From the HBD Archive
From: Pete Soper <>
Subject: Cooling beer
Date: 1989-10-20 22:06:09 GMT

In about a week I'll be helping with a homebrew contest and I in
turn need some help from you Digesters that have massive or even
little bits of experience with contests.
Here is the situation. My job is to get the entries checked in and
brought to the proper temperature prior to delivery to the judges.
Entries can be brought in as late as 90 minutes prior to the start
of judging and might be in the 70-80 degree range at that point.
I have picnic coolers, ice, and lots of thermometers, including an
IR pyrometer that is very fast and deadly accurate when pointed at
a typical beer bottle. I figure the sins I want to avoid are as
follows, in decreasing order of evil:

1. Loosing a bottle's identity
2. Breaking a bottle
3. Disturbing the sediment
4. Creating a chill haze
5. Delivering the beer too cold
6. Delivering the beer too warm

OK, items 1 and 2 can be dismissed since if I do one of those
I'll just fall on my sword and not have to worry about the consequences :-)
Number 3 might be relevent to the discussion if I'm moving the bottles
around frequently but hopefully even in this case I would move them
very gently.
Chill haze and any other bad effects of rapid over-chilling is what
I am concerned about. If it were not for this, I would plan on cooling
the beer as completely as possible by burying it in ice, then pull it
out and let it warm back up, giving each entry to the judges when it
had reached the "right" temperature. Doing it the other way, trying to
cool down to the "right" temperature appears to be out of the question
for a couple hundred bottles of beer for a number of reasons. Even if
I had extra arms I've determined that partial immersion in ice causes
radically uneven cooling. I've thought about ice-water mixtures but
only briefly.
So I'm leaning toward a compromise in which the dark beers get warp
factor 9 and the pale beers get kinder treatment and then they are
all subjected to varying degrees of "warm and deliver" prior to
judging. By kinder treatment I mean I'd try to segragate the pale beers
into categories like "already cold", "warm" etc. and just apply the
time in an ice bath needed to get each one to my 48 degree target.
But even so, 90 minutes is not long to shed 20-30 degrees and wouldn't
you know it, those guys want to judge the pale beers first, so there isn't
room for much error.
So I'm asking for your thoughts. And although I'm locked into the above
constraints this time around I'd especially like to hear about better
ways to do this in the future. Thanks.
Pete Soper +1 919 481 3730
internet: uucp: {bu-cs,decvax,gould}!encore!soper
Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd, bldg D, Cary, NC 27511 USA

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