HOMEBREW Digest #3721 Wed 29 August 2001

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  chillers ("john brumley")
  Electric vs. gas... ("Greenly, Jeff")
  Re:  Hops In The Bottle? (gsferg)
  Hops in the bottle (Len Safhay)
  Re: RIMS thermocouple location (Martin_Brungard)
  Walkin Coolers and Cutting Stainless (ThE HoMeBrEw RaT)
  Re: RIMS thermocouple location (Rob Dewhirst)
  RE: RIMS thermocouple location ("Laborde, Ronald")
  Re: Cutting Stainless ("Carroll G. Pate")
  RE: Agave Mead ("Don Van Valkenburg")
  Munich O'Fest "must sees" ? ("Spinelli, Mike")
  RE: Roggenbier ("Dennis Lewis")
  RE: zinc and esters ("Houseman, David L")
  Temperature controller + fridge == true love! (Dan.Stedman)
  RIMS PID (Mike.Szwaya)
  re: beers that make you sick (Danny Breidenbach)
  Weirdos or Brewers? ("Max McDonohue")
  problems culturing Chimay yeast (Rama Roberts)
  What's up in the Bohemian hop yards? ("Sean Richens")
  Infusion calculation ("matt dinges")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 01:58:44 -0500 From: "john brumley" <johnbrumley at houston.rr.com> Subject: chillers I read someone who used ice water in their immersion chiller. I wonder if anyone has set up a chiller so that the output of the chiller goes into another heat exchanger set into a bucket of salted ice water (such as in an ice cream freezer) and recirculated with a pump. If you used an open system it could be filled with sterilized water. If you used a closed system grain alcohol might be the best medium of heat exchange but I'm not sure what the coefficient of heat transfer would be. Would this be efficient? Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 04:28:47 -0400 From: "Greenly, Jeff" <greenlyj at rcbhsc.wvu.edu> Subject: Electric vs. gas... A quick question, SWMBO and I will soon be moving to a home that is all-electric. I have always had a gas stove to do my brewing on, and I am wondering: Will the electric stove work as well? I guess I am concerned about scorching, with the element in contact with the bottom of my pot. Should I fab a ring to place under the pot to lift it away from the element? Are there more elegant solutions that I should be considering? BTW, I need to be brewing indoors, so a LPG burner is out of the question. Jeff Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 07:14:42 -0400 From: gsferg at clary.gwi.net Subject: Re: Hops In The Bottle? > You haven't tried just eating the hops then drinking malt extract have you > Len? Don't forget the yeast, you wouldn't want this to be an exercise in futility! And go easy on the hops- having tried this before, I can tell you it ain't pleasant no matter how much malt extract you swill it down with.. George- - -- George S. Fergusson <gsferg at clary.gwi.net> Oracle DBA, Programmer, Humorist PGP Key: http://clary.gwi.net/gsferg/gsferg at clary.asc - -------------- I am a man, I can change, if I have to, I guess. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:44:33 -0400 From: Len Safhay <cloozoe at optonline.net> Subject: Hops in the bottle >You haven't tried just eating the hops then drinking malt extract have you Len?> Phil, as a dedicated "all-grain" man I wouldn't deign to drink malt extract. What I did was eat a pound of pale malt, a couple ounces of crystal, ate some hops, and drank a 1 quart starter of yeast. I then jumped up and down vigorously to aerate. The effect was, uh, interesting. Chores, Len Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:53:52 -0400 From: Martin_Brungard at urscorp.com Subject: Re: RIMS thermocouple location Troy Hager asked about thermocouple location in a RIMS. I do not use a PID to manage the temperature in my system, I have found that a simple flick of the heater switch every so often will do. I know that I get 1 degree F for every minute of heater operation in my system. My system has a calibrated dial thermometer in the outlet piping from the mash tun. The HBD discussion on the proper sensing location the other week got me thinking. The past 2 brews, I have placed another dial thermometer probe into the top of my mash to observe the temps there. The first brew was a CACA with a good percentage of flaked corn. I always run my RIMS flowrate as high as I can, but I have a standpipe monitor plumbed into the bottom of my tun, so I know how much suction I'm placing on the grainbed. It keeps me from overpumping the bed and causing a stuck mash. The initial flow rate through my system was low with that CACA. The temp from the bottom of the tun was normal. But as I tried to ramp the temp, I found the temp at the top of my mash was easily into the 160F range, 20F to 30F higher than the tun outlet. I knew I had to stir my mash to loosen it up and have another chance to get the flowrate up. As the mash converted, I was able to increase the flowrate and the temperature differential became very minor, about 2F to 3F higher at the top of mash. This was an alarming finding in my opinion. I commonly brew for body and I mash in the upper 150F range. Therefore, I don't have a lot of margin for overheating the wort and killing my enzymes. Several of my brews have suffered from excess starchiness or something like that. Unfortunately, I didn't perform iodine tests for all these mashes to see that the conversion was complete. So it may have been lack of conversion due to overheating, but I will never know. (Note to Self: If you have the tools to check something, don't be lazy, you may need the info someday!) My most recent brew was a wheat ale with 45 percent wheat. I use rice hulls with high wheat grists. This brew also had a multi-temp mash, so I was concerned with overheating. The rice hulls did their trick, since my flowrate was adequate the entire mash. In that mash, the mash top temp never exceeded a few degrees over the bottom temp. The bottom line here is that flowrate means everything in a RIMS in order to avoid overheating the wort. A PID that can modulate the heater power input. You can still manage the temps at the top of your mash manually, but not if you aren't measuring them. The other conclusion I can make is that a PID controller should probably measure the wort temp at the top of the mash. That way the PID can keep the wort temp from getting too high. People with PID-controlled systems shouldn't be too smug here. Without temp measurements at the top AND bottom of your mash, you could still be doing things differently than you think you are. A thermometer probe should be placed somewhere near the mash bottom or in the tun outlet plumbing so that the outlet temp can be monitored too. The outlet temp is much more constant than the inlet temp. I still consider it the best location to monitor the mash temp, but it will not be the only place I measure temperatures anymore!!! Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 07:23:02 -0700 (PDT) From: ThE HoMeBrEw RaT <skotrat at yahoo.com> Subject: Walkin Coolers and Cutting Stainless Hiya, probably nothing new being said here but I do have the experience with home walkins. I built mine a few years ago and discussed process with local HVAC guys that I know. Vapor barriers are needed everywhere. Floor, side walls, ceiling, everywhere. Your fan unit/evap device should be kept extremely clean. If you are draining the evap into a bucket inside the walkin you are defeating the purpose. You need to make sure that the evap liquid is drained to somewhere outside the walkin. You may also want to look into getting an inside door walkin curtain so that air is not rushing in or out every time you open your door. In Chicago my walkin only had a humidity problem in the late spring. You can check out my walkin page at: http://www.brewrats.org/walkin.cfm I picked up a new walkin (13' x 18') off of ebay that is sitting in pieces in my barn in my New Hampshire home. I am thinking of building two units with it. One for the house and one in the barn. Now... Cutting kegs. I have converted about 200 kegs (all legally obtained of course...) for either myself or for other brewers. I have used a variety of devices to cut the tops open. Plasma torch, air hammers, sawzalls, grinders, etc. I have to say that my tool (uh huh huh I said tool...) is my handy dandy 4.5" Dewalt grinder. I can accurately and smoothly grind open a keg and finish the sharp edges in about 20 minutes on each keg. One tool.... Not much fuss... Please remember to always where eye/face protection as stainless splinters hurt pretty bad when they penetrate your face... You can check out my Po Mans keg conversion page at: http://www.brewrats.org/keg101.html Hope this stuff helps. C'ya! -Scott "Skotrat" Abene ===== "Dogs love me cause I'm crazy sniffable I bet you never knew I got the ill peripheral" -bboys http://www.skotrat.com/skotrat - Skotrats Beer Page http://www.brewrats.org - BrewRats HomeBrew Club Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:42:38 -0500 From: Rob Dewhirst <robd at biocomplexity.nhm.ukans.edu> Subject: Re: RIMS thermocouple location > >From: Troy Hager <thager at hcsd.k12.ca.us> > >On first thought, I wondered why not put it right at the >outlet of the mash tun since that is where we are trying to control the >temp, but with more thought I realize that we are actually trying to control >the temp of the entire liquid portion of our mash because that is were all >the enzymes are located and where all the work gets done. If you put the sensor on the mash tun exit, you insulate the heater from the sensor with the mash bed. This creates a lag in the response time of the heater. >Therefore, I >suppose a sensor at the heater outlet would make more sense because you >would want to bring the mash liquid up to the desired temp and measure it as >it came out of the heater - otherwise risk over-heating with the element to >raise the temp at some other location in the loop. Yes, this is a good place. The heater kicks on and off more quickly, but more frequently. Less of a chance to scorch. >BTW, has anyone measured the difference of the temperature before and after >the heater... and is there a big difference? Not much. A couple of degrees. >I know that every system would >be different in this regard, every system would loose heat at a different >rate, but I was just wondering if, because of the high rate of >recirculation, the temperature is pretty constant throughout the loop in >most cases. It is constant if you don't have a large lag. I used to have my sensor on a copper pipe that I stuck in the middle of my grain bed. It gave a more accurate mash temp, but resulted in carmelization on the element. Now I manually measure the mash temp and I know on warmer days it's about 1 degree below the temp measured at the heater exit. On colder days it's about 2-3 degrees (just in the heat loss from the plumbing to the return manifold). I just account for this in setting the temp for recirculation. As you said, each system will be different. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:30:07 -0500 From: "Laborde, Ronald" <rlabor at lsuhsc.edu> Subject: RE: RIMS thermocouple location >From: Troy Hager <thager at hcsd.k12.ca.us> > >..Therefore, I >suppose a sensor at the heater outlet would make more sense because you >would want to bring the mash liquid up to the desired temp and measure it as >it came out of the heater - otherwise risk over-heating with the element to >raise the temp at some other location in the loop.... If the temp coming out of the heater is at mash temp, it would take a long time for the entire mash to reach that temperature. Just as infusion requires liquor a bit hotter than desired mash-in temp, so would the RIMS. >BTW, has anyone measured the difference of the temperature before and after >the heater... and is there a big difference? I know that every system would >be different in this regard, every system would loose heat at a different >rate, but I was just wondering if, because of the high rate of >recirculation, the temperature is pretty constant throughout the loop in >most cases. Here is where we seem to get quite different results depending who you are talking to. What my system shows is that the entry liquor temp is of course warmer than the mash temp on a ramp, and the output temp from the mash is much cooler at first. It takes TIME for the entry liquor to filtrate down through the mash and finally show up as the increased output temp at the bottom of the mash filter. If one is not careful, it is easy to overshoot by not factoring this in. At first it may appear that the ramp is not occurring, only to suddenly find the somewhat rapid rise after you have achieved follow-through. The method that works is to believe; believe that things are working, and in due time the mash will ramp up to desired temp. Patience! Ron La Borde Ronald La Borde - Metairie, Louisiana - rlabor at lsuhsc.edu http://hbd.org/rlaborde Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:51:17 -0500 From: "Carroll G. Pate" <patecg at trip.net> Subject: Re: Cutting Stainless Glen Writes: >From: "Pannicke, Glen A." <glen_pannicke at merck.com> >Subject: Cutting stainless >As for the noise, I cut the keg in my basement using hearing protection >while my wife and son both took a nap on the second floor. There is a simple and elegant answer to the noise problem and to the question of blade life. Remove the central fitting and fill the keg with water. The water will dampen (pun intended) the noise and also cool the cut area and thus prevent hardening of the SS. From my experience the water level should be high enough for the recipicating blade to pull water into the cut. A little mess from the water splash but no worse than the SS dust. YMMV Carroll in Corpus Christi Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 09:33:38 -0700 From: "Don Van Valkenburg" <don at steinfillers.com> Subject: RE: Agave Mead I believe I first introduced agave to the homebrewing world back in 1997 through my shop, Stein Fillers. Since then I have won several awards for agave mead and most recently "best of division" for a 100% agave wine at the L.A. County home wine competition and received best of show in the fruit/vegetable, other category. I would have entered it in a homebrew competition, but just didn't know what division/style, or even if it should be considered a beer. Agave is a fermentable, not a flavoring. Thus small amounts do not impart much, if any flavor. Something like using wheat - hard to taste if you only have 1 lb in a 10 lb recipe. But, when you get up into the 50% range agave has a nice flavor and smoothes out mead with great results. My favorite combination is half sage or orange blossom honey and a some orange peel in the fermenter in post-fermentation. Agave has been available in two colors, light and dark. When I first tried both, I found the light, which is basically sucrose derived from the carbohydrates of the agave plant, doesn't have much or any flavor. You could use corn syrup with the same results. But the dark has that "agave" flavor which when fermented and concentrated via distilling gives you tequila. Thus when formulating recipes, I usually think of what goes into a margarita; orange, lime, citrus. So, when using any acid, I prefer citric acid to acid blend. At the Southern California Homebrew Fest, I had an agave mead which I simply diluted out with the juice of about 1 dozen lemons. This was kind of like refreshing lemon-aid, agave mead. I also think there is room for experimenting with agave in Belgian recipes that use candy sugar. More on agave at: www.steinfillers.com Homebrew shops can purchase agave from Crosby & Baker. I also sell it on the retail level. Don Van Valkenburg brew at steinfillers.com www.steinfillers.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 13:26:03 -0400 From: "Spinelli, Mike" <paa3983 at dscp.dla.mil> Subject: Munich O'Fest "must sees" ? HBDers, Going to Munich for O'fest from Sept 30th to Oct 8th. Other than the Tents and my favorite Klosterbrauerei Andechs, are there any other "must sees" ? Interests are brewery tours, small pubs, etc. Thanks, Mike Spinelli Cgerry Hill, NJ Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 14:38:03 -0400 From: "Dennis Lewis" <dblewis at lewisdevelopment.com> Subject: RE: Roggenbier > I am concerned with the lack of beta glucan rest (95-104F according to Fix). > I brewed a hefe-rye with the following ingredients, but failed to do the > glucan rest (had company...started to drink a few..) and found that it came > out too thick (for most...but not for me). (snip) > 8 lb Canada Maltings 6 row (recommended to me for its beta glucanase) > 4lb rye (too muc for a pils..) I just brewed my attempt at a Bavarian Roggenbier last Sunday. The mash was *different* to say the least. My grain bill was 6# rye malt, 2# pils malt, 1# 20L crystal, 1# 80L. I did a full temp mash (40-50-60-70) with a decoction between 60 and 70 C. It rested for maybe 20 min at 40C, then the 15 min at 50C (132F). It converted very quickly at 70C. One very strange thing I noticed is that the feel of the mash was very slippery--kinda like silicone spray on your fingers. Not the usual sticky sugar solution that you normally get. I added 1# of rice hulls after the decoction mash, but prior to the 70C alpha rest. My lauter tun is a false bottom (3/32 on 5/32 ctrs) in a keg with a bottom drain. I have a recirc pump for the vorlauf. It ran for 1.5 hours with very little clearing in the wort, except for the lack of big chunks. It did not show any signs of sticking. It ran as fast as a regular mash. There was a lot of very fine, insoluble-looking stuff in the clear run-off. I decided that it was probably never going to clear, and ran it into the kettle anyway. I skimmed the hot break as it collected on the top of the boil but never did see any 'egg drop soup' looking flakes of break. The boil and everything else went ok. I got a huge amount of break material in the final volume. I added a dose of irish moss flakes at 30 min left. Hops were bittering only (.85oz Saaz 3.3%aa 90min). I let it settle in the kettle after chilling for 7 hours. I lost about 1.25 gal of a 5.25 gallon batch to the break! Bummer. The clear wort still had that slippery feel to it. Fermentations going fine with W3068. The extraction rate on this batch was mediocre, somewhere in the 28 ppg range. With regular wheat beers, I expect around 32. I attribute this to a poor crush with the rye malt--the kernels are smaller than barley malt and probably didn't get fully crushed. With rye being 60% of the grist, it made a big difference. I'll report the post-ferment/bottling results in a couple weeks. Dennis Lewis Warren, OH In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria. --German Proverb Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 10:24:37 -0400 From: "Houseman, David L" <David.Houseman at unisys.com> Subject: RE: zinc and esters Brian Lundeen says I've "tried to slip one by with..." my discussion of zinc and esters. Well yes perhaps one was slipped by but not by me. In fact this nearly got by me. You see there was this discussion, last year or early this year (can't remember) on HBD about zinc. It sort of ended without conclusions. Usually the scientists among us take these points to concluding experiments, but I didn't see it with the use of zinc tablets. So I thought I'd give it a try and reported one data point. The beers so far (3) have no zinc or metallic taste. I suspect a single 30mcg tablet is below flavor threshold, but I'll keep tasting for any metallic flavors ;-) As far as ester production in the growth phase of yeast, I believe that's fairly well documented. And I can't recall who's posting or which article caused the light bulb to go on that there are two ways to get sufficient yeast in the wort. One is to simply pitch it all at once, expecting little growth, and the other is to pitch less yeast but aerate well to create the conditions for rapid growth and subsequent fermentation. However the ester production is different in these two cases, or so I've read. And I gave it a try. The optimum amount of yeast cells per degree plato wort is well documented. Me, I just pitched "a hellava lot" of yeast into a normal 1.048 wort without aerating. It was a lager. It took off like crazy and finished without a hint of fruitiness. Again, not scientific, just a data point. Perhaps it was my yeast (Saflager S-23)? Perhaps it was the amount of yeast without aeration? Someone want to devise an experiment? Yes, the implication in production of esters in the final beer nearly slipped by me as well. It would seem that if you're brewing a lager where you want very low fruitiness profile, then pitching a very large starter (yeast slurry) would be the preferred approach. I think I'll try this again in an upcoming dark Vienna.... Dave Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 14:20:28 -0500 From: Dan.Stedman at PILLSBURY.COM Subject: Temperature controller + fridge == true love! Hi all - so I just recently got my fridge fired up for controlling my fermentation temperature (after having my last batch get up to 79 degrees, I decided it was time!), and I just want to throw out a quick piece of advice. If you are going to do this, get the Ranco Temperature Controller with the adjustable differential (Northern Brewer, among other places, sell it). Then just set the differential to 1 degree, set your desired fermentation temperature, sanitize the probe, and drop it in your freshly-pitched wort. Bingo! Guaranteed fermentation at your set temperature with NO variance in temperature as the ferment starts generating heat. This technique has held my fermentation temperature at exactly 68 deg F since Sunday, and I pitched a lot of yeast so I know that the ferment was been very vigorous and has been generating a lot of heat. I did notice that my Ranco reads 3 degrees lower than the actual temperature, so I have to set it to 65 deg F to get it to keep the wort/beer at 68. Other then that, it has worked flawlessly! Why do you need the Ranco? The Johnson Controls one (and there are probably others, but that is the other one that I have) has a fixed differential of 3 degrees, which might spell trouble if you are constantly going from 65 to 68 degrees and back down again during fermentation. Plus, the digital readout of the current temperature is nice and you can use it to keep things warm as well via an aquarium heater (which is handy for our Minnesota winters). Just a friendly tip from Dan in Minnetonka Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 12:42:42 -0700 From: Mike.Szwaya at co.clark.wa.us Subject: RIMS PID For those inspired to build by the recent RIMS discussions, I have an Omega PID with Solid State Relay and heat sink on E-Bay. I ran out of time, cash, and interest of re-learning electronics. Search for 'Omega' or 'PID'. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Mike Szwaya Portland, OR Email: Mike.Szwaya at co.clark.wa.us Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 15:23:23 -0500 From: Danny Breidenbach <dbreiden at math.purdue.edu> Subject: re: beers that make you sick Danny Breidenbach wrote: Alan McKay wonders about a couple of Molson offerings: > However, one example he gave me was that Molson's > "Rickard's Red" makes him sick every time, and he > gets terribly hungover even after only 2 beers, while > Molson's "Rickard's Gold" give him no such troubles. > I would be quite suprised to find much of a difference > between these two beers from the same manufacturer. > The "Red" would be brewed with Crystal Malt for colour, > and I believe it would be more ale-brewed and the "Gold" > more lager-ish. I have it on relatively good authority that "there is no Crystal Malt within a kilometer of where the Red is brewed. Strictly a color addition." If true, the answer could lie therein. - --Danny in West Lafayette, Indiana Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 09:22:41 +1000 From: "Max McDonohue" <max at hinet.net.au> Subject: Weirdos or Brewers? Gooday All Am i readin things right in here when i see a guy trying to put hops in his beer bottles. And another guy says you should eat them? What for? The cans i get up here (mostly freughted from South Australia I reckon cause there Coopers) reckon the hops are already in the can. I wouldnt even know what a hop looked like if I trod on one. What do they look like and how many do they put in a can? On another note, this Doctor Alexander has been talking about spacific gravity readings. Now I know a bit about this. We use them to find out if the truck battery has gone dead flat. But i don't need them to tell me when my beer has gone dead flat. You can just tell by the taste. It tastes dead flat. Anyway, I never get close to this (cept when i leave the top off all night and want a bit more in the morning-yuk you can hardly get it down) But nearly always my bottles froth and carry on like mad. Guess i must be doing something right!! But i dont like the ones what explode. The missess goes narnars at me if it happens in the house. Max McDonohue Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 17:59:55 -0700 (PDT) From: Rama Roberts <rama at eng.sun.com> Subject: problems culturing Chimay yeast I've had 3 failed attempts to culture the yeast from the dregs of a Chimay (both the blue label and the Cinq Cents, which is supposedly the same yeast)- the first 2 were streaked onto plates at about 75 degrees F, and showed no activity. My latest attempt was dumping all of the sludge into a 300 ml well aerated starter, which hasn't shown acivity for several days now. >From what I've gathered, recycled Chimay yeast is viable. The only thing to watch out for is temperatures above 62 degrees F producing off-flavors, but for starters, that shouldn't be much of a problem if you only pitch the yeast. The bottles ranged from 4 months to 8 months old according to their corks. Any suggestions? I've got a friend who is having similar problems with Orval yeast. - --rama Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2001 19:50:16 -0500 From: "Sean Richens" <srichens at sprint.ca> Subject: What's up in the Bohemian hop yards? I wondered if anyone knows about how the hop business is going in the Czech Republic. I dropped in on a colleague at work for some hop-picking tips ('cut it down, pick the hops off') and got to talking. On a recent visit back home he noticed the hop yards not far from Zatec had practically nothing growing. He asked in town and people said business was lousy and it wasn't worth the effort, apart from a few plants for friends and family who brew. Does anyone at HBD know why this is? One would have thought that globalization wouldn't have had quite such an impact on a product with such regional differences. Sean Richens srichens.spamsucks at sprint.ca Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 02:44:37 From: "matt dinges" <matt_dinges at hotmail.com> Subject: Infusion calculation Good Day! Having just purchased Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beers" I am now able to do most of the calculations that I previously relied on my demo version of Promash to do. Personally, it seems a bit more tedious to do it by hand, but it isn't that difficult and it really helps me think about exactly what is going on and what I want. Add to that the fact that I think I should rely on computers the least possible (read "not at all"). About the only thing that I can't get around is this board! The one calculation that I haven't found in Daniels' book is how to hit your desired infusion temperature (I deal with Farenheit degrees). DOes anybody know of a long hand formula for this or where I can find one? I'm thinking that it is likely more complicated than the "hitting you target gravity" formula, especially if it is to be accurate down to a degree or two. Maybe there is a chart out there someplace, that would be just as good. Thanks for any help! MATT Return to table of contents
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