HOMEBREW Digest #4899 Tue 29 November 2005

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  Exactness of 98.6F (Jeffrey Byers)
  Aged grain (Randy Ricchi)
  Pycnometry ("A.J deLange")
  Tenacious Phenolic Issue (Rick) Theiner <rickdude@tds.net>
  Reference Temperature (Dennis Lewis)
  Re: Dilution during fermentation ("Mike Sharp")
  re: aged grain, and another question. ("Mike Sharp")
  Use of Roasted Wheat ("Lewis, Timothy M          HS")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 07:13:36 -0600 From: Jeffrey Byers <jbyers at yakfarm.net> Subject: Exactness of 98.6F John Stewart is correct when he says that there are large error bars on this value. but... Fahrenheit scale was invented long before Celsius scale was around. 98.6F exactly equaling 37C is a coincidence. Why Fahrenheit set up his scale the way he did is not exactly known. But either he used someone with an elevated body temperature to set "100F" or he multiplied Romer's older temperature scale by a factor to avoid having to log negative temperatures outside his home. Besides I think the average body temperature has dropped over the years and is now closer to 98.2F. jefe Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 08:45:50 -0500 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: Aged grain Craig asked about the flavor consequences of using old (1 to 2 years) grain. Now, I'm sure I don't have as discerning a palate as some, but here is my opinion, based on my own experience: With darker malts such as munich malt and darker, I think there is a noticeable loss in maltiness as the grain ages. I couldn't tell you at what point the flavor starts to decline, but at 1 year or more, I think it will have a less malty character than when it was fresh. That's not to say the resultant wort or beer will taste bad; it just won't be as malty as it would have if the grain were fresh. Only once, I tried reviving darker malt by toasting it lightly in the oven. The malt smelled heavenly afterward, but I didn't perceive that it carried through to the finished product. Again, I only tried it once, and maybe I just didn't use enough of the toasted malt to make a difference. With lighter malts such as pils or pale ale malt, as long as the grain has been kept dry you probably won't notice any deterioration in flavor. Randy Ricchi way up here in da UP of Michigan, where the weather currently sucks. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 13:55:03 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Pycnometry Steven Parfitt describes the fine art of pycnometry which is carried out pretty much as he describes with a couple of differences. First go to http://www.kimble-kontes.com/html/pg-15123R.html and have a look at the flask used. There are other forms of pycnometers (see Vol II of DeClerck) but this one seems best for brewing applications. It is essentially a small Erlenmeyer flask with a side capilary tube and a ground mouth fitted with a ground glass plug with attached thermometer. To use the thing the first step is to clean it thoroughly and dry it thoroughly (alcohol and ether washes are often used). Then tare it on the balance fully assembled. Now fill with cool distilled water and insert the thermometer/plug. As the plug is inserted water will exit through the side capillary. Wipe the bottle dry and repeat the alcohol wash though you shouldn't really need to do this as the next step is to wait for the cool water to warm to the reference temperature (15C) and while this is taking place any water on the outside should evaporate. As the water warms it expands and some is pushed out the capillary. Soak this up with a bit of paper towel using a quick swipe so you don't draw any water out of the capillary but rather only get that which has pushed up above its tip. When the reference temperature is reached cap the capillary and weigh. Record the weight. Now dump the water and thoroughly dry the flask (alcohol and ether) or rinse it thoroughly with the beer to be measured. Fill with beer cooled to below the reference temperature. Needless to say it must be completely degassed. Wash the outside thoroughly and dry (or allow drying to occur while waiting for the temperature reference to be reached). Proceded as with the water. The ratio (weight_with_beer - tare)/(weight_with_water - tare) is the apparent specific gravity of the beer and can be easily adjusted to give the true specific gravity but it's not worth the trouble to do this as the difference should be beyond the fourth decimal place. I guess I missed the bellyaching about hydrometers. With a good set and proper technique you should be able to easily measure to within about 0.2P (0.001 SG). You have to keep them clean and insert them dry, wait for the effects of surface tension and deal with bubbles but all this art you will aquire with a little practice. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 9:39:03 -0600 From: Eric (Rick) Theiner <rickdude at tds.net> Subject: Tenacious Phenolic Issue Hail Collective, Bear with me... I want to make sure that I provide all clues for you brew-slueths out there. Some folks may remember that a few years ago I mentioned a horrible infection in my brewhouse... or what I thought was a horrible infection. In order to keep the temperature steady, I constantly ran either an AC unit or a heater in the brewhouse (really, a seperate structure in my backyard, and boy do I miss it!). After 4 phenolic batches in a row (medicinal-phenolic), I decided that something must be living and breeding in the wood of the structure, or under the linoleum, or something and the constant air movement ensured that it contacted my wort/beer. I had a couple more bad batches before I finally moved all open operations (transferring, kegging, etc.) outside of the structure. Then the problem went away. I thought I left all of this behind when I moved to the beer-friendly state of Wisconsin. Indeed, my first batch had no phenolic character at all. My second batch, however, produced 10 gallons of, again, heavy medicinal draught. I did not discover this until it went from the secondary to the keg, so prior to the discovery I brewed a third batch and there is no phenolic character other than what a Belgian Strong should exhibit. Everyone still with me? I am heavy on cleaning and sanitizing (although not as anal as some I know...). I am willing to admit that I might have picked something up as I was packing up the brewhouse, but all equipment is in common with the batches. On the water-- it is charcoal filtered or RO and treated, so no chlorophenols due to water quality in either location. But here is something that the batches DO have in common: the source of ingredients. The first and third batches were made with locally obtained ingredients (maybe a bit of hops from home, but that's it), but the second was made with oldish grain and hops that I brought from NC. Furthermore, much of it was aged at better than a year at room temp or higher. The hops I went through and tossed the stuff that was clearly degraded, but I held on to the grain and flaked maize and barley-- pretty much did a kitchen sink brew. What are the chances that my phenolic issues have been an ingredient issue all along? I would find it hard to believe, but I'm stumped. Thanks for any thoughts, Rick Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 08:41:12 -0800 (PST) From: Dennis Lewis <dblewis at dblewis.com> Subject: Reference Temperature "Stewart, John" <johns at artesyncp.com> writes: >>"David Houseman" <david.houseman at verizon.net> wrote: >> 98.6 is another reference point. >Be careful with the 98.6 body temperature. We've grown >to accept this as normal body temperature, and expect >some exactness due to the level of precision (out to >three significant digits). I believe that David's point about this is that most of us have a reasonably accurate, narrow range thermometer at home--like the old mercury one your mom stuck under your tongue after she kissed your forehead to determine you were hot. I'll leave the jokes about the other variety as an exercise for the reader. I don't think the ear thermometers would work as well, since getting a steady-state reading is not practical. I've calibrated all of my thermometers at once--2 instant reads, 2 Polder remote probes, a screw-in dial thermometer, and a calibrated lab thermometer as a reference. Of course, the instant read ones are the only ones with adjusting nuts for calibrating one point..... Dennis Lewis Warren, OH Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 11:14:59 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Dilution during fermentation John from Citronelle asks about dilution during fermentation "I like to brew a 5 gal batch (DME's mainly) in my 5 gal glass carboy." This was one of the three main reasons I stopped using my 5 gallon carboys for primary fermentation. A winemaker I know liked this technique, though, because it purged a lot of trub out of the fermenter. But the beer loss means there's no way to completely fill a 5 gallon keg. A bucket fermenter is so cheap, it just doesn't make sense to me to go through the cleaning hassle, the difficulty moving and handling the carboy, and the resulting beer (and yeast) loss by using a carboy for a primary. Of course, you can get a larger carboy, but IMHO, the bucket is better. They seal so tight that you could in fact ferment upside down in them, if it weren't for the airlock hole. You can always transfer to the carboy for secondary, and if you start with a little over 5 gallons, then you'll end up with a full 5 gallons in the carboy. Regards, Mike Sharp Kent, WA [1891.3, 294deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 12:38:25 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: re: aged grain, and another question. To Craig Agnor's excellent question, I'd like to add: Suppose...uh...a friend of mine had some grain that was not only old (at least several years), but had been milled as well, and had been stored in sealed poly buckets? ;^) A separate question I've been meaning to ask is this: When you look at brewing equipment (usually for brewpubs), you often see that the bright beer serving tanks are much larger than the capacity of the brewhouse, and sometimes even larger than the fermenters. Or you'll see a setup that has several large unitanks (say 14 bbls) for fermenting and serving, but a brewhouse capacity of 7 bbls. I've wondered how they work the brewing schedule--do you brew two batches, and ferment twice your brewhouse volume as a single batch, or do you "top up" the serving tanks with freshly fermented beer (which seems weird to me)? Is this configuration more efficient than, say, 7 bbl brewhouse and 7 bbl unitank fermenters? Regards, Mike Sharp Kent, WA [1891.3, 294deg] AR Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 16:29:51 -0500 From: "Lewis, Timothy M HS" <tim.lewis at hs.utc.com> Subject: Use of Roasted Wheat I am making a 5 gal. extract Weizenbock this weekend and for the specialty grains I chose Munich, Dark Wheat, and Roasted Wheat (I figured I'd let the grains contribute all the darker color, and wanted to try something different and maybe more authentic than Chocolate). My question is how much should I limit the Roasted Wheat to, I have never used it before, all I know it is pretty dark (~400L) so I assume I should treat it similar to Black Patent and use no more than 1/2#? Or is that even too much too cause too much bite or burnt flavor? Thanks. Tim Lewis Enfield, CT Return to table of contents
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