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 08:31:46 +0200 From: "Richard Hooper" <richard at dundee.lia.net> Subject: Crunchy frog lager Paul Niebergall wrote [concerning fruit flies in yeast]:- Why is it that we think that it takes nothing less than a couple of billion yeast cells to make a good batch of beer, and yet a few bacteria will absolutely ruin a batch of beer? A couple of years ago I used to cool off my wort outdoors with an immersion chiller in my 50litre boiler, loosely covered with a stainless steel lid. This process took about an hour. On one occasion at the end of that period I noticed a real, dead, uncooked house-fly floating in the now-cooled wort [apologies to Monty Python]. As I had spent the best part of that day producing afore-mentioned wort in my RIMS, I did the traditional African thing: - scooped it out and carried on regardless We never noticed any difference in the flavour, but I must confess to deriving a certain pleasure from informing my spouse about the incident - after the beer was consumed. Regards from South Africa Richard Hooper Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 07:52:57 -0700 From: "S. Wesley" <sWesley at maine.maine.edu> Subject: RE: Bridging from Homebrewer to Brew Pub or MicroB Dear Richard, You can access most of Title 27 at the BATF website. Try this URL: http://www.atf.treas.gov/core/regulations/main.htm . Good Luck Simon "s is for spam" Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 09:02:48 -0400 From: haafbrau1 at juno.com (PAUL W HAAF JR) Subject: Haafbrau1: Forgot to cross the T About six months ago I made a very tasty mead I dubbed Sacked White Hippo. I'm sure most can figure out why. I had used about 8 green tea bags and maybe 4 black tea bags. It cleared quickly and the tea rounded things out nicely. I liked it enough to roughly duplicate it, although I did use a different yeast. After it has now spent about a month or so (notes are in the garage), I realized that I forgot to add the tea!!! Is it too late to add it? Should I add a strong brewed tea or the tea bags to the fermenter? I don't mind cloudy mead, and other's opinions don't cause me to worry, but damn if that last batch didn't taste great and look real perty. Private e-mail is preferred, as I need this info soon. Wassail, Paul Haaf haafbrau1atjunodotcom - --------- End forwarded message ---------- ___________________________________________________________________ You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail. Get completely free e-mail from Juno at http://www.juno.com or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866] Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 09:23:35 -0700 From: "S. Wesley" <sWesley at maine.maine.edu> Subject: RE: Large Fermenters (follow up) At first it may seem that switching from five gallon carboy's to fifteen gallon demi-john's will make your life easier. In reality you will be just changing problems. Your full fermenter will weigh about 150 lbs. If you plan on transferring by siphoning you will need to elevate the fermenter. This requires two people to do "safely". I don't want to think about what would happen if you dropped one of these things when it was full. Recall the post from earlier this year about the guy who dropped the five gallon carboy on his foot and wound up in the ER. You can reduce the weight you have to lift by siphoning to another container on the same level until the levels are equal, but this is very slow. The other option is pumping which means sanitizing and cleaning a pump. By the way you will need a sanitary self priming pump not one of the mag drive pumps many homebrewers use, which must be gravity fed. Watch out for trapped air and oxidization. Once your beer is ready for packaging you will probably want to empty the whole fermenter in one shot. This means bottling or kegging all of it in one shot (You'll need a lot of soda kegs or bottles if you brew more than one batch at a time), or transfering 2/3 of it into carboys and only packaging part of the batch. You are now back where you started from with a lot of carboys to worry about. You can move up to using 1/2 barrel kegs, but they are heavy, more difficult to clean, require different hardware, and are difficult to fit into most home brewing fridges. Next there is cleaning and sanitizing. You'll need a large amount of sanitizing solution, and if you want to avoid dumping it every time you brew you'll need somewhere to store it. Cleaning a fermenter this size is not as easy as cleaning a five gallon carboy. The added weight and bulk make it hard to handle safely. You may find yourself straining your back leaning over the bath tub shaking a heavy fragile object to remove that yeast deposit. I'd rather clean three five gallon carboys than one 15 gallon demi-john any day. My brewing/business partner and I have quite a bit of experience using fermenters (plastic and stainless) of this size and larger and neither of us would consider using glass on this scale for the simple reason that we do not feel that it is safe. Best Wishes Simon "s is for spam" Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 07:41:01 -0500 From: "charles beaver" <cbeav at netnitco.net> Subject: Poor head Hi all, I made a batch of oatmeal stout with 4 lb of oats in a total grain bill of 24 lb. It tastes great, but the head fades away quickly. I mashed at 158 F. The glasswear is clean. The beer is well conditioned. All my other beers have never presented this problem. Any ideas? Is it the oats? HELP! Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 09:38:18 EDT From: MaltHound at aol.com Subject: Whirling in a 1/2 bbl? In HBD 2843 James Spies <Spies at dhcd.state.md.us> asks for input on how best to seperate wort from the hop spooge in the kettle. I have set up my 1/2 barrel boiler with a piece of 3/8ths inch soft copper tubing on the inside, running down to the bottom center of the keg. On the end of this tube I wire a copper "chore boy" scrubber thingee. Since I typically use at least some, if not all, whole hops in the kettle, I do not attempt to get any kind of a whirlpool going. Instead, I just let the hops fall where they may to the bottom and form a filter bed for the cold break that precipitates during use of the immersion chiller. After a nominal settling time (~30-45 minutes after chilling) I open the outlet ball valve and the typical results are crystal clear wort. The siphon action of the 3/8ths tubing allows all of the wort to be removed with less than a cup or two remaining behind with the trub and the excellent filtering action of the hop leaves trap the lion's share of the break material. I have not (yet?) tested this set-up with straight pellets, but I guess you might have problems with the chore-boy plugging up with the hop spooge. YMMV Best Regards, Fred Wills Fearless Freddie's Homebrewery Londonderry, NH Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 10:39:13 -0400 From: AJ <ajdel at mindspring.com> Subject: GFI/Acids in Beer/Acid in Soda/Hydro/Tannin James Tiefenthal missed my point on GFI's. That's appropriate as my point was in error. Spencer pointed out in private correspondence that it wouldn't make much sense to sense the green wire because it's current through an external path (namely the user) that the devices are intended to protect against. They sense imbalance between the white and black wires. This basic scheme would work for 240 as well except where there is an assymetrical load. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Matt Comstock asked me to take a look at his post of yesterday and comment. I only had one point that I thought needed to be raised and that is that when an acid is used to bring the pH of a solution to a value that is more than about 2 pH units away from the pK (a measure of the acid strength) of the acid, the proton (hydrogen ion) associated with that pK can be considered fully (though its actually 99%) dissociated from the acid. If the target pH is 1 from the pK, the acid is 91% dissociated. Thus to acidify mash or water to pH 5 with lactic acid (single pK at 3.86) would require only 7% more moles of lactic acid than phosphoric acid (first pK of 2.12). By the same reasoning, if the target pH is less than a pK by 2 or more we can consider that the proton associated with that pK is not released to any appreciable extent. Thus in calculating the amount of phosphoric acid required to lower pH into the 5's you can ignore the second proton of phosphoric acid (pK 7.2) and the third (pK 12.44). As Matt pointed out, however, if taking a chem exam, you'd better explain why your'e ignoring them. Looking over Matt's post sent me back to http://brewery.org/brewery/library/AcidifWaterAJD0497.html as a convenient place to look up pK's where I noticed that the pK value for lactic acid is given as 3.08. The 3.86 value cited above is the correct one. Anyone know how we can get this fixed as apparently people use that page to calculate acid additions? Finally, the issue of calcium phosphate precipitation. As Matt said, chemistry is tricky and this is an area where that's true. The numbers I posted a few days ago are based on precipitation of calcium phosphate (tribasic) according to a solubility product pKs = 31. I've seen other data which show this pKs as having a value of 25. Werner and Stumm (Aquatic Chemistry) refer to initial precipitation of the metastable dibasic calcium salt, Ca4H(Po4)3 and appatite, Ca10(PO4)6X2 where X is either hydroxyl or fluoride. They don't even mention the simple tribasic phosphate. Tricky indeed. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Johnathan Nail asked about matching the acidity of a soda he likes with citric acid. This is a straightforward procedure with a pH meter but I think you can probably get to the same result without the expense and trouble one of those brings. The following is just a thought - I have never tried to do this. Obtain an acid titration kit from your homebrew store (if they sell winemaking stuff they will have these). Use the kit to determine the titratable acidity of the soda you like (degass it first). Now measure the titratable acidity of your (degassed) soda without any citric acid. Add a small, measured amount of citric acid to a small volume of your soda. Measure the titratable acidity of that. Add twice as much citric acid to the same volume of untreated soda and measure again. Repeat until you have a titratable acidity that is greater than that of the soda you like. Taste after you add the acid but not (repeat, not) after titration (the titrant is lye). Plot titratable acidity vs. acid additions on a piece of graph paper and fair a curve through the points (should be a straght line or darn close to it - try to get the line which comes closest to all the points even though it may not touch them all or even any of them. Now use the graph to find out how much acid is required to get the titratable acidity level of the soda you like. Scale that addition up to full batch size. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Hydro checks on CO2 (and other gas) bottles are required every 5 years. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Ian Smith reports that his IPA tastes like tannin and asks what this might be. Quite likely it is tannin i.e. a polyphenol or polyphenols. These are found in all kinds of plant matter (see our own Steve Alexander's article in BT of a few months back) including barley and hops. The usual source in homebrew is sparging with water that is too hot or of too high pH or, indeed, sparging at all (see our own Louis Bonham's article in BT two issues back). Polyphenols are very easy to test for as they develop a bright red color with ferric ion. Drop me a line if you want the details on a procedure - quantitative results require a visible spectrophotometer. Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 09:44:30 -0500 From: Henry Paine <hpaine at iglobal.net> Subject: THANKS Just wanted to drop you all a note and let you know how much I appreciate the Digest. Thanks for all your hard, and thankless, work. Hank Paine Denton, Texas Henry C. "Hank" Paine, Jr. hpaine at iglobal.net Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 11:24:22 -0400 From: Jean-Sebastien Morisset <jsmoriss at axess.com> Subject: RIMS Heat Source Suggestions Our Homebrewery is fairly complete, but as finishing touch I'd like to add a RIMS type heater to maintain mash temperature and perhaps boost it to 158-168F at the end. All the plumbing, pump, thermometers, etc. are in place. All that I'm missing is the actual heating method. I've thought about using the conventional RIMS electrical element/chamber design, but the risk of scorching the wort and cleaning the element have me looking for other solutions. I've wondered about wrapping the existing 1/2" OD x 18" long copper tubing (between pump outlet and inline thermometer) with a heating wire of some kind -- you know, kind of like toaster elements. I can monitor the temperature with the inline thermometer and adjust the heat using a dimmer switch. A manifold would be built around the element to keep people from burning themselves accidentally. :-) I'm still unsure of the hardware options available to us. As an example, my father-in-law has found some heating *plates* which could be welded on the tubing. Perhaps more suitable hardware exist which we haven't heard of yet. If anyone has any ideas on this, I'd sure appreciate hearing your views. Most of our current homebrewery design can be viewed at <http://www.axess.com/users/jsm-mv/homebrewery/current-setup.html>. Thanks, js. - -- Jean-Sebastien Morisset, Sr. UNIX Admin <mailto:jsmoriss at axess.com> Our Homebrewery Page <http://www.axess.com/users/jsm-mv/homebrewery/> Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 12:27:03 -0400 From: "John A. MacLaughlin" <jam at clark.net> Subject: More GFCI The post by Jim Tiefenthal <James.Tiefenthal at rossnutrition.com> in HBD #2852 is right on the mark concerning the significance of current in a ground conductor and concerning how GFCI's work. (Sorry, A. J.) Because the purpose of the ground conductor is to provide a safe path for fault current, current in that conductor is not a hazard unless the conductor is damaged. But of course almost anything can be a hazard when damaged. An ME friend once asked me if there was anything that I, as an EE, thought he should do about the tingle he felt whenever he touched his refrigerator's door. The fridge had been in a wet basement for nearly eight years. My 20K ohm/volt multimeter read 84 vrms between the door handle and the duplex receptacle's ground. The fiberglass insulation was so wet that when you squeezed it it didn't spring back. The steel panel to which the ground wire was connected had rusted so badly that it was no longer connected to the fridge's frame. I suggested he junk it. He did. A couple years later he finally admitted that, the night before he asked me about the fridge, he had touched its handle with the same hand in which he was holding a grounded metal-bodied drill. The electric shock he felt in that hand had made him drop the drill. If he had had the drill in one hand and touched the handle with the other, the resulting current across his chest could have killed him. A GFCI or a double-insulated drill would have protected him. Fortunately he was smart enough that he had never gone barefoot in that basement, and had never stayed there long enough for his shoes to get wet. Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 22:00:49 -0600 From: Mike Allred <mballred at xmission.com> Subject: mushrooms & homebrew I have started growing mushrooms at home in my basement (shiitake, not the psychedelia kind). Does anyone know how big of a risk I am taking in contaminating my beer with spores? Or is this a non-issue. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 00:28:09 -0700 From: "Robert G. Poirier, Jr." <bpoirierjr at worldnet.att.net> Subject: CO2 Cylinder ROCKETS!!! Greetings!! In HBD #2852, Scott Murman brings up the issue of saftey with respect to CO2 cylinders and the potential energy they keep at bay. He also asks about guage-cages for smaller cylinders. My local home brew shop carries these guage-cages, and I'm sure they'll do an adequate job of protecting the guages on your CO2 cylinder if it should happen to fall over (ouch!!). Every time I think of a cylinder falling over, I cringe!! Here's why... A while ago I worked for a local fast food place that served fried chicken. The chicken fryolator-thingees were kept in the kitchen, in a special spot designed specifically to contain an accidental spill of boiling hot grease - there was a low wall (about 8 inches high) made of concrete built up all around the fryolators (sp??, whatever). Well, one day the guy came to replace the 20# CO2 cylinder the store used to dispense its fountain drinks. He had the replacement on a special hand truck that had straps to hold the cylinder in place while it was being transported. Well, this bozo decided he didn't need to strap the cylinder down! He came walking in the back door, stopped short to pick his arse (or some such idiotic thing), and the cylinder fell forward off of the hand truck! When the cylinder fell forward, the neck came crashing down on the low concrete wall surrounding the chicken fryers. What happened next is permanently ingrained in my consciousness!! Oh yah, it all happened pretty fast, too! The valve snapped off the cylinder and it shot out in the opposite direction, right through the idiot delivery guy's legs! It continued THROUGH a reinforced security door at the back of the store, and out into the parking lot. It finally came to rest wedged BENEATH one of those big garbage dumpsters - it had burrowed a trench in the asphalt and planted itself about 4 feet under the dumpster, from its edge. So, PLEASE!!!!!! Be VERY careful when handling your CO2 cylinders!!!! I built a special box for mine - its got a base about a foot square, it's weighted in the bottom, and it's REAL hard to knock over!!! (Kinda like one of those coffee mugs for your car.) Forgive the wasted bandwidth on a tangental home brewing subject, but, if only one person remembers my little story, AND remembers to be careful with his/her CO2 cylinder, then I think it will be worth it. Brew On & Prosit!! Bob P. East Haven, CT Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 21:28:55 -0700 (PDT) From: Tim Anderson <timator at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Ginger Darrell wrote: >>> I am toying with the idea of trying a Ginger beer. I have read Papazian's statement (early in his JOY) stating that it should be added during the last 10/15 minutes; but then he goes on with several recipes later in the book and adds it at the beginning of the boil! Al Korzonas, in HBVI, states at the end, and to slice rather thangrate. I am inclined to go with Al on this one...but anyone have any thoughts? <<< Several years ago, I went on a real ginger binge. I tried grating, slicing, chopping, adding at various stages of the boil, in the primary, secondary, at bottling/kegging time. After awhile I settled on using a ginger grater to extract the juice and using that. I even did a test batch divided into thirds. I grated the ginger and used the juice after decanting it off of the white stuff that settles to the bottom. In one third I added the juice in the primary, in another the secondary, and in the third at bottling. There was a profound difference among them, with by far the strongest ginger flavor and aroma in the batch that got it in the bottle, although I was pretty careful to use the same amount in each. I'm guessing the reason is that fermentation "scrubs" the volatile stuff out. Now that I keg my beer, I'd probably grate it and add juice to the keg. Another data point: The Dark Horse Brewery in Hertford, UK, won the silver medal for specialty beers this year at the Great British Beer Festival for a ginger beer called Fallen Angel. I have it on good authority (meaning this is what the regulars at their brewpub say) that the brewer adds the ginger in the keg. tim == Please ignore the advertisement below. Thank you. _________________________________________________________ DO YOU YAHOO!? Get your free at yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 98 23:11:55 PDT From: "George De Piro" <gdepiro at fcc.net> Subject: Yeast pitching temp / sanitation Hi all, Andrew asks whether it is better to pitch yeast into 80F (27C) wort and then cool it to fermentaton temp or to cool the wort to fermentation temp and then pitch the yeast. It is much more desirable to pitch the yeast into wort at or slightly below your desired fermentation temperature. Pitching yeast into warm wort will promote excessive yeast growth. This ALWAYS results in excessive production of higher (fusel) alcohols. These taste icky in high concentrations. Many homebrewers pitch into warm wort to get the fermentation going faster, but it is far more desirable to pitch more yeast than to pitch into warm wort. - -------------------------------------------- The discussion about the fruit fly starter has elicited comments that might lead some to believe you can be pretty lax in sanitation without compromising the quality of your beer. While it is true that you need not be insane about sanitation some important points have been missed: Paul wrote: " Yet seldom does a batch of beer get contaminated enough to cause off-flavors, or worse (beer, say hi to Mr. Drain). Why is that?" Back to me: I have evaluated many, many beers at homebrew competitions. Phenolic off flavors are one of the most common flaws in homebrewed beers. A major cause of these is wild yeast. Damaging infections are far from seldom in homebrew. While it is true that conditions in fermented beer are not ideal for many microbes, there are some important exceptions. Wild yeast will laugh at alcohol, hops, and low pH. A very small inocculation may take weeks to make itself noticed in the flavor of the beer, but it will. The same is true of certain bacteria. Ever have a beer get buttery tasting over time? It may be a pediococcus infection. How about souring of a beer? Lactobacillus can be the culprit. Mishandling of a starter is potentially more damaging to the beer than mishandling the pitched wort. Infection of a starter allows the unwanted organisms more time to grow. By the time you are pitching the main wort the few invaders that originally infected the starter may have grown into a potentially damaging population. An important thing to remember when reading about infections and beer flavor in this digest is that a substantial number of people are actually quite numb to phenols. Unless you know the palate of the person making the comments use your own common sense and palate as a guide. That applies to stuff I write, too! Have fun! George de Piro (Nyack, NY) Return to table of contents
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