HOMEBREW Digest #3274 Sat 18 March 2000

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  You've Been Pivo'd (Biergiek)
  Starters (Dave Burley)
  Re: HBD Size and Frequency (Mark Rogerson)
  searching archives (Jim Liddil)
  Re: Hop growing ("Doug Marion")
  Big Brew Questions (Bob Hall)
  water treatment (JSTanker)
  Re: Brazing Materials ("John Palmer")
  Czech beers ("St. Patrick's")
  Fullers ("St. Patrick's")
  HERM's 3-way valve ("scott")
  cell counts ("St. Patrick's")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 09:14:42 EST From: Biergiek at aol.com Subject: You've Been Pivo'd I think Pivo has Pivo'd you if you believe his statement that he invented the (*) as a moon. Come on now, some of you are as easy as Fred Garvin is in an Atlanta gay bar or the men's bathroom in the Steelcase atrium. Lighten up a little and have some fun on this forum as I think Pivo is doing... I just stumbled across a nice internet auction for lab equipment for those of you looking for reasonably priced stir plates: www.labx.com Kyle Bakersfield, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 09:16:29 -0500 From: Dave Burley <Dave_Burley at compuserve.com> Subject: Starters Brewsters: Jim Dunlap decries the lack of kraeusen and trub in his starters and considers these to be failed starters, yet his brewing with them proves otherwise. Jim, I have had this "problem" occasionally with starters also. I remember especially a time with a very agresssive Cooper's yeast I grew from one of their bottles - drove me nuts - those Ozzies!!. I have decided it is not a problem at all. Those sneaky yeasts are fermenting out the starter while I'm not there. You can prove this to yourself, as I did, by checking the sugar content of the starter with a few drops of the starter and a Clinitest kit. Also, you should be getting a deposit of yeast to prove they are growing. If you still have sugar and no visible yeast growth, then you may be too impatient. Give yourself at least 3 days per expansion, especially at the cooler temperatures. Going from a Wyeast pack to full pitching rate will take a week, at least. If the starter is finishing quickly, probably what it means is that you are making too small of a starter for the amount of yeast you pitch into it,although the amounts mentioned seem OK to me. Try a larger volume of the same OG. I recommend you standardize on a concentration, say OG = 1.050 for your starters so you can judge better if you are having a problem or not with your starter. Your FGs seem exactly right to me if you started with OGs of somewhere around 1.05-1.06. The OG gravity is typically 3 times the gravity of the FG. Thus, an FG of 1.016 should have started with an OG of 3X16 = 48 ergo 1.048 is the approximate OG for a normal mash temperature program. Does this check? This relationship does not work with many high OG barleywines ( remaining sugar) and exclusively very high mashing temperatures ( high dextrins) , however. Possibly, it could be related to your cleaning/sanitizing method. First, I think you should review your use of bleach. I haven't read a bleach bottle for a long time, but I believe the level of 1/2 to 1 tsp of bleach/gallon, that you use, is what is recommended to be used when you want to sanitize your drinking water. So you could drink your "sanitizing" solution! This chlorine level is not useful for sanitizing your brewing ware. As you may know, sanitizing is a concentration/temperature/time phenomenon. At these very dilute bleach levels you use, it may not be effective at room temperature, and if it were, you would have to soak your starter bottle for an hour or so at that dilution - do you?. Try a Tlb or two of straight bleach swirled on all surfaces of your starter bottle, dilute it to about 8 oz with hot boiled water, swirl over all surfaces and drain and follow by rinsing with boiling water three times. Perhaps you have some kind of residue on your glassware which is killing the head on your starter. Maybe a residue of detergent or anti-spot? Don't use your automatic dishwasher for this bottle. The alkaline and oxidative properties of the straight bleach should lift almost any organic residue. The high chlorine concentration and high temperature I suggest should make contact time of a few seconds effective at sanitizing, but you can hold it longer, if you wish. Concentrated bleach in contact with glass will eventually etch it, providing a rough surface that is difficult to clean. So don't overkill either by soaking glassware for a long time ( say overnight) in concentrated or even moderatedly concentrated bleach. Since dextrins are not related to foaming characteristics, I didn't quite understand how your use of amylase proved the extracts were high dextrins just because you got some foam or trub ( Did you maybe wait longer?). Remember also that amylase ( especially the fungus derived variety) is very stable - even to heat - and will continue to operate for a long time chewing up the dextrins in your wort. Don't use this in your starters or wort unless you boil it afterward or you may end up with a beer with no dextrins. BTW thanks for providing so much detailed information. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 08:45:36 -0600 From: Mark Rogerson <arkmay at flash.net> Subject: Re: HBD Size and Frequency > In my opinion, we would be better off with a minor revision > to HBD to either increase the digest size or to increase the frequency. I'll My vote: HBD once/day -- size as required. - -- Mark Rogerson, HMFIC Randy Stoat Femtobrewery Houston, Texas, U! S! A! http://www.flash.net/~arkmay/Mark/rsf_tour/ Minister of Propaganda Kuykendahl Gran Brewers Houston, Texas, U! S! A! http://www.TheKGB.org/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 07:53:07 -0700 (MST) From: Jim Liddil <jliddil at VMS.ARIZONA.EDU> Subject: searching archives > > IMO mashout *does* significantly improve the consistency of the > extraction, but 4 times out of 5 the actual extraction change is quite > small. The lauter water temp is only responsible for a marginal > improvement in extraction, one we HBers can choose to ignore. At the same time I beleive kunze mentions it that it is not a good idea to raise the amsh temp too high since this can lead to inactivation of enzymes and lack of conversion of any remaining starch. Then again one needs to decide what the priorities are. For me an extra pound of grain is no big deal and I choose to not worry about extraction efficiency too much. I make the choice to worry about my pitching rate and viability instead. > > Thanks to AlanM for reposting the yeast viable cell count info. I had > searched the archive for this w/o success. I have mentioned this before. But can't some rogramming genius out there come up with a better search engine for the HBD? Google and altavista style comes to mind. But I am not a programmer and so if I am way over simplifying forgive me. Jim Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 08:58:27 MST From: "Doug Marion" <mariondoug at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Hop growing Tom Puskar sent me a private e-mail with further questions about growing hops. Said he'd like his question and response posted so here for others who might be interested so here it is. Tom wrote, >Last year I got some rhizomes of Cascade & Willamette. I planted one >rhizome >each in a 5 gallon bucket. They grew well and I got a small batch of hops >which I use to impress friends and neighbors! > >I left the buckets outside (I live in central NJ) all winter and they are >starting to generate shoots. I'll cut them back as per your suggestion. > >My question is can I leave these guys in the buckets and expect any useful >crops? I started this for fun--not really expecting to get any useful >crops--but now I'm starting to wonder. I don't have much space and my >better >half is reluctant to allow me to put these in the ground permanently. I >constructed a frame which went about 12 feet high out of thin wall >electrical >conduit weaved with twine. I rerouted the bines up, down and across so I >really don't know how long they got. >Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Tom Puskar >Howell, NJ Tom, I'm certainly not an expert on growing anything but I do have some opinions and suggestions for you. Thanks for the e-mail. I've never grown hops in a bucket before but I think It would work ok to a limited degree. Hops are vigorous growers and grow a root system like you wouldn't believe. My guess is that your hop plant would eventually get root bound in the bucket if not planted in the ground or haveing the roots thinned out and left in the bucket. If allowed to stay root bound, my guess is the plant would get sick and not produce well. If I had to grow them in buckets, I would make sure the soil had plenty of sand in it for drainage (hops like a well drained,sandy soil) and the bucket had lots of holes drilled in it also for drainage to prevent root rot. Then, every year (maybe you could get by with every two years) I would pull the root system out of the bucket and sepparate the roots and rhizomes (give some rhizomes to some homebrewing friends) and replant one or two of the rhizomes back in the bucket. You will only get limited harvest this way, but you're probably never going to achieve full potential growing out of the buckets anyway. You are only going to be able to allow one or maybe two years of root growth in the buckets. I even question letting go for that second year. During that first winter after the first growing season, the plant has been cut back to the crown at ground level, but the root system is going to continue to grown ALL WINTER. By the next spring, the tap root will have grown deep into the ground with lots of side rhizomes and roots. Heres and example. On one of my Liberty hills that I planted one rhizome in the first spring, I got good growth that first year with a decent amount of cones. I cut it back that fall and let it winter over. The next spring, when the shoots started to appear above ground, I counted the number of shoots at 35! All out of that one hill that started out with one rhizome. Obviously I only let five or six bines grow but that shows how much of a root system had to have grown over one winter to support that many new shoots. What you need to do is find a way to stick those buggers in the ground. That would be the best. Good luck. Let me know how it turns out. Doug Marion Meridian Idaho ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 11:13:49 -0800 From: Bob Hall <nap_aca_bh at nwoca.org> Subject: Big Brew Questions Posting of the Big Brew recipe (which looks mighty good) has prompted me to ask a couple of questions: >Big Brew 2000, Nearly Nirvana Pale Ale >All Grain Recipe for 5 gallons: >6.5 gallons water (2.5 mash, 4 sparge) I shifted from extract to all-grain earlier this year (and don't plan to return). One of my problems, however, has been the estimation of water. I've had 5 gal batches that began with as much as 8 gal. of water and, after mashing, sparging, 90 min of hard boil, and disposal of the turb still came up short of volume in the primary. I'm hesitant to top off and (I hate to admit this) haven't taken SG readings. Beers have been fine, but I'm wondering if I'm really getting the results of the recipes I'm using. Any tips would be appreciated. >1 oz Perle hops (first wort hop) I have packs of Perle in the freezer that range from 6.5 to 8.9 IBU. Am I wrong to assume that this much variation would have a distinct impact on final bitterness? I was surprised that the recipe called for oz. rather than IBU. Thanks in advance for comments and advice. Bob - -- Bob Hall, Technology Director Napoleon Area Schools Napoleon, OH 43545 PH 419.592.6991 FAX 419.599.7638 nap_aca_bh at nwoca.org "Turn off the computer and trust your feelings." - -- Luke Skywalker Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 11:09:18 EST From: JSTanker at aol.com Subject: water treatment I have recently gone to all grain brewing after about 6 months of extract brewing and have not been able to find specific information on how to treat my local water supply. I have looked through the archives and such, but still need help - I don't really understand all this chemistry and stuff. This is what the water company here told me about our water (on average): Calcium < 45 ppm Carbonate/Bicarbonate < 50 ppm Iron < .01 ppm Manganese 0 Nitrate < 10 ppm Sodium < 100 ppm Sulfate < 50 ppm Chlorine 2.0 ppm THM 0 pH 8.0 What would you recommend other than filtering and how would you recommend reducing the pH - would acidification with lactic acid work ? Will this water need boiling with this low of carbonate level ? Any other suggestions will be gladly accepted. Thanks for any help - private e-mails are ok Jerry Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 08:49:50 -0800 From: "John Palmer" <jjpalmer at gte.net> Subject: Re: Brazing Materials Jerry asked if there are any metals to be concerned about when brazing, and if there were any chemicals that can be utilized to correct any issues (eg. vinegar/H2O2 for lead). There are only two metals used in brazing to be concerned with: lead and cadmium. Lead is toxic but only in large amounts and long term. Cadmium is much more toxic. Fortunately, both lead and cadmium are prohibited for use in plumbing brazes and solders. But, you need to be aware when you buy braze rods that you are buying one that is approved for use in plumbing. Ditto for solder, although solder is more obvious - it will say either plumbing solder or jewelry solder. Do Not use jewelry solder for plumbing! So, bottom line, screen your brazing/soldering materials for lead and cadmium and you will be okay. John Palmer metallurgist and welding engineer Monrovia CA PS. there is brazing and soldering info on my webpage http://www.realbeer.com/jjpalmer/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 12:17:00 -0500 From: "St. Patrick's" <stpats at bga.com> Subject: Czech beers I returned from Czech Republic and London earlier this month. Spent a day ~12 hours at a brewery in Moravia--and will write up all the details soon. Learned some interesting things at Fullers as well which I attached as separate post. Also have sent separate post on cell counts of Wyeast Xl and White Labs. I replied privately to Nathan Kanous but here's my recommendations for Czech beer wherever you can find it. Budvar is easy to find in Prague. Look for the 12, regular budvar pilsner, and also BUD, the 16 specialty. I strongly recommend Rychtar if it's available in Prague. It's a northeastern Bohemia brewery making excellent traditional Czech beer. Both light and dark 12 are very good. I've only had this on tap and this is as good as it gets. Another very good one is Primatur which is made with same yeast as Budvar. Excellent dark beer and pilsner. Primatur may be available in California in near future--it was a few years back for a very short period. Platan and Regent are very good--great hop nose, at least on tap. Strakonice is not too far from Prague and may be available there. Vyskov, Hostan, and Cerna Hora (Moravian breweries) make very good brews as well. Look for some of the dark amber (Garnet or Granat) brews. Beer prices are incredibly cheap in Czech Rep. ($.30-$.40 American for 1/2 liter at most pubs)-- even cheaper than they were last summer. This is really bad news for industry. The good news is that many of the smaller breweries (less than 500,000 hL) saw growth last year while globalization continued to destroy the very large sector of the industry. Lynne O'Connor St. Patrick's of Texas http://www.stpats.com Brewers Supply 1828 Fleischer Drive Austin, Texas 78728 USA 512-989-9727 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 12:33:10 -0500 From: "St. Patrick's" <stpats at bga.com> Subject: Fullers I spent 3 days in London after leaving Czech Rep and had a wonderful time. I did not have the opportunity to go to a real ale festival as did Paul Smith but did visit some of the same places and see some of the same faces. I would echo Paul's praise for the White Horse in Parson's Green. nice selection of bottled beers as well including several Belgian abbey, Anchor, Budvar, Thomas Hardy, ... I had a private tour of Fullers with the assistant brewmaster and learned so many interesting things. As Paul Smith noted it is a modern brewery with stainless kettles, cylindroconicals, etc. How about this for irony? Fullers uses a small amount (not sure but I'd guess 10% or less) of corn and has for decades. However, for the first time in anyone's memory, malt is cheaper than maize in UK, so they are experimenting with removing corn. They must be careful to not alter the profile of what are successful beers but it is quite likely they will remove maize in near future. Imagine what would happen in US if corn prices exceeded barley. "Look what barley can do for beer" Millers TV commercial of several years ago. I had never heard of a diacetyl rest for ale before Fullers, nor has anyone I've talked to since. This is in fact a lowering! of the ferm. temp for ~1 day diacetyl rest. I also went to Freedom brewpub and had nice visit with Adin Wener, assistant brewer (he has article in recent American Brewer btw) Freedom has two brewpubs and a micro. Micro is located directly across street from the White Horse. This is an interesting international brewery. Adin is Canadian (vancouver), head brewer is German, they make mostly English ales using not only German made equipment but also do standard 52-62-72-78 German step-infusion with English malt. Excellent hefeweizen. Adin is a really nice fellow and knowledgeable. He was trained at English brewing school and worked at more traditional English breweries before this job. Lynne O'Connor Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 10:26:54 -0800 From: "scott" <Cuckold at cornerpub.com> Subject: HERM's 3-way valve Hi Dan, I'm just now catching up on my HBD, so sorry if this is too late for you. I LOVE my HERM's! Best thing since sliced bread. Been using it a year, and it works great. In the planning stages, thought about adding a diverter (or three way valve). However, did not install one, and really don't think It is necessary, at least for me. I find that I am recirculating as much as anyone would ever want to, just to heat the wort. I mean, how clear do you want your beer! I actually try to keep the recirculation down to the minimum necessary, but still recirc. time is on the order of 45 min. to an hour (I step mash primarily, and with 12 gal. batches) before I sparge. It's possible the cooling down feature may have benefits, but don't think it would have any great impact, unless you ran your copper coils in a bucket of ice water. Really, if you stir occasionally, and keep a good eye on your mash temp, you shouldn't have any over temp problems. I have an older website I made of my efforts, but hope to revamp it in the next couple weeks. http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Salon/3768/Brewery.html Good luck, and have fun. Scott Richland, Wa. From: "Dan Schultz" <dschultz at primenet.com> Subject: HERMS Manifold Bypass I am in the final phase of uprgrading my bewing system to a HERMS (aka HE-Man RIMS) system. My current prognostication (sp?) is whether I should add a 3-way valve in order to be able to bypass the heat exchange manifold in the liquor tank? I am trying to think of when I would want to bypass the HE-Man. The two that come to mind are when just recirculating or when trying to lower the temp slightly using the external plumbing as a natural radiator (if I don't insulate it). Any thoughts? Burp, -Dan Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 12:35:13 -0500 From: "St. Patrick's" <stpats at bga.com> Subject: cell counts In #3268 Alan Meeker asks "Has anyone actually counted the number of cells in one of these XL packs?" In 1998 I had both Wyeast and White Labs tested at Analytical Food Laboratories in Dallas. The lab routinely makes tests of this sort. Tests were conducted by a Ph.D. microbiologist. Neither Wyeast nor White Labs had any advance knowledge of the tests. I ordered yeasts from both on same day. They were shipped overnight to me (White Labs in styrofoam cooler with cold pack, Wyeast in box). I immediately sent them to Dallas. Some were tested immediately upon arrival in Dallas, two days after leaving the White Labs and Wyeast. Additional tests were done on yeasts stored for 1, 2 months (White Labs and Wyeast) and 4 and 6 months (Wyeast only). Wyeast were checked immediately after breaking inner pouch, at 1" thick pouch, 2 " thick pouch, and 1 day after reaching 2" thick. Only ale yeasts were checked. No lager yeasts. Here's a summary of the what I consider the most important points of the tests. Wyeast XL cell counts varied from 15-70 billion in the fresh packs. Pitched directly in 5 gallon batch this yields about .5-4 million/mL. In short, about 2- 10 times below commerical pitching rates (for ale). I should add that only two small Wyeast packs were tested and the results were consistent with large packs, i.e. less yeast proportional to volume ratio. The self-contained starter in Wyeast packs, even 6 months old, works. Cell counts in 6 month old packs risen to 1" were within a factor of two of fresh packs. White Labs yeasts had total cell counts which were a little less than Wyeast XL. White Labs cell counts were essentially unchanged after 1 month. At 2 months, cell counts had fallen nearly an order of magnitude. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize that It's best to pitch Wyeast when pack is 1" thick, not when it's fully risen. Finally, some posts have made mention of cell counts that have been reported elsewhere. I would like to draw attention to one report--the special issue of Zymurgy in 1998. The numbers in Zymurgy disagree with the independent tests at the Dallas lab by as much as 10X. To be blunt, virtually every piece of data in the table including shelf life, price, cell counts is dubious in light of the tests done at the Dallas lab at virtually the same time the article appeared. The total costs for all the tests I had done at the Dallas lab was a few hundred bucks but the cost for cell counts in fresh packs was only $100. This would seem to be a rather small investment to ensure accuracy. Lynne O'Connor St. Patrick's of Texas http://www.stpats.com Brewers Supply 1828 Fleischer Drive Austin, Texas 78728 USA 512-989-9727 Return to table of contents
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