HOMEBREW Digest #85 Fri 24 February 1989

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		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  thermal shock/glass carboys ("1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASES")
  aging, carbouys etc. (jhersh)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 23 Feb 89 15:00:00 EST From: "1107-CD&I/VIRUS DISEASES" <henchal at wrair.ARPA> Subject: thermal shock/glass carboys Jeff Miller writes: "After blowing up a second glass fermenter with thermal shock I broke down and went to my homebrew supplier to get a plastic fermenter." I am a little curious about the method you were using to require the addition of very hot liquids (I am speculating) to the carboy, as well as the result. I have been brewing almost exclusively in glass, non-pyrex, carboys (5.5 to 7.5 gal) for awhile. Were your carboys old and well used (no doubt) ? Are carboys more likely to break when they get older (probably) ? Do my assumptions apply in your case? My laboratory experience has taught me that glass vessels break on rapid heating and cooling. If you have to add hot liquids to a cool carboy, start with only a small amount of the liquid...allow the carboy vessel to adjust to the changing temperature conditions slowly. This practice is usually applicable with all but the oldest of glass vessels. When I brew, I always cool my wort with a homemade copper (1/2 inch diameter by 30 feet coil) wort cooler prior to addition to the carboy. The only time that I add super hot water to a carboy is if I pre-boil my brewing water before use. Generally, I have abandoned that practice since I got a 30 qt brew kettle and and boil the entire wort (5.5 to 6 gal) at one time. (By the way nice 30 qt brew kettles are available cheap from Great Fermentations for about $30. Well worth the price.) Erik A. Henchal, Ph.D. <WRAIR.ARPA> Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 89 15:52:30 est From: jhersh at rdrc.rpi.edu Subject: aging, carbouys etc. 1) There are lots of good extract recipes out there. Try Byron Burch's book, Zymurgy Mag. or find some other homebrewers and ask them. Also experimenting is fun 2) The wavelengths which destroy beer flavor are 400 - 520 nm. Ref. The Practical Brewers, Master Brewers Association of America, Madison, Wis. 3) I once again vociferously concur (oooh big words) with Dick Dunn on aging. Part of the entire point of homebrew is to produce a FRESH product! Do you think CAMRA fought so hard to preserve cask conditioned ale because they like old beer?? Someone once told me an anecdote abuot a taste test. It seems European beers that were flown in fresh for the testing were blind taste tested by consumers against those which had gone through the regular distribution networks which insure that you get old beer. Consumers preferred the old to the fresh! Theory is that it is what they are used to. Maybe those of you who like aged beers are too used to drinking old, improperly handled beers which is why you like them that way. As one who does a lot of intentional damaging of beers in order to train beer judges I'll tell you that with few exceptions (recipe dependent) it is freshness or death! One last point on this topic. Hop flavor degrades with age. If you have to let your beers age in order for the hops to come into balance then you're making them too hoppy to start with. 4) Oh Contriare Dick. Yeast definitely does impart flavor into beer. Maybe you phrased it wrong but if you consult the troubleshooting 87 issue you'll get an idea of just how many flavors yeast puts into beer. Yeasty is usually associated with sulfury flavors like DMS, or Hydrogen sulfide. These arise in a number of places but the classic yeasty flavors come from yeast decay and autolysis (yeast digesting themselves). 5) Boiling grains. Byron Burch's book tells you to boil darker grains. My rule o thumb is to only boil grains when astringency is desired. When pray tell is this, well certain drier stouts and/or porters call for it. I just made a great Imperial Stout and boiled the black, chocolate and roasted grains for 15 minutes, and what I couldn't strain out fully for a whole hour with no excessive astringency. It's all a matter of balance. Carbouys- I have a friend who got hold of 3 pyrex carbouys. He has never used them sice he didn't know what had been in them and how to assure that they hadn't had evil nasty chemicals which couldn't be purged. Of course the other problem is tracking down a stopper since they have really wide necks. My friend got his at some sort of garage sale, but he was always the kind to acquire junk and then find a use for it rather than vice versa. If you buy them new they are indeed very expensive. I once broke a carbouy via thermal shock. That was when I broke down and sunk $10 into 10 ft of 3/8 outer diameter copper tubing which I use as an immersion chiller. It takes 10 - 15 minutes to cool the wort, now I pitch my yeast almost immediately. Despite ongoing debate about using copper I haven't noticed any flavors from it (believe me I'd notice, I've been judging 2 years now am at the certified level and frequently host flavor perception seminars to keep my taste buds in tune). For Aaron Fager your friend in Poughkeepsie should contact Hennessy Homebrew 470 North Greenbush Rd Rensselaer NY 12144 518-283-7094 T-F 5PM - 9PM Sat 10AM - 3PM Hennessy takes credit card orders over the phone, mail orders and if your friend is really uptight it's under a 2 hour drive from him. Orders are shipped within 5 days usually and UPS will take only 2 days to get to him from here. We do have customers that drive up from his area to make large orders. All hops are refrigerated in the store as is all yeast (liquid and dry). Turnover is high (Hennessy is Crosby and Bakers largest customer in the NorthEast) so supplies are typically very fresh. disclaimer: I work 1 night a week (wednesday) for Dan mostly as a favor since he prefers to have the store staffed by knowledgable homebrewers instead of dumb clerks. (assuming you consider me knowledgable). Dan also sponsors our clubs competition (a local competition for club members and hennessy customers within reasonable distance of Albany). Both of us work day jobs and so far nobody is close to getting rich off this place and it looks like we ain't never going to. - jay h Return to table of contents
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