HOMEBREW Digest #538 Fri 16 November 1990

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Christmas recipe for naff beer wanted (jeremy)
  Re: Homebrew Digest #537 (November 14, 1990) (Bagel the Dough)
  Freshhops' address (Chris Shenton)
  media attention (Kevin L. McBride)
  stuff (Russ Gelinas)
  Re: Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout  (dbreiden)
  hop plugs (Bob Devine  14-Nov-1990 0939)
  RE: Using Oak Chips (Dave Resch)
  oak in beer (Bob Devine  14-Nov-1990 0943)
  Leaf hops (John Freeman)
  Ugh! Something's growing in my Beer! (Stuart Crawford)
  Mike Schrempp's mash questions (mcnally)
  More Recipes Please (Alan Edwards)
  Various, incl. more mead info ("FEINSTEIN")
  Re:  Usefulness of blow-off (John DeCarlo)
  partial mash (Victor J Bartash +1 201 957 5633)
  please add ACS_JAMES at JMUVAX1 to homebrew list (ACS_JAMES)
  mead yeast (Dick Dunn)
  Fermenting Temperatures (Alan Edwards)
  Keg equipment (sbsgrad)
  First All Grain (Mike Charlton)
  Mead recipe (Kevin Karplus)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 08:46:40 +0100 >From: jeremy at eik.ii.uib.no Subject: Christmas recipe for naff beer wanted Hi, It's been a considerable time since I've sat down to read my home-brew digest so I've missed a lot of traffic in the last year or so. If this subject has cropped up before, I apologise! Several months ago I made a batch of bitter (from a 'Geordie' kit, sorry, bit I'm cheat'n). When it was finished it didn't taste quite right - very malty, almost as if it should have fermented a bit more. It wasn't really palatable to drink, but is great in cooking. [Carols beer/cheese sauce: 250 g cheese (1/2lb) 1/2 pt beer (0.3 l) 2 tbs flour some garlic and fresh mustard big dob of marge (All measures approximate) Melt the marge in a pan, add the garlic and mustard. Put cheese and about 1/4 of the beer in the pan and warm gently until gooey. Add more beer until runny. Mix the flour with a small amount of beer to make a paste, stir this in to the mixture. Add more beer if its too thick. Keep stiring all the time, else the cheese will stick/burn. ] Anyway, last weekend we made another sauce and tasted the beer 'just to see'. It was *almost* drinkable, but not quite - so my question to the readers of this digest is does anyone have a kind of beer-punch type recipe that I could use for the Christmas doo that we'll be having next month ? - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeremy Cook .----. Parallel Processing Laboratory / / / / / University of Bergen / / / / / Thormoehlensgate 55 /----' .----. .----. .----. / / .----. /----. N-5008 Bergen / _____/ / _____/ / / _____/ / / Norway / (____/ / (____/ / / (____/ (____/ - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- email : jeremy at eik.ii.uib.no | "My other computer is a MasPar MP1208" phone : +47 5 54 41 74 (direct) | fax : +47 5 54 41 99 | - ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 1990 21:31:34 -0500 >From: rda233b at monu6.cc.monash.edu.au (Bagel the Dough) Subject: Re: Homebrew Digest #537 (November 14, 1990) Could you mplease change the mailing address of rda233b at monu6.monash.cc.edu.au to vac217z at monu6.monash.cc.edu.au The old account is due to be deleted in 2 weeks and as such I need to have the address changed to my new account. Thanks Yours sincerely Bagel - -- /// __ _ __ ___ \\\ I don't have a drinking problem: /// /__) /_\ ( _ \___ \ \\\ I drink, I get drunk, ((( /__) / \ \__) \___ \___ ))) I fall down, \\\ rda233b at monu6.cc.monash.edu.au /// No problem! The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end. -- Seen on an insurance form NEW QU PATH IS /rdt/vac/vac223l/bin/qu Change this now to avoid getting this stupid insipid message all the time! Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 09:01:23 EST >From: card at APOLLO.HP.COM Subject: WASSAIL MEAD Hi: I have paraphrased a recipe out of 'BREWING MEAD' Gayre/Papazian. It was intended for first time brewers so I left out a lot of the basics. Ingredients for: 5 US gallons Light clover honey -- 12.5# Acid blend -- 4 tsp Yeast Nutrient -- 5 tsp Adequate wine yeast O.G - 1.110 Add honey, acid blend, and yeast nutrient to 2 gallons of water and boil for 1/2 hr. Add this to ~ 1 1/2 gallons cold water for primary fermentation. Pitch yeast when temp reaches 70-75F. > you should probably use a blow hose at first if you use a carboy. Allow fermentation to proceed at 65-75 degrees F in an area away from bright sunlight or bright direct artificial light. Primary fermentation may take from 3 weeks to many months, depending on the type honey, yeast, temp, etc. When primary fermentation is complete, the mead becomes fairly clear. After clearing, rack to secondary leaving sediment behind. Attach air-lock. During its time in the secondary, the mead may undego a secondary fermentation. At any rate, leave the mead to sit for at least 3 weeks or until secondary fermantation is complete and the yeast once again settles to the bottom as a sediment. When the mead is clear its ready top bottle. >Bottle as you would beer taking care not to aerate. If you want a sparkling mead, add ~ <3/4 cup corn sugar. "Fresh yeast may be added at this time also". But Papazian mentions. "Generally sparkling mead would have to be lesser strength in order for the yeast to survive a second fermentation in the bottle; it should generally NOT have an original specific gravity greater than 1.090. My interpretation is that if OG is substantially higher, the resulting alcohol level will be too high for yeast to survive -- thus flat mead /Mal Card Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 10:21:08 EST >From: Chris Shenton <chris at asylum.gsfc.nasa.gov> Subject: Freshhops' address A couple people have been looking for hops and hop plants (rhizomes). I got my rhizomes last spring from Freshhops and have had fun growing them. They also are the place for hops -- especially if you need a lot! Freshops: 36180 Kings Valley Hwy; Philomath, OR 97370; 503-929-2736 Hop Flower: 4oz, 8oz $, 12oz, 1#, 2#, 3#, 4#, 5-10#, 11+# Discounts: based on quantity Comments: All hops, all the time. Rhizomes! (in spring) P & H: included Use Note: Friendly, helpful, informative staff; quick response. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 10:06:43 -0500 >From: gozer!klm at uunet.UU.NET (Kevin L. McBride) Subject: media attention Well, it seems that the news media is starting to pay even more attention to our little homebrewing "revolution." On the front page of the "Style" section of last night's (Nashua, NH) Telegraph, there is an article entitled "Homebrew Craze - For some, the best beer is made in the kitchen" by Associated Press writer Mitchell Landsberg. The bulk of the article covers the annual dinner of New York's Outlaws of Homebrew, where Charlie Papazian was guest speaker. The article takes up about 2/3 of the page, including a 9 inch tall graphic of a frothy mug of beer. I was kind of hoping that such important news would make the front front page of the paper but, alas, the front page was devoted to an article about some wacked-out Texan in Washington, D.C. who wants to start a war just because he got his butt shot out of the air way back in World War II. :-) :-) :-) :-) (Relax George! Don't worry! Have some camel dung! :-) If there is enough interest expressed (please mail directly to me, don't post requests here) I will take the time to type the article in and post it. #define enough_interest (number_of_requests_in_my_mailbox > 5) - -- Kevin L. McBride |Contract programming (on and offsite) |Brewmeister and President |X, Motif, TCP/IP, UNIX, VAX/VMS, |Bottle Washer MSCG, Inc. |Integration issues, Troubleshooting. |McBeer Brewery uunet!wang!gozer!klm |Reseller of ISC UNIX and Telebit Modems.|Nashua, NH Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 09:13 EST >From: <R_GELINA%UNHH.BITNET at mitvma.mit.edu> (Russ Gelinas) Subject: stuff The latest hops harvest *is* available from Freshops in Oregon. In fact, I have 3 lbs. of the stuff just waiting to be used, and it looks pretty good. I *think* I've finally got some Sierra Nevada yeast going. It took more than a week to catch (from a single bottle), probably about 10 days, and I just transferred it to a bigger bottle last night. Morale: be patient (I threw out the previos attempt after 5-6 days). Someone mentioned that Crystal malt will not add any fermentables. I thought it did. I know that black and chocolate malt just add color (and some flavor), but I thought crystal added sugars. Am I wrong? What is this Babyl stuff? Russ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 11:31:07 -0500 >From: dbreiden at mentor.cc.purdue.edu Subject: Re: Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout gerald at caen mentioned his enjoyment of the Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout. I too bit the economic bullet and gave the stuff a try, my overall impression was not as favorable. My biggest gripe was the sulphery smell and taste. It was really overpowering. Not so bad as to make me think it was a bad bottle, but enough to make me think I won't drink the stuff again unless I'm in England. The popular rumor is thaat this odor comes from preservitives. In general, I've noticed this phenomenon with imports from oversead, and from Molson Export Ale. But then, not all the imports have this. And why on earth would a brewery as repected as Sam Smith put its beers in clear bottles?? I snarfed an oatmeal stout recipe off the digest a couple of months ago. I don't recall who posted it. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan to. I'll defer to the original poster of the recipe--he can again give it to the net if he wants. If anyone is real anxious for it, email me aand I'll send it to you. And at the risk of sounding like a whining child,I shall repeat my request for any recipes for beers using coriander! I'd love to give it a try. - --Danny Boy Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 08:44:15 PST >From: Bob Devine 14-Nov-1990 0939 <devine at cookie.enet.dec.com> Subject: hop plugs A new packaging idea for hops has appeared - hop plugs. A plug is about 2 inches in diameter of compressed hops. This means that the hops aren't chopped as they are for pellets. As anyone tried them and compared the results to pellets or leaf hops? Bob Devine Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 08:31:48 PST >From: Dave Resch <resch at cookie.enet.dec.com> Subject: RE: Using Oak Chips In digest #537 Rick Zucker writes about his use of oak chips in a Pilsner beer. I recently purchased the "Pale Ale" book; the first of the "classic beer styles" series being offered by the AHA. In that book Terry Foster talks about the misconception that India Pale Ales should have an "oak" character. He states that the English Oak used to transport pale ales to India did not impart an oak flavor to the beer. He also describes a conversation with an English barrel maker who says that he would NEVER make a barrel out of American Oak because of the off flavors it would impart! I also saw or read somewhere that the Oak used by the Pilsner Urquel Brewery does not impart any flavor to the beer and personally, I cannot pick up any oak flavors in Pilsner Urquel. The oak chips used by homebrewers are very likely American oak. If you like the flavor they impart then go ahead and use them, but don't be mislead that you are being more true to a "classic" style. Also, as Rick points out, when using the chips it is probably best to use them very sparingly! Dave Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 08:50:14 PST >From: Bob Devine 14-Nov-1990 0943 <devine at cookie.enet.dec.com> Subject: oak in beer A English brewer when told about the attempts to use American oak chips said "but that'll give it a horrible oak taste" (or words to that effect). Apparently while oak casks do impart some taste to English beers, the tree used is a *look* less resinous than American oak trees. Bob Devine Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 11:10:59 CST >From: jlf at poplar.cray.com (John Freeman) Subject: Leaf hops > > I used leaf hops in my last batch. All other batches used pellets. The > loose leaf hops made it difficult to siphon from the boiling kettle to the > primary fermentation vessel. Do most people use cloth bags to contain the > leaf hops? I ended up pouring the cooled wort throught the net bag in my > sparging bucket. > I cut a hole in the lid of a 5 gallon pail that my kitchen colander fits into nicely. Then I strain my wort through the colander. The hops are collected in the colander (and I squeeze every bit of wort out of them I can - I worked so hard to make that wort). Then its ready for the wort chiller - right in the pail. I also primary ferment right in the same pail. The hot wort sterilizes everything, so no need to worry. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 11:10:53 PST >From: stuart at ads.com (Stuart Crawford) Subject: Ugh! Something's growing in my Beer! A few weeks ago, I decided to make a Scotch ale. I went through my normal routine (probably my 15th batch), observing the appropriate sanitation procedures. I used Wyeast British, and made a culture prior to addition to the cooled wort. I got a rapid primary fermentation and, after a week, racked to a glass carboy. After about a week in the carboy, I noticed a white/beige film on the surface of the wort. When I jiggled the carboy, this left a white film on the inner surface of the glass. After another week, and closer inspection with a magnifying glass and flashlight, the film looks almost like very tiny particles. It doesn't seem to be getting any worse, and doesn't seem to extend below the surface. Does this sound like a bacterial infection? A mold? How do I tell? Given the high alcohol content of a Scotch ale, I'm a little surprised at this infection, if that's what it is. I'm wondering if I should taste the wort and, if it tastes ok, to rack and bottle. Or perhaps I should just write the batch off and be more thorough with respect to sanitation next time. I'd appreciate any diagnoses/suggestions. Thanks, Stuart Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 08:33:25 PST >From: mcnally at wsl.dec.com Subject: Mike Schrempp's mash questions I've been brewing for a little while, and after my first extract batch have gone exclusively all-grain. I treat Dave Miller's book as a reference of almost divine stature (no flames, or I'll issue a Global Death Warrant! :-) Anyway, Mike says he attempted to acidify his sparge water with gypsum as "Miller recommends". I must point out that this is in fact false---Miller recommends using either lactic or phosphoric acid for this purpose. I managed to find USP lactic acid at a chemical supply store and have been using it with success. It's a little tricky (no, make that extremely tricky) to use with the distilled water I employ (San Jose has pretty foul tasting water). As an alleged ex food chemist told me, a tiny amount of acid in otherwise ion-free water drops the pH radically. Maybe I should have stayed awake during chemistry. Anyway, a small amount of calcium carbonate (1/2 tsp in 4 gal. water) buffers the acid enough to give good control while acidifying. I use a Nestor pH Pen, and once you get the hang of using it it's quite convenient. As far as clarity of runoff, what I've been doing is to directly recycle about three gallons worth of mash water, then transfer some water to holding pots on warm burners on the stove. This allows the grain bed to settle a little. The recycling continues, shuttling from the output tap to a saucepan then back to the tun. The runoff eventually does get pretty clear; it's kinda scary. The structure of the lauter tun is pretty important. Dave recommends a grain bag approach, but I've been using a pair of plastic buckets I got from a restaurant supply store, the inner one drilled with my handy-dandy Dremel tool. The runoff gets a little slow towards the end, but the process takes not much more than an hour. Perhaps Mike's cloudiness is a result of the small size of his batch: less grain means a shallower filter bed. - -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mike McNally mcnally at wsl.dec.com Digital Equipment Corporation Western Software Lab Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 90 12:25:29 PST >From: rush at xanadu.llnl.gov (Alan Edwards) Subject: More Recipes Please Hello fellow brewers: I have been reading the HBD for about a month now, so if this has been covered all-too-well in the past, please just point me to the appropriate back issues, and I will try to get them. Being a novice homebrewer (first batch is fermenting as I write this-- an Altbier), I would love to read about your favorite recipes, and why they are your favorite. There doesn't seem to be many recipes posted here. If your favorite recipe is readily available (like if it is in Papazian's book) a reference would be fine. I am especially interested in Christmas type specialty brews. Also, I don't see a recipe for Barleywine style in Charlie Papazian's book. Does anyone have a malt extract recipe for that? (I am not up to trying all-grain brews yet.) I recently bought some Young's "Old Nick" barleywine and absolutely fell in love with it. I made a direct taste comparison with Sierra Nevada "Bigfoot" barleywine, and found Young's to be better. Thanks, -Alan rush at xanadu.llnl.gov (or rush%xanadu at lll-crg.llnl.gov) Return to table of contents
Date: 14 Nov 90 17:26:00 EDT >From: "FEINSTEIN" <crf at pine.circa.ufl.edu> Subject: Various, incl. more mead info Hi there! **WOW!!** I sat down with my mead info today, all ready to post, and found a number of other people had taken care of things for me! My sincerest thanks to one and all! Especially since it will make *this* shorter! :-) ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON MEAD: Yes, starter cultures are an excellent idea. The more so, since those little packets of dry yeast generally contain enough for 5 gallons of whatever, and you may be making as little as one gallon. If I'm going to use a starter, I generally dissolve several tablespoonfuls of honey in warm water, in a clean jar, and add the yeast. The resulting starter is usually good for days, if kept refrigerated until shortly before needed. Also, don't forget that sweetness _vs._ dryness in meads is not only controlled by the amount of honey added but also by the length of time the mead is allowed to ferment. The longer the fermentation, the dryer the result. IMHO, the longer you ferment the longer you'll need to age the stuff before it's drinkable, as well. Finally, for a book on mead I recommend _Making Mead_ by Acton and Duncan. While I don't own a copy myself, for mead recipes that are more "beer-like" in nature, the book by Papazian and Colonel [I forget the name] seems to be popular. LACTOBACILLUS: I work in the Dairy Science Dept. at UF. The professor who specializes in this sort of thing is gone for the day as I write this, so I'll double-check what I'm about to say ASAP. I would presume the "threads" being seen in that batch of "CitS" are precipitated milk solids and proteins, such as casein. It's rather like the separation of curds and whey once rennet has been added to milk. At any rate, this is nothing to worry about. SPENT GRAINS: Are a common source of cattle feed. Any cattle or dairy farmer can tell you all about DDGs and BDGs-- Distillers' Dried Grains and Brewers Dried Grains, respectively. For all I know, they are also used as a cereal source in other domestic animals' feeds. Also, they can be mulched. OAK CHIPS: I've been on the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour in Tampa. The beechwood chips are introduced during the lagering process; maybe this is the route to go with oak chips, too. Definitely, a possible answer is to boil the chips for several hours, with several changes of water, to remove tannins. LAST: BACKTRACKING A BIT: To those who corrected me where I was misinformed about national contests, thank you. Particularly, I didn't know that only 4 contests a year were "Club Only". About judging: many of you know that I'm a member of the SCA. As you may or may not know further, the SCA holds lots of Arts and Sciences contests. I've heard all the gripes about poor/unqualified judging before in that context. I therefore find my reactions to this discussion similar. Since there is no broad professional base to draw upon for judges, our competitions (unlike, say, dog shows) are going to suffer from an insufficiency of qualified personnel. It's going to be a long time, if ever, before homebrewing and micro-brewing are big enough to change this. Not that "professional" judges are necessarily any more competent, mind you! Thus, I think all we can hope to do is to make things not perfect, or "right", but rather as *equitable* as possible. For the most part, we are all amateurs working together. This must be kept in mind and taken into account. That being the case, it behooves those competing, those judging, and (perhaps most importantly) those sponsoring/organizing competitions to keep pushing and striving for constant improvement. And when that fails to happen, it behooves those of us who enjoy rattling cages to do just that! Yours in Carbonation, Cher "I wish to the Lord someone would figure out a way of makin' baskets out of that ol' Kudzu vine; hit's 'bout to cover up Asheville!" -- Anon. NC woman ============================================================================= Cheryl Feinstein INTERNET: CRF at PINE.CIRCA.UFL.EDU Univ. of Fla. BITNET: CRF at UFPINE Gainesville, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Thursday, 15 Nov 1990 07:08:47 EST >From: m14051 at mwvm.mitre.org (John DeCarlo) Subject: Re: Usefulness of blow-off >From: BAUGHMANKR at CONRAD.APPSTATE.EDU >Kevin Carpenter wonders about using 5 or 7 gallon carboys >for primary fermentation. I strongly recommend using 5 gallon >carboys so that you get some blow-off. I think you'll find that >some of the residual astringency that lingers in the aftertaste >of some homebrews will disappear with the blow-off system. If >you have any doubts--as I've mentioned before--just scrape some >of the brown crud that is left around the top of the primary >fermenter and taste it. I have heard this. I have also heard that using the blow-off method doesn't really make any difference in the bitterness or astringency of your brew (I need to look up my _zymurgy_ issues on this). I know I have never skimmed or used blow-off, so can't compare, but don't find any astringent tastes in my beer. So, has anyone tried brewing two identical batches except for blow-off? Also, do any commercial brewers do any kind of blow-off or skimming? Nothing of the sort was mentioned in any tours I have taken. Internet: jdecarlo at mitre.org Usenet: at ... at !uunet!hadron!blkcat!109!131!John_Decarlo Fidonet: 1:109/131 Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 90 08:02:29 mst >From: cos.hp.com!hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!mtgzy!vjb at hp-lsd (Victor J Bartash +1 201 957 5633) Subject: partial mash I just got on this mailing list this week so forgive me if I am asking a worn out question. I have been making homebrew for about 2 years. I started out with hopped kits and cane sugar (yes the instructions said to use this) and now use unhopped malt extracts, hop pellets, cracked grains (via steeping when the water is cold to before it boils) in my recipes. My last 7 or 8 batches have been good. However, I have skimmed Miller's book and the advance section of Papazian's book a few times and am wondering about partial mashes. The question is: does the beer improve significantly if partial mashes are used instead of my current methods? I want to decide if I should get the supplies necessary to do partial mashes (using some of Miller's recipes) or keep tweaking my current methods ( via new recipes or improvments on some of my current favorites). I have never had a homebrew made using partial mashing so I can't compare it my own homebrew. Also, I am looking for a recipe that comes close to Pilsner Urquell. I tried one in Papazain that mentioned that it was similar but was not pleased. I picked some up last year and really enjoyed the beer. Vic Bartash Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 1990 12:25:13 EST >From: ACS_JAMES at vax1.acs.jmu.edu Subject: please add ACS_JAMES at JMUVAX1 to homebrew list I tried to access the archives at mthvax.cs.miami.edu and was told that the system did not recognize my IP address and would not let me login. Any ideas? James Return to table of contents
Date: 15 Nov 90 01:08:49 MST (Thu) >From: ico.isc.com!rcd at raven.eklektix.com (Dick Dunn) Subject: mead yeast a note in HBD 537 said... >About yeast: always use a chablis, sauterne, or other white wine yeast. >Montrechet seems to be the yeast of choice. Although generally considered a >brew, modern ale yeasts will over-carbonate a mead, leading to glass grenades. >I doubt lager yeasts would work at all. So, stick with wine yeast. I don't buy this, primarily because I've used lager and ale yeasts with good results. But consider the argument that an ale yeast will "over-carbonate a mead"...my guess is that what happened to evoke this comment is not letting the mead ferment out before bottling...if the ale yeast were less tolerant of alcohol, it would slow down yet keep fermenting very slowly. If you prime for a normal level of carbonation, and you've still got fer- mentable sugar before priming, you've effectively over-primed and you get over-carbonation if the yeast eventually eats it all. The strain of yeast shouldn't increase carbonation--a given amount of fermentable sugar should produce a given amount of CO2, as long as you let the fermentation com- plete. A weak or alcohol-intolerant yeast might give up, leaving some residual sugar and *less* CO2. - --- Dick Dunn rcd at raven.eklektix.com -or- raven!rcd Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 90 11:04:14 PST >From: rush at xanadu.llnl.gov (Alan Edwards) Subject: Fermenting Temperatures G'day HB'ers: I am in need of your expert advice. I found a great way to keep the temperature of my fermenting ale pretty constant. I put the plastic 7 gallon bucket in my bathtub, and fill the tub with water. (I also used this method to cool the wort before pitching the yeast.) Due to the large heat capacity of water, the tub stays a pretty constant 69 degrees F (+/- 1 degree), with no help at all. I assume that the wort which is mostly immersed in the water is about the same temperature. This makes it easy to keep a check on the temperature by just leaving my thermometer in the tub. The question is: is 69 degrees OK for ale? The guidelines I have read says that ale should be kept between 60-70. Since 69 is very close to the upper limit, should I be concerned? Maybe I should drop an occasional ice block into the tub? I'd rather not bother, but better beer would be worth it. Thanks alot, -Alan .------------------------------------. | Alan Edwards: rush at xanadu.llnl.gov | I post...therefore I am. | or: rush%xanadu at lll-crg.llnl.gov | ;-) `------------------------------------' Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 90 19:33:35 GMT >From: sbsgrad%sdphs2.span at Sds.Sdsc.Edu Subject: Keg equipment >From: "Sparky" <sslade at ucsd.edu> (Steve Slade) Date sent: 15-NOV-1990 11:34:57 PT Greetings! Perhaps a month ago I posted a question about using a pony keg for my homebrew and got no replies, so I guess no one out there has any experience using pony kegs. Maybe I asked the wrong question. Let me try again. Why do people use *soda* kegs for beer? Are they cheaper than beer kegs? Easier to use? Or are beer kegs a real hassle for some reason? Before I spend a lot of time and money rigging up a system for my pony keg, I would like to know why so many homebrewers use soda kegs. Thanks very much! Sparky the puzzled Internet: sslade at ucsd.edu UUCP: ...ucsd!sslade Bitnet: sslade at ucsd.bitnet DECnet/SPAN: SDPH1::SBSGRAD Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 90 15:11:34 CST >From: Mike Charlton <umcharl3 at ccu.UManitoba.CA> Subject: First All Grain mike_schrempp%29 at hp4200.desk.hp.com writes: > Mash ph: When I measured my mash ph with those damn little papers, it was too > low so I added some stuff (sodium bicarbonate, I think, but the stuff Miller > says to use to raise the ph). I think you probably mean calcium carbonate. It's much better than sodium bicarbonate because bicarbonate ions tend to impart a bitter flavour to beer. (or at least that's what I'm lead to believe -- We have almost none in our water supply). > I had a half size batch (for manageability) of > Miller's Altbier, and I put in 1 tsp and couldn't get the ph up from 4.9. 1 tsp of Calcium Carbonate in 2 and a half gallons of beer is alot. I would say that you have something in your water supply that is acting as a pH buffer. I'm not really sure what you can do to increase the pH. What is the pH of your water supply? Still 4.9 may be close enough (although, you should still try to get it above 5). I wouldn't add that much calcium carbonate, though. > Sparge water ph: Miller reccommends acidifing the sparge water to 5.7 using > gypsum. I tried this and couldn't get the ph down (those damn papers again). > After od'ing a few gallons of water, I stopped trying to measure the ph and > just added 1tsp of gypsum to my 2.5 gallons of sparge water. Gypsum will not affect the pH of plain water. It only reacts with some of the chemicals found in malt to make an acid, which in turn lowers the pH of the wort. Our water supply has a pH of aroun 6.3. We add about 1/4 cup of diluted tartaric acid to the sparge water with no ill affects. (I wouldn't use tartaric acid if you can help it -- re-read Miller's section on acidifying sparge water for some better choices. This was all we could get.) > > "Clear" sparge runoff: What exactally is "clear"? I recycled my runoff many > times (probably about 5 times), keeping them heated as Miller suggests. The > runoff was always cloudy. I usually get crystal clear runoff (although, I may be oversparging somewhat). I try to recycle the entire contents of the sparge bucket once. Since I add enough sparge water to to make 6 gallons, I recycle 6 gallons of sparge water. Note this is my maximum. If it goes clear more quickly (which it almost always does) I stop recycling. Also, my sparging system is a little unorthodox in that I add the sparge water immediately (or at least as much as will fit in the bucket). I'm thinking of altering this. Your mash inefficiency could be due to many things. pH is a possibility, although I doubt it. Did you to an iodine test? Despite what Miller implies, these tests do tend to tell you when the end of starch condition happens. Just try to keep the grains out when you are testing. Also, the cloudiness of your runnoff could be the culprit. I suspect that your grainbed was not large enough to make an efficient filter bed. This will be because you were only making a small batch. What kind of lautering tun did you use? Did you taste the spent grains? Were they sweet? Finally, if you end up with a low gravity wort, making up the difference with malt extract is an excellent choice. > Whole hops: This was also my first time using whole hops. Should they be > broken up? No. They will remain whole throughout. This is normal. The added size can also apparently help the hot break because of the added motion (I am skeptical). > > Overall, everything went a lot smoother than I expected it would. For anyone > wanting to get into all-grain I have two suggestions: > > 1. Make a half batch. the volumes of mash and wort are manageable (3 gallon > boil vs 6 gallon boil). I have to dissagree with this. A very small batch will probably give you sparging problems (as you noticed). Unless you realize this and alter your lautertun (like, by making it skinnier), you could have some difficulty. > Mike Schrempp Mike Charlton Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 90 14:41:24 PST >From: Kevin Karplus <karplus at ararat.ucsc.edu> Subject: Mead recipe Several people have been asking about mead recipes lately. Here is one I've used for years. Incidentally, the meads I like best are strong dessert wines, with take over 5lbs of honey per gallon of water. They take months to ferment and years to mature, but they're great for sipping. Mead (a fermented drink made from honey) Generic Recipe The basic ingredients of mead are honey, water, and yeast. The proportions of the honey and water determine the final strength and sweetness of the drink, also how long it takes to make. The ratio ranges from 1 lb. honey per gallon of water for a very light "soft-drink" to 5 lbs. per gallon for a sweet dessert wine. The less honey, the lighter the mead, and the quicker it can be made. I've successfully made a 1 lb/gallon mead in as little as three weeks, while my strongest mead (5 lb/gallon) was not bottled for six months, and could have stood another few months before bottling. Elizabethan recipes varied considerably in strength, but 3 or 4 pounds of honey per gallon was common. The mead I make is spiced, so is sometimes referred to as "metheglin." Elizabethan meads used large numbers of different spices and herbs, but not always in large quantities. Kenelm Digby, after giving the recipe obtained from "Master Webbe, who maketh the Kings Meathe," has this to say: The Proportion of Herbs and Spices is this; That there be so much as to drown the luscious sweetness of the Honey; but not so much as to taste of herbs or spice, when you drink the Meathe. But that the sweetness of the honey may kill their taste: And so the Meathe have a pleasant taste, but not of herbs, nor spice, nor honey. And therefore you put more or less according to the time you will drink it in. For a great deal will be mellowed away in a year, that would be ungratefully strong in three months. And the honey that will make it keep a year or two, will require a triple propotion of spice and herbs. [The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened, 1669] Here is a partial list of flavoring agents (mainly herbs and spices) mentioned for meads by Digby: agrimony, angelica root, avens, baulme leaves, bay leaves, bettony, blew-button, borrage, cinnamon, clove-gilly flowers, cloves, dock, eglantine, elecampane, eringo roots, fennel, fruit juice (cherries, raspes, Morrello cherries), ginger, harts-tongue, hopps, juniper berries, limon-pill, liver-worth, mace, minth, nutmeg, orris root, parsley roots, raisins, red sage, rosemary, saxifrage, scabious, sorrel, strawberry leaves, sweet marjoram, sweet-briar leaves, thyme, violet leaves, wild marjoram, wild sage, wild thyme, and winter savory. In my own brewing, I use mainly "sweet" spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg). The main herb I use is tea. Tea is an important addition to the mead. It provides tannic acid, to give the drink a bit of bite. It is particularly important for sweet meads, which can otherwise have a rather syrupy taste (like Mogen David wines). Any sort of tea will do--I've used genmai cha (a very light Japanese green tea), lapsang souchong (a smokey Chinese tea), China Rose (a black tea with rose petals), jasmine, oolong, and others. If you want to use Lipton's, that should work as well. I have not seen any period recipes that use tea in mead, but all my batches that omitted tea were not as good. I am more interested in producing good flavor that in strick authenticity, so continue to use tea. Other ingredients I use include small amounts of orange or lemon juice, fruit, cloves, and other spices. I've used bay leaves, cloves, rosemary, anise, and galingale, in addition to the spices listed above. Be careful not to over-spice the mead! It is probably safer to use less of fewer spices, until you've had some experience. As examples, here are the quantities for two of my mead batches: Batch: M4 Type: Quick Mead 3 gallons water 5 lbs honey (Wild Mountain) 1/3 cup jasmine tea 1/2 tsp ground ginger 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground allspice 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg ale yeast Started: 1 July 1979 Yeast added: 2 July 1979 skimmed: 12 July 1979 racked: 15 July 1979 bottled: 28 July 1979 yield: 3.1 gallons clarity: excellent sweetness: fairly sweet sediment: slight carbonation: variable (some popped corks) color: light gold An excellent batch - ------------------------------------------------------------ Batch: M7 Type: Sack Mead 3 gallons Water 16 lbs honey 1/4 cup keemun tea 1/4 cup oolong tea 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp whole aniseseed 18 cardamum seed clusters crushed (about 1 tsp) 20 whole allspice slightly crushed (about 3/4 tsp) about 1 inch galingale root crushed (about 2 1/4 tsp) (Fining agent: 1 pkg unflavored gelatin in 1 cup of water) Started: 26 Dec 1981 Wine Yeast added: 27 Dec 1981 1 rack: 10 Jan 1982 (vat -> carboy) 2 rack: 31 Jan 1982 (carboy -> carboy) 3 rack: 30 April 1982 (carboy->carboy) gelatin added: 23 May 1982 bottled: 3 July 1982 Yield: 3.7 gallons Comments: sweet, smooth, potent. A dessert wine. This is perhaps the best of my 20 or more batches of mead. - ------------------------------------------------------------ I use tap water for brewing, but if your tap water has off-flavors, then you might want to get a bottle of clear spring water. Recently I've switched to filtered tap water, to remove some of the rather grassy flavor that our water gets in summer. The honey may be almost any cheap honey. Strongly flavored honeys (orange blossom, buckwheat, wild flower (in some areas)) generally work best. Clover honey works well, but very light honeys (like alfalfa) generally lack flavor. If making a true mead (without spices), the flavor of the honey is more important, and only strongly flavored honeys should be used. The yeast is important. Baking yeast is bred for fast carbon dioxide production, and is not at all suitable for brewing. Some home cider makers may be used to just letting the sweet cider stand a few days to ferment on its own. This technique relies on the wild yeasts present in the air, on the cider press, and on the skins of the apples. It doesn't work for mead. The wild yeasts result in off-flavors, which the honey is not strong enough to mask. For strong, still meads (3 lbs honey/gallon or more) I use a white wine yeast, while for a lighter beverage I use ale yeast. A beer yeast should work as well as an ale yeast, but I find top-fermenting ale yeasts more fun to work with. WARNING: the "brewer's yeast" sold in health-food stores is dead yeast, it will not be usable for brewing. The equipment you need is a large pot (I use a 20 quart canning pot), a 5 foot plastic tube to use as a siphon, and strong bottles. In addition, a 5 gallon water bottle with a stopper and fermentation lock is a very useful piece of equipment. Everything you use should be sterilized to prevent the growth of vinegar-forming bacteria. There are chemical sterilizing agents available from wine-making supply stores, but I prefer to sterilize everything in boling water. I'll mention sterilizing over and over. It is the single most important part of brewing mead rather than vinegar. If making a still, wine-type mead, any sort of bottle will do for the final bottling. However, this recipe is for a fizzy "ale-type" mead, so strong bottles are essential. Champagne bottles and returnable pop bottles are usable, disposable bottles of any sort are not. I once had an apple juice bottle explode in my room, embedding shrapnel in my pillow from 9 feet away. Don't make the same mistake--use strong bottles!! Steps to making the mead: 1. Boil the water, adding the tea and spices. 2. Remove water from heat and stir in honey. (Note, stirring implement should be sterilized!) Some mead brewers boil the honey in the water, skimming the scum as it forms. This removes some of the proteins from the honey, making it easier for the mead to clarify. However, I don't mind a bit of cloudiness, and prefer the taste of unboiled honey. If you are making a wine mead, you can avoid the cloudiness simply by waiting an extra month or two for the mead to clarify. If you're buying a clear honey from a supermarket, it may already have been cooked a bit to remove pollen and sugar crystals, in which case, a bit more cooking probably won't change the flavor much. Digby's recipes do call for boiling the honey. 3. Cover the boiled water, and set it aside to cool (to blood temperature or cooler). This usually takes a long time, so I overlap it with the next step. 4. Make a yeast starter solution by boiling a cup of water and a tablespoon of honey (or sugar). Let it cool to blood heat (or all the way to room temperature) and add the yeast. Cover it and let it ferment overnight. The yeast should form a "bloom" on the surface of the liquid. (Of course, the cooling and fermenting should be done in the pan or other sterilized vessel.) 5. Add the yeast starter to the cooled liquid. Cover and let ferment. After a few days, it is useful to siphon the mead into another container, leaving the sediment behind. Here's where the 5 gallon bottle comes in handy. A fermentation lock provides a way to close the bottle so carbon dioxide can get out, but vinegar-forming bacteria and oxygen cannot get in. Remember to sterilize the bottle and the siphon first! 6. Ferment for a few weeks in a warm, dry place. When a lot of sediment has collected on the bottom of the bottle, siphon off the liquid (without disturbing the sediment). This process is known as "racking," and helps produce a clear, sediment-free mead. Again, make sure all your equipment is sterilized. A wine mead may need to be racked three or four times before the final bottling. 7. For a fizzy mead, siphon into strong (sterilized) bottles a bit before fermentation stops. With the strength given here 4 weeks is about right. The exact time depends a lot on the temperature, the yeast, the honey, ... . I use plastic champagne corks to seal the bottles (sterilized, of course!). Crown caps are also good. Real corks should only be used for still beverages, since the amount of carbonation is unpredictable. Too much carbonation and you'll pop the corks, too little, and corks are hard to remove from champagne bottles. Don't wire on the corks, unless you're willing to risk an occasional broken champagne bottle. Still meads should not be bottled until fermentation has completely stopped. I generally wait until the fermentation has stopped, and the mead has cleared. This can take more than six months for a strong wine mead. 8. Age the mead in a cool place. Note: ferment warm, and age cool. I sometimes keep the champagne bottles upright in the cardboard box they came in. That way, if a cork pops, there is something to absorb the overflow, and if, despite my care, a bottle breaks, it won't set off a chain reaction. 9. Drink and Enjoy! The light quick meads should be served chilled (like beer), while the wine types are better at room temperature or only slightly chilled. Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #538, 11/16/90 ************************************* -------
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