HOMEBREW Digest #437 Tue 12 June 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Bottle fillers (CRF)
  Champagne Bottles and Plastic Corks (Steve Anthony)
  Sterilizing Lids (Eric Pepke)
  steeping hops (RUSSG)
  RE: Homebrew Digest #436 (June 11, 1990)  ("Dave Resch DTN:523-2780")
  Lager Fermentation Temperature (Len Reed)
  Slug Beer (Len Reed)
  How long have hops steeped? (Chain is useless 'gainst false Cupid)
  Irish Moss--when does it work? (florianb)
  vanilla extract (mage!lou)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 08:17 EST From: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Subject: Bottle fillers Hi there! Regarding spring-loaded bottle fillers: I tried 'em. Several of 'em. And the same thing happened to every one: after bottling a couple of batches, the spring went "SPROING!!" and flew off, never more to be seen. Now I use a piece of plastic racking tubing ("Tygon" to you science types :-), which I boil up with my siphon tubing. Once my wort's in the priming bucket and ready to bottle, I slip the tubing over the end of the spigot. This lets me fill from the bottom of the bottle. I control the flow with a pinch clamp, but it could also be done by opening and closing the spigot. Something else which occurred to me recently, and which may prove to be a statement of the obvious. If so, please bear with me. When cleaning plastic equipment such as a priming bucket, use a sponge, and a sponge _only_. Do not use the nylon side of a Rescue pad, or the like. That sort of thing is great for causing those troublesome scratches which are in turn a great place for contaminants to breed. Yours in Carbonation, Cher "God save you from a bad neighbor and from a beginner on the fiddle." -- Italian proverb ============================================================================= Cheryl Feinstein INTERNET: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Univ. of Fla. BITNET: CRF at UFPINE Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 09:02:49 EDT From: Steve Anthony <steveo at Think.COM> Subject: Champagne Bottles and Plastic Corks This past weekend, I was opening a bottle of my favorite brew and had a potentially dangerous event occur. I thought I'd pass along the warning. I had bottled the beer in a champagne bottle and capped with one of those plastic champagne corks. I also tied the cork down with one of those wire bails. Well, when openning the bottle, after about three twists at the bail (the bail wasn't completely untwisted), the cork shot out of the bottle nailing me in the forehead (about an inch from my right eye). The force was quite powerful, and I had a small bump on my forehead to help me remember the event. So the moral of the story is to stand back when openning a bottle, 'lest your beer get renamed "Blind Man's Beer". Steveo Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 1990 10:25:13 EDT From: PEPKE at scri1.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Subject: Sterilizing Lids Lids have lips on them, right? So turn the lid upside-down, put it on a flat surface, and pour sterilizing solution into it until it is filled to the lip. If there's a hole with a grommet, put an airlock in the wrong way to plug it up. After the wretched beasties have been killed, pick it up by the edges and invert it to dump out the solution. Eric Pepke INTERNET: pepke at gw.scri.fsu.edu Supercomputer Computations Research Institute MFENET: pepke at fsu Florida State University SPAN: scri::pepke Tallahassee, FL 32306-4052 BITNET: pepke at fsu Disclaimer: My employers seldom even LISTEN to my opinions. Meta-disclaimer: Any society that needs disclaimers has too many lawyers. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 11:08 EST From: <R_GELINA%UNHH.BITNET at mitvma.mit.edu> (RUSSG) Subject: steeping hops Suurb's version of steeping hops is slighly different from mine. He lets the hops sit in the wort as he chills it, resulting in a ~1/2 hour steep time. I put the hops in a grain bag, and steep it like a tea bag for less than 5 minutes in the (just below boiling temp.) wort. The effect may be virtually the same, though, as Suurb's cooled wort may not be as efficient at pulling out the goodies from the hops, but the longer steeping time compensates. Russ Gelinas R_GELINA at UNHH.BITNET Disclaimer: I have no disclaimer. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 09:49:23 PDT From: "Dave Resch DTN:523-2780" <resch at cookie.enet.dec.com> Subject: RE: Homebrew Digest #436 (June 11, 1990) > Various people have posted that they have found a >cheap source of kegs by buying them from soda distributors. I >called every soda distributor in San Diego county and couldn't >find one willing to part with a keg. I got the kegs that I am using at a flee market here in Colorado Springs, but I also saw a bunch of them (5 gal. Cornelius) for sale at the restaurant supply place where I bought the pieces and parts to construct my kegging system. He was selling them for $20.00/keg. You might give some restaurant supply places a call. They tend to sell a lot of used equipment that they go in and buy when a restaurant goes out of business; Cornelius kegs are often part of that equipment. Dave Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 14:38:15 EDT From: holos0!lbr at gatech.edu (Len Reed) Subject: Lager Fermentation Temperature At what temperature do you ferment your lager beer? I have found that Wyeast lager yeasts--I've tried Danish, St. Louis, New Ulm, and Bavarian--quit working below 51 degrees F. If you drop them too low, they stop; subsequently raising the temperature into the mid fifties revives them, but the fermentation proceeds slowly, taking 3-4 weeks. Pitching active yeast (I use a starter) and holding 53-55 degrees allows fermentation to take less than 10 days. Many authorities, in particular Greg Noonan, suggest lowering the temperature below 50 after high kraesen but before the fermentation is completed. I am measuring the temperature of the wort, and maybe this is the "problem." My fridge is as much as 5 degrees higher than the wort during high kraesen. (The wort is giving off heat.) As fermentation slows, the ambient and wort temperatures come together. I suspect that many recipes that indicate temperatures in the high 40's mean ambient temperature and not wort temperature. For my part, I do not intend to go below 53 degrees (wort) for any lager until the beer falls below about 1.016. I'll then slowly lower the temperature, and then lager in the 30's. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 14:39:41 EDT From: holos0!lbr at gatech.edu (Len Reed) Subject: Slug Beer I gave a third of a batch of one of my finest beers to the garden slugs. Deliberately! I poured it into saucers and the pests climbed in and drank themselves to a happy death. What kind of moron pours homebrew for slugs? And not just any homebrew. This stuff was a Munich dark, all grain (lager malt and chocolate malt), German Hallertauer leaf hops, and liquid yeast (Wyeast Danish lager). Yet, I was convinced the beer was forever undrinkable. I brewed this stuff January 15, 1989. The mash session went well, and I got an excellent extract. I put the inverted carboy (Brewcap system, which I've since abandoned) in a place that I hoped would be cool enough during the winter for lager. The fermentation started well, but the ambient temperature varied from 45-60 degrees F. Starting from 1.050, it was down to only 1.036 after two weeks. The temperature variations made the yeast go practically dormant. My Brewcap system was leaking air into the wort, so I siphoned to another carboy, this time upright. On February 11, I made a starter from a bottle of Pilsner (same yeast) and some home canned wort and added it to the carboy. After a few days it was fermenting; the temperature was in the low 60s. This stuff fell to 1.019 and then very slowly fell to 1.0128. I bottled it on May 12; it was four months old, and had had no lagering! With no fining, it was crystal clear. My final log entry notes in June 1989 that the stuff was terrible. I remember opening bottles, tasting the beer, and dumping the beer down the sink throughout the summer. Sometime during the summer I poured beer for the slugs: I was convinced that the beer had so much buttery smell (diacetyl), was probably over hopped, was not made from proper Munich malt, and had undergone such an eccentric fermentation that it would never be drinkable. The beer was stored at up to 85 degrees throughout the summer. By autumn it had an easier life. Every once in a while I'd try a bottle, but it was never any good. By winter, due to a lack of brewing on my part, my beer fridge (purchased too late for fermenting this batch) had idle space and I moved the remaining bottles into it, though why I don't know. The beer was drinkable, but not particularly pleasant. My wife and I referred to it as "the slug beer." The temperature in the fridge varied from 35-55 degrees depending on the state of the in-progress brew. Sometime in February my wife drank one of these beers and said it was "okay." Since she doesn't much care for dark beer, I didn't realize at the time that it might have been quite good. In June 1990, when the beer was 17 months old, I opened one. It was excellent. Perfect dark color with a tiny hint of red. Perfectly clear. Perfect malt/hop balance. Perfect sweetness. It could have a little more malt aroma and a tiny bit less carbonation, but I'm really nit-picking. No off flavors. Very true to style. Well, I've been drinking the stuff and I lament the loss of the beer to the slugs and the sink. But how could it have taken so long to become good? All-malt lagers take time, but 17 months? My guess is that the eccentric fermentation made so much diacetyl that it took forever for the in-bottle yeast to absorb it. I also guess that lagering not only makes for better lager beer, but may actually shorten the aging time. (This beer did get lagered, but the lagering was in the bottle after a very rough summer.) No other undrinkable beer I've made--I had several in the early days--ever aged into anything good. No other beer I've ever made changed substantially after three months in the bottle. This stuff was known bad after six months in the bottle! Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 15:05 CDT From: Chain is useless 'gainst false Cupid <PTGARVIN at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu> Subject: How long have hops steeped? >That process takes about a half-hour. So how long are the hops steeping >really? Some of the wort has the hops in it for only 2 minutes >(that's the first wort through the chiller), but some of the wort has >the hops steeping for a half-hour (the last wort through the chiller). >The rest is obviously somewhere inbetween. So is this a two-minute >steep, a half-hour steep, or a fifteen-minute steep, or what? Sounds like a Calculus problem to me. 8) (for the humor-impaired). - Ted, aka Badger on TinyHell - -- "Strategic withdrawal is running away -- but with dignity." -- Tarrant ptgarvin at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu / ptgarvin at uokmax.UUCP | Eris loves you. in the Society: Padraig Cosfhota o hUlad / Barony of Namron, Ansteorra Disclaimer: Fragile. Contents inflammable. Do not use near open flame. Return to table of contents
Date: 11 Jun 90 13:10:02 PDT (Mon) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: Irish Moss--when does it work? In #436, the quote appears from Ken Weiss (love that name): >Though I've seen postings to the contrary (from Florian B. if I recall correctl >I saw a *marked* improvement in clarity when I began adding Irish moss during t >last 5-10 minutes of boil. I don't know if it's a factor or not, but I also ski >off the scum that forms on the surface of the boiling wort when the Irish moss >added. Hmm. It may be that the effectiveness of Irish moss is a function of pH. I wonder what the scum is; I never skim it off. The chill haze seems to be connected with the use of specialty grains. I think crystal malt is a real culprit. I never get chill haze in my lagers. Florian [The last name's "Bell"--as in "clear as." Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 90 20:44:23 MDT From: hplabs!mage!lou Subject: vanilla extract In HBD #436 Marty Albini writes: > On the subject of vanilla beans--when cooking with >vanilla, the later you add it the stronger the taste. Either >aromatics get driven off by heat, or the stuff breaks down, or >something. Commercial vanilla extract is ~30% alcohol; maybe >the flavors are extracted with it rather than heat. Afriend of mine makes her own vanilla extract by soaking vanilla beans in a mixture of Everclear and water for a few months (she claims the alcohol content in commercial extracts are actually more than 35%). I'll ask her for more details if anyone is interested. Louis Clark reply to: mage!lou at ncar.ucar.edu Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #437, 06/12/90 ************************************* -------
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