HOMEBREW Digest #58 Wed 25 January 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  JUST SAY NO to twist-off bottles (Mike Fertsch)
  bottles and breakage (Mike Meyer)
  re: mashing temps and beer body (Darryl Richman)
  Zymurgy Back Issue Question ("MR. DAVID HABERMAN")
  re: crushing grain (Donald P Perley)
  RE: Brewing Notes from Alex. (Alex Jenkins)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 25 Jan 89 11:34 EST From: Mike Fertsch <hplabs!uiucdcs!meccad.RAY.COM!FERTSCH> Subject: JUST SAY NO to twist-off bottles The strength of the bottle crown and cap are only part of the exploding bottle problem. The strength of the bottle itself is also critical. I use only thick walled returnable bar bottles for my brew. During a heat stroke last summer, I had a few bottles explode. Curiously, the caps and crowns didn't break; instead, the bottoms of the bottles blew out. I hate to think how many I would have lost if I had used thin walled bottles. I would recommend staying clear of throw-away twist-top bottles. The bottles have much thinner walls than returnable ones, and a brewer is just asking for problems. I have no experience with twist-off caps, but they have to be worse than standard crowns. Given a choice, use only returnable bottles with standard crowns. A friend of mine uses Grolsch bottles. It seems that the rubber gasket acts like a relief valve to protect the bottles. During the heat stroke he noticed that his bottles were hissing around the gaskets, releasing excess gas. After the weather improved, the bottles sealed again. He drank his beer, while I mopped mine up! Maybe I'll switch to Grolsch bottles for this summer's brewing! mike fertsch Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 89 12:08:01 PST From: meyer at tcville.hac.com (Mike Meyer) Subject: bottles and breakage I've always been afraid to even attempt using screw-top bottles. I use a bench capper, BTW. Here's a list of the types of bottles we've used at Bitchen Breweries over the last year. We've only had two explosions in over 1000 bottles. One was a Moosehead bottle, which in retrospect seem a little wimpy anyway -- we don't use them anymore, even though the cause of the explosion was probably inadequate mixing of the (dry, unboiled) priming sugar. (this was an early batch) The other one was a Guinness bottle, one of my Toad Spit Stout bottles, and I don't know why it blew, but suspect that the bottle was simply weak around the capping rim, from the pattern of the breakage. Heinekin (a bit wimpy for my tastes) Moosehead (wimpy) Steinlager (They work, but seem wimpy) Christian Morelein (when they were plain longnecks, they've switched to twistoff) Samuel Adams (also good longnecks) Coors, Bud, Lite (returnables) Corona (I use these sparingly, to monitor color and clarity) Becks (old ones are sturdier, new ones slightly shorter) St. Pauli Girl (same as New Becks) Anchor Steam (pretty shape) San Miguel (a bit light) Amstel Light Guinness Molson Dos Equis (amber -- these are strong, but the glue is a bitch) Carlsberg (good giveaway bottles) Large Kirin and Sapporo (for when you can only drink one...) Big Becks (21.x ounces, and built like a Buick) Non-returnable 'longnecks' (A bit short, and not as strong, but okay) I think we've used various and sundry others, but these are the ones we've used in any quantity. If someone offered me 10 cases of empty clean Mooseheads, I probably would use them without worry, but I don't seek them out. I've gotten bottles from friends, from waitresses, from dumpsters, from the side of the road, and from beer I drink. We try to keep the majority of our bottles as either Longnecks or Becks, so as to keep from having to constantly readjust the capper, but the odd bottles are good for giveaway beer where you just know the recipient isn't going to save them for reuse. We always remove the labels, though I've seen those who don't. I think it looks much better, lets you see the inside of your bottle when cleaning, and doesn't give bad beasties a place to hide. Anyone think it is unnecessary? |Just to be on the safe side, you might want to do what I do: after bottling, |put the bottles in case boxes and put the cases into a plastic lawn 'n' leaf |bag. My theory is that if the worst happens, most of the broken glass |will be contained by the bag, and maybe I'll have a little less mopping |up to do.. We do this too, and it has served us well. The worst part of the explosion thing isn't the spilled beer as much as the glass shards. My bottle question is: has anyone ever used 2-liter plastic twistoff bottles (or one-liter) with any luck? Mike Meyer meyer at tcville.HAC.COM Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 89 09:17:49 PST From: Darryl Richman <darryl at ism780c.isc.com> Subject: re: mashing temps and beer body Jeff Miller <jmiller at unix.eta.com> writes: "> To get high body, you must mash low; to get thinner body, mash high. " "Are you sure about this? I don't have a good memory and my books are at "home but I thought it was exactly opposite this. This is what happens when you get off into the subject and aren't feeling well enough to go back and edit properly. This statement needs to be qualified in that it is MY EXPERIENCE using MY BREWING SETUP AND TECHNIQUES. I'll tell you right now that Dave Line and Greg Noonan will say exactly the opposite, but I have my reasons for this: First of all, my mashes are much shorter than any book I've read. Noonan goes on for a minimum of 3 hours (and up to 9!) with his decoctions. Line recommends letting the thing sit over night! I can't remember spending more than an hour in the saccharification range, and usually it's more like 30-45 minutes. I almost always get a negative iodine reaction at about the 15 minute point or before. Counting a protien rest and a mash off, my mashes generally go for about 2 hours. Next, I use the step mash technique. I can make step raises very quickly as well. So I'm not adding any water to raise temperatures, and Noonan will tell you that thick mashes are more efficient. I mash in with about 1 quart per pound of malt, which is a very stiff mash, and I add about a cup per pound when I raise to saccharification range. Perhaps this is why my mashes go so quickly. Also, it is a chemistry rule of thumb that reactions proceed at twice the speed for every 10C the temperature goes up. So mashing at a higher temperature (e.g., 158F) runs considerably faster than at a lower one (e.g., 148F). And since, as I mentioned, I'm going to step again after saccharification to about 170F, I'm going to go through the high end anyway. So my technique brings me through the complete temperature range regardless of the emphasis of my mash. So the difference here is that if my emphasis is at the low end of the range, I'll get some maltose production, but mostly I'll have long chains of sugar left over at the negative iodine point because alpha amylaze hasn't been too busy. Even at 148F beta amylaze is going to denature after a while, so as I proceed to raise the tempurature for mash off, the alpha amylaze will have a brief opportunity to bust more long chains into shorter chains, but I'm not going to get much more maltose. If I'm going for a thinner bodied beer, I'll raise directly to the high end of the range, where alpha and beta will be extremely active. Beta will be coming apart as well, but it is protected to some extent by the thick mash. While the beta is still available, however, the alpha is making a tremendous number of sugar chain fragments available for conversion to maltose. The result is a wort with very few long chain dextrins left, a great deal of very short chain sugars, and a good dose of maltose. It is very important to understand what a brewer does, how this affects the techniques employed and the results obtained. My short mashes are a positive feature in that it shortens the brewing day a bit; I'm not losing efficiency of my mash as a result (from what I read in Zymurgy, the 1.030-1.032 I usually get from a pound of malt in a gallon of water is very good); and I have produced winning beers as a result. I might have to take a second look at my technique if I wanted to make a very thin beer, such as an American Premium or Japanese lager, but I haven't tackled those. I hope I have explained my surprising results to the satisfaction of those interested without completely boring those who aren't. If you still have questions, try mailing to me. I promise to respond to inquiries. --Darryl Richman (The Falcon's Nest homebrewer's BBS sysop 818 349 5891) Return to table of contents
Date: 25 Jan 89 13:09:00 PST From: "MR. DAVID HABERMAN" <habermand at afrpl-vax.ARPA> Subject: Zymurgy Back Issue Question I recently started brewing again after lapse of a couple years. When I went to the local home brew shop, I picked up the Winter 1988 Zymurgy issue. I decided to join AHA and also sent away for some of the back issues: 1985 Special - All Grain 1986 Special - Malt Extract 1987 Special - Troubleshooting What was the 1988 special issue about and is it worth ordering? Also, what other issues are of interest to a beginning brewer? I also ordered the "Best of Beer and Brewing" Vol. 1-5 per Rob's suggestion since it appears to have an authentic Sake recipe. David P. S. I finally received only one copy of the digest today. ------ Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 89 16:03:57 EST From: Donald P Perley <steinmetz!perley at uunet.UU.NET> Subject: re: crushing grain I used a food processor to crush malt for a few batches before I bought a mill. Malt is a lot softer than wheatberries, so you don't have as much of a concern with scratching as one poster suggested. You can only do a cup or two at a time, so that is a lot of batches to crush 10 lbs or so for a brewing session. At least you aren't chasing the stuff all around the table with a rolling pin. -don perley Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 89 11:15:10 EST From: hpwala!hp-pcd!cmcl2!harvard!prism.TMC.COM!atj (Alex Jenkins) Subject: RE: Brewing Notes from Alex. Sorry, one typo found for this "recipe" in my previous mail: >(#28) day one: Ale >2.75 gal. H2O at 170 deg, 5 lb. Pale Malt, 1 lb. Crystal Malt. 1 tsp. Gypsum >Initial heat: 155 deg., pH 5.0. Maintained at 120 to 153 deg. 2 hours. >ending pH 5.2 Sparged, added to the wort with: 4 lb. (minus two cups ^^^^^^^ >reserved for priming two batches), and 1.3 lb. light brown sugar. >Extracted 1 qt. for the yeast starter. >Boiled: 30 min., added 1 oz. Willamette (Fuggles) hops pellets. > 15 min., 1.5 oz. loose Hallertau hops > 15 min., 1 T. Irish Moss > 30 min. more boiling and strained the wort. >Sparged the hops with boiling water. >Added 1 oz. Clusters hops pellets for dry-hops to the cooling wort. >Added wort to the carboy, with yeast starter (Red Star Ale) mixture, >and 3.5 gal. water. Set with an airlock; s.g. is 1.048. That's four pounds of light unhopped Dry Malt Extract (DME) minus two cups. Questions, comments on this or my previous looong message? Thanks. -- Alex -- atj at mirror.TMC.COM P.S. the Ale described above, is really smooth, quite bitter. Return to table of contents
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