enzymes (newbie questions)

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For those who read my first brew thread and might be interested, I
bottled it today, seemed ok if a bit watery.  I tasted a bit and
wasn't impressed, but I expect that has more to do with being fresh
out of the fermenter.  I used carbonation drops (sugar lumps that you
put in the bottom of the bottle to save priming), quite tasty too.

I've picked up a kit of stuff for a bit more complicated brew this
time.

Can of beermaker's lager
1kg of ultra brew (dextrose/malt stuff)
150g crystal malt grain pack
foil packet of hops
Safale yeast

Now, back to the topic, the proprietor of the home brew shop was very
insistant that I remember not to use the yeast from the top of the
tin and use the seperate packet instead.  There was also a pack
labeled 'dry enzyme' under the cap that I'm not sure if I should use,
and if so when and for what.

I'd also like to verify that the crystal malt is the thing he refered
to as a sock (meshy cloth stuff with grain inside, smell reminds me
of chook (chicken) food).  He also gave me a packet of finings (I
presume he gave it to me, it's not on the docket or on the kit list
but it ended up in the box) and I'm not sure at what stage to use
that.

The recipe is appoximatly:

Soak crystal malt in hot water for 30mins
put hops infusion bag in boiling water for 10min
squeeze water from crystal malt
discard crystal, pour its pot into fermenter
add can and ultrabrew
pour in hops infusion bag and water
fill to 23L with water
pitch yeast

Any thoughts are appreciated.

thanks,
        peter

Re: enzymes (newbie questions)


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Can't speak to the yeast/enzyme, since I generally use a "slap pack" or a
liquid yeast starter.

But I can shed a little light on a couple of the other questions...

Crystal malt is malted grain, and it is often sold in a "sock", so I'd
say that's it.  Steep the Crystal (in the sock) for AT LEAST 30 minutes
in water between 150 and 170 degrees F (not just "hot").  Don't steep for
hours or at too hot a temperature as this results in tannin extraction
from the grain which can give your beer a bitter flavor. 150-170 is the
best temperature range and provides the yeast with fermentable sugars and
adds flavor and complexity to the brew.  Crystal is a pretty standard
malt.

Finings are usually added for the last 15-20 minutes of the boil during a
full boil wort, and act as a clarifier to promote drop out of solids from
the brew as it ferments, resulting in a clearer "cleaner" beer.  Some
folks use them, some don't.  Not quite sure how this would work with what
you are doing, but I'd guess you'd add them to the hops boil.

Check out http://howtobrew.com/ as a great information source.

Good luck.

Re: enzymes (newbie questions)



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The enzyme is probably amylase.  From 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per batch is
reasonable.  May be added when pitching the yeast.  It breaks down
sugars and starches for more complete fermentation (dryer higher
alcohol beer)

Some folks use it in the grain infusion stage (when adding oatmeal or
cracked unmalted wheat for instance) to help convert some of the
starches.

Hot water means hotter than what comes out of a tap.  Measure the
temperature - it should  be maintained at close to 160 (without
exceeding).

You may still be unsatisfied with the results . . . I use 100% DME for
sugar and find it takes about 700 grams of grains (crystal, chocolate,
flaked wheat or barley in some combination) before I get the body and
feel I'm trying for.  Canned LME may be different . . .

I've read about the tannin problem with long infusions - but never
encountered it or perhaps just not very noticeable.  Boil the wort
with the grain bag in and it will give some tannin (sour bitter
taste), but infusing for four hours doesn't seem to.  I heat the water
toss in the grains and insulate the kettle until I'm ready to start
brewing, but I bottle and brew at the same time and it is just more
convenient for me to forget about the infusion until I'm ready to add
extract and brew.

The temperature may drop from 160 to 140 -135 in the time it is
working and I find (with my technique) that the body reaches a plateau
in about four hours - longer doesn't seem to affect the taste but
doesn't improve the body.  (taste it - you'll get an idea of what
you're adding)  Wring out the grain bag well - I like to rinse it and
collect that liquid and add it to the wort.

Finings are added to the last of the boil as a rule - From your
procedure it looks like you are doing partial boil or just boiling the
hops?  You are using a different procedure than most of us.  

I'd add the finings to the hops boil if only to sterilize them - What
material are you using?  Isinglass, gelatin, or Irish moss (the moss
is green flakes of stuff the others usually a white or tan powder)

Look up and read about starting/rehydrating yeast on one of the how to
sites - it gets the yeast going faster and there's less chance of an
off flavor due to bacteria or wild yeast.

From what I gather you are doing a modified no-boil technique?  Seems
to me, reading up on partial boil or complete boil would be
advantageous.  It is only slightly more complicated than what you are
doing.  You would be adding a quick cooling stage to the wort or
concentrated wort - no big deal.  Good beer takes a little effort.



Re: enzymes (newbie questions)


" Peter.QLD   Mar 21, 7:42 am     show options

Newsgroups: alt.beer.home-brewing
Date: 21 Mar 2005 15:42:17 GMT
Local: Mon, Mar 21 2005 7:42 am
Subject: enzymes (newbie questions)
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Hi Peter

Griz from Colorado,

"For those who read my first brew thread and might be interested, I
bottled it today, seemed ok if a bit watery.  I tasted a bit and
wasn't impressed, but I expect that has more to do with being fresh
out of the fermenter."

 I read you first post and the reason for the unimpresive result of you
first brew was the sugar. There are 2 types of sugar in wort,
fermentable and unfermentable. The unfermentable sugars give your beer
flavor and body. The fermentable, alcohol. Processed sugar is all
fermentable sugar so all it adds to the brew is alcohol, which tends to
make you beer thin and imparts a flavor that I don't care for. When I
was doing kit beers I added (at the suggestion of the brew shop owner)
1-2lbs of DME (dry malt extract) or LME (liquid malt extract) to the
kit in place of the sugar. the amount depends on the style of beer and
how much body you want.

"the proprietor of the home brew shop was very
insistant that I remember not to use the yeast from the top of the
tin and use the seperate packet instead. "

The main problem with using the packet that comes with the kit is you
don't know how old it is or what conditions it's been subject to. There
is the possiblity the yeast may be dead. I have used the packet from
kits and had no problems but that's the risk.

"I'd also like to verify that the crystal malt is the thing he refered
to as a sock (meshy cloth stuff with grain inside, smell reminds me
of chook (chicken) food)."

Crystal malt is malted barley that has been roasted. there is usually a
number associated with how dark it is. 20L is very lightly roasted
while 120L is almost black.
Adding grains to an extract brew is done to get better flavor. If you
steep the grain at between 150F and 160F the enzymes in the malt will
actually convert the starch in the malt to sugars (both fermentable and
unfermentable). Outside this range all you get is the grain flavor
which is ok too since you're using malt extract as well (the ultrabrew)
and the main reason for the grain is the flavor.

"The recipe is appoximatly:


Soak crystal malt in hot water for 30mins
put hops infusion bag in boiling water for 10min
squeeze water from crystal malt
discard crystal, pour its pot into fermenter
add can and ultrabrew
pour in hops infusion bag and water
fill to 23L with water
pitch yeast "

I don't see a boil time listed. boiling the wort does several things
which are nessasary to make good beer.
1) it breaks down the proteins in the wort and causes them to drop out
of susspension
2) it releases the bittering from the hops (hops have to be boiled for
at least 30 min to release the alpha acids)
3) and it kills the wild beasties that might cause your beer to sour

I'm going to assume the beermaker's lager is a prehopped beer kit which
is why you wouldn't have to do a full boil for the hops.
And he's having you simmer the hop packet for flavoring.
There are 3 boil times associated with hops;
   Bittering, usually 60 minutes. these release alpha acids and give
your beer it's bite. They also act as a preservative.
   Flavoring, usually the last 15 minutes of the boil. These are to
give the "flowery" hop flavor to your beer
   and Aroma, usually the last 5 minutes of the boil. these are for
smell

If I were going to make the brew you listed above I would:
Steep the grain bag at 155F for 30 min
pour off the resulting wort into a large ketlle (boiling the whole 23L
is best but you can get away with 1/2 that if you don't have a large
enough kettle)
add water (bring the level up to at least 9.5L), add the can and the
ultrabrew.
Bring to a boil
Add hops (you can add the finings at this point if you decide to use
them)
boil for 10 minutes (watch the pot! it WILL foam up and boil over if
you don't!!! when it starts to foam up stir it until the foaming stops)
cool the wort by placing the kettle in a sink or large tub and running
cold water around it. You want the wort in the fermentor to end up at
~80F when you pitch the yeast)
pour the wort into your fermentor (be sure to sanitize the fermentor
before you add the wort)
airate the wort (you can shake the fermentor so that the wort foams,
the yeast need the oxygen)
add the remaining water up to 23L (if you didn't do a full boil)
pitch the yeast

It is important to keep the fermentor at a proper temperature during
the primary ferment. It should be some where between 68F and 76F. Below
68 ale yeast starts to go dormant so it takes longer to finish
fermenting and may allow outside yeast or bactirial contamination to
take over your brew. Over 76 the yeast starts to produce fussel oils
which ruin the flavor and give you a lousy headache.

It also helps,but is not nessasary, to make a starter from your yeast.
The night before you intend to brew take 2 cups of water,
boil it (to sanitize it)
disolve 1/4 cup of corn sugar or DME in it.
cool it to 80F
pour it into a sanitized bottle and airate it by shaking it
pitch the yeast into the bottle
cover loosely with the lid or a water lock
place in a warm spot

by the time you get ready to pitch into your brew the yeast will have
already hydrated and started multipling so you'll get a better start on
fermentation with less chance for a wild yeast to take over the brew.

And that is quite enough from me.
good luck and enjoy your brew and brewing

Griz


Re: enzymes (newbie questions)


alt.beer.home-brewing:

A few comments:

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I don't buy yeast if it's not kept in a refrigerator.  And canned LME
never is.

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You really want it closer to 68 degrees - even less for some ale
yeast.  Pitching at 80 is asking for fusel alcohols.  Remember, once
the yeast takes off the temperature will rise a bit if the fermenter
isn't being kept at a constant temperature.

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I find it gets much better aeration by using a 12"-15" wire whisk on
it.  Beat it like you're scrambling a couple of dozen eggs.  When the
whole surface is foam, fold the foam into the wort and beat some more.
Fifteen minutes of this and most yeast takes off like a volcano.
(Some yeasts are calmer than others, just like we are.)

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That depends on the yeast.  Safale S04 (my favorite neutral yeast)
does very well at about 62 degrees.  And the lid stays on the
fermenter.  (I just raise the temp of the beer fridge a few hours
before brewing, and put the fermenter in there for the first 24
hours.)

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Just hydrating most dry yeast is enough.  Sprinkle it on the surface
of about a cup of boiled (and cooled, of course) water about 15
minutes before pitching.  Don't shake or stir.  Pitch the whole thing,
water and all.

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If you are going to make a starter, you should really use the same
wort (a little weaker, but the same malt, at least) as the yeast will
be working in.

Just some of my experiences.

Re: enzymes (newbie questions)


Griz wrote:

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Not most yeast.  I find I produce the best tasting beer with mid 60s
temps.

    -------->Denny
--
Life begins at 60 - 1.060, that is.

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