CCHBS News for May 2005
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- Recipe Specials for May
- White Labs / Pacific Gravity 10th Anniversary Contest
- Hop Rhizomes Are In
- Long Overdue Website Updates
- Spotlight on Water: What's Your Ideal SRM?
Recipe Specials for May
There's no Pacific
Gravity style for July, because the Summer Party is held that month
and anything goes. So we're offering some of our favorite recipes for
you to share with the crowds: Sunset
Boulevard Amber Ale, Burton
Pale Ale, Kilkenney Irish
Red Ale and Sepulveda
Steamer. Sunset Boulevard
Amber Ale is an American Amber Ale. This style is a bit darker and
less hoppy than its pale cousin. Burton
Pale Ale is a classic example of an English Pale Ale, with just
enough color and hops to make it a flavorful summertime beer. Kilkenney
Irish Red Ale is our version of one of the hottest styles of the
moment, based on entry count in the National
Homebrew Competition. Need we say more? Sepulveda
Steamer is a fine example of a California Common beer. What's a
California Common? You might call it a St**m B**r, but we can't because
Anchor Brewing copyrighted that name. All these beers are on sale for
only $22 during May, so what are you waiting for? Start your beer engines!
White Labs / Pacific Gravity 10th Anniversary Contest
It might be coincidence that both White
Labs and Pacific
Gravity are celebrating their 10th anniversaries this year, but
we decided to bring the two together. We've ordered 20 vials of the
new, limited release White Labs 10th Anniversary Ale Blend yeast and
we're selling it for only $4.50 to the first 20 people who promise to
use it to brew for the Pacific Gravity Summer Party. To sweeten things
up, White Labs has given us a prize for the winner: a copy of their
game, the only board game to capture the experience of starting
your own brewery. If you missed last month's newsletter, the 10th Anniversary
Blend is a blend of four of the yeasts White Labs started with: WLP001
American Ale, WLP002 English Ale, WLP004 Irish Ale and WLP810 San Francisco
Lager. If you're wondering which styles might be appropriate to brew
with this yeast, take a look at our monthly specials. Gee, how did that
Hop Rhizomes are In
Our hop rhizome shipment arrived just a little too late to make it
into our last newsletter, but there are still plenty of good varieties
left. This year we ordered only American hops, to make it easier for
you to grow. As of this writing, you can choose from Cascade, Chinook,
Mt. Hood, Centennial, Sterling, Horizon, Nugget and Perle.
Long Overdue Website Updates
We know, we know, we've been ignoring our website for a long time now.
But if you take a look at it now, you can see we've made a few changes
in formatting in hopes of making it easier to find things like our address
and business hours. We've also added a couple of links so you can read
this newsletter and our list of recipe
Spotlight on Water: What's Your Ideal SRM?
This month's edition of Brew
Your Own has one of the best articles I've read on brewing water.
Written by well-respected homebrewer Bill Pierce, it clearly explains
the importance of pH to your brewing, as well as giving some good practical
advice on how to calculate and change your pH. One item that was of
great interest to me was the concept of an "ideal SRM" for
a given water and how to calculate it.
SRM, if you don't know by now, is a color scale used to describe beer
color. A golden Pilsner might be 4-5 SRM, while a brown ale would be
17-20 SRM, and stouts and porters 35+ SRM. The pH of the local brewing
water comes into play because the enzymes that convert grain into fermentable
sugars work best in a ph range of 5.2-5.6. Water typically falls in
the range of 7-8.5 pH and while the grain itself will lower the pH of
water, pale malt alone might not be able to reduce the pH of a given
water sufficiently to get into the 5.2-5.6 range needed for proper conversion.
What keeps this from happening? Most often it's the residual alkalinity
(RA) of your local water.
Luckily for us, alkalinity is one of the items listed in the water
quality reports available from the local water authority. Less luckily,
the alkalinity of water changes at different times of year for various
reasons. However, by looking at the highest and lowest values we can
determine a range for the RA value. For example, the Culver City water
report shows an alkalinity range of 89 to 114. Knowing this, we can
apply the formula for determing ideal SRM: (0.14 * RA) + 5.2 = Ideal
SRM. Given our example, the calculations would be (0.14 * 89) + 5.2
= 17.7 and (0.14 * 114) + 5.2 = 21.2. So, the ideal SRM range for beers
made with untreated city water is 17-21 SRM.
Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story. Obviously, it's still
possible to make beers that fall outside this color range without treating
the water. But if you've been wondering why some of your beers are more
successful than others, you might want to read the full article in Brew
your own for the whole story.