HOMEBREW Digest #51 Mon 16 January 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  cidery smell & plastic vs. glass (Jason Goldman)
  Errata (Andy Newman)
  Not about sugar (Dave Hollenbeck)
  Fish bladders, seaweed, etc (rdg)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 16 Jan 89 07:43:24 mst From: Jason Goldman <hp-lsd!jdg> Subject: cidery smell & plastic vs. glass Full-Name: Jason Goldman Well, I started my second batch this weekend. As an experiment, I decided to try starting my yeast the night before. I boiled 1/3 gallon of water with some malt extract and some sucrose. When everything cooled, I put the mini- wort into a gallon milk jug and pitched my (dry) yeast. I put an airlock on the jug and was pleased to see some bubbles within a couple of hours. The next morning, when I was getting ready to pitch my starter, I noticed a sort of off smell along with the strong yeasty smell. I think that this is the cidery effect that has been discussed here. I decide to pitch the starter in despite this smell and my beer is boiling nicely. I haven't noticed any off smell, so I think it was diluted enough. Next debate question: Glass carboys vs. plastic tanks. I bought my first kit from Williams and I got their 'system'. This includes 2 plastic 6 gallon containers (each with a spigot), a lid (with an airlock hole) and an airlock. For my second batch, I borrowed a friend's glass carboy and siphon pump. The Williams kit does not require a siphon due to the spigots. I played with the siphon pump before I started my beer and I decided that this was not as nice as the spigots. I haven't even gotten to the point of siphoning my beer into the priming tank for bottling and I think that I prefer the plastic. I think that if I were using a secondary fermentation step, I would probably use glass. Also, I know that plastic can get scratched and hold bacteria, but if the tank gets scratched, it is easy enough to make another one. Comments? Jason hp-lsd!jdg Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 89 09:17 EST From: Andy Newman <NEWMAN at Venus.YCC.Yale.Edu> Subject: Errata Greetings: I have a series of questions that have come up over the weekend. 1) I currently use those large (~7 gallon) plastic lidded buckets as primary fermenters. While they are generally adequate, the lids are damnably hard to remove and install without shaking the brew around a lot. It there anything more -- um -- professional that is available that maintains a good seal through, perhaps, a more precise manner? 2) My understanding of the use of gelatine as a fining agent is that it works in a purely mechanical fashion to remove the yeast from the liquid. Just how complete is this removal? Essentially, what I'm interested in is if I'm going to have any problem bottle conditioning my beer if I add gelatine 24 hours prior to racking them. 3) (Big question) I've recently become interested in trying my own mashing. Up until this point I've been making beer from various combinations of extract and adjuncts that already have undergone starch conversion. My local brew supplies store claims that "it's not worth the trouble...the beer kits are much better these days"...even if he's being truthful, I'd still like to try it. My two questions on this topic are: a) What equipment should I buy? What's mandatory, what's nice to have, and what's a total waste of money? b) What is the relative cost of, say, pale malt versus canned malte extract and DME? My supplier charges about 8 dollars for a can of low-brow extract (3.3-3.5 pounds) and the same 8 dollars for 4 pounds of DME. He doesn't stock quantities of unconverted malt. 4) I'm trying to track down a recipe for Oatmeal stout....I understand that there was one published in a back issue of Zymurgy that I haven't been able to track down...If someone has this recipe and would be willing to either post it or mail it to me I would be eternally grateful. 5) (Finally)...just a word of note/warning...I just finished bottling a batch last night (that's not the warning). I used two cases of empty Sam Smith bottles because they seemed rugged and looked attractive. I notice, however, one minor flaw with these bottles. The mechanical hand capper I have doesn't fit the neck of the bottle correctly. Specifically, the metal yoke that is designed to clamp all the way around the bottle doesn't make it. As a result, when you apply pressure to seal the cap, you are also attempting to constrict the neck of the bottle. I managed to crush the neck of a bottle this way. The class just completely pulverized and left me extract glass dust from my capper. I discovered that if you apply a small amount of pressure and then reposition the capper down slightly (after the cap has partially seated) for the final ooomph...it seems to reduce the risk notably. -long windedly your, Andy Newman Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 89 09:57:48 mst From: Dave Hollenbeck <dbh at hpesdbh> Subject: Not about sugar Not that the sugar stories aren't interesting, but how about some discussion about mashing? I've seen it said that the specialty grains (dark and crystal) don't need to be added during mashing - they can wait until the boil. I've also seen it said that the dark grains contribute to a proper pH level during the mash. Does anyone have any facts to share on this subject? My habit has been to always include all the grains during the mash, partly because I figured it was better for the wort, and partly because I don't want to waste volume in my boiling kettle for grain. I'd also be interested in hearing about time/temperature profiles that people think are good or bad. Happy brewing, Dave ("Relax? I can't get any more relaxed!") Hollenbeck Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 89 11:52:41 MST From: rdg at hpfcmi Subject: Fish bladders, seaweed, etc Full-Name: Rob Gardner There have been several mentions of finings (gelatin, etc) lately, so I thought I'd add my highly opinionated opinions. The process called fining is a good one to experiment with, but I think you'll find that you can make very clear beers without it. You should also know that gelatin is made from ground-up dead animals, so your vegetarian friends might not want to drink your beer ;-) Other fining agents include egg white, fish bladder extract, dirt, and mashed up seaweed. I wonder who first got the idea that these things would improve their beer! In all seriousness though, I would consider any fining agent to violate the "all-malt" creed, and its use is only to correct faults, and not to be put into your all-malt homebrew. How would you feel about adding some chemicals to your beer to improve head retention? Well, there are heading compounds you can buy and add to your beer, but I would classify them with fining agents, since they are not needed in an all-malt brew, only in worts with high sigar contents or other additives. Rob Return to table of contents
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