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Old 09-24-2008, 09:56 PM   #1
CiderPat
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Default Bunch of newb questions

Was going to wait until I had a bunch of these, but the list was getting long:

My hydrometer defines "balling" as the sugar content of a liquid. I read that this comes from the inventer of the scale (Karl Balling), but has this term mutated into the verb "to ball" meaning "to add sugar", or is that just a newbieism?

What, specifically, is going on when a batch is mellowing (as distinct from further fermenting or clearing)?
Is there anything that can be done to speed or facilitate this process, such as ideal temperature or additives?

What do camden tablets do, and is there any particular advantage to adding them early or late?

What factors (temperature, alcohol content, presence of sugar, presence of other substances) will cause a yeast to be active, produce alcohol, produce carbon dioxide, consume sugar, go dormant, or die? How do you get sugar
left over when you have something mellowing for a while- do you have to put in so much sugar that the yeasts poison themselves with alcohol before eating all the sugar, or is there a way to get them to stop fermenting the sugar? Do different strains vary in all these qualities (alcohol tolerance, temperature tolerance, fermentation speed), or are there qualities common to all yeasts?

When using Grolsch bottles, do your friends get that they are reusable, or do they recycle or trash them without thinking?

Does blue glass protect hops from UV as well as brown glass?

Is there anything you don't need to sterilize? Is pasteurization a substitute for sterilizing a container?

Do you have to boil a liquid to pasteurize it, or is simmering ok? Are there certain drinks that you wouldn't boil before fermenting (beer, cider, wine, etc)?

Is "wort" the appropriate term for any liquid that you put into your primary fermenter and start fermenting, or is it only used for the liquid that becomes beer?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-24-2008, 10:28 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. I'll answer a couple of the easy ones.

Friends always take care of my bottles. Because if they ever want beer again I get them back. hahah

Use starsan for a sanitizer. This is different from sterilize. Sterile is overkill in brewing.

Brown glass is always the best option for any beverage with hops. Or more opaque.

wort>beer must>wine

NEVER BOIL HONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And for the rest of them try using the search feature in the forums.

ps. John Palmers "How to Brew"

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Old 09-24-2008, 10:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CiderPat View Post
Was going to wait until I had a bunch of these, but the list was getting long:

My hydrometer defines "balling" as the sugar content of a liquid. I read that this comes from the inventer of the scale (Karl Balling), but has this term mutated into the verb "to ball" meaning "to add sugar", or is that just a newbieism?

I've never heard of "to ball" meaning "to add sugar". That's a new one to me. You may also hear winemakers refer to Brix (another scale) or SG. I typically use SG measurements when measuring the amount of sugar that is present or to add, as well as to figure the approx ABV of my wine/cider/mead.

What, specifically, is going on when a batch is mellowing (as distinct from further fermenting or clearing)?
Is there anything that can be done to speed or facilitate this process, such as ideal temperature or additives?

Time is about all that can work to age a batch. The flavors are mellowing- hot alcohol flavors are subsiding, excess tannins are mellowing, etc. There really isn't any substitute for time

What do camden tablets do, and is there any particular advantage to adding them early or late?
Campden tablets are sulfite (either potassium metabisulfite, or sodium metabisulfite. These kill wild yeasts and bacteria, as well as bind to the wine/cider/mead as to prevent oxidation. This is also used to protect your beverage in the future, during aging.
What factors (temperature, alcohol content, presence of sugar, presence of other substances) will cause a yeast to be active, produce alcohol, produce carbon dioxide, consume sugar, go dormant, or die? How do you get sugar
left over when you have something mellowing for a while- do you have to put in so much sugar that the yeasts poison themselves with alcohol before eating all the sugar, or is there a way to get them to stop fermenting the sugar? Do different strains vary in all these qualities (alcohol tolerance, temperature tolerance, fermentation speed), or are there qualities common to all yeasts?
If you add more sugar than the yeast can handle, yes, you get a sweet cider. The problem is that it'll taste like sweet rocket fuel, especially if you use a yeast that can go to 18%. That'll take years to mellow into something drinkable. I like to make a wine at, say, 13% ABV and let it ferment out. If I want it sweetened when done, I stabilize with sorbate and sulfite, and then sweeten to taste. Different strains vary, so you may want to refer to the yeast manufacturer's website for the specific qualities. Some are less alcohol tolerant than others, some leave a fruitiness behind, etc. They are still very similar, but there are differences, too.
When using Grolsch bottles, do your friends get that they are reusable, or do they recycle or trash them without thinking?
I don't give out Grolsch bottles, usually. If I didn't get my bottles back, my friends would never get another beer, wine, mead or cider from me.

Does blue glass protect hops from UV as well as brown glass?
Not to my knowledge.

Is there anything you don't need to sterilize? Is pasteurization a substitute for sterilizing a container?
Absolutely not. If you put a pasteurized liquid into an unsanitized container, you've exposed it to the bacteria and yeast on that container. Pasteurizing kills the microbes in the juice, but not those in the future.

Do you have to boil a liquid to pasteurize it, or is simmering ok? Are there certain drinks that you wouldn't boil before fermenting (beer, cider, wine, etc)?
I would never, ever, ever boil any juice or honey. Ever. You'd set the pectins in the fruit (think jelly)

Is "wort" the appropriate term for any liquid that you put into your primary fermenter and start fermenting, or is it only used for the liquid that becomes beer?

Must is the proper term for wine, cider, mead.
Thanks in advance!
Answers in bold.

Welcome!
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:38 PM   #4
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Answers in bold.

Welcome!
Thanks- this is very helpful!

So, to clarify, "stabilizing" with sorbate and sulfite will "turn off" the yeast (kill, etc) so you can then safely sweeten or bottle without producing more alcohol or making bombs?
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
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Thanks- this is very helpful!

So, to clarify, "stabilizing" with sorbate and sulfite will "turn off" the yeast (kill, etc) so you can then safely sweeten or bottle without producing more alcohol or making bombs?
Sort of. After fermentation is finished, you can stabilize. Neither one of those items actually kills yeast- they simply inhibit yeast reproduction. That's why it is good to wait until the cider is clear and finished, so that very little yeast still remains in suspension. You rack several times, over the course of making the cider. Then, when you stabilize, the remaining yeast will be unable to reproduce. You can wait a few days, and then sweeten. The yeast that are still around will not be able to reproduce and further ferment, leaving you with a still (not carbonated) and sweetened cider. You should always ensure that fermentation did indeed stop before actually bottling it. Maybe waiting by three- five days before bottling. Just in case.
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