HOMEBREW Digest #445 Fri 22 June 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Re: Infections ("Andy Wilcox")
  Tiny bubbles = infection? (Dale Veeneman)
  1/4 kegs and infections (mage!lou)
  Re: Infections (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583)
  Starters (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583)
  tri-chlor (florianb)
  slow fermentation,Olde Peculiar, Time in a bottle. (Bill Crick)
  light extract beers (Pete Soper)
  Sanitizing Tablets (Eric Pepke)
  leaving messages on the forum (BAUGHMANKR)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 11:18:17 EDT From: "Andy Wilcox" <andy at mosquito.cis.ufl.edu> Subject: Re: Infections While we're at it, here's another infection scenario in need of help. After 40 some batches of wonderfully clean beer, (a cautionary note to Ken Wiess, still with no infections -- it can happen!) it seems I've got a critter. The yeast settles down and the beer starts to clear - everything looking okay - and then the beer will become quite cloudy. A kind of fuzzy growth starts on the walls of the fermenter (It looks like yeast on the side, for lack of a better expression). Some renewed bubbling usually takes place, with no off smell. The beers have a bit of a blackberry of taste which subsides almost entirely after three months of aging. At this age, they are quite drinkable, though still cloudy. They don't taste good at all fresh, unlike most of my other batches. What has my kitchen contracted? I'm actually beginning to worry over this, as 4 of the last 5 batches brewed have all behaved the same way. New hoses and a kitchen scrub down don't seem to have made any difference. Sigh. Maybe I'll just stop brewing for a few months )-: -Andy Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 24:07:21 EDT From: Dale Veeneman <dev1 at gte.com> Subject: Tiny bubbles = infection? This talk about infections has got me to wondering. For about the last six months or so, it seems that every batch has tended to overcarbonate in the bottle. The carbonation seems fine at 1-2 months, but by 3-4 months it requires more and more care in pouring to avoid too large a head (no gushing problems). This has happened with any type of ale I've brewed (IPA, Porter, etc.). I use Edme ale yeast (rehydrated - active fermentation starts in about 12 hours), a glass secondary (2-3 weeks), 3/4 cup corn sugar as a primer and the bottles are stored in a consistent 60-65 degree cellar. It still tastes O.K. (a little drier, perhaps), and I'm more or less relaxed and not worrying, but I would have thought that once the yeast did its thing it would quit and that would be the end of it. Something I've noticed that may be related is that after racking to the secondary (after 3-4 days in the primary), the action is just about completed with another day or two of infrequent bubbles through the air lock. Everything then goes quiet and settles out and *then*, maybe after a week in the secondary, I see tiny little bubbles rising from somewhere. They are so tiny and few in number that I can only see them where they collect at the neck (the carboy is filled to within an inch or two of the top) and they never seem to cause the airlock to bubble. Thinking "aha - infection", I was extra careful with my current batch, and for the first time, used a glass primary. It's now in the secondary with the same tiny bubbles. Has anyone else ever seen these tiny bubbles? Are they normal? Next, I guess it's a new racking tube and hose. - Dale (who's drinking faster these days, trying to keep ahead) - Dale Veeneman Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 10:12:38 MDT From: hplabs!mage!lou Subject: 1/4 kegs and infections In HBD #444 Greg Beary writes: >I haven't yet begun to brew. I'm in the process of learning what >to do and acquiring the necessary equipment. What I'd planned on >doing was to cask my beer in 1/4 barrels and then use my >existing home-draft-system (fridge/CO2/taps/etc) to draw it. >I've located a source of the old Bud/Michelob 1/4 barrels that >use the Golden Gate taps (gas on top, draw on the bottom). I >beleive that these have wooden bungs on the side. IMHO, you should start with bottling and later move to kegging. Bottles have several advantages for an inexperienced brewer; 1) You can see what's happening in the bottle. Certain infections will show up as a ring-around-the-collar at the beer/air interface. You can also see the sediment buildup in the bottom and know what to expect from your kegs. 2) You can sample the beer at different times during the aging process without tying up your fridge and/or lugging the keg in and out of the fridge. Once you know what to expect and have confidence in your technique then by all means go to the kegs if you want. You'll want to have the bottling equipment anyway since you can't always predict the exact amount of beer produced and you want to make sure you fill the keg. You're likely to have some extra that you will want to bottle rather than throw away (you keg types out there correct me if I'm wrong). >My problem is find the other "gear" necessary to go with such >an approach. How do you tailor the receipes/mixes for 7.5 >gallons instead of 5. Where do you get the equipment (fermentation >vessel and carboys) in a 7.5 size? Tailoring the recipes is as easy as multiplying the quantities by 7.5/5.0. Unless you're going to be extremely picky and want to *exactly* reproduce a recipe, round to the nearest convenient units and you will do fine. If the recipe calls for cans of extract, which may not multiply by 1.5 well, you can make up the difference with dry malt extract (# of malt extract syrup * .85 = # of dry malt extract). A good homebrew/winemaking shop should have equipment in various sizes. - --------------- and Ken Weiss writes: >First, are most infections bacterial or mold, or wild yeast, or what? >Are different infective agents specific to particular locales or >climates? The answers are yes and yes, although some infective agents are found almost everywhere. The point is, don't expect to be able to predict this in advance. >Second, how do you tell if your beer is infected? Is it *really* obvious >or is it possible to have a more subtle, sneaky infection that would >elude the tounge of a guzzler like myself? Papazian says that nothing harmful can live in beer. Unless you're really uptight about winning first place in national competitions, if you like it - drink it. >Finally, if my yeast has consumed all or most of the fermentable >material in my beer, what is left to feed the infection? Not all sugars are consumed by the type of yeast used in brewing. Your malt and your adjuncts may contain contain some non-fermentable sugars that can be used by bacteria or wild yeasts and some bacteria will eat things other than sugars. Louis Clark mage!lou at ncar.ucar.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 10:28:39 mdt From: hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!ihlpl!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583) Subject: Re: Infections Ken Weiss asks a few questions about infections: >First, are most infections bacterial or mold, or wild yeast, or what? >Are different infective agents specific to particular locales or >climates? I believe that most of my infections were bacterial. Mold is easy to identify - it usually floats on top, although there have been brewers who have reported (in these hallowed pages) that they have had floaters that they ignored and everything turned out okay. Wild yeast will give you an off flavor, but I believe that it will not cause a gusher (see answer 2). If you brew in a damp place where there is a lot of mold, you are more likely that your beer will snag a mold spore and develop a mold infection. You can smell it if there's a lot of mold in the air -- I'm sure everyone has smelled mold, right? If not, send your USnail address and I'll send you a piece of wood from the bottom of my woodpile ;^). >Second, how do you tell if your beer is infected? Is it *really* obvious >or is it possible to have a more subtle, sneaky infection that would >elude the tounge of a guzzler like myself? Gushers are usually caused by bacteria (see answer 3). Another indication that something is in your beer (probably bacteria) is "ring around the collar," a ring of some kind of gunk at beer level inside the neck of the bottle. I have had beers that, looked and tasted fine for four weeks, then developed a "ring," but still tasted fine for eight more weeks, and then turned into gushers (but still tasted okay except for being drier and thinner than what I brewed). You've hit the nail on the head! If you drink all your beer within 4 weeks of brewing, you would have to just about innoculate your beer with bacteria to taste the effects. Infections are much harder to avoid when you are planning to age a beer. >Finally, if my yeast has consumed all or most of the fermentable >material in my beer, what is left to feed the infection? Yeast eats simple sugars. There are still lots of other carbohydrates in your beer: complex sugars, starch, etc. Bacteria (and possibly molds - I don't know much about them) has the ability to break complex carbohydrates down into simple sugars which it then eats or which the yeast YOU put in eats. The final result is an overcarbonated, possibly off-flavor (depends on the bacteria), thin (due to loss of complex carbs that give you (ahem... your beer, that is) body), and dry (again, loss of complex carbs that give your beer sweetness) beer. And no, this is not related to DRY beer, which I believe DOES have an aftertaste, and except for a Kirin DRY that I had in Whistler, BC, I don't like, but I digress. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 10:28:49 mdt From: hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!ihlpl!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583) Subject: Starters Hey, I just had a thought regarding starters. I don't use them, but up till now, I have been using dry yeast (ususally Muntona from M&F or Doric) and without a starter, without rehydrating, without anything, the yeast is off and running in about four hours. In eight hours it's pumping gobs of krauesen out the blowoff hose. Regarding using starters, what's the difference (unless you are going to split your yeast up and freeze it) whether you pitch into a 1/2 gallon of starter or into your primary? It seems to me that the additional transfer causes MORE chance of contamination. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: 21 Jun 90 12:14:11 PDT (Thu) From: florianb at tekred.cna.tek.com Subject: tri-chlor Fred Condo said, >Florian suggests the use of tri-chlor for some of the chlorine jobs, but >my local homebrew shop says that's a British product that is equivalent >to a chlorine-bleach solution. I don't think there's anything particularly British about tri-chlor. It's a mixture of TSP and powdered chlorine bleach and is a common disinfectant. You can obtain it from Steinbart's of Portland. I'd be surprised if other supply shops don't have it. I have a list of the supply shops that was posted in HBD some time back. Send me a note and I'll jam it over to you. Florian Return to table of contents
Date: 21 Jun 90 20:58:32 GMT From: hplabs!gatech!mailrus!uunet!bnrgate!bnr-rsc!crick (Bill Crick) Subject: slow fermentation,Olde Peculiar, Time in a bottle. Someone recently asked what to do about a beer that is fermenting slowly. I would suggest; wait, relax, have a homebrew. The beer will age in the carboy, just as well as it will in the bottle. If you think it will be in there a long time, say more than three months, you may want to worry a bit. If this is the case, go into your basement and spend say 15 or 20 seconds worrying if you have an empty carboy. If you do, rack the beer into tertary (SP?) fermenter, and then go back to relaxing and having a homebrew for however long it takes. DOn't be in a rush to bottle your beer, and don't play in it! Every time you mess in it you risk contamination. Lots of books say you should test SG every day, and bottle when it drops less than .00x I have a different approach to when to bottle. When I think a beer is ready to bottle due to lack of bubbles, I wait another 3 weeks to a month. Then I know it should be done;-) I've also noticed a lot of "it said to put in x of y but I put in a of b. Should I throw it out?" type postings. If you want to exactly reproduce a particular beer, then exact ingredients and process are important. However you can throw almost anything into beer (as long as you boil it, or otherwise clean it) and still get drinkable beer. Once agian the byword is RELAX. Another comment on those beers that didn't come out as good as you had hoped, when youtried it a week after bottling; Time will heal almost anything! Except contamination problems. If you don't like it, don't pour it out. Hide it and try another bottle in 6 months. I've found that in a lot of cases, the differnce between a good beer and a mediocre beer is how fast it starts to taste good. The good ones taste good even before you bottle it. Sometimes, the mediocre beer takes six months to smooth out. I'm not saying be intentionally sloppy, or don't aspire to greatness, but don't get bent out of shape if things get a little off process. You'll probably drink a shitload of beer in your life, and some of them won't be the ultimate brew, but most of them will be quite acceptable. Re: Brewing Ye Olde Peculiar: I once brewed a beer using John Bull Scottish export extract (lots of it like 10 lbs.) that was a lot like OP. I called it Thistle Down Brown Ale. It had the same treacle like sweetness. I'm not sure what caused the sweetness, and thickness, but the Scottish Export extract was the only unusual thing in it, so that must have been it. I'll Try to find the recipe, but it may have been before I started keeping records? It was pretty extreme brew, and I never tried it again. I didn't have to, the first batch lasted six or seven years;-) Remember -> Don't worry mon! Be Hoppy! Bill Crick Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 16:38:59 EDT From: Pete Soper <soper at maxzilla.encore.com> Subject: light extract beers Williams on the west coast sells a very light extract. Some of my friends speak very highly of this and some of the beers I've seen made with it are very light indeed. However I've seen quite light lager styles made with middle of the road "light" extract too. In these cases I think it was technique that made the difference. At the risk of telling you stuff you already know, let me share a few tips for getting the lightest colors: 1. Switch to all-grain (Just kidding! :-) 2. Use as much water as possible in your boils. The thicker the wort during the boil the more it darkens. Keep in mind though that a big change in wort gravity during the boil will mean a change in extraction from your hops. 3. Be careful mixing extract in water. Heat the water up, pull it off the burner and mix the extract in. When you are sure it is dissolved and no extract is sitting on the bottom of the pot return it to the burner. 4. Avoid hot spots. Stainless steel and electric stoves are nearly hopeless, IMHO but with a trivet or the like to hold the pot a fraction of an inch off the burner it helps. Using less than highest heat helps. A rolling boil with relatively low heat can be gotten by partially covering the pot, but beware of boil-overs and adjust for the difference in evaporative loss. 5. Avoid very long boils. The longer the boil, the more wort darkens. I'm not suggesting you do a 20 minute "beer kit" type boil but rather that 60 minutes is better than 90 for example. With a too short boil you might not get a decent break and thus end up with haze, making the beer look darker anyway. 6. Don't aerate hot wort. That is, don't pour hot wort around from one container to another such that it gets air mixed in with it. This will darken it (among other things). 7. If you use a yeast starter with pre-canned (i.e. dark) wort, consider fermenting the starter out completely and pitching just the sediment yeast. That is, a very little dark starter wort can go a long way toward darkening a beer. 8. If hot spots with stainless steel are a problem switch to alu, alum, alumin - Heck, switch to a pot with more even heat transfer :-) - ---------- Pete Soper (soper at encore.com) +1 919 481 3730 Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd, bldg D, Cary, NC 27511 USA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 1990 0:58:41 EDT From: PEPKE at scri1.scri.fsu.edu (Eric Pepke) Subject: Sanitizing Tablets Does anybody have experience with using BACATS tablets for sanitizing equipment? These are the tablets that restaurants and bars are required to use in a final rinse to sanitize their equipment. The active ingredient is alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride dihydrate. 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: Fri, 22 Jun 90 01:42 EST From: BAUGHMANKR at CONRAD.APPSTATE.EDU Subject: leaving messages on the forum John Isenhour told me about the Homebrew Digest/Forum at the AHA conference in Oakland. Could someone please send me info on how to use the forum, read articles in the Digest, etc. Thank you. >>Kinney Baughman<< Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #445, 06/22/90 ************************************* -------
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