From the HBD Archive
From: Pete Soper <>
Subject: Re: yeast, hops, coolers
Date: 1989-04-03 21:35:44 GMT

From: (Martin Weinberg)
>the dried yeast than the liquid yeast cultures. Are we overpitching
>when we use the dried yeasts?

No. A pitching rate frequently seen in descriptions of commercial
brewing practices is 5% by volume. That's a quart of yeast per 5 gallons
of wort. That's *yeast*, not yeast+starter wort. When you think of a
2000 barrel batch of wort in a real brewery, the mind boggles. This
also brings out a difference in potential sanitation levels. With 400
barrels of yeast, it would be hard to grossly contaminate it if you
wanted to. With our dinky little packets of yeast a single speck of
dust in a starter can affect the flavor of the beer.
I have one of those BrewCo caps which together with an upside-down
carboy allows collecting the yeast from a primary fermentation. I
haven't used it yet. Partly because it is gardening time here, but also
because I'm afraid of not being able to maintain proper sanitation.
But if I've got a quart of yeast paste, a speck of dust won't have the
same impact, since by definition I won't have significant growth of yeast
(or bacteria) before pitching it again. Hmm.

From: Dr. T. Andrews <tanner@ki4pv>
>I don't keep sterile wort on hand, either. When I plan to make beer,
>I sterilize a half-gallon glass vessel (the usual bleach-water) and
>produce some boiled wort on the spot. Use light-coloured DME, boil
>it for a few minutes, cool it, and pour into the glass vessel. Add
>yeast to this. Cover with clean saucer, or use sterilized plug &

I just can't be happy with chlorine for something that has to be
truly sterile. The catch-22 with chlorine is that I would have to
rinse it out but this might compromise the sanitation level. What could
I safely rinse it out with? Heat-sterilized water. Why don't I heat-
sterilize the item in the first place? And so it goes.
Around 15-30 minutes at 250 degrees fits my idea of sterilization.
But I'm not without sin here, since I still place a "sanitized" lock
on my sterile bottle of wort. I've been too lazy and cheap to
to buy glass fermentation locks that can be autoclaved. If I get
involved with slants using Leistad's procedures then glass locks
will be mandatory. Leistad's book can be ordered from American
Brewmaster at (919) 850-0095 for a few bucks, incidently.
Boiling starter wort for just a few minutes hasn't got a chance of
coagulating proteins, so I would trade a lack of darkening (and IMHO a
lack of complete sterilization) for haze material. I boil my starter
wort in bulk for 45 minutes and get rid of the break prior to running
it through the canner. I should point out that my latest "Steam Pilsner"
has a color of about 2.5-3 degrees Lovibond. To give you an idea of what
this looks like, PU is about 3.5 and Bud is about 2. My starter wort
looks like it is around 15 degrees (i.e. much darker than Bass Ale's 11
degrees but lighter than a real "dark" beer) . Thus a quart starter
would add almost a degree to the overall color. If I'm going to add
this color, I want it to come from munich or crystal or the like, not
from a caramelized starter.
But the thing I'm still curious about is whether you fellow Homebrew
Digesters ferment your starters out fully before pitching them?

>If I were really worried about keeping the colour light, and needed
>canned wort, I might make a batch of sterile wort by mashing a couple
>of pounds of pale lager malt, boiling the resultant barley-water, and
>canning. The DME wort is generally darker than from pale grain.

That's a great idea. A wort of around 1.018 SG made from the 6 row
malt I'm using now would have a starting color of roughly 1-1.5 degrees,
which would allow for a lot of caramelization without getting too dark.

>On hops: I always use one of those hops bags for pellets. If I am
>using more than one type of pellets, or inserting the same variety
>at two points in the boil, I use more bags. They're (a) dirt cheap
>(b) easily cleaned after use with pellets. Keep 4 in your beer-making
>drawer. That way you have a spare.

Hop bags sound like a real convenience item. But can hase free beers
be made with hop bags? Is extraction of bitterness/flavor/aroma as efficient?
My experience has been that getting rid of pellet hops is easy, since
they settle nicely once the wort has been force cooled to around 50-60
degrees. Getting rid of the hot break is more of a problem, since
I'm always fighting to get my wort Ph low enough and this seems to be the
magic factor. I am cursed by bicarbonate water and even after boiling
the heck out of it the Ph is marginally high. It's getting rid of
cold break that has been really difficult and this is the primary reason
I'm buying a chest type freezer this week.

Incidently, I got a new Williams catalog recently and it advertises
an appliance controller exactly like Darryl Richman's description.
That is, it has a temperature probe and controls power to the whole
appliance. It also costs around $50 with shipping, which is one third
the cost of a used 9 cubic foot freezer.

Pete Soper, Encore Computer Corp, 901 Kildaire Farm Rd., bldg D
Cary, North Carolina 27511 USA phone 1 919 481 3730
arpa: (
uucp: {talcott,linus,bu-cs,bellcore,decvax,necntc}!encore!soper

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