HOMEBREW Digest #5389 Wed 06 August 2008

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  Re: Freezing Hops ("atomdebris@gmail.com")
  Re: Kunze's Technology Brewing and Malting (Kai Troester)
  esters and pitch rate / CSA / Bud hop aroma (Matt)
  Re: aeration/oxidation (stevesveil-hbd)
  Great new book on British Beer Styles (Antony)
  Re: Matching the beer to the Festival ("Mark Zunkel")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 00:45:06 -0700 From: "atomdebris at gmail.com" <atomdebris@gmail.com> Subject: Re: Freezing Hops All this talk about freezing hops and the problems it presents made me remember something I've heard many times in the past... that hops are closely related to cannabis (aka marijuana). The two plants are very similar (similar enough that cannabis cuttings can be grafted onto a hops plant), and both marijuana enthusiasts and brewers use the female flowers of the plant in their, uh, hobby. This suggests to me that hops can be cured using the same process used to cure cannabis. Once cured, the hops will contain very little water, and freezing should be no problem, since it is ice crystals that burst the cell walls and cause your hops to turn to goo in the freezer. I know that freezing properly cured marijuana is not a problem, it extends the shelf life remarkable while maintaining potency, and the buds don't turn into sticky goo in the process. I'm not a huge pothead or anything (my occupation has federally-mandated drug testing), but it's much easier to find information on how to grow and handle fresh marijuana than it is finding info on growing and curing hops. After a little judicious googling and reading, I offer the following step-by-step curing process, which I have adapted to account for the differences between the two plants: Cut your mature hops plant down at the base. Trim the leaves away until you are left with nothing but stalk, branches, and flowers. String some fishing line up the way you might put up a clothesline, and hang the trimmed plants up on it (if the plant is too big to do this, cut it up a bit and hang the individual branches). Alternatively, you can remove the flowers from the stalk and branches altogether, and place them on a metal mesh screen (like a nice clean window screen, for example). With either method, try to avoid letting the flowers touch each other, as this may promote wet spots and mold. The space you do your initial drying in should be dark, DRY, and warm. Ideally, it will be equipped with a dehumidifier and be temperature-controlled. 50 to 60 percent relative humidity is good, and a temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit (15-21 degrees Celsius) is about right, but err on the hot side rather than the cold. Air should be circulating in the room, and a fan will work just fine for this, but don't let the circulating air blow directly on the flowers as this will cause them to dry unevenly and may promote mold as well. After 7-10 days, your initial drying will be complete and you should be ready for the actual curing. You can check to make sure by examining a piece of the plant's stem... if it snaps easily, you're good to go. You can speed the process up by doing the initial drying in a warmer room (say, 85 degrees Fahrenheit) but this is not recommended. Slow, even drying is what you want, so that the cured flowers are not just dried, but dried evenly inside and out. At this point, the flowers will feel and appear thoroughly dry, but there will still be quite a bit of moisture inside, and we want to bring it out and get rid of it. For this, we need an airtight container. Don't use Tupperware, as the plastic may impart an odd flavor to the hops. Don't use Ziploc bags either, as they aren't truly airtight. Glass mason jars are ideal for this step, assuming the seal on the lid is good. Put the flowers in the mason jar and fill it up without packing the flowers down... just place them in gently, don't shove to create more room. The jar will provide a microclimate that allows moisture inside the flowers to move to the dry outer portions. Once the jar(s) are sealed, put them in a cool, dry, dark place for about four hours. Open the jar and let it sit open for about fifteen minutes, then put the lid back on and let it sit overnight (but not longer). When you open the jar again, you'll find the flowers are once again moist, as water from inside has spread to the outside. Remove the moist flowers from the jar and place them gently in a paper bag. Don't pile them up in the bag higher than about three inches (ten centimeters). Fold the top of the bag closed. Check the flowers approximately every eight hours to see if they have become dry again. When checking, gently turn the flowers so that surfaces that didn't have a chance to dry will be exposed to the air in the bag. When the flowers are evenly dry again, put them back in the mason jar overnight, and if they are moist again, repeat the steps using the paper bag and the mason jar until you open the mason jar and find the flowers are no longer moist, and are evenly dry. The flowers are now cured. Store them in an airtight glass container, and if possible, vacuum-seal it before placing it in the refrigerator or freezer for storage. They should survive refrigeration or freezing without any significant nastiness, provided the container you store them in is truly airtight and isn't wet from the dishwasher or something when you fill it. Once again, I haven't tried this, but it should work great with hops. If any of you big burly hops growers would like to give it a try, I'd love to know the results (just post in the HBD, I read the digest every day). Cheers, big ears, to you and your beers. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2008 07:07:33 -0400 From: Kai Troester <kai at braukaiser.com> Subject: Re: Kunze's Technology Brewing and Malting > You can order it here. > https://www.vlb-berlin.org/cms/front_content.php?idcat=31&idart=267 > 129EU is $200USD these days ... Think I paid $160USD several years ago, > but don't expect that exchange rate to improve ! (Semi-political but > non-partisan comment replaced with ECON101 lesson). If you are looking for the English version anyway, there are some US Vendors that carry it as well: http://www.siebelinstitute.com/e-store/ ($200) http://www.corporatediscountbooks.com/item453527.ctlg ($185) This is the same English version that is sold by the VLB. Kai Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 07:41:55 -0700 (PDT) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: esters and pitch rate / CSA / Bud hop aroma If you are making a good beer but want to increase ester levels, the first and easiest thing I'd try is reducing the pitch rate (say, by 1/3)and keeping everything else exactly the same. There are a great many experiments and tests showing this should increase ACETATE esters. (How to increase ETHYL esters is less clear, and I think even the super ester researchers in Leuven are not yet sure how it works. If I recall correctly, more fermentables (stronger beer) definitely helps, and higher temps *may* help at any point in the ferment. Unlike acetate esters, ethyl esters seem to be produced at a slow steady clip with much less correlation to yeast "stress." Anyway the acetate esters are more important in many/most beers.) That's the science side. I, and probably a great many others, have certainly found that at least the acetate ester part does apply to homebrewing in practice. - --- Cold side aeration: if this is not the greatest challenge faced by homebrewers, I think it's right up there. (We all want the bright fresh flavors to last long enough for us to drink all the beer.) To avoid oxidation I fill any bottles almost all the way to the top. I never rack to a secondary (but then I don't make lagers). I bottle directly from the primary into dry-primed bottles, rather than do an additional racking to a bottling bucket. I never remove the airlock to take a mid-ferment hydrometer reading, because that would mean introducing more air into the headspace. My hop aroma still dies (oxidizes out, I assume) faster than I'd like, but it seems not as fast as before. - --- I tasted day-old Bud at one of their breweries earlier this year, both on draft (unpasteurized) and from the bottle (pasteurized). It was semi-blind, in the sense that I did not know at that moment that the draft vs. bottle products had this difference with regard to pasteurization. I was really hungry at the time so my senses were probably unusually sharp. Anyway the draft stuff really seemed to have a surprisingly nice, almost Saaz-ish hop aroma. The bottled stuff did not. Not sure what the point of this is but I found it interesting. Also the Stone Mill Pale Ale in the tasting room was certainly not "day-old", and in fact was incredibly oxidized. Not a priority I suppose. - --- I agree that if you believe all beer is "craft beer" then there's really no reason to use the word "craft" at all, unless you want to make a political statement. (And with the amount of arguing these days about what craft beer and is or isn't... even if you don't want to make a political statement, any use of the phrase "craft beer" is likely to be interpreted as one). Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 09:23:49 -0700 (PDT) From: stevesveil-hbd at yahoo.com Subject: Re: aeration/oxidation Steve Alexander replies to Jim D ... > I don't think CSA is easy to control at all. Say you have a carboy > full of nicely clearing unoxidized beer with a fermentation lock. How > can you transfer it to bottle or keg without introducing a lot of > oxygen ? As you drain the carboy you need to displace the missing > beer with CO2 or nitrogen, Then you have to transfer it to a bottle or > keg where all the O2 has been removed and there is no aperature to the > atmosphere. Read up on partial pressures and Henry's law and you'll > see why gas-flow through a partially lidded pot or a exit tube doesn't > do much to exclude O2. What if on the exit tube of a keg that's being filled, how about using a blow off tube into a bucket of water? Will that keep the partial pressure of O2 from mixing back into the CO2 filled keg? I'm not well versed in Henry's law. My procedure would be: 1.) Fill keg with no rinse sanitizer. 2.) Push sanitizer out of keg with CO2. 3.) Insert blow off tube into bucket of water. 4.) Attach other end of blow off to gas post of Corny keg using disconnect. 5.) Push beer out of conical with CO2 into liquid line of Corny keg. Best regards, Steve Seeley Shingle Springs, CA (between Sacramento and Tahoe off US50) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 19:56:26 +0100 From: Antony <anthayes at btinternet.com> Subject: Great new book on British Beer Styles Martyn Cornell, author of The Story of the Pint, has launched a new book, called Amber Gold & Black - The Story of Britain's Great Beers. For those who haven't read Martyn's books, he is one of the top beer historians in Britain, and highly respected. He also writes well. The book is an ebook, available at http://www.thecornerpub.co.uk/ for around $10. Cheers Ant Hayes Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 00:02:16 +0200 From: "Mark Zunkel" <mzunkel at gmail.com> Subject: Re: Matching the beer to the Festival I think a simple solution to this "craft" term is to point ourselves to the Brewer's Association. They created a definition for the term that I think we should all use when referring to breweries: http://www.beertown.org/education/craft_defined.html. Therefore, "craft" should be taken out of the competition's name and left simply at San Diego County Fair Brewer's Competition. I am not going to get into the mud slingin', so I will leave it at that. Mark Zunkel Return to table of contents
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