From the HBD Archive
From: Wayne Hamilton <hamilton@osiris.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Re: possible trouble with priming step
Date: 1989-10-17 19:08:19 GMT

Stuart Crawford write:

> I'm using a single fermentation system and, immediately before bottling,
> I siphoned the wort into a clean container. ... I am now worried that I
> did not transfer enough yeast to allow carbonation to occur. Is there
> any way, short of waiting for a week and opening a bottle, to determine
> if carbonation is occuring?

i've been using a similar system for the last few batches, and i haven't
had any problem getting enough suspended yeast for carbonation. i've
been making ales tho; i don't know about extended lagering. i've also
been experimenting with a few 1-liter pop bottles, and i use one
clear-glass bottle per batch to monitor color and to keep as a souvenir.
with the plastic bottle, you can "feel" the carbonation: CO2 pressure
makes it less "squeezable". with the clear bottle, and to a lesser
degree with brown ones, you can usually see yeast settled on the bottom
to prove that further fermentation took place.

previously, i used my primary as a mixing vessel for bottling. recently
i've latched onto a source of free 5-gallon cubitainers (the local blood
bank's lab gets saline in them). they come with nice removable spigots
that work well with 3/8" ID syphon tubing. i cut a hole in the face
opposite the spigot, and mounted the whole thing in a plastic milk crate
to facilitate carrying it and to allow the spigot to hang free below. i
have easy access to the inside to clean it or mix the priming solution, i
can use gravity instead of syphoning to feed the flow to the bottle
filler, and i don't have to worry about the syphon leaving any beer
behind. the only problem i have is that the cubitainer in the bucket
configuration no longer holds a full 5 gallons without a bit of
spillage. i cook and bottle in the kitchen, but i ferment in the
bathroom where it's cooler to begin with and i can use a water bath in
the tub to cool the carboy further. so i have to carry the brew about
50' to bottle it. i may switch to carrying the carboy to the kitchen
instead. i want to avoid disturbing the sediment, so i'll have to give
it time to re-settle.

when i start doing whole-grain brews, i'll probably use a cubitainer
(possibly with added thermal insulation) to hold pre-heated sparge
water.

i use another cubitainer to hold chlorine bleach solution so i always have
some already made up. do i need to worry about it losing potency with
prolonged storage? should i always make it up fresh? i've been relying
on smell to verify that it's still lethal to the bad guys.

while i'm at it, let me plug the mail-order place where i've been getting
much of my ingredients lately (tell mark i sent ya):

The Basement Brewmaster
4280 N 160th ST
Brookfield WI 53005
(414)781-BREW (aka -2739)

a free catalog is available. it's not a large outfit - mark literally
runs it out of his basement - so the inventory is rather small, but he
carries a few unique items and his prices are good. i like his wheat
and barley (65%/35%) extract syrup ("bavarian weizen"). his location is
handy for us in IL: low shipping costs and no sales tax.

wayne hamilton
U of Il and US Army Corps of Engineers CERL
UUCP: {att,iuvax,uunet}!uiucuxc!osiris!hamilton
I'net: hamilton@osiris.cso.uiuc.edu
Lowtek: Box 476, Urbana, IL 61801; (217)384-4310

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