HOMEBREW Digest #3693 Thu 26 July 2001

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  Newbie Yeast Question ("Bissell, Todd S")
  Stir Plates,Yeast Viability, and a thank you... ("Greenly, Jeff")
  electric brewing (Alan McKay)
  Electric Brewing (Ken Schwartz)
  Re: A Stir Plate for Yeast Starters? (Phil Wilcox)
  Eastern Ontario Keg Source Anyone ("Jay Wirsig")
  Harpoon IPA clone ("Jay Wirsig")
  Male hop flowers ("Jay Wirsig")
  electric brewing systems (kreinhar)
  Electric Brewing Systems ("Dan Listermann")
  Re : electric brewing system ("Pete Calinski")
  RE: Yeast Viability ("Houseman, David L")
  FWH (again, I'm sure) ("Doug Hurst")
  transgender hops 7/16 (Dave Wills)
  Using bread yeast for bottling ("William Graham")
  Temperature, carbonation, flavor and the pocket beer engine (Jeff Renner)
  Underfermented IPA (Perez)
  RIMS Thermostat probe location ("Gary Smith")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 21:35:32 -0700 From: "Bissell, Todd S" <tbissell at spawar.navy.mil> Subject: Newbie Yeast Question Hi all, After a fairly typical 9 day Primary Ferment (lag-time was 30 hours, so left it in Primary to compensate a bit), I just got done racking my porter (O.G. 1.070, F.G. 1.019) to the Secondary. I couldn't help but notice allot of loose material still in suspension... in fact, it was difficult to even obtain an accurate hydrometer reading, with a blanket of foam on top obscuring the gradules of the hydrometer, a layer of gunk on the bottom, and all types of "stuff" floating around in the middle...! This is my sixth batch ever, and first batch that I've ever used White Labs' California Ale (WLP001). Since I have never seen this behavior before -- and normally use the White Labs British Ale, which is said to have "Very High Flocculation" -- is what I'm seeing with the California Ale yeast merely an example of what the White Labs website describes as "Medium Flocculation"...? I tried a sip, and it is indeed very yeasty and very un-porterlike, so put a bit of prepared gelatin into the secondary, to try to clear up some of the mess that's floating on top, on bottom, and everywhere else....! Anybody have any ideas, suggestions, critiques, as far as making sure that, in the long run, that I do indeed end up with a nice drinkable porter.....? Cheers! Todd Bissell Imperial Beach, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 04:36:10 -0400 From: "Greenly, Jeff" <greenlyj at rcbhsc.wvu.edu> Subject: Stir Plates,Yeast Viability, and a thank you... Dear Friends, I just wanted to touch on a few posts from yesterday's Homebrew Digest #3692. Mr. Lemons has questions and comments concerning stir plates. Having liberated one of these from a surplus sale, I have found it indispensible for making potent starters in my home brewery. I honestly can't say whether it is "damaging the yeast" but if the strength of my starters are any indication, I would say no. I believe the stirring lets the yeasties get more O2 and get rid of more CO2 than they otherwise could in a static environment. As for putting a magnetic stirrer in a carboy, I don't think I would do that, because the magnet would be banging about on regular glass instead of borosilicate, and I would be concerned about a catastrophic failure... Mr. Lemons's last comment was about wrist shakers, which are pretty nifty gadgets in the lab. I built a gadget along the same lines using a sturdy milk crate, some boards cut into rockers, some nuts, washers, and a couple of threaded bars. I made a rocking cradle for my carboys, basically, and it did pretty good for aerating the wort/gently stirring things up. If anyone would like, I'll send a photo... RJ makes some really good comments in a post titled "Yeast Viability." When I first started brewing, I felt the same way. But my brew guru told me that I was being short-sighted. We made a batch of brown ale, which was his "house brew" and we split the batch. He pitched one ale yeast in half of the batch, and another strain in the other half. We waited, and when it was ready, he had me taste the two brews, with a palate cleanser in between. They were two different beers. I was convinced, and I have been getting into yeast starters and culturing since then. I do think that you can overdo it in yeast ranching, though, and I think that is RJ's point. My house brew uses a dry ale yeast, and that works fine. I play with my yeast lab because it's an interesting facet of Our Grande Hobby, and because I can make a better product (sometimes!) Anyway, my compliments to RJ on a thought-provoking post. I also want to thank everyone who replied to my post concerning water filtration and chlorine. As usual, everyone was very helpful. I have decided that it would be best to put together a portable system that can be used strictly for brewing, perhaps gaining access through the kitchen faucet, and I will try the Campden tablets as was also sugggested. I have written another letter to my local water supplier, again asking for a detailed water quality report. My previous letter got me a brochure, rather misleadingly titled, "Water Quality and You" which told me absolutely nothing, except that my water was clean and my tax dollars were well-spent keeping it that way, and a sheet entitled "Dr. Bob's tips on Drinking Water" which let me know that I wasn't drinking enough water, unless you count the beer I'm making with that water, in which case I'm well over budget... Jeff Morgantown, WV GO 'EERS! Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 07:40:04 -0400 (EDT) From: Alan McKay <amckay at ottawa.com> Subject: electric brewing Joe, Paddock Wood (www.paddockwood.com) has some electric brewing systems that are not too unreasonably priced. Being a great-white-northerner I too cannot brew in the winter with my current setup, and am taking a serious look at electric. An e-friend of mine (awesome beer, BTW, Brian!) is using an electric system and swears it's the way to go. Unfortunately I just recently bought a house and this is what takes up most of my time and money at the moment, so laying out cash for a new brewing system has to get prioritized somewhere between a new washer-and-dryer, and renovating the kitchen and bathroom :-/ If you do go electric (didn't "Squeeze" have a song by that name?), please keep us all informed on what equipment you are using, and how you like it. cheers, -Alan - -- "Brewers make wort. Yeast Makes Beer." - Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide http://www.bodensatz.com/ What's a Bodensatz? http://www.bodensatz.com/bodensatz.html Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 06:18:47 -0600 From: Ken Schwartz <kenbob at elp.rr.com> Subject: Electric Brewing Joe Gerteis brought up electric brewing, and in particular mentioned my system found on my web page (see URL below). I used that system for a long time but have moved on to a new setup, though I have not (yet) documented it on my page. Actually, I'm still using the same HLT as shown. The boiler is what's different. The boiler now consists of a 32-qt heavy-gauge aluminum kettle (aluminum for excellent heat transfer compared with SS) with three heater blankets attached (see below). The heater blankets are flat, silicone rectangles and circles that have heating elements embedded in them. They are supplied with adhesive backing so they literally just stick in place. I used a 12" circular on the bottom and two 18" x 6" rectangles around the circumference. The two on the side were installed as low on the kettle as possible. The thing about this approach is that nothing touches the wort except the kettle walls (which would touch your wort no matter what, right?). As for aluminum vs SS, that debate has been thrashed many times here and I won't defend aluminum any further than to say it's fine. These heaters are definitely not cheap but I have made dozens of batches using them and they are holding up good as new. Besides, we homebrewers will spare no expense to make inexpensive beer, right? Key to using these things is the insulative wrap. In addition to protecting you from burns from casual or accidental contact, they prevent most heat from escaping into the surrounding air and rather directs the heat into the kettle through the walls (here is where aluminum's heat conductivity is important). Any kind of insulative wrap would do but what I did was to sandwich fiberglass duct batting between sheets of aluminum window screening, crimped around the edges. The kettle sits on one circular pad and I used a length of Velcro to hold a rectangular pad around the circumference of the kettle. Neither insulator is permanently attached to the kettle. The two rectangular heaters are 1080W each. The circular unit is 1131W. They all have a heat density of 10W/sq-in. This seems to be a good number to prevent scorching (which has never even been an issue with this thing). I wired one rectangular and the circular together to minimize the power requirement for that circuit (the other rectangular runs on its own circuit, the wiring for two obtaining two 120V circuits from a 240V dryer outlet is the same as what's on my web page), but I plan to rewire it so the circle is separate. I don't think the extra 50W (1/2 amp) will be a showstopper. You should NEVER run the blankets when there is no liquid inside the kettle -- they will overheat and burn up. If I have the circle wired separate, I can start heating just after I start sparging since there will then be liquid covering the bottom of the kettle. The heaters were bought from McMaster-Carr, http://www.mcmaster.com . Look at part numbers 35765K125 (12" circular, $52) and 35765K184 (rectangular, $40 each). (Put one of these part numbers in the "find" box to pull up the catalog page, which is currently page 414). Be sure to specify 10W/sq-in power density (they come in 2.5, 5, and 10). - -- ***** Ken Schwartz El Paso, TX Brewing Web Page: http://home.elp.rr.com/brewbeer Fermentation Chiller Kits and More at The Gadget Store http://www.gadgetstore.bigstep.com E-mail: kenbob at elp.rr.com Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:00:11 -0400 From: Phil Wilcox <pjwilcox at cmsenergy.com> Subject: Re: A Stir Plate for Yeast Starters? Mike lemons asked about wrist shakers vs Stirplates. Wrist shakers are more popular in the UK. They do basically the same thing. But as we all know the English prefer things shaken, not stirred.... Couldn't resist... The hard part about 5 gal stir bars is that the bottom of most carboys are convex and it is hard to place the stir bar close to the magnet source. I imagine a bit of home-engineering might get you there though. I couln't get it to work with my regular carboys, and haven't tried it on my Pyrex carboy since I acquired it. Phil Wilcox Jackson, MI Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 08:53:31 -0400 From: "Jay Wirsig" <Jay.Wirsig at can.dupont.com> Subject: Eastern Ontario Keg Source Anyone I'm looking for an inexpensive source of Pepsi/Coke Kegs in Eastern Ontario Canada Ottawa-Toronto-Cornwall area. Can anyone elp me out on this one? >>Jay Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 08:55:06 -0400 From: "Jay Wirsig" <Jay.Wirsig at can.dupont.com> Subject: Harpoon IPA clone I tasted a Harpoon IPA while in Boston earlier this year and would like to make one does anyone have an all grain recipe for it? >>Jay Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:03:25 -0400 From: "Jay Wirsig" <Jay.Wirsig at can.dupont.com> Subject: Male hop flowers I have been using homegrown hops for a while now. Last year I had a problem with hop seeds plugging my kettle manifold so I switched to grain bags to hold my hops. What causes them to go to seed? On another note I think a fairly common mistake is to pick hops too early. I have a method for telling if my hops are ripe that seems to work well for me. My hops seem to develop faster furthest from the base of the plant. I pick one and rub it between my hands if it turns to a green mush with a lot of moisture it is not ready, if it is like paper and after vigorous rubbing my hands get sticky with hop resins with little moisture and my hands are very fragrant then they are ripe. >>Jay Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:06:30 -0400 From: kreinhar at clarksteel.com Subject: electric brewing systems Joe Gerteis wrote ....*I myself am not a great tinkerer. There are now lots of really nice propane-fired all-grain systems available commercially. I would love to see some more electric alternatives. I should say that I have no axe to grind here. I am just toying with ideas. What do others think? Are there other problems that I am not seeing? Anyone out there have experience using electric heating elements that they want to share? * - - - I opted for the BC-50 for several reasons, the main reason being that it is electric.Yes - it's more expensive than making your own, t my time is valuable and this brewery is a site to behold, a conversation piece. My experience with the electric, after having limited exposure to propane, is that the kettle is slower to get to a rolling boil after run-off, but the way it's designed, the boil REALLY rolls - as well as with propane. I've enjoyed every session brewing on the BC. The HLT is programmed; set the desired strike, sparge, mash-out temp and walk away. It can also be set up on a timer (not included) the prior evening - set the strike temp and wake up ready to brew. I also like being able to brew inside without worry. I can brew inside on rainy days, spend time with my kids outside on nice days. This was big factor. I'm not implying it's the best system, or a better system than the wonderful systems I see at all those wonderful sites (I love looking at all the RIMS and different systems that the brewing community have put together and I admire the creativity!). Just the best system for me. Just my $.02. Kevin Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:22:36 -0400 From: "Dan Listermann" <dan at listermann.com> Subject: Electric Brewing Systems : joseph540 at elvis.com Asks about why electric brewing systems are uncommon. I believe it is because the usual household voltage in North America is 120 V. To get 5 gallons of wort to boil at this voltage requires a lot of amperage - more than most house wirings are rated. Most houses do have at least one 220V outlet usually for stoves, air conditioners and dryers. This voltage and the circuits it is on is fine for brewing. I use a half barrel with two water heater elements in it wired to two legs of a 3-phase 240 V line. One element is rated at 3500W and the other at 4500W. Hooking it to 3-phase derates these elements to about 86% of their rated wattage or something like that. I use both to achieve a boil and turn the 4500W off to maintain the boil. I can get 10 gallons rolling in 25 minutes. The elements are the low wattage density type that double over on themselves. Scorching has not been a problem, but I can see that beer stone will be a problem in time. Dan Listermann Check out our new E-tail site at http://www.listermann.com Take a look at the anti-telemarketer forum. It is my new hobby! Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:58:26 -0400 From: "Pete Calinski" <pjcalinski at adelphia.net> Subject: Re : electric brewing system Joe Gerteis states, ". I would love to see some more electric alternatives". Consider the heatstick at: http://hbd.org/pcalinsk/ Pete Calinski East Amherst NY Near Buffalo NY 0^45'49.1" North, 5^7'9.5" East of Ground Zero. ******************************************************************** *My goal: * Go through life and never drink the same beer twice. * (As long as it doesn't mean I have to skip a beer.) ******************************************************************** Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:04:14 -0500 From: "Houseman, David L" <David.Houseman at unisys.com> Subject: RE: Yeast Viability RJ states: "For the life of me I can't understand all the hoopla when the suject [sic] of yeast viability comes up between homebrewers" with some good points about the need to worry about yeast. This logic can apply to our discussions on water, oxidation, HSA, and a number of other points. For the newbie just beginning to brew with kits, s/he doesn't have to worry about most of this. But as we progress in our hobby, we do concern ourselves about these finer points of brewer because we can, it's a hobby, it's fun. Heck if we just wanted good beer these days there's plenty to be had at local micros and brewpubs. With all the equipment, homebrewing isn't necessarily cheaper than buying good commercial beer either, at least not when you've progressed to the point of interest in the finer points. Some of us are very interested in the science of brewing, of understanding and using this to improve our results and consistency. Others of us are more interested in the art of brewing, the camaraderie, judging or other aspects. It's the nature of a hobby after all. That's the hoopla.... Dave Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:03:17 -0500 From: "Doug Hurst" <DougH at theshowdept.com> Subject: FWH (again, I'm sure) Jeff, Thanks for posting the Irish-American Ale recipe. I have added it to my list of beers to make. But, I guess I don't fully understand First Wort Hopping. Your recipe states: Bittering hops - Cluster (I used 3/4 oz for 19 IBU) Finishing hops - Golding (Domestic would be fine) (I used 1/2 oz for 15 min. for 4 IBU and another 1/2 oz at knockout) (FWH might be nice here) Target 23 IBU You say FWH might be nice here. Don't you get much higher bitterness extraction with FWH since the hops are in throughout the entire boil? I tend to think of it as being similar to a bittering addition, in terms of utilization. Not only that, but won't the aromatics be driven off during the boil? Doug Hurst Chicago, IL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:19:20 -0700 From: Dave Wills <dave at freshops.com> Subject: transgender hops 7/16 Re: Hop sex change from female to male. This is not a sex change, but some hops under certain conditions do develop male flowers now and then, which however are not functional. Cascade is notorious for developing some rudimentary male flowers, I have seen as much as 20% of the plant turn male in some years, but these "male" flowers do not produce any functional pollen. This is normal and keep on stringing the same plant again next year, there may not be many male flowers depending on the season. As far as the early bloom goes, Unless you want to encourage 2 sets of flowers, I think these hops have been trained too early. Usually under our conditions, mid May is the optimal time for training,that should delay the onset of flowering. Early April is definitely much too early. > - -- Dave Wills Freshops purveyor of fine hops Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 14:57:45 -0600 From: "William Graham" <goldencity1 at home.com> Subject: Using bread yeast for bottling Greets, brewsters! (btw, where is burley?) I tend to put my beers in secondary for a couple of months, and tend to suffer from low carbonation due to lack of yeast in my beers. ( I can elaborate if anyone cares. ). Anyway, I've got 2 5 gallon batches of CAP that have been lagering at about 34F for 5 months now. In order to avoid my usual problem, i would like to add some fresh yeast to my corn sugar in the bottling bucket to ensure good carbonation. But being that I've been laid-off for the second time this year( sigh ), I'd rather not buy beer yeast, but use bread yeast of which I've got at least 1/2 pound. Will this give any off flavors? Will it carbonate the beer at 75F? I can't imagine it adding any goofy flavors, but I thought a quick check with the collective might be in order. Thanks, Bill in malty Golden, Colorado Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 19:49:52 -0400 From: Jeff Renner <JeffRenner at mediaone.net> Subject: Temperature, carbonation, flavor and the pocket beer engine Brewers My mention of a pocket beer engine in today's HBD: >When I first opened it and poured it at fridge temp, it had little head >(although it was plenty carbonated) or smell. A taste gave me mostly >a little buttery diacetyl and little else except carbonation. Just >too cold. So I gave it ten seconds in the microwave and a shot with >a "pocket beer engine" (a syringe), which really opened it up. caused some confusion. Here are more details. It's no news that over-chilling beer will cut down on the flavor of beers and often make them taste out of balance. What's perhaps not as well understood is that overcarbonation can do much the same. Some beers (Pilsner and weizenbeer to name two) are appropriately drunk with higher levels of carbonation than others, but even they should be poured with enough vigor to reduce the carbonation from the bottle level and produce a head. But beer that is too cold will even then hold too much carbonation. This can result in overbalance to the hops and make the beer taste thin and sharp. And certainly most ales, especially British and Irish ones, should be drunk at cellar temperature and low carbonation. So here is where a judicious use of a microwave for a few seconds and decarbonation comes in. Somehow I came up with the idea of using a syringe to suck up a little beer and and squirt it back into the glass. I originally called this a 30 cent beer engine, then someone on HBD gave it the much better name of pocket beer engine. Someone later pointed out that it should probably be called a pocket sparkler. The agitation produces lots of foam (too much if you're not careful) and a nice tight head. It also reduces the carbonation, making the beer taste smoother. These are from several of my past posts: >A pocket beer engine is a narrow outlet 5 or 10 cc syringe. I use an oral >irrigator. You suck up a few cc's of beer, then squirt it back into the >glass. Be sure if it's very carbonated to leave lots of head space for >foaming. With my low carbonation, I get about 3/4 inch of tight foam. >Someone pointed out that rather than calling it a pocket beer engine, I >should call it a pocket sparkler. I guess that's more accurate, but I like >the other name. And another >When I'm not going to the trouble of using my beer engine, I serve real >ales by keeping enough pressure on it to dispense (~3 psi) and then use a >pocket beer engine (or pocket sparkler, as someone re-christened it) to >knock out the excess carbonation and raise a head. This is a 5-10 cc >syringe without the needle. You suck up a bit of beer from the glass (be >sure to leave enough freeboard if it's very carbonated), then squirt it >back forcefulling into the glass. The tinier the oriface of the syringe, >the more shear you'll have on the beer, and the more effective it is. My >current one is an oral irrigator from a dentist, which has a fine tipped >curved plastic spout. I have been known at restaurants to stir fizzy beer with a fork and occasionally to send it to the kitchen for a short nuke, both of which used to embarrass my kids. (Be careful - commercial microwave ovens are more powerful than home ones, and even 4-5 seconds may be too much). In the case of Bob Barrett's Irish-American Red Ale, the difference was remarkable, as I reported. It turned a thin, sharp, fizzy beer with little taste or aroma (it was in the cold part of the fridge) to a smooth, complex one. In other words, it opened it up, to use wine tasting terms. One word of caution - some years ago an HBDer reported that after my posting this information, he tried it with a highly carbonated beer he had poured into a heavy glass mug. He gave it the treatment too vigorously and it fobbed up over the edge and onto the table. He lunged forward to sip the foam off and hit his tooth on the heavy mug rim, chipping his tooth! Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at mediaone.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 22:40:39 -0400 From: Perez <perez at gator.net> Subject: Underfermented IPA I want to thank all who have weighed in on my IPA problems. Several people in private email suggested there may by too many unfermentables in the recipe. One suggestion was particularly interesting. Tony writes: "Now I may be wrong, but there are lots of reports that beers made with Alexander's LME finish high. The Extract simply contains an unbalanced (to most brewers) ratio of dextrins to maltose. (Something like 50/50, where you really want 25/75) Hence the high FG and a cloyingly sweet taste." Several have asked for some additional info, so here goes. OG = 1.068 FG = 1.017 and it has been bottled since March. That does not suggest underfermentation I know. As Mark Tumarkin suggested, I will bring some samples to our brewclub meeting on Friday night to get more tasters involved and better describe the problem. Thanks again for all the help. Dave Perez Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 21:58:01 -0500 From: "Gary Smith" <mandolinist at interlync.com> Subject: RIMS Thermostat probe location Hi, I'm ready to assemble my rims system and would appreciate hearing where others experienced with RIMS locate their thermostat probe. I originally thought the best location would be at the intake of the rims chamber so that the thermostat would not respond if the intake temp was correct but it was pointed out that putting it at the output of the rims would assure the temp in the mash would never be too high (as would be the case if the heated liquid didn't reach the intake (thermostat) quickly enough & the chamber would continue to heat the liquid past the desired settings causing enzyme problems. Thanks, Gary Gary Smith http://www.geocities.com/dawgmando/ A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes. Return to table of contents
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