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I Brew in a Land Down Under

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We are a pretty diverse bunch here down under as we range from brewing on a stove, 2 pot lauter (http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/60922-2-pot-stovetop-ag-with-lauter/?p=858775). A group of us a few years back refined and furthered the BIAB process, which now has folks all round the world using it AND winning competitions with the method. Not so long ago the idea was scoffed at and with much disdain rebuked as an inferior method, let's not mention that the fabled Braumeister is a single vessel brewing system, agreed with a few more bells and whistles than a ghetto BIAB system. Perhaps the next in this line of techniques to earn some merit is the No Chill method.
No Chilling is a method of 'containing wort' in a HDPE 'cube' for storage and fermentation at a later time, anywhere from a day to 2 years later. After the usual Boil / Rest / Whirlpool, the Wort is run off to the cubes at 80'c + and all the remaining air is squeezed from the vessel and then sealed. As this is done above pasteurization temperatures and the wort being pre-boiled, it is effectively sterile. Usual cleaning and sanitation practices naturally apply prior to any contact with the wort.

A No Chill Cube
Hopping rates can vary to a 'normal' sort of boil addition and can range from a small bittering charge only to all hops in the cube. I generally will adopt the small bittering charge in the kettle (1/4 total IBU for and APA and 1/3 total IBU for and IPA) Cube hops are calculated at 20 minutes, as this is approx the time they will spend above isomerisation temperatures. Some absolutely wonderful aromas can be achieved with cube hopping and Ive often let a batch ferment with no dry hops, kegged it and drank a goodly portion before even thinking about keg hopping the brew. Ive been playing with this technique for a number of years not and suits my time poor lifestyle extremely well as I can produce 3 or 4 cubes in a brew session, cube hop them all individually and ferment at will with different yeast from the Yeast bank. Win.
I've had discussions with respected industry people about this method who worry that Botulism is a risk. This may be true, even if very minutely. The whole idea of a Cube is to store it, if any bacterium or spore has survived the boil and takes hold and breeds, the cube will give signs, particularly swelling and creating gas. I mentioned that if something were present and hadn't shown over the period of a week, it was unlikely to. As a side note the toxin is destroyed when heated to over 85'c for 5 minutes so a regular boil is plenty good enough to do the job. It should also be noted that FWK's (Fresh Wort Kits) are available commercially here in Australia and so have health department clearance.
It can be difficult in these sorts of settings to use a chiller as the groundwater temperature is so high combined with the fact that our society is becoming ever more conscious of waste, particularly of fresh water that No Chilling was invented down here.
It's true, I've lost a couple of cubes over the last few years to infection.. but so have people with chillers.
Australia is a vast Country and the climate can vary wildly about the place so it can be hard for someone in Melbourne offering advice to someone in the Northern Territory where conditions can be so wildly different on a daily basis. Humidity and ground water temperatures aside, they might have to wrestle a crocodile before the mash is complete as Crocks are attracted to the smell of a mash tun.. Ha! only joking! It's mostly the Humidity and temperature.
I live in Melbourne and we are blessed with some of the best drinking water to be found, quite soft and I find that adding just a little bit of Calcium Sulphate gets me home with most of my hop bombs and a bit of Calcium Carbonate for my darker beers, a few grams to the mash and boil does the job. I generally find that I'm hitting a PH of 5.2 for most mashes, either light or dark.
Temperature control is important here (as it is everywhere) and fridges with digital temperature control are often employed, I personally, enjoy the use of two such fridges. We have adopted the STC1000 (scope out ebay for them) for this purpose like it was our own, I use them on 3 fridges, 1 HLT, 1 HEX (HERMS) and my daughters oil heater in her bedroom.. man, what aren't those things good for?
So what do we do differently down under? Not a lot really except pay much more for yeast and hops. Ive pretty much got the yeast issue sorted out, Ive dedicated a 50lt tub in the bottom of my deep freezer and I freeze my yeast cultures in Glycerine, Im up to about 100 vials and almost 25 strains at call. Most of our ingenuity is simply process related and lets face it.. making beer is easy right?
***
Jesse McFadyen is "Yob" on our sister site, AussieHomeBrewer.com. If you're ever interested in how the brew upside down I would recommend joining up and checking them out.

 
Very interesting, living in a state like Wisconsin where we have lakes and rivers all over the place, you don't really consider No Chill method, I'll just hook up the chiller and go to town, use the water to water the day lillies.
 
I'll give this a read later tonight. I just wanted to say that the title instantly had me singing Men at Work songs to myself.
 
Yeah, those songs came to me straight away! Now I gotta play it on youtrub...thanxs. ;) Interesting concept. We have soft water out of Lake Erie here, but I like to use the local spring water. It comes out of bedrock pockets. One from White House Artesian Springs is good for malt-forward examples. The Ohio spring water from Giant Eagle ( big grocery chain here) is good for hoppy beers, but also gives a decent malt profile. I'll have to study this style further. It might be an interesting concept for book 3 of my home brewing adventures?...PS*- You just gave me an idea for that third homebrewing book. So far, I think I'll interview you & others doing some unusual brewing processes for the book. I'm still working on book 2, but it can't hurt to gather material for the next one. I've done some history & contemporary stuff with my own adventures in book one. Book two covers historic styles & struggles. Book three will look to the future of home brewing. Would you like to be part of it? I'd like to do some kind of chat-style interview with you about the details, your thoughts, etc on this new-age brewing style. What say you?
 
So, in Australia, is lager yeast top fermenting and ale yeast bottom fermenting?
Just kidding, thanks for the article. I brew without active chilling here in Germany, but in my basement it's just a matter of brewing in the afternoon and pitching the next morning, so my wort sits not even 24hrs.
 
I've often wondered if you guys in the US would be interested in what happens in our brewing down here. It's great that Jesse brought this to the forum. I'm in the west, where the temperature is a lot hotter than Melbourne and can tell you that water is a HUGE issue. We go months without rain in the summer, we took 44% of our water from a ground source that is no longer replaced by our reduced rainfall and we have a desalination plant providing a good percentage too.
I built a cold liquor system in my keezer with a submersible pump to reduce water use and have considered building a larger enclosed storage system to replace the scheme water at the start of chilling. At the moment I collect the first water for cleaning and use some of the rest for the garden. Beyond that I had to insulate my kettle and chiller lines to chill the wort sometimes 20C below ambient (and that's for an ale) in summer. And as Jesse said, STC 1000 on the keezer and fermentation fridge, which is also used for bottle conditioning.
Perhaps "Brewing in the heat" would be a good article for the future?
 
Great article. Cube hopping, fantastic stuff. Lived in Far North Queensland FNQ for a couple of years . I didn't brew back then but wish I had. I reckon 2m plus rainfall a year with cool mountain rainforest fed reservoirs would have been great for brewing and cooling. Thanks for sharing your methods. Thats Gold!
 
Botulism =
1. There is no Botulism toxin before the boil. Once you make the wort, thats when the risk of botulism appears. You won't boil you 1+ week old cooled wort again. So the point about 85C destroying toxin is irrelevant.
2. Much more important - botulism is slow growing, so if you use the cooled wort quickly, you are probably fine. But if you hold the wort for many weeks, there may be botulism present, even without noticeable bulging of the container. A bulging container is a sure sign of infection. But the lack of a bulge is not a guarantee of safety. Boutulism toxin is extremely deadly and small amounts can hospitalize you.
3. While wort is acidic, which Botulism doesn't like, before adding yeast the pH isn't low enough to stop it.
Having said this, it's probably very unlikely to get botulism from wort, but the risk increases the longer you leave the container lying around (weeks, months).
 
Your point one is valid. Sure.
Point 2 I'd have to disagree with slightly. Any microorganism growth is likely to be noticed. I expel every bit of air from the cube and any formation of gad is extremely noticeable due to the transparency of the cube. My cubes are often left for months not weeks, in general I have 6 cubes I store, newest to the back of the class and fermented last... Mostly..
If they are good enough, and deemed safe enough, to be sold commercially... Well, it's good enough for me.
I completely understand the technique isn't for everyone and sanitation is critical to getting it right.
I would have been remiss however, to have not mentioned this risk with the process.. However small that risk is.is, it IS a risK. The whole topic has been well discussed on the AHB sister site in a topic, if I recall correctly, called "throw away your cubes" if anyone is interested in having a read. I'll try to dig up a link when on a pc.
Cheers
 
http://aussiehomebrewer.com/topic/61422-throw-out-your-cubes/?p=864986
Lengthy discussion for those with a bit of time to kill.
 
I see no reason to throw out a cube when done. You can sanitize it, and I'm not so worried about Botulism spores in the empty container, provided you sanitize with Iodophor and StarSan (at different times).
Botulism can't be completely prevented by "good sanitation". The spores can be blowing in the air and settle into you kettle while the lid is off.
Not super likely, but possible.
>>>Any microorganism growth is likely to be noticed.
Early Botulism might not cause the cube to bulge, thus may not be noticeable.
>>>If they are good enough, and deemed safe enough, to be sold commercially... Well, it's good enough for me.
The commercially available wort may be heated to a higher temperature than the boiled wort we produce, via a pressurized system. Or they may have a closed system that is less likely to admit air than boiling outdoors.
Again - the risk of Botulism is probably extremely low.
But I want to raise it, since I see people talking about NoChill and never mentioning the small risk of Botulism.
 
@unionrdr
Sure, why not. I lay no claim on creating the technique but am happy to further it's use and help get information (including inherent risks) out there.
 
Botulism can't be completely prevented by "good sanitation". The spores can be blowing in the air and settle into you kettle while the lid is off.
Not super likely, but possible.
Against the vapour stream? Unlikely I should think. Possible? Perhaps. Past boil and whirlpool, particularly if it's a windy day, I put the lid on the kettle.
>>>Any microorganism growth is likely to be noticed.
Early Botulism might not cause the cube to bulge, thus may not be noticeable.
Agreed, this is where I perceive the risk to be, thus, long term (weeks/months) of storage has to have greater chance of noticing odd behaviour. It's the cubes only stored for 'days' that worry me. Any of my cubes stored for weeks/months not having shown any signs of contamination are likely to be safe as a mouse in god's pocket
>>>If they are good enough, and deemed safe enough, to be sold commercially... Well, it's good enough for me.
The commercially available wort may be heated to a higher temperature than the boiled wort we produce, via a pressurized system. Or they may have a closed system that is less likely to admit air than boiling outdoors.
I assure you, they (at least in many cases) do not
 
It is interesting seeing how people adapt to local conditions. When I was in New Zealand for a month last year, I was shocked how expensive beer was. In a pub or restaurant it was at least $8-$10 for a low alcohol (4% by vol) 10 ounce beer. With the availability of good local grains and hops, I was wondering if home-brewing was a hugely popular avocation but it didn't seem to be. Good on ya mate!
 
@chiefairwrench.
I just store my cubes under my bench in the brewer in the dark. While I have a cellar that is consistently cool, it's further from my brewery and I cant be arsed carrying them to and fro.
 
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