HOMEBREW Digest #2992 Wed 31 March 1999

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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

  Brief outtage: memory upgrade (pbabcock)
  competitions (Bryan Gros)
  Using yeast from one batch for a second batch (Manbeck, Brad J.)" <BJM at roisysinc.com>
  taste training kits (Cory Chadwell Page Navigation)
  Nottingham Lag Time ("Christopher Tkach")
  Best of Philly Results (birman)
  100 Gal Limit (Bob Sheck)
  RE: One tier system ("John Lifer, jr")
  "I Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus..." ("Rob Moline")
  Reference beers,MI brewpubs,open fermentation (Ken Pendergrass)
  re: Aluminum Pot Fittings, kinda long (John_E_Schnupp)
  Soapy Flavors (Rod Prather)
  Fw: Diacetyl increase in finished beers ("David C. Harris")
  Michigan UP Brew Pubs ("Philip Kokoczka")
  BJCP Exam Scoring (Stephen Murphrey)
  rims survey results (MicahM1269)
  Re: Pumps for one-tier system (Wade Hutchison)
  Refractive Index.  Can This Measure It? ("Peter J. Calinski")
  steeping/mashing & Diacetyl example ("Penn, John")
  Water softeners and brewing ("Sieben, Richard")
  Stuckest...Stucker...Kinda Stuck... ("William W. Macher")
  Re: Steeping/Mashing, (Wade Hutchison)
  Diacetyl formation (Mark van Bommel)
  Skunky PU (John Wilkinson)

Beer is our obsession and we're late for therapy! This space free to a good competition... Send articles for __publication_only__ to post@hbd.org If your e-mail account is being deleted, please unsubscribe first!! To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE send an e-mail message with the word "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" to request@hbd.org. **SUBSCRIBE AND UNSUBSCRIBE REQUESTS MUST BE SENT FROM THE E-MAIL ACCOUNT YOU WISH TO HAVE SUBSCRIBED OR UNSUBSCRIBED!!!** IF YOU HAVE SPAM-PROOFED your e-mail address, the autoresponder and the SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE commands will fail! Contact brewery at hbd.org for information regarding the "Cat's Meow" Back issues are available via: HTML from... http://hbd.org Anonymous ftp from... ftp://hbd.org/pub/hbd/digests ftp://ftp.stanford.edu/pub/clubs/homebrew/beer AFS users can find it under... /afs/ir.stanford.edu/ftp/pub/clubs/homebrew/beer COPYRIGHT for the Digest as a collection is currently held by hbd.org (Pat Babcock and Karl Lutzen). Digests in their entirity CANNOT be reprinted/reproduced without this entire header section unless EXPRESS written permission has been obtained from hbd.org. Digests CANNOT be reprinted or reproduced in any format for redistribution unless said redistribution is at absolutely NO COST to the consumer. COPYRIGHT for individual posts within each Digest is held by the author. Articles cannot be extracted from the Digest and reprinted/reproduced without the EXPRESS written permission of the author. The author and HBD must be attributed as author and source in any such reprint/reproduction. (Note: QUOTING of items originally appearing in the Digest in a subsequent Digest is exempt from the above. Home brew clubs NOT associated with organizations having a commercial interest in beer or brewing may republish articles in their newsletters and/or websites provided that the author and HBD are attributed. ASKING first is still a great courtesy...) JANITORS on duty: Pat Babcock and Karl Lutzen (janitor@hbd.org)
---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 20:09:15 -0500 (EST) From: pbabcock <pbabcock at mail.oeonline.com> Subject: Brief outtage: memory upgrade Greetings, Beerlings! Take me to your lager... There will be a (hopefully) brief period of downtime Friday morning, 4/2/99 whilst I upgrade the server's memory. See ya! Pat Babcock in SE Michigan pbabcock at oeonline.com Home Brew Digest Janitor janitor@hbd.org HBD Web Site http://hbd.org The Home Brew Page http://oeonline.com/~pbabcock/brew.html "Just a cyber-shadow of his former brewing self..." Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 14:28:05 -0800 From: Bryan Gros <bryang at xeaglex.com> Subject: competitions Fred Wills asked: ">What makes those brewers that have multiple ribbons on their brewery >walls continue to enter? >Why do so many homebrewers in general feel the need to compete?" I suppose I'll venture into this minefield. Obviously, different people have their reasons, and many people choose not to enter competitions. One reason I enter is that I find it hard to critically judge my own beers. I am in a fairly active homebrew club, so club members are a good source of feedback. But sometimes, I like to send entries in just for the feedback. And I would consider myself a fairly advanced brewer. Another reason is, as Randy said, Ego. If I brew something I think came out really nice, I'll send it in just for the satisfaction that other "experts" think it is good as well. And the ribbons look nice in my brewery. And finally, I enjoy being part of the "judging community". I've met some great people by traveling and judging in competitions and talking beer with these experts. I've also got to try some great beers as well. While entering these competitions isn't necessary, I am glad to sup- port the local "competition scene" as well. I try to encourage newer brewers in the club to enter competitions for these same reasons. So I also enter so as not to be hipocritical to these folks. Maybe in a few years I'll get tired of all this and just stay home and brew my favorite recipes. But I doubt it. - Bryan Bryan Gros gros at bigfoot.com Oakland CA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:32 -0600 From: "BJM (Manbeck, Brad J.)" <BJM at roisysinc.com> Subject: Using yeast from one batch for a second batch I am interested in collecting the yeast from one batch (a porter) and using it in the next batch (a stout). In the past, I have racked the wort from a second batch directly onto the yeast cake from a first and this worked well. Now I want to try something a little different. I want to try to collect the yeast from the first batch and "wash" it for a couple of reasons. I will be fermenting in a different carboy that the one the first batch was in, so I need to transfer the yeast. Secondly, I want to try and remove as much trub from the first batch as possible. And lastly, I want to yeast wash as an experiment. Here is the procedure I was thinking of using. Add some distilled water to the primary from the first batch after racking to a secondary and swish around. Then transfer to a gallon jug. Then let settle. Transfer off the stuff on the top. Repeat this and then pitch the stuff on the bottom into the second batch. Does this procedure seem valid? Has anyone else done this sort of thing? Is it safe to assume the yeast will gravitate to the bottom of the gallon jug or will it be the trub? Is it necessary to activate the yeast with fresh wort before pitching? Private email is OK TIA Brad Manbeck Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 99 16:48:16 -0600 From: Cory Chadwell Page Navigation <chadwell at ssd.fsi.com> Subject: taste training kits In hbd #2989 Wade Hutchison asked: "Now theres a good question - is there a guide somewhere that lists what flavors can be found in some commercial beers? I don't really know what Diacetyl tastes like, so is there a reference beer that I can find to get an idea of the flavor without going to a beer doping kit? What would be a good example of diacetyl...?" I would be more interested in the "beer doping kit". I have read some information on taste training from brewery.org, It detailed this taste training by tainting a bland control beer with the flavor components you're trying to learn to detect. The article didn't really go into detail regarding what you might use for those components. What I'd like to have is a fairly complete list of flavor profiles vs. the additions you would use to achieve them. Something like... -Take one shot of Rolling Rock and add 5 drops of chloraseptic throat spray to achieve a phenolic profile. -Take one shot of Rolling Rock and add 3 drops of Uncle Bobs brand Butterscotch extract to achieve a Diacetyl profile. -Take one shot of Rolling Rock and add 1/4 oz vodka to achieve an astringent profile Have any of the judges or taste trainers out there cobbled together any sort of list like this. Thanks, Cory - -- - ------------------------------------------------------------ Cory D. Chadwell FlightSafety International, SSD Design Engineer 2700 N. Hemlock Circle /| Navigation / Visual Broken Arrow, Oklahoma 74012 /c| - chadwell at ssd.fsi.com / | /| - ---------------------------------------------------------<-----s--- FSI \ | \| SSD \c| - \| Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 19:49:23 -0500 From: "Christopher Tkach" <tkach at mediaone.net> Subject: Nottingham Lag Time Hi All- Just wanted to see what everyone elses experiences are with lag times when using the Nottingham yeast. I've noticed that my lag times have increased to over 24 hrs with the last few batches that I've brewed. I typically pitch 2 packets, reconstituted as directed, and the last batch I even attempered it with a bit of wort as Rob suggested a few issues back. Still had a lag time of 24 hrs, though. I've switched to using distilled water instead of tap water to reconstitute it, and it still has a long lag time. What is everyone else getting? - Chris Dover, NH Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 21:50:03 -0500 From: birman at netaxs.com Subject: Best of Philly Results The Best of Philly Homebrew Competition results can be found at: http://www.netaxs.com/~shady/hops/archives/hops-bops_1999/results.html Congrats to Bob Grossman who won best of show with his barleywine! Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 20:18:13 -0500 From: Bob Sheck <bsheck at skantech.net> Subject: 100 Gal Limit What's the penalty if we exceed this? Who's keeping track? What's the big deal, here, anyways? bsheck, me-sheck, abednigo! Greenville, NC He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead. http://www.skantech.net/bsheck/ Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 21:14:11 -0600 From: "John Lifer, jr" <jliferjr at misnet.com> Subject: RE: One tier system Gerard wrote asking about one tier systems and pumps. I put together a two tier 3 keg system since I found no easy way to sparge and pump over into kettle without two pumps or gravity to drop sparge water. Having said that, I used a pump from Grainger similar to March type pumps. Rated at 180f I think- mfger recommended controlling flow on output side, that way fluid is always in contact with pump. No problems on about 15-20 brews. I usually take 45-60 min to sparge and pump is on for that time. Flow is about 10-20% of max. I rinse well with water and disassemble only occasionally. The stand is a recycled rack that weighs about 150 pounds. I added two casters on one end that touch and roll when I pick up on opposite end of stand. This way I can move out to an open spot to brew. Pump is not fixed but is attached with quick disconnects and plastic tubing rated at 212F. Works well enough. John - -- Cornelius Ball Lock Kegs for Sale See Web page for details. http://www2.misnet.com/~jliferjr Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 21:51:46 -0600 From: "Rob Moline" <brewer at isunet.net> Subject: "I Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus..." "I Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus..." I had written a long winded, and personally heartfelt piece of rage... ...then I deleted it from the queue.... some days ago.......... But I just don't understand..... TWOC......Sorry, mate.....Something is missing........ No matter your customer base, you can't see your way clear to honesty? You don't think that EVERY customer is a gateway to others? That they might sell for you? If you don't ...I think you have missed the boat..... And that truth, even when you can only help your customer is worth telling?...... And in that, you create more customers? You must hope that none of your customers have access to your words on this Forum.....(my first thought upon reading your statements....) Perhaps you are most descriptive of your own operation when you state...... >From: TWOC <twoc at ois.net.au> >Subject: HALF ARSED BREW SHOPS DOH? Rob Moline Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 20:58:13 -0500 From: Ken Pendergrass <kenp794 at earthlink.net> Subject: Reference beers,MI brewpubs,open fermentation The discussion on reference beers to demonstrate various beer flavors reminded me of a comment I wanted to make regarding the terms used to describe flavors in beer. I think the whole system needs to be replaced. If someone describes a wine as having oak, rasberry and currant I can picture that. If you tell me lambic has horse blanket well I drive a car and haven't been close enough to a horse ever to smell sweaty horse blanket. My point is that the references used to describe certain compounds should be changed to smells we encounter today. Not what was common 90 years ago. In southeastern MI around Detroit there are getting to so many brewpubs one can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. But in northern MI I can think of 2 not yet mentioned. One is on the south edge of Gaylord. Which is about an hour south of the big mac bridge. This place is huge and abuts the freeway (US23) you can't miss it. It's on the east side of the freeway. The other is in Grand Marais. I can't remember the names of either but these towns are small and neither has more than one. regards Ken Pendergrass Ypsilanti Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 00:39:38 -0700 From: John_E_Schnupp at amat.com Subject: re: Aluminum Pot Fittings, kinda long Felix asks about fittings for Al pots, >I would like to modify the 'Hot Liquor Tank' (pot #1) to add a ball valve >and a thermometer, if this works out I'll do the Boil Kettle. I have been <snip> >I am wondering what the best material for fittings might be. Can I >use brass? Can I solder the fittings? If welding is necessary what is the >best method? Ok I'll tell you how I did it. Others will undoubtedly have their own methods and ideas. I've been using one of my pots for 5 years and the other for around 3, neither have ever leaked and both have served me well. I used brass fittings and a brass ball valve. In addition to your desired fittings, you will need a 1/4" NPT tap and a 7/16" drill bit. I have not been able to locate a 3/8" NPT or 1/2" NPT tap but I'll bet they are quite expensive. It is easier to find fittings that are 3/8 or 1/2 NPT that are sweat/solder type for 1/2" copper pipe. With some ingenuity, you can make a 1/4" NPT x 1/2" sweat fitting. Also you can usually find compression fittings in 1/4" NPT size. Locate where you want to locate the valve and drill a 7/16" hole. The next step is to tap the hole. NPT fittings are tapered, that is the further/ deeper you thread the hole the wider it becomes. The threading is designed this way in order to help prevent leaks. Start tapping the hole, use a lubricant if necessary (lard oil, kerosene, soluble oil are the preferred threading lubricants for Al). Tap the hole so that 1/2 of the threads of the fitting protrude thru the hole when the fitting is inserted by hand. Now you need to make the 1/4" NPT x 1/2" sweat fitting so that you can connect the ball valve. You can do this a couple of ways. I sacrifice a 1/2" T-fitting. Solder a bushing into the leg of the T and clamp it in a vice. Now drill out the bushing with a 1/2" drill bit, you need to do this because the bushings are flared at the end. Next tap the bushing with the 1/4" NPT tap. Insert a 1/4" NPT nipple (I use a close nipple) and solder it. The threads provide a mechanical connection and the solder makes it leak tight. Then heat the T-fitting and after the solder is liquid pull the bushing/nipple out of the T-fitting (of course you need to used a pliers or suffer burnt fingers). You should now be left holding a 1/4" NPT nipple soldered into a bushing. Now solder this bushing into the ball valve. Clean all the pieces, especially if you used any lubrication. Screw the end of the ball valve with the 1/4" NPT nipple into the hole you tapped in the pot. After the fitting is hand tight, continue turning it until it gets tight. Don't worry about the ball valve handle alignment at this point. You want this connection good and tight. Just don't over do it and strip the aluminum. Now check for leaks. Do this by filling the pot full of water. You will see the water leaking out, usually a small drop forms as the water oozes thru the fitting. If it is leaking tighten it a little more. I did very small tightenings at this point followed by 10-15 minutes of waiting to see it the water would leak thru. After you have the fitting leak tight, empty the pot. If the valve handle alignment is not where you want it, heat it up to soften the solder and adjust the valve. The inside of the pot will now have the ends of the 1/4" NPT nipple inside the pot. You can attach drain tube to this. I used a 1/4" NPT female x 3/8" compression fitting. I've done several versions of drain tubes. Everything from a piece of tube with a copper scrubbie to a loop around the perimeter of the pot. The choice is up to you and your application. I use 3/8" copper for a lot of my tubing. I find that for 5 gallon and the occasional 10 gallon batch it is fine. Larger tubing will of course allow the pot to drain faster. For a HLT it really doesn't matter, I'm usually sparging at a rate slower then the tubing will allow and have to adjust the flow by closing the valve. For draining the brew pot, I just open the valve and let it rip. I found compression fittings at Home Depot that had seat connections. Another possibility for solder fittings is to take a 1/2" or 3/8" NPT fitting and filing down the threads so it fits, I tried that once but it takes forever. If you have a bench grinder it would make short work of it. Anyway, the short of it is that you can tap pot if you are very careful. Most pots are thin, especially the smaller volume pots. I don't think I'd try this on anything less than a 32 or 40 quart pot. It worked for me on a 32 and a 60 quart pot. The thickness of the aluminum tends to increase as the volume of the pot increases. I've seen solder that is supposed to work on aluminum with a propane torch (I have some but have not tried it, my pots don't leak). This solder is supposed to be non-toxic. I got mine from a mail order tool supplier. If you try this, I'd practice on with some scraps first to get the hang of it. If you don't feel comfortable with this than don't do it, I don't want to be accountable for ruining a pot. John Schnupp, N3CNL Dirty Laundry Brewery Colchester, VT 95 XLH 1200 Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 03:57:38 -0500 From: Rod Prather <rodpr at iquest.net> Subject: Soapy Flavors Back when Sam Adams BA was young and everybody thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, I remember it having a distinctive soapy flavor. Always thought it was the excessive use of tettnanger hops. Coulda been wrong but I used tattnangs at the time, still do. They can have an unusually bright and almost detergent like flavor if not tempered with other hops. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 99 05:33:37 PST From: "David C. Harris" <hesbrau at onr.com> Subject: Fw: Diacetyl increase in finished beers - ---------- > Date: Monday, March 29, 1999 05:51:23 > From: hesbrau > To: post@hbd.org > Subject: Re: Diacetyl increase in finished beers > > In HBD #2988, Jeff Renner inquired about possible non bacterial contamination > reasons fora an increase in diacetyl in finished beers. Diacetyl is produced > in > fermentation as a by-product of the yeast's quest to synthesize the amino > acids > valine and leucine. Diacetyl is formed through the oxidation of > a-acetolactate > outside of the cell wall. Later in the fermentation, the yeast will reabsorb > the > diacetyl and reduce it to acetoin and finally 2,3 butanediol. The yeast > reduces > diacetyl in order to use up the reducing power of NADH. Whil this is all well > and good, it doesn't answer the question does it? > In order to prevent delays in the metabolic pathways in the synthesis of > valine and leucine, the yeast produces and excess of a-acetolactate. The > excess passes through the cell wall into the fermenting beer. If all the > extracellular a-acetolactate is not oxidized into diacetyl the potential for > late > diacetyl formation exists. Even though the beer at the end of fermentation > doesn't have any diacetyl character, if a-acetolactate still exists it can be > oxidized into diacetyl. Therefore the introduction of oxygen during packaging > can cause an increase in diacetyl in beer where it was below threshold prior > to packaging. Interestingly, oxygen is not required to oxidize the > a-acetolacate, > Ca2+, Zn2+ or Fe3+ will also do the job. > One of the keys to preventing diacetyl is ensuring complete oxidation of the > a-acetolactate into diacetyl and the subsequent reduction of the diacetyl. > Ways to ensure this include a rapid fermentation, low pH, and sufficient Ca2+ > and Zn2+ during fermentation for form the diacetyl and sufficient maturation > in the presence of healthy yeast to reabsord and reduce the diacetyl. Of > course, minimizing oxygen uptake post fermentation is also critically > important. > Hope this sheds some light on one opportunity for an increase in diacetyl in > finished beer. > Cheers, > David Harris > Pflugerville (just north of Austin), Texas Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 04:16:46 PST From: "Philip Kokoczka" <philip63 at hotmail.com> Subject: Michigan UP Brew Pubs Ted wrote: >>I didn't find any brewpubs in the UP other than one in the southwest corner. Does anyone know of any? We loved the UP and are going back this summer.<< Ted, there are quite a few brew pubs in the UP. In fact my wife and myself did a tour of the UP brew pubs last year. There are brew pubs located in Grand Marais (located right on the shore of Lake Superior), Negaunee, Escanaba, Marquette, and there is even one located on the grounds of Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Do a little research on the internet and I am sure you will find a couple more. Phil in MI Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 08:11:10 -0500 From: Stephen Murphrey <swmurph at ibm.net> Subject: BJCP Exam Scoring Dave Sapsis wrote "It also should be noted that scoring accuracy amounts to a very small percentage of the score -- less than one of the essay questions in total." about the judging portion of the BJCP exam. It seems to me that this is the most important part of the exam and should count for a much larger part of the total score. I've never found the ability to expound on the characteristics of, say, Biere de Garde or Flanders Brown Ale (2 of the 10 questions when I took the exam) necessary or even all that useful while judging. Detecting the flavor components and the flaws is what judging is all about, so we ought to try to test how well we do that - even though such a test would be highly subjective and variable from test to test. One common failure of our contest judges is the inability to detect the amount of alcohol in the beer. A beer that's higher-than-style alcohol frequently scores pretty well because (in my opinion) the judges either couldn't detect that flaw or just enjoy high-alcohol beers (as most of us do). It would be nice to be able to enter a 6.7% ABV wheat beer as a Weizenbock and not be told it's "too small" and "should have been entered as a German Weizen," or even not to win a blue ribbon with a 7% ABV beer in the Scottish Export category because you knew it would be "too small" for the Strong Scottish Ale category. I think our competitions would be much improved if the judges were better tested even in this one area. I appreciated the accurate score (30) and comments (great beer, way out of style) that Greg Noonan gave that "Scottish Export" much more than the inflated scores (42) and blue ribbon that it received at another competition. Stephen Murphrey Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 08:38:29 EST From: MicahM1269 at aol.com Subject: rims survey results A few weeks back I asked for info from RIMS users. Many responders asked to see the results of the survey. It is posted below. Thanks everyone for your input. micah Informal Survey of RIMS/HERMS users on the HBD What sort of recirculating system used? (RIMS, HERMS, other) RIMS - 71.4% HERMS - 28.5% How long have you been using it? 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years 28.5% 28.5% 21.4% 21.4% 0% Did the RIMS replace another mash system? No, is new Replaced traditional mash system Replaced older RIMS 21.4% 71.4% 7.1% Is your system manual or electronically controlled? Manual control Electronic control 71.4% 28.5% How do you use you system? ( to do single temp mashes, to do multi temp step mashes ) Single temperature mashes Multi-temp mashes 14.3% 85.7% After acquiring a RIMS, do you use it exclusively or do you still use your more traditional mash techniques? Use it exclusively Use traditional mashing 78.6% 21.4% With your RIMS, has your mash efficiency; increased?, decreased?, no change? Increased Decreased No change 42.9% 0% 57.1% What are your average flow rates in gallons per minute? 1/2 - 1 gpm 1-2 gpm 2-3 gpm 3-4 gpm 4-5 gpm unknown 28.5% 21.4% 28.5% 28.5% What sort of wort collection do you use? ( false bottom, tube collection, etc...) False bottom Tubes Other 64.3% 21.4% 7.1% Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 09:16:40 -0500 From: Wade Hutchison <whutchis at bucknell.edu> Subject: Re: Pumps for one-tier system One possibility that you could consider is what I commonly do when plumbing a centrifugal pump - put in a recycle loop. That is, a loop of plumbing between the outlet of the pump and the inlet. There should be a valve in this loop to adjust the flow (could be a globe valve or a ball valve). You can adjust both the outflow valve from the pump and the recycle to get just the flowrate that you want, and run the pump at full speed the whole time. Note that cavitation is only a worry if you restrict the _inlet_ of the pump, or ask a centrifugal pump to raise liquid too far (more than ~29 feet). True cavitation occurs when the inlet pressure of the pump falls below the vapor pressure of the water you are trying to pump. A far more common problem with centrifical pumps is just air entrainment due to vortexing at the inlet. Always mount the pump so the inlet and outlet is below the lowest the water level will ever be, so you can gravity-prime the pump before turning it on. This way you can also use gravity to flush out the air that inevitabley gets in the pumphead. Also, if the pumphead is full of liquid, and you slow down the discharge from the pump, the amount of liquid that is drawn into the pump will also slow down - there's no way for the pump to accumulate wort! Input = Output. Hope this helps, -----wade hutchison whutchis at bucknell.edu BTW, I am (also) setting up a RIMS using a PC as a controller. My buddy, the electronics tech, found a neat little amplifier chip that will take a low-level thermocouple signal and convert it to 10 mv/deg. C (or F). This lets you use an inexpensive 8 or 12 bit A/D to read thermocouples. I'll put together a post on what he built for me if folks are interested. Ciao! >------------------------------ > >Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 08:52:31 +0000 >From: dolmans at mail.tss.net >Subject: Re: one tier rims <snip> > My greatest concern is the pump between the mash/lauter tun and the >boil kettle. Since I sparge at a trickle I worry about the pump >being able to move very small quantities for an hour or slightly >longer. It seems that most pumps require a several gallon per minute >flow rate in order to not cavitate or to burn themselves out. I have >considered the possibility of slowing the flow rate down behind the >pump but that seems self defeating as it would hold the hot wort but >the flow rate through the grain bed would be too fast to really make >any extraction happen. Any thoughts on this? Or is it the case that >once the pump is primed and the outlet behind it throttled down that >the normal extraction and sparge flow rate will be established >particularly if I recirculate the first 2 gallons of wort? <snip> >Gerard Dolmans >Dolmans at mail.tss.net > Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 09:05:00 -0500 From: "Peter J. Calinski" <PCalinski at iname.com> Subject: Refractive Index. Can This Measure It? In HBD #2986 Louis Bonham described the use of refractive index to measure alcohol content. By coincidence, Texas instruments just announced a new device to measure the refractive index of liquids. http://www.ti.com/sc/docs/psheets/newdocs/specfunc.htm Has a full description of the device. I pulled the following from that document. Detailed Description The Spreeta sensor uses a physical principal called surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to measure the refractive index of liquids in contact with the surface of the sensor. When a liquid comes in contact with the sensor and the appropriate signals are applied to the pins, the sensor provides an output that corresponds with the refractive index of the liquid. Detailed information on surface plasmon resonance can be found at http://www.ti.com/spreeta. The TSPR1A150100 Spreeta liquid sensor has a dynamic range of 1.320 to 1.368 refractive index units (RIU) with a resolution of 5x10-6 RIU. The physical dimensions of the Spreeta sensor are shown in Figure 7 on page 8. The output of the Spreeta sensor is a series of analog pulses, one per clock cycle, from which the refractive index of the liquid is derived when the voltages are digitized and processed with the proper algorithm. So I ask: Is there potential for other HBDers to use this device? Does it have the right range, resolution? Does it use a principal that is compatible for our purposes? Right now all TI has is preliminary information. I didn't try to get pricing, availability, etc. Pete Calinski East Amherst NY Near Buffalo NY 0 Degrees 30.21 Min North, 4 Degrees 05.11 Min. East of Jeff Renner Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 09:27:00 -0500 From: "Penn, John" <John.Penn at jhuapl.edu> Subject: steeping/mashing & Diacetyl example Charley Burns asks about steeping vs. mashing for beginners. I have seen 1.0 qts per pound to 2.0 qts. per pound listed as the range for mashing with most people in the middle like yourself at 1.5 qts per pound. In my opinion the difference between steeping and mashing is that steeping is so much more forgiving. Steeping: Water can be up to 1 gallon per pound and temperature need only be roughly 140F to 170F. Time can be 15 mins to 30 mins. So its a much easier, quicker and more forgiving process than mashing. Mashing: Water should be between 1.0 qts/# to 2.0 qts/#. Temperature control is much more stringent and should be between 148 to 158F. For beginners, probably a warmer temp like 155F would be a preferred start since for conversion they will probably just wait an hour rather than using an iodine test. Time should be at least an hour. They are certainly other factors in mashing but maybe in order to keep it simple for beginners one should just stress the main differences between steeping and mashing which I would list as mash thickness, temperature control (148-158F vs. 140-170F), and time (60 mins vs. 15/30 mins). Diacetyl example: I would like to list my old favorite McEwans Scotch Ale as an example of diacetyl. Can you say butterscotch!!! However I recently had a McEwans Scotch ale and the flavor that dominated was just a basic sweetness, the butterscotch flavor was lacking. I wonder if that was because of age/storage of the McEwans Scotch Ale or if there has been a change in the recipe. Anyone else notice a change in McEwans Scotch Ale in the last few years? John Penn Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 08:41:44 -0600 From: "Sieben, Richard" <SIER1 at Aerial1.com> Subject: Water softeners and brewing Marshal George wrote: Subject: Water Softeners and Brewing I have recently moved into a home that has a water softener in it. It uses the pellets for the softening mechanism, and was wondering if this will have a detrimental effect on my beers (I brew allgrain). If so, what could I do to help this out? It might depend on what kind of water softener you have, but generally I believe if the water tastes good, you can make good beer. I know this will cause a lot of discussion as this is only my little ole' opinion. From personal experience, I have a 'Rainsoft' water treatment system (no affiliation yada yada etc etc) that is not really a 'water softener', or at least that is how it was sold to me. The treated water is supposed to have less sodium content than 'softened' water. I used to add 'burton water salts' to my water but since have quit since it made the bitterness too harsh. Also, since I started brewing with my water treater, the village has since started softening the incoming water. I have noticed no difference in my brews. So what does all this mean? Heck, I have started to question all the discussion of water chemistry beyond, does the base water taste good to drink? That is how breweries used to be established, the brewer found a source of good tasting water. If it worked for them, why not us. (Oh yeah, we KNOW better I suppose). I got a water analysis from my village and they gave me the chemical breakdown right out of the well, so it really didn't tell me what was coming into my house. With the water treatment to cause more confusion for me, I guess the only way to know is pay for my own water analysis. But then again, my beer is excellent (or so I think and am told by others who probably just want to stroke me for another one, hahahaha), so why bother? Ok, enough rambling....send the flames, I am wearing Nomex this time. Rich Sieben Brew forth and swill no more. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 10:42:06 From: "William W. Macher" <macher at telerama.lm.com> Subject: Stuckest...Stucker...Kinda Stuck... Hi everyone! Here is the sad story...questions follow at bottom... Well, I joined the club yesterday! I brewed a batch of Terrible Times Ale on my new steam-injected RIMS. Why didn't Momma gift me with foresight enough to try a 5-gal shakedown batch the first time??? I doughed in 22 LB of grains with 1.25 quart per LB of water at around 150 F. in my cold half-keg mash vessel. I was not concerned about the temperature things would stabilize at...I would just re-circulate and use steam to raise the mash. Yea, right... The grain bill was mostly pale ale malt, with 2 LB of torrified wheat that I happened to have and about a pound and a half of crystal malt. What fun grinding that grain! Put my half-inch electric drill on the shaft of the mill (in place of the handle) and let her rip...through put was about 5 LB per minute. But back to my tale of woe... My mash tun outlet is in the middle of the bottom of the converted keg, as I did not see the need to bottom-fire this vessel. I had had good luck in the past with a manifold made from slotted half-inch copper tubing, and so I constructed a manifold from half-inch copper tubing that approximated a ring about two thirds of the diameter of the keg bottom. This manifold fits into a brass tee which is one half of a home-made bulkhead fitting. I drilled a hole in the tee, and put a small stainless steel bolt through it, facing upwards, to which I can attach a false bottom over the manifold. A stainless steel washer and nut holds the false bottom in place. "False bottom" may not be the right term for what I actually made. I made a cover for the manifold, out of a piece of copper sheet, that has 1/8 inch holes drilled in it (a lot of them, whew!). This sheet covers the manifold and bends down over the edges, in a box-like fashion, with holes in both the top and sides. I mixed the grains well (making sure there were no dry spots) with pre-heated water that was about 150 degrees F. The ratio was about 1.25 quarts per LB of grain. I was ready to start having some fun! Thinking back, I was probably grinning broadly as I switched on the pump to start recirculation. To make a long story short...I could not get any flow. Next to zero. I had run some water into the tun and circulated it before adding the grain, so the pump was primed and the pipes were full. I started the pump against a closed valve on its output side, and believe I opened the valve slowly. The mash was stuck, big-time. I had visions of lugging 22 LB of grain out to the compost bin...but did not have the heart to do it. By the way, that was sweat running down my cheeks under my eyes! Honest! I wanted to reach in, unscrew the nut holding my manifold cover down, and remove the cover, but the mash was too hot... Scoop, scoop, scoop...out comes the mash into two five- gallon buckets. Off comes the manifold cover...I hoped this would help. A manifold worked fine in my 8 gallon enamel pot. Back in goes the mash...on goes the pump...is it better?...not sure... There was slight improvement, but it was certainly not good enough...what now? ...Bingo, window screen! Scoop, scoop, scoop...Out comes the mash again. I cut a piece of window screen and fold it over, and jam it under the manifold, covering the top and sides of the manifold pretty well. Back in goes the mash...on goes the pump...it is a little better...no more options...mash now down to 114 F... I am able to get about 1 quart per minute (big guesstimate, maybe only a pint...). I also added some more water at this point to make the mash a bit thinner, to about 1.5 quarts per pound of grain. Also, several times as this charade was going on I blew air back through the pump into the mash tun to try to clear blockage that might be in the manifold. This did not seem to help much. I finally did get the mash up into the low 150s F, after about two hours. The problem was that at this slow recirculation rate I could not input much steam to heat the small volume of re-circulating wort. I held the temperature of the wort going back into the mash tun to about 170 F.. I could feel the heat in the mash move slowly downward (on the outside of the keg). Emphasis on SLOWLY. I finally threw in the towel and started sparging with the mash at about 160 F.. I slowly pumped 168 F. water into the tun via the rims return manifold. I was able to move the wort to the boil kettle satisfactorily, and the sparge was normal. I started heating the wort as the kettle was filling. The boil did not start until after the kettle was full. That is when I had my first-ever boil over. No big deal at that point. I think I was happy to have something work right! :-) Caught it pretty quick. No more than a quart on the floor...glad I was in the basement! The remaining steps went normal. It was a tiring, depressing experience. But there is a bright side...things can only get better! I assume my manifold/cover design is deficient. I also assume my procedure could be improved. My plan is to maintain some sort of manifold under a false bottom but this could change...probably I will do away with this redundancy. The manifold was slotted using a small metal-cutting band saw. The width of the slots are less than 1/16 inch. Is it possible that they are too narrow, and were plugged by fines? If the slots were a bit wider would not fine particles be re-circulated back to the mash bed, as part of setting up the filter bed? Should I have let the mash rest a while before turning on the pump for recirculation ? I mixed the grain well with before trying to pump it, but I did not wait long for things to settle. Is settling time important when RIMSing? My plan is to install a proper false bottom, either fashioned from one of those perforated pizza pans or from some copper sheet that I have, if I have time and want to numb my mind a bit(drilling that many holes is pretty boring). Now the questions... Question: Is it desirable to size the screen/manifold/false- bottom hole size such that some fines ARE re-circulated back to the filter bed (thereby not plugging the system)? Can the screen be too fine? My guess is too fine of screen is bad...even if the area of the screen is large. Question: If I have a tight fitting false bottom, does a manifold under it offer any positives? I am beginning to think not. Question: Is it desirable to rest the mash, after dough in, for a bit before turning on the rims pump? Question: What kind of flow rates should I expect to get in a RIMS? I can get about 3 GPM with water by itself. Question: Is my beer ruined? (just joking...) In the meantime, I have two carboys of Terrible Times Ale fermenting...to date I have never made a beer I could not drink...nor have I ever named one...am I worried? Naw... this might be the best brew I ever make, who knows (Boy, I hope not)! All in all it was a long day. Started before 9 AM and ended just before 6 PM...and I must tell you, my arse was draggin... I will be grateful for all pointers or advice anyone can offer. Why I am so eager to have another go at it??? Happy Brewing! Bill Macher...Pittsburgh, PA...USA Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 11:48:52 -0500 From: Wade Hutchison <whutchis at bucknell.edu> Subject: Re: Steeping/Mashing, Well, recently I did an historical recipe (Mr Webb's Braggot) that, once the quantities were adjusted back from the hogshead size, lead to a water:grist ratio of 2 quarts per pound. This was at the high end of the range, but a 90 minute mash produced a decent extraction rate (25 ppg, adjusted). I would think that the temperature would be more important than the water:grist ratio in the difference between steeping and mashing. Even dilute enzymes should work on small quantities of starch iff the temperature is in the correct range. -----wade hutchison >Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 08:16:46 -0800 (PST) >From: cburns at jps.net (Charley Burns) >Subject: Steeping is not Mashing > <snip> >Easy enough done, but it did bring up one question. At what point does >mashing become steeping? What water/grist ratio is the maximum that >enzymatic action will occur fast enough to convert the starches to sugars >before pooping out (technical term for you pointy heads). I have used 1.5 >quarts per pound but never higher than that. Is there some reference >somewhere that gives this maximum level? > >Charley Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 18:58:07 +0200 From: Mark van Bommel <markbom at xs4all.nl> Subject: Diacetyl formation Jeff Renner wrote: >Any ideas why diacetyl would increase in the cask (or bottle)? With real >ale, perhaps O2 at cask fiilling combined with the renewed fermentation of >priming sugar? But it would seem to rise and be stable or even fall. According to a small review I saw in BrewingTechniques (Jan/Feb 1999, p. 14) concerning a article in MBAA Technical Quarterly the main cause of diacetyl formation seems to be a lack of the amino acid valine in the wort (or beer). Valine is synthesized by the yeast and a by-product of this process is aceto-lactate which can be oxidized to diacetyl. What happens is the aceto- lactate is excreted by the yeast in its environment (wort or beer) and chemically reacts with oxygen to form diacetyl. Yeast needs valine to form new proteins, which which are needed during grow. Yeast only reproduces on a large scale when there's enough oxygen around and when the remperature is sufficiently high. In lagers the diacetyl can only be removed by a long rest at low temps or a long one at a higher temperature. In ales (because they are lagered at higher temperatures) most of the diacetyl is usually vented of. But not in a lot of English ales. Presumably the process of cask conditioning increases the diacetyl formation or prevents the diacetyl already in the beer to be vented of. Adding a lot of air can increase the diacetyl formation because the oxygen allows the yeast to grow (and thus increase valine and aceto-lactate formation). In young beer there isn't a lot of protein or amino acids readily available to the yeast cells, which probably means a lot of valine has to be synthesized thus increasing diactyl formation. Because cask conditioned ale needs to be consumed when it is still young the diactyl is prevented from venting, thus increasing that buttery note. High temperatures increase the possibility of diacetyl formation, because yeast growth is increased at these temperatures. I agree with Jeff that in a lot of English ales this can be really overpowering. During the Great British Beer Festival (in London, each August) the number of beers tasting of butterscotch increases dramaticaly during the festival. This happens because they can't really store the beer properly and in August the temperature in London is usually quite high (especially in the hall where the Festival is held). Infections might help diacetyl formation, some lactic acid bacteria are quite capable of producing huge amounts of diacetyl. Most of the high diacetyl beers I tasted are however were not sour, so maybe the yeast is the main culprit here. Cheers, Mark van Bommel markbom at xs4all.nl Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 1999 11:15:36 -0600 From: John.Wilkinson at aud.alcatel.com (John Wilkinson) Subject: Skunky PU I have seen a lot of references to skunky tasting Pilsner Urquell and wonder if some people might be confusing the sulfur to skunkiness? I know that every time I used to go to Norway I was struck by the sulfur flavor and aroma of the beer when I had my first half liter. By the time I finished that first half liter I was craving more of the beer, though. I understand several of the Continental Pilsners have a bit of a sulfur aroma and flavor to them. The Czech Pils I try to make with Wyeast Czech Pils yeast is quite strong until it lagers a while. I have grown to appreciate a touch of this in my pils and in PU. John Wilkinson - Grapevine, Texas Return to table of contents
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