HOMEBREW Digest #309 Thu 23 November 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Re: glass vs. plastic carboys (dw)
  extracting tannins (Pete Soper)
  Dark Winter Ale Recipe (Ted Manahan)
  RE:  Glass vs Plastic Carboys (Mike Fertsch)
  yeast culturing (David Baer)
  Re: glass vs. plastic carboys (kipps)
  Does anyone have a machine-readable recipe index? (neils)
  Re: Spiced brews (Ed Falk)
  Re: yeast starters and me... (Dr. T. Andrews)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 22 Nov 89 09:37:12 EST (Wednesday) From: dw <Wegeng.Henr at Xerox.COM> Subject: Re: glass vs. plastic carboys One of the problem with plastic carboys (and any other plastic fermentation vessel) is that it's easy to scratch. These scratches make great places for evil and nasty bacterias to hide from your sanitation methods. Glass is more difficult to scratch. You also need to make sure that the plastic won't break down when exposed to alcohol, and leach some chemical into your brew. Plastic buckets that are intended to be used for fermentation are safe, but I don't know about plastic carboys. /Don Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 09:42:32 EST From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: extracting tannins I believe the biggest factor governing tannin extraction during sparging is pH. As the pH goes up, more and more tannins go into solution and appear in the runnings. As the sparge water flows through the grains, less and less of the acidic mash remains and so if the sparge water pH is relatively high or a lot of sparge water is used, a point is reached where the pH of the runnings gets too high and tannins dissolve readily leading to astringent flavors. This is one reason why some experts recommend that you stop sparging when the gravity of the runnings falls below a minimum (also of course because at such low gravity you'd need to get a whole lot of runnings for just a little more extract). More importantly from my experience, this is also why Miller recommends adjusting the sparge water to a pH of 5.7 as insurance against the pH of the runnings getting too high. But how could a mechanical process like the liquid level maintenance gadget Brian describes affect this situation? By, as he said, boosting extraction efficiency. So less sparge water is used and the point of dilution where tannin extraction occurs is never reached. Keep in mind that the level maintenance gadget that Brian described is a convenience (and a very nice one), but it is functionally equivalent to just manually maintaining the sparge water level near the top of the grain. In other words, if you are diligent about metering your sparge water you won't have a lot of "dry" grain weighing down and packing your filter bed and so you'll achieve the same effect. - --Pete Soper Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 07:54:57 mst From: Ted Manahan <hpldola!tedm at hplabs.HP.COM> Subject: Dark Winter Ale Recipe I've been reading the homebrew digest since the beginning, but before now I had never contributed. It's time to change that. I usually prefer to make light ales. If I had the equipment (like a spare refrigerator) lagers would be my preferred style. Beck's is my holy grail. I'll probably try the wet towel method of cool fermenting this winter. Despite my preference for light brews, I occasionally make a dark beer. I made one recently, and it is the best dark ale I've made to date. Here's the recipe: Barrel Bottom Black Bitter 2/3 lb whole chocolate malt 1/3 lb whole crystal malt 6 lbs liquid Australian Dark Malt Extract 2 oz Oregon Perle hops 1.5 oz Cascade hops Burton liquid ale yeast I soaked the malt in a pot of hot (not boiling) water for an hour. At the same time, I boiled the Australian Dark with the Oregon Perle hops. After an hour, I added the Cascade hops and turned off the heat. After letting this sit for about 1/2 hour, I strained everything into my primary and added cold water to bring it to 5 gallons. The wort was still too hot, so I pitched the yeast the next morning. I used a single stage fermentation. Note that I never boiled the liquid that the malt soaked in. Does anyone know what effect this may have on the finished brew? Barrel Bottom Black Bitter is very dark, rich and bitter, with a full head of tan foam. It could pass as a stout. The only bad part of this is that my 5 gallons is almost gone, in less than two months. I got all my ingredients from William's Brewing. They sell two types of dark malt extract; English dark and Australian dark. The Australian is the "darker" of the two. The yeast was my first try at using a "Yeast Bank". I froze yeast from a previous batch (my "Sort of Santa Fe Ale"), and reused it. This worked very well. I tried the same thing with some lager yeast, and it didn't come to life after being thawed. I'll keep experimenting with this method, as I don't like to spend $3.50 on yeast for every batch. Ted Manahan tedm at hpldola.hp.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 09:44 EST From: Mike Fertsch <FERTSCH at adc1.adc.ray.com> Subject: RE: Glass vs Plastic Carboys Ed Falk comments on glass vs. plastic carboys: > Glass carboys are expensive; is there any reason I can't use a plastic > carboy (i.e. water bottle) instead? The people who sold me my glass > carboy said you can't sterilize plastic, but they're in the business of > selling glass so they're not unbiased. I don't think sterilizing plastic is a big problem; I'm sure the water companies find a way to sterilize/sanitize the plastic carboys before filling them with their water. I would just fill the carboy with bleach water and wait overnight. Another issue is the plastic itself. There was some discussion on this a year or so ago, but plastic carboys MAY leach solvents when filled with acidic or alcoholic fluids. The plasic carboys here at work clearly say "Not to be filled with any other liquids. For water use only." They claim to be "NSF Approved", whatever that means. Beer is quite different from bottled water - the acidity of beer may cause solvents to be released into the beer. I'm not sure if the plasticizers are a real problem or not. I buy the glass carboys and don't worry. Glass is inert. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 08:25:22 PST From: dsbaer at EBay.Sun.COM (David Baer) Subject: yeast culturing Russ: >>It seems to me that the average homebrewer has the greatest >>yeast farm in the world sitting in his own bottled brew! Not only do you have yeast in your own bottles of homebrew, but there are several different commercial beers that have active yeast. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale comes to life everytime. Coopers REAL Ale, Duvel, Chimay, most of the unfiltered micro breweries beers all sport very high quality yeast. Miller says that Spaten Hefe-Weisse also has a very stable yeast that can be resusitated (sp?). If you use the procedure you outlined and poured the last inch of a sedimented beer into the wort instead of the Wyeast pouch, you should get the exact same results as the Wyeast. It may take a few days because the yeast is dormant, but in the end, you get similar quality yeast for the price of a beer that you get to drink. My only question is what is the starting gravity for your starter wort? 2 cups dry malt and 1 cup corn sugar per quart of water sounds pretty syruppy. This would be the equivalent of making a 5 gallon batch with 20 cups (5 pounds?) of corn sugar and 40 cups (10 lbs?) dry malt. I am under the impression that the closer the starter is to the actual wort the yeast will be fermenting the better. I have even heard that to avoid "culture shock" the starter should be a low OG (25% less than the wort). Any comments? Dave Baer Sun Microsystems dsbaer at vienna Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 09:24:31 -0800 From: kipps at etoile.ICS.UCI.EDU Subject: Re: glass vs. plastic carboys I started brewing just this summer and went to the local brew shop to get setup. At the time, they had lots of glass water bottles and food-grade buckets. I asked about plastic water bottles and was told that the plastic wasn't food-grade and would leave on off taste to the beer. I ended up buying a 5 gallon glass carboy for $9. Now that I'm familiar with mail order brew shops I don't visit the local place much--prices are too high. However, I went there with friend not long ago and guess what. This guy was all out of glass carboys and was trying to talk some first-time homebrewer into plastic water bottles! Anyway, to answer your question, my guess is that a plastic water bottle will work ok. They won't take the same size rubber stopper, though. The brew shop owner had this cap that fit over the mouth of the bottle. I've seen this cap advertized in catalogues, so look around. Now, about glass vs. plastic: I'm a bit of a snob; I prefer glass. About the expense: I've discovered a good spot for homebrew equipment at great prices. Several of the local community colleges hold weekend swap meets. I once found a guy selling 6-1/2 gallon glass carboys in foam cases for $5, and another selling a case of 20 Grolsch (sp?) bottles for $5. There's always several people selling 5 gallon carboys (also for $5). Cappers, boiling pots, kegs, and grist mils show up sometimes, as well. -Jim Kipps Return to table of contents
Date: Wed Nov 22 10:05:40 1989 From: microsoft!neils at beaver.cs.washington.edu Subject: Does anyone have a machine-readable recipe index? It's getting too hard to thumb through Zymurgy and brewing texts when I want to find a recipe. Before I start making my own recipe index, does anyone have one? thanks neil smith Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 11:06:49 PST From: falk at Sun.COM (Ed Falk) Subject: Re: Spiced brews > > 1. Spiced brews... > > Starting gravity was 1.050, and after a two-day languorous primary ferment > and a downright somnolent week in the secondary, things seemed pretty much > done, but the SG sat there at 1.025, higher than I have expected, but within > the realm of reason, I guess, given that there were two cans of extract and > and ounce and a half of glycerine. Besides being quite strong in flavor, > this stuff tasted really nummy at bottling time. Seems to be carbonating > nicely, so I can hardly wait for the holidays! That's *exactly* what happened with us. Starting SG was 1.040 and finishing was 1.020. I think either (a) the spices make a hostile environment for the yeast, or (b) the spices disolved in the wort raised the SG. I hope it's (b), but I think it's (a) given all the malt extract that went in. I'm glad yours tasted good, ours hasn't been bottled yet. p.s. whatever the precipitate from the mead was, it settled out and fermentation is going fine. I'll rack in a few days. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 89 7:04:27 EST From: Dr. T. Andrews <ki4pv!tanner at uunet.UU.NET> Subject: Re: yeast starters and me... ) greatest yeast farm in the world, sitting in his own bottled brew! Well, yes, it's true. Easier: if you do a 2-stage ferment, there will be sludge on the bottom of the carboy. That sludge is nearly pure yeast. After you rack the beer off to be bottled, save that sludge. I am fond of the dog-bolter yeast, and re-use it this way. Works fine, and a spoon-full of it in some sterile wort gives me a great starter. In about the time it takes to brew a new batch, the stuff is going vigourously. Pitch it when the new batch is ready; my lag time is measured in minutes. The sludge at the bottom of primary ferment contains lots of yeast, but also everything else that might have settled out of beer. You may not want to put that back into your new beer. - -- ...!bikini.cis.ufl.edu!ki4pv!tanner or... {allegra attctc bpa gatech!uflorida uunet!cdin-1}!ki4pv!tanner Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #309, 11/23/89
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