HOMEBREW Digest #5049 Sun 27 August 2006

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  re: beer staling ("steve.alexander")
  Apple Beer Recipes ("Raymond T. Gaffield")
  Harvest Ale Questions ("Peter Garofalo")
  Beer's Law ("A.J deLange")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 18:44:50 -0400 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at adelphia.net> Subject: re: beer staling Aaron Martin Linder says ... Subject: beer staling >>I am currently trying to trace the source of some beer staling problems i >>seem to be having. >> >>Recently I changed the following parameters: >> -mash in an aluminum pot Aluminum is NOT an issue, except that you should NOT scrub the pot immediately before brewing. Free aluminum forms a hard glassy aluminum oxide which is ideal, but you can easily remove that nice oxide layer when you scrub with "green scrubbies" or an abrasive cleanser. It may take hours or even days for the oxide layer to re-form. So scrub after brewing if needed, rest the pot a few days and sponge it out before brewing. >> -use a batch sparge w/ initial mash-in, hot water addition for mashout, >>drain kettle, add hot water, and drain again. i get fairly clear wort, >>though a bit cloudier than using fly-sparging. The break & trub contain oils that can be readily oxidized and can produce bad flavor by-products. The trub is nice for yeast growth, but you want to separate it out early (secondary fermenter) - while the yeast are still active. >> -sanitize all equipment using star-san Not an issue IMO. >> -keg beers after having pushed out an entire keg's worth of star-san. >>rack through the beer out line/ pressurize to 40-45 psi overnight, adjust >>down to 2 psi to serve. That's a good procedure (blowing out a keg full of liquid to remove air) but still can't match bottle conditioning. Also be aware that keg gaskets can have minor leaks which will permit O2 in - even against a positive CO2 pressure gradient !! Test the kegs (measure pressure loss on an empty keg over 7-10 days). Keg gaskets are probably O2 permeable anyway, so kegging is not ideal for long-term storage. >> -i no longer use a secondary; i just rack after primary fermentation is >>complete. i've also racked for a few days at 45F to get a bit more yeast >>out. Technically you never NEED a secondary, but if your wort is a bit trubby or you have accumulated a significant layer of inactive yeast early-on, then it's a very good idea. Also note that you want to rack to the secondary while the yeast are still very active (maybe 36-72 hours), NOT then the bubbler is almost stopped. The quality of the yeast cake (for re-pitching) is generally much higher if you use a secondary too. >>In addition, i recently bottled a six pack to see if my kegging is the/a >>problem and found the bottled beer appears to be aging somewhat poorly as >>well, hard to tell if it is aging at the same rate or not yet. OK that part about the bottles aging poorly stumps me. I have at numerous times kegged and bottle conditioned the same beer, and after a reasonable conditioning period I have *always* found the bottle conditioned beer was superior in freshness in side-by-side tastings. Be aware that re-fermentation, whether done with a late krausen or a bottle conditioning phase has a positive impact on beer flavor. >>I've noticed a few of my light summer beers have started to darken a bit >>after a month in the keg. the last few glasses out of the keg are >>definitely darker and stale tasting. Any oxidation problem will be most evident in light summer beers. It's the ideal case for finding problems. Still, "definitely darker" after a month sounds like a bad gasket or fitting to me. If you are making a weizen, then the issue may be yeast autolysis. Some(many) weizen yeasts will autolyse shortly after fermentation ceases. The lack of a secondary also brings up the issue of increasing amounts of trub (w/ oxidized oils) and dead yeast (again autolysis). - --- If I were you I'd .... 1/ re-introduce the secondary. It may not be the source of trouble, but it eliminates one of the "too-many" changes, is easy to accomplish, and could improve your result. 2/ Test your kegs for leaks - even very slow leaks. 3/ Do more side-by-side bottle vs keg tests to see if the post fermentation processing is the culprit. - -- After you've investigated & solved the immediate problem, you may want to take a more active approach to eliminating oxidation and improving shelf life. You can add 2 or 3 crushed campden tablet to the mash (per 5 gallon batch). Campden tabs are used in winemaking. The sodium & potassium meta-bisufite are excellent anti-oxidants. They prevent a good deal of the mash & boil oxidation, and at this level have little or no impact on yeast health and beer flavor. The resulting beer will be lighter in color as the sulfite prevents phenolic oxidation and also melanoidin formation. The resulting beers tastes fresher and appears to me to improve shelf life considerably, but I don't have any side-by-side tests to demonstrate this. 2-3 campdens/5gal adds roughly 30-45ppm of sulphite per gallon, though a good fraction of that is lost to oxidation before is sees the fermenter. Sodium metabisulfite may have a tiny flavor advantage over potassium metabite, (the residual sodium ions vs potassium) but it's in the noise compared to the oxidation improvement. I would investigate other sources for your problem before adding campdens to your list of changed procedures. -S Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 14:10:49 +0200 From: "Raymond T. Gaffield" <raygaffield at mac.com> Subject: Apple Beer Recipes Hi, Any recipes or advice on making a simple Apple Ale ? Looking to use the genuine article in an all-grain batch. I would appreciate advice on the amount of apples to use. Via googling, I've seen ranges from 3lbs to 12lbs. How to add apples : Hoping to cut or mash apples and add to secondary. Probably safer to add at end of boil. Cheers, Ray Gaffield Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2006 14:39:12 -0400 From: "Peter Garofalo" <pgarofa1 at twcny.rr.com> Subject: Harvest Ale Questions I have just made 11 gallons of harvest ale, using this season's bumper crop of Liberty hop cones from my backyard. I'm not sure that it will come out as intended, and I wanted to pose a few questions to the collective. First off, I picked, vacuum sealed, and froze the hops (for less than a week), thawing them out before use. They smelled a bit like thawed frozen spinach when they were weighed out for use. I read that harvested hops are 75 % water, and they are typically dried to 10-12% for storage. It would therefore seem that a significantly larger amount of "raw" hops should be used. I admit to guessing completely with this beer, using somewhere between 2-3 time as much hops (by weight) as normal. For 11 gallons of 1.068 OG IPA, here is the hopping schedule: 5 ounces first wort hops 1 ounce at 60 minutes 9 ounces at 30 minutes 2 ounces at 5 minutes I like to emphasize hop flavor, and impart a smoother bitterness, which this schedule normally provides. Using the assumption that "as is," these were around 3 % AA, I figured around 50 IBU for this schedule. When the wort was run into the fermentors, it tasted much sweeter than 50 IBU would suggest, based on past brewing experience (over 200 batches). Not as much flavor as I would have expected, either. ;-( I realize that I may have over-estimated the AA % of the hops, so maybe this really won't quite make it as an IPA. Anyone else on this forum who has experience with harvest ales feel free to pass along your experience. I plan to make another next year... My next quandary is dry-hopping. Since raw hops have a more grassy aroma than dried hops, perhaps this is not a good idea. There is also a risk of infection, though I'm not sure normal hop processing reduces this risk. I have several more ounces on the vine (bine?) that should be ready when primary fermentation is done in a week or so. Any suggestions or past experience with dry hopping using raw hops would be greatly appreciated. Cheers, Pete Garofalo Syracuse, NY Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2006 00:16:44 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Beer's Law As a consequence of this thread and some offline questions from Fred Johnson I took the other bottle of Guiness I found in my cooler and ran absorbtion vs. dilution at 430 nm for dilutions of from 5%, 10%, 20% up to 100% (in 10% steps) beer in water (dilution factors of 20, 10, 5, 3.33, 2.5, 2 etc) . I used an 2 mm cuvet for all measurements thus keeping absorbtions below 1.000 which is surely in the linear range of the instrument. To my surprise the fit is quite linear and the set of SRMs calculated (mean 54.7) by scaling 2 mm to 1/2 inch (per ASBC MOA) and the dilution factor showed a standard deviation of only 3.2 SRM. Furthermore, if the 20x dilution factor measurement is thrown out the SD drops to 1.3 SRM (and the average to 53.8). Thus if it is not quite time to discard the assumption that beer does not follow Beer's law it is certainly time to question it! A.J. Return to table of contents
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