From the HBD Archive
From: Dave Sheehy <dbs@hprnd>
Subject: Miller's Book and Red Star
Date: 1989-08-01 00:29:15 GMT

I got Miller's book a couple of weeks ago and am about 1/2 way through it.
It does fill in a lot of the detail that Papazian leaves out but in Charlie's
defense I don't think any of it is crucial to the beginning brewer to whom
the book is targetted (the operative word here is crucial). I'm still glad I
started out with Charlie though. I am thoroughly enjoying Miller's book, it
does take off where Papazian left off. My thanks to the net for the excellent
recomendation! Miller mentions that he uses 6-row malt alot in his recipes
and maintains that it is more readily available than 2-row. My local brewshop
says that it is very difficult to find 6-row anymore so they usually only
have 2-row in stock. Is this true in everyone else's experience out in
netland? I've substituted 2-row in recipes that called for 6-row and haven't
had a problem converting the extra starch adjuncts yet. Coincidentally,
Miller has a brief section on sweetness in his troubleshooting chapter
(Finding Fault). There he says that lack of sweetness can be caused by an
incomplete fermentation by an attenuative yeast. The lack of sweetness in
this case is due to the lower alcohol content, his premise being that the
sweetness in this case is attributed to the alcohol. This all seems kinda
weird to me. One would think that with more malt sugars being left over the
overall result would be more sweet not less. I'm going to have to think about
that for awhile. He also mentioned sweetness being a funtion of the chloride
ion concentration which jives with a comment from a poster answering an
earlier question of mine regarding beer sweetness.

Florian, I'm beginning to have some ideas about your success using Red Star
Ale yeast. Miller's book has a summary of some of the yeasts he has tried
and under Red Star Ale he notes that it produces alot of banana ester and
in some cases produces a fusel alcohol with a clove like flavor. In my case
when I brew with Red Star the beer always has a bite to it which I don't
like. Being in Sacramento and not having a form of temperature control my
fermenation temperature tends to range in the high 70's. I would suspect that
your fermentation temperature would be somewhat lower than mine since you're
up in Oregon. Yeasts will tend to produce more byproducts at higher
temperatures so I further suspect that you are probably not getting the
clove flavored fusel alcohol in your beers (if you did you'd know it and I'd
wager that you wouldn't like it!). You must be getting the banana ester
though since you mentioned you specifically like the fruity flavor Red Star
imparts to your beer. To add some evidence to my theory I brewed a batch of
generic barley wine, 10 lbs of bulk Scottish Light liquid extract, 4 oz of
Fuggles for the boil, and good ole Red Star Ale yeast. It fermented during a
particularly hot spell in the weather (I keep the air conditioning turned
down in the summer, I don't like getting energy bills in the multi-hundred
dollar range!). It sat for 4 weeks in the secondary bubbling away until it
finally stopped and I bottled. Boy, talk about fruity(!), and there's that
good ole Red Star bite stronger than ever. Methinks I might have a correlation
here. Perhaps if one is careful to use Red Star at the lower temperature
range you won't get the objectionable flavors that others like myself really
dislike. Miller states in his book that one of the desirable attributes of
some ale yeasts is in the fruity esters they produce particularly in porters
and stouts. I'll buy into this because other than the bite it imparts I
really like the way my Tumultuous Porter (Papazian) turned out using Red Star.
For my purposes though I think I'll try and find an ale yeast that doesn't
tend to be ... shall we say ... obnoxious.

Which leads me into my next topic. I have my latest brew in the secondary
as we speak. I'm trying Papazian's Amaezing Ale all grain recipe and am
using Wyeast British Ale liquid yeast. I used T. Andrews method of starting
the yeast (by using a pint of wort from the beginning of the boil) and that
seemed to work pretty well (thanks again) although I could have done better.
It seems I didn't read the directions on the yeast package that tell you to
break the inner seal and let the yeast get its initial start in the package
but it all worked out, the yeast got going well enough after 24 hours to
pitch it. I don't have a wort chiller but I tried setting the primary in the
bathtub filled with cold water (68 F). I know I shouldn't change so many
variables at once but my adventurousness got the better of me :-). I put
some towels over the fermenter but I couldn't find my fan to blow air over
it so I'll try that next time. We'll see how it turns out.

Dave Sheehy

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