HOMEBREW Digest #4988 Wed 05 April 2006

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  Re: Propane stove safety (Scott Alfter)
  Re: HERMS controller ("Greg 'groggy' Lehey")
  CO2 volumes in fermentor (Fred L Johnson)
  Controllers ("A.J deLange")
  RE:Campden/sodium metabisulfite as time saving/2 day brewing aid? ("Andrew Jepeal")
  Leave the campden to the vintners ("Brian Pic")
  Re: MHTG 19th Annual Big & Huge Homebrew Competition (Jeff Renner)
  RE: Campden/sodium metabisulfite as time saving/2 day brewing aid (wilkreed)
  thermometers and propane ("Brian Pic")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 04 Apr 2006 19:40:50 -0700 From: Scott Alfter <scott at alfter.us> Subject: Re: Propane stove safety tpunk at riseup.net wrote: > Does anyone have a different set up that produces a good enough flame to > make ten gallon batches (i'm looking ahead) or any suggestions on how to > avoid propane? You could go electric: http://alfter.us/heatstick/heatstick/ With no garage, your situation sounds similar to mine. Brewing indoors in the summer is a nice capability to have, especially here in Las Vegas. If you're thinking of doing 10-gallon batches, I'd replace the 1.5-kW heater elements with 2-kW elements, replace the 15-amp GFCI outlets and switches with 20-amp types, upsize the 14-gauge wiring to 12-gauge and the 10-gauge to 8-gauge, and run the whole works on a 240V 50A circuit. You'd probably want to build four heatsticks instead of three, too. The feasibility of all this does depend somewhat on easy access to power. Electric stoves sit on 240V 50A circuits, but getting to that outlet might not be the easiest thing in the world. I use the 240V 30A circuit that was installed for my clothes dryer; it's located in an easily accessible location. If you're handy with electrical wiring, you could just put in an outlet wherever you want it; if not, hiring someone else to do the job could get expensive. _/_ Scott Alfter / v \ Visit the SNAFU website today! (IIGS( http://snafu.alfter.us/ Top-posting! \_^_/ rm -rf /bin/laden >What's the most annoying thing on Usenet? Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 12:53:12 +0930 From: "Greg 'groggy' Lehey" <grog at lemis.com> Subject: Re: HERMS controller On Tuesday, 4 April 2006 at 8:04:21 -0700, John Peed wrote: > > Ben asks about a controller with triac outputs. Triacs switch AC, so > that's fine as long as you can find an external relay (or relays, solid > state or otherwise) that can handle 50 amps at 220 volts and can switch > AC with an AC control signal. OK, so it's more like 40 amps, but you > need a little headroom. I'm a little confused here. I thought the triacs replaced the relays. If you still need the relays, what use are the triacs? Greg - -- Finger grog at lemis.com for PGP public key. See complete headers for address and phone numbers. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 07:49:26 -0400 From: Fred L Johnson <FLJohnson52 at nc.rr.com> Subject: CO2 volumes in fermentor If one is bottling a beer from the fermentor and one must calculate how much sugar to prime with, the volume of CO2 in the beer is not zero unless one degasses the beer before bottling. To prime the beer with the appropriate amount of sugar to achieve the proper carbonation levels, one must know how much CO2 is in the beer at the time of bottling. How much CO2 (volumes) are typically held in a beer that has just finished fermenting under an air lock at 68 degrees F? At 45 degrees F? After lagering at 32 degrees F for several weeks? Fred L Johnson Apex, North Carolina, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 12:08:17 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Controllers WRT the thread on PID controllers: "Triac output" could mean two things. One is that the controller contains a triac which is fired when output is on. Or, and this is more likely, it means that the output is capable of controlling a triac or other solid state relay. It's important to understand which it is. If it is really a triac it is capable of controlling an AC (or DC for that matter) load. If it means the latter then the signal will be a low voltage DC level and application of AC to it will destroy it immediately. This is probably the case and the specs for the controller should make it clear i.e. they should indicate that the output is TTL level capable of sourcing X ma or that it is 5 VDC at X ma or something like that. This type of output is usually labeled as an SSR output because that's what it is typically used for. If, OTOH, the device really contains a triac there should be specs about things like maximum AC voltage, peak inverse voltage, rms voltage, maximum current and so on. So be careful. I once put a 24VAC control transformer on what I thought was an EMR (relay) output on a controller but it was acutally a 4-20ma with smoke in it. When I turned on the 24V all the smoke came out. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 08:21:03 -0400 From: "Andrew Jepeal" <jep_62 at hotmail.com> Subject: RE:Campden/sodium metabisulfite as time saving/2 day brewing aid? Brian asks a lot of questions about metabisulfite. I 'll see if I can answer some of them. >These are apparently the same product vintner's use to 'sulfite' their >musts/barrels, etc.. On the product descriptions there is talk of it >inhibiting bacteria and wild yeasts. But, it would also inhibit brewing >yeasts, correct? It does not inhibit wine yeast at levels typical used in wine. I once asked a yeast manufacturer if they had conducted any tests with brewing yeasts but they had not. >If not, it would probably be SOP to add to every batch. Or, perhaps it's >not used more often just in the interests of purity and in recognition of >the fact that some people are (I think) allergic to sulfites. A very, very small percentage of people are allergic to sulfites. One test for this is dried fruit. Dried fruit (even raisins) contain much higher levels of sulfites than wine. >Also, if I were not able to chill the runnings, that would also increase >the chances of significant bacterial growth and getting off flavors evenif >the wort is boiled later. >Might the campden tablets help? No. The pH of beer is usually not sufficient for the sulfites to be effective unless a very high level is used, which will strongly effect taste and could cause a reaction in people that aren't allergic. This is not recommended. >But, just how effective is sodium metabisulfite at sanitizing, >compared to iodophor, etc...? Very effective, but as a surface sanitizer for equipment, not as an additive to your beer. Used as a sanitizing solution (like Idophor is), the sulfite solution is used at a higher concentration than is used in wine and the pH of the solution is dropped by adding some acid. >Would I need to add 1 tablet per gallon as vintners do? Wouldn't be anywhere close to enough considering the pH of the beer. >The standard rate of 1 tablet per 20 gallons would probably only be enough >for de-clorination, and no sanitation, correct? Correct. De-chlorination and maybe a little protection from oxidation. >If it is evaporating, will it come out of solution even in a carboy with a >airlock, or would I need to stir it a lot (gently!) in an open bucket, >etc... No, it won't really come out in a carboy, but it will bind with other substances in the beer so over time there is very little free SO2 left. But, why worry about removing it. It's perfectly safe in the levels we use in brewing. >If I were to add it after the boil, but a day before pitching, is that >going to stunt the yeast when I do have the opportunity to pitch? With wine yeast, you can pitch right after adding the sulfites. With brewing yeast, we just don't know but since the sulfite won't be very effective at beer pH, the yeast probably wouldn't even blink. >If I were to add it 2-3 days before pitching, and then seal it in a >sanitized carboy, >is that going to be effective enough to keep it fresh, and not develop off >flavors? No. If this works for you, it won't be because of the sulfite. >If I just use it to treat the cloramine, then can I be sure it's all driven >off with >the boil, or should I let it sit for a day or two before brewing? We use such a low level of sulfite for this, we really don't care if it's boiled off. It won't harm the brewing yeast or anyone drinking the beer. Andy Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 09:17:06 -0400 From: "Brian Pic" <bpicke at gmail.com> Subject: Leave the campden to the vintners OK, I believe the consensus is to leave the campden 'sanitation' to the vintners. I bought them for cloramine removal anyhow. It seems strange to me that wine makers don't seem to have to worry about sanitation, without even a boil, but maybe wort is just a much better target for bacteria than must. Then again, I have no real knowledge of wine making. I will try the split brew session, and I have a 10 gallon Gott cooler, so it should be no problem to do an overnight mash. Thanks, - --Brian Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 09:19:20 -0400 From: Jeff Renner <jsrenner at umich.edu> Subject: Re: MHTG 19th Annual Big & Huge Homebrew Competition Eric Schoville <eric at schoville.com> wrote from Madison: > Categories: > Big Ale (Original Specific Gravity: 1.050 to 1.060) > Big Lager (1.050 to 1.060) > Huge Ale (>1.060) > Huge Lager (>1.060) > CMS (Ciders, Meads & Sakes) (>1.050) This venerable (19th annual) competition gives us an interesting glimpse into homebrewing before the microbrewing and homebrewing revolution. Some of us graybeards remember those historic times first hand. And the point is, a beer over 1.050 was considered big, and over 1.060 was considered huge, and worth having a special competition for. Implicitly, less than 1.050 was considered normal. This was due in part, I think, to the fact that our information on homebrewing came from the Brits, and an ale of 1.040 is on the strong side of normal there. Then came the revolution, and bigger became better. No doubt because of of the desire of brewers, most of whom had been homebrewers, to make something as completely different from yellow, fizzy American beer as possible. That meant lots of concentrated flavor, and the resulting beer was often dark, bitter, and strong. And they wanted to give their customers their money's worth, and it doesn't cost that much more to make a 1.055 beer than a 1.045 one when you consider all of the costs. If you look at the typical micro or brewpub's lineup of beers, the are nearly all over 1.050, especially the flagship beers, and many of them are over 1.060 ("huge"), but are marketed as not especially strong. These are just too strong to drink much of. For two typical examples, see http://www.bellsbeer.com/brands.asp http://www.sierranevada.com/beers/paleale.html These are all fine beers, but where are the moderate alcohol ones? I wrote to this subject a couple of years ago here http://www.hbd.org/ hbd/archive/4466.html#4466-17, and turned this post into a short essay for "Zymurgy" entitled "In Praise of Session Beers," which ran as a sidebar to an article on session beers by Fred Eckhart. A few months later, Charlie Papazian wrote an editorial in "New Brewer" magazine (the professional craftbrewing magazine) also encouraging the brewing of lower alcohol, session beers. As Charlie wrote, maybe it's because as we get older we don't recover from large intakes of alcohol as well as we did when we were younger, or maybe we've gained perspective with age and can appreciate the subtleties in life. But regardless, I thinkwe've come to realize that more or bigger isn't always better. Jeff - --- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, jsrennerATumichDOTedu "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 10:12:21 -0400 From: wilkreed at netscape.net Subject: RE: Campden/sodium metabisulfite as time saving/2 day brewing aid Brian asks, "But, just how effective is sodium metabisulfite at sanitizing, compared to iodophor, etc...?" I have an alternate proposal to using Campden or Metabisulfite. Use a short wave UV light to sterilized the wort. Although I have not used this device in this context, I have used it as an alternative to Campden and Metabisulfite in my cider production. When making cider, I first run the pre-fermented juice through a short wave UV light tube into the fermenter and then, after I reach my target final gravity, I run the cider through again to arrest fermentation and avoid a dry cider. This works great and I suspect it could also be used to kill any nasties in your wort if you need to let it sit after sparage before the boil. You can get a nice shortwave UV tube at most pet stores for about $100.00, as they are used to kill off bacteria, yeast and spores in ponds and aquariums. I envision running your wort from the mash/lauter tun through the UV light into your kettle or some other sealed holding tank. That should kill off the bacteria allowing you to boil the next day. Let us know if that works. Wil Reed Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2006 16:07:25 -0400 From: "Brian Pic" <bpicke at gmail.com> Subject: thermometers and propane Tim McMahon asked about thermometer calibration and about using propane in the house. I'm sure a lot of people will caution you against using propane in the house, and you mentioned how dangerous that is. I remember a lot of brewers posting about converting standard propane stoves for use on natural gas, so you might want to check the archives or the web for that. IIRC, you bore out the holes a bit as it is lower pressure, and there were a lot of details on exactly what size to bore. You probably need some extra ventilation with that too though, since you would be using a lot more natural gas than you would on the stove. A carbon monoxide detector is a really good idea anytime you are brewing indoors with any type of gas. Even if you had a garage, they are not necessarily ideal to brew in--I would rather be outside if it's warm enough. I have a casement window in my garage which works pretty well for ventilation--there is almost always a breeze going by the window, I just open whichever side will cause the window to draw air--works for me when it's too cold out to brew on the patio. As for thermometers, you might try a photo grade one. Photo processing (what's left of it) is very temp dependent and you can get a very good quality thermometer at a reasonable price. They are normally calibrated near 106F e.g. for processing ektacrome slides and such--not that far from mashing range. You might not want a used one, but if it's glass, it should clean up OK. You definitely want a thermometer with a range well below those used in ovens, etc... What the other posters said about calibrating your thermometers was right on. I have a photo grade one that I use to calibrate my bimetal ones every once in awhile, or if I have a question about the accuracy of the bimetal ones. - --Brian Return to table of contents
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