From the HBD Archive
From: klein@c10sd3.StPaul.NCR.COM
Subject: Hello from a new reader, couple of ?? <Tony Klein>
Date: 1990-01-27 20:27:41 GMT

Greetings!

I just recently joined this mailing list and would like to toss out a
general 'Hello!' to all the loyal readers and a 'Thanks for a job well done!'
Mr. Rob Gardner. [Pause for polite applause to subside.]

In an effort to get a 'feel' for things, I grabbed the last four months
of digests from the archives in Miami. Lots of Very Useful Information in
there! I am just about finished reading through it all, and as you might
imagine I have a few questions.

Perhaps I should first do a little introduction. I checked my brewing
logbook last night to discover that I have brewed 24 batches of beer so
far (first one was in 1982). Probably one quarter of them were lousy
(more than one was dumped), one quarter were really good, and half were
mediocre at best. So I guess I rate a solid 'amateur', maybe just above
'wet behind the ears' experience-wise.

My initial attempts were based on a book called `The Art of Making
Beer' by Hull and Anderson. (Recipies have as much as 50% adjunct
sugar.) Later I got Byron Busch's `Brewing Quality Beers' which
improved my success somewhat. Recently I acquired Papazians TCGTHB,
which as you all know, is terriffic. Since discovering this forum I
have sure gained a lot of insight. There is no substitute for learning
from the experience of others!

I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is the land 10,000 lakes and sky
blue waters. I feel sorry for all the people who have said lately that
they have to buy bottled water for brewing. Bummer! Here the city water
is good, but the Schmidt Brewery has a tap on the side of their building
where they offer free water (1100 ft deep well) to the public. It's great!

Although we are not a bee-hive of micro-brewing entrepeneurs
like what seems to be the case in California or Colorado, there is an
increasing interest in 'regional' brewing which is (I believe) part of a
national trend.

In addition to the Big Boys like The Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company
(G Heilemann) and The Hamms Brewery (owned by Strohs), St.Paul is home to
Summit Brewing (a microbrewery) and at least three brewpubs. In addition,
the Shells Brewery in New Ulm, Mn, brews a number of beers under contract to
a local bar. (There are a number of smaller breweries in small towns
throughout the state.)

I think its great that 'regional' beers are experiencing a renaissance!
I look forward to the day that Minnesota could have 200 regional breweries
as it did before prohibition!

So, anyway, enough rambling. Lets get down to brass tacks. [Pause while
the assembled crowd pop open homebrews all around....]

Speaking of the Complete Guide to Home Brewing, I noticed a few
times that a 'net index' was mentioned. [groan from audience ignored] Where
is this bugger? (I know, I know, the archives! But point me to a month
at least....)

Here are some other things I am wondering about:

1) The term 'sparging'. Someone tell me why this is something
different from `rinsing'. In my last coupla batches that used specialty
grains, I used a simple infusion mashing technique (grain placed in
ceramic bean-pot with water in 150 degree oven for 60 minutes), followed
by a `rinsing' step.
I have this colander that fits inside a matching enamelware pot. I
scooped the mashed grain into the colander (letting it drain into the
brewing kettle) then sunk it into the pot (filled with maybe 2 quarts
of water). I just lift and sink this colander a few times, the water
rinses through and through. Comments? Do I need a more sophisticated
sparging technique?

(Basically what I mean here is suppose you took the familiar
bucket-in-a-bucket apparatus (inner bucket with holes in the bottom),
filled the thing with mash, then just lift the inner bucket out and let
the water drain off. Then sink it, lift it out, sink it, etc, thus
rinsing the grain. Will this work?)

2) On the subject of Yeast - I read a few comments on Red Star Ale
yeast that suggested that it's not too good. Is this the general
consensus? I used to just buy the cheapest yeast, I think now I will
pay more attention. Which brings me to

3) Fast starting fermentation and slow staring fermentation. I
can't believe all you folks get fermentation in less than 24 hours. The
batch of Scottish Style Brown Ale that I have going right now was brewed
last saturday (cooled and yeast pitched), and it was *wednesday* before
bubbles started blurping out of the primary. I considered this normal.
Should I worry? [I am aready relaxing and having a homebrew.]

Here I read all these panic messages about fermentation failing to get
started within a few *hours*. I guess all my batches have been
slow. From now on I will definately rehydrate my yeast in warm water,
though, that sounds like a great idea to speed things up.

One final note:
I also read with interest some talk of a Hunter Energy Monitor
Thermostat being used, I assume, to control a refrigerator. Why not
just use the refrigerator thermostat? (Not that I need such devices! In
the basement of this house, there is a partially excavated area (under
the front porch) that stays about 40-45 degrees in the winter. Its a
perfect place for lagering!)

(Sorry for the length of this posting.)

Cheers!
[Polish off last few drops, slam down mug, exit with smile and wave!]

<TK>

____/| Tony Klein NCR Comten, St.Paul, MN 612-638-7861
() \| klein@stpaul.ncr.com ...uunet!ncrlnk!ncrcce!klein


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