HOMEBREW Digest #4827 Fri 19 August 2005

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  stealing, er, ah, borrowing yeast (Jeremy Bergsman)
  Light Absorbtion in Beer ("A.J deLange")
  ProMash and efficiency ("May, Jeff")
  efficiency (leavitdg)
  Re:  Where oh where did my efficiency go? ("Rogers, Mike")
  RE: Light Absorption in Beer (Steven Parfitt)
  Efficiency ("Spencer W. Thomas")
  Effficiency... is this where it went? ("Michael Eyre")
  Podcasts for the Discriminating Brewer? (Alexandre Enkerli)
  Re: Light Absorption in Beer ("Michael O'Donnell")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 23:28:53 -0400 From: Jeremy Bergsman <jeremy at bergsman.org> Subject: stealing, er, ah, borrowing yeast Regarding obtaining Erdinger or other yeasts: Seems to me that if you can get into a brewery (on a tour), it shouldn't be too hard to come away with some of their yeast. One should come prepared with a sterile tube or two. Obviously if you are roaming free around open fermenters you will be in great shape. But even if you are not, you may well find a 5 gallon bucket being used at the end of a blow off tube. Even a swab from the wall or floor will probably pick up the brewing yeast as a reasonable fraction of all bugs. Or you could just ask.... Would anyone care to share tips or techniques? - -- Jeremy Bergsman jeremy at bergsman.org http://www.bergsman.org/jeremy Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 12:28:31 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Light Absorbtion in Beer All beer is ultimately red. Even the palest pilsner will, if the optical path is long enough, absorb all the blue light leaving a red color. To see this shine a flashlight through a carboy full of pale beer or through a mug of Guiness. Beer color is defined in terms of the absorbtion of blue light. The SRM color is 10 times the absorbtion of half an inch of beer at 430 nm well into the blue. Thus if o[tical absorbtion is to be the measured parameter blue light is clearly the choice though, as mentioned, differences in blue light absorbtion can be appreciable between Pils and Stout, for example. Given this I would think that a conductivity based sensor would be simpler to implement requiring only two insulated probes fixed at the two levels of interest. Relatively high impedance between a probe and the vessel indicates the probe is dry; low indicates it is immersed. Another thought would be to put the underback on an electronic scale and tap the weight reading from the scale's display or, at the more elegent end, rig something with a load cell. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 08:20:55 -0400 From: "May, Jeff" <Jeff.May at uscellular.com> Subject: ProMash and efficiency If you like your beer, don't let some program tell you otherwise. The settings in ProMash will have a significant impact on your final results. You need to tweak ProMash for all the specifics of your setup. It is amazing how much dead space can affect your final numbers. I am having efficiency problems according to Promash as well, however, my problem is in the other direction. I have been hitting the 90s and occasionally go over 100%. My batch sparges have even be in the high 80s. Boy, the mega breweries would love me. I was concerned that I was over-sparging but that was put to rest after talking with other brewers. In earlier conversations with John Peed, we determined that the contribution values I have are too low. I'm using the defaults that were installed with the program. For example, I use Muntons Maris Otter 3.0L (GB) as my base. The PPPG is 1.030 in ProMash. My last session ran at 93% using these numbers. Most of the other brewers say their PPPG numbers are higher than what I use. Where can I find accurate numbers for the different malts I use? Jeff May Wilmington, NC AR[649.7,148.6] Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 08:23:50 -0400 From: leavitdg at plattsburgh.edu Subject: efficiency Mike; I don't think that you mention how long it took to sparge. To me, that is at least one variable to consider. For a 5.5 gallon batch I need to keep the sparge time to 45 min at least, usually 1 hour, or I get low efficiency. I am sure others will mention the other factors, but this is one that comes to mind for me first. Darrell Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 08:46:29 -0400 From: "Rogers, Mike" <mike.rogers at eds.com> Subject: Re: Where oh where did my efficiency go? Hi Mike. I only wanted to mention that I have been using ProMash for about 4 years with 10 gallon all grain brews. The program is dead on with mash efficiency. I'm consistently between 80-84%. I do a continuous sparge of about 35-45 minutes. I mash in a 10 gallon Gott cooler. ProMash is an excellent brew session tool if you understand the metrics and functionality. Many of my friends simply use it for recipe formulation and do not use the brew session screens. I assume you are taking the final gravity check in the fermentor (via a post boil hydro test). ProMash allows you to take the final gravity check via kettle or fermentor and different logic exists... - -------------- Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 08:46:58 -0700 From: "Michael Eyre" <meyre at sbcglobal.net> Subject: Where oh where did my efficiency go? Got a question for you all that I can't quite wrap my head around... My friend and I do 10 gallon batches of allgrain beer, of various types. We split the batch 50/50 and call it OK about once or twice a month. So we never really have any problems until one of us invents one... and this is how our latest problem came about. My pal get's this nifty program called Promash, and plugs in our last beer to it's inner workings and determines that or efficiency is extremely low.. so he says. Something on the order of 56-58% efficient. I should mention that this is a 3 tier gravity feed 1/2 barrel keg setup, that we occasionally use a cooler to mash in instead of the keg, depending on our whims of that session. We batch sparge as well, using two sparges. Our last beer that he plugged in was an American style wheat with 60% malt 40% wheat, and the first runnings were about 1.060 and the second sparge was about 1.040. We got an average of 1.053, which was right where we wanted to be on a 12 gallon pre-boil pull. Later boiled down to 11 gallons and split two ways. Excellent! Anyway, when he starts talking about rotten efficiency a coupe days ago, which is a few weeks after the brew, I'm wondering... is our system just bad? Does it matter if it is, cause it's still cheap to run. But my main question is... what would have happened if we had done a third sparge, would it have some out somewhere neat 1.020, which is still viable to use, properly boiled down in the kettle, and is THAT where the lost efficency went? Another question is, why wasn't the second sparge 1.060 as well, since isn't that the idea of the batch sparge, to get one big run of evenly mixed wort/sugar? Hell, I don't know the maximum solubility of water for sugar/wort... so I guess that's what I'm having difficulties with.. why doesn't all the sugar come out of the grain into the second sparge, did we not wait long enough, stir long enough, etc. to make the second sparge work? We stirred and waited about 10 minutes before we opened the drain for the second run. I think I'm babbling now, so I'll end this, but I think I got my idea across... I guess I'm just wondering how to get the remaining stuff out of the grain that we apparently missed. Mike Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 05:55:23 -0700 (PDT) From: Steven Parfitt <thegimp98 at yahoo.com> Subject: RE: Light Absorption in Beer Tony Barnsley seeks to perform optical level sensing >Hi all, > >I am looking at several ways to control the rate at >which wort is pumped from my under back back to the mash tun and off to the boiler. The rate of pumping should depend on the level of wort in the under back ....SNIPI... I'd go with the new 'White" LED or IR (Infared). I don't know if an LED could emit enough light to skunk your beer to a detectable lever, but I would stay away from blue for that reason. I think the IR would be best, however you can't see the light to verify operation. Pick up a couple of IR "Slotted Optical Switches" and cut them in half. Use the emitter and detectors from them in pairs as they are matched for performance. >Regards > >le Man ( The Brewer Formerly Known As Aleman ) >Mashing in Blackpool, Lancashire, UK Steven, -75 XLCH- Ironhead Nano-Brewery http://thegimp.8k.com Johnson City, TN [422.7, 169.2] Rennerian "There is no such thing as gravity, the earth sucks." Wings Whiplash - 1968 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 10:39:06 -0400 From: "Spencer W. Thomas" <hbd at spencerwthomas.com> Subject: Efficiency My thought: if you like your beer, and you don't feel you're spending too much on ingredients, don't worry about it. In fact, some experience shows that undersparging can improve the flavor of your beer (as oversparging can definitely hurt it.) If you were a pro brewer with thin profit margins, then you'd need to worry. But it's a hobby. You're making better beer for less money and having fun at the same time. So really, don't sweat it. For me, the only reason to be concerned about efficiency is to know what my system efficiency is, so I can predict how strong/weak my beer is going to be. If I'm trying to make a Mild, and I end up with a brown ale at 1.048 instead of my target of 1.032, then I'm unhappy (or I can just enjoy the brown ale!) Or, if I'm trying to make an IPA at 1.060 and end up with a Pale Ale at 1.045, then again, I might be unhappy. RDWHAHB =Spencer in Ann Arbor Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 08:59:12 -0700 From: "Michael Eyre" <meyre at sbcglobal.net> Subject: Effficiency... is this where it went? Is speaking offline with some members, an idea struck. I discussed it with my brew partner and he concurred. Since we had just switched to batch sparge two brews ago, we were a little confused about the procedure. I believe what we did was add the 1-1.25 quarts per lb of water, AS WELL AS the "grain absorption" water, too... So, if my math is right, we ended up using almost 2 quarts per lb. With the addition of this extra water, on the order of about 2.5 gallons in a 17lb total grain beer, what effect do you think this would have on the efficiency? On the beer itself? Are we on the right track, or no? Mike Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 16:23:53 -0400 From: Alexandre Enkerli <enkerli at gmail.com> Subject: Podcasts for the Discriminating Brewer? Stephen George replied, on podcasts: > I listened to a couple and found them a complete waste of time Fair enough. Was wondering about other people's impressions. > If there are any that are really useful, I'd be keen to add them to my > subscriptions. Well, those podcasts have different uses... Haven't really spent that much time with them but am occasionally downloading an episode of one or the other. Though meant for more beginning brewers, Basic Brewing does have some interesting comments about methods and such. http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/radio.rss http://www.basicbrewing.com/ The Aussie podcast you mention can in fact delve into interesting technical issues, such as a discussion on pitching rates. Sure, they're mostly having fun and talking beer, but that's part of the thing. http://rss.oz.craftbrewer.org/ http://oz.craftbrewer.org/ PodBeer is more like the beer equivalent of Mark Prince's CoffeeGeek podcast. It's still rather new but seems to be going in that direction. Some beer-related news, interviews with people who have an interest in beer... Maybe a bit opinionated. http://www.podbeer.com/beer/wp-rss2.php?category_name=PodCasts http://www.podbeer.com/beer/ On CraftBeerRadio, they mostly do sampling sessions by beer styles. A bit like an audio version of a RateBeer discussion with some beer factoids. http://craftbeerradio.com/CraftBeerRadio.xml http://www.craftbeerradio.com/ The Good Beer Show is a music and beer show from Muncie, IN. It's, well, one way to do it. At least they care about good beer, have interviews with brewers and musicians, talk about beer culture... http://goodbeershow.com/wp-rss2.php http://goodbeershow.com/ The Beer Show Online is a podcasted version of a radio show. Typical radio show format with extended phone interviews with brewers and other beer personalities. Maybe a bit like a beer magazine in audio form. http://www.thebeershowonline.com/podcasts/TheBeerShowOnline.xml http://thebeershowonline.com/ Only listened to one episode of Big Foamy Head (after sending the other message). It's more of a "beercast" which is a podcast using conversations over beer as the basis for the podcast. They talked a little bit about the beer but their involvement in the beer world may be rather limited. http://feeds.feedburner.com/BigFoamyHead Now, maybe there's room for a podcast version of HBD? There's a number of radio people in the beer world and, surely, some people might have fun creating the ultimate brewer podcast? It's easy to do and doesn't need to obey any strict set of broadcasting rules, including the need for an audience. Imagine this: a fortnight of yeast in audio format? Interviews with Stephen Alexander and Jeff Renner. Audio commentaries from BJCP judges. Competition announcements. "Soundseeing" brewery tours. Video presentations of brewing methods... It could be *great*! Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 16:06:30 -0700 From: "Michael O'Donnell" <mooseo at stanford.edu> Subject: Re: Light Absorption in Beer Tony, My gut feeling is that you might run into problems with particulates sticking to the sensor as the level drains out as well as the different colors of wort, but I might be wrong. I'm sure optical sensors get used for such applications, and you might find a manufacturer willing to send you two evaluation samples of optical fluid level sensors. Another approach that you might want to try is capacitance sensing... I have used off the shelf capacitance sensor chips for sensing the presence of fluid. Measuring levels in a tank is one of the typical uses for such sensors. I used Qprox301 products from a company called Quantum... here is their website, with an article on fluid sensing... http://www.qprox.com/background/level_sensing.php look through their forums for some info on different applications. My application never worked fully because of residual water remaining on the probe. There are ways around this for use within tanks, that i was not able to try in my application. I'd probably build a concentric sensor out of silicon or teflon and run it down the inside of the tank. That way it would be totally sealed and could take the heat. The only problem with experimenting with this approach is that you have to buy a programmer for the chips for about $50. The chips themselves are only ~$2. I suspect that you could make it work without much trouble, though. Good luck. cheers, Mike Monterey, CA Return to table of contents
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