From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <>
Subject: unknown
Date: 1989-07-02 15:56:32 GMT

From: Patrick T. Garvin
"Subject: How reliable is Papiazan, and where is he not to be trusted?

I have to agree with your general attitude. Being of a technical bent,
I like to know what's going on and why. I personally find Papazian's
book almost patronizing in tone. However, I understand that he's trying
to reach more of the public than just me. He does know what he's saying,
he's just trying to be entertaining enough to hook someone who's not a
technical freak into giving this thing a try. The other aspect is that
people have been brewing for a long, long, long time and it just works.
The technical aspects are minor refinements to the process. That's why
he advises "don't worry, be happy", or something.

"Papiazan, in his book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" is a little too
"vague about certain aspects of brewing, for my satisfaction.

If you're really serious, he's too vague about all of them. My particular
gripe is that he has a table of water hardness values, but since we all
know that Carbonate ions are BAD, he doesn't include them in the table.
Well, that's just nonsense, and makes his table useless to me.

"Being told not to worry, that everything will turn out all right, always sets
"my teeth on edge. I'd prefer to be given information rather than platitudes.

There are other books. Get Noonan's "Brewing Lager Beer" or even Miller's
"The Complete Handbook of Home Brewing" (which it isn't). Get the MBAA's
publication "The Practical Brewer" to find out what the industry does and
why. Look at "Malting and Brewing Science" by Hough, et al.

"What I'm wondering is how good is his science? I'm aware that he writes
"for the layperson, and naturally wouldn't go into quite as much detail as
"he might otherwise.

Papazian won't steer you wrong, but you aren't going to find out why he's
right and when you can ignore his rules from his book.

"He suggests using, one or two ounces of clorine bleach per five gallons of
"water, while one of my kits suggests five ounces of bleach per five
"gallons of water. Someone I work with (who has had "some Chemistry")
"was of the opinion that five ounces of bleach per five gallons was
"insufficient to sanitize.

It's a question of strength and time of contact. It's also a case that what
we do in our kitchens could never be considered sterile or even sanitized;
but our yeast will out if we are just good enough. Physical cleanliness
and any reasonable amount of bleach crosses this line. I haven't had any
chemistry (since high school), but I would expect that you would have to
know a lot about what is hanging around to decide what strength for what
time period is sufficient for sterility.

"So, I pose the question to the experienced brewers of the list, what
"procedures do you follow when making beer, as respects sanitation, etc.

As I said above, if you are good enough, the yeast will out. I don't
even measure bleach--I use a couple glugs in a bucket and test to make
sure that the smell is strong and I can feel it on my hands (being
quite alkaline, it has that slimy feel). Everything after the boil
gets at least a five minute soak.

"(I'm brewing my first batch this weekend, and am feeling the "nervous
"father" sensations).

[...and in the next message...]

"I had panicked when nothing had happened after three hours. I guess I
"should have paid attention when Papiazan said "Don't worry." and also
""The yeast have a mind of their own".

"After ten hours, there was a healthy head of krausen on top of the beer, and
"it had pushed the tube out of the cork. I was never so happy to see anything
"in my life.

10 hours is just fine. Sometimes conditions aren't so good and it takes longer
(24...48...even more). Usually this results from underpitching, because the
yeast don't move onto their fermentation phase until they have reached a
level of about 10^7 cells/ml. Homebrewers are notorious underpitchers because
nobody wants to hassle making a starter several days ahead.

Good luck with your beer; I hope it all turns out well. Cheers!

--Darryl Richman

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