HOMEBREW Digest #2856 Thu 22 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.
				URL: http://www.oeonline.com

  oatmeal stout won't go below 1.030 (Jonathan Edwards)
  coaster fridge magnets (Mark Tumarkin)
  Mike's dead fridge (fridge)
  Re: Grain bed depth ("Matthew J. Harper")
  Copper Mash Manifold ... (Bradd Wheeler)
  Re: How To Use pH Strips? ("Brian Dixon")
  Decoction boiling and scorching (Michael A. Owings)
  Lauter tun depth / home malting / bad gas / Newark vs. NYC ("George De Piro")
  Yank that hop bag (Tim Anderson)
  Re: All Munich (Matthew Arnold)
  Re: Phosphoric acid vs. lactic acid (MICHAEL WILLIAM MACEYKA)
  FWH / CAP + PPL recipes (Peter.Perez)
  mini-masher (Peter.Perez)
  The Joys of Copper Manifolds (John Palmer)
  Using a commercial beer barrel? ("Brian Morgan")
  '98 OHC Reminder (Dave Justice)
  all Munich mash (Herbert Bresler)
  Re: Grain Depth and Yield (John Palmer)
  Re:  Copper manifold in mash tun ("Mark W. Wilson")
  exhaust hoods and blowers (Peter.Perez)
  On combining decoction and household chores (Jim Bentson)
  fast runoff/bottle conditioning/no break?/missing hop aroma/fruit beer body (Al Korzonas)
  "The Great Canadian Beer Challenge" (Marc.Arseneau)
  acidic well (Andrew Stavrolakis)
  Northern California Homebrew Festival (Steven Gibbs)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 00:41:56 -0400 From: Jonathan Edwards <jdedward at us.ibm.com> Subject: oatmeal stout won't go below 1.030 hey now, got a little problem here...i brewed an oatmeal stout on 10/10 and it hasn't gone below 1.030. let me give you some background: oatmeal stout (11 gallons) 17lbs Breiss 2 Brewer's malt 2lbs Crystal 120L 2lbs Flaked Oats 1lb flaked barley 1.75lb Roasted Barley (.75lb added after mash) 1lb Chocolate Malt .25lb Black Barley 6oz cascade (7.0) 60 minutes 2oz cascade (7.0) 5 minutes mashed at 154F for 90 minutes mashed out at 170F for 10 minutes sparged for 1 1/2 hours at 170F og= 1.063 pumped chilled wort out of keg boiler and aereated with hose and shaking of carboy. have had no other problems with other batches using this procedure. used wyeast 1056 on 5.5lbs 1/2 gallon starter used whitbread yeast on 5.5lbs cellar temp fell to 60F for a couple of days. moved to warmer ~66-68F closet. sg didn't change for 2 days so i repitched one pack of whitbread yeast into BOTH carboys. still not change in fg. question: do i have too many unfermentables for the yeast to break down? i guess it's possible that my thermometer was off. will get a new to see. i've changed hydrometers so i don't think it's a bad hydrometer. should i add amylase? i've racked to the secondary with no new activity. i'm afraid to bottle this batch so i'll guess i'll keg. at least the hops balance out whatever sweetness there is. if i used to much dark grains that added too many unfermentables...what's the best way to get the dark color without adding to much unfermentables and without using black patent? thanks, jonathan Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 07:17:07 -0400 From: Mark Tumarkin <mark_t at ix.netcom.com> Subject: coaster fridge magnets The quantity of posts seems a bit low right now, so I'll bring you this Martha Stewart decorating moment. A lot of you have brewing fridges for fermenting and/or storage in your breweries, Certainly you have one in your kitchen. Me too. I also had a bunch of beer coasters collected at brew pubs, GABF & other beer festivals. I must have earned a bunch of beer bullets because my wife Anne suggested getting some magnet tape (available at sewing/crafts stores) and turning them into fridge magnets. The tape comes in rolls, about 3/8" wide with a sticky backing. Just cut into short lengths and stick on the back of the coaster. You can also buy small round magnets and glue them inside cool looking bottle caps. Anyone think I should send these suggestions to Martha (just kidding)? Mark Tumarkin Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 07:53:09 -0400 From: fridge at kalamazoo.net Subject: Mike's dead fridge Greetings folks, In HBD#2855 Mike Maceyca asked for help with troubleshooting his old fridge that won't start. An old fridge can either be great find or a big disappointment. Refrigerators usually spend their entire life in the same spot. Seldom are they moved or disturbed. Under these operating conditions the mechanical parts, contacts, temperature controller etc. will last a long time and will often wear very thin before they actually fail. Moving an old fridge is often the straw that breaks the camel's back, however. The bumping and jostling that is inevitable when moving a fridge is often enough to destroy a well worn temperature controller, relay, or even the compressor motor windings. I wouldn't recommend spending a lot of money in an attempt to repair an old fridge, and calling a service tech will cost more than the fridge is worth. A better course of action might be to have a friend who is comfortable with electricity help you check it out. I posted a few paragraphs about how to troubleshoot a dead fridge to the list in response to a similar question in early September. That info and a friend with a multimeter should help you find the problem. Check the list archives or email me for a copy of the post. <nofill> Hope this helps! Forrest Duddles - FridgeGuy in Kalamazoo fridge at kalamazoo.net Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 08:54:37 -0400 From: "Matthew J. Harper" <matth at progress.com> Subject: Re: Grain bed depth >>>>>> Subject: Grain depth and yield I was wondering if anyone has realized a change in their yield after making a change in the size or dimensons of their lauter tun? I have never been convinced that the typical grain bed depth in a 5 gallon bucket (with 9-11 lbs. of grain) was the optimum depth. I was wondering if shallower grain bed depths would give a better yield and perhaps a quicker overall sparge time. Any opinions? ---Thomas Murray <<<<<< Everything I've seen and read indicates a 'deeper' grain bed is what one should shoot for, not shallower. If recollection serves me I read an article where some professional brewers tested this same theory with a series of coffeee cans taped end to end to make a really deep mash bed. The deeper bed proved better than a series of shallower ones (same amount of grain, etc) A bit un-scientific as many would say 'round here, but it's better than nothing. Seems your intuition has you thinking, that's it not the optimum depth. You're just going the wrong way with it. :-) -Matth Matthew J. Harper Principal Software Engineer Progress Software Corp. Nashua, New Hampshire matth at progress.com Sometimes you're the windshield - Sometimes you're the bug Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 09:13:38 -0700 (PDT) From: Bradd Wheeler <braddw at rounder.com> Subject: Copper Mash Manifold ... >Yesterday Bob Fesmire wrote: >I have heard of and have seen a manifold type setup with copper pipe with >slits cut in it to serve as a "false bottom". I have a manifold built, >all except the slits, and it fits nicely in the bottom of the keg, but I need >some advice. Is this a practical system, will I have to worry about stuck >runoffs? Will it hold me over until my lame friend shows up? Well Bob, copper is alright. I built the same thing using lead-free solder and found that it worked VERY well. I used the cutting blade on a dremel tool to cut all the slits, many blades, many obscenities but I did it. The only problem is cleaning it. I then made another that I did not solder at all (who cares about leaks!) so that I could dis-assemble it. That was great but again, the copper was difficult to keep clean. Finally I made the third manifold out of 1/2" food grade PVC pipe. I can now dis-assemble the whole thing to clean it and I can also use stronger chemicals on it. As for it's effeceincy? I get 30 pts/lb/gallon everytime with M&F Pale 2-row Malt and sometimes as much as 32 with DWC Pale 2-row. Hope this helps .. .. Bradd Wheeler Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 06:57:54 -0700 From: "Brian Dixon" <mutex at proaxis.com> Subject: Re: How To Use pH Strips? Randy, I found that with the ColorpHast pH works best if you give it a few minutes. I use to keep dipping, checking, and adding salts until I reached the maximum that I'll add! Then I discovered that it takes a little _time_ for the color to develop (talking about the mash here). I use a stainless teaspoon to take a bit of the liquid from the mash, pour it onto a ceramic saucer, lay the pH strip (paper side down) in the liquid, turn over the strip and lay it on the white saucer. It'll continue to hold the liquid on itself for a long time this way. After a couple of minutes, voila! Color change. I really like the ColorpHast strips and highly recommend them (never could get the cheapies to work very well). Brian Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 13:58:19 GMT From: mikey at swampgas.com (Michael A. Owings) Subject: Decoction boiling and scorching I was recently re-reading Noonan's suggested decoction procedure in the "New Brewing Lager Beer", and on page 229, I was surprised to note that he suggests, after saccharifying the decoction, to : "Cover and boil it [the decoction] vigorously for five to ten minutes, the longer time being for steely or enzyme-poor malt." I had always thought you had to stir the boiling decoction like he** or deal with some severe scorching. Have I been wrong all this time? It sure would be nice to give the old arms a rest... *********************** Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can. *** And the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they pissed me off *** Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:53 -0800 From: "George De Piro" <George_De_Piro at berlex.com> Subject: Lauter tun depth / home malting / bad gas / Newark vs. NYC Hi all, The last digest was small, but there was much to respond to... Thomas M. asks about the optimal lauter tun depth, wondering if a shallower bed will promote faster, more efficient runoff. While a shallow bed (>6-8 inches, 15-18cm) can allow for efficient removal of the malt sugars it will be very tough to achieve acceptable wort clarity. The runoff has to be very slow with a shallow bed to get clear runoff. In the bad old days brewers would lauter a 6" (15.25 cm) grain bed for 8-10 hours (no metric unit). I don't have that much free time in my life! Modern brewers aim for a grain bed of 13.8" (35 cm), give or take a couple of inches (or several cm). The method of malt milling actually effects the max load allowable on the false bottom and therefore the grain bed depth (but that's beyond most of us...). The max time for the vorlauf/lauter cycle is 2 hours at some breweries (so they can brew 12 batches per day). --------------------------------- Ian has some triticale that he would like to malt, but lacks a good method of kilning the wet grain. You have a couple of options: 1. You can be the thermostat for your oven. Simply sit there for several hours turning the oven on and off to maintain the desired temperature. I tried this. It didn't work very well for several reasons, the primary one being that I lack the intense focus necessary to stare at my oven for 4 hours. My dog seems to be able to focus on things for that long, but only if he can chew them up... 2. You can dry the malt without any heat at all. Just spread it out in a thin layer in a warm room with a fan blowing across it. This will yield very light colored malt. In the old days this type of malt was called "wind malt." The flavor will be different from kilned malt, but not objectionable. When I did this I noticed a distinct acetaldehyde-like aroma in the malt. I don't know if it will carry into the beer because I then baked the dry malt at ~160F (71C) for a little while to make it more like modern pils malt. 3. You could put a temperature probe in your dryer to see what kind of temperature it holds. If it will maintain the desired temp you can use it, but I have no direct experience with this method. ------------------------------- Troy is still wondering if "bag gas" from a CO2 dealer is giving his beer an off aroma similar to the aroma he smells when he opens an empty keg. He does not believe sanitation to be an issue, and he outlined his sanitation regimen. "Bad gas" is not the likely problem (it is highly improbable that they were filling CO2 canisters with H2S that day and have received no other complaints. My guesses: 1. Saying that the beer smells like keg dregs makes me think of yeast autolysis as the culprit. If the beer was kept on the primary yeast for more than 2-3 weeks autolysis is a very likely candidate. If the beer was kegged with a lot of yeast still in suspension again autolysis is a good guess. (That should also answer the question of the person asking if the spent yeast that's been in their carboy at >60F (15.5C) for two weeks is still OK...Smelling it should illustrate that it isn't.) 2. You don't mention cleaning out the inside of your dip tube or valves. I use a .22 caliber rifle cleaner to clean the insides of my dip tubes. You would be amazed at the amount of junk inside of them. Dirty surfaces will not be sanitized by chemicals. I boil all small parts (like valves, lids and gaskets). ---------------------------------- Mike asks for brewery suggestions in the Newark, NJ area, but doesn't want to venture into NYC if he can help it. Why anyone would want to avoid NYC is beyond me, but Mike won't be able to if he wants a decent beer. Newark is, um, how can I say this, a less than pleasant city. You won't find much there in the way of craft breweries. You could always go look at the A-B brewery near the airport, but I think that they do not give tours. I don't usually respond to posts about brewpub locations on the digest, but I felt insulted that somebody would rather spend their time in the Newark area than NYC. The Pulaski Skyway is beautiful this time of year, though. Perhaps that's the draw...soot-black iron silhouetted by the sun setting behind a cloud of refinery emmisions...it's simply breathtaking! Have fun! George de Piro (Nyack, NY) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 08:04:45 -0700 (PDT) From: Tim Anderson <timator at yahoo.com> Subject: Yank that hop bag Dave Riedel asks if it'll make a mess to open his carbonated keg and pull out the hop bag that's already done it's job. No problemo, it's no different than opening a bottle or can of something carbonated. A little harder, because you have to push the lid against the pressure. So, turn off the CO2, pull up on the relief valve to let the pressure off, open 'er up and yank that bag. Wash up first, or maybe boil your hand for ten minutes. If you're ready with a receptacle for the bag, you won't even have to set the lid down and the keg should only be open a few seconds. After it's closed back up, flush any room air that may have been introduced by turning the gas back on and pulling the relief vale a few times. Once I had to stick my arm in to clear a clog all the way at the bottom of a nearly full keg. I just renamed the beer Veterinarian Stout and consumed it quickly. 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: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 15:33:51 GMT From: marnold at ez-net.com (Matthew Arnold) Subject: Re: All Munich On Wed, 21 Oct 1998 00:29:41 -0400, you wrote: > Our Club, the Niagara Assoc. of Homebrewers and I brewed >the All munich malt. 33 Pounds of grain, ~8 gals of water. 15 gals >of wort somewhere around 154 Df (it was an up and down ride) >Yes it converted, but only after four hours. OG 1.066. A great >time was had by all. > Thanks for the input. Wouldn't all the enzymes be denatured long before four hours at 154F? I know at higher temperatures they have a limited lifespan. I've searched my (extremely limited) library but can't find an answer. George DP? Anyone? Also, as Steve pointed out, it would be good to know the brand of Munich. Of course, the pH of the mash can affect conversion too, not sure if this came into play here. In the FWIW category, an all-grain, Weyermann Dark Munich-based Alt is in my not-too-distant future! I can hardly wait! Matt - ----- Webmaster, Green Bay Rackers Homebrewers' Club http://www.rackers.org info at rackers.org Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:39:44 -0400 (EDT) From: MICHAEL WILLIAM MACEYKA <mmaceyka at welchlink.welch.jhu.edu> Subject: Re: Phosphoric acid vs. lactic acid Howdy all, Thomas Murray notes that water acidified to the same extent with either phosphoric acid or lactic acid respond differently when heated: the lactic acid water has a pH rise, while the phosphoric acid water does not. The rise in pH is expected, and easily explained because the water has some form of carbonate, and the heat is driving the following reaction in the forward direction: HCO3- + H+ <--> CO2(G) + H2O This reaction consumes protons, thus making the water more basic. Without getting into too much chemistry (because I have forgotten most of it), the reason lactic acid treated water doesn't maintain the same pH as the phosphoric acid is that the phosphoric acid has more buffering capacity than the lactic acid. Phosphoric acid has three protons (but really only two for our pH ranges) while lactic acid has only one. At least I think this is part of the solution. I don't know anything about a proton-consuming, heat-induced degradation of lactic acid. The solution to this problem of different buffering capacities would seem to be to pre-heat our water to sparge temperature before acidifying. I do this anyway, because any time you heat tap water above a pH of 4.5 or so you are going to increase the pH because you drive off CO2. Mike Maceyka, Thankfully accepting cool brewery names and fridge advice... Baltimore, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:41:11 -0400 From: Peter.Perez at smed.com Subject: FWH / CAP + PPL recipes I was unfamiliar with the concept of First Wort Hopping prior to joining the hbd. Can someone tell me specifically how this is done? I am also looking to locate some CAP and Pre-pro lager recipes. Does anyone know of a good source of quality recipes on the web? Or anywhere else for that matter? Thanks, Pete Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:45:25 -0400 From: Peter.Perez at smed.com Subject: mini-masher Time does not always permit all-grain batches for me, but I always need a supply of homebrew, thus I partial mash and extract brew on occasion. I have seen these mini mashers, which are basically your little 1 or 2 gallon lunchbox size coolers with an Easymasher type screen in them and a valve output installed. I am contemplating making one, but I am concerned that the small cooler and smaller amount of grain will not maintain it mash temp the way an all-grain batch does in my 10 gal Gott. Anyone have experience with these things? Can they hold their heat in? for an hour? can you apply heat by adding boiling water without thinning the mash out too much? Thanks, Pete Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:15:27 -0700 From: John Palmer <jjpalmer at gte.net> Subject: The Joys of Copper Manifolds Bob asked if a copper manifold will work well in his converted keg lautering tun. The answer is a resounding Yes, if you have it designed right. As with any copper pipe manifold, you cut hacksaw slots about every half inch. The objective here is to create a total inlet area greater than the cross sectional area of the pipe. Doing this assures that the pipe will always "flow full" and you will draw equally from all segments of the manifold - provided that it is level. Then you need to consider how much area you need to cover. A manifold pipe can adequately lauter an area of 2-3 inches to either side, which means that you can space your manifold pipes 4-6 inches apart to achieve good coverage of the lauter tun bottom. And you should space your manifold such that the distance from the outer pipes to the wall is approximately half of your pipe-to-pipe spacing. eg. if your pipes are spaced 4 inches apart, then the distance from the manifold to the wall should be 2 inches. These design considerations are most easily applied to rectangular picnic coolers, but can be applied to round Gott coolers and Sankey kegs too. A single loop, 8 inches dia, works well in a Sankey keg. Manifolds have the benefit of virtually eliminating stuck sparges. The flow constraint of the tubing prevents the full scale compaction of the grainbed during lautering which can happen when a false bottom is drained too fast. I actually have a lot of experimental data and an engineering model that verify the above recommendations and I intend to present it fully in a couple weeks. I just need to find time to get the pictures scanned and a write-up prepared that I can post to my web page. Guy Gregory and I have been working on this for a couple months. I will let you all know when it is available. John Palmer http://www.realbeer.com/jjpalmer/ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 13:16:43 -0400 From: "Brian Morgan" <brian.morgan at vertsol.com> Subject: Using a commercial beer barrel? Hi - I'm just getting started brewing, and had a (dumb?) question. I have been buying a quarterbarrel once in a while for parties - can I somehow use one of those barrels for homebrew? I would need to get out the "plug", clean it, fill it, and re-plug it. Is anybody doing this? What's involved, what do I need? Thanks! Brian brian.morgan at vertsol.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:37:16 -0500 (CDT) From: Dave Justice <davej at nwark.com> Subject: '98 OHC Reminder Just a reminder. We're now accepting entries for the 1998 Ozark Homebrew Competition to be held in Fayetteville, AR on Oct. 31. See http://holodeck.uark.edu/ohc98/ohc98.html Winners will receive some nice prizes, including a new SABCO converted keg brew kettle for BOS. As usual judges are needed. Those without plans for Halloween yet would have a great time here. Email me for details. Thanks, Dave Justice davej at nwark.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 13:06:34 -0400 From: Herbert Bresler <bresler.7 at osu.edu> Subject: all Munich mash Hello all, I thought I'd submit another data point to the discussion about using 100% Munich for an all-grain mash. Last January while assembling a recipe for a Doppelbock, I wondered if Munich malt could self-convert, so I took half a pound of North American "Munich" malt and mashed it in about half a quart of water at about 150 deg F. It took about an hour to an hour and quarter to convert (to negative iodine test). Of course this is a single experiment, and YMMV (your malt may vary;-). The Doppel was actually made from only 50% North American "Munich" malt (the other 50% being mostly lager malt with some cryatal and chocolate). It was a docoction mash with rests at 95 F for 30 minutes, 122 F for 20 minutes, 158 F for 75 minutes (starch test negative) and then mash out at 170 F, 5 minutes. The resulting brew was quite tasty. Good luck and good brewing, Herb Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:35:58 -0700 From: John Palmer <jjpalmer at gte.net> Subject: Re: Grain Depth and Yield Thomas wondered how grainbed depth affected yield and asked if shallower might be better. As I mentioned in my last post, we have been doing a lot of experimentation in this lately and I can say with assurance that deeper is better, depending on the type of lautering system you have. If you use a manifold or Easymasher (tm) type setup, deeper is better because as you approach the drain, the flow becomes vectored toward the drain resulting in more flow thru the grain around the drain, and less(slower) flow at areas away from the drain. By having a deeper grainbed, you put a greater percentage of the grain up in the areas where sparge flow is uniform across the grainbed. I don't have a good theory for false bottoms yet. Experiments to date have shown that edge effects are more pronounced with fb's than manifolds ie, you can have a significant proportion of your sparge flow along the walls around the grainbed and false bottom to the drain. A tight fit of the false bottom or a bucket in a bucket system is necessary to thwart this phenomenon, in my opinion. A deeper grainbed in a false bottom setup allows a greater risk for compaction and preferential flow through the grainbed. An easy way to prevent this though is to stir the top 2/3 of the grainbed periodically during the lauter to assure homogeneity. The bottom third should still act as an adequate filter. Therefore, with allowances made for stirring, deeper is probably better for yield. A complete post on fluid flow is forthcoming in a couple weeks... John Palmer http://www.realbeer.com/jjpalmer/ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 10:52:21 -0700 From: "Mark W. Wilson" <mwilson at ichips.intel.com> Subject: Re: Copper manifold in mash tun Bob- I've been using a setup similar to what you've described for 2 years, with good extraction rates, improving my sparge arm setup did a lot more to improve my extracting than going to a screen, IMHO. I hacksawed slits about 1/2 " apart. I think once you've go through recirculation and get a good flow going, it tends to pull liquid from the grain bed into the slits. I also recommend keeping the slits facing _down_ to prevent clogging from the heavy grain bed. If you haven't done it already, I recommend connecting all the elbows and everything else so you have 2 or 3 pieces that you can take apart and clean out the inside, too. I just epoxed mine together, so i have two end pieces and four pipes down the middle. (But this is a square picnic cooler setup.) Cheers, -Mark Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:07:43 -0400 From: Peter.Perez at smed.com Subject: exhaust hoods and blowers Are these exhaust hoods and blowers that are being talked about lately intended to maintain safe levels of carbon monoxide when using a propane burner indoors? This is my biggest dilemma. I have a real nice 3 tier gravity flow setup in my basement. I love to use it, but there is no door to outside from the basement. and I hate carrying a 33 quart kettle filled with 6 1/2 gallons of hot wort upstairs to take outside to boil. I have a nice window that I could rig a hood and blower to if that would safely allow me use the propane burner indoors. I also have a nice carbon monoxide detector that I used when I first started using the burner indoors, just sitting below the window with a nice fan in it, blowing out. The carbon monoxide detector never went off during this process - do you think I am safe to use it in this manner? (I did use the test button on the detector and it worked, but I don't know how reliable the test button is) Any thoughts or recommendations would be tremendously appreciated. Thanks, Pete Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:33:39 -0400 From: Jim Bentson <jbentson at longisland.com> Subject: On combining decoction and household chores Hi All: I am just reading through Amahl Turczyn's book "A Year of Beer" which is a collection of recipes from past NHC's and other places. In the glossary I found the following unusual definition under the title decoction . decoction - A method of mashing that raises the temperature of the wash by removing a portion, boiling it and returning it to the mash tun. Gosh, to think I could have been doing my socks during my recent decoction brew. I'd be saving energy also! This should help all those people who surfaced during the 'significant other' thread. You now can offer to do the laundry on brew day AND get to try your hand at a decoction simultaneously. Who could object to that?? Jim Bentson Centerport NY Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 13:37:32 -0500 (CDT) From: Al Korzonas <korz at xnet.com> Subject: fast runoff/bottle conditioning/no break?/missing hop aroma/fruit beer body Doug writes: >I am using the "diluted mash" variant >of the no-sparge mash, taken from a BT article [by Louis Bonham]. >In a normal fly-sparge, many have recommended >that the sparge last about 45 - 60 minutes. Accordingly, I am used to >reducing the flow from the mash tun to a bare trickle. Is this necessary >with the no-sparge technique? As long as the filter bed is set, can you >increase the flow? First a tiny terminological issue: a "set mash" is a bad thing. It is what many call a "stuck mash." When you say "the filter bed is set" that could be mistaken for "stuck," so I recommend saying "the filter bed is *established*." Now, the answer to your question is that if you are not sparging and you mashed for a reasonable amount of time (at least 45 minutes), you should be able to run off the wort reasonably quickly with no loss of yield. The only concern would be if you ran it off too fast you could compact the grain bed and get a set mash. *** Keith writes: >What are the pros and cons of secondary fermentation in the bottle? I take >it that using a second yeast at bottling could produce a more complex beer >and improve aroma? Is there only a point in doing this with high gravity >beers such as tripels? And what kind of quantities are we talking about >for, say, a 5-gallon batch? Added with priming sugar at bottling? Is there >any danger of exploding bottles? Gushing? I am assuming regular >fermentation in carboys would be complete at bottling. I would not use a second yeast at bottling. If the attenuation of the second yeast is considerably higher than that of the first, you could have more carbonation than you wanted. Furthermore, there is only one beer that I know of in which there is significant flavour added by the bottling yeasts (yes, a blend of 5): Orval. There is Brettanomyces added among the melange of other yeasts (at bottling time) and the Brett adds a bubblegum aroma to the beer. This is a rare case. The thickness of the glass in Orval bottles and the fact that Orval can vary quite a bit in carbonation should be two hints that this is not as easy as it sounds, even for monks! Adding yeast at bottling time is common in Belgium, but to the best of my knowledge, most of the brewers use the primary fermentation yeast. The reason for adding additional yeast at bottling time is because the primary yeast takes a beating from the alcohol in the rather strong beers that the Belgians like to drink and brewing. The benefits of bottle-conditioning? Well, live yeast in the bottle will consume a good portion of the oxygen introduced during bottling and in strong beers, live yeast in the bottle will help mellow the beers by converting the higher alcohols and acids into esters via esterification. *** Jim writes: >Brewed a Redhook ESB clone yesterday and got no hot break >that I could see. This has happened before but I haven't >kept thorough enough notes to be able to state categorically >what the effects might have been on the afflicted brews. >Shame on me, I found my thermometer was reading 3 degrees F >low after I was done brewing! Never again! I've seen the >light. >Could the temperature problem (vis a vis mashing temp., >sparge water temp) cause this situation? >What can I look forward to as far as effects on my finished >beer? If you did a long rest at what turned out to be 140F or so, you could have had significant proteolysis going on which could reduce the amount of hot (and cold) break significantly. Check your pH next time... too low a pH (less than 4.8 or so) can reduce hot and cold break formation a lot too. This is a reason to not overacidify your mash or sparge water. The beer could be cloudy and the fermentation can be sluggish due to "clogging" of the yeast by the break material that remains in the wort. Note that this would not be an issue if the reason there was no break was because you broke most of it down via proteolysis. >I seem to lose too much heat out of my mashtun (cheap cooler >with copper manifold) and so have relied on pulling a sort >of decoction (liquid only), about 2 qts and heating it on >the stove to 168-170F and adding it back in to try to >raise/maintain the temp. during the mash. Sometimes I do >that several times rather than thin out the mash too much. >Comments? Firstly, you would be better served by solving the problem rather than the symptom: add more insulation to keep the heat in better. See the archives for hints on insulating your lid. Secondly, you want to pull the *thick* part of the mash (mostly grain) not the thin part of the mash. Most of the enzymes are in the liquid and you are denaturing (killing) them with your procedure. *** Eric writes: >s for hops, I have tried pellitized and flaked. The hops always smells >very fresh before it is used. (I.e. I'm not using stale hops.) I have >tried first wort hopping, and adding hops from 30 minutes to flame-out for >flavour and aroma (depending on the recipe). I like a big hop nose and >flavour. While the previous, gives me what I want for the first couple of >weeks after I begin opening the packaged beer, it quickly disappears until >very little remains. Older bottles (say a couple to a few months) have >just about zero aroma and very little flavour. Oxidation is the most common reason for loss of hop aroma. The Chicago Beer Society did a side-by-side test of regular and oxygen-absorbing bottlecaps and found that hop aroma was retained longer with the oxygen- absorbing caps. *** Eric (a different one) writes: >2. I brewed a cherry ale using the Oregon fruit products cherry puree >and it turned out very good (could have used another pound of puree) , >but the main knock on it in competitions (scores 30,34) is that it lacks >body or is thin. I brewed 2 beers from the same wort (single infusion >at 155F) splitting off the cherry ale after a 45 minute boil and making >a pale ale out of the rest of the wort. The pale has scored well in 2 >competitions (38, 32)and got great reviews for body. My thinking is the >puree, which is mainly thick cherry juice, thinned the body. Here is >what I propose to try since I add the puree to the secondary: I want to >make the same beer and leave out the crystal malt and ferment. When I >transfer to the secondary, I want to add the puree, and a mini-mash of >the crystal and cara-pils and maybe some malto-dextrin to keep the body >from becoming thin. Would this work? Fruit juices are mostly fermentable sugars and water. It is not surprising that they would thin the beer just as adding corn sugar does. Adding the crystal malts later will not change the body, but you may want to add more. Adding malto-dextrin (which is only about 16% fermentatble -- this varies between brands, I'm sure) will indeed add some body. Adding some wheat to the mash will help increase the body because it's protein you want and wheat malt is higher in protein than barley malt. You can also try adding beta-glucans via rye, unmalted or flaked barley or flaked oats, but you could have some problems with slow runoff if you overdo it. Try first with 5% (by weight, thank you very much) and then increase if it's not too gummy). Al. Al Korzonas, Palos Hills, IL korz at xnet.com http://www.brewinfo.com/brewinfo/ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 12:56:14 -0400 From: Marc.Arseneau at fluordaniel.com Subject: "The Great Canadian Beer Challenge" This story aired on the CBC Television show "Market Place", a long running consumer advocacy show, on Tuesday Night. [it will be re-aired on 2:30 pm Friday Oct 23 on CBC Newsworld for those of you who get that channel] I of course missed it, but my reputation preceeds me since at least half a dozen coworkers told me they saw a bit of it, and were going to call me (but didn't). Apparently, the show talked about modern beer, of how megabreweries rely more on marketing than substance in their product, and culminated in a panel of beer tasters rating a variety of megabrewed and microbrewed beers [Canadian, eh?]. And I am told that in the story, the two most popular Canadian Megabrews [Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian] were blind taste-tested by a team of die-hard fans of each beer. The results were predictable, as each group picked their favourite less than half of the time. The information from the show can be found at: www.tv.cbc.ca/market Highly recommend that you take a glance. Marc Arseneau Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 16:16:27 -0400 From: Andrew Stavrolakis <andrew_stavrolakis at harvard.edu> Subject: acidic well Silent Bob breaks his silence: "It is my understanding that water of this low a pH is not only less pleasant to drink than water of a pH of 7-7.5, but that it is not kind to pipes and fixtures." That is true to some extent, I suppose, but a lot depends on the quality of the plumbing in the house. Cheap, thin walled copper pipe is more susceptible to damage than better quality pipe. The pipes in my house are 25 years old and no problems; The annoyance mostly comes from the slight green stains that end up on your fixtures. Copper levels are elevated when you first turn on the water in the morning, but drop off rapidly as you begin to draw clean water from the pressure tank. Also, the water tastes fine and it doesn't give me heartburn ;-). I've clarified (I think) a couple of other points regarding the water. I've heard two explanations of the acidity. First, from the local water lab director, says the natural acidity of the well water on the island is the result of the pH of the rain that falls on the island. The rain is normally 5.5 to 6 and the aquifer lies mostly under a state forest full of (scrubby) oak trees. In the absence of any carbonates in the soil (limestone) the pH stays low as it percolates through the leaf covered forest floor, into the aquifer and thus to my well. Second says that the acidity is the result of CO2 from respiring bacteria in the soil. Two different explanations, both could be correct. In the latter case, pH would rise if the the water were boiled driving off the CO2, but what about the former? Anyone? Bueller? Also, sodium levels may range as high as 25 ppm, but typically are 10-20. I received some very helpful commentary privately which stresses that the acidity of the water in and of itself isn't really important unless I'm mashing dark grain. In that case, the acidity of the grain may drop my pH too low, but mainly because of the absence of any buffering compounds. In this case, the grain is the true culprit, not the water. Calcium carbonate may be added to the mash to remedy the situation if it arises. On the whole, the water seems best suited to brewing Bohemian pilseners. Oddly, one of the few styles of beer I've never tried. Go figure. If anyone else has any comments on this water, feel free to email me. Ken Schwartz, are you out there? Cheers! Andrew. andrew_stavrolakis at harvard.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:44:04 -0700 From: Steven Gibbs <gibbs at lightspeed.net> Subject: Northern California Homebrew Festival What an event and what a great collection of homebrew, speakers, and entertainment. The setting was the beautiful Napa Valley on the weekend of October 2-4. It was held at Skyline Park, a private park just outside the city of Napa. While the host club was the MAD BREWERS-Napa, it was a collective effort of various homebrewers from Northern Calif., but a real labor of love by Dan Sullivan. Sully, and many of the other Mad Brewers had for several years traveled the long way from Napa to Temecula, CA for the So. CA Homebrew Festival but it approx. 9 hours to drive the distance. The thought of having an event in No. CA seemed ripe. They chose the Fall and for those of us that traveled from So. CA and attend Temecula in the Spring we now know that we are doubly blessed with 2 festivals a year and it seems that no where else in the US can you find this type of festival totally devoted to homebrew. While I don't mean to take anything away from the big mega events such as the GABF, I do feel that the AHA is missing the boat by not trying to put more support into homebrew events rather than having the more "for profit" events such as the GABF, making it the centerpiece of their year, and to not find homebrew anywhere. Oh well, maybe that's why the CA homebrewers are becoming increasingly independent of the AHA for virtually all support. Back to the Festival. My wife and I arrived on Fri. afternoon and immediately headed to our fav winery-Silver Oak to taste their wonderful Cab. Next to Cakebread, well you get the idea. We set up camp and got our kegs settled on ice for the next day. The festival hosted a dinner at the camp for a nominal cost the assembled brewers enjoyed a wonderful Oktoberfest with their lamb, salmon, Caesar's salad and various other veggies were just great. After dinner almost all of us went "visiting" campsite to campsite, mug in hand to get some advance tasting of the various clubs best brew. It was awesome. We finally ended up at the Barley Literates camp for night caps and ended up singing almost every song the guitar player knew while tasting all their best brew until almost 2 am. (hey Charley, you were right, you really need to camp next year). The Fest. itself was wonderful. 300 brewers and a really tasty assortment of brews, with a heavy dose of really well made Belgians. I brought a Belg. Wit and a Trippel, a Kolsch, Ordinary Bitter, and an Oktoberfest. My club, the Bakersfield FOAM had 5 members, our banner and our lighted club sign which is really nice after dark to illuminate the booth area. The speakers were first class. Fritz Maytag, Russ Wigglesworth, Martin Lodahl, and Byron Birch. Music was provided by 3 bands throughout the day and plenty of food. The day ended back at camp for various versions of "dead palates society" and we eventually woke up Sunday morning to a lot of "slightly" hung over brewers stoked on doing it again next year. If you can make it to either of the fests you will never forget them. Thanks fellow CA brewers. Steve Gibbs-Bakersfield Return to table of contents
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