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HOMEBREW Digest #1114 Wed 07 April 1993

Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

Re: Decoction/brown sugar/storagability/Wyeast1056/Allgrain problems (korz)
re: Using Sulphites (Mike Lemons)
re: ICE BEER is here (Mike Lemons)
Unusual recipies (John Devenezia)
eternal ferment (Kirk Anderson)
Macintosh search program (John Landreman X1786)
Fridge defrosting (Chris Estes)
Re: Heading Agent (Phil Bardsley )
RE: Decoction Mashing (Darryl Richman)
Carbonation in bottle-primed beer (Al Marshall)
Miles of dense surface troooob (LLROW)
requesting a good hard cider recipe (SMEED_J)
Re: More stupid carboy tricks (tmr1)
beer from Brussels/Antwerp - BBrite effectiveness (Victor J Bartash +1 908 957 5633)
Re: Failure of first All grain (Timothy J. Dalton)
RE: decoction, first all grain (James Dipalma)
All-grain troubles (Phillip Seitz)
my diatribe on styles (Jay Hersh)
phils/sparging (Michael D. Galloway)
Goose Island hosts First Round nationals (Tony Babinec)
`Breathing' of wine (KURZ)
enzyme potential (Thomas G. Moore)
culturing belgian yeast from bottles (?) (Ed Hitchcock)
Re: Immersion cooler length (Kelly Jones)

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Date: Mon, 5 Apr 93 15:07 CDT
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Decoction/brown sugar/storagability/Wyeast1056/Allgrain problems

Dennis writes:
>I've noticed that I'm not the only person confused by decoction mashing. It
>seems like a lot of screwing around just to increase yield. Personally, I'd
>rather just add another pound or so of grist and not worry about it. Are there
>other benefits to decoction mashing? Clearer wort/green beer/finish product?

The dococtions do caramelize a bit and I'll bet that there would be a
slightly different flavor with a decoction mashed batch as opposed to an
infusion mashed batch with the same ingredients. Probably not too big
a difference. I've read somewhere that decoction mashing was primarily
a way to get consistent temperatures before the advent of the thermometer
(think about it), but the "modern" breweries that still use the decoction
method, like the brewers of Pilsner Urquell, use (I believe) a less
modified malt which would require triple decoction for reasonable yields.

>Noonan says to remove "the heaviest third" of the mash. I suppose that does
>not include any grains since you will eventually boil it. This is really hard
>to do for those of us who mash in a pot on the stove instead of in a Gott
>cooler. Anyway, his directions are "marginal" (I'm being nice) in the
>decoction specifics.

No, the heaviest third DOES include grain. A few months ago, Darryl
Richman finally cleared up the reason that the decoctions did not
extract gobs of tannins: its the pH! Indeed, the decoction mashing
method would work much better in a cooler than a kettle.
>At any rate, I'm very happy with multi-rest infusion mashes and the decoction
>stuff is simply a curiousity. Maybe I'll try it if I have an entire Saturday
>to blow on it.

Try a tried-and-true recipe and let us know how the beers compare, infusion
vs. decoction.

Chris writes:
>In Dave Line's book, Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy, he gives
>directions for making an extract version of Fuller's ESB. In his
>directions he states that the brown sugar should be added to warm
>water and then added to the cooling wort (after boiling). I have
>always thought that any sugars should be added along with the
>malt. Is anyone aware of any advantages to adding brown sugar
>after the boil?

I'd recommend against it. Many suggestions in those older homebrewing
books from England are full of errors. Naturally, boiling anything
will tend to diminish aromatics (consider hops), and perhaps it would
be best to add the brown sugar in the last 5 minutes of the boil --
just long enough to sanitize, but minimizing any loss of aromatics.

Rafael writes:
> As a beginner I'd like to ask a probably FAQ. Once the beer is
> bottled, How many weeks can I keep the beer (no preservatives, no
> pasteurization) before it gets undrinkable?

No, it's not that frequently asked... actually. The answer is, depends.

On average, I'd say a homebrewed, unfiltered beer, stored at 65F would
be perfect for two months and then slowly begin to decline in quality.
Unless infected, most homebrew would be drinkable for more than a year.
The following factors *increase* storagablity:

high alcohol,
high hop rate,
oxygen-scavenging bottlcaps (PureSeal(tm), aka Smartcaps(tm)),
small headspace in the bottle, and
stable yeast strain.

The following factors *decrease* storagablity:

bacterial infection,
wild yeast infection,
aeration during bottling,
large headspace in the bottle,
light, and
unstable yeast strain.

Jonathan writes:
>Now on to my next adventure. I'm making a pale ale (actually it's making
>itself right now) with some Wyeast 1056 "American" right out of the packet
>via a DME starter solution. On the sixth day it was still bubbling at about
>three per minute, but as the krausen had subsided I racked to secondary
>anyway, and tossed in the dry-hopping pellets. Within a day or two, what did
>to my wondering eyes appear but a KRAUSEN in the secondary! Coming up on two
>weeks now, it's still bubbling between one and two per minute. I have made
>ales this year with American, British, Irish, and London, and I have never
>had yeast behave in this manner (including a previous "American" two
>batches)!! My basement has been around 60-62 F. all winter, but this is the
>first time I have had such a slow fermentation. What should I do (besides of
>course RDWHAH)?

Wyeast #1056 tends to be slow in general and, although it has been reported
to ferment down to 55F, I've heard that it should be fermented well above
60F. I proved this with a recent batch. As the fermentation temperature
approaches 60F, the yeast slows down to a crawl. I suggest you find a
way to warm it up to about 65F. 1056 also tends to lose all its "ale"
character in the low 60s.

Jim writes:
>Made a beer today with the following ingredients
>3lbs belgain pilsner malt
>4 pounds belgian pale ale malt
>8 ounces caravienne
>Mashed in 2 gallons of distilled water at ~154 for 1.25 hours at which time
>the iodine test was negative. The pH of mash was around 5.2. Used a Zapap
>type lauter tun with grain bag. Recirculated about 0.5 gallons. Used
>distilled water for sparging. Placed a pie plate on top of grain bed and
>added water at about 165. Also mashed out at 170. Sparged till gravity
>was 1.008 .Ph of run off was still around 5.5. Collected about 7 gallons
>of wort. Gravity after boiling down to about 6 gallons was only 1.028.
>Where did I go wrong?

I would suspect two areas of problems: 1) a very bad crush, or 2) channelling
in your lauter tun. Was the "grain bag" the kind with cloth sides and a
mesh bottom (the right kind) or the kind that's mesh-all-over. The
mesh-all-over type have a tendancy to allow all the sparge water to head
immediately to the sides of the bucket and the channelling at the sides
pulls all the sparge water along the wall of the bucket and not through
the grain.



Date: Mon, 05 Apr 93 13:17:43 PDT
From: [email protected] (Mike Lemons)
Subject: re: Using Sulphites

In my previous message I stated that iodine sanitizers must be rinsed
off. This is not true. Iodophor does not require rinsing.

I just read an article in _The Beverage People News_ that states that
sulfites do not kill bacteria, they only "stun" them. I immediately got
this mental image of a bacterium laying on its back with its feet
in the air. I don't know how you could tell if a bacterium has been

- --
INTERNET: [email protected] (Mike Lemons)
UUCP: ...!ryptyde!netlink!mikel
NetLink Online Communications * Public Access in San Diego, CA (619) 453-1115


Date: Mon, 05 Apr 93 13:20:27 PDT
From: [email protected] (Mike Lemons)
Subject: re: ICE BEER is here

John Adams writes:

>The beer is frozen as so that the water can be removed thus leaving a
>potent liquid behind.

I believe that the government frowns on this practice as they do on home
still production. I'd keep quiet about it or you might have "revenuers"
knocking on your door.

- --
INTERNET: [email protected] (Mike Lemons)
UUCP: ...!ryptyde!netlink!mikel
NetLink Online Communications * Public Access in San Diego, CA (619) 453-1115


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 93 15:29:20 -0500
From: [email protected] (John Devenezia)
Subject: Unusual recipies

I posted this request to rec.crafts.brewing on the
network and due to lack of response decidied to widen
the call.

When I got started in the wonderful world of homebrewing
18 months and 18 batches ago I quickly found myself making
some, for the lack of a better word, unusual beers. Not
at all the beers I envisioned myself creating when I started.

I figured I could buy just about any style of beer I wanted
and the main reason for me to homebrew was to create something
not commercially available.

I started with the wheat beers, whose light palette lends
themselves to an easy bastardization. Cherry and raspberry
batches were not very adventurous so the great watermelon
experiment was performed. From there spruce and chocolate,
whit and kriek. Molasses, honey and maple syrup. Yes it was
enough to make a beer purist shudder. Rhienhosptgiet, why
I don't even know how to spell it.

To make a somewhat long story somewhat shorter, my last batch
has some of my friends questioning my hold on reality. Captain
Crunch Crunchberries and strawberry poptart ale.

*_Here is call for all you would be gross-out artists to brag._*

I would like to receive a description of all of your most
adventurous, innovative or just plain wacky experiments.
They don't have to be tasty; for by our failures we
learn as much, if not more, as by our successes. Extra points
for leaving the vegetarian nature of brewing.

I will compile and post.

John D.
[email protected]


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1993 17:57:05 -1100
From: [email protected] (Kirk Anderson)
Subject: eternal ferment

Hello Brew Sages:

A few weeks ago, I asked you what you thought about my 'nonstop fermentation'
and the concensus was that I should not throw the stuff out but check the
airlock and the S.G. I won't print the recipe again. Suffice to say it's
an extract brew with half a pound of maple syrup and 2 oz of apricot
flavoring intended for wines, and Edme dry yeast.

Update: now after eight weeks, it ain't over. The airlock is still giving
a feeble 'glug' once every 70 seconds. The color got noticeably darker.
No off flavors to suggest contamination. Specific gravity down to about 1.009
(I think).

Question: can I bottle this now? I'd really like to get on to my next batch
and only have one carboy. But I'd hate to ruin this one just because I
got impatient. If I do bottle, should I decrease priming sugar from the
standard 3/4 cup?

As long as I've got your collective ear: I just enjoyed some Catamount
porter. Is this a good example of the style?

Hell, someone's got to ask all the questions around here.
Kirk Anderson, Dept. of French
Wheaton College, Norton MA 02766


Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1993 15:09:45 MDT
From: John Landreman X1786
Subject: Macintosh search program

>From: Nir Navot

>Has any computer-wiz out there written a Thread-like program that can run on
>the Macintosh computer? Or do you know of an already existing software that
>can be used to search digests and create subsets of them following a specific
>keyword? Thanks in advance. Nir.

I use Super Boomerang. This program is included in the Now Utilities package
from Now Software. It has a Find command which will scan every file on a disk
(hard or floppy) for a keyword. The name of every file with the keyword is
displayed. You can then choose one of the files and the program will display a
three line section containing the keyword to see how it is used in context.
This is helpful if you use the keyword "hops" to look for posts on growing
hops as opposed to using hops in brewing beer. If the keyword is used more
than once in a file you can view each occurrance in context. After you are
done looking through a file you can select another file from the list



Date: Mon, 5 Apr 93 17:46:47 -0400
From: [email protected] (Chris Estes)
Subject: Fridge defrosting

Hi All..

I recently came into an old Beermeister; a litle 'fridge with a standard
and tap mounted on the top. It needed a little modification to take the
5 gallon soda kegs - a bit too tall. It works great, and I'm really
happy, except that the cooling element (?) gets a bunch of frost buildup
on it. The cooling mechanism in this device looks _very_ primitive.
I was wondering if I hooked a Hunter AirStat up to it, could I program it
in some way that might let it have a "defrost" phase? Does anyone else have
any experience with this? Should I just learn to live with it and throw it
out on the back porch for a few days every six months?

On another note, how long should I expect my 20lb CO2 tank to last? I got
it last summer and have made at least 10 batches of beer since then. I
also use it to push the sterilizer out of the keg when cleaning it. The
pressure gauge for the high side hasn't really moved.

Any ideas???

-Chris Estes-
[email protected]


Date: Mon, 05 Apr 93 19:02 EDT
From: Phil Bardsley
Subject: Re: Heading Agent

My local homebrew shop also sells small packets of off-white
"heading agent." I didn't ask the manufacturer's name, but I
did ask about the contents: "ground bark of the gum acacia
tree" I was told. It's pupose is to reduce surface tension.
I use it all the time by adding it to my priming sugar before
adding water and boiling. It's probably not necessary if you
have very clean utensils and beer glasses, but it helps fight
off detergents, oils, and other head killers that tend to
creep into the brews we less careful brewers produce. Anyway,
at 1/2 tsp per 5 gals, it goes a long way. Back when I brewed
only extract I noticed a definite improvement using it. I
suspect I don't need it now that I brew all grain, but I'm in
the habit.


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 93 12:59:11 PDT
From: Darryl Richman
Subject: RE: Decoction Mashing

Dennis B. Lewis writes:
> I've noticed that I'm not the only person confused by decoction mashing. It
> seems like a lot of screwing around just to increase yield. Personally, I'd
> rather just add another pound or so of grist and not worry about it.
Are there
> other benefits to decoction mashing? Clearer wort/green beer/finish product?

Decoction is technique that provides other benefits besides additional
extract. It coagulates more proteins and therefore produces a clearer,
more stable product. It also aids in melanoidin formation, which can
increase the perception of the malty character of your beer, as well as
adding some color. It gains the extra extract by completely
solibulizing all of the starch from the malt, which can also lead to
clearer, more stable beer. It tends to remove more of the DMS
character that will come from lightly kilned malts, and makes the wort
more compatible with sulfury hops and/or yeast that accentuate sulfur

> Noonan says to remove "the heaviest third" of the mash. I suppose that does
> not include any grains since you will eventually boil it. This is
really hard
> to do for those of us who mash in a pot on the stove instead of in a Gott
> cooler. Anyway, his directions are "marginal" (I'm being nice) in the
> decoction specifics.

No, the heaviest third does include malt solids. You do actually boil
the malt, husks and all. (The next question is always "Why doesn't
this extract tannins from the husks?"; I believe that the pH controls
this extraction, and since the pH of the decoct is in the low 5's, none
is extracted. Hot water above pH 6 will extract tannins.) For a first
try at decoction, I would recommend pulling more than 1/3 -- perhaps
40% -- since many variables are at work in determining whether your
rest temperature is achieved (amount of cooling in transport of decoct
back into the mash tun, how much the decoct cools as you add it back,
etc.) By returning the decoct slowly, you can observe the temperature
rise; if you have too much, you can cool the remaining decoct after
the rest temperature is achieved with cold water.

> At any rate, I'm very happy with multi-rest infusion mashes and the
> stuff is simply a curiousity. Maybe I'll try it if I have an entire Saturday
> to blow on it.

I did spend all day with my first decoction. Part of that was due to
it going from a planned two decoction mash to a four decoction, because
I was far short of my temperature marks. But having got beyond that,
decoction requires less equipment than a step infusion, and I believe,
produces a different spectrum of flavors and aromas.

--Darryl Richman


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 93 10:09:08 PDT
From: [email protected] (Al Marshall)
Subject: Carbonation in bottle-primed beer

Can someone recommend a technique for making bottle carbonation
a little more predictable without investing in counterpressure
filling? By predictable, I mean time to condition, and carbonation
level. Does anyone have experience with pitching fresh yeast when
priming, and how exactly do you do it?

By way of example, I have 5 gallons of porter in bottles
which are absolutely flat (and no yeast sediment)
after 1 week from priming with 1 pt water and
1/2 cup corn sugar and conditioning at 65F. Although this period
is a little brief, my experience would indicate that I am in for
a long wait for carbonation if there is no carbonation at all at this
point. I've noticed this problem in moderately (1055) to very (109X)
big beers which spent a long time in secondary.

If I get any attractive ideas, I'll implement them on the other half of
the batch. Unfortunately, the experiment
will not be very scientific, as the
in-bottle half is Wyeast 1028 whereas the in-secondary half is
bottle-cultured Sierra Nevada.

By the way, I think there is some kind of natural law that makes
these problems occur on beer that is absolutely delicious :-).

Thanks in advance...

-- Al Marshall


Date: Monday, 5 April 93 19:33:49 CST
From: [email protected]
Subject: Miles of dense surface troooob

I brewed a scotch ale last night, and noticed today a curious thing.
On the bottom of the carboy lies a thick (4-5 inches) layer of trub.
The fermentation is going full speed (no noticible blowoff though in it's
19th hour of fermentation) but the yeast sems to be collecting on top
of this layer of dense fermentables rather than eating into it. I used
Irish moss with this batch, and haven't done so in months. Is this
normal for beers brewed with the stuff?I'm gonna give it a few days yet
to see what happens, but the seperation in both color and consistency
between the top and bottom is remarkable. For those out there interested
in this mystery: I used pellets not whole hops and partial mash with
3#syrup/3#dry extract and 1#munich/1#crystal/ 1/2# roasted.
Any comments/ helpful words of wisdom?

steve rowell
[email protected]


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1993 23:45 PST
From: SMEED_J%[email protected]
Subject: requesting a good hard cider recipe

Hi all, I was just talking to a friend of mine, who incidentally is a
hard cider freak,about helping me make a batch of beer next month and
she asked me if I knew how to make hard cider. Well, to tell the
truth untill now I hadn't really given it much thought. But, I told
her I would try as soon as I got a recipe. If any of you out there
have a good recipe for hard cider and wouldn't mind sharing it with me
please either post it here or email it too me at: [email protected]

Thanks for the help, Jeff Smeed


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 07:20 EST
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: More stupid carboy tricks

In HBD #113, Scott Barrett mentions:

> Begin to swirl the contents of your (still upright) carboy until you get a
> good whirlpool going. Invert the carboy quickly and swirl it strongly 2 or
> 3 more times. The whirlpool effect should continue as the liquid drains
> out and air will enter the carboy through the open center of the vortex.

I also use this technique with my bottles to drain them of washing, rinsing
or sterilizing water before using my faucet bottle rinser. With the bottle
inverted, 2 or 3 swirls drains them in about 1/3 the time it would normally
take them to gurgle empty. When doing this with 40 bottles, it saves a lot
of time.

Tom Romalewski


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 08:46:04 EDT
From: hpfcla! (Victor J Bartash +1 908 957 5633)
Subject: beer from Brussels/Antwerp - BBrite effectiveness

A buddy of mine will be spending the next 5 months working in
Brussels and Antwerp and has offered to bring me back some beer.
Any suggestions on local brews to bring back? I like all types of beer
(except those that taste watered down).

On sanitation, I have brewing 4 years now and use partial mashes. I did
have one gusher my first year but haven't had any real problems since.
I use BBrite soaks and cleaning for 5 - 10 minutes followed by a little
rinsing by tapwater on my brewing equipment and soak
my bottles in bleach solution overnight. I now plan on
storing some beer in bottles longer than the 4 or so months they last
now to maybe 8 months. I usually don't brew from May to August and would
like to store a variety of beers styles (I usually have 5 or 6 at any time
during my "brew season") over the summer in my basement (~68 degrees).
However, I have been wondering if BBrite soaks and cleaning for 5-10
minutes is sufficient. Since any batch doesn't last past 4 months, I don't
know for sure that there haven't been slight infections that are not
apparent after 4 months but that could be a problem at 8 months.

To summarize: how effective is BBrite used in short (5-10 min) durations
as a sanitizer?

Vic Bartash


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 09:25:54 -0400
From: Timothy J. Dalton
Subject: Re: Failure of first All grain

[email protected] (Jim Liddil) writes:

> Used distilled water for sparging.

> Gravity after boiling down to about 6 gallons was only 1.028.
> Where did I go wrong?

What was the pH of the sparge water ?
I've found that acidifying it (pH 5.5 or so) helps my extraction rates.

How good was the filter action ? Did the sparge water run completely
through the grain bed, or was some/most of it channeled though, without
contacting the grain ?



Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 09:26:58 EDT
From: [email protected] (James Dipalma)
Subject: RE: decoction, first all grain

Hi All,

In HBD#1112, Dennis B. Lewis writes:

>I've noticed that I'm not the only person confused by decoction mashing. It
>seems like a lot of screwing around just to increase yield. Personally, I'd
>rather just add another pound or so of grist and not worry about it. Are there
>other benefits to decoction mashing? Clearer wort/green beer/finish product?

Higher yield is just one benefit of decoction mashing. The gelatinization
of insoluble starch and reduction of high molecular weight proteins that
occurs during decoction mashing produce a wonderfully clear, clean-tasting
finshed product.
There are also certain styles that benefit greatly from decoction mashing.
I use this type of mashing for wheat beers, because of the proteins, and
for Bohemian pilsners and any German lagers that require a malty character.
IMHO, decoction mashing produces an incredible malt character, in both the
nose and the flavor of a beer. I have never been able to produce the same
effect with infusion mashing, regardless of ingredients used or how high
the saccharification rest temperature was held.

>Noonan says to remove "the heaviest third" of the mash. I suppose that does
>not include any grains since you will eventually boil it.

Removing the "heaviest third" of the mash is also called a thick
decoction, and involves removing mostly grain and very little liquid.
I assume your concern is that boiling the grain will extract tannins
from the husks, and cause astringency in the final product. Due to the
low pH of the mash being boiled, this does not occur.

>This is really hard
>to do for those of us who mash in a pot on the stove instead of in a Gott

When I use decoction mashing, I do the first saccharification rest
using exactly this method, by heating the thick decoction to 152F-155F
and holding that temperature for 30 minutes, essentially doing stove
top mashing.

>Maybe I'll try it if I have an entire Saturday
>to blow on it.

The decoction procedure I use requires 2 - 2.5 hours for mashing, or about
one hour longer than it takes me to do a single infusion mash. I've done
about 20 batches using decoction mashing, it has never taken all day.


Also in HBD#1112, Jim Liddil writes of his first all grain batch:

First, let me congratulate you on becoming one of the snobbish elite ๐Ÿ™‚

>3lbs belgain pilsner malt
>4 pounds belgian pale ale malt
>8 ounces caravienne
>Mashed in 2 gallons of distilled water at ~154 for 1.25 hours at which time the
>iodine test was negative. The pH of mash was around 5.2. Used a Zapap type
>lauter tun with grain bag. Recirculated about 0.5 gallons. Used distilled
>water for sparging. Placed a pie plate on top of grain bed and added water at
>about 165. Also mashed out at 170. Sparged till gravity was 1.008 .Ph of run
>off was still around 5.5. Collected about 7 gallons of wort. Gravity after
>boiling down to about 6 gallons was only 1.028. Where did I go wrong?

I'd like to commend you on where you went right. You seem to have the
basics of sparging down, recirculating the initial runoff, sparging with
water at a reasonable temperature, sparging for a reasonable duration,
monitoring the pH of the mash and of the wort going to the boiler.
Actually, you did many things "right".
I'm assuming your concern is with your extraction rate, let's see:

28 * 6 / 7.25lbs means your sparge extraction was around 24pts/lb/gal,
bearing in mind that the gravity was measured after the boil, which will
lower the gravity somewhat. This is not terrible extraction, especially for
a first effort. It's a little difficult to offer suggestions to improve
your extraction without more details of your process, but I can mention some
things to look out for that do impact extraction.

What was your crush like? Ideally, each kernel should be broken into
several small pieces, and the husks left intact. If you had large chunks
of kernel or uncrushed grains in your crush, this will reduce your
extraction. Try grinding as fine as possible without pulverizing the

How fast did you sparge? While there has been no consensus in this
forum on what the "correct" runoff rate is, my experience was that my
extraction dropped when I tried to run the wort off faster than 1 gallon
per 8 minutes, or about 45 minutes to collect 6 gallons. I use the Zapap
system as well. If you completed sparging in less than 45 minutes, try
running off the wort a little more slowly.

Not directly related to extraction, this is more of a recipe design
issue, but a little over 7 pounds of grain sounds a little light for a 6
gallon brew length. This is, of course, dependant on what your target OG
was, and the efficiency of your specific system. This latter point is key
to recipe design, you must know what level of extraction your system will
consistently produce in order to figure out the grain bill. If you want a
higher gravity brew, try boiling down to 5 gallons, or if you're brewing
a 6 gallon batch, use another 1-2 pounds of base malt.

I'm not sure about the use of distilled water either, everything I've
read suggests that this is not a good idea. I can't quite recall why,
something to do with lack of necessary ions in the water. Maybe someone
with a chemistry background can jump in here.



Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 13:48 GMT
From: Phillip Seitz <[email protected]>
Subject: All-grain troubles

Jim Liddil recently described his problems with an all-grain batch using
7 lbs of pale malts and 1/2 lb of crystal. He got something on the order
of 6 gallons of wort at 1.028, and asked what he could have done better.

First, there was nothing wrong with your technique or equipment. I used
equipment almost identical to yours, including a piece of window screen
in the base of my Zapap (almost eqivalent to your grain bag). In fact,
my last batch had a grain bill almost identical to yours--7 lbs pale malt,
1 lb crystal. Here are some observations.

1) What were you trying to make? This is an excellent grain bill for a
British bitter (I ended at OG 1.037), but if you were shooting higher you'd
need more malt. Assume for the time being that you'll be able to raise
the OG of one gallon by 25 points for every pound of malt you use. As your
technique gets better you will get more.

2) If things don't work out well, there are some things you can do. In
no special order:

a. Add some extract. This has the advantage of allowing you to
finish at any volume you want, regardless of the amount of sugar you have
(or have not) obtained from your grain. The amount you add is likely to
be trivial in comparison to the grain, so don't get hyper about purity.

b. Boil more. You ended up with 6 gallons from a 7 gallon sparge.
For instance, I started with 6.15 gallons that I boiled down to 4.5 or so,
then topped up to 5.3 with tap water to get the desired gravity. You
could have continued boiling to about 4.5 gallons and have been on target
for a bitter. You'd have to boil a long time to get to 1.055, though.

c. Boil less. This is appropriate if you get MORE sugar from you
grain than expected. In effect, you're increasing the dilution.

Several issues back there was a good article on hitting target gravities in
Zymurgy (the mead issue), which included a chart for converting gravities
depending on the temperature of the sample. You'll need it. The rule in
all-grain brewing is not to base your brewing expectations on the amount
of finished beer you want, as this will constantly vary somewhat depending
on your extraction. I'm on my fourth all-grainer; the first three left me
with 4.3-4.5 gallons at the end of fermentation, but this last one will
probably leave me with well over 5 gallons, as I was able to pull more sugar
My procedure, in line with the above-mentioned article, is to do
my sparge to 1.008, then mix the wort well and take a gravity reading and
figure out how much wort I have. For instance (from memory) I had 6.15
gallons at 1.033 before boiling on the bitter. Since boiling vents off
liquid but very little sugar, I could estimate a final yield of 5.5 gallons
at 1.037. (My apologies if these numbers don't add up exactly--I leave
my brain at home when I come to work). Basically, you just fiddle with the
volume and gravity until you get the match you want.
For those who use those 32 qt. seafood cookers like mine, I've found
that 3 cm of liquid depth (measured at the center of the pot) equals one
gallon of liquid. I just stick a spoon into the center, then measure the
liquid level by marking the spoon. This gets trickier when the liquid is
boiling, but that's life. Anyway, I knew I had 6.15 gallons because the
liquid was 18.5 cm deep.
Hope this helps.

Phil Seitz
[email protected]
Arlington, VA


Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1993 10:20:55 EDT
From: Jay Hersh
Subject: my diatribe on styles

Howdy folks, once again questions of validity on judging to style have
once again popped up here. The following is an artcile I posted to
rec.crafts.brewing in the past on this issue. It was also reprinted
in the Wort Processors Newsletter, and Pat Baker (of Crosby and Baker
and the HWBTA representative to the Beer Judge Certification Program)
expressed an interest in possibly using it for future BJCP materials.
Since it has been well received I figured I'd post it here in the hopes
of better explaining why styles are useful and where they fall short.


Q: I have a hard time with style definitions and judges' comments since I
often look at certain flavor profiles as "defects." Can you help me?

A: Defect is a harsh word. There are a lot of flavors present in beer. These
arise from a variety of sources and vary widely with the style and the process.
Often characteristic flavors are strongly related to traditional processes used
to produce a certain style of beer. As George Fix has indicated one can not
divorce the flavor of a particular style from its history.

So characteristics that are a desirable flavor in one beer are indeed
considered a defect in another, but this is not a random designation. This
arises from an understanding of the history, ingredients, and process in which
that beer is made. For most of the styles used in competitions there is a
reasonable consensus as to what the characteristics of that style are. The
styles are not defined in a vacuum, rather they arise from a cross section of
commercial beers that designate themselves to be of those styles as well as
what I mentioned above (history, etc.).

Homebrewing is a hobby/art/science whereby a brewer tries to create a product
that expresses themselves, pleases their taste (and their friends tastes), and
possibly also to create an existing recipe/style. If a particular brewer
considers the presence of a certain flavor as desirable that others may find
offensive, that is OK. The brewer is suiting their taste. It has been said that
there are as many styles as there are beers being brewed and in a sense that is
true. But that also makes it impossible to try to impose any objectivity on the
judging process, a process that by its very nature is subjective. In order to
have any means for comparison that tries to impose some level of objectivity,
the concept of styles has arisen. This concept is not unique to beer. Wine has
this concept as well and this concept also serves marketing purposes in that it
can promote (as well as confuse, i.e. Cranberry Lambic sic....) competition by
presenting a brewer's offerings to be in a range of flavor characteristics that
includes that brewers competitors.

Styles exist as a mark by which those seeking competition can judge themselves.
An old friend used to offer up beers to me for my advice on his recipe
concoction. He would ask me what to do to his recipe. I would ask him what
style he was trying for, or at least in his mind what he wanted the beer to
taste like. He would get a little irritated since he previously was adamant
about styles not mattering. I then posed the parable to him that he was like a
lost person asking directions without knowing where he was trying to go.

To finally beat this point to death I'd use a cooking comparison. If you wanted
to make chocolate chip cookies you'd want a recipe. While there is variation
among this style of cookie from household to household, and manufacturer to
manufacturer, people can still tell chocolate chip cookies from sugar cookies,
etc. If you were to set out to make them you'd want some guidelines as to what
the recipe might include and what the final product should taste like.

With regard to beer I think most judges would agree that there are only a few
flavors that would universally be classified as defects. Most others are
characteristic flavors which may or may not be suitable for style.

I hope this explains a little more about style and judging.

- ------- End of Message


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1993 09:19:40 -0500
From: Michael D. Galloway
Subject: phils/sparging

Phils Phalse Bottom Users:

Am I the only PPBU who has trouble getting his runoff to clear?
I suspect that I am getting an improper grind of my grain at my
local supply shop and that this is causing my problem. I am just
curious about how much recirculating other PPBUs do to get their
worts to clear. All the other aspects of the brewing process are
going great! If I could just get the runoff to clear!

Email me direct to save bandwidth.

Michael D. Galloway
[email protected]

Living in the WasteLand


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 9:30:27 CDT
From: [email protected] (Tony Babinec)
Subject: Goose Island hosts First Round nationals

Steve Hamburg posted the announcement to recent judgenets and hbd.
Note that the event is the weekend of June 11 - 13.

Someone asked about delivery of the beer. You can mail or hand-deliver
your beer to the Goose Island Brewery. So as to minimize the hassle
to them, please try to do it during the designated time period. I
don't have the dates with me, but the timing is something like May 13
through May 21.


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 11:18 EST
From: [email protected]
Subject: `Breathing' of wine

> We all know what evils to expect of beer that gets oxidized after fermenting
> and the need for quiet racking and transfer. However, wine drinkers also
> know that good red wine needs to "breathe", which of course is, a snob word
> for oxidize.

I beg to differ. From my experience in wine making and my limited
qualities as a wine connoisseur I believe that what is commonly referred
to as "breathing" has nothing to do with oxidation. Usually when you
pour a red wine from the bottle (i.e. decant it) you don't drink it
immediately. Instead, you let it `breath' in a caraffe for some time
(half an hour to one hour or so). The rationale is to let it develop
its bouquet. Some volatile substances in the wine evaporate and
saturate the air immediately above the wine (that's also, by the way,
one of the reasons why you should serve red wine in big, wide glasses;
so as to retain the `aromatic air', i,e, the bouquet). There is no
oxidation involved (to my knowledge). That would take much longer.

There is a commonly recognized off-taste in wine which is caused by
oxidation. Usually everyone strives hard to avoid it.

On the other hand, there is also a specific category of wines which get
their distinctive flavor from this particular oxidation off-taste:
Sherry. One goes through great pains to ensure that Sherry wines get
enough air to develop this flavor. I don't know that this is known as


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 11:30:03 -0400
From: [email protected] (Thomas G. Moore)
Subject: enzyme potential

Does anybody know of the enzyme potential of Belgian 2-row pale
ale malt from Dewolf-Cosyns? Would I need to mash with some
Klages to get quicker conversion? Thanks in advance.

- --
Thomas G. Moore
[email protected]


Date: 06 Apr 1993 12:38:12 -0300
From: Ed Hitchcock
Subject: culturing belgian yeast from bottles (?)

I would like to culture the yeast from Duvel and Steendonk (a Wit) in order
to produce a strong belgian ale and a wit, respectively. My questions are:
is the bottle conditioning yeast the same as the fermentation yeast? Does
the high alcohol content of Duvel (or Maredsous for that matter) harm the
yeast? Has anyone had any luck brewing beer from yeast cultured from Duvel
or Steendonk? Can you plate the yeast directly, or should you (I) make a
starter by adding fresh wort to the bottle dregs?

Ed Hitchcock *-----------------------*
Dept of Anatomy and Neurobiology | |
Dalhousie University | JUST BREW IT |
Halifax, Nova Scotia | |
[email protected] *-----------------------*


Date: Tue, 6 Apr 93 10:27:32 -0600
From: Kelly Jones
Subject: Re: Immersion cooler length

John DeCarlo writes:

>Let me interject personal observation from my 15 ft. copper coil. Probably
>more than a foot is outside the wort, say one foot on each end, making 13
>ft. in the wort. I think that is too long. Why? Because the water comes
>out boiling hot at the other end.

You could say this tubing is too long; on the other hand, it is equally
accurate to say your flow rate is too low. Increasing the flow rate
would result in cooler water coming out, and more (quicker) cooling of
the wort. Also, this tubing may be too long during the initial stages
of cooling, when cooling is very efficient due to the high temerature
differential, but it may still be inadequate during the latter stages
of cooling, when the temperature differential is much lower. How long
does it take you to cool your wort?

>Anyone who really knows what they are talking about willing to resolve this
>issue? Are there completely overlooked issues, such as increased
>efficiency with longer tubing as wort and source water temperatures get
>closer? [So I just made this up and don't think it likely. Sue me.]

Trained as a chemical engineer, I can affirm that the calculations
involved here are indeed complex, involving not only aspects of the
flow inside the tubing (water temp, flow rate, tube diameter, thickness
and age of the tube, etc.) but also effects _outside_ the tube, in your
pot (geometry of the coil, pot, amount of stirring, etc.). It would be
very difficult to come up with a formula that takes all of these
factors into account for the wide variety of setups that HB'ers use.
(Of course, having said this, some upstart will soon do just that, if
only to make me look foolish ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

As an aside, try this: when your cooling water outflow begins to drop
in temperature, try gently stirring the hot wort. The temperature of
the outflow water should immediately shoot back up to almost boiling!
This indicates the effect of pot convection/stirring on the heat
transfer rate.

My own cooler is about 30 feet of 3/8" copper tubing, wrapped in a 12"
(?) diameter coil. I connect this to my house cold water line, and can
force enough cold water through it to keep the outflow warm (as oposed
to John's boiling hot). Thus, with my combination of tubing and water,
30 feet is not too long, and I can cool my wort to 65F in about 15

So, the length of tubing you will need depends on, among other things,
your cooling water temperature and flow rate, and just how fast you
need to cool your wort.

Kelly Jones


End of HOMEBREW Digest #1114, 04/07/93

  3 Responses to “Category : Various Text files
Archive   : HBD111X.ZIP
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