hist-brewing: flat beer
nerenner at umich.edu
Sat Feb 24 07:40:32 PST 2001
Dan Butler-Ehle wrote:
>adam larsen <euphonic at flash.net> writes:
>>great many ales made prior to the industrial revolution were served
>>"live", directly out of the primary fermenter and were consumed flat.
>Even if it is served by dipping it right out of an open fermenter, it is not
>*necessarily* flat (perhaps "very nearly flat", though). Unroused,
>fresh, live beer can hold dissolved CO2 much in excess of equillibrium
>concentration. Maybe a quarter to a half volume even. Or maybe none.
>For some beers, "fermented to completion" means "stale".
I had meant to comment on this, too. I'm sure that I read somewhere
that cellar temperature beer would hold one volume of C02 at
atmospheric pressure, but I can't find that now. I do think that one
volume is closer to what I want in a real ale, not the close to two
volumes (if possible) that Al Korzonas (brewinfo) suggested. I think
two volumes would be hard to handle coming through a beer engine
(hand pump). I'd think it might foam uncontrollably. Maybe not.
Regarding someone's (sorry) earlier suggestion that a foil wine bag
be used for real ale. I'd be afraid that such a bag could not
withstand even the little pressure generated by conditioning. A
British friend of mine keeps his real ale in 20 liter think
polyethylene cubes that someone suggested, and they bulge out to
nearly a sphere. As the late Dave Line pointed out in his _Big Book
of Brewing_, that means you have to regularly tap it to relieve the
pressure. Terrible chore.
BTW, anyone who is not familiar with Line's 1974 classic (I found it
in 1979 or 1980), might seek it out. It is still in print and a fine
introduction to mashing, though a bit dated (most particularly in its
suggestion of the addition of saccharine). It now qualifies as a
historic brewing resource! It was a godsend to those of us wandering
in the (brewing) wilderness 20+ years ago. I had of heard of mashing
before, and had even tried it, but what a wonderful resource and eye
opener it was. Tragically, Dave was struck down by cancer before he
was forty. I've always wondered if it was from fermenting in
non-food grade "dustbins." How I wish he could have see the homebrew
So tip a glass to St. Dave, patron saint of homebrewing.
Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, c/o nerenner at umich.edu
"One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943
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