HOMEBREW Digest #4932 Thu 19 January 2006

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  You know it's been a while since you brewed when: (guy gregory)
  RE: converting a keg to a secondary fermenter ("Mike Sharp")
  Re: lager yeast starters (Bob Tower)
  Re: Lookin' for yeast advise for Imperial Stout... (Randy Ricchi)
  Low attenuating yeasts (Randy Ricchi)
  Water ("A.J deLange")
  Re: lager yeast starters ("Thomas T. Veldhouse")
  0 minutes and bitterness ("Peed, John")
  Cold conditioning ("Cave, Jim")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 21:15:04 -0800 (PST) From: guy gregory <ggre461 at yahoo.com> Subject: You know it's been a while since you brewed when: ...your carboys have more dust on them than your car... ...your hops stored in the freezer have dates beginning with 19xx ...your chiller has an oxide layer ...your irish moss is dry ...you can't find your stir spoon. ...you need to clean your corny dip tubes with a rifle brush ...your supplier says they got rid of that yeast years ago ...your lautertun valve needs a new faucet washer... Guy Gregory Lightning Creek Home Brewery Spokane WA (1660.4, 294.3) Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 22:21:54 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: RE: converting a keg to a secondary fermenter James Payne inquires about converting a keg to a secondary fermenter I took a spare gas out fitting and removed the guts (a screwdriver is needed to unthread the back plug). I then took a piece of strong wire (coat hanger) and bent it into a figure 8. A short length of hose shoves on the end of the gas fitting, goes through the figure 8 so that it ends up pointing vertically, and then I shove the airlock into the end of the hose. Actually, you probably don't necessarily need to remove the guts. In my case the fitting was missing the spring anyway, so I took the poppet valve out. The fitting is also useful to bleed the pressure from a keg after it goes dry. At some point during the fermentation, I simply remove the fitting, and connect my CO2 tank to it so that the beer begins to carbonate. I know that ball-lock fittings seem to be more common, but I prefer pin-lock anyway. Of course, that's what the scrap-yard had when I first collected my kegs. Regards Mike Sharp Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 23:24:54 -0800 From: Bob Tower <bob at constructotower.com> Subject: Re: lager yeast starters John Bryce (from an undisclosed location) is asking about the high finishing gravities of his lager yeast starters using DME. John, the first thing I would suspect (based on what you've already tried and/or documented) is the DME. For a while, I was using an English brand of DME and no matter what I did, the gravity would stall out between 7-8 P. I was aerating, using yeast nutrient, everything. Simply switching to a non-English brand of DME solved the problem, now my starters finish between 3-4 P. Though, I am not sure how important this is since the beers I was making with the high finishing gravity starters all turned out fine and with correct finishing gravities. Bob Tower / Los Angeles, CA Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 07:53:44 -0500 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: Re: Lookin' for yeast advise for Imperial Stout... Michael, I really like Wyeast 1318 London Ale III for Imperial Stouts. It really emphasizes malt character, and at that high a gravity it imparts a really nice fuitiness. The one thing I wasn't crazy about is that, being one of those "less attenuative" ale yeasts, it leaves a higher terminal gravity than what I prefer, but it looks like that's what you want anyway. The problem with that is, the yeasts that leave a higher terminal gravity don't really quit fermenting but rather continue at a very, very slow, almost imperceptible pace. You'll prime and bottle and everything seems great, but after 6 months or a year in the bottle you end up with fairly overcarbonated beer. Well, that's been my experience anyway. Still, I'd use this yeast again for an Imperial stout. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 08:02:08 -0500 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: Low attenuating yeasts As a post-script to my last message, have you ever noticed that usually, if a yeast is listed as being highly flocculant, it also is listed as being less attenuative? The bulk of the yeast floc's out before all the fermentables are fermented, leaving a high terminal gravity. The yeast isn't done, though. The fewer cells that are still remaining in suspension are still chugging along, doing there thing. (Just a layman's interpretation of what's happening) Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 14:15:32 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Water Two water questions in the last number. 1. WRT Chlorine 1.97 ppm Chloride 10 ppm Sulfate 23 ppm Alkalinity (CaCO3) 59 ppm Calcium 14 ppm Hardness (CaCO3) 62 ppm Magnesium 5.4 ppm Potassium 1.0 ppm Sodium 12 ppm Total Dissolved Solids 101 ppm pH 8.8 The question was how to calculate CO3-- concentration from this. Normally it is sufficient to assume that there is no CO3-- and that is the case (<1%) if pH < 8.3 but there pH is a bit higher. So one procedes as follows: 1. Compute r1 = 10^(pH - 6.38) = 263.03 2. Compute r2 = 10^(pH - 10.35) = .0282 3. Compute d = 1 + r1 + r1*r2 = 271.45 4. Compute f1 = 1/d = .003684 5. Compute f2 = r1*f1 = .969 6. Compute f3 = r2*f2 = .0274 These last three numbers tell you that of all species containing carbo (CO3) in the water .37% are carbonic, 96.9% are bicarbonate and 2.74% are carbonate. When alkalinity is measured the amount of acid consumed is equivalent to the amount of carbonic formed in titrating the sample to pH 4.3 at which f1 has value 99.175% so if C is the total carbo in the solution this is C*(.99175 - f1) to which must be added the amount of carbonate destroyed (converted to bicarbonate) which is C*(.0274 - 0) because at pH 4.3 there is virtually no carbonate left (f3 = 1E-8). Alkalinity expressed as CaCO3 must be converted to milliequivalents per liter by dividing by 50 giving 50/59 = 1.18 so solving for C we get C = 1.18/[(.99175 - .003684) + .0274)] = 1.162 millimoles.liter total carbo. Of this 2.74% is carbonate which is .0318 millimoles which, as carbonate has a double charge is .0636 milliequvalents which times 50 gives 3.18 ppm as CaCO3. As the molecular weight of carbonate is 60 the concentration is 60*.0318 = 1.91 mg/L as the ion. Thus even at pH 8.8 the carbonate is small and a minor contributor to alkalinity. Of more significance is the residual alkalinity: RA = alk - (Ca_hardness + Mg_hardness/2) = 59 - [ 14/20*50 + 5.4/12.15*50/2]/3.5 = 45 which puts it close to the boundary at which you may or may not have to worry about it. For Burton ales with this water add some gypsum (to lower mash pH and give the Burton hops qualities). For London style ales use some dark malt. 2. Second question: why does water pH rise when it is boiled and what should be done about it? The pH rises because boiling drives off CO2 which, in solution, is carbonic acid which lowers pH. If you leave the water alone for some time (and it may be appreciable) CO2 from the air will dissolve in it and the pH will head back to a lower value. But when you heat this water for mash you'll drive some of that CO2 out and the pH will head back up. But this is OK as by the initial boiling should have dropped some precipitate thus reducing the alkalinity and the mash reaction will be able to overcome it. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 08:41:56 -0600 From: "Thomas T. Veldhouse" <veldy at veldy.net> Subject: Re: lager yeast starters John, 1. It depends upon your vessel whether you see activity. It also depends upon the size of the starter, the amount of yeast and the temperature. If it is warm, or the yeast added is large, then it may ferment VERY quickly. The best thing to do is to look for the increased yeast count. I often do not see krausen in my starters (the longer you boil them, the more likely to see krausen). 2. I usually make my starters three days in advance for ales, and five days for lagers. The reason I give it longer for lagers is that I usually make my starter in a one gallon jug, which takes a little longer to ferment out. 3. I make my starters at room temperature. I don't care what the starter tastes like, as I am trying to grow yeast and not make beer. It doesn't harm or mutate the yeast. I cool the yeast down to pitching temp on brew day (usually about 50F) 4. The starter usually starts fermenting noticibly in a couple of hours, if you know what to look for. Don't worry about seeing the fermentation, worry about how much flocculated yeast you have when it is finished. You really want MORE yeast. As far as the rest of your message goes, I think you are likely way over analyzing it. Try making the yeast starter at room temp. Just wait for it to attenuate and fall out. Drop the starter to lager fermentation temps. Decant off the spent wort (foul beer) and use the remaining slurry. I don't believe it requires a lot of analysis and worry beyond that. Relax and have a homebrew. Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 08:48:30 -0800 From: "Peed, John" <jpeed at elotouch.com> Subject: 0 minutes and bitterness Dennis & I have discussed this so he knows what I think, but I'll throw it out on the forum. I maintain that part of the flavor of many hops, particularly the citrusy American hops, is perceived as bitterness, just by the nature of hops. They're spicy and pungent and if you really lay the hop flavor to a beer I think you perceive part of that spicy pungent flavor as bitterness. You can argue that we're talking aroma hops here, since we're talking about 0 minute additions, but steeped hops definitely contribute to hop flavor. The beer that got us interested in this topic was a double IPA with an enormous steeping hop addition. When we selected all the different hop calculations in Pro Mash, the IBU results varied from a low of 53 for Garetz to a high of 175 for generic. WOW! I've used Tinseth's forever, but I recently increased the concentration factor from 1.1 to 1.5 because I felt that my beers were more bitter than the indicated IBUs. Now that I'm using the 1.5 concentration factor, I feel that the indicated IBUs are about right. The double IPA comes in at 105, which seems pretty close, maybe just a bit high. Note that I'm talking about the concentration factor, not the utilization factor. Homebrewers can't measure IBUs, so the best we can do is find a measurement method that makes sense to us, or at least establish a relative measurement that makes sense. I've always thought Rager's method gave numbers that were a little high, and Garetz's gave numbers that were a little low, but the results of all the methods change depending on when you add the hops. I like Tenseth's because you can fine tune it with the concentration factor. Unfortunately, it isn't displayed once you set it, but you can set it when you change to Tinseth. To change only the concentration factor, change to another method, such as generic, then change back to Tinseth and it will show the current concentration factor and allow you to change it. You have to Save as Default to make it stick for subsequent brew sessions and recipes. I think I will end up with mine set somewhere in the 1.4 to 1.5 range. It's supposed to be calculated by dividing pre-boil volume by post-boil volume, but I didn't think the calculated value gave me the right IBU number. I use it as a fudge factor to get the IBU number that I think matches the perceived bitterness of my beer. Assuming a constant boil-off rate of, say, 1.5 gallons per hour, the factor says that a ten gallon batch will be more bitter than a five gallon batch unless you do the math and change the factor. I haven't verified that, but in any case, the variation due to changing the factor based on the calculations (less than 2 IBU for 5 gallons versus 10 gallons) would be less than you could maintain from batch to batch anyway, I think. John Peed Oak Ridge, TN Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 10:08:18 -0800 From: "Cave, Jim" <Cave at psc.org> Subject: Cold conditioning I routinely cold condition my ales for a minimum of 3 weeks at just above freezing. More than 6 weeks is unnecessary. A month is good. It really works to drop the yeast and chill haze. I then raise the beer to above 15 C. to loose the haze and lower again to serving temp. The resulting beer is now chill haze proof. For Pilsners, I try and use about 6 weeks at 0 C. I carbonate the keg cold. Again, I allow the beer to rise to 60 F and then immediately chill to 6-8 C for serving. Again the beer is chill haze prove. Generally, the darker the beer, the less time required. If you are bottle conditioning after this process, you will need to add a small amount of yeast starter (125 ml for 45 litres is lots). Jim Return to table of contents
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