HOMEBREW Digest #4083 Sat 02 November 2002

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  Ringwood yeast (ensmingr)
  Maturex ("Steve Alexander")
  Questions on suggestions for improving beer. ("Adrian Levi")
  Re: "...that dreadful Ringwood yeast." ("Sven Pfitt")
  Wort Spraying ("Romanowsky, Paul")
  Re: Permanently Marking Stainless/Glass &Fluid Gauges (GibbonsRR)
  Good ESB Recipe Anyone? ("Jim Dunlap")
  Re: "...that dreadful Ringwood yeast." ("Houseman, David L")
  Diacetyle removal.... ("Houseman, David L")
  Dubbel Fermentation (Sean McDonald)
  CASCADE DRY HOPPING ("Charles W. Beaver")
  Redhook (Scott Perfect)
  Split Rock 2002 HB Competition ("Houseman, David L")
  Re: General Flavor- Influencers in the brewing process (Larry Bristol)
  Ranking Improvements, ringwood ("Philip J Wilcox")
  Good ESB Recipe Anyone? ("trickard")
  Re: storing corny kegs (Dion Hollenbeck)
  Beer improvement \ diacetyl \ Redhook (Kevin Crouch)
  Cocoa Beans ("chris eidson")
  Measuring liquid volume in brewing vessels (David Towson)
  Oxygenation (David Towson)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 03:33:16 -0500 From: ensmingr at twcny.rr.com Subject: Ringwood yeast I agree with Jeff Renner that not all the Ringwood/Pugsley beers have offensive levels of diacetyl (see: http://www.hbd.org/hbd/archive/4082.html#4082-16 ). Middle Ages Brewing (Syracuse, NY) makes a Ringwood/Pugsley beer they call "Tripel Crown" that has so much diacetyl a single wiff gives me a headache. In fact, all Middle Ages beers (except those that are cask-conditioned) have excessive diacetyl. OTOH, the Ringwood/Pugsley beers of Cooperstown Brewing Co. (Cooperstown, NY), while unremarkable IMHO, do not have offensive levels of diacetyl. Gritty McDuff's (Portland, ME) is another Ringwood/Pugsley brewery and I quite enjoy their beers, which have low levels of diacetyl. In fact, I never would have guessed that McDuff's uses the same yeast as Middle Ages. Cheerio! Peter A. Ensminger Syracuse, NY Homebrewing: http://hbd.org/ensmingr Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 05:49:09 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Maturex AJ asks .... >The enzyme is sold as "Maturex L" and is now FDA approved for use >in the US. Who will be the first homebrewer to try this out? Answer: Andy Walsh, Jan 1998 ! Andy Walsh asked the same question in 1997 in HBD#2555. Andy then obtained and used some in Jan 1998 HBD#2611 with a description. (also see #2616 followup) No flies on the 'jesters AJ - we're 4.7 years too late ! Andy noted that Maturex was made by NovoNordisk and may only prevent, not remove, diacetyl. AJ adds that the FDA now thinks it's safe enough. But where to get some ? -S Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 22:19:32 +1000 From: "Adrian Levi" <hoarder at optushome.com.au> Subject: Questions on suggestions for improving beer. Firstly Hi, I am a relativley inexperienced brewer in Queensland Australia. Once previously subscribed to the HBD and inexperienced in that I previously have simply followed the instructions on the kit beer tin. Please clarify these following points:- On boiling the wort: After disolving the contents of the tin in water you boil the whole lot, then add the make up water, cool (by immersion) and add yeast when it returns to an acceptable temprature. Or disolve contents of tin into full volume of water, Boil, Cool, etc? On aerating: Aeration during fermentation with an aquarium air pump, presumably without "Air rock" attached. The air rock would be hard to sanitise by my way of thinking. Aerate for about 10 mins after fermentation has started to slow? Adrian Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 08:32:51 -0500 From: "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98 at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: "...that dreadful Ringwood yeast." While I like Ringwood it is not one of my favorites, but I'm partial to Belgain beer. The only brew I have made with WY1187 (Ringwood) was a clone of Hobgoblin Strong Ale from Wychwood Brewery (http://www.wychwood.co.uk/)in England. I was very plesantly surprised with the finished beer. It was well appreciated at a BBQ as well. I plan on brewing it again. When brewing with 1187/Ringwood, it is necessary to monitor your fermentation temp closely. I kept mine around 64-66F during all of primary. I'm going to try for 62-64F this next batch. rev Steven, -75 XLCH- Ironhead Nano-Brewery http://thegimp.8k.com Johnson City, TN [422.7, 169.2] Rennerian "Fools you are... who say you like to learn from your mistakes.... I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the cost of my own." Otto von Bismarck Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 08:57:23 -0500 From: "Romanowsky, Paul" <paul.romanowsky at siemens.com> Subject: Wort Spraying Robin mentioned that wort spraying is part of the Yorkshire Square fermentation system and the Black Sheep Brewery uses this system. That is correct. Also, Theakston's Brewery, makers of "Old Peculiar", use this system too. I was fortunate to tour both breweries a few years ago and they were still using these methods in addition to modern methods. We were actually taken down right next to a Yorkshire square in Theakston's brewery. Directly above the square there is no oxygen. One member in the tour was invited to take a deep breath directly above the square and promptly passed out for a few seconds. We had to catch him as he fell backwards. I asked if insects falling in were a concern and they said no since they will not fly near the squares since they can sense that there is no oxygen present. By the way, after the tour the few pints of Old Peculiar I had there were the best I ever tasted, before or since. Both Theakstion's and Black Sheep Breweries are right near each other. So, if you are ever in the UK and up Yorkshire way don't miss a stop to tour both of these breweries. You get close to the action, the tour guides are great and the aromas going on there are superb. I hope to someday return. Paul Romanowsky CAD Administrator Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 09:50:48 EST From: GibbonsRR at aol.com Subject: Re: Permanently Marking Stainless/Glass &Fluid Gauges > From: "Hedglin, Nils A" <nils.a.hedglin at intel.com> > Subject: FW: Permanently Marking Stainless/Glass &Fluid Gauges > Work can be technical enough. For brewing I like to keep it simple. I filled my brew pot in 1 gallon increments using a 1 gallon jug. Then using a nail punch, (flat head not pointed) I tapped in a dimple from the outside in. I also made sure the dimples lined up underneath the handle so I know where to look or feel. It's easy, sanitary and always there. For the glass carboys, similar drill. I filled and marked in 1 gallon increments using a Sharpie. I then emptied the carboy and scratched a line into the glass at each gallon mark using a carbide hacksaw blade. The white scratches are easy to see and feel. Good luck and Good brewing. Rick in Scituate, MA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 07:06:25 -0800 From: "Jim Dunlap" <jdpils at attbi.com> Subject: Good ESB Recipe Anyone? Bill, I have made a so called Redhook cline for many years. While I cannot say it is a dead ringer it is close. i personally do not like the diacetyl levels in Redhook ESB. It is a love/hate type of brew. However I do like ESB's and it happens to be my wife's favorite style. My recipe is as follows: Malt - Target SG = 1.054 90% - 2 Row Pale or Pale Ale - I have used anything from Great Western to DW-C Pale Ale. 10% Crystal 60 or Hugh Baird light crystal Hops - IBU's = 35 Additions at 75 minutes, 15, and 1 to end of boil. I use 50% tettanger and 50% homegrown fuggles or willamette from the store for each addition. For an 11gallon batch, as defined by the volume filling a secondary fermenter, I use about 1 ounces of each hop at the one and 15 minute additions. Yeast - My favorite is Wyeast 1968 or White Labs English Ale and second White Labs WLP029. These produce some diacetyl, but not to the extent of Redhook. They actually crash their beer to keep diacetyl in. Even though I live 4 miles from Redhook I have never used their yeast. By the way cask ESB is outstanding. Much less diacetyl. Water - Here in Seattle the water has 20 ppm Ca and I add 0.5 grams of CaSO4 per gallon of sparge water. I am not picky about ferment temp, but the lower the temp the cleaner the beer. Cheers, Jim Dunlap Woodinville WA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 10:10:14 -0500 From: "Houseman, David L" <David.Houseman at unisys.com> Subject: Re: "...that dreadful Ringwood yeast." I've had some wonderful beers made with Ringwood yeast...and many that I've hated. For the beers that I hated, there are two primary flavors which just don't work well together: diacetyl and a woodiness/mustiness that I perceived. So why are some of these beers good and others bad (JMHO)? I believe it's as much the fermentation process as the yeast itself. Most of the beers that I found objectionable were brewed on Peter Austin systems where Ringwood is the house yeast. The open fermenters and recirculation of the wort may cause this yeast to throw more and consume less diacetyl. I know one West Coast brewery that uses Ringwood and it uses a closed fermentation system with totally different results. Perhaps it's not the yeast alone but how it's used as well that causes some of us to hate these results? Dave Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 10:18:37 -0500 From: "Houseman, David L" <David.Houseman at unisys.com> Subject: Diacetyle removal.... A.J. writes: "Speaking of diacetyl there is an article in the latest MBAA quarterly that talks about the enzyme alpha acetolactate decarboxylase which, as the name implies, decarboxylates (non oxidatively) acetolactate to acetoin thus bypassing the oxidative decarboxylation to diacetyl and subsequent reduction to acetoin (by yeast). The idea is to eliminate the diacetyl rest and krausening steps in maturing beer thus saving time and money. The enzyme is sold as "Maturex L" and is now FDA approved for use in the US. Who will be the first homebrewer to try this out?" This was first (as far as I can tell) mentioned on HBD by Andy Walsh in November 1997 when he writes: "Has anyone used Maturex L from Novo Nordisk Ltd to eliminate diacetyl? Is this available to homebrewers anywhere? If so, what were the results like? Or is this cheating? Andy. PS. This is an enzyme treatment (acetolactate decarboxylase) that directly transforms acetolactate to acetoin, eliminating diacetyl from the process. It is said to reduce beer maturation time by the manufacturers." So Andy did you ever obtain this enzyme and try it? Does Nova Nordisk provide this in homebrewer quantities? Dave Houseman Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 09:24:41 -0600 From: Sean McDonald <seanmc at irga.com> Subject: Dubbel Fermentation I have a dubbel that I've brewed and currently have it in primary fermentation. It's a 5 gal. batch with a 5 lbs. two-row grain bill, 4 lbs. Munton's amber extract and 1 lbs of Dark Belgian Candy. I pitched a Wyeast Trappist strain. The fermentation was fairly slow to start, which I chalked up to a low temp. (approx. 64-68), but has been going fairly steady for nearly 3 weeks. It didn't really reach a furious fermentation (high krausen), but continues to bubble at once every 10-15 sec. My questions is: is this common for a dubbel? How much longer should I let it ferment? Should I raise lower the temp? What would the results be if i ended the fermentation prematurely, or if I let it ferment too long? Also, since it's in primary for so much longer than i expected, should I go with a lengthy secondary or short secondary? Thanks in advance Sean McDonald Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 10:30:06 -0600 From: "Charles W. Beaver" <cbeav at netnitco.net> Subject: CASCADE DRY HOPPING I have dry hopped cascade for years and never been really satisfied with the results. I tried making a hop tea by boiling .5 quart of water and adding 1 ounce of cascade pellets. This tea is allowed to steep for 5 minutes in a closed pot. The hops are strained out and the tea added to the beer at kegging. Without a doubt this gives me the best hop aroma and flavor of any technique I've tried. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 10:16:28 -0800 From: Scott Perfect <perfect at marzen.llnl.gov> Subject: Redhook Bill wants to brew Redhook ESB >From the Redhook website: OG = 1.056 color = 12.4 29 IBU Willamette and domestic tettnang a late hopping addition is used Pale malt and 60 L crystal I think 10% crystal is about right The trick is using the right yeast, you want a fair amount of diacetyl. >From my experience, Wyeast 1968 ESB will give you a dead ringer. Speaking of diacetyl, I got a good chuckle out of Steve Alexander's reference to "that dreadful Ringwood yeast." Just like the little kid pointing out that the emperor is naked... Scott Perfect San Ramon, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 13:21:16 -0500 From: "Houseman, David L" <David.Houseman at unisys.com> Subject: Split Rock 2002 HB Competition This is will be the last reminder that there will be homebrew competition on November 23rd, 9am-12ish, at the Split Rock Resort in the Poconos of Pennsylvania in conjunction with their annual Micro Brew Festival. Contrary to the web information, judging will only be on Saturday. Entry fees, $5, will go to the Multiple Sclerosis charity. This is a sanctioned competition and will use the standard BJCP/AHA style guidelines judging all beer, mead and cider styles. Entries should be shipped to The Resort at Split Rock, One Lake Drive, Lake Harmony, PA 18624, Attention Stacey Gould, for receipt by November 20th. Somehow I had this date wrong previously. Two brown or green bottles with no markings are required. Any standard entry forms identifying the brewer and the appropriate entry category/subcategory are acceptable. Any standard homebrew competition entry and bottle identification forms are acceptable. Judges and Stewards will be needed and they should contact Stacey Gould [spevents at ptd.net] or me to secure a position. Judges and Stewards can hand carry their entries if they pre-register with payment. Checks should be made out to The Resort At Split Rock. Judges will receive an entry to the beer festival or entry to the beer dinner for their efforts and need to indicate which they wish when they commit to participate. The BOS winner will receive a complementary weekend for two at next year's Split Rock Beer Fest as well. But just entering makes you a winner for helping a good cause. More information will be available at the Split Rock web site (http://www.splitrockresort.com/gba_homebrew.html). David Houseman Competition Organizer housemanfam at earthlink.net Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 14:03:12 -0600 From: Larry Bristol <larry at doubleluck.com> Subject: Re: General Flavor- Influencers in the brewing process On Tue, 29 Oct 2002 10:46:55 -0800, Victor.E.Franklin at bankofamerica.com wrote: > I have deemed myself a lazy brewer. Not because I don't put in the > effort, but because my goal is to brew a great beer - with the minimum > effort required. I don't want to create an extra step in the process or > measure/ change something if it isn't going to enhance the quality of > the end product: > ...<snip>... > I want to concentrate my beer-improvement efforts in the correct areas. Based on the very good answers I have already seen to your request, you should already have concluded that there is no "correct " answer to your question. EVERY action (or inaction) in the process WILL impact the finished product. That does not mean to say that there is no answer to your question at all. The answer depends on the current level of your brewing skills, the true meaning of your stated goal ("to brew a great beer"), and how far you are willing to go to achieve that goal ("effort required"). "Great beer" has a different meaning from one person to the next. It is YOUR definition of "great beer" and "minimum effort" that matter the most --- not mine, and not that of other brewers. My interpretation of your question may be a little different than that of others. I am going back to the basics. Brewing follows the old 80-20 rule, which I will word like this --- 80% of your goal can be achieved by controlling 20% of the variables. These are the basics that must be achieved before it is worthwhile to look further: #1) Sanitation: If you do not maintain an adequate level of sanitation, you do not need to worry about your ingredients, your brewing process, or your equipment. #2) Quality of ingredients: You cannot make a "great beer" (regardless as to how you define this) if you do not use great ingredients. #3) Sanitation: Great ingredients will be dumped down the drain if you do not maintain an adequate level of sanitation. #4) Recipe: You cannot make a "great beer" if you do not combine those great ingredients in the proper proportions, in the proper balance, using proper procedures. #5) Sanitation: This really cannot be over-emphasized, although one can become paranoid about it. All it takes is one infected batch, and you will never overlook this factor again. OTOH, "great beer" was made for hundreds of years before anyone knew what sanitation even meant. #6) Patience: Take your time formulating that perfect recipe, and then acquire those quality ingredients to match. Do not make up a recipe just to match what you have on hand, and be mindful when making substitutions because an ingredient you need is not available at your LHBS. Do not rush the brewing; do not rush the fermentation; do not rush the conditioning. The most important single ingredient in "great beer" is time (but like all other ingredients, TOO much of it can be detrimental). #7) Sanitation: Did I mention sanitation as being important? I suspect that most brewers quickly get to the point where these basics are so routine that they do not even think about them any more. Once these basic variables are securely under your control, you are within 80% of your goal. It then makes sense to look at other factors. Most of these factors have already been mentioned by others. They are such items as full volume boil, hot break removal, rapid cooling, oxygenating the wort, adequate pitching rate, controlling the fermentation temperature, trub removal, preventing oxygenation after fermentation, proper conditioning levels, and so on. Taking charge of these variables can get you 80% closer to your goal, achieving 96% (the original 80% plus 80% of the remaining 20%). If you want to get even closer to your definition of "a great beer", then you have to address more obscure and/or technical factors. Study the technical journals, perform experiments, and take charge of even more of the factors that influence the flavor and character of your beer. Or is a 96% success rate "good enough". Only you can decide when you have reached your goal. Larry Bristol Bellville, TX http://www.doubleluck.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 16:30:45 -0500 From: "Philip J Wilcox" <pjwilcox at cmsenergy.com> Subject: Ranking Improvements, ringwood I look at brewing like this, if you invest all your time and effort in getting perfect yeast. you can screw up alot of other things and still have great beer. Just look at the plethora of mediocre brewpubs we have in the USA... That being said. If your a beginner and your striving to be a better brewer then you need to get one thing straight. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! Let the anal-retentive side out of its box and write everything down. Write down what you want to do, before hand. and write down what you did, as your doing it. Sure, you can learn by making the same mistakes over and over and figuring it out on your own. but there is nothing like reading something new and being able to look back at what you did to see if that might have been a factor. 1. Document everything. Recipes, Proceedures, then brew and record what you do as you go, time's, temps, f)*# at &kups... 2. Massive quantities of healthy yeasts (this includes yeast starters, proper airation/oxygenation, and proper nutritional suppliments) Note: I did not say liquid over dry yeast. Dry yeast is easier to get perfect, it's just your # of choices that suffers. 3. Sanitization, Sanitization, Sanitization you can't really get enough of it. (biggest error of veteran brewers--we get lazy) 4. Wort chiller, if you don't have one, you need one--unless you live on one of the Poles 5. Full size brew kettle 8g for a 5 g batch, 15g+ for a 10 g batch. your boil should be really rolling, if the swells are not +/- 1" your not boiling hard enough 6. Fermentation temperature control 7. Fresh ingredients, fresh hops, fresh malt, fresh extract--it all matters!!! ps. similar list to My good buddy Mark Tumarkin, but i prioritized mine...after all, brewing is a Priority ;<) - -------------- Ringwood Is a great yeast IF you treat it well. Most brewies don't--and their beer suffers. Basically, all their beers taste the same. If you abuse this yeast it really asserts its character into the flavor of the beer. If you treat it right, you can't tell what strain of yeast your using. To me ringwood is as simple as that. If I can mildly pick it up in a pale ale or mild, OK, i don't mind it. If i taste it in a stout--yuck! phil wilcox Poison Frog Home Brewery Warden - Prison City Brewers Home of the Largest National Mead Day party in the USA!!! Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 17:12:53 -0500 From: "trickard" <trickard at psouth.net> Subject: Good ESB Recipe Anyone? I believe the 1st "Clone Brew " book has Redhook ESB in it. ..Talbot , Seacoast home brewers club Return to table of contents
Date: 01 Nov 2002 17:04:37 -0800 From: Dion Hollenbeck <hollen at woodsprite.com> Subject: Re: storing corny kegs >> Pat Babcock writes: PB> A further warning regarding iodophor stored long-term in kegs: I PB> store Iodophor in two of my kegs long term. In both cases, the PB> plastic nut which holds the safety relief valve in place on the PB> lid disintegrated. It is my supposition that the iodine attacked PB> and embrittled the plastic, but who knows. In any case, the PB> two-in-a-row coincidence, if that's what it turns out to have PB> been, convinced me... Not coincidence, as I had this happen to me as well. Fortunately most of my kegs (pin lock) do not have plastic relief valves, but kind of like a pop top, although with a tab that stays attached to the keg. These are a kind of non-reversible "pressure relief valve". Exceed the tearout rating of that little sucker and all the pressure is gonna escape at once. regards, dion - -- Dion Hollenbeck Email: hollen at woodsprite.com Home Page: http://www.woodsprite.com Brewing Page: http://hbd.org/hollen Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 17:36:47 -0800 (PST) From: Kevin Crouch <kcrouching at yahoo.com> Subject: Beer improvement \ diacetyl \ Redhook I think most of the responses to the difficult question about what is the easiest thing our fellow HBD'er can do to make the greatest improvement in his beer have been right on the money. The comment I liked best, however, was from Mark Tumarkin who Suggests a strict regimen of inquiry -quaffing a lot of beer and paying attention to details. you must be able to define beer flavor profiles that You enjoy, and to understand the factors that contribute to these profiles. Beer appreciation, IMHO, is by far the most important factor in brewing better beers. You can build yourself the slickest brewery an amateur has ever seen and have impeccable sanitation, enthusiastic, well-coached, well-fed yeast, and make beer after beer that you don't like. And if you don't know what you don't like, or what you do, brewing enjoyable beers will be a matter of luck. Unfortunately, what we're talking about here takes many years and many batches, and is NEVER complete. Nevertheless, it should be a top priority. I've never used the Ringwood yeast, but I have to get a kick out of discussion around diacetyl (or VDKs which includes 2,3-pentanedione as Steve A has tried so hard to educate us on). It is my perception that the fear of VDKs seems to stem from two main sources. First and formeost, it is an upredictable compound in filtered, pasteurized, or otherwise poorly handled beer, which is obviously the dominant form of packaging and distribution. No brewer wants to sell a raunchy beer, and since, unlike cask conditioned ales, the brewer has no control what happens to the beer once it leaves the brewery, it is very risky to send beer out the door high in VDKs. Even if VDKs were stable in the finished product, I would imagine that people are perceptive to VDKs at drastically varying thresholds, and that appreciation of them will vary at all these thresholds. Thus, for breweries with profit motive as #1 consideration, it makes the best business sense to eliminate it, thus reaching the maximum amount of consumers possible. We are not mere consumers; however, we are brewers who control our own drinking destiny. In that sense, VDKs are not defects any more than any other flavor can be considered a defect if its presence is inappropriate for the style. I appear to be mildly perceptive to VDKs, but love what they do for a beer. The key for me seems to be that it should balance well with other flavors, and not dominate. It appears to accentuate malt, creating a nice toffee character, and blend with hops, seemingly contributing a more citrusy character. "Getting in touch" with VDKs has added a whole new dimension to my own brews. This info might help Bill Sample who asks about Redhook. A mild diacetyl character mixed with some fruity esters is how I would characterize Redhook's unique profile. Others might disagree, but the most significant factors here might be yeast and fermentation. Hops and malt could be simply viewed as providing the correct color, bitterness levels. Kevin Crouch Vancouver, Washington, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 03:26:22 +0000 From: "chris eidson" <eidsonc at hotmail.com> Subject: Cocoa Beans Abe-- While I have not used coca beans, I have used milled cocoa in beer with much success. If I did have access to cocoa beans, my first inclination would be to mill them with the rest of the grist, mash, sprage and boil just like normal. I would treat it just like any other strong-flavored specialty grain (e.g., roasted barley). If making a stout, I would add .5 - 1 pounds. I use that because my one experience using chocolate was in a stout. I added 2.3 oz of strongly flavored bakers cocoa (Penzy's) directly to the boil. The finished was excellent IMO, with a distinct chocolate aroma and flavor. Good luck and keep us posted on how it turns out. BTW, I believe that Brew Your Own had an article on brewing with chocolate somewhat recently (last year maybe). Hope this helps. Chris Eidson Birmingham, AL Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 22:48:11 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Measuring liquid volume in brewing vessels There have been a lot of good suggestions for solving this problem, but what the heck, I'll stick in my 2 cents. I use a very simple device made from a piece of bare copper electric wire. Functionally, it is the equivalent of a ruler or dipstick, but it costs nothing (assuming usual access to odds and ends), and it can stay in place throughout the brewing process. Also, it can be calibrated in increments as small as you choose, depending on how much effort you want to put into making it. To make this measuring device, start with a wire about twice as long as the vessel is deep. Bend one end of the wire into a hook so it can hang inside the vessel from the lip, and curve the excess wire to the side just before it hits the bottom of the vessel. This is a just temporary bend to keep the wire from running into the bottom, and you will remove it later. Now fill the vessel to capacity with a known amount of water (10 gallons, for example). Grab the wire with needle-nose pliers at the point where it just enters the water, and bend it to the right at a 90-degree angle. The bent portion will now be parallel to the surface of the water, and just touching it. This is the full-capacity marker bend. About a half-inch farther on from this marker, bend the wire again so it is once more hanging down toward the bottom of the vessel. Now remove one increment of water (say one gallon), and make another 90-degree bend where the wire just enters the water, only this time, bend the wire to the left. Continue this process, each time removing one increment of water and making a new marker bend with the directions of the bends alternating right and left until you have marked off as many levels as you choose. As you go, relocate the temporary bend as needed to make marker bends at the appropriate places, and to keep any excess wire from getting in the way. When you have made as many marker bends as you need, leave a little tail hanging down, and cut off any excess wire. You will end up with a shape that goes down, right, down, left, down, right, down, left, and so on. This thing can be hung inside your boil pot and left there throughout the boil, making it very easy to monitor the starting volume, ending volume and boil-off rate. When you're done, just shine it up with a scrubby, and put it away until the next time. If you do different size batches, as I occasionally do, make two gauges. I do mostly 10-gallon batches, so the one I usually use has bends to mark 13, 12, 11 and 10 gallons. But I also made another gauge for five gallon batches that has bends at 7, 6 and 5 gallons. These gauges are durable, effective and cheap. Dave in Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 01 Nov 2002 23:10:39 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Oxygenation In HBD 4081, Dave Clark asks whether it matters when wort is oxygenated, before or after pitching. This is not my area of expertise, but I find it really hard to believe it could matter. After all, we're only talking about a difference of a minute or so in timing. And the amount of yeast added can't affect the specific gravity enough to significantly alter the absorption rate. But I would like to suggest that you use the Oxygen for your starters as well as your main wort. It helps grow a good crop of healthy starter yeast, which gets the main fermentation off to a good start. I've been very pleased with the results since I started doing this. Dave in Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
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