HOMEBREW Digest #4190 Sat 08 March 2003

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  Fully Automated Brewing System: Motor driven aggitator (Caryl Hornberger Slone)
  Re:greed /  lag time ("greg man")
  Conical Cooling Experiment Vol. 1....Any Refrigeration Experts Out There? ("Dave")
  Refractometers and Hydrometers (Mychajlonka Kyle L IHMD)
  Re: chicago water analysis ("Steve B")
  more PID questions ("steve lane")
  TMS, Greed and Wayne (rscotty)
  Deadband vs. PID controllers (David Harsh)
  Re: Dryhopping a Lager (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Widget (Jeff Renner)
  Re: extreme lag in primary (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Chicago water analysis help ("Martin Brungard")
  yeast rant ("Stephen Cavan")
  Toledo Metal Spinning ("Eric R. Theiner")
  Lag time (BrianS)
  RE: Chicago Water, lag in primary ("Doug Hurst")
  Overpricing to send a message... (Pat Babcock)
  TMS Conical Hoppers & "Re-Alligned pricing" and Slow Ferments (Charles)
  Chili Beer Questions ??? ("Spencer Graham")
  lactic acid vs lactobacillus (Rama Roberts)
  Hop bitterness limit ("Mike Racette")
  Toronto reccomendations? (Alan Meeker)
  commercial pitchable yeast products (Alan Meeker)
  RE:  Deadband Controller ("Mike Sharp")
  Hard TeaHi everybody (Ludwig)
  Local certified beer judges ("Jeff Storm")
  Intriguing CC alternative (Rod Tussing)
  Care and cleaning of plastic (Rod Tussing)
  poor extract effeciencies, Thanks! (Steven S)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 00:01:37 -0500 From: Caryl Hornberger Slone <chornberger10 at comcast.net> Subject: Fully Automated Brewing System: Motor driven aggitator I've decided to go with a motor driven stirrer of some sort with my fully automated brewery design. This is so I won't run the risk of getting a stuck sparge during the mash (RIMS recirculation). So I wonder if the tubulence from the stirrer, propeller, etc?, would push lots of grain under a false bottom during the course of a 2-3 hour mash. I could try as Mark Alfaro writes in HBD#4188: I made a filter out of stainless mesh that is shaped like a sock. This filter fits snugly into my center drain to catch any particles that get past the false bottom. This arrangement works very well and keeps all the particles in the mash tun and out of my pump. But in wonder if that'd be enough especially since I only brew wheat beer with typically 60-70% wheat. Maybe I just need to use rice hulls or something. I don't know. I need to find a way that is stuck sparge proof and easy to clean. and cheap. The motor should stir pretty slow, maybe 5-10rmp? But have decent torque to stir up a stuck sparge if one does occur. Anyone have any thoughts? Caryl Hornberger Slone Fort Wayne, IN Soon to be unemployed computer engineer who needs something to do. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 01:04:51 -0500 From: "greg man" <dropthebeer at hotmail.com> Subject: Re:greed / lag time >Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 22:31:12 -0800 >From: "Wayne Holder" <zymie at charter.net> >Subject: Greed and serving memories >The 12.5 gallon model TMS16914 was about $74 as memory >serves. It is now $152 - a little over 100% jump overnight! >Rich, you should check your memory server, I believe you have a parity >error. Actually I think for the 12 gallon hopper it was 80-90 dollars but what matters is the raise in price!!From 90 to 150 that's blind greed, I could understand $10 more dollars even 20 but that price is ridiculous and I hope it causes them to go out of business. If not blind greed what would you call it? Inflation? >1. As a homebrewing product manufacturer/wholesaler, I can tell you first >hand about the added time and costs involved in shipping large quantities >of small orders. It simply is more efficient to be able to ship a larger >quantity of items to a smaller number of locations than it is to ship a >smaller quantity of items to a larger number of locations. I understand this To a point. Lowering the cost on multiple orders is a great Idea and a good incentive to get people to buy in bulk. I know cardboard and all kinds of packing material cost money. But really How much do you lose, remember WE PAY THE SHIPPING/& HANDELING!!! >Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 10:49:58 -0600 >From: Brian Dube <brian.dube at gotgoat.com> >Subject: extreme lag in primary > >I brewed a 5-gallon batch of American cream ale on >Saturday, 01 March, and there is still no activity in the >air lock. I used a small yeast starter, but I did forget to >add yeast nutrient. Even if this batch does eventually take >off, will it be ruined by off-flavors (assuming an >infection doesn't take hold first)? I'm sorry that I'm >posting a question I can answer using the wait-and-see >method; I would rather just throw the batch out now if you >think this lag time is going to ruin the beer. > >Thanks, >Brian > >- -- >Brian Dube >Columbia, Missouri How big was the starter? What was pitched into the starter, tube, slant, smack Pack? If you pitched it Saturday then you better add a dry yeast pack soon to save it. This might be a good thing for you to keep on hand for just such an occasion, If you don't already have some. Will it cause any off flavors? Maybe But just as a side point I wanted to mention a time when I pitched a whitelabs tube(so called pitch able) in to a lager. It took 6 days before it started to ferment, I did not have any dry yeast on hand, a problem I have since rectified. The funny thing is that was the first lager I'd ever made an you know what? I scored a 38, for a bock an one 3rd place, go figure? Although I an a bit of a SANITATION NAZI so I guess that helped because the beer did not come out with any noticeable infection or off flavors. I hope by the time you read this that it has started to ferment! gregman Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 22:13:35 -0800 From: "Dave" <brewingisloving at hotmail.com> Subject: Conical Cooling Experiment Vol. 1....Any Refrigeration Experts Out There? Hello, I have a 31 gallon conical fermenter. It is covered with insulation and has a 6 foot coil running through the inside, through which a cooled solution flows. The cooled solution is cooled in the freezer. I was able to cool 30 gallons of water 26 degrees below ambient temperature using this setup. Specifically, I went from 70 degrees to 44 degrees. I think I could have gone lower, but decided that 44 degrees was low enough for now. It took about a day and a half to achieve this temperature. I could have done it in 24 hours, I think, if I had pushed it. Given how much I cooled the volume of water, over the 36 hour period, is this enough cooling capacity to hold 30 gallons of vigorously fermenting beer at, say, 68 degrees if the ambient temp was 80 degrees? Thanks, Dave Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 07:39:43 -0500 From: Mychajlonka Kyle L IHMD <MychajlonkaKL at ih.navy.mil> Subject: Refractometers and Hydrometers I received a new scientific equipment catalog put out by Cynmar Corporation ( www.cynmar.com <http://www.cynmar.com> ) today and I found something of interest to everyone here. Since I have not researched refractometers I am not sure about the current market price. Cynmar has a refractometer (Brix scale) in their 2003 catalog for $85. They also carry an Alcohol Refractometer for $69 as well as a Digital Brix Refractometer for $399. In addition to the above they also have a range of Hydrometers for various uses (Alcohol, Wine, Specific Gravity, Brix, Balling, Plato, and even Urine) with and without built in thermometers. The prices for these range from $5-$30 depending on the scale of choice and whether it has a thermometer. They even list some as being professional and are supplied with a Certificate of Calibration. Anyway, I remembered Jeff commenting about the accuracy of hydrometers (at least I thought it was him) he had tested at a local homebrew shop. I personally found their Triple scale hydrometer jar with built in magnet to be of interest. The magnet on the jar helps to keep the hydrometer centered while taking a reading. Let me know what you think. I have never done business with this company and am unsure about how they accept orders from individuals, but I wanted to let all of you know what might be available and where to find it. Kyle Southern MD Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 08:00:22 -0500 From: "Steve B" <habenero92 at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: chicago water analysis I cannot comment on the quality of water in chicago but you mentioned letting the water sit overnight to let the chlorine evaporate. That unfortunately is a myth. A recent article by Robert Wolke that appears in the Washington Post Food section (sorry I can't find it in the archives) discussed the best water for making coffee, fresh from the faucet or sat out overnight. The debate was over whether or not the chlorine would disapate and make better tasting coffee. The short version is no the chlorine does not disapate and the fresh from the faucet with lots of air is best. You need to add more chemicals or charcoal filter your water to remove the chlorine. And if you are noticing a chlorine smell you have a "mean" water water system. The smell most likely indicated they are using chloramines to treat the water. The chemists on the list can better discuss this than me. On another note in a recent UN report on the quality of water, the World Water Development Report, Belgium had the worst quality water in the world. Is this possibly the secret to that country brewing some of the most unusual styles of beer? S Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 07:49:09 -0600 From: "steve lane" <tbirdusa at hotmail.com> Subject: more PID questions Like many others, I have a PID on the RIMs loop and a PID on the HLT. I've got two questions on this set up. On the HLT, it seems to take quite a while for the liquor to get up to that last 10 degrees of ramp. In the past, I've just run the set point to say 400 to increase the output and once the liquor gets to where I want it, I set the temp. back down to 175 or what ever set point I desire. Am I fooling myself to think that I am getting the water heated up quicker by dialing up the set point? I also do this on the RIMs side of the rig when I have a large grain bill to get the ramp to happen quicker. Question two: The first place I ran into PID controllers was in the plastic bag industry. They used PID's on heated die cutters to cut the handles out of bags. I was told that the controllers not only control the amount of time that the heater elements are on but it also controls the percentage energy going to the heater so that the heater isn't getting a burst of 100% power when it is in the on mode. If this is correct, I don't understand what is happening with MY system. I've got the PID controllers controlling relays that are strictly on/off switches. This was done to protect the PID's. My electrician told me that we don't want to run the power straight through the PID so that if something blows, it will be the relay and not the PID. This brings me to the conclusion that I'm not the only thing I'm controlling is on/off of 100% energy to the heating elements and I'm not controlling any percentage of energy being fed to the elements. Was I told wrong at the bag company and PID's don't control the amount of energy or is my system wired in a manner not using the PID's correctly? Thanks Stephen Lane Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 14:05:44 +0000 From: rscotty at attbi.com Subject: TMS, Greed and Wayne Wayne Holder takes me to task for accusing TMS of greed. I did some checking, and my memory was indeed faulty. The old price of the TMS16914 was $87, not $74 as I stated in my post. This makes the price hike a 75%, not 100% as stated in my previous post. I stand corrected in this area. This does not change my opinion however as a 75% overnight price hike still falls into the greed category for me. Wayne elaborates on the cost of "onsie twosie" orders and that they are a PITA. Let's expose this to a little scrutiny. I'm going to make some reasonable assumptions and will state them as such. You, gentle reader, are left to form your own opinions. Assumption 1: TMS was making a profit at the old price. I don't think anyone is in business to lose money. Assumption 2: TMS charges appropriately for shipping to cover their costs. These costs are on the order of $15 to $20 per previous buyers as posted on the HBD. Let's look at a "onsie" PITA order. Someone in the warehouse has to pick the part. Someone in shipping has to place it in a box and apply a shipping label. This entire process should take no longer than 10 minutes of actual labor. Wayne - are you seriously trying to make a case for adding $65 to the price to cover in house handling? Remember that TMS already charges for shipping. TMS must either: 1) Have the highest paid warehouse workers in the world or 2) Have the slowest warehouse workers in the world. There is a third possibility however and that is that they found themselves in the position of having a product that found a new market and decided to exploit it. That is their right in a free market economy. Exercising that right to this degree is, in MY opinion, greedy. You stated that you are in contact with executives at TMS. Why don't you invite them to respond right here on the HBD and then we'll have their reasoning right from the horse's mouth. Stepping off my soapbox, Rich Scotty Social Conscious of The Crapshoot Brewery Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 10:01:50 -0500 From: David Harsh <dharsh at fuse.net> Subject: Deadband vs. PID controllers > Pat Reddy <Pat.Reddy at mavtech.cc> wrote about Deadband Controller From a fundamental standpoint of control action, I don't disagree with what's been written. However, how necessary is a PID controller for temp control on a HLT? Here's my take on the situation- 1. An 8 degree deadband is huge, even for a cheap controller - I use a Johnson A319 thats supposed to have a 2 degree deadband and its quite accurate in that range - the biggest problem is the innacuracy of the dial used to set adjust the setpoint, not the controller. 2. PID doesn't have any real value for a on/off system like a brewing fridge. Not that anybody has claimed otherwise, btw, but I thought I'd mention it. 3. If you are trying to control temperature, but can only heat the system, do you really have true PID control? If you overshoot, you would get a negative action from the controller, but without cooling capability nothing would happen. I should also mention that if your heating circuit is a strict on/off, you wouldn't have a PID control system either. 4. A heated tank (I think) falls under the category of a self regulating system and doesn't really require fancy controllers. Strict proportional control should work as long as your gain isn't too high. Can you even buy a straight proportional controller? (and is it any cheaper than the more versatile PID model?) Any thoughts or experience on the matter? Or to rephrase - is my control theory even weaker than I think? ;) Disclaimer: although I taught Chemical Engineering for many years, my control engineering is very rusty - its the only subject I never taught the UGs! I don't really count lab experiments in tank level control as control engineering experience... Dave Harsh Bloatarian Brewing League Cincinnati, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 10:07:30 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Dryhopping a Lager Russ Kruska <R.KRUSKA at CGIAR.ORG> writes from Nairobi, Kenya. Good to hear from you, Russ. It's been a while, and it's good to know you are still brewing in East Africa. Is the club still active? >Have my first lager ever (a Pilsener) in primary now for almost 2 weeks >(50F) and need to transfer to a Corny keg this weekend. I would like >to dry hop with Saaz whole hops during the secondary/lagering stage, >but I also do not want to do another transfer later to another keg. >Any ideas? Yes, I have an idea - Don't do it, Russ!! I've never tasted a dry hopped pils that I liked, and I think this is an opinion that is shared by others who have tasted some of them with me. The dry hop flavor and aroma is entirely different from what is traditional in a pils. It is grassy and vegetative, and just not pleasant. I don't know if it is the character of Saaz and other similar noble hops that doesn't lend itself to dry hopping or what. I don't believe that dry hopping is done traditionally in this style, or, for that matter, in other European lagers. But maybe you'll want to try it anyhow. I think it's important not to just take other people's opinions, at least blindly. Who knows? You might like it. If you do, perhaps you'll want to try it on just part of your batch. If you do, please report back. You can put them in a nylon bag and suspend them in the keg by a string, then remove them after two weeks. You won't be able to easily seal the keg if you leave the string outside the keg, but perhaps you could attach the string to a float and seal the keg. Then relieve the pressure after two weeks, retrieve the bag of hops, and reseal and purge with CO2. >I also am confused about when to force carbonate (if at all) during >secondary. I have read that it is good not to ferment under >pressure. So do I keep releasing the pressure during the lagering, >and then force carbonare after lagering is finished? Lagering under modest pressure isn't a problem and, if I recall correctlly, it actually speeds the process. I generally find that most of the fermentation is done when I rack to the lagering keg, so I seal it and, when I'm lucky (the majority of the time), carbonation turns out just about right and need little adjustment. I wouldn't relieve the pressure unless it is extremely high. Try venting a keg with proper pressure and you'll get an idea of what it sounds like. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 10:33:49 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: Widget AJ <ajdel at cox.net> wrote >beer rushes out through the little hole to disturb the bear >and produce the visual effect. Does this have something to do with the beer-can chicken" Do you shove the widget up the bear's, umm, big hole? I'll bet that would disturb it. I wouldn't want *that* job! That does indeed conjure up an image of visual effect. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 10:40:54 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: extreme lag in primary Brian Dube <brian.dube at gotgoat.com> writes from Columbia, Missouri >I brewed a 5-gallon batch of American cream ale on >Saturday, 01 March, and there is still no activity in the >air lock. I used a small yeast starter, but I did forget to >add yeast nutrient. Even if this batch does eventually take >off, will it be ruined by off-flavors (assuming an >infection doesn't take hold first)? I'm sorry that I'm >posting a question I can answer using the wait-and-see >method; I would rather just throw the batch out now if you >think this lag time is going to ruin the beer. There's a rule among EMTs that no one is dead until they're cold and dead. A similar rule applies here - never throw out a beer because you think it might be bad. Wait until it's old and bad (unless it's clearly infected). It may ferment out just find, and even if it doesn't taste great when it's finished fermenting, it may age out to be better. Long lag times are not a good sign, but you shouldn't need yeast nutrient. It's not a good substitute for good pitching rates and aeration/oxygenation of the wort. If you sanitation techniques was good, your odds are better that nothing untoward has grown while the yeast gets its act together. Good luck, and report back on how it turns out. Jeff - -- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, JeffRenner at comcast.net "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 11:04:04 -0500 From: "Martin Brungard" <Martin.Brungard at trow.com> Subject: Re: Chicago water analysis help Judging by the published water analyses, Chicago water isn't too bad for brewing. Scott Staley has been using distilled water for brewing, staying away from the tap. Understandably, the hassle and expense of using distilled water finally got to Scott. My review of the numbers indicates that Chicago tap water should be a good starting point for many styles. The alkalinity and hardness are slightly high, but not problematic. The alkalinity should make the water more ideal for darker grists. A little acid added to the mash will take care of the alkalinity when creating lighter colored beers. The hardness is too high for styles like pilsner, but you could probably just dilute the water with distilled to bring it into line. Probably 1 or 2 parts distilled to 1 part tap should do it. For the alkalinity level in the tap water, adding 200 to 300 ppm of hardness should make the water ideal for lighter colored beers that don't rely on soft water. No acidification is needed if the water is hardened. Gypsum, epsom salt, or calcium chloride are options. The calcium concentration for Chicago tap water may be slightly lower than desirable for yeast health. It appears that hardening with calcium chloride might be warranted for maltier, less hoppy beers. The sulfate concentration might be slightly high if you didn't want to accentuate bitterness. That means that the water is more ideal for more bitter styles, but not overly so. I'm betting that Chicago brewers have little problem with the sulfate levels. I would expect that many brewers would still add gypsum for pale ales, bitters, etc. The magnesium concentration is moderate. I would be very careful when adding epsom salts to this water, its not too far from the limit for magnesium concentration. I have noted odor and taste in many public water supplies that use a surface water source. If Chicago water has that problem, I would go with carbon filtration to reduce odor and taste, as well as remove chlorine. For $30 or $40 bucks, a carbon filter will save you a lot of time and hassle. Ken Schwartz's practice of adding dry malt extract and gypsum to distilled or reverse osmosis water is sound. The lack of buffering capacity makes the DME very effective in dropping the water pH. The added gypsum adds the calcium needed for yeast health. I suggest that adding calcium chloride is another option for this approach when pursuing less bitter styles. I would brew with Chicago tap water. It is similar to my tap water, although my sulfate concentration is much lower. Get a carbon filter and go for it. Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 10:06:25 -0500 From: "Stephen Cavan" <scavan at sprint.ca> Subject: yeast rant Hi Brian, "The question is, why can't the liquid yeast people start putting out products with respectable cell counts at a price near to what they are providing now? I suspect that a sizeable part of the cost of a yeast pack or tube or whatever is the overhead cost of producing it period, and has little to do with the quantity of yeast provided. My guess is, they could produce what I want, they just have little incentive to do it. " - --------------------------- I would make two points here. There is a cost to generating the slurry that goes into each pack, and a timeframe. At Wyeast the orders are gathered Monday afternoon and cultures are built to demand. This is why some strains such as Staropramen need 10 day lead time -- the culture on hand is very small. Maintaining all their various strains at a level of activity which allows rapid build up is difficult and expensive In fact, my second point, they do offer bigger slurries in a 250 ml smack pack designed for BOP operations, and 1 L+ jugs. Just ask your LHBS to grab some as "Special Order" for you. Another point is that shipping costs go very high as these larger sizes contain a lot of water. The average XL pack costs $1 US to ship to me in Canada -- provided I get about 50 packs (if I foolishly order 10 packs, the cost per pack, well I don't want to think about it). When I last ordered BOP sized packs, the shipping costs ran about $2.50US for each pack, which is why you don't see these at your LHBS. My third point (Monty Python anyone), when they package yeast they don't know that you are planning special conditions. A very cold ferment or very high gravity place huge demands on the yeast culture, that really only the brewer can account for. Wyeast will certainly make (I don't know about others) fully pitchable yeast packs for any brewing situation, but you have to ask for the amount of yeast you need. Cheers, Steve Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 11:12:27 -0500 From: "Eric R. Theiner" <rickdude02 at earthlink.net> Subject: Toledo Metal Spinning I find it hard to believe that any reputable company simply raised their prices in order to pad their wallets. What is more likely is that at the close of the fiscal year they reviewed their costs of fabrication (labor, materials, shipping, overhead, etc.) and found that their target margin was not being maintained in that product. Happens all the time in industry, but consumers generally don't see it due to the distributors and retail outlets that have multiple products and lines which can be adjusted to minimize price jumps in single products. Rick Theiner (Not a customer, just a business owner who is sick of being accused of being a capitalist pig because I think it would be nice if my children didn't starve) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 08:43:37 -0800 From: BrianS <schar at cardica.com> Subject: Lag time Brian Dube writes: > I brewed a 5-gallon batch of American cream ale on > Saturday, 01 March, and there is still no activity in the > air lock. I used a small yeast starter, but I did forget to > add yeast nutrient. Even if this batch does eventually take > off, will it be ruined by off-flavors (assuming an > infection doesn't take hold first)? I'm sorry that I'm > posting a question I can answer using the wait-and-see > method; I would rather just throw the batch out now if you > think this lag time is going to ruin the beer. Sometimes your beer will go through its most vigorous fermentation while you are asleep or at work. It's possible that there was a lot of activity that you just didn't notice, so that you may have tasty beer in your fermenter right now. Before you do something as drastic as throw your beer out, sanitize a ladle or something similar and taste what's in the fermenter. If it's sweet but not off-tasting, throw in some more yeast and see what happens. If it tastes like beer, bottle it. If it tastes bad, throw it out. Brian Schar Belmont, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 11:18:50 -0600 From: "Doug Hurst" <DougH at theshowdept.com> Subject: RE: Chicago Water, lag in primary Scott asks about Chicago water and it's suitability for all grain brewing. Coincidentally, I just started studying water chemistry and the Chicago water report over the last few days. Unfortunately, I'm only just scratching the surface of water chemistry. Add to that my barely high school level of chemistry knowledge and you see my level of understanding. The important characteristics (and their levels in Chicago water) seem to be: Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 102 Hardness as CaCO3 - 142 Calcium - 30 Magnesium - 11 Sulfate - 26 Sodium - 7 In my experience, brewing dark beers with this water works great. On the other hand, I've found that the pH of lighter beers tends to be a tad bit high (I'm using pH paper rather than a probe, so it's hard to take precise measurements). The last time I made an ESB I added about 8 grams of gypsum and a couple drops of lactic acid to my mash water which seemed to help lower the pH. By my understanding 8 grams of gypsum to a 3 gallon mash should have raised the Calcium level by 164 and the Sulfate level by 392, which when added to the existing salts, is near Burton levels. This should have also helped lower the pH. The resulting ESB turned out much better than my earlier lighter beer attempts. Of course I'm not entirely sure if the resulting beer quality was due to the water treatment or to other variables, but it sure was good. I need to make some more of that... BTW, I run all my water through an under-sink filter, which seems to eliminate the chlorine. I'm sure there are others on the HBD who could give us a much better explanation of Chicago's water chemistry than I can (In order to protect the guilty, I won't call out any names). - ------- Brian asks about a lag in his primary fermentation and writes: "I would rather just throw the batch out now if you think this lag time is going to ruin the beer." Don't be too quick to dump anything, least of all this. I assume your fermenter is a plastic bucket and you can't see inside to determine if there's any activity. This is why I love my glass primary. It's great fun to watch the swirling action of beer at high kraeusen (but I digress). It's possible you just don't have a perfect seal on the lid and gas is escaping without going through the airlock. Pop the lid and take a look inside. If it's fermenting you'll probably see a large head or at least some foam on the surface. It should smell like fruity, yeasty beer. If it's not doing anything, I'd add new yeast instead of dumping it. In the end it's possible there will be off flavors, but it's also possible the beer will be great. Doug Hurst Chicago, IL [215, 264.5] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 13:44:20 -0500 (EST) From: Pat Babcock <pbabcock at hbd.org> Subject: Overpricing to send a message... Greetings, Beerlings! Take me to your lager... When a vendor wants to tell me they do not want the job I'm offering, but wants to remain true to the "politics" of the quote process, they over quote the bid substantially. Hence, they ansered the call for bids, but in such a way that indicates they do not or can not contain the work. It would not surprise me that TMS is not configured in such a way to support the vagaries of the retail market, and have adjusted their pricing so as to maintain inventories to supply the more-lucrative commercial bulk sales, particularly if they have been missing bulk sales because the retail market has nickelled and dimed their inventories beneath minimum quantities, and they haven't the manufacturing capacity to respond quickly with new stock. Or they could simply be greedy, having discovered a new market and/or realized what some of the post-processors are selling their hoppers for when equipped with a few dollars worth of valves and such. In any case, I still see the $150 as less than buying commercial equipment. If you have no alrternatives, but want the unit, swallow hard and buy it. We call it "the rule of supply and demand" hereabouts... - -- - God bless America! Pat Babcock in SE Michigan pbabcock at hbd.org Home Brew Digest Janitor janitor@hbd.org HBD Web Site http://hbd.org The Home Brew Page http://hbd.org/pbabcock [18, 92.1] Rennerian "I don't want a pickle. I just wanna ride on my motorsickle" - Arlo Guthrie Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 10:08:43 -0800 (PST) From: Charles at thestewarts.com Subject: TMS Conical Hoppers & "Re-Alligned pricing" and Slow Ferments On Wed, 5 Mar 2003, "Wayne Holder" <zymie at charter.net> thoroughly chastised Rich Scotty: > Rich Scotty posts: >> "Bad news for those of us who procrastinated on constructing a conical >> fermentor. Toledo Metal Spinning has doubled all their prices on the >> conical >> hopper family. The 12.5 gallon model TMS16914 was about $74 as memory >> serves. It is now $152 - a little over 100% jump overnight! >> Does anyone know of another source for these vessels? TMS got greedy.." > > Rich, you should check your memory server, I believe you have a parity > error. > It is true that TMS has re-aligned their pricing matrix to reflect a volume > pricing discount structure. While the single piece price has increased, it > is not a "100% jump overnight". I always recommend checking your facts > before publicly posting, especially when using terms like "greedy". [stuff deleted here] > Nothing beats actual information. Calling people greedy that don't deserve > it is uncalled for. [more stuff deleted] > Stainless fabrication is not cheap. Wayne - Call it what you will, but a 75% sudden increase to the brewer who was going to buy one is diffucult to take. I think Rich's memory is accurate, regardless of whether you call such a huge jump in prices "greed" or "re-alligned . . . pricing". And I think he DOES present "acutal information," even if he off on the price by a few dollars. I bought one a few weeks ago and thought it a very good value at $87. In fact I was even going to buy a second for lagering. But at $152 I will probably not do so, nor will I continue to enthusiasticlally recommend them on my web site. With the amount of time and money required to build a fermenter from this hopper, buying a pre-fabricated unit just became $65 ($152-$87) more attractive. Your rationalle for TMS's huge increase was that small orders were not profitable. But even orders of greater than 25 units just jumped by 20%. I have to think this 20% to 75% increase has much to do with their new-found popularity amoung homebrewers, and specifically the good mention they've received on this forum. You also justify TMS's quantum leap in price by stating "stainless steel is not cheap." Well, it was LAST week! I, like Rich, am surprised and disappointed. On Thu, 6 Mar 2003 Brian Dube <brian.dube at gotgoat.com> is converned about his extreme lag in primary: > I brewed a 5-gallon batch of American cream ale on > Saturday, 01 March, and there is still no activity in the > air lock. Brian - I had this happen over a couple of consecutive brew sessions before I realized there was a small crack where my air lock joins my fermenter. A little epoxy fixed that up nicely. I've also heard of brews that ferment out in such a short time that the brewers never saw it. Test your gravity and see if it really has fermented. Chip Stewart Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA Charles at TheStewarts.com http://Charles.TheStewarts.com/brewing Support anti-Spam legislation. Join the fight http://www.cauce.org Chip Stewart Charles at TheStewarts.com http://Charles.TheStewarts.com Support anti-Spam legislation. Join the fight http://www.cauce.org/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 13:37:53 -0500 From: "Spencer Graham" <Spencer.Graham at mail.wvu.edu> Subject: Chili Beer Questions ??? I am intrigued by the idea of this type of Chili beer. Is it a HOT flavor that only a select few will tolerate, or is it simply a "pepper connotation" taste? I imagine it would depend upon the type of peppers and amount used. My brewing buddy and I like spicy stuff... but we want others to like it as well. Suggestions as to an "introductory chili beer"? Where can we get the peppers to use? Do we need to roast them ourselves or are they bought that way? I love HBD and all the great threads we get! Thanks to everyone in advance! Special thanks to the HBD caretakers!!! Spence & Brett Morgantown, WV Spencer W. Graham, II MBA Producer / Director West Virginia University Extended Learning (304) 293-3852 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 10:47:15 -0800 (PST) From: Rama Roberts <rama at eng.sun.com> Subject: lactic acid vs lactobacillus I'm thinking about just using lactic acid instead of lactobacillus in an Oud Bruin, so I have finer control over acidity levels, don't have to worry about how things may change over time in the bottle, or use seperate hoses etc to avoid contaminating future beers with the lacto bug. The Ray Daniels DGB book mentioned someone took first place for a berliner weisse doing this. One thing I'm concerned about is perhaps the finished product will taste one dimensional, if the lacto contributes more to the flavor profile than just lactic acid. Any thoughts on this technique? - --rama roberts SF bay area Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 12:28:38 -0700 From: "Mike Racette" <mike.racette at hydro-gardens.com> Subject: Hop bitterness limit I have heard, and there is some reference to the fact in "Designing Great Beers" that there is an upper limit to the solubility of alpha acids in wort somewhere around 80-100 ibu's. Also (heard only) that there may be an upper limit around the same ibu's of how much bitterness the human palate can actually detect. You see some micro-brews and homebrew recipes with ounces and ounces of hops being added, but are they just wasting hops after a few ounces? Ray you out there? Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 14:42:14 -0500 From: Alan Meeker <ameeker at mail.jhmi.edu> Subject: Toronto reccomendations? Shawn Lupold & I are heading up to Toronto in early April. Any good brewpubs in town? Thanks in advance -Alan Meeker Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 15:06:26 -0500 From: Alan Meeker <ameeker at mail.jhmi.edu> Subject: commercial pitchable yeast products Brian posted concerns regarding the cell numbers in commercial yeast cultures non-dry forms of yeast). I agree that for the lager strains you will be underpitching. However, the cell numbers contained in the relatively new "pitchable" formats do hit the range of acceptability for ale strains. This assumes, of course, that the viability is still high in the culture when you actually pitch. IMHO, expanding a culture, regardless of the original source, by making a starter is pretty darn easy. Sure, there is a risk of contamination each time you do (or with each step if you do it in a multi-step fashion), but if you take some simple precautions, that risk should be minimal. Making a starter has the added benefit of allowing you to "proof" the yeast, again regardless of the source. Without doing this, one has no real indication as to the viability of a given yeast sample, either liquid, dry or whatever. As far as the unresponsiveness of the commercial yeast enterprises to the needs of the homebrewers - in their defense, they are obviously paying some attention to our concerns, else they would not be offering these larger cultures. Of course, these larger cultures cost more, so maybe one could argue they are also increasing their profit margins by doing this. -Alan Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 12:55:12 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: Deadband Controller Bill Tobler asks about his PID Controller "When I tried using PID control for the mash tun, as the mash approached temperature, the three way starting going back and forth very rapidly, bypassing every few seconds." This is always an issue for mechanical systems. Most PID controllers should have a setting for the time constant/duty cycle, etc. Omega calls it "Cycle Time," I believe. If you adjust the cycle time to, say 15 seconds, you can still make use of PID control. For heaters driven by solid state relays, I like to use a duty cycle of around 1-2 seconds. But that's too fast for a system with mechanical elements, including a heater with an electromechanical relay. You'll have to re-tune your controller when you change the cycle time. Regards, Mike Sharp Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 16:24:06 -0600 From: Ludwig <Bluestar792 at netscape.net> Subject: Hard TeaHi everybody Hi Everybody I had a friend ask me if I could make some hard icetea or Lemonade. He assures me that they are malt beverages and not tea with pure alcohol added. Could someone give me a recipe for either or both of these explaning how they are made. George - -- Your favorite stores, helpful shopping tools and great gift ideas. Experience the convenience of buying online with Shop at Netscape! http://shopnow.netscape.com/ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 23:25:04 +0000 From: "Jeff Storm" <homebrewjeff at hotmail.com> Subject: Local certified beer judges I am interested in meeting some local certified beer judges in the Louisville, Colorado area (near Boulder). I am an all grain homebrewer of 2 years and would like to get some feedback on my beers from outside sources. I am not really interested in competitions as I keg all my beer and I do not have a counter pressure filler at this time. I am looking for feedback because as the brewer of the beer, it is often hard to critique the product as well as an outsider. It's like critquing a member of your family. Personal emails are welcome. Thanks Jeff Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 16:43:35 -0800 From: Rod Tussing <RodT at pplant.UCDavis.edu> Subject: Intriguing CC alternative The increased price for stainless steel hoppers made by Toledo Metal Spinning was noted by Rich Scotty in Digest 4188. I too have surfed to their site and sometimes day dream about having a conical fermentor. The true benefits derived from a conical vessel in small scale brewing are debatable. You can read many "testimonials" in the HBD archives about the joy of fermenting in a cylindroconical. The price tag has always been an issue and TMS remains the best price I've seen for do-it-yourself using stainless. I have found a _potential_ alternative that I want to bring to the collective's attention: 15 and 30 gallon Mix and Fill tanks from US Plastics. Visit www.usplastic.com and search for item 8551 or 8553 to see these tanks. I have neither used nor even seen them first hand and am not affiliated, not even a customer(yet), yadda yadda. The price for the 15 Gal tank with stand is under $105.00! They seem to meet 1/2 Bbl homebrewing to a tee - FDA approved, UV resistant, 12" screw on lid, translucent with 1 gal graduations. Care and cleaning of the plastic is the only potential drawback that I can see but I know that many homebrewers do a wonderful job using plastic buckets for fermentors. Has anybody tried these yet? Rod Tussing Sacramento, CA [1975.1, 275.1] Miles Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 17:09:10 -0800 From: Rod Tussing <RodT at pplant.UCDavis.edu> Subject: Care and cleaning of plastic I currently use corny kegs for fermentors but am considering going to plastic as mentioned in my earlier post. I know that lots of homebrewers are using plastic (buckets, minibrew conicals, v-vessels, etc) fermentors and I wonder what is the best way to clean but not scratch? I imagine that green or even white scrubbies would be bad for the surface. I currently use PBW on my brew kettles and cornies but I wonder if it is too harsh for polyethylene and the fivestar web site doesn't mention it's use on plastic. Rod Tussing Sacramento, CA [1975.1, 275.1] Miles Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003 20:46:52 -0500 (EST) From: Steven S <steven at 403forbidden.net> Subject: poor extract effeciencies, Thanks! There was a thread a bit ago about extract effeciencies. I've been meaning to post regarding my own poor performance in this respect. Luckly some good suggestions were given and I tried two of them to a good success (so far). I increased my mash time from 60 to 90 minutes. My iodine test strips have not nor do not indicate this helped but I dont like the test strips accuracy anyway. I did do a "double grind" of my grain. I ground it as normal at my hbs, then passed it through a second time. I did notice a good deal of the "kernel" still in the cracked husk on the first pass. On the second pass more of the kernel seemed to be seperated from the husk. Cranking down the mill gap didnt help but instead produced more flour. With 10#'s of pale malt (some brand called pete's - i've very pleased with the taste of this malt) I managed 1.062 out of my cooled wort (5.5gallon). I barely managed this with my last batch at twice the grain bill! Steven St.Laurent 403forbidden.net [580.2,181.4] Rennerian Return to table of contents
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