HOMEBREW Digest #84 Wed 22 February 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  extract brews, stirring, aging, etc. (Dick Dunn)
  re: cerveza con limon (Jeffrey R. Hagen)
  magic carbouys - do they exist (Jeff Miller)
  general notes and questions (Aaron Fager)
  HD #83 (florianb)
  "Dry" beer (Roger Rose)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 22 Feb 89 00:22:31 MST (Wed) From: hplabs!utah-cs!cs.utexas.edu!raven!rcd (Dick Dunn) Subject: extract brews, stirring, aging, etc. For the complaint about lack of extract recipes, all I can say is: take heart. There are a few people who insist that you can't make good beer without doing your own mashing. They're snobs; they're also wrong...and fortunately, they're also in the tiny minority among homebrewers. Mashing gives you more control and a lot more possibilities, but the Holy Grail it ain't. For what it's worth, I've been brewing off and on for a decade-- no mashing. (I've done extract brews and meads.) I've had a couple of very successful barley wines made with extracts. There are various basic recipes for extract beers all over the place, but beyond that, just experiment! Play with different combinations of light and dark malts; add specialty stuff; play with hops and see what that does. Make your own recipes. It's really not that hard. _ _ _ _ _ Regarding T. Andrews' comments on a fermentation which seemed to slow or not go, then take off after some stirring: > You did the right thing. There are tree things which suggest > themselves as possible reasons for the problem: > (a) you didn't stir the yeast in when pitching This is not so likely. Yeast added at the top of a brew will likely find something to eat somewhere. > (b) you hadn't gotten any oxygen in there before pitching This can slow things down, and may give you a slight unusual taste, but won't really stop things. It's particularly unlikely if you boil only part of the batch and then add clean tap water to top up, since there's usually a fair amount of air in tap water unless you boil it. > (c) most likely: the top wasn't on there firmly, and the > CO2 was leaking out around the edge... A good bet with this type of fermenter. There's a fourth possibility--and it's something which causes two sorts of perplexity: If you boil a small part of the batch (say, less than 1/2), cool, and mix with water to bring up to volume, it's possible to get a serious stratification in the fermenter due to SG and temperature differences. Unless you actually get the fermentation going well, you don't get the agitation to stir things up and break the layers. I've seen this confound both fermentation and SG readings (which are usually taken from the top). _ _ _ _ _ > Light makes beer skunky. Sunlight or artificial, direct or indirect, light > will have an effect on beer... True, although incandescent is the least damaging and sunlight the most. It seems to be the short wavelengths that cause the problem, although I'd like to see some controlled experiments. _ _ _ _ _ > ...I am quite surprised that homebrewing books, especially those > oriented toward novices, don't emphasize the importance of allowing > your brew to age before drinking. In fact, many state that homebrews > need to be drunk young... and also > Which brings us to aging. My intermediate-level experience is: let that > stuff age for at least two months from primary to first taste. Longer is > better. My brew always improves over time. By the last bottle I usually > wish I had let the entire batch sit for four months... We seem to go 'round this one in both rec.food.drink and the mailing list every few months. In fact, although there are a few beer types which actually improve with age, most don't. Beer is perishable and best consumed fresh. Let me talk about ales in particular, since lagers obviously have some aging in the brewing process. After an ale is brewed, fermented, and bottled (or kegged), the only time it needs is enough to carbonate and clear. This is a matter of days. As soon as it's ready, serve it!! There are tastes which are going off from the minute it's done. If your beer takes a long time to be "ready" to drink, it means that you're getting rid of some off taste, since there are other things going downhill (unless you happen to like stale beer:-). In this case, you probably need to find out what you're doing in the brewing that is keeping your beer from being drinkable young. I think the homebrew books want to get you to the point where you can make a beer that you can enjoy while it's still fresh, alive, and young--something you can rarely do with a commercial beer. I suggest (in my eternal optimism) that it is the prospect of fresh beer, and not the promise of instant gratification, that makes homebrew texts recommend little aging. Since most homebrewers start with ales (for simplicity and better chance of success), there is no reason to age. I made a beer for a party last year. I got a late start on it, so it was served just 16 days after brewing...and it was a very good beer (IMHO!:-). It was racked at day 4 and bottled at day 8, so it was in bottle for 8 days when it was served! I have a few bottles left, and I tasted one this evening as a check. It is still a good beer after almost a year (it was brewed 3/2/88), sound, tasty and all, but it's not fresh the way it was at the party. There are two possibly offsetting problems: process and contamination. You can make mistakes in process which require age to mellow out; you can get contamination which gets worse with age. I suggest that most of us went through a stage of getting rid of contamination, after which our beers would tolerate aging without some nasty crud growing in them. But once we got to where our beers were good enough to *allow* aging, we didn't go back and fix the things that made them *require* aging. >...The point is, an IPA I brewed on New Year's > day was very bitter and still yeasty two or three weeks after > bottling... Hmmm..."yeasty" is a wrong term. Yeast does not impart a taste to beer; if you have a taste you want to call yeasty, that's just power of suggestion. There's really something else going on. As to bitter--and I assume you mean something other than the proper bitterness of hops since you know what an IPA is!--the most common cause is extracting tannins from the husks of specialty grains and malts, which happens if you boil them. This is also suggested by the fact that it ages out. For the benefit of anyone just tuning in, especially extract brewers: DON'T BOIL THE GRAINS!!! Extract the goodies by steeping well below boiling temperature; add the liquid to the boil but discard the spent grain. > My beers seem to get smoother with age and even just plain ales don't > show any signs of deterioration after many months. If anything, they > may get a little drier. The slight drying with age is commonly noted. It is to be expected, and if you are brewing beers to age (such as barley wines), it is a Good Thing. It comes from very slow continued fermentation of mostly-non-fermentable sugars. If your beers don't deteriorate over a matter of months, that's a good sign that you've got clean process. > What is the general consensus on aging? I don't think there is one...but there are lots of opinions, and mine is that for ales, you shouldn't need to age. Return to table of contents
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 89 23:25:37 MST From: hplabs!ames!cmcl2!arizona!modular!hagen (Jeffrey R. Hagen) Subject: re: cerveza con limon Sorry, I should have been more explicit. In Mexico, Corona makes a number of different brews. The kind that makes American students stupid is 'Victoria' I think. It comes in 325 ml bottles and is very light. I don't like it much compared to the other choices. There are others that I have tried and liked called 'barril' and 'familiar'. 'familiar' is darker than the 'barril' and comes in the quart bottles I talked about. As to these kindly corrections to my Spanish, I looked up the words lima and limon in the Spanish dictionary and you folks are absolutely right. I maintain, however, if you go down to Guaymas go into a bar and hold up an American style lemon and a Mexican lime, the bartender will identify both as limon. Jeff Hagen Modular Mining Systems Tucson, Az arizona!modular!hagen Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 89 8:32:28 CDT From: Jeff Miller <jmiller at unix.eta.com> Subject: magic carbouys - do they exist After blowing up a second glass fermenter with thermal shock I broke down and went to my homebrew supplier to get a plastic fermenter. While I was there he was telling me about a pyrex carbouy that he picked up some years back. The question to the net is, has anybody else seen these? I understand that they might be VARY expensive but it might be nice to come across one in a surplus store. Jeff Miller (jmiller at eta.com) Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 89 11:11:45 EDT From: Aaron Fager <aaron at mthvax.miami.edu> Subject: general notes and questions Just some comments after having read the group for a while.... 1. Regarding Pale Ale bitterness: Here in Coral Gables/South Miami, the Wine and Brew by You had a pale ale with rice syrup added, giving extra alcohol content with less bitter aftertaste. 2. Regarding the six-month cider experiment: why six months? A good cider can be had in just two days time, and that saves you six months of waiting. Were you trying to make apple wine? 8-) 3. A question for y'all: Are there any outlets in Poughkeepsie, New York? I bought a kit for a friend up there, but he hasn't had much luck. I heard that mail order stuff isn't as 'fresh', so I would like to have him make a good brew. Any suggestions? 4. Ditto for Puerto Rico. I figure that must have something local since shipping must be costing brewers a mint. If so, I have someone interested in a brewing kit. Should be fun..... 5. Regarding clarity versus taste: How much of a difference will there be if I don't add beverage settler before bottling? I don't want to waste a batch in experimentation. Will it taste like there is powder, or other non-beer flavors, or will it just be the murkiness in the way of a good looking brew? Thanks much, Aaron Fager, University of Miami. Return to table of contents
Date: 22 Feb 89 12:26:53 PST (Wed) From: florianb%tekred.cna.tek.com at RELAY.CS.NET Subject: HD #83 John Coughlin comments: [I store my beer in a refrigerator, and it always tastes fine. I guess that proves once and for all that the little light *does* go out when you close the 'fridge door 8-).] Mine tastes fine, too. However, storing homebrew in the reefer does seem to increase its vapor pressure. I put it in, and in a little while, it disappears. My wife and I have decided that this may be due to little people who snag our homebrew and leave moldy leftovers in its place. Paul Perlemutter inquires: Paul Perlmutter inquires about draft beer. I understand that the original meaning of draft implied keg conditioning, without co2 charging. Very little carbonation. As for M----r beer, the "draft" seems to have a better foam head retention than ordinary. It also tastes flatter. The flavor seems to be about the same as regular. As for "dry", I regard it as another in the endless effort of commercial breweries to try and pawn off their swill as something special. Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 89 17:33:06 MST From: stcvax!rlr at hplabs.HP.COM (Roger Rose) Subject: "Dry" beer Paul Perlmutter <paul at hppaul> writes: > ... > Also, what is "dry" beer that the Japanese seem to enjoy? I looked into this a few weeks back. "Dry" beer is an idea which started in Japan. The process is to lengthen the period that the beer is fermented, so the last tiny bit of residual sugar (read "body", "malt character", etc.) ferments out. What is left is a beer with 1-2% higher alcohol and no residual sweetness. The only American Dry beer is Michelob Dry. Busch varies the process slightly from the Japanese by starting with less malt, so the end result contains the same alcohol level as beer. (After all, in America "higher-alcohol" is rapidly gaining the same media opinion as leprosy.) Prior to finding an article describing the process, I tried a side-by-side tasting of Mich and Mich Dry. My guess was less malt and more noticeable hops (probably due to decreased malt). Basically, Mich Dry is what might be expected if Busch attempted to brew a beer in the style of Coors Light. (I can't say that I would care to buy another six pack, and I'm not even particularly opposed to Michelob. -- When I'm in the mood for something light.) BTW. I found it interesting that Michelob Dry didn't use twist-off caps. Probably goes with the bold new image. ;-) -roger Return to table of contents
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