HOMEBREW Digest #4956 Mon 20 February 2006

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  Do yeast consume ethanol? (Fred L Johnson)
  My well water analysis ("LARRY KRESS")
  belated thanks for lager yeast responses (lkowens)
  WhiteLabs Super high gravity ale yeast (Randy Ricchi)
  re: compost ("steve.alexander")
  Avoid excess fusels by skipping the yeast nutrient? (Matt)
  re: compost ("Mike Racette")
  Re: diacetyl anyone ? ("Fredrik")
  spiked ale, Het Pint.... ("Steve Dale-Johnson")
  Anyone using a "heat pipe" to cool fermenter?  How about a peltier (Bill Velek)
  Koln water ? ("steve.alexander")
  Update Your BJCP Email Address ("David Houseman")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 22:56:59 -0500 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: Do yeast consume ethanol? Will/can brewing yeast use ethanol as an energy source for growth in the presence of abundant oxygen? Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 06:14:35 -0500 From: "LARRY KRESS" <gotchagoat at rogers.com> Subject: My well water analysis Hello fellow brewers, I am in the process of purchasing a home with well water and I got the lab report back. Please enlighten my chemistry deprived knowledge of brewing water. Is the water good for brewing? Alkalinity as CaCO3 - 271 mg/L Chloride - 48 mg/L Conductivity - 663 uS/cm Fluoride - 0.13 mg/L N-NO3 (Nitrate) - .25 mg/L pH - 7.75 Sulphate - 24 mg/L Hardness as CaCO3 - 295 mg/L Ion Balance - 0.91 Calcium - 67 mg/L Magnesium - 31 mg/L Potassium - 1 mg/L Sodium - 17 mg/L Iron - 0.03 mg/L Manganese - < 0.01 mg/L Thank you, Larry Kress Osgoode, Ontario, Canada Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 06:07:10 -0600 From: <lkowens at uiuc.edu> Subject: belated thanks for lager yeast responses Thanks to everyone who answered my question about when to pitch lager yeast. I now have a much better sense of how to work with lagers. Linda, Champaign, IL Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 09:40:11 -0500 From: Randy Ricchi <rricchi at houghton.k12.mi.us> Subject: WhiteLabs Super high gravity ale yeast White Labs doesn't give any indication of the flavor profile of their Super high gravity ale yeast. All they say on their website is that it "Can ferment up to 25% alcohol. From England." Does anyone know what the flavor profile of this yeast is? I want something with character and highly attenuative for a traditional, mid 1800's IPA. I figure this yeast would produce the highly attenuated character I'm looking for, but what about the yeast flavors? Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:55:09 -0500 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: re: compost Glyn Crossno asks, >How do you get 31 lbs of grain dry enough to compost? >To keep the critters out I compost in a barrel that I >roll around 7 or 8 times a day. But with that much wet >grains it almost always stinks a little bit. You are missing the point. The main theme of composting is to get the critters in, not keep them out. Seriously if you only compost vegetable matter and mix it into an existing heap, remix regularly you shouldn't have pest problems. Not even flies & gnats are a problem if you keep it mixed with in-progress compost. >Does the barrel need more hole? Turn it 7 or 8 times >twice a day? Is there something I could add to the >compost to suck up some of the moisture? I turn my compost heap with a front-end loader and a cat1 rototiller so there is a difference in scale here. Wet spent grist is inherently sticky so I imagine it would be a PITA in a barrel. That nasty rancid vomit-like aroma that appears in hours in spent grist is due primarily butyric acid produced mainly by anaerobic bacteria which prefer neutral pH. Anaerobic lysis is a useful way to compost, but it does smell bad, and also stops quickly when the pH drops. If you don't mind the smell and mess you can assist the anaerobic process by adding lime (e.g. gardeners dolomitic lime) to adjust the compost pH upward. If you don't want the sticky, wet, stinky mess, then you should expose anaerobes on the surface of the grist to air. Turning more often may help, but that's work and you still have too much water trapped in the grist to avoid the anaerobic process. If you spread the grist thinly in a relatively dry spot (under a pine for example) it will dry out somewhat, have really good access to air, become much more workable and far less aromatic in just a couple days. Mixing the grist with equal parts (or more) of topsoil, peat or finished compost will adsorb excess water and allow much much better access to air. This alleviates the aroma problem and also improves the rate of decomposition. The books would suggest that grist is on the nitrogen side of the C:N balance for composting, but in proactice is composts nicely without amendment. The cellulose in the grist breaks down only slowly, and it's a good substrate for fungi even long after the composting is finished. Composted grist is an excellent soil amendment, so it's worth a little effort. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost and the Rodale Compost Book are useful references. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 08:52:28 -0800 (PST) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: Avoid excess fusels by skipping the yeast nutrient? Steve's comment that "Cold fermentation causes less FAN uptake..." reminded me of something I've been meaning to post and ask about. I think excess fusels are one of the most common problems homebrewers have with strong ales, probably because we don't know exactly how to change our brewing practices to avoid them. I think there is a major point most of us may be missing, which could be a key to helping us reduce fusels even in big beers. The theory of fusel production has been discussed here before (ad nauseum). The very short version is that fusels are produced either 1. when yeast take in the amino acids (AAs) they need from the wort and "process them," or 2. when yeast have to make their own AAs because they are not available in the wort. While a lot of people probably add nutrients to avoid the second scenario, I think very few homebrewers think about having too MANY nutrients, and the possibility of generating excess fusels because yeast are gorging on the bounty of AAs they have supplied. The point: I have read several academic papers which found that adding AAs to a test wort led to HIGHER final fusel levels. I have read zero that found the opposite. Many of the worts used were industrial worts, including very high gravity worts with 25% or more of their fermentables coming from adjunct sugars! The message is that the addition of nutrients may be a significant factor that CAUSES excess fusels. And the "dilution" of all-grain wort by using sugar seems to decrease fusels, even for large fractions of sugar. Those who prefer to rely on tradition and commercial experience may be interested to know that when I asked Stan Heironymous, he said that the Belgian brewers are (generally) *not* using nutrients (and of course use a lot of adjunct). Also, George Fix once posted some concerns (to the Aussie brewing list maybe?) that higher nitrogen in modern malts is making it harder to avoid excess fusels. A local brewery also did an experiment where they loaded one of their beers with nutrients, and while some other factors are involved that complicate the issue, the resulting beer was much harsher than it normally is. None of this is helped by the fact that the suggested amounts for some nutrients are for essentially AA-free wine or mead, and not beer. What I am saying is that brewers (especially all-grain brewers) should seriously consider whether or not they want to add AAs to their beer. What I am wondering is "what am I missing here?" Caveats: 1. We are told that extract often is nutrient-deficient, and may require AA additions. 2. Lack of nutrients can be a growth-limiting factor for yeast, and lead to higher ester levels or even incomplete attenuation. So there has to be a balance. But the results seem to apply to all-grain beer over a wide range of conditions. Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 10:05:02 -0700 From: "Mike Racette" <mike.racette at hydro-gardens.com> Subject: re: compost Glyn asks why his spent grain compost stinks. I don't think the moisture content is a problem, although things can sometimes be too wet in which case the aeration you are doing should help. The more likely culprit is that your C:N ratio is off. Ideally you want compost at about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen and spent grains are about 15:1. Try adding some dried leaves or even a little shredded paper or sawdust to up the carbon a bit. Dried leaves would be better because paper products are very high in carbon and can slow things down if you add too much. Do a search for C:N ratio and find some charts or calculators to help find the right amount of materials to add. Most of these won't have spent grains or brewery wastes, but you can choose something else that's about 15:1 to use in the calculations. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 20:14:11 +0100 From: "Fredrik" <carlsbergerensis at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: diacetyl anyone ? Hello again folks, > Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 08:36:11 -0500 > From: "steve.alexander" <steve-alexander at adelphia.net> > Subject: diacetyl anyone ? > > Chad Stevens & /Fredrik discuss the VDK vs ferment temp issue > which I have doubts about. Here's an outline for the viewers at home: Since I agree with what Steve writes maybe there was a misunderstanding on my side after all like I suspected initially: My comment referencing to Chad's "cold start & free rise" which I interpreted as containing a "warmer than normal finish= free rise" which was the focus of my comment, and here we seem to agree? I assume that was that Chad meant? Wether the "cold start" factor alone, set asid the later part would increase or decrease diacetyl/AAL was not the main subject of my comments. If this was the "point" I agree with Steve that things are at least less obvious. > >The way I > >understand that part, the diacetyl production is related > >to the amino acid uptake sequence and the > >amino acid balance vs de novo synthesis pathways. And > >as long as high preference (group A) amino sources are available > >the inhouse biosynthesis of valine and leucine > >stimulate acetolactate production. > > > > > I see that high levels of valine & isoleucine (class B aminos) also > prevents > AAL production (and alpha-acetohydroxbutarate/2,3pentanedione for > isoleucine). Yes, this is consistent with the way I currently view it too. Group A amino acids prevent utilization of external valine by some kind of mechanism of nitrogen catabolite repression. Much like glucose inhibits utilization of maltose. Thus, yeast grows on group A aminos until they start to get depleted, and during this time, it has to make the needed valine from scratch, and here AAL is an intermediate that leaks into wort. So the larger amount of repressive nitrogen sources that are present in the wort, the longer will valine synthesis be maintained, and the longer will AAL have the opportunity to leak out into the beer. I'm just speculating here, but I'd suspect that for example adding DAP to wort at the beginning would postpone valine utilization and possibly postpone the occurance of the AAL peaks, and unless the finish is slowed down accordingly there seems to be a risk for higher residual AAL in the beer. When group A aminos are depleted, it will start to utilize valine. This will repress/stop the inhouse biosynthesis of valine. Growth continues, but if the valine is prematurely depleted, yeast will resume inhouse valine synthesis and thus again start to produce, and leak more AAL. This may at worst give rise to a second AAL/diacetyl peak, or at least slow down the reduction, depending on the timings. So this is the logic I see that low valine levels may cause elevated diacetyl because low valine levels means the period of repression of valine synthesis is shorter. Also I guess there is a time factor on the reduction, in that a "slower finish" rather than a nose-dive may allow for more reduction of diacetyl due to the time factor involved. To me these farily simple speculated mechanisms seem to account at least for what I have read and know about diacetyl. It could explain the basic mechanisms of production, and reduction, as well as appearance of secondary diacetyl peaks, and how that would depend on the amount of group A aminos AND the amount of valine, and maybe even the total amount of nitrogen, in particular the case where valine is depleted very early. Varying the circumstances, I can imagine how these simple mechanisms explain the basic diacetyl dynamics that have been reported. This inludes double peaks, or post fermentation peaks, or even the seemingly contradictory result that sometimes lower valine levels give less diacetyl. (If my memory is correct I read this, there was in one case where there was a certain valine level that gave the maximum amount of diacetyl. Somewhat odd, and while I didn't spend too much energy on that I think this could be explain by accounting for the joint dynamics here. It is easy to imagine how the AAL and diacetyl profiles look like, by imagining how the growth profile looks like, and then imagine how AAL synthesis is regulated along the timeline. Some checkpoints are end of repression of valine synthesis, by assumption due to depletion of group A aminos. The other checkpoint is depletion of valine (if it happens before EOF). In parallell to this, one would have the external oxidation of AAL to diacetyl, as well as the reabsorbtion and reduction of diacetyl, this possibly also depends on some redox accounting in the the cell. The basic dynamic phenomena can be understood _to principle_ by a very simple mathematical model. The hard part is the accuracy, which translates to the intricate balancing and regulation acts of the cell. Often the lack of accuracy in a system with complex dynamics blurs everything up to the point where even the principal behaviour is hard to see. I don't have any decent simulations at hand at the moment, but I drew this by hand :-| http://hem.bredband.net/frerad/beer/modelling/pictures/diac.jpg The scales are probably a bit unrelaistics but it illustrates the three sections to it's principle, the y-scale means nothing. 1) AAL production during group A amino assimilation (valine bios. repressed) 2) no/low AAL production during valine uptake 3) valine depleted, hints of a second peak may appear ( I wish I had done some more progress on the model, but eventually I hope to be able to pull all kinds of nice simulations out of it. Right now, the major thing I'm working on is how to be able to manage this complex thing into a flexible framework.I want to do it properly from the beginning and hardcode as little as possible. At first I though that I'd just hardcode all the equations, but it didn't took too long until I realised it was madness. I am currently updating my understanding on gene transcription to see how I can condense that into a simple and generic regulatory mathematical model that I can exploit in a systematic way. Or if I have to go that deep at all. I had hoped not, but I don't know yet.) > >But set aside other more complex possibilities, they way > >this is currently encoded in my head the > >non-enzymatic oxidation of alpha-acetolactate > >to diacetyl outside the cell is favoured by a higher temperature. > >And this step seems to be the bottleneck > >(which is probably why diacetyl sometimes tend to > >appear again out of nowhere in keg or bottle), so the sooner > >all the "potential diacetyl" (alpha-acetolactate) is converted to > >free diacetyl, the sooner can it be reassimilated and reduced > >by yeast to acetoin and butandiol. > > > > > This makes sense and argues that a warmer ferment (or at least a VDK rest) > favors the VDK removal. > > Yeah something is amiss here. Perhaps the cold really radically > reduces AAL > production for reasons not explained here. As Fredrik says it is a > complex > issue with many competing effects adding to the whole. It just looks > wrong to > me. My comments was fuzzy, as I explained above my main arguments was on the warm finish (free rise), not the cold start. Who knows, perhaps the cold start and reduces a too aggressive upregulation of aminoacid pipelines and thus implies a lower AAL pressure and leakage? Also, as per some general mechanism of "passive membrane diffusion", it's supposedly disfavoured by lower temperature, so perhaps the temperature and growth rate may have an impact on reducing the AAL leakage? But I agree that these are wild speculations and I'm sure you could come up with speculations in the opposite direction as well if you want to. /Fredrik Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 12:50:40 -0800 From: "Steve Dale-Johnson" <sdalejohnson at hotmail.com> Subject: spiked ale, Het Pint.... AleX, I don't know what tradition this might relate to, but I stumbled on this as a fix to a cream ale that finished too sweet for my tastes (but stable) and was a bit bland, and improved vastly with a shot of scotch (don't worry, I use the cheap blends for this task). I like to call it my "Scottish Cream Ale". I have since found that my big (1.070) wheat beer made using a big starter of wy3056 but finshing at 1.012 is much improved with a bit of Alberta rye, the spice goes very well with the spicy notes in the wheat yeast and makes the beer much drier on the palate. It should be noted that I *only* try this stunt at home, and when I don't need to go anywhere or be coherent for awhile.... Cheers... Steve Dale-Johnson Brewing at 1918 miles, 298 degrees Rennerian Delta (Vancouver), BC, Canada. Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 17:14:05 -0500 From: Alexandre Enkerli <enkerli at gmail.com> Subject: Hogmanay Het Pint? Hmmm... Was listening to the EatFeed.com podcast and they mentioned an ale drink served at First Footing for Hogmanay. It was called a "het pint" and was a mixed drink of ale, nutmeg, and whisky. (Online recipes seem to include eggs too.) Now, we're way passed the Kwanza/Hanukkah/Hogmanay/Christmas Holiday Season, and it's a beer drink instead of a beer style, but did any here experiment with something similar to this? Couldn't find anything in the archives about it. Cheers! Alexandre (aka Ale-X), in Montreal [555.1km, 62.8] Apparent Rennerian http://enkerli.wordpress.com/ Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 17:10:05 -0600 From: Bill Velek <billvelek at alltel.net> Subject: Anyone using a "heat pipe" to cool fermenter? How about a peltier I've been kicking an idea around for awhile and did a google-search but couldn't find anything directly on point. A recent post about peltier devices made me think about this again. What about coupling a peltier with a heatpipe? For those who don't know, a 'heat pipe' is a very simple device with no moving parts and requiring no power, but which helps transfer heat from one place to another. In its simplest form, it would be a length of straight copper pipe sealed at both ends, partially filled with alcohol or freon or some other liquid to act as a refrigerant. To cool a carboy, it would be inserted into the neck of the carboy and extend from the bottom and protrude through the neck for some distance -- perhaps a foot (30cm) or a bit more. The liquid refrigerant (alcohol, freon, or whatever) pools at the bottom of the pipe, picks up heat from the fermenting wort which causes some of the refrigerant to evaporate and rise to the top (into the part of pipe extending outside the carboy) where it condenses, releasing heat to the upper part of the pipe where it is dissipated into the air, and the condensed refrigerant runs back down the pipe into the lower portion within the carboy to repeat. The cycle is continuous so long as there is a temperature differential, helping move heat from the inside to the outside of the carboy. The thinnest gauge copper would be used to improve conductivity, and even convoluted pipe could be used to increase surface area and efficiency. By itself, I'm not sure a heatpipe would help very much because it can't cool below ambient temperature, and I can do better than that with a fan and evaporative cooling. But heatpipe performance should be improved immensely by adding a peltier device to the top portion of the pipe, and I think it would probably lower temps more than evaporative cooling, based on my readings. For those who don't know, a peltier device uses solid state electronics and a flow of direct current to move heat from one side to the other; an example is those ice chests which can be plugged into a car's cigarette lighter socket. Coupling a peltier to a heatpipe would also solve a couple of problems for people who want to use a peltier with a carboy: first, it solves the problem of how to connect to the carboy; second, it reaches to the center of the wort which is hardest to cool; third, because it runs up the center, convective currents should be uniformly distributed within the fermenter for greater efficiency and uniformity of temperature. The pipe would be easy to sanitize and since it isn't permanently mounted, the whole thing could easily be moved to other fermenters such as a bucket or a conical, if they have a sufficient opening in their lids. A thermostatic coupling for the peltier could run along the side of the pipe, thereby measuring temp at the center of the fermenter to regulate the peltier. There are some downsides, but nothing significant in my mind. First, you won't be able to use a Burton Union on your carboy, but I don't know anyone who does anyway, even though they are available. Second, you won't be able to use a blow off tube or a conventional airlock. How bad is that? Well, if properly designed, the heatpipe should act as an airlock itself. If the pipe has a flange or is widened at the point where it enters the fermenter so that the weight of the pipe rests on a sanitized rubber gasket between it and the lid or carboy neck, I think it will provide a sufficient seal. Pressure inside the fermenter would merely lift the entire pipe and peltier device just enough to release CO2, and whenever it vents in that way, the positive pressure inside the fermenter should prevent oxygen and contaminants from entering. Would that create too much pressure inside the fermenter, risking an explosion of the carboy? Most of the weight of the portion of the pipe which is submerged in wort would be offset by buoyancy; in fact, depending upon the gauge of the pipe and how much it is filled with refrigerant, that portion of the pipe might even have a positive buoyancy. That leaves the portion of pipe extending above the level of wort, plus the weight of the peltier, heat sink (if any), and fan. I've tried to find some weight specifications to use as examples, but unfortunately haven't found any yet. But some of these devices that are available are mounted on CPUs inside computers, and don't look like they could weigh much more than a pound -- but let's use 3 pounds (1.36kg) as an example and as an upper limit of total negative buoyancy, i.e., the weight on the gasket at the carboy neck or lid. The inside diameter of the neck on my carboys is about one and an eighth inches (2.86cm), for a surface area of .994 square inches (6.41 square cm) -- "close enough for government work" to call one square inch. Assuming three pounds of weight on that one square inch, it would require 3 psi to break the seal, causing a pressure of 3psi throughout the carboy. I tried to research whether that was too much or not, and couldn't find an answer; I did find this thread -- http://tinyurl.com/fvned -- which was inconclusive. But assuming that 3psi is not too much, the pipe and peltier should cause a good seal. Now, another bad downside with not being able to use a blow off tube is that, with a really vigorous fermentation, each time the seal is momentarily broken to vent pressure, we're likely to have some kraeusen squirt out; this can at least be deflected downward by adding to the heatpipe a small sleeve which overhangs the neck of the carboy, but then we would still have a mess with kraeusen running down the sides of the carboy -- although it could be set inside a small pan or tub to minimize the mess. However, if the heatpipe and peltier are successful in holding the temp of the wort down to a nice low temp of, let's say, 64F/18C, will fermentations really be that vigorous? I don't know because I've never been able to ferment that low; I've had some pretty violent fermentations, but I've seldom been able to keep my temp down below 70F/21C. With lower temps, fermentations will be slower, but I don't know how slow. This is just some thinking on my part; I've never attempted any of this and don't know if it would work or not. Seems to me like it would, and I'd love for some of the more knowledgeable engineering types here to comment on this. If anyone thinks they can make this work and market it, you have my permission; just send me a 'beta' unit to try out. ;-) Also, if anyone tries this, please let me know how it works out. I might give it a try myself, but I'll need to find out a lot more about how to make the heat pipe -- how much liquid to put in it, etc. But there's no sense in even trying if calculations say it won't work. I'm posting this to a lot of forums to try to get as many responses as possible. Also, I'm sorry this is so long; I hope you folks don't mind. Thanks. Cheers, Bill Velek Join "HomeBrewers" international grid-computing team and help mankind by donating spare computer power for medical research such as cancer; we're in the top 8%, and we beat the MillerTime team: http://tinyurl.com/b7ofs The life that your computer can help save ... might be someone you love. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 18:21:20 -0500 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: Koln water ? In an offline discussion with John Peed, he notes the BJCP style guidelines describe 6c.Kolsch ingredients with the phrase, "Extremely soft water", yet every Koln/Cologne water analysis I've seen including a recent one from the regional water authority shows the water with 160ppm hardness as CaCO3. Koln water is clearly hard or medium hard. What is wrong with this picture ? cc: Al Korzonas -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 18:56:31 -0500 From: "David Houseman" <david.houseman at verizon.net> Subject: Update Your BJCP Email Address Judges, Why did you join the BJCP? It was a lot of work studying for and taking the exam. Yet MANY of you are not keeping your contact information up to date with the BJCP. As we've announced previously, we are no longer making snail mailings to judges. The form of contact by the BJCP is email. This is also true of most competitions. I just sent email to all the judges in the NE region for the AHA 1st Round competition in Philadelphia and I got a couple dozen failed email addresses and that doesn't count those that already didn't have an email address on record. So you changed ISPs, moved, changed jobs or graduated; your old email account is no longer valid. Without a valid email contact for you many competitions cannot contact you to judge and the BJCP itself cannot contact you about any BJCP business. Want to be notified when there are competitions in your area? When there are exams to be given? Want to know about elections or other BJCP business? Please go on-line to the BJCP web site and update your personal contact information. David Houseman BJCP Competition Director Return to table of contents
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