December 30, 2011

Steam Cleaning a Barrel (part 2)

Following up from my previous post, I recently bought a digital probe thermometer and a better hose and tried another test round of steaming.  What I wanted to see this time was how well the braided hose would hold up to the heat and at what temperature was the steam coming out of the hose.  So, here's the setup again:

The hose goes straight from the pressure cooker to the barrel.  With the thermometer probe inside, I stuffed a glove into the bung hole and waited for the temperature to go up. Steam was already going pretty well, and initial reading were around 180°F.

As the pressure in the cooker goes up, the temperature of the steam rises (see table).  Water, under no pressure, boils at 212°F, but at 15 PSI it will boil at ~250°F.  The hotter the steam is that blows into the barrel, the more bacteria/yeast it will kill.  As Vinnie mentioned, you want only the strongest strains to survive.

So, I let the pressure build up and checked the temperature again, and I had hit 201°F!

I consider this a huge success.  Without a way to control pressure, to hit and stay at those higher temps, being able to bring the barrel temperature to ~200°F is very good.  However this is just a local temperature.  Both the hose and the thermometer probe are at the bottom of the barrel.

The next step is to build two parts.  First, I need to build a way to control the pressure.  Second, I need to build a diffuser.  Instead of just sticking the end of a hose into the barrel, a diffuser will allow me to disperse that hot steam evenly.  And then controlling the pressure should allow me to raise the temperature of that steam much higher.  (see that done here)

December 29, 2011

Two great presentations on Sours/Lambics.

Vinnie Cilurzo's (Russian River) presentation on Sour Beers:
Audio (skip ahead to 1hr 30min) & Slide Show.

Chad Yakobson (Crooked Stave & Brettanomyces Project) presentation on Brett:
Video & Slide Show.

Update:  Chad Yakobson talks about brett and his beers on The Brewing Network. (skip ahead to 50min)

December 12, 2011

Steam Cleaning a Barrel

A home brewer's way to steam clean a barrel. This is a used wine barrel that has been washed a few times, and will be filled with Lambic. Propane tank and burner heat the pressure cooker, and the steam off the release valve is directed into the barrel. A better hose and clamp would be recommended, but it was just a test run.

See Part 2

December 8, 2011

Cantillon Turbid Mash

For those of you looking to brew a traditional lambic, I found a "recipe" for Cantillon's Turbid mash.

I've converted it from Metric to English and scaled down to a 10 gallon batch.

                Malt - 9.5 lbs
                Wheat - 5 lbs
1.2 gallons           |
H2O @ 144F -->It takes 15 to 20 min. to
              mix all the grain and H2O.
              This results in mash
              temperature of 113F.
              mash held at 113F for
              10 min.
H2O @ 212F -->In ~6 min. enough H2O (.75 gallons)
              is added to bring the
              mash to 136F
              In ~5 min. 0.4 gallons is
              transferred to kettle #2 ---------------->|
                      |                               0.4 gallons in kettle #2
H2O @ 212F -->In ~10 min. enough H2O (.75 gallons)    is heated.  during
              is added to bring the                   the heating it never
              mash to 149F                            reaches 212F
                      |                                 |
              In ~35 min. 1.6 gallons is                |
              transferred to kettle #2 ---------------->|
                      |                               an additional 1.6 gallons
H2O @ 212F -->In ~10 min. enough H2O (1.3 gallons)    is added to kettle #2
              is added to bring the                   and the heating of this
              mash to 162F                            kettle continues.  it
                      |                               never reaches 212F
              mash held at 162F for                     |
              20 min.                                   |
                      |                                 |
                      +----> first runnings (2 gallons) |
                             to kettle #1.  begin       |
                             heating of this kettle     |
                             for the boil               |
                                                 transfer the contents
                                                 of kettle #2 back to
                      |<-------------------------the mash tun. At this
                      |                          time the contents of
              the mash is now                    this kettle has reached 176F
              at 167F                           
              mash held at 167F for
              20 min.
              recirculate the wort
              in the mash tun to
              sparge with 9 gallons of 185F H2O
              split wort between the
              two kettles as it runs off.
              kettle #1 will contain 8.67 gallons
              total (including the 2 gallons
              previously put there)  kettle #2
              will contain 4.33 gallons total.
              add 3.75 ounces aged hops to kettle #1
              only.  heat both kettles to boiling
              and allow the volume to be reduced
              by nearly 25% to yield a full batch size
              of 10 gallons total between the two
              kettles.  The contents of the two
              kettles are blended together before
              cooling overnight.

December 1, 2011

What is Lambic?

It's beer, but...

Its flavor is funky and sour.
It has the body of champagne.
It has the complexity of wine.
It has big flavor, but relatively little alcohol.

It is not brewed with cultivated yeast, but fermented with what is found naturally in the air.
It relies on the addition of Brettanomyces and Bacteria instead of only Saccharomyces.

It requires years to make instead of weeks.
It is newly popular, but is the oldest style of beer.

It is the anomaly of beer.

There is some debate as to what is required to make "true" lambic.  My personal definition/standard for anything I call lambic is based on Cantillon's definition:

Any lambic I brew or source will consist of 30-40% unmalted wheat, 70-60% barley, hops aged at a minimum of 1 year (prefer 3+ years), and will undergo a turbid mash with a extended boil.

A Coolship is used in a location/season where ambient air’s average low is below 45°F to expose the wort to open air.  This allows the wort to cool naturally overnight to at least 70°F before going into barrels.

Lambic will be fermented and aged on sediment and always in a wooden barrel.

No pasteurization or preservatives will be used. No artificial sweetener or any sugars will be added to sweeten the final beer. No artificial flavoring or coloring will be used.

Lambic will be aged at least 6 months prior to bottling unblended or fruited lambic. If it is bottled before aging 12 months, it will be labeled “young”. If it has aged more than 24 months, it may be called “Old”. Geuze will always be a blend of lambic with an average weighted age of at least 1 year and contain at least 25% 3 year old lambic. “Old” geuze will have an average weighted age of at least 2 years.

I will always use real fruit. No fruit syrups or concentrates will ever be used.
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