hist-brewing: non-period fermenting vessel and yeast and recipe

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Tue Jun 29 11:26:56 PDT 1999

 Thomas Thornhill wrote:
 >  Greetings,     Let me PREFACE all this by saying that I am currently
 > seeking to produce volume OVER quality. BUT, whatever I make needs to
 > be safe and at least palatable. I need to use up my old stuff and to
 > provide beverage for an event at the end of July. It must all be
 > done cold (no boiling) and with purified water (high iron and sediment
 > problem.) The greatest portion of my sugar will be [aarrgghh]
 > sucrose.  I lack a good local brewing supplier and will amend my ways
 > just as soon as I am able.  Thus I have begun: I have recently come
 > into possession of several clear plastic 5 gallon carboys. Has anyone
 > used these? Keeping them in the dark is not a problem. Do they
 > contribute to any off flavor?  Does anyone have a maximum %alchohol that
 > would be safe in these without picking up flavor?  I intend to start
 > batches in them just as soon as possible (affixing water locks to the
 > lids). I would not normally use these but they were so cheap as to be
 > nearly giving them away and I thought they must be food grade since
 > they were designed to hold water. My intended %alchohol should be near
 > 6%. Beverage for the masses.  Also, I have not brewed for some
 > time. But, have a large selection of various yeast (powder in packet)
 > that I was intending to blend all together and do the Darwin (wasn't
 > he one of the old saints) thing in a starter and then cast it into my
 > fermenters(along with some other (very) old stuff.)My question: Is
 > there any reason not to blend these together?If I use at least some
 > malt (canned syrup) in each batch: Should the necessary nutrients be
 > present? If not, what are some grocery store purchase stuff for
 > minerals/nutrients?     And more, does anyone have very simple recipes
 > for the above mentioned brewing? That is to say those of low malt and
 > hops but wanting to add some flavor. I have a couple of ideas but would
 > appreciate input. My gratitude,Titus Terranova

In a message dated 6/29/99 0:48:00 AM EST, allotta at earthlink.net writes:
<< First:
 Plastic water bottles are not a good idea.  It can allow gas transfer,
 as well as get scratched easily.  Scratches will not get fully
 clean/sanitized and WILL harbor spoilage bacteria.  Locate a supplier of
 GLASS carboys.  Look in brewing magazines for mail order or contact your
 nearest homebrew supply place.
 There is no reason not to blend different strains of yeast.  Many
 commercial yeasts are actual blends of 3-6 different cultured yeasts.
 think German and Belgium yeasts.
 Malt extract will not provide an adequate amount of nutrients for yeast
 to grow.  I suggest adding a measure of yeast nutrient or yeast hulls.
 If you are still an extract brewer versus being an all grain brewer, I
 suggest steeping specialty grains to get additional and better flavors
 versus using canned extracts.
	Lemme add on:
	I gather that you are (1) are trying to use up stuff, because you 
(2) are about to move or have just moved, and (3) have very little money 
to spend on this, but (4) would like to make a good showing at your 
first Event in your new location.  Okay, so I've been wrong before, and 
will be again.  Probably soon.
	Given my assumptions, I have to disagree with Mark.
	The plastic carboys should be good enough for this one use.  You 
have them now, so you might as well go ahead and use them.  Just 
be extra careful about sanitation, because of what Mark says, and 
also because you have to go with no boil (are you doing this in a 
college dorm, perchance?).
	I think your alcohol content will be low enough that you shouldn't 
have any problem with the plastic flavoring the brew.  After all, the 
reason we advise against using plastic soda bottles is not a flavor 
question but a tensile strength matter.
	I can't remember where sucrose is among the sugars, so I can't 
really comment on it.  If it's simple enough for the yeast to ferment, 
which I think it is, then it should be okay. Otherwise it may make 
your brew very sweet.
	Dry yeasts have an amazing shelf life, and are not changed by
adverse storage conditions.  If they wake up in your starter, they're 
probably okay.  I hope that all of your large selection of various yeast
packets are all brewing yeasts.  If some of them are baking yeasts, 
throw those out.  Yeasts which have been bred for bread often add 
weird flavors to beer.
	Mark is right about this, specialty grains can usually help.  But 
you may not be able to do it if you have no brewing supplier and no
heat source.  From what you say, I gather the hot tap water is not 
directly usable.  
	Good luck, and let us know in July how your trial-by-brew came
out,       Scotti  ( :-{>

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