HOMEBREW Digest #4167 Mon 10 February 2003

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  Phil Mill II (Jennifer/Nathan Hall)
  Best of Brooklyn VI Competition ("Kevin Winn")
  Evolutionary niches... (Kent Fletcher)
  Re:brewing and comps ("Kurt Schweter")
  RE: RIMS water heater element grounding ("Lou King")
  Toasting Rolled Oats ("Bob Sutton")
  Re: competitions (Bill Wible) ("Jamil Zainasheff")
  Re: two things/or three ("Steve Alexander")
  RE: Finishing lager fermentation and bottling lagers ("Dan Gross")
  re: Chillin conicals ("Steve Jones")
  re. singing to your yeast ("John Misrahi")
  Competing with the "good" brewers (David Harsh)
  Beer competitions (George de Piro)
  Botany of Desire (Joe Yoder)
  Re: competitions (Dean Fikar)
  Re: Brewer's Resourse Update (bobbrews\) Johnson" <robert at bobbrews.com>
  Independence and Other PA Beers ("Bill Lucas")
  Re: HERMS (David Towson)
  Equipment does matter (Bill Wible)
  competitions (Jeff & Ellen)
  RE: big rigs (Brian Lundeen)
  Re: NG Water Heater Burners for brewing (Kent Fletcher)
  RE: Competitions (Kent Fletcher)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2003 17:47:08 -0500 From: Jennifer/Nathan Hall <hallzoo at comcast.net> Subject: Phil Mill II Anyone have any experience with the Phil Mill II? It's hard to find any feedback about this particular grain mill anywhere on the net. Any info would greatly help! Thanks! Nate Hall BBV Brewery Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 18:32:18 -0500 From: "Kevin Winn" <krewbrew at earthlink.net> Subject: Best of Brooklyn VI Competition The Malted Barley Appreciation Society will be hosting its sixth annual homebrew competition, Best of Brooklyn VI, on February 22, 2003 at the Brooklyn Brewery, in Brooklyn NY. This AHA sanctioned event will continue the tradition of providing quality judging and rewarding brewers with a prize for first, second, and third place in each category. There will again be a First Time Contestant Best of Show. Entries will be due by February 14, and several drop off points will be provided. Visit our website at http://hbd.org/mbas/bob2003.html or contact Lucy Zachman at lucyz35 at yahoo.com for more information. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 16:01:06 -0800 (PST) From: Kent Fletcher <fletcherhomebrew at yahoo.com> Subject: Evolutionary niches... Jeff Renner spake thus about fungi: >One of the amazing things about life is that if there niche in which >a living can to be made, something will no doubt evolve to exploit >that niche. Ah, so THAT'S where lawyers came from! Kent Fletcher Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Feb 2003 19:12:52 -0500 From: "Kurt Schweter" <KSchweter at smgfoodlb.com> Subject: Re:brewing and comps who cares about the equipment - winners should formulate there own recipes !!!!! now were talking real homebrewing !! tast a good example of style, read a bit and have at it Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 21:35:26 -0500 From: "Lou King" <lking at pobox.com> Subject: RE: RIMS water heater element grounding Thanks for the advice, Mike. I did check the continuity between the element flange (that's the hex bolty thing that I tighten, right?) and the heating chamber, and there *was* continuity (as many have pointed out that there would be). I had been planning to ground the flange with a tapped screw, assuming that both would be continuous to house ground. I understand that you are recommending going further, and tying the chamber to house ground as well. Given there *is* continuity, I wonder if this is necessary? Maybe you're saying better safe than sorry -- I have no problem with overengineering this, though. Lou King Ijamsville, MD ========================= > From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> > Subject: RE: RIMS water heater element grounding > Lou King says, re: RIMS water heater element grounding > "Note that my heater doesn't have a ground screw, nor is the chamber in contact > > with house ground." > I'd recommend grounding *both* the chamber and the element flange. In some > > > > cases, this is required by code, but in all cases it's a good idea. For example, > no matter whether the heating element is separately grounded or not, in a spa, > > the chamber is required to be metal, and separately bonded (it's called a current > collector, which is a good description of it's function in an electrical fault). > Ground them both, is my advice. You certainly don't want to be R1 to ground, as > > we say. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 22:37:22 -0500 From: "Bob Sutton" <Bob at homebrew.com> Subject: Toasting Rolled Oats Jake - toasting rolled oats is quite easy. Just spread them out on a cookie sheet, and bake at 325F for 75 minutes, turning them over every 15 minutes. Let them cool to room temperature before adding them to your mash - yum! Generally a pound of oats in a 5-gallon batch should give you that creamy sensation. At that level, you shouldn't need the rice hulls unless you also have significant wheat or rye present - say 30% or greater in your grain bill. Bob Fruit Fly Brewhaus Yesterdays' Technology Today Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 21:55:34 -0800 From: "Jamil Zainasheff" <jamilz at citlink.net> Subject: Re: competitions (Bill Wible) Bill says: > People like that should be disqualified. Gee, that sounds like a good way to improve the quality of homebrew, make sure you disqualify the best brewers from entering competitions. ;-) Rather than trying to eliminate the good brewers, why not focus on brewing better beer? Why not ask those brewers how they did it? I certainly wouldn't feel very good about winning if it was only because the good brewers were eliminated. I think that kind of "winning" is on par with going to the store and buying a couple ribbons. JZ Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 05:26:25 -0500 From: "Steve Alexander" <steve-alexander at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Re: two things/or three Jeff Renner writes, > But I am confused. I thought brewing yeast *was* Saccharomyces - > specifically S. cerevisae. And bread yeast and wine yeast are also, > just different strains. Change that to "ale, most wine and bread" yeast and we're on the same page. Lager and certain wine yeasts are not S.cerevisiae. > Even lager yeast is now most often lumped > into this species, although at times and by some taxonomists (the > splitters, not the lumpers) have classified it as S. carlsbergensis > or S. uvarum. No? Uvarum and carlbergensis are passe. Lager yeasts are now officially classed as Saccharomyces pastorianus. To make matters more confusing there is a movement afoot to rename S.pastorianus -> S.carlbergensis. Lager yeast genetic studies since the mid 1980s show that lager yeasts have about 50% DNA homology with ale yeasts, and a 72% homology w/ S.bayanus & moreso with S.monacensis (another S.pastorianus). Lager yeast have 50-60% more DNA than ale yeast. Mitochondrial DNA for lager yeast derive from the S.bayanus&S.pastorianus side of the family. Lager yeast have a number of duplicate genes - inheritance from both sides. Lager yeast clearly aren't some minor variation of ale yeast. Here's a quote from a recent article [Gene 1994 Mar 11;140(1):33-40] "Our results are consistent with the proposal that S. carlsbergensis originated as a hybrid between S. monacensis and S. cerevisiae. The complete identity of the MET2 fragments from S. monacensis and the S. carlsbergensis-specific MET2 allele suggests that the hybridization must have been a quite recent event." Here's a wonderful little taxonomy browser that can help. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/tax.html/ I just love this little gem of a website. Who said tax money was all wasted ? Anyway NCBI is not authoritative, but it will give you an idea of the genus. There are a *lot* of genus Saccharomyces (sugar eating) yeasts besides Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here is a list of named Saccharomyces: S. barnettii , S. bayanus , S. bulderi , S. cariocanus, S. cariocus, S. castellii, S. cerevisiae, S. chevalieri, S. dairenensis, S. douglasii, S. ellipsoideus, S. exiguus, S. globosus, S. humaticus, S. kluyveri, S. kudriavzevii, S. kunashirensis, S. martiniae, S. mikatae, S. mikatii, S. monacensis, S. naganishii, S. norbensis, S. paradoxus, S. pastorianus, S. rosinii, S. servazzii, S. spencerorum, S. transvaalensis, S. turicensis, S. unisporus, S. yakushimaensis. There are more that just carry lab titles, S.KPU5 or whatever. These are all classed with the lineage ... <<root; cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Fungi/Metazoa group; Fungi; Ascomycota; Saccharomycotina; Saccharomycetes; Saccharomycetales; Saccharomycetaceae>> If you go up one level to the Saccharomycetaceae family you'll find some other sugar eating genus's like Dekkera, Pichea, Torulaspora yeast which have some food uses too. The genus Saccharomyces probably originated as fruit and flower nectar infection organisms. Bread yeasts, most (not all) wine yeasts and ale yeast are classified as S.cerevisae variations, and in a recent JIB study [108(3)pp310-312,2002] it appears that all of these variations can consume maltose. Other genetic studies show that S.cerevis and S.pastor. have a similar cluster of maltose and maltotriose permease genes. They didn't pick those up the grapevines. S.cerevis. must have had a somewhat more complex history. > >Brewing yeast have the ability to metabolize maltose > >and, maltotriose. > > Can you think of where (which natural niche) this might have evolved? Obviously S.cervis & C.pastor. can't handle starch, but the only source of maltose and maltotriose I'm aware of are from starch degradation (starch formation is intracellular and not very accessible). This would include some nuts, grains, tubers and other advanced plants that store energy as starch. You'll recall that grain is covered with opportunistic bacteria - awaiting water and germination to collect carbohydrate energy. Perhaps some of these bacteria use extracellular amylases to attack the starch and yeast scavenge. Perhaps more likely they opportunistically attack grains and tubers that fail to grow - allowing the plant amylases to free-up the simple sugars. Imagine grains in a field that get too much water - or not enough water after germination begins. They die but degraded starch remains. It wouldn't surprise me if yeasts attacked root vegetables like beets and carrots as they rot. > Another puzzle is where lager yeast developed the ability to > metabolize melibiose - ale yeast can't. No a puzzle at all. Lager and ale yeast have a lot of genetic differences. Raffinose/melibiose metabolism is one of the many. There is a little raffinose in many grains, maize, wheat and barley at least. A fructose is removed and then you have melibiose. Melibiose also appears in fungal cell walls, in melons and especially in peas and alfalfa. >The standard story I have heard > is that lager yeasts "developed" (certainly not "evolved") through > selective pressures in Bavarian ice caves Not unless the old Bavarians Monks were performing cell fusion genetic experiments. My hunch is that lager yeast inherited the galactosidase (melibiose) gene and cold tolerance from S.bayanus ancestry. It's probably in a yeast genetics database somewhere. S.bayanus is a champagne yeast know for it's clean neutral flavor and it's one of he most cold tolerant wine yeasts. > Put another way, a chicken is just an egg's way of making more eggs. And beer is just yeasts' way of getting humans to help make more yeast. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 07:11:10 -0500 From: "Dan Gross" <degross at starpower.net> Subject: RE: Finishing lager fermentation and bottling lagers Jake asks about finishing his Oktoberfest: Jake, If you decide to bottle I would opt for the first choice, ferment until the gravity is about 25% of the O.G., diacetyl rest, lager as long as you can stand to wait, then bottle. If you bottle straight from the primary I think you might not get a good diacetyl rest since you would have the beer in bottles with very little yeast, rather than the whole batch sitting on that big yeast cake in the primary fermentor. Dan Gross Olney, Md >Would I ferment for 2 weeks, do a diacetyl rest, lager for 4 weeks then >bottle - then lager the bottles? >Or - ferment - bottle - condition the bottles - then lager the >conditioned bottles. >Or - just lager for six months and keg the thing. Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 08:50:59 -0500 From: "Steve Jones" <stjones1 at chartertn.net> Subject: re: Chillin conicals Wow! Thanks for the kudos, Martin. I've been using the ferm chamber referenced by Martin for several years now and it works great. However, I use a slightly different concept for my conical. I don't have any pics, but I've got a drawing on the same web site - http://hbd.org/franklin/public_html/sj-ccf_chiller.html. Now I've just got to figure out how to keep it warm enough during these cold, cold winter days. The last 3 or 4 years my garage/brewery has stayed around 50-54F during the winter - perfect lager brewing conditions. This year it has been about 40 since mid December. I've even had some trouble with NA beverages freezing in my refrigerator in the garage. I might have to get a 'brew-belt' to wrap around the CCF. Zu ihrer gesundheit Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:08:47 -0500 From: "John Misrahi" <lmoukhin at sprint.ca> Subject: re. singing to your yeast Abe Kabakoff write about singing and professing love to his yeast. Well, I don't go that far. I play music to my yeast starters and my fermenting beer...Not always...But I find some acid jazz is just the thing to get a ferment hopping. Either that or some Steely Dan. No long lag times there. I have no data to back this up, and as always, YMMV. I have to be careful what's on the radio - I fear that if it accidentally heard some Celine Dion or N'Sync, the poor yeasties might go dormant or start autolyzing before they even have a change to ferment/ ;-p John Misrahi Montreal, Canada [892, 63] Apparent Rennerian (km) "You're all wanking sissies if you even think about using a grain mill, teeth, or ball-peen hammer. A real brewer uses 17 vestal virgins stomping on the grain in a large wooden vat. And yeast is for losers. True brewers just dip one end of their dog into the wort to get things going." -- Drew Avis Seen on a tee shirt - "The internet is full. Go away!" Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 09:17:51 -0500 From: David Harsh <dharsh at fuse.net> Subject: Competing with the "good" brewers > Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> asks: > So I have to ask, at what point does someone stop being > an 'amateur homebrewer'... When one brews for money. However, I have no qualms about someone with professional experience entering beers that he brewed on his home system. How can I prove where they brewed it? I can't. But I can't prove that someone isn't soaking labels off of commercial beers, then recapping and entering either. > How about somebody who wins first place > in the same category 9 times out of 12 competitions over > 4 years, and take BOS 5 of those times, using the same > recipe and the $4k system? Home system? More power to him. > Shouldn't somebody call that > brewer aside and say "hey, how about giving somebody else > a chance?" I'm sure he gets enough crap from his friends about always winning anyway. > At some point, this stuff starts to hurt competitions. > Yeah, you don't want to turn away anyone's entries, but > how about the 10 or more entries that you don't get from > people like me, because we know about the people who > always win? Personally, I don't want your 10 entries if you "know you can't win" > But they won't > enter, because of a certain brewer who "owns" that category. > People like that should be disqualified. So you honestly think that someone who brews successfully in a category should be disqualified? > Most of you seem to agree that BOP beers should be excluded - > why? They're brewed on systems like the $4k ones I'm > complaining about. Why on one hand do you say disallow BOP > beers, but on the other hand say that beers brewed on > similar systems "at home" are OK? One is brewed at home. Tends to be pretty obvious for a "homebrewing" competition, no? > Equipment doesn't make a difference? THAT'S nonsense. Agreed. Good equipment doesn't guarantee good beer though. To say you can't make bad beer on a professional quality system - now THAT'S nonsense. The major thing that fancy equipment does is make brewing easier. > No amateur could compete with these guys. Our locals, > Independence Micro, Sly Fox, Dock Street, General Lafayette, > Manayunk, Iron Hill, not to mention Victory and 3 or 4 others.... Oh please. I've any number of homebrewed tripels that leave Victory's Golden Monkey in the dust. (not to pick on Victory, here -just an example) To speak generally, consider the Cincinnati Malt Infusers Oktobersbest competition - they throw a ringer into every flight, unidentified as such to the judges. Last fall, Anchor Steam came in next to last in a flight of IPAs I judged. It didn't hold a candle to the homebrewed version you felt was clearly inferior by definition. I sorry you don't have a good opinion of your brewing ability. Keep trying, and I'm sure you'll get better someday. FWIW, I mash in a Gott cooler mash tun, a boil in a converted keg, ferment in glass carboys, and have a very tolerant spouse. I don't have any complex about the quality or competitiveness of my beers, I just don't brew as often as I'd like to... Dave Harsh Bloatarian Brewing League Cincinnati, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 10:55:23 -0500 From: George de Piro <george at EvansAle.com> Subject: Beer competitions Hello all, and especially Bill Wible, Bill has many misconceptions about how beer is brewed commercially. He writes: "As far as micros - anybody who thinks the BJCP should let local micros enter these amateur competitions so the local homebrewers will beat them is just deluded. The micros all have professional 3 barrel systems and stainless, glycol cooled, conical, temperature controlled fermenters, not to mention access to yeast you don't have, lab equipment you don't have, etc...No amateur could compete with these guys." Back to me: Most brewpubs have no lab equipmemnt, and even if they did it would not make a lot of difference. We have no access to yeast that a homebrewer doesn't have. Our fermentors often have shoddy temperature control (my tanks have huge stratification issues). Many homebrewers produce beer that is better than some commercial beer, and that includes the breweries that Bill listed. Also, not all brewing systems are "3 barrels," and a separate lauter tun is actually more desirable for several reasons, thus making a 4 vessel brewhouse the cat's meow. I have won a fair number of brewing awards, as an amateur and a pro. Some of the best beers I have ever made were brewed in an enamel pot and fermented in a glass carboy. The equipment I use does not make a difference; I could brew good beer with stuff gathered in a salvage yard. It just makes life a little easier to have equipment designed for brewing, set up all the time and ready to go. It is most definitely the brewer that determines the beer quality. If you think that your beer cannot win in competition, than learn what those consistently good brewers are doing. Knowledge is the key. One last thought: having evaluated beer in many competitions, the number one mistake most homebrewers make is in fermentation control. Most off flavors are the result of poor yeast handling. Concentrate on learning better fermentation control (which is easily done with no fancy equipment) rather than bemoaning the results of competitions. Have fun! George de Piro Head Brewer, C.H. Evans Brewing Company at the Albany Pump Station 19 Quackenbush Square Albany, NY, USA 12207 (518)447-9000 www.EvansAle.com Brewers of Kick-Ass Brown: Twice declared the Best American Brown Ale in the USA at the Great American Beer Festival (2000 & 2002)! Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 10:49:58 -0600 From: Joe Yoder <headduck at swbell.net> Subject: Botany of Desire Jeff Renner wrote: I wish I could remember the recent popular book and author that advanced this view. Jeff, I believe the book you are thinking of is The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. Pollan takes several species of plants, Potatoes, Apples, Marijuana and Tulips (if memory serves) and explains how human interaction greatly improved their survival rates. It is great book. Well written and thought out. back to brewing... Joe Yoder Lawrence, KS Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 12:01:09 -0800 From: Dean Fikar <dfikar at alumni.tcu.edu> Subject: Re: competitions I've been away from the HBD for awhile and happened to peek in as the question of unfair advantage in brewing competitions came up. As some of you out there know I have been pretty active in local and national competition for the last 4-5 years. I have come know many of the best brewers who have won big-time in national competition and Southwest regional events. Here's my $0.02 worth: EQUIPMENT Steve A. asks: "Anyone please answer me - is it true that the heavy-hardware HBers really win all the competitions ? Personally I doubt it." I've long been interested in the way champion homebrewers set up their breweries and have quizzed many of the nation's best along these lines. There is absolutely zero correlation between the sophistication and expense of the brewer's equipment and success in competition as far as I can tell. In fact, of the big-time award winners I've traded notes with over the years most brew with very basic systems, often infusing mashing in insulated coolers like myself. Two of the best brewers I know boil on the stovetop and one uses the old Papazian bucket-in-bucket lautering system. If you are a brewer and are afraid to enter competitions for fear of being blown away by the guys with the big fancy systems, please reconsider. PROFESSIONALS Bill W. says: "As far as micros - anybody who thinks the BJCP should let local micros enter these amateur competitions so the local homebrewers will beat them is just deluded. The micros all have professional 3 barrel systems and stainless, glycol cooled, conical, temperature controlled fermenters, not to mention access to yeast you don't have, lab equipment you don't have, etc. No amateur could compete with these guys." Nothing could be further from the truth, IMHO. Most of these guys learned how to brew as homebrewers. Some do enter HB competitions, at least here in Texas. Guess what? They don't win all that much, at least not down here. Frankly, I don't think that the professionals as a group are any better than the top notch homebrewers out there. As for them entering competitions I say bring 'em on. Also from Bill: "I can make 'good' beer, beer that people like. Would I go so far as to say I can make better beer than my local micros, who people pay the ultimate compliment to by spending money on their beers? No, I don't delude myself into believing that, as many of you seem to." I hope no potential homebrewer lurking out there takes this as the last word. I can honestly say that the best beers I've tasted in the last few years have by and large been homebrews. That's not to say that there aren't some great micros out there but, given the choice, I'll take the brew from an accomplished homebrewer most of the time. I wasted the first 42 years of my life operating under the delusion that homebrews were inferior to micros until I actually got to know a homebrewer who convinced me that you can make beer at least as good and often better than what you can buy commercially. Fortunately I listened to him and began homebrewing the next week. Needless to say, he was right. In my case life really does begin at forty - give or take a couple of years. :) Cheers, Dean Fikar Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 10:31:28 -0800 From: "Robert \(bobbrews\) Johnson" <robert at bobbrews.com> Subject: Re: Brewer's Resourse Update Just a quick update. I have aquired the Inventory, website and 800 number of Brewer's Resource. I did not purcahse the company, it still belongs to them. I have permission to use the names in relation to their products. I plan to keep some of their unique products where possible. My store and website offers some duplicate products and where they overlap I will opt for the better product. The website is up but the cart is shut off till I can get my cart and processor, and my webguy is busy right now with the shuttle disaster as he is a shuttle tech. Hopefully he will be back soon and we can get the site fully operational. You can place orders via the 800 number that Brewer's resource has always had. There have been some small delays as they were out of some products and it has taken some time to move the inventory to our location. We have about 80% of it now. Sorry for taking the bandwidth, but I have seen several inquiries here and rather than address each one, try to answer them all here with a short post Robert (bobbrews) Johnson Brewer's Rendezvous www.bobbrews.com Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 13:38:14 -0500 From: "Bill Lucas" <Homebrew42 at hotmail.com> Subject: Independence and Other PA Beers Bill Wible chimes in with some further info and clarification on my post about PA beers. Thanks for the info on bottling about the Philly area brew pubs. The news about independence brewery leaves me scratching my head somewhat. I knew independence closed and was reopened as a brewpub but that is all I really knew. I would like to mention though that I pass an Independence "brewpub" at the airport mall every time I fly through Philly, but I have never had time to stop, or when I did it was too early for them to be open. So imagine my surprise when I was in the DC area (Gaithersburg) last December and was looking for beers I couldn't find in my area when I spotted a sole 6 pack of Independence on the shelves of a dingy little package store. I can't recall which of the independence offerings it was, but I think it was a winter seasonal... It had a strong malty character that tasted somewhat caramelized but was a slightly under hopped leaving it a little too sweet for my taste, but it sure was warming. The new Brewpub is at Reading Station, where the old Dock St. used to be right? Haven't been to it yet, but it sounds right that they wouldn't bottle there. So I may have just unwittingly bought and consumed one of the last Independence 6 packs ever. If that's the case and the beer was over 2 years old it held up quite well. Anyone else able to shed some light on this, contract brewing perhaps??? Bill Lucas, State College, PA Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 15:32:42 -0500 From: David Towson <dtowson at comcast.net> Subject: Re: HERMS In HBD 4164, Greg McLane asks: >As far as the temperature ramping/mash heating part, the basic system >works by having a PID turn on the pump, which pumps the runnings from the >tun through the HLT-submerged coil...right so far? I don't need to mess >with solonoid valves and such, do I? Pump on = ramp up, pump off = mash >rest. All I need are a couple (manual) diverter ball-valves and I'm in >business, right? You might get away with that if your mash tun is very well insulated. If not, then heat loss from the top, bottom and sides of the tun will cause the mash temperature near those surfaces to be lower than at the center of the tun (assuming the room is cooler than the mash). The temperature difference can be quite large (5 degrees or more). Given the physical constraints of the system you describe, you will have to either insulate the tun or recirculate throughout the mash to maintain an even temperature throughout. But if you recirculate to maintain even temperature distribution, then you will need valves to control whether or not the mash liquid is routed through the heating coil. Otherwise, you'll overheat. These valves can be either manually or automatically controlled depending on the degree of automation you seek. >I understand using a lauter grant helps a lot with making the pump run >smooth. Cavitation BAD. Is this true, or can the grant be nixed? I don't use a grant, but I do throttle the output of the pump to prevent pumping so fast as to compact the mash. This allows for continuous recirculation and better temperature control. If you use a grant, then you have to turn the pump on and off as the grant fills and empties - a nuisance , in my opinion. >I intend on using Norprene and copper pipes, brass valves, and polysulfone >disconnects. Any comments there? (I see a need for some flexible lines >to the pump - lots of folks have noted that the pump leads tend to break >off, and that metal-to-plastic connections tend to leak, thus the plastic >hoses and connections.) I definitely favor flexible connections to the pump. >Pump: March 809, very likely. Some folks like the MDX(?)-series, and I >see Little Giant come up, but I'm really into using the pump for boiling >temps, which knocks out all I've seen but the 809. Any others out there >folks like? Issues with the 809? I have no experience with the 809, which is rated for 250 degrees. But I do have two pumps (a Little Giant 3-MDX and a March MDXT3), neither of which is rated for boiling temperatures. I have been using them for four years with no problems, and they have both pumped plenty of boiling water. The key here, I think, is that the duty is short and intermittent. Therefore, the glass-filled polypropylene parts aren't exposed to high temperatures long enough to swell, which they would do over a period of several days if exposed continuously, according to a treatise I read on the subject. Also, the adhesive used to bind the interior magnets to the pump rotors appears to be able to stand the temperature for the time required. So, I don't see a need for pumps rated for boiling temperatures. >The pump leads are 1/2" NPT, most of my existing copper pipe is 3/8". I >figured I'd make the inlets to the pump all 1/2", but then skinny to 3/8" >a bit downstream of the outlet. Will this cause problems? Not if you use one of the 809s with a 1/25 HP motor. But the ones with the 1/100 HP motors would be too wimpy to get decent flow. >Do you generally recirc all through mash rests, or just until the runnings >clarify? I recirculate throughout the entire mash, and only run the pump intermittently during sparging. But then it's only pumping makeup water for the sparge and there's no recirculation. I use throttled gravity flow from the mash tun to the kettle, and then pump hot wort from the kettle through the counterflow chiller after the boil. >I intend on making a gizmo out of rigid insulation and aluminum flashing >that nests inside my Polarware pot, and will support the recirc/sparge arm >by floating directly on top of the mash (again, the need for the norprene >flexibility comes up). This allows me to have 5 and 10 gallon batches, >since the arm is always where I need it. The arm will be simple slotted >(or drilled) copper piping in a big circle. (Note that only aluminum and >copper will touch the mash.) Does this make sense? Yes, but I think it's overkill. I just lay the recirc/sparge ring on top of the mash with the exit holes facing up, and it works very well. I use a piece of vinyl hose to connect the ring to the feed fitting, which is mounted through the wall of the tun at the top. Dave in Bel Air, MD Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 08 Feb 2003 16:48:18 -0500 From: Bill Wible <bill at brewbyyou.net> Subject: Equipment does matter I'm not buying it. Equipment does matter. You can't tell me a guy putting on a roof with a power nailer doesn't have an advantage over a guy trying to do the same job driving nails with the back of a screwdriver, and that the results are going to be the same. We've also had the golf comparison - "should Tiger Woods be allowed in an amateur golf competition?" I think that's getting closer to an accurate analogy, since we're talking about a combination of equipment and experience. How about Walter Ray Williams, should he be allowed to bowl in a regular, local league, or an amateur tournament? Even though both of these guys have clearly crossed the line from amateur to pro, the answer is that these guys could be allowed in any level of competition, and it could be made fair for everybody using the proper handicaps. Golf and bowling are both games that use handicaps in competition. Unfortunately, we have no way to handicap brewing competitions based on someone's advantages due to experience and equipment. Anybody familiar with "Iron Chef"? How about if we give the Iron Chef the Henkels, the Kitchen Aid and all the other electric appliances, and we give the challenger a set of plastic utensils to work with? Would that be a fair competition? If the challenger is a great chef, shouldn't he be able to overcome that lack of equipment with all his knowledge and experience? After all, you'd say the chef makes the meal, not the equipment, right? Or does equipment just possibly make a difference? (Not that Iron Chef is ever a fair competition anyway.) You people are all saying what I'm saying, it comes down to the 'definition' of what an amateur is vs. the definition of a pro. What makes someone an amateur, or not an amateur? or a pro? And if the only definition of pro is ever going to be "they make beer in a brewery" or "they sell their beer", then I don't buy that, either, especially since so many of you claim to be able to make way better beer than any micro and that you would beat any of them "hands down" in a competition. You guys and gals must ALL be pros, then. ;) Makes me want to organize the thing. Bill Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 18:07:38 -0500 From: Jeff & Ellen <JeffNGladish at ij.net> Subject: competitions Bill Wible doesn't seem to want the same people to win competitions all the time because it makes other brewers feel inferior and not want to enter. I disagree. I want to beat the big names. I feel cheated if a champion brewer decides not to enter any more to "let someone else win for a change." I would like to have the opportunity to go head to head with the best, in order to be satisfied that my beer indeed won. One of the things that I thought elevated the late, great George Fix to "hero" status for me was the fact that he continued to enter competitions even though he wrote the book on brewing. He did not always win and if he did not, the winner could say that his beer was better than George Fix's. How cool was that? I often wonder how many famous (in homebrew circles) brewers and especially beer judges still enter beers in competitions. A sat with Jeff Renner on the panel at the AHA nationals last summer when he judged Classic American Pilsners and wondered why he did not have an entry in the final round for that category. 'Didn't enter one? If he didn't, he should have, in my opinion. Equipment does not make good beer. I brew low tech and do well in competitions. Professional only means, "you get paid for it." It does not imply that you brew better. Those people that Bill Wible says are afraid to enter a beer because someone else owns that category should be encouraged to enter and win. It happens all the time. Jeff Gladish, Tampa, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 18:38:38 -0600 From: Brian Lundeen <BLundeen at rrc.mb.ca> Subject: RE: big rigs Bill Wible writes: How about somebody who wins first place in the same category 9 times out of 12 competitions over 4 years, and take BOS 5 of those times, using the same recipe and the $4k system? Shouldn't somebody call that brewer aside and say "hey, how about giving somebody else a chance?" At some point, this stuff starts to hurt competitions. Me: Good idea, and while we're at it, let's tell Tiger Woods he can't enter any more golf tournaments, or Serena Williams that she is no longer welcome on the tennis circuit. C'mon, Bill, the world just doesn't work that way. Well, maybe casinos. ;-) If I was perpetually number 2 (and the really clever among you will see the straight line there), I don't think I would want to move up to the top spot because Mr Big Rig got tossed out. I would want to improve to the point where I could knock him off the pedestal myself. Failing that, I would bribe the Chief Steward to pee in his beers. ;-) Bill: Most of you seem to agree that BOP beers should be excluded -why? They're brewed on systems like the $4k ones I'm complaining about. Why on one hand do you say disallow BOP beers, but on the other hand say that beers brewed on similar systems "at home" are OK? Equipment doesn't make a difference? THAT'S nonsense. Me: It has nothing to do with the quality of the equipment, it is the simple fact it is not the brewer's equipment. A home brewer uses his own equipment, period. And does all the work, from start to finish. That might not be the case in a BOP. If brewers are sharing equipment to make batches together, I think the ethics dictate that the beer should be entered in all their names. OK, we'll stop short of including the brew shop owner that grinds your grain for you. OK, Bill, equipment does make a difference up to a point. If your setup is so bad that it can't produce a decent wort, it will be holding you back. But as people have pointed out, it doesn't need to be a $4K system, and a $4K system is not idiot-proof, either. You can still mess up your batch no matter what your equipment costs. In fact, for me, the more complicated the setup, the greater the risk that I will do something stupid. So stop attributing all these awards to gargantuan metal contraptions. It's the brain running the rig that is being rewarded. Why can't you see that? Bill: As far as micros - anybody who thinks the BJCP should let local micros enter these amateur competitions so the local homebrewers will beat them is just deluded. Me: If this is a reference to my comments, I think we have had some miscommunication. I did not mean that professionals should be able to brew beer at work and enter it into homebrew competitions. But if a guy working in a brewery (even if he's the head brewer with 20 years experience), wants to setup a rig at home, and make some beer there, then yes, he is just as entitled as you or I to enter a homebrew competition. And if that rig he sets up at home is some obsolete professional equipment that he got from his brewery, more power to him. Is this scenario likely? I don't think so. Most brewery workers (below the highest level of larger breweries) are so poorly paid, they couldn't even think about owning a $4k system. Your typical "pro" is probably homebrewing with a cheap pot and cooler like a lot of "amateurs". Bill, do you know anyone near you with one of these mega-systems? If so, ask him if you can spend a day brewing a batch on their system. He can't help, other than to show you how the system works. You have to do everything, and you have to take your wort home and proceed as you normally do. Let us know how much better that batch turns out. Cheers Brian Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 16:50:23 -0800 (PST) From: Kent Fletcher <fletcherhomebrew at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: NG Water Heater Burners for brewing Steve and or Deb asked about: "Is anyone using natural gas burners from water heaters in their HERMS systems or other brewing set-ups. I've been working on building my first HERMS systems and I have access to used hot water heater burners. The burner I have now came from a water heater and is rated at 30K BTU's. I guess my biggest questions is...are these burners big enough for homebrewing? Any input on this would be appreciated. Thanks." Some people used to do this, notably Bill Owens of Buffalo Bills (one of the first brewpubs in California). In the first version of his book "How to Build a Small Brewery" Bill used water heater burners. The drawbacks are that they are small (it will a long time to bring 10 gallons of water to strike/sparge temp) and very susceptable to wind. Even still, they can be a reasonable compromise for brewing small batches indoors. Most people go to the propane "turkey cooker" type burner because they put out up to almost five times as much heat. Brewing all-grain beer takes long enough as it is without the handicap of a relatively puny burner. Hope that helps, Kent Fletcher brewing in So Cal Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2003 19:00:16 -0800 (PST) From: Kent Fletcher <fletcherhomebrew at yahoo.com> Subject: RE: Competitions Bill Wible said, in part: "I judged a large local last year where the barleywine category only had a few entries, maybe 5 entries. Is that normal? No. I know alot of people brew barleywine - I sell them their ingredients, remember? But they won't enter, because of a certain brewer who "owns" that category. People like that should be disqualified." Wow. Don't let somebody compete, cause they do it too well. Hmmm. OK, no more Tiger Woods, no more Williams sisters. Rob Leathan and Doug Koenig, you guys stay home this year. And disband the Yankees, too, while you're at it, or do they get a reprieve 'cause they didn't win the '02 pennant? Bill, how do you get out of bed in the morning? Kent Fletcher Return to table of contents
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