HOMEBREW Digest #5352 Mon 23 June 2008

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  Fast Ferment Test ("steve.alexander")
  Berliner Weisse ("Thomas Rohner")
  Campden Tablets ("A.J deLange")
  Berliner Weisse (rgriller)
  Re: Plain text ("Michael P. Thompson")
  participation ("Jerry \"Beaver\" Pelt")
  HCCP Competition Software Update ("Alan Folsom")
  Re: I Miss My Homebrew Digest ("Dave Larsen")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 05:51:42 -0400 From: "steve.alexander" <-s at roadrunner.com> Subject: Fast Ferment Test Kai Troester says ... > I have been using the a fast ferment test for a while to determine > the limit ..... > Is this test known among American home brewers and was determined to be > unreliable or to much work? Why don't we teach new brewers this test? > I would have at least expected it in more technical home brewing literature. > Kai, Your "fast" fermentation test is better known both to amateurs and in the English Sci literature as a FORCED fermentation test (aka FFT) and has been discussed on this forum for well over a decade. I recall having long "discussions" on this forum with others, Louis Bonham and Dave Burley about FFT - whether it's valid to use another yeast like the champagne yeast and where we could obtain the "EBC tall tube" glassware used for the formal version of FFT. Forced fermentation tests are mentioned in George Fix's last two brewing books, including an explanation in AoBT. It's mentioned in John Palmer's "How to Brew". It was certainly mentioned liberally in the (defunct) "Brewing Techniques" magazine and I would be surprised if it doesn't appear on an irregular basis in the less technical Zymurgy. FFT should be known to amateur HBers with a technical bent. So if you ran even a small microbrewery an FFT tests would make a lot of sense. - It's a reasonably simple QA technique - It costs only a few liters of wort - It can tip you off to issues wort QA problems, oxygenation problems and yeast health problems. For an HBer the downside is .... - It's only reasonably simple - It costs several liters of wort (from a very small run) - It tips you off to potential yeast & wort QA problems that you have little means to control. So let's consider the test, it's difficulties and value. The simple FFT described by Kunze requires adding 3gm of dried yeast to 0.3L of filtered work and this is allowed to ferment for taking hydrometer readings from day 2 until stable at a temperature controlled 25C/77F. A/ Dried yeast costs HBers money. Using slurry means potential problems with viability and errors in the gravity. B/ Few have a temp controlled setting, so the results are l a little more dubious. C/ Kunze's method isn't realistic for HBers in one important regard. YOU CANNOT make an accurate hydrometer reading without degassing the sample ! Perhaps Kunze is using a digital density meter, but HBers can't reasonably own one, so you must pull a ~0.3L sample, degas, test and toss - you'll need more like a 1.5L sample+15gm dried yeast or else patience and prayer that the FFT is finished and perform one degas+reading. Chas Bamforth in "Standards of Brewing" (QA book for commercial brewing) suggests a basic commercial test schedule where attenuation parameters are only measured monthly ! Commercial methods and temps & yeast are relatively consistent and don't require detailed monitoring. HB is of course very different - every batch has some difference in mash time & temp and yeast quality varies all over the map. Oxygenation is variable. We expect greater variability from our simpler process. I've railed against hydrometers at length on HBD - they are crude tools and difficult to use properly. The $5 ones from your HB shop are uselessly inaccurate. Lab ones (and you'll need a pair) are ~$25/ea and gain you 0.5dSG resolution but probably less accuracy. The samples must be carefully degassed and you absolutely need measure temperature for each test and correct for temp. Then there is the matter of reading through a meniscus. Of course you'll probably need to pull, degas, test & measure several samples and for a tall lab hydrometer with good resolution you are ruining ~0.4L of beer per test. None are worth the trouble unless you calibrate the hydrometer and thermometer. Hydrometers chomp ! So what are we measuring ? As we mash to vary the wort properties over a range of perhaps 63% apparent attenuation(AA), very dextrinous, to 82% AA, very highly attenuated we are changing the amount of carbohydrates that UNfermentable. The difference over this range means that the dextrinous wort has about 17% more of the original extract remaining as dextrins. The very well attenuated beer has about 33% REAL residual extract and the dextrinous beer about 50% RE ! That's about as wide a range as we normally see. Of course our concern is that there are residual fermentables left in the 'beer' along with unfermentables. An FFT test will generally indicate this. My personal take is that except for odd cases (like that home malted triticale+buckwheat grist) a modestly experienced HBer has a fairly good idea what sort of AA% to expect, say within 2 or possibly 3 degreesSG, or ~5%AA. For HB (and medicine too) one should never perform a test that does not result in an actionable outcome (not for beer production anyway - curiosity is another matter). If I performed an FFT and there were no special problems, like infection, and I found that my FFT sample attenuated by 1dSG or 2 dSG (SG diff of 0.001 or 0.002) more than my fermenter - what would I do ? Probably nothing , or perhaps I'd shake the CO2 out, and give it an extra day or two at an elevated temp. I' m not anxious to keg or bottle a beer in 6 days like a commercial brewery so the only issue I'd be concerned with is a seriously defective ferment that dropped early - and that is normally obvious. If the difference was 3 or more dSG I doubt I'd need a FFT to tell me. Anyway the action taken into address a difference in FFT AA% are pretty minimal compared to my normal processing. Only if the difference was large (therefore obvious w/o an FFT) would I ever build up a starter and repitch. That would take days and that's clearly a salvage effort - not ideal. So I'm not a fanboy for FFTs. It is a useful test to be aware of, and if you suspect but cannot detect a defective ferment one can always pull a sample from the fermenter and re-pitch dried yeast and try an FFT at that point. I don't have the time and wort to throw a half liter down the drain and do the calibrate, degas, measure cleanup dance several times for each brew. ==== Let me suggest an alternative. Cl*nitest (Clinitest). For ~20 cents and ~1ml of beer you can perform a test which measures the concentration of reducing ends (sugar aldehydes). In wort roughly speaking each carbohydrate molecule has one reducing end. When the fermentables are removed we expect a Clinitest reading ~0.25% (measured as glucose) or less for well attenuated beer, and in my experience event the most dextrinous beers are at or under 0.5% by Clinitest when finished. Clinitest is ideal for winemaking where there are very little unfermentable carbs, but it's still useful for testing an incomplete beer ferment. It seems that incomplete ferments often leave some maltotriose behind (esp unfermentative ale yeasts) and unfortunately 2dSG of residual maltotriose only adds about 0.17% the Clinitest reading. Small change. So you get a bit better resolution w/ hydrometers (lab hydrometer & proper technique) for the trailing end of fermentation, but the beer loss and trouble for an FFT is a bit much. (btw Clinistrips only measure glucose - not useful). -S Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 12:07:27 +0200 From: "Thomas Rohner" <t.rohner at bluewin.ch> Subject: Berliner Weisse Hi all i drank my first "Berliner Weisse" last year, when i was there for the first time. I intended to test the Waldmeister (woodruff) and the Himbeer (raspberry) version, but after i tested a pure one, i kept it that way... My SWMBO was there a couple years ago and she liked the woodruff version. But the sirup is added in the glass, so you can just adjust it to your taste. I would also like to make a berliner Weisse one day, but the lactos scared me off a bit. (Although we successfully make Sauerkraut for a couple of years now. It's a natural lacto fermentation as well. Natural means, it uses the culture residing on the veggies) It would be interesting, if there are successful "Berliner Weisse" brewers out there, to share their knowledge. Cheers Thomas Just finished my Wyeast 3068 series, 2x Weizen hell, a raspberry wheat and a Aventinus clone... Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 07:37:46 -0400 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Campden Tablets As we're looking for something (or things) to kickstart HBD again consider the following. On Saturday my local homebrew shop proprietor asked if I was the guy who started the Campden tablets for chloramine thing. I told him that I would like to take credit for that but that in fact someone in the UK had thought of it before I did. He then told me that everytime he has tried using them it has killed his yeast and that a customer has had similar experiences. I explained that if it's done right there should be a wee bit of excess sulfur dioxide in the treated water which should reduce something in the mash and if not fly off during the boil plus a little ammonium ion (yeast nutrient) and a little additional sulfate ion but I am, of course, interested and concerned as I have published the virtues of metabite far and wide over the years. So the reason for this post is to ask if anyone has had a similar experience or has heard of such a thing. A. J. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 10:01:48 -0400 (EDT) From: rgriller at chass.utoronto.ca Subject: Berliner Weisse Hi all, Like Fred, I've done one batch of Berliner Weisse (a beer I like very much and have drunk a fair amount of when in Berlin over the years). I made a starter just as he did and added it at the same time as the yeast. My beer never got very sour either, even though I left it for a very long time. It was my intention to make more batches and add the bacterial starter well in advance of the yeast to give it a head start when I next got a chance to make Berliner Weisse....sadly my brewing has slipped to once or twice a year and the chance hasn't yet arisen..... :( Robin Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 09:13:01 -0600 From: "Michael P. Thompson" <thompson at ecentral.com> Subject: Re: Plain text On Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2008 18:29:20 -0400 "Spencer W. Thomas" wrote: > One benefit of excluding all HTML from the HBD is that it > automatically > kicks out a lot of SPAM. Our further filtering catches a bunch of it, > but each message must be manually reviewed to keep the HBD as > spam-(almost)-free as it currently is. That load would be > increased if > we allowed HTML formatted messages. I'm not advocating HTML, I am fully convinced of the benefits of plain text. It's just that it took me three tries to get by the Automagical thingamajig, and I write all my messages in plain text. > > Maybe better technology would help. If you can supply such, please > volunteer to help out with it. My experience is limited but I use Mailman for a couple of lists, and it has a module that strips off multi-part messages and HTML, rather than making the user do it. Because virtually all modern e-mail programs default to formatted text, it's much more difficult to purposely send a plain-text message. Getting the mail server to do it has made my moderator job much easier. I'm also not saying the plain text requirement is the reason for falling participation on the list, but it may be one factor. - -- Doras Cuil Travel--Your one-stop travel source Do you like to travel? How about wholesale, AND tax-deductible? Ask me how. http://www.dorascuil.com Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 08:18:23 -0700 (PDT) From: "Jerry \"Beaver\" Pelt" <beaverplt at yahoo.com> Subject: participation JDL writes One word: Participate. Nothing builds enthusiasm like enthusiastic participation! OK, I'll start. I stepped into Austin Homebrew last weekend and confessed that, after about a 5 year hiatus from Beer Brewing, I wanted to make a beer batch again! Not that I haven't been brewing, I have. (Right now, about 50 gallons of wine, port, and mead on the shelf.) So. What to make? Here are the parameters: - DME or extract. No full mash. - 5 or 6 gal batch, bottle carbonated. - Wife doesn't want something too hoppy. IPA is out. - Wife doesn't want something too stout. Stout/Porter is out. - I want something yummy still! I was thinking something down the classic Ale line. Though, a serious barley wine occured to me to... :-) First, why not try a dopplebock? Not too hoppy or too stout. Although a nice summer ale would be good right now. Second. I'm a confessed lurker. It's only because I'm not that advanced of a brewer to participate in most discussions. I don't get too involved in the science of beer. I just enjoy the process and the results. I will try to become more involved, just don't beat me up when I ask dumb questions. Third, Who said making wine was heresy? I do both and enjoy drinking both. I also make flavored vodkas. HMMMMM, does that make me an alchoholic? Last. I find posting to HBD hard. If I exceed 80 characters in any one line, it's rejected. Is there a way around that? Jerry "Beaver" Pelt Near the former center of the brewing universe, Milwaukee, WI Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 12:12:10 -0400 From: "Alan Folsom" <alan at folsoms.net> Subject: HCCP Competition Software Update I would like to announce the latest release of HCCP, my homebrew competition software. Version 1.3 has been beta tested at a recent large (500+ entries) competion, and has a host of enhancements and corrections. These include: - Ability to import CSV as well as tab separated files - Ability to import/export Judge Likes/Dislikes - remembering the current round when switching between entry windows - Wrapping of the round assignment window where there are too many to fit - Corrections to allow auto-generation of entry numbers in all circumstances - wrapping of special ingredients on pull sheets - improved HTML output of results And a lot more that I don't remember - this has been in the works for several months. Also, this version corrects one potentially serious bug. In previous versions, if judges were assigned to a table and the table was moved between judging sessions, HCCP would attempt to move the judging assignments also. This could cause several different, but universally wrong, possibilities. Now the program clears judge assignments when moving a table from one judging session to another. I am also making available a very simple PHP package which provides online judge registration. It gets all necessary information from the judge, and stores it in a CSV file which can be directly imported into HCCP. All configuration information (logo, comp name, start time, etc) is set via a separate file, so those who do not wish to edit PHP don't have to. In the future I will be making a similar tool available for entry registration. All databases are backward compatible with previous versions. This means you can save your 'people' database, and not have to reenter information at the next contest. The HCCP homepage is: http://www.folsoms.net/hccp New documentation is: http://www.folsoms.net/hccp/hccp.pdf The new zip file is http://www.folsoms.net/hccp/hccp.zip The judge registration utility: http://www.folsoms.net/hccp/judges.zip I welcome any questions or feedback regarding HCCP. Al Folsom Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:14:07 -0700 From: "Dave Larsen" <hunahpu at gmail.com> Subject: Re: I Miss My Homebrew Digest > Part of the problem is that, like proverbial parent, HBD has > bred itself away from a seat at the table. Nowadays there > are so many home-brewing media, many of which are aimed at > the semi- and sub-literate (HTML-rich forums, and podcasts) > that plain ol' text gets lost in the glitz. > I subscribe to several of these in their digest and RSS > forms, and none of them compares to HBD in terms of quality > or S/N ratio. The podcasts in particular are wastes of > bandwith - ten minutes or more of yakking that, had it been > fed into a speech recognition engine, could have been > scanned in twenty seconds. > So long as posts like the recent ones by Steve Alexander and > by Sr. de Mesones continue to appear, there is little fear > that HBD will lose its real audience. > I think that podcasts have their place. Before Basic Brewing Radio or The Brewing Network, was there ever -- I mean ever -- a radio program dedicated to homebrewing? I think not. It is amazing that there is such a thing now. I don't think that new trends like podcasts or blogs or whatever are bad. I just don't want to see HBD go by the wayside as a result of it. HBD has been an institution since 1980s. That is saying something. I had forgotten how amazing the HBD was, until recently, when I was reading the archives to find something. Looking over the archives, it looks like the decline was gradual, since a peak in about 2003, but did not completely poop out until about two years ago. Since then, there have not been enough posts to generate a digest every day, and when it does, it might have one or two posts in them, four on a good day. I guess that I am nostalgic for the old days. It used to be if I had a question -- any question -- the first place I'd ask it was right here. It was instant gratification. Now, not so much. In some ways we've reverted. It is much harder to find a solution to brewing problems. Sure you can ask some other forum -- there are about a million -- or do a blog search, or call up your homebrew shop, but that is all hit or miss. It used to be the buck stopped here. If HBD couldn't answer your question then it could not be answered. All the experts were here. It was awesome. Dave Tucson, AZ http://hunahpu.blogspot.com/ Return to table of contents
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