HOMEBREW Digest #4810 Tue 26 July 2005

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  Ballantines ("Dave Burley")
  Need water help ("Randy Scott")
  Brewtek CL920 yeast (Randy Ricchi)
  How much DME to prime? ("Mike Westcott")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 09:56:29 -0400 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave_Burley at charter.net> Subject: Ballantines Brewsters: Some years ago flying back to the US my South African Airline plane stopped for fuelling in Eastern Africa. We departed the plane and were sent to an Outdoor refreshment area. Despite the fact that it was 3AM I ordered a coke. Blam! This coke was just like the Coke I remembered from my youth. That experience came about since all the ingredients which had been used in the original Coca Cola were produced locally, not conjured up in a US factory. Same thing has happened to beer over the years. I want to remember those tastes. I do this by not trying to produce currently available beers, but those from an earlier time. Like AL I remember Ballantines (IPA and less so the XXX) from the sixties and I have independently in private communications commented on the "aromatic" (in the organic chemistry sense) piney aroma with a very grassy Hops nose that I remember from the 60s. The piney aroma reminded me of Southern CA wines from that same era and the Redwood Tanks that were in use at the time. Reading about Ballantines I discovered in the shameless handing around of this technology/recipes, that Ballantines had been stored in Cypress tanks versus the oak tankage of the Newark, NJ site. Question is did this have an effect? As AFAIK all tanks were waxed. I think the grassiness came from Fuggles and about that same time I believe WA hops sold as Hallertauer were actually Styrian Goldings or Fuggles which are the same bine, just the first is seedless. Others may be able to confirm or deny this. We must also consider Cluster hops which were popular in the USA and were around at this time as a potential bittering hop with a relatively low nose. I doubt that Bullion hops (and especially distilled hop oils from Bullion) were used in the original formula since these are relatively new, coming onto the UK scene in the 1920s. I do not recall the black currant, licoricey, back of of the throat bitterness of Bullion in early versions of Ballantines. Ballantines IPA and XXX were clean. As far as yeast go, I suspect something like the original Yuengling yeast would be close to the yeast used that would be available today. I suspect a warmish fermentation might be closer to the truth in the original version, but 60s could have easily been cooler. Colorwise I would get hold of some German or US style "Caramel" malt rather than the redder British style crystal. Ballantines was browner than reddish and not very dark. One thing we all must remember in trying to recover these historic ales is that beer is a changing thing and always has been in response to commercial competitive pressures and availability of raw materials, as well as customer demands. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 10:45:14 -0500 From: "Randy Scott" <ras at rscott.us> Subject: Need water help I've been trying to improve my all-grain brewing, and have started to pay more attention to my water chemistry. I've been trying to read up on the topic but high school chemistry was a long, long time ago and I'm not even marginally proficient at it (as will become obvious shortly, I'm sure). First, I got an analysis from our municipality, as follows: Calcium 46.8 mg/L Magnesium 11.5 mg/L Bicarbonate 372 mg/L (Alkalinity 305 mg/L) Sulfate 31.0 mg/L Sodium 6.84 mg/L Chloride 17.0 mg/L >From everything I've been reading, this water appears to be totally unsuitable for any beer style whatsoever. Alkalinity is extremely high, and calcium quite low in comparison; while magnesium, sulfate, and sodium are all at the bottom end of, or below, the recommended quantities according to Miller's Homebrewing Guide. I've also tried testing the tap water with aquarium test kits - and, if I'm interpreting them right (which I'm not sure I am), the results are quite different from the city analysis. My "Carbonate Hardness" (= alkalinity, I think) test comes out to 160 ppm, far lower than the 305 the city reports. I know these cheap aquarium test kits aren't very accurate, but I was expecting something better than a nearly 2x error factor. I also have a "General Hardness" test, which comes out to 230 ppm, but this is confusing. I think this is the same thing as "total hardness as CaCO3", but I'm not sure. If so, according to John Palmer at http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html , (Ca (ppm)/20 + Mg (ppm)/12.1) x 50 = Total Hardness as CaCO3, (although I'm not really sure what the "as CaCO3" means) which, if my math is right, means the city's figures come out to a general hardness of 163. (I'm pretty fuzzy on this - enlightenment appreciated.) I've also tried boiling the water and retesting - general hardness remains unchanged (as expected), and carbonate hardness drops to about 100 ppm. This would be somewhat surprising if the city's Ca numbers are right, because according to Miller's book (p. 67), this water doesn't have enough calcium ions to precipitate that much of the carbonate. So, now for the questions: Q1: How confused am I in the above? Q2: Is my understanding of the relationships of carbonate hardness to alkalinity, and general hardness to total hardness to Ca + Mg, even close to accurate? Q3: If so, why are my aquarium test kit results so different from the city analysis? Are they that inaccurate, or does the calcium, magnesium, and alkalinity typically vary that much over time in a given municipality? Or am I missing something? Q4: Palmer has a spiffy chart for relating alkalinity and hardness to appropriate beer styles at http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-3.html . This seems way easier to understand than anything else I've seen on the topic. Have folks here had success with this? Q5: If I ignore the aquarium test kits and just go with the city analysis, any recommendations for adjusting it for various beer styles? (I only do ales, but brew everything from koelsch to stout). I've been diluting my tap water with varying amounts of RO (the lighter the style, the more dilution), but based on Palmer's text, it doesn't look like this alone will cut it. Thanks for help ras Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 12:30:16 -0400 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: Brewtek CL920 yeast Stencil resuscitated some old weizen yeast. I'd be interested to hear your comments on how the beer tastes after the first real tasting on August 1. CL920 was a favorite of mine and I think I might have some old stuff laying around, too. Never figured it would be any good though. Thanks for the heads up. That yeast always was a massive clove producer. I always pitched and fermented in the mid-70's, that way I did get vanilla and banana which melded beautifully with the clove. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 10:42:14 -0700 From: "Mike Westcott" <mwesty at cableone.net> Subject: How much DME to prime? I've kegged nearly all of my recent batches, but in the past when using DME to batch prime I used 1.25 cups with most beers. I recently brewed a hefeweizen which I wanted to bottle and I did not reserve unfermented speise to batch prime at bottling time, which has been my usual procedure and has led to perfect carb levels. So, I thought I'd use DME to batch prime but I want carb levels at about 3.5 volumes. To get a somewhat precise measure of DME, I sought out a couple of sources, the "primer on priming" which can be found online suggests weight of DME 30% more than dextrose when priming, but Promash indicates almost double the weight of DME versus dextrose, in fact upwards of 11 oz. of DME. I realize there are additional variables that affect final carb levels, such as level of CO2 saturation at bottling time, etc., but why such a discrepancy in recommended proportions of DME:dextrose? Opinions? Return to table of contents
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