Author Topic: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?  (Read 5982 times)

Offline euge

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2010, 01:50:26 AM »
That is one hell of kettle! The provenance must be interesting.  :D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline beerrat

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2010, 06:43:41 AM »
Is it me, is the reply by Richard Wagner(?) now missing (the one with the brew pot photo)? 

Offline hokerer

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2010, 09:19:19 AM »
Is it me, is the reply by Richard Wagner(?) now missing (the one with the brew pot photo)? 

I don't see it any longer either.  Maybe he removed his own post for some reason.
Joe

Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2010, 09:03:46 PM »

sorry, tried to edit something and deleted the post by accident , here it is again:


I am a historic brewer who regularly uses a 43 gallon copper, my kettle is from Villedieu-les-Poêles ,France and made in 1802 ( so says the hallmark ). As stated previously, copper was the choice material because of availability and form for hundreds of years. Today, several micro breweries use copper as a decorative element , but cost is often the prohibiting factor in replicating authentic all coppers. The elements of copper as an aide to healthy yeast has been highly debated and shouldn't be a concern as to the authenticity of recreating historic ales, beers and lagers. Also too, is the consideration of a heat source, since the period of your intended recreations are of late 19th century and early 20th century, mostly steam fired kettles were employed , but this is impractical to the 10 to 20 gallon batch maker. heat source is a factor because one needs to consider a direct fire method, of either a coal or wood based source( of which imparts other flavor and aromas into the wort)

I personally believe that wort caramelization  can become a factor in preparing worts for either grain or extract because of the heat conductance and efficiency of copper as a boiling vessel. The replication of historic recipes can only really be done as a modern interpretation anyway , and to that , means
 1. Brewing with original recipes with modern malt, hops and yeast ..most successful final product.
 2. Same modern ingredients, however a replication of old style equipment for process, second best.
 3.  Total recreations of field grown malt, hops and forensic fermentational yeast cultures on period equipment, outside of the scope and resources of most recreational brewers. 

Choose your path and follow the level of how authentic you want to create your recipe, some tips include , finding a maltser who has been "in business" during that period, many German and English maltsters have been around and still producing malt today, same goes with hops , copy and build water specific to your region, and decide your yeast profile of what's commercially available today, or culture from old examples. Most importantly recreate a recipe you can drink and enjoy, tell the story and share with friends.

Here's some shots of my kettle...never mind the kitty !

 

In action :


 
 
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Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2010, 09:50:44 PM »
BTW, I am not Richard Wagner ...great guy, but I am the "other" historic brewer from PA  ;D
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Offline euge

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2010, 11:59:12 AM »
That is one hell of kettle! The provenance must be interesting.  :D

I wasn't sure if the kitty was part of the ingredients for some arcane historical brew... ;)
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline beerrat

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2010, 04:21:37 PM »
BTW, I am not Richard Wagner ...great guy, but I am the "other" historic brewer from PA  ;D

My bad! I figured either Rich or Bethlehem's "John Goundie Brewer".   Thanks for the wonderful information.  Love the cat in the kettle, the period costume, and contribution to Bethlehem's brewing heritage.

1. Brewing with original recipes with modern malt, hops and yeast ..most successful final product.
 2. Same modern ingredients, however a replication of old style equipment for process, second best.
 3.  Total recreations of field grown malt, hops and forensic fermentational yeast cultures on period equipment, outside of the scope and resources of most recreational brewers. 

My goal is to understand the flavor impacts of the circa 1900 techniques and capture those with modern equipment and ingredients, modified if needed to emulate the flavors.  So my question about copper is what flavors did it impart if any.  Seems like little other then debate as a yeast nutrient.  Your point about caramelization and flavor impact of copper kettle and coal/wood fired is something I need to consider.  I think given steam used, caramelization would be little, and wood nor coal would not impact wort flavor, but the kilning process for hops and malt would have flavoring from those fuels.  Thoughts?

I'm working on my period costume for the historical society ;-)

Happy New Year

Offline mrbowenz

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2010, 04:51:58 AM »
Rich Wagner, is from the Philadelphia area and I believe does his work and presentations based on 18th century brewing recipes and techniques, also, he is an expert on Pennsylvania breweries historical/defunct ones and modern I suppose. He uses the practice of brewing with the sun, sight and feel as a brewer would have used in that period, more artistry than science and truly colonial style brewing( early America ).

I on the other hand , do 19th century brewing techniques, and was responsible for bringing back Johann S. Goundie, researching his recipes , history and equipment from that period. I also do 19th century British historical beers and ales, and that his been my main focus for almost 4 1/2 years, one such piece being www.arcticalchemy.com , and working on the next film story and adventure in England and Scotland next year.

Boiling wort in a copper over a wood or coal fire will impart a smokiness and peat-like flavor in the finished wort, in addition to any roasted or malted grains during the malting process. Caramelization occurs in this direct-fire process and can be tricky to control a open fire process.

I find the the period of about 1820 to 1900 as an interesting time in brewing history, both here in America and abroad. The impact of the Industrial Revolution ,the advances in science and medicine had such an enormous influence on the brewing process. Beer history has been somewhat neglected, other than a few like Rich and myself , so I applaud your interest and pursuits into this endeavor.
Brewing up history

Offline beerrat

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2011, 11:15:09 AM »
I just had a tour of Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre PA.  They replaced their copper kettle with a stainless steel one a while back.  I asked if there was a flavor change, and the tour guide did say they ended up adding a significant amount of copper tubing in the kettle and replacing steel tubing with copper as beers did have a different flavor profile without it.  The person on the tour could not give me more detail then that.  I'm assuming this cost them some $ and time ;-)  so there was enough of an impact of the missing copper to merit adding it back.

Offline woadwarrior

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2011, 01:35:22 PM »
I would recommend against using aluminum. It will leach too easily into even slightly acidic liquids and impart a metallic taste.

@beerat; your info about Lion brewery has given me yet one more reason to love my 50' copper immersion chiller. :) btw, have you ever had Lion's Valley Forge Imperial Stout? yummy. Not sure if they still make it though as I haven't seen it in  years.

Offline denny

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2011, 03:25:05 PM »
I would recommend against using aluminum. It will leach too easily into even slightly acidic liquids and impart a metallic taste.

If you;re recommending against boiling in AL, I have to disagree based on my own experience.  I used an AL kettle for a lot of batches.  I couldn't taste anything wrong with the beer, and neither could the judges who awarded me ribbons for the beer brewed in it.
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Offline tubercle

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2011, 04:12:24 PM »
I would recommend against using aluminum. It will leach too easily into even slightly acidic liquids and impart a metallic taste.

@beerat; your info about Lion brewery has given me yet one more reason to love my 50' copper immersion chiller. :) btw, have you ever had Lion's Valley Forge Imperial Stout? yummy. Not sure if they still make it though as I haven't seen it in  years.

Is this from actual experience or just promulgating internet myths?
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Offline Mark G

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2011, 07:48:30 PM »
Nothing wrong with boiling in aluminum. My aluminum BK had many many batches go through it, and never gave a metallic taste.
Mark Gres

Offline woadwarrior

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Re: Copper boil kettle - taste impact?
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2011, 09:54:24 PM »
I guess I stand corrected. At least as far as using Al for brewing beer. To date, I've only made meads and everything I've been told and read said not to use it as a brew kettle for the must for the reasons I stated. (And the thought of possibly wasting 20 lbs. of honey didn't seem worth the risk of trying.)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 07:45:10 PM by woadwarrior »