HOMEBREW Digest #577 Wed 06 February 1991

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  burners (John Freeman)
  Re:  Gusher (Tim Phillips)
  re-use of twist-off bottles, brewpubs in Denver/Boulder (Russell Greenlee)
  Re: Recipe Archives (Douglas Allen Luce)
  Re: 5-liter mini-kegs (BLAJVM)
  Re: Gusher (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583)
  Stainless Boiler  (bryan)
  Recipes from past Digests (Lynn Gold)
  label removal (krweiss)
  Homemade Wort Chillers ? (Bill Thacker)
  I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles ... (Martin A. Lodahl)
  hops and dextrin (David Suda)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 9:25:51 CST From: jlf at poplar.cray.com (John Freeman) Subject: burners > > Does anyone out there know of a source for a 40 qt. boiler which will > straddle two burners (bottom at least 15" across). If not, how do you > all-grain brewers do it? Please e-mail responses to me. If I receive > any requests, I'll forward whatever I learn. I found a standalone gas burner at a garage sale a few years ago for two dollars. It took about twenty dollars of plumbing to connect it up in my basement brewery. This works great! There's no more mess in the kitchen, especially if it boils over, but even if it didn't, there was always a mess to clean on the stove. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 08:09:22 PST From: tcp at athena.ESL.COM (Tim Phillips) Subject: Re: Gusher Many of my "customers" consider the gusher a trademark of my beer, so I feel qualified to offer my answer to the question of gushers. In my experience, two things cause gushing: 1) Bottling too soon (This tends to be more a problem for me with darker, more complex beers where I didn't leave the beer in the secondary long enough and the slow, final fermentation was still going.) 2) Infection (This is where I got my reputation, since I had this infection for six batches in a row. All these beers overcarbonated in the bottle slowly, over a period of 1-4 months. It was a very benign infection in that all of these beers tasted just fine after the foam subsided. I finally cleaned all my equipment and all my bottles thoroughly, and the problem disappeared.) I suppose that if you keg (I don't), you could add: 3) Over-pressurizing (The carbonating or the dispensing pressure could be too high.) Chilling the beer will help in that more of the CO2 will get dissolved in the beer. When pouring the beer, I sometimes put a small dab of margarine on my finger and touch it to the foam -- this helps the foam subside quicker. I have also been known to use skin oil from my cheek or forehead; don't do this to someone else's beer, as you will likely gross them out. I have often thought that it might be possible to gently lift the cap to release some initial carbonation, and then reseal the cap for each bottle in a batch of gushers. I haven't tried this yet. Clean your equipment. I found that pouring boiling water through the bottles was not doing the job -- when I looked closely I could see a left-over film, so use the bottle brush. Don't reculture yeast from this batch into your next one(!). -Timothy C Phillips Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 09:36:41 MST From: Russell Greenlee <russell at oakley.uswest.com> Subject: re-use of twist-off bottles, brewpubs in Denver/Boulder In digest #576 dbreiden at mentor.cc.purdue.edu asks about re-using bottles with twist off tops: I have been doing this for over a year now with no problems (either with sealing or bottles breaking/exploding). I use one of those fancy Italian bench cappers. I don't know how well other cappers would work. Also, my brews seldom hang around more than a few months. I guess I'm another fresh ale fanatic ;-). In digest #576 Jon Binkley <binkley at beagle.Colorado.EDU> offers his opinions about the Walnut Brewery in Boulder, and the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver: Let me offer another point of view. As far as the beer is concerned, I and my friends have all found the the Wynkoop's beers to be somewhat thin and lacking in body. The Walnut Brewery's beers are better in this respect. I particularly enjoy their bitter and their stout. The food in both places is good, with the Wynkoop leaning more towards traditional pub fare, and the Walnut offering more trendy dishes, like duck enchiladas. One has to order with care if one wants to spend less than $10 for lunch at either place. The Walnut is popular, but if you avoid high traffic times (weekdays 12-1 for example), it's not hard to get seated when you walk in. (Hint: you can get a table in the smoking section much more quickly than in the non-smoking section. Odds are you won't encounter smokers, since no one in Boulder smokes anyway ;-)). Just my two cents. Russell Greenlee russell at uswest.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 11:35:30 -0500 (EST) From: Douglas Allen Luce <dl2p+ at andrew.cmu.edu> Subject: Re: Recipe Archives rush at xanadu.llnl.gov (Alan Edwards) writes: > In HBD #575, Bob Whitehead (medrcw!bob at uunet.UU.NET) wrote: > | I've a proposal for the readership: > | > | I'm interested in collecting all the recipes I can find from the > | Homebrew Digest and compiling them into a book. > > Actually, if all the recipes were compiled, I for one would rather have > the "electronic" version. Me too. And if someone were to collect the recipies, I'm sure myself or another would be willing to format them for text and/or postscript. Douglas Luce Carnegie Mellon Return to table of contents
Date: 05 Feb 91 10:50:34 CST From: BLAJVM at primed.weeg.uiowa.edu Subject: Re: 5-liter mini-kegs > Date: Thu, 31 Jan 1991 10:38:31 PST > From: wegeng at arisia.xerox.com > Subject: New Kegging Idea? > > A lot of the readers of this list are probably familiar with the > small, approx 1.5 gallon "mini-kegs" that some German beers are > available in. I don't remember what they are really called - > they appear to be made of a light metal and are barrel shaped. > There is a sealed opening in one end that accepts a plastic > spigot, which is then gravity fed. There are also inexpensive > CO2 canister systems for more long term use (I have one of > these). A friend and I have both used these 5-liter "kegs" many times. They seem to hold up quite well in the long run, and take a lot of the drudgery out of bottling, since each one holds the equivalent of 14 12-oz bottles. There are a few pointers that we can pass on that might save you some trouble: 1) You MUST have one of the CO2 tapper systems, because gravity tapping requires that you punch a hole in the keg to let air in, which obviously ruins the keg. The tappers cost $8 - $12, depending on where you buy them. The use the CO2 "sparklet" canisters that RotoKegs and gourmet soda-water makers use. The sparklets are about $0.50 each, and I generally use 1 or 2 per keg when tapping. 2) Be sure to buy only those kegs that have a soft rubber gasket on top. Some brands use a plastic gasket, and these cannot be removed without breaking them. 3) Use a flat (standard) screwdriver to carefully remove the rubber gasket--a screwdriver with smooth edges is best since it won't tear into the rubber. (I use the one on my Swiss Army Knife.) The plastic plug that fits in the rubber gasket is most easily removed by adding some water to keg and shaking both the water and plug out at the same time. Be sure that the plug doesn't go down the sink drain! 4) When filling the keg, it's handy to have a flashlight to see through the 3/4" hole (with a siphon tube in it) to determine where the beer level is. I generally leave approx. 3/8" of head space, and prime the same as I would for bottles. 5) When replacing the gasket/plug combo, work it carefully back in with the screwdriver. Early experiments with a hammer resulted in damaged kegs, which did interesting things later with a very carbonated beer. :-) 6) Standard sanitization practices apply. Be sure to sterilize the gasket and plug separately, and the re-sterlize after assembly. I hope I haven't made this sound difficult, because it is a very simple, inexpensive procedure that makes bottling much more enjoyable. Tom *-----------------------------------------------------------------* | Tom Kaltenbach -- Chemistry Department - University of Iowa | |-----------------------------------------------------------------| | Internet: blajvm at primed.weeg.uiowa.edu Bitnet: blajvmpd at uiamvs | *-----------------------------------------------------------------* Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 11:04:02 mst From: hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!ihlpl!korz (Algis R Korzonas +1 708 979 8583) Subject: Re: Gusher Jeff Chambers writes: >After eight batches, I've had my first mis-fortune with a gusher. What >exactly causes them? After my "Granny Smith Christmas Cheer" finally >stops gushing it is quite drinkable with no bad tastes at all. Furthur, >the longer I chill it, the less it gushes. Does anyone have the >diagnosis so I can prevent this sort of thing in the future? There are three common causes for gushers (in order of probability, IMHO): 1) Bacterial infection -- beer was perfectly carbonated two weeks and three weeks after bottling, then after 4 or 5 weeks began to get overcarbonated. Solution: re-evaluate your sanitation techniques (plastic fermenters are much more likely to promote bacterial infections than glass fermenters; are you putting your thermometer down on the counter then back into the beer?; is your racking hose all grunged up with stains that don't come out?; etc.) You can categorize the source of your problem into two general categories: a) before bottling (all bottles gush equally), or b) during bottling (some bottles gush more than others). This will help you determine where to concentrate your sanitation improvements. I noticed "Granny Smith" in the name of the beer. Did you add apples? The bacteria could have come from the apples. You can't boil the apples or you will "set the pectins" (I don't know anything about fruit in beer -- I'm just quoting people who do). Maybe steaming the fruit for a second or two will sanitize without doing much harm [someone with fruit beer experience please comment?]. Even your yeast could have introduced the bacteria. 2) Premature bottling -- beer was almost flat after 1 week, pretty carbonated after 2 weeks, overcarbonated after 3 weeks, glass grenades after 4 weeks (note that this timetable is temperature dependent -- you could have grenades in a week at 75F). Solution: know what your expected final gravity should be and check for it (note that different yeast and other factors contribute to this) to be stable near the expected gravity for a few days. I, on the other hand, don't follow this advice and just keep the beer in the fermenter for a "long enough" time. Not very scientific, but I do judge from airlock activity and let it sit an extra week after the airlock doesn't emit bubbles anymore. 3) Wild yeast -- same symptoms as 1). A more attenuative yeast could have gotten into your beer somewhere along the way (very likely from the fruit, if indeed you used apples), and was overpowered by the yeast you pitched. Later, when the yeast you pitched was done with all the sugars it can eat, the wild yeast started munching on the more complex sugars left behind by the pitched yeast. Probably not very likely. In general, more information is needed to solve problems of this kind: ingredients (including yeast "brand"), temperatures, equipment and proceedure. A while ago, I had a few batches with bacterial infections, but I still don't know what was the problem: I improved sanitation in so many areas, that I don't know which one fixed my problem. Once you establish a routine that produces bacteria-free beer, stick with it. After a while it goes fast, but you always have to be concious to not cut corners on sanitation. Al. Return to table of contents
Date: 05 Feb 91 09:01:00 PST (Tue) From: bryan at tekgen.bv.tek.com Subject: Stainless Boiler > I can't imagine getting seven gallons to a boil > with only one burner. Very observent of you. I didn't figure this out until brewing my first all-grain batch. Besides the time problem, it seemed like the stovetop got pretty hot. I used my Coleman "Powerhouse" white gas camp stove for a batch or 2. It was much better than the electric stove, but didn't feel it was designed to run that hot, that long. So I sprung for ?35,000 btu cast iron propane burner and lived happily ever after. I think they go for around $70 now, well worth it. Bryan Return to table of contents
Date: 5 Feb 91 13:55:00 EDT From: "DRCV06::GRAHAM" <graham%drcv06.decnet at drcvax.af.mil> Subject: BOTTLE CAPPING Being new at all of this, I have a question. I understand that I can't use bottles with the standard screw top for homebrewing. No problem. What I am interested in are those unusual bottles that seem to use a standard crown cap but you wreck your hand and twist it off. I get a very unusual brand of soft drink that comes in very dark, heavy 16 oz bottles. They have what appear to me to be standard beer bottle caps, but you grasp tightly, scream a lot, and twist them off. Can I use these? dan graham Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 11:44:37 PST From: figmo at mica.berkeley.edu (Lynn Gold) Subject: Recipes from past Digests I've been holding on to all the recipes that have come over the digest for quite a while and have compiled them into a master recipe file. If anyone is interested, I'll be happy to provide pointers to it (after I clean it up :-) ). - --Lynn figmo at eris.Berkeley.Edu Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 12:13:10 -0800 From: krweiss at ucdavis.edu Subject: label removal One small refinement on the ammonia soak system -- paper labels will just float off after half an hour or so, but foil labels remain stuck for days. I use a credit card to scrape the softened foil labels off. The flexible card conforms nicely to the round bottle, and gets 'em off quick. Now, what are our chances of convincing all the breweries to stop using foil labels?? Ken Weiss krweiss at ucdavis.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 15:55:45 EST From: Bill Thacker <hplabs!hp-lsd.cos.hp.com!cbema!wbt> Subject: Homemade Wort Chillers ? I've seen ads for immersion wort chillers; priced under $30, as I recall. But it looked to me like they were nothing more complicated than a coil of copper tubing with a hose clamped on each end and a faucet fitting on one hose. Seems like that would be easy to make at home for under ten bucks. Am I missing something important ? (Like, oh, say, "copper and homebrew react to form an unstable fissionable compound." 8-) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Bill Thacker AT&T Network Systems - Columbus wbt at cbnews.att.com Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 16:23:01 PST From: Martin A. Lodahl <pbmoss!malodah at decwrl.dec.com> Subject: I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles ... In HOMEBREW Digest #576, Jeff Chambers has a familiar problem: > After eight batches, I've had my first mis-fortune with a gusher. What > exactly causes them? Well, that seems to depend on the gusher. Most commonly, it seems to be contamination of some sort. Dry yeasts frequently are the cause of this sort of misery. Edme has had a known problem with wild yeast contamination for more than 2 years. The form this seems to take is millions of beady bubbles, and determined fobbing from the bottle upon opening. Various kinds of bacterial and yeast contamination will produce similar effects. The solution is to change to clean yeast, use a closed fermentor, minimize the beer's exposure to air (especially breezes from outside), and watch your sanitation. The other major cause is too high a fermentable content at bottling. This can be caused by overpriming, but is more commonly a case of premature bottling. A sudden temperature change can shock the yeast into temporary inactivity, and we're all fooled at some point about whether fermentation really is over. Bottling sometimes rouses inactive yeast, and it picks up where it left off. A friend dropped off a bottle with the Edme variety of contamination, and I tasted it last night. I couldn't finish it, as it had a strong phenolic taste to it, but that's not usual. The last two batches I made with Edme yeast both gushed, but didn't develop off-flavors until they were almost 6 months old. It was this that finally gave me the "push" I needed to try Wyeast, and I've never looked back. Or had another gusher. > I was thinking of renaming it to "Old Faithful Ale". At least you're still ahead of the makers of "Old Reliable", which reputedly tasted awful, glass after glass after ... = Martin A. Lodahl Pac*Bell Minicomputer Tactical Planning/Support = = malodah at pbmoss.Pacbell.COM Sacramento, CA 916.972.4821 = = If it's good for ancient Druids, runnin' nekkid through the wuids, = = Drinkin' strange fermented fluids, it's good enough for me! 8-) = Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 91 19:30:45 MST From: David Suda <suda at babbage.Colorado.EDU> Subject: hops and dextrin I have a couple homebrew questions: In the hops special issue of Zymurgy, there is an article on calculating hop bitterness in beer. Calculating the IBUs sounds like a great way to get consistent results, but one thing bothers me. All the calculations depend on the table which lists precent utilization vs. boiling time. Anybody know if this table is for whole or pelletized hops? Is the utilization rate different? What reference was this table taken from? Another thing I've been wondering about is dextrin (cara-pils) malt. Miller claims it adds "smoothness and sweetness". If this character is due to complex sugars in the malt, why aren't they broken down during starch conversion? Are the sugars in dextrin malt structurally different from those which come from other malts? Dave Suda suda at boulder.colorado.edu Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #577, 02/06/91 ************************************* -------
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