HOMEBREW Digest #4949 Fri 10 February 2006

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  Sanke ("A.J deLange")
  Re: Cask Conditioning (Eric Wescott)
  Sankey spear / cask condition (Glyn Crossno)
  Re: Cask Conditioning Advice Needed (Dylan tack)
  Cask Conditioning and Real Ale ("mbobiak")
  Re: Why pitch cold? (Matt)
  metallic flavor in first keg beer (Aaron Martin Linder)
  Yeast and oxygen ("Peed, John")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 13:15:47 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Sanke Of course you can "rack" from a Sanke keg. I "rack" a beer or 2 into a glass from a Sanke keg almost every night. What I'm getting at is that the keg is a device designed for exactly this purpose. Though you may not think of drawing a glass of beer from the keg as racking that is in fact exactly what you are doing. There are a couple of tools for removing spears and as you have one on the way no need to get into that further. Just remember to think safety when removing spears. They are aptly named. I always clean them in place in the keg but I imagine they could be cleaned and sanitized externally as well. Certainly the outside can be sprayed with iodophor and the inside filled with it and the ball end can be stuck into a bucket full of it but a trough long enough to hold the whole thing might be hard to come by. A blueing tank would probably do. To get iodophor to flow through the mechanism requires that the ball be depressed so fluid can flow and this is what the coupler does. I never tried putting the coupler on the spear when it's out of the keg but you might be able to work that. OTOH the spear appears to be capable of being disassembled if you can come up with some sort of jig to hold it in place as you depress the spring (carefull - it's a strong spring) while rotating the tabs into the removal slots. Not all spears may be built this way. Certainly you can install the spear in the keg, invert the keg and shoot cleaner into the beer out port, collect it from the gas port and pump it back in which brings us to "filling" couplers. These are normal (well, they tend to be the higher quality) couplers from which the check ball and check valve have been removed. It is very handy if this is fitted with valves (Micromatic) or, as you mention, you can buy a kit (high quality coupler, two valves, two pieces of hose - fairly expensive) from Sabco. These can be used for cleaning and filling. Should you cut the bottom off the spear? I'd let experience be my guide on that. In my own brewing I fill Sanke kegs direct from the fermenter and then put them on a handle. The first couple of pints may come turbid but who cares? After the beer is thoroughly settled it is an easy matter to rack it to another keg. And another if you want. After a racking or two the yeast cake is so thin that the standard length spear will not pick it up (the bottom of the keg is rounded slightly). I have switched to Sanke kegs completely and don't miss the Cornies a bit. The new 1/4 bbl Sankes cost about the same as a new Cornelius, have the same shape (taller than wide). holds 2 1/2 more gallons of beer, has a single connector, can be used in any keggerator without modifications, work with lots of portable dispensing setups and can be maintained with parts bought from the local draught beer supplier or Rapids or Micromatic or..... By the time you have invested in a filling/cleaning kit, spear removal and retaining ring removal tools you will have spent a bit but it is well worth the savings in time, trouble and frustration (why is it when you need a Corny gas connector you can always find 5 beer connectors but no gas and conversely). Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 09:13:11 -0500 From: Eric Wescott <eric.wescott at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Cask Conditioning On Feb 8, 2006, at 09:37, Ricardo Cabeza <expunged at gmail.com> wrote: > I really want to cask condition a few beers in a wood barrel. I've been doing a lot of reading on this topic (aging beers with oak). Preliminary experiments say that oak makes beer better. Regarding type of oak, you want white oak (not red oak). American, French, Hungarian... they all have minor differences. Read up on them and determine which flavor secondary notes might appeal to you. I've found American oak to be a-okay, and about 50% the price (or less!). Oak barrels and aging are a tricky thing at smaller scales. What you need to look at is the volume to surface area relationship. The larger barrels (~30 gallon) have what might be considered an ideal ratio. Small barrels (5 and 10 Gallon) have much too high of a surface area for volume, so you have to drastically reduce your exposure time or risk over-oaking. To do it right in barrels, for longer periods, you will need to get larger barrels, and watch your exposure times. Other oaking options to produce the oak-cask flavor do exist, and much cheaper than oak barrels. The cheapest would be oak powder or oak chips. Then you can also get oak cubes, barrel staves, and something called an oak-boy (a large surface area stick). All of these are things you'd put into a carboy and let your brew sit on it for a while. I like the chips, and have done several brews with them (meads, wines, ciders and now 3 beers). I steam them for a few minutes in the microwave, then drop them into an empty carboy. I rack the beer into the carboy and onto the waiting chips (1 oz for 5G, cost ~$0.50). I then leave it until it clears and the oak chips sink (in 3-8+ weeks). Chips will add a bit of a dirty looking haze at first. That will clear over a week or two. Then the chips will start to sink, which is roughly when they have yeilded what they have for flavor. I find 1 oz for 5G of beer about right, and I give it 1+ months. Some people like more oak for less time (1-2 weeks), and taste along the way. I've read arguements in favor of more time with the wood, as it releases more of the secondary notes from the wood. I'm also too busy to taste and rack daily or even weekly, so 1oz of chips for 1-3 months is just right for me. Let us know what you decide to do with the oak. I think oak and beer is a great combo! - --EW Stratford, CT Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 07:43:39 -0800 (PST) From: Glyn Crossno <graininfuser at yahoo.com> Subject: Sankey spear / cask condition I have been meaning to buy the kegman kit. Paul please give us a review after you have used it a couple of times. Also how do you clean the keg after fermentation? Could you not just do the same with the spear? I would think that for cask conditioning you would want some wood because it harbors some of the flavoring critters. If it was just oxygen you could splash the beer to achive the desired results. Glyn So. Middle TN Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 10:08:04 -0600 From: Dylan tack <dylan at io.com> Subject: Re: Cask Conditioning Advice Needed > Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 23:19:01 -0600 > From: "Craig S. Cottingham" <craig.cottingham at gmail.com> > grade plastic buckets. Everyone says plastic is oxygen permeable; my > question is, how does its permeability compare to wood? From Jeff Sparrow's "Wild Brews". The HDPE bucket is a little alarming: Oxygen diffusion through selected fermentation vessels Type Volume (L) O2 (cc/L/year) Rodenbach wooden tun 20,000 0.53 Rodenbach wooden tun 12,000 0.86 Wine barrel 300 8.5 Flextank HDPE fermentor 200 20 Homebrew barrel 40 23 Homebrew HDPE bucket 20 220 Glass carboy w/ silicone stopper 20 17 Glass carboy w/ wooden stopper 20 0.1 Glass carboy w/ 30 cm vinyl immersion tube 20 0.31 Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 16:36:03 GMT From: "mbobiak" <mbobiak at ic.sunysb.edu> Subject: Cask Conditioning and Real Ale I think there are two competing ideas of what is being refered to as cask conditioned beer in this discussion. The original poster was asking about barrel (aka cask)/ wood aging beer in a style that would provide a bit of oxidation and minor wood or barrel character (whether that's appropiate or not is another debate.) Cask conditioning is also used to describe the process of carrying out secondary fermentation in the serving vessel, a technique associated with real ales which are generally served very fresh and have little opportunity to oxidize If you want to impart the flavor of the barrel (and the pervious contents of the barrel) it would be best to age your beer in that barrel, however as noted, for a homebrewer this can be a lot of trouble and very expensive. I've used oak powder, chips and balls in different brews and have been very happy with how they have influenced the flavor. so in this regard, I think that a plastic fermented supplemented with some oak is a very good approximation of the old techniques. As for cask conditioning real ales, I've started using corny kegs with the dip tube cut, adding a dose of priming sugar when racking to the keg, then making sure the gaskets are set with about 30 psi of CO2 has worked well for me. I'm still working on building the hand pump featured in BYO in early 2005 but a cobra tap has worked well so far. HTH Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 08:42:27 -0800 (PST) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Why pitch cold? Chad Stevens sez: "This is controversial, but it is becoming widely accepted that the vast majority of the esters produced in the ferment occur at the transition from aerobic to anaerobic activity." I am more inclined to say that ester production starts to dramatically ramp up as reproduction begins to stall, and that this is the prime phenomenon to consider in terms of esters (and I'm also inclined to agree that it is controversial). As reproduction requires sufficient sterol/UFA reserves, and as these reserves are usually built up during times of plentiful oxygen, perhaps that is what Chad meant by the transition from aerobic to anaerobic activity? If not then I am not sure what is meant by "aerobic" activity. In any case for my ferments I think this point occurs more at the 1-2 day mark. By the way, I think the following paper does an great job of explaining one way to look at ester production overall. I have to leave it to more experienced people to judge whether it is believable, but I can't see anything wrong with it myself. If it is correct, the situation is a bit simpler than many might think. Essentially, it claims that ester production starts in earnest when the yeast cells produce certain enzymes, and this occurs when the cell runs out of membrane material and can't keep dividing. (Simplification of course.) Acetyl-CoA levels are *in my reading of this* not a controlling factor (except, I suppose, in an on-off sense where fermentation is either over or it is not, which may be important after all). http://www.asbcnet.org/journal/abstracts/backissues/49-11.htm Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 14:40:53 -0500 (EST) From: Aaron Martin Linder <lindera at umich.edu> Subject: metallic flavor in first keg beer Hi, I recently bought a reconditioned corny keg from Sabco and used it for my first kegging experience. I opened the keg, rinsed it thoroughly with water, sanitized with iodophor and rinsed out the iodophor. i then racked a batch of very hoppy, centennial IPA into it with a hop bag with 2 ounces of centennial hops and purged the head space several times. I then carbonated by using the high pressure/shaking method rather than the sit and wait a week method. The beer tasted great for approximately 2-3 days. since then, i think i can start to detect a very faint metallic flavor and aroma! There is no reason that I can see to blame anything to do with the brewing or fermentation of the beer, as I have brewed several batches the same way with no problems. The biggest change of course is that I kegged this batch. While the keg is newly reconditioned, I rinsed it thoroughly, and the beer tasted good for 2-3 days at least. Based upon past posts I am leaning toward blaming the shaking method of carbonation as hastening oxidation of the beer, as this can lead to metallic flavors(past posts said so at least). However, others carbonate by shaking and seem to get good results!? My CO2 setup is brand new, so I don't see why it would be related to that. I guess I plan to carbonate my next two kegs of precious lager by simply hooking up the gas in and leaving them sit for a week. i also plan to purge the entire keg (filled with rinse water to the rim) with CO2 before racking into it to try to prevent this problem. Any ideas, disputes,confirmation would be appreciated. Aaron Linder Ann Arbor, MI Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 14:49:59 -0800 From: "Peed, John" <jpeed at elotouch.com> Subject: Yeast and oxygen OK, I never did quite get the scoop on yeast oxygenation. All the fuss with oxygenation seems to center around pre-fermentation oxygenation to build the cell walls. But that begs the question: Why does stirring on a stir plate for the duration of starter fermentation make a starter ferment so much more rapidly and build more yeast? Also, if you pitch the whole thing after stirring for a day, do you risk oxidation? My experience says no. Why not? John Peed Oak Ridge, TN Return to table of contents
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