HOMEBREW Digest #4488 Mon 01 March 2004

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  Re: Gas Measurement ("Fredrik")
  Fermentation Bubble Counter ("Kevin Eggemeyer")
  Cascade control ("The Mad Brewer")
  Re: metabite in brewing (Jeff Renner)
  Metabisulphite and Burton salts, spam (Michael)
  Twoey's old metab 'ite, bubble counting,Clinit*st ("Dave Burley")
  Underpitching - no thanks ("-S")
  Micros in Paris (Wes Smith)
  Campden Tablets ("A. J. deLange")
  Wheat questions (Chet Nunan)
  Link of the week - Feb 29, 2004 (Bob Devine)
  America's Finest City Results ("Chad Stevens")
  Austin ZEALOTS Homebrew Inquisition (Chris Colby)
  Determining percent alcohol on a finished beer ("The Mad Brewer")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 10:41:14 +0100 From: "Fredrik" <carlsbergerensis at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Gas Measurement > Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2004 16:23:21 +1030 > From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> > Subject: Re: Gas Measurement > > On Thursday, 26 February 2004 at 8:34:59 -0600, Ronald La Borde wrote: > >> From: "Martin Brungard" <mabrungard at hotmail.com> The original post escaped me, but it is great to see more people working on monitor the gas flow! :) It's certainly not necessary to make beer but it's very interesting and I think it can be extremely useful for anyone who wants to know more about the dynamics. > >> > >> What I'm hoping to cultivate with this message are some ideas about > >> how a tipping device might be fashioned or if there are other > >> approaches to flow measurement that aren't going to cost an arm and > >> a leg. This is exactly the way I've been thinking too! Sure you can get professional lab setups, but that kind of doesn't make sense at all for a hobby because it's too expensive. I started by counting the bubbles from the airlock manually and found out these main disadvantages. 1) It is very tough to get out of bed in the middle of the night, and call my gf from work and ask here to take a bubble reading if she happens to be at home :) I did this for the first batch. I think I took some 70-80 readings during a few days. I realised it didn't make sense because of all the work. 2) Apart from beeing tough, since bubbling is random on bubble to bubble scale, it doesn't make sense to just count two bubbles and take the time between them. I found that to get at least roughly stable readings you need something like a 5-10 minutes, or MANY bubbles at least. So the solution I came up with was to mount a microphone on the airlock, and let me computer count the bubbles for me. I know have an old 486 for dedicated bubbleserver because the logger kept crashing when I did other things on the PC. It means I count, every single bubble. Usually around at least 150 000 - 300 000 bubbles or something for a batch. Then I can easily costruct my 10 minute averages or whatever I like in a simple excel sheet. I haven't yet done any serious calibration tests yet. The reason is that I just know it works sufficiently good for me now. I am now working on finishing the computer simulation. Once that is done I will start playing with calibrations and more serious testing, and if necessary modify the logger. I also plan to add two channels to the logger, ambient pressure and temperature. Because air pressure variations does significanlty change the bubbling. but as long as I know the pressure and can compensation for it, this is not a problem. there are simple single chip sensors for for temperature and pressure that I plan on hooking up to the PC. > > > > One possible way to calibrate the bubble counter might be thus: > > > > * First I would think that the airlock solution must be at the same > > volume and contain the same liquid to have any meaningful > > repeatability. > > I've been counting bubbles for the last six months, and this is one of > the things that bothered me. It took me a while to realize that the > concern was unfunded. > > The amount of gas required to create a bubble is pretty well > independent of the amount of water in an airlock. I'm talking about > the traditional airlock, the kind I use: see > http://www.lemis.com/grog/brewing/temperature-control.html (click on > the photos for a larger version) in case of doubt. > > During fermentation, this kind of airlock has all the water on the > exit side. A bubble forms and escapes; the size of this bubble is > dependent mainly on the diameter of the tube. Then the water falls > back and a new bubble starts. > > The size of the bubble is *almost* independent of the amount of water > in the airlock. The only effect of the amount of water is to > marginally change the pressure in the fermentation vessel. You can > hardly expect a difference of more half an inch, which corresponds to > about 1mm of mercury, much less than the typical changes in barometric > pressure. I therefore suggest that it's negligible. It will give a slight error, but if the liquid is always the same I think it wont be a disaster. Anyway, since I am considering averages, if you take the average of 50 bubbles or more, the average is probably more stable that the volume of single bubbles. If the pressure inside the fermentor is higher the bubbles will be compressed. But not in a random way and I am sure this can be modelled and accounted for just like everything else. I am putting alot of effort in the coputer simulation atm, and I haven't worked on improving the bubble logger anything since I made it. Apart form the yeast dynamics and sugar depletion I plan on simulate also 1) imfluence of ambient air pressure 2) influence of ambient air temperature 3) heat exchangeof fermentor <-> surrounding via exiting CO2 as well as radiaton. 4) airlock liquid influence So eventually I will need to get a pressure and temperature sensor as well. But until then using manual readgsin from termometers and barometers is good enough. > > > * So how about measuring the amount of water to completely fill a > > corny keg, then empty the keg and put on airlock at gas out port. Now > > start your bubble counter and slowly fill keg with water through the > > liquid in port until full. This should give the exact volume of air > > pushed out. This is your measurement and use this for calibration. > > This sounds like a good way to prove whether I'm right or wrong :-) > > > * Someone had posted earlier about using an audio pickup to hear the > > bubbling. This may work, but another method might be to have a small > > magnet in the bubbler to pulse a reed switch, or perhaps a piece of > > foil that would lift with the bubble and break a light beam > > counter........ I was the dude with the audio pickup. It does work, but it takes some software work to make sure it doesn't trig on ambient noise. I trig on a limited freqeuency range, corresponding to the sound of a bubble. It's just a test setup so far. I figure there are probably better ways. But this was all I could think of at that point. Also the trig is very sensitive. When I move the setp to another room, or when I put it in my fermentation box, the ambient acoustics change things so I have to adjust the trig levels. This sensitivity is tha main disadvantage. Is definitely works good, but it takes a certain amount of fiddling if you change something. If I could get away from this fiddling it would be nice. To hook up a meter to the serialport would be awesome because you wouldn't need an extra A/D card and you don't have the problem with cable noise. I am following Ken's posts with interest! > > Interesting ideas there. I'm still thinking. Maybe coloured water > and an optical measurement at the bottom of the airlock? That is interesting. I've been thinking of maybe trying this too, or maybe even using a high speed pressure transducer in the fermentor. I figure when a bubble exits there will be a disturbance in the pressure, like a dip. There are a lot of single chip sensors around that's not expensive at all. You need to add one or to components ot make it a circuit. But then the expensive part may be the AD card. The nice thing about the auido pickup is that I use the standard PC audiocard. I have been worried about getting an infection in my microphone. Anyone have any ideas howto desinfect a microphone membrane of paper without destroying it? So far I'm using congnac in the airlock, so I hope any creeps that get there will die. /Fredrik > > Greg > - -- > Note: I discard all HTML mail unseen. > Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. > See complete headers for address and phone numbers. > Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 09:33:53 -0600 From: "Kevin Eggemeyer" <KEggemeyer at charter.net> Subject: Fermentation Bubble Counter I've been very interested in the recent posts regarding CO2 generation as a means of analyzing/recording fermentation characteristics. I had been planning a way to measure this activity by tracking the fermentation temperature vs. ambient temperature. However, I think there are too many difficulties with this approach. I like the idea of being able to use 'bubble frequency' to tell me (within reason) when the fermentation began, how active it has been, and where it is with regard to completion. The fermentation curve, as Fredrik pointed out and gave an example graph of, would allow a more complete picture of the fermentation than hydrometer readings alone. I'm more inclined to use this in a general sense (number of bubbles) than in an exact sense (volume of CO2 generated). This is mainly because I don't know how to build a flow meter, but I think I could make a bubble counter. I envision using the parallel port an older PC to make the count (I currently have plans to use this type of setup to monitor/control fermentation temperature - so why not add on a bubble counter?). Would anyone out there be interested in working on this project off line? To me, the real question is how to design the sensors. I use a blow-off tube; many other brewers use air locks of various designs. Perhaps a group of us could work up some sensor and software solutions to present back to the HBD? Kevin Eggemeyer O'Fallon, MO [Somewhat south of Mr. Jeff.] P.S. - I wonder if the next step will be a way to take the individual yeasts blood - er, cell pressure? Can you put a yeast cell through a stress test? Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 12:31:42 -0600 From: "The Mad Brewer" <seansgroups at mts.net> Subject: Cascade control No, not how to use homegrown hop without making grapefruit beer, but an answer to Mike. That strikes me as the preferable way to control RIMS. It's not truly "cascade control" as the term is used in control theory, but more of a limiter. FYI, a true cascade controller would increase the heater temperature for faster heat-up and then lower it as the mash setpoint was reached, and you don't want that. Anyway, the only suggestion I would make is that you could use a single power SSR with a low-voltage SSR acting as a gate controlled by the mash temperature signal, allowing the heater PID control signal through only when heat was needed. This depends on the cost and availability of 1V/1V SSRs versus 1V/240VAC SSRs at your local surplus shop. "Bang-bang" control would almost work, but a sluggish response would compensate for the delay time between the top and the bottom of your mash. Sean Richens Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 14:28:55 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jeffrenner at comcast.net> Subject: Re: metabite in brewing "Patrick Twohy" <hbd at twohy.net> writes from Burlingame, CA >I'm a little unclear on the metabisulfate vs. chloramine issue. People are >throwing around the term campden tablets, describing them as >potassium metabisulfate. > >It's my understanding that campden tablets are SODIUM metabisulfate and >that burton salts are potassium metabisulfate. Campden tablets are the sodium salt, but it doesn't make any difference as far as the metabisulfite half, which is the important half in this case. You can buy crystalline potassium metabisulfite. Either works for eliminating chloroamine and for sulfiting wines and meads. You need very little for either purpose. Burton salts are an entirely different matter. They are a mix of salts (CaSO4, MgSo4 and NaCl) designed to provide ions in brewing water that are typical of Burton-on-Trent water that was famous for pale ale. Primarily among these ions are calcium and sulfate, and I think that adding just CaSO4 (gypsum) is sufficient. You typically add a teaspoon per five gallons - far more than metabisulfite for either chloramine removal or sulfiting. >Which is the chemical that's recommended for eliminating the chloramine >problem? Metabisulfite. Another use for Campden tablets that has been suggested by the brewer formerly known as Steve Alexander (-S) is to use one in the mash to avoid hot side oxidation. I have been doing this the last year or so with no apparent problems and perhaps better beer. It's hard to say for sure, but I'll continue to do so. 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: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 13:59:32 -0600 From: Michael <grice at binc.net> Subject: Metabisulphite and Burton salts, spam Patrick asks about sodium versus potassium metabisulphite. Patrick, the "metabisulphite" portion of that is what does the work. The sodium or potassium are pretty much inert (although they may affect the flavor of your beer if you add too much of one or the other). Burton salts, on the other hand, are salts added to water to simulate the water of Burton-on-Trent. A quick Internet search suggests that the individual salts in commercially available Burton salts apparently differ depending on who makes them and will typically include calcium sulphate and some combination of calcium carbonate, chalk, potassium chloride and epsom salts. As for spam--well, it wouldn't take much effort to harvest email addresses in the name at domain.com format. If you can figure out what the address is by looking at it, you can write a quick script to convert it back into a usable email address. My personal preference is to obfuscate them completely--if somebody really wants to know my email address, they can subscribe. On the other hand, I get on the order of 250-300 pieces of spam a day anyway on this account (so it's too late to really matter to me now). The vast majority of it is quarantined (i.e., filtered out ot my regular email and slapped into a separate area on the mail server, where I can decide if I want to download it later). I think a lot of my spam is a result of a certain vendor which shall remain nameless who sub-contracted email marketing for a conference I attended a number of years ago. The sub-contractor sent spam on the side and sold my email address right and left. Oh, and lately the HBD itself has been quarantined as spam. Go figure. Michael Middleton, WI Return to table of contents
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2004 16:50:04 -0500 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave_Burley at charter.net> Subject: Twoey's old metab 'ite, bubble counting,Clinit*st Brewsters: Patrick Twohy ( Pat do you make Australian beers?) asks about potassium and sodium metabisulfAte. Metabisulf<I>te is the correct term. And it doesn't really make any difference except the molecular weight of the potassium salt is higher and you have to add more to get the same effect. In winemaking, the potassium salt is preferred since it can come down as part of the "cream of tartar" ( potassium bitartrate) and reduce the degree of "salts" in the wine. Not so in beer. The pH of beer is also too high for either salt to be effective except perhaps as an anti-oxidant. I used it early in my career but stopped when I found that good handiling of hot wort was the solution. ppm of metabisulfite will reduce the chloramine problem. - ------------------- /Fredrik, I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm and excellent plots of CO2 bubbles versus time but, as I discussed before, I hate to see you waste the time as there is a basic fault in your method and that is that the solubility of the CO2 in beer is temperature dependent and alcohol dependent AND it is a non-equilibrium situation as the CO2 is supersaturated. Co2 will continue to be given off even after the fermentation is long finished. You can prove this to yourself by taking beer and agitating it and you will get bubbles being given off. This is because CO2 is supersaturated. - --------------------- Chad, I didn't bring up the subject of Clinit*st but as I said it still works beautifully both in my brewery and in professional breweries to easily and accurately determine if a fermentaion is finished or stuck. It is especially useful to all grainers whose non-fermentable carbohydrates can vary with mash conditions. Hydrometers ( even if there are no clinging bubbles) cannot be used to distinguish between a finished fermentation and a stuck one since that measurement is <relative>. You cannot distinguish between a stuck fermentation and a finished one since the result of non-changing density is the same. Clinit*st is an <absolute> measurement of reducing sugars and independent of non-fermentable carbohydrates ( unlike a hydrometer) . At 1/4% or lower, the fermentation, for all practical purposes, is finished. A real lager yeast can produce a 0 reading over a long time as the trisacharides are utilised during lagering. I hate to see such a fine tool that is easily used by all brewers be ignored because of politics or egos. It would also be a big help to /Fredik as he could plot his bubbles versus reducing sugar content over time to prove or challenge my above contention with his work. As Steve said a few months ago I am stubborn, ( and I say ) especially when I am right. I have no interest in stirring this thing up again, but I refuse to be intimidated by comments like yours. I beseech you, seek the truth. - ------------------------ Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 00:42:31 -0500 From: "-S" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: Underpitching - no thanks Russ Kruska writes ... > I thought I would >post about my naughty practice of purposely underpitching [..] >with usually no impact on quality of the brew. ... >Russ Kruska >Nairobi, Kenya If you are looking for a nasty habit take tea at three but DON'T underpitch (w /apologies to Sir Mick). I don't know what passes for "no impact on quality" for Russ, but the quality problems caused by underpitching are well documented. Underpitching can result in higher infection rates and flavors, greater ester and fusel flavors, stuck fermentation, lower attenuation, unresolved VDKs, (because it impacts final yeast health) increased autolysis flavors, poor performance of the yeast on re-pitching. It's bad karma and you'll certainly be reincarnated as a weak and lonely fungal cell if you underpitch. Most HBers already under- or marginally pitch making Russ' comments more damaging. Adequate pitching level is almost certainly the most important HB quality factor after sanitation. I appreciate that Russ only does this when he is going to be unavailable for weeks as a compromise, but I think it's a very bad idea. Far less flavor harm to pitch full and let the ferment sit a few weeks I think. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 18:01:13 +1100 From: Wes Smith <wsmith at rslcom.net.au> Subject: Micros in Paris Hi All, Mid April is going to see Caroline (wife) and I spending 3 days in Paris on the back end of a UK trip. Does anybody have a "list" of must see micros in Paris or the surrounding area? I am aware of the Firkin Pubs and also a new English ale brewery chain, but are more interested in some traditional French brew styles. My passion is the Bier de Garde/Saison style and will be seeking these out in various bars that I have already noted. Just wish we had time to pop up to Lille and out to the Brittany region, but that will have to wait for another time unfortunately. Will have to make up for that with visits to Devon and Yorkshire and some of those respective regions top brews.... Wes. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 13:10:19 +0000 From: "A. J. deLange" <ajdel at mac.com> Subject: Campden Tablets I have analyzed Crosby and Baker campden tablets and found them to be potassium metabisulfite. I have seen references to both British and other American made campden tablets as being sodium metabite. So I think both forms are probably available. Burton salts refer to salts designed to be added to brewing water to make it resemble that of Burton on trent. As these are hard, highly gypseous waters Burton salts are likely mixtures of calcium sulfate (gypsum) and magnesium sulfate (epsom salts). Metabite is the one for chlorine/chloramine. Again I suggest http://hbd.org/hbd/archive/4216.html#4216-18. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 05:53:15 -0800 (PST) From: Chet Nunan <katjulchet at yahoo.com> Subject: Wheat questions I'm planning to make a hefe-weizen and am considering using all wheat malt (except for some hulls). I do an infusion mash in a cooler - will this convert an all wheat mash? Or does it require a step mash? Also, my homebrew supplier carries both white wheat and red wheat - is one preferable to the other in an all wheat mash (easily convertable in a single step infusion mash)? While I'm on the subject, how about an all malted oat beer? Would a single step infusion mash do the trick there? Any advice is welcome - Thanks! Chet Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 11:16:25 -0700 From: Bob Devine <bob.devine at worldnet.att.net> Subject: Link of the week - Feb 29, 2004 "Happy Feb 29th" is something you don't get to say too often. A quick link today is the US mape of water hardness. Brewers long the Rocky Mountains know about hard water... http://water.usgs.gov/owq/map1.jpeg Bob Devine Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 10:18:35 -0800 From: "Chad Stevens" <zuvaruvi at cox.net> Subject: America's Finest City Results The results are in for America's Finest City Homebrew Competition. Special thanks to David Houseman who flew in from Philidelphia to help judge both days including BOS Beer. http://www.quaff.org/afc2004/results.html Some HBD'ers on the winner's list: Tom Wolf, Phil Ferrel, John Aitchison, Ryan Stewart, Michael Hartman, Rob Kolacny, Jodie Davis, Jim Yeager, Todd Peterson, James Reynolds, Craig Flagtwet, Mike McDole, Gary Wilder, Bev Blackwood, Keith Eckert, Marvin Nigh, Lee Theuriet, David Barlow, Wade Atchison, Jim Rossi, Terry Wallis, Ed Little, Mike Muller, Jamil Zainasheff, Dion Hollenbeck, and your's truly. Special Congratulations to: Best of Show Beer - Loren Miraglia (QUAFF) Best of Show Mead/Cider - Ed Little (Foam on the Brain) Brewing Machine - Harold Gulbransen (QUAFF) 48 Judges were served 398 beers by 14 stewards. Beers were entered by brewers in 15 states. Judges were from 3 states, one as far away as Pennsylvania. 113 Brewers submitted beers from as far away as Florida, representing 16 different clubs. 84 Awards were bestowed by the judges on 52 brewers. This would not have been possible were it not for HBD. Thanks to all who participated and hope to see you next year. Chad Stevens QUAFF San Diego Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 13:33:52 -0600 From: Chris Colby <colbybrewery at austin.rr.com> Subject: Austin ZEALOTS Homebrew Inquisition The Austin ZEALOTS proudly announce our first annual Homebrew Inquisition. The Homebrew Inquisition is a homebrew contest built on a different model than the standard BJCP-style contests. Instead of judging beers on the basis of how well they emulate a classic beer style, we will simply be judging beers on their overall presentation, and especially how good they taste. Got a "house brew" that everyone loves, but doesn't really fit in any category at most homebrew competitions? Enter it here! Entries due May 1. Winners will be announced May 15, 2004 at the Texas Brewers Festival. Beer Categories 1.) Malty or Sweet Beers 2.) Bitter or Hoppy Beers 2A.) Hoppy Beers 2B.) Hop Monsters 3.) Balanced Beers 3A.) Session Beers 3A.) Lawnmower beers 4.) Strong Beers 4A.) Strong Beers 4B.) Booze Bombs 5.) Dark Beers 5A.) Dark-colored beers 5B.) Roasty Beers 6.) "Yeasty" Beers 7.) Lagers 8.) Flavored Beers 8A.) Sour Beers 8B.) Smoky Beers 8C.) Fruit Beers 8D.) Spiced Beers 8E.) Other Beers 9.) Experimental Beers 10.) Open Category 11.) The Crusade (special category) 2004 Crusade: You put how much what in where?" Judging Beers will be judged on a 100-point scale. Judges will allot 15 points for appearance, 30 points for aroma, 45 points for flavor and 10 points for overall presentation. In addition to the score, judges will supply comments on all aspects of the beer, including suggestions for improvement when they can. Entry requirements one 12-oz. bottle per entry $5/entry completed entry sheet entries may be dropped of or mailed to Austin Homebrew (www.austinhomebrew.com) before May 1 Contact colbybrewery at austin.rr.com or dandew@austin.rr.com for entry form Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) I didn't expect the ZEALOTS to launch some sort of Inquisition. NOBODY EXPECTED THE ZEALOTS HOMEBREW INQUISITION! What is the purpose of the Homebrew Inquisition? We, the Austin ZEALOTS, have set out three main goals for our Homebrew Inquisition. 1.) To drink your beer. 2.) To get you to pay us to drink your beer. 3.) To provide a well-judged homebrew contest based only on a homebrewer's ability to produce quality beer. If beers aren't judged to style, what criteria are the beers judged on? There are many possible factors distinguishing good beers from bad beers. These include the flavor, aroma and mouthfeel qualities associated with malt, specialty malt, hops, yeast and other beer ingredients; freshness of the ingredients; balance (or appropriate lack thereof); the characteristics of a properly-controlled fermentation; appropriate carbonation and aging; clarity; head retention; presence or absence of bacterial or wild yeast contamination; presence absence of other recognized beer faults and many other intangibles. In general, beers will be judged according to the modern standards that most brewers agree on and strive for. Don't some beer styles (and commercial beers) have "beer faults" that are intentional? What if my beer does? German wheat beers are cloudy, lambics are sour and some commercial beers -- such as Redhook ESB -- exhibit noticeable amounts of diacetyl, characteristics that would be considered beer faults in other beers. If your beer has an "intentional fault," let us know on your entry form. The judges will be made aware of this. If your beer is a classic beer style with a "beer fault," just specify your beer style -- we know beer styles, even though they don't factor into our Inquisition. Be aware, however, the entrant can only identify beer faults -- it's up to the judges to "absolve" them. You are not being judged on how close you come to what you were shooting for (or claim you were shooting for), but how good your beer tastes to knowledgeable beer drinkers. Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 14:05:37 -0600 From: "The Mad Brewer" <seansgroups at mts.net> Subject: Determining percent alcohol on a finished beer I have a traditional African beer that I made for a club presentation, and someone, even among homebrewers, will inevitably ask what I think the percent alcohol is. Since the beer is fermented simultaneously with hydrolysis of the grain there's no way to get an OG. This is a similar problem to what one would face in making many country wines. If I measure the apparent final gravity and the "true" final gravity, can I reliably estimate the alcohol content from those two numbers? Is it as simple as subtracting the excess true gravity from the apparent gravity and taking that number as the corresponding alcohol/water mixture? Sean Richens Return to table of contents
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