My Teeth may not be Beautiful…

But they are still there!

You have to love the internet. Everybody with a computer can ventilate any opinion. Even I can!

Not too long ago I stumbled on a movie. A big cola person was butchered by a reporter because of the huge amount of sugar in cola. He had no answer.

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Even though the answer could be quite simple. In apple juice there is just as much sugar!

So why blame cola? You can order a small one!

A small googling session told me that alcohol is supposed to be bad for your teeth. Especially the strong drinks mixed with for example cola.

White wine also did not do very well.

Red wine a little better but it still is bad for your teeth. Unacceptable of course, so I continued googling. With some success: I actually found a study that says that red wine can even have a positive effect on the health of your teeth because it kills bacteria. (Don’t you love the internet?)

The main reason that “the internet” thinks that alcoholic drinks are bad for teeth is the high acidity. Apparently acid makes your teeth weak. It is also a bad idea to brush them just after a drink because they are vulnerable at that moment.

Sugar is another bad ingredient because it is a source of energy for bacteria that form plaque.

But what about alcohol? Alcohol, as a molecule, is not too far away from sugar. Does that harm my teeth? Since lots of mouthwash products contain alcohol I assume that alcohol itself has no negative effects on teeth.

So what would be drinks that you should not drink if you want to keep your teeth? As far as I know acid and sugar are the main destructive forces. So please note that I am only comparing the drinks on the basis of sugar and pH. You have to decide for yourself if you believe that this is right, or not entirely, or entirely not.

During these tests I found out that the results of the pH meter that I use is getting more unreliable when the pH decreases. However even if they are not as accurate as I would like, it still places the drinks in the right order.

One thing to consider is that the pH scale works globally as follows: pH 5 means 10 times more acid than pH 6. pH 4 means 10 times more acid than pH 5. So in cola there is 10 times more acid than in red wine.

Cola:

105 gr/l

pH 2,7

Cassis

114 gr/l

pH 3,3

7 Up

110 gr/l

pH 3,3

White wine

0 gr/l

pH 3,4

Fresh orange juice

85 gr/l

pH 3,5

Red wine

0 gr/l

pH 3,7

Apple juice

100 gr/l

pH 3,9

Sport drink

70 gr/l

pH 4,1

Beer

10 gr/l

pH 4,3

Milk

48 gr/l

pH 7,2

Wodka

0 gr/l

pH 7,9

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Blood? No data available/

Time to draw some conclusions:

The winner is cola. High acidity and a lot of sugar. Your teeth are in hell.

Wines may be rather acidic but have little or no sugar so still better than very popular soft drinks.

Beer is a good choice for the drinker who still has his own teeth.

And then there is wodka. No sugar and no acid. This could be my new tooth paste!

Yet completely misunderstood by the internet. Sites tell me that wodka red bull is a terrible drink for your teeth. The worst part is that this is not incorrect. Everything with red bull is terrible for teeth!

A more accurate statement would be: Red bull makes your teeth rot and mixing it with wodka does not help!

Hans

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

Posted in Just a thought | 10 Comments

The Myths of Sulfite

If you learn one thing from this story let it be this:

Sulfites do not kill yeast!

At least not in normal quantities.Many people who wanted to make a sweet wine have encountered exploding bottles because the yeast continued their work in bottled sweet wine. If you want to kill yeast you must also use potassium sorbate.

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Sulfite in wine is a subject of many, many discussions. The biggest objections against sulfites are that it is a chemical which kills bacteria and therefore it cannot be healthy to put it in food. The second myth is that it is the main cause for headaches.

Some people may have an allergic reaction to sulfites but most of us will not notice it. The cause of headaches are more likely drinking too much alcohol and staying up too late in a smoky environment. Sulfite is a preservative that is used to protect many other food products which do not cause headaches.

The hobby wine maker has a big advantage compared to big wine producers. You can decide yourself how much sulfite you want to use. In case something goes wrong and your wine becomes vinegar the loss is not that big so you can try to minimize the amount of sulfite.

However there are many sources that claim many positive aspects of using sulfite.

1 Preventing wild yeasts and bacteria to develop in your fruit. Wild yeast can ferment your wine but it is very well possible that these yeasts are not able to survive in an environment with a high alcohol concentration. You will end up with a sweet wine with a low alcohol percentage.
Cultured yeast are also selected on their ability to survive sulfite. The situation will be in their advantage and they will overpower any remaining wild yeast depriving them from their food.

2 Preventing wine turning into vinegar. Fruit flies carry bacteria which turns your wine into vinegar. Sulfite may kill this bacteria however some of them are able to survive sulfite.

3 Preventing oxidation. When you take the skin off an apple it will turn brown very quickly. This is because of the reaction with oxygen. When you sprinkle the apple with a sulfite solution this reaction will not happen because the sulfite will prevent this.

4 Preventing loss of aroma. Sulfite helps forming certain components that determine the taste and flavor of the wine.

5 Preventing malolactic fermentation. In red wines malolactic fermentation may be desirable because the strong malic acid is converted to smoother lactic acid which gives the wine a softer taste. In white wines this is usually undesirable because usually they should be more fresh and fruity.

6 Helps clearing. Sulfite reacts with certain charged particles which helps clearing the wine.

7 Forms glycerin. When Sulfite is present during fermentation a limited amount of glycerin is formed. Glycerin is an alcohol which makes wine taste a bit sweet and soft. Glycerin are the drops that hang to the glass when you give the wine a little swirl.

How and where to use it

You can use sulfite in combination with acid to sterilize your equipment. This is not the same as cleaning!

Dissolve a few grams of sulfite and a few grams of acid in half a liter water. You can smell that your sulfite. (Be careful while smelling. It can be a strong scent.)

When you store demijohns you can keep them with a little water with some sulfite and acid. This way your equipment is always sterile.

When you want to use sulfite in your must (Before fermenting) use 1 gram per 10 liter must.

Racking for the first time. 1 Gram per 10 liter

Subsequent racking. 0,5 Gram per 10 liter

Bottling dry wine: 0,5 Gram per 10 liter

Bottling sweet wine: 1 Gram per 10 liter

In case you want a malolactic fermentation you do not add sulfite until the fermentation is complete.

Small simplified explanation

1 Gram sulfite contains 0,5 gram SO2. When you add this to 10 liter wine the concentration is 50mgr/l. This is the same as 50ppm (Parts per million)

Part of these 50 will be bound to other components in the wine. Approximately 20-30 mgr remains as “free”. This 30 ppm is a good concentration for home wine makers. Professional wine makers are allowed to use up to seven times this amount.

Shelf life

Sulfite reacts with oxygen and becomes less potent in time. Close the package after use and do not buy in large quantities. I keep my stock in the refridgerator. I am not really sure if this actually helps.

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Killing Yeast Is Not Easy

A few years ago, when we started our company I had a clear moment which worried me. I realized that our products may be shipped under difficult circumstances. My main concern was temperature. Most products will be safe but what about the yeasts? As far as I know they should be stored in a refrigerator. There probably is a reason for this. On the other hand; supermarkets don’t store the bread yeast cold. So how important is this?

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I decided to test the yeasts. It was a very simple test. I placed the bags of yeast in the oven and let them stay there for a week at 40 – 45 C. After that I checked whether the yeast were still alive.

I was not disappointed. The yeast was not affected at all. It worked perfectly and my mind found peace again.

gist-test-starter-LevenindeBrouwerij

A few days ago I noticed that I had 2 very old packages of wine yeast. The expiration date is November 2013. Three years ago…. I estimate that the yeast must be 5 or 6 years old. Normally I would throw it away but I was curious. Would the yeast have survived?

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So I prepared a very simple starter. It is only apple juice in a clean bottle with the cap placed on top of it. (Not sealed of course) I was actually not surprised that after a few hours the fermentation clearly was underway. Again, I could not see any difference between this old yeast and a new package. I have another package that expired November 2013. Maybe I will test this again in 2020.

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The juice is fermenting nicely and I am going to let it finish the job. See if it becomes a nice cider.

So if you have problems with a fermentation I would not blame the yeast. More likely the circumstances in which the yeast are put are too hostile. For example beers with a lot of alcohol may have trouble fermenting after bottling. If this is the case you can try to add champagne yeast which is very alcohol tolerant, give it a better chance with a starter, or in very serious cases you can try to restart the fermentation like this.

Cheers

Hans

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Don’t Lose your Head!

The most frustrating problem I had in beer making must be the head. I tried my best to copy a successful recipe as good as I possibly could and when the beer was finished I would be very disappointed by it. I would pour the beer in a glass and foam would appear. But then, the small bubbles would turn in big bubbles and within minutes they would collapse and the beer would look as if it had been standing there the whole evening. The soul had disappeared. In Dutch we literally call it “dead”.

I had no idea why it happened because I did everything according to the recipe. So It was time to find out what went wrong. And I found some information that was very helpful. I normally don’t like copying information without testing it but I think that the information I found was pretty good.

First of all I found that there are positive and negative influences on the head. And that the negative influences are much greater than the positive. For example: A perfect beer in a “dirty” glass will always result in disappointing foam.

So what happens when you pour a beer?

First foam forms. I guess that usually this is not a problem When there is CO2, bubbles appear and they drag beer up to form bubbles.

After that the beer drains down between the bubbles and the foam starts to dry.

Then the foam should be strong enough to remain. Some kind of structure should form to keep the bubbles small and strong. If there is something wrong the small bubbles will not be able to sustain themselves and collapse, forming bigger bubbles that will also collapse. It’s like watching your work being destroyed without being able to do anything about it. A dead beer is a sad, sad sight.

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No problem with this beers head

So what are the things that attack our beloved heads?

  • Higher alcohols. When we talk about alcohol we usually mean ethanol. Ethanol has 2 carbon atoms. Higher alcohols have 3 or more. A strong beer contains more higher alcohols and this has a negative affect on foam.
  • Esters. Esters are formed by acids and alcohols. Stronger beers contain more acids and alcohol and therefore again they have more problems with foam.
  • The biggest influence are lipids: Fats, oils, wax, sterols. Drinking a beer while eating cheese is killing the beer. The best advice is to clean your glass with hot water and rinse it thoroughly to get rid of soap residues.
  • Mashing. Malts of the past needed more steps in mashing. These steps were needed to break down proteine chains. If you do this with “modern” malts the proteine chains are broken down in small chains that cannot sustain foam. So it is advisable to start with a mashing temperature of at least 60 C. In case you use a high percentage of unmalted ingredients you may need to start mashing at a lower temperature.
  • Boiling too long causes alpha acids to be removed from hop. These acids are a positive factor in head retention. Boiling longer than 90 minutes should be avoided. For other reasons you should not boil less than 60 minutes.

And what can be done to improve our head?

  • Hops. Isomerized alpha acids have a positive effect on foam. So a beer with enough IBU’s has a better chance of a good head.
  • Malts. Cara malts contain longer proteins and do not contain enzymes anymore to break them down.
  • Racking. Remove the wort from the yeast after the first fermentation stage is finished. Dead yeast may fall apart and enzymes will form that break down the protein that are helpful for the head.
  • Fermentation temperature. Yeast is extremely important for your beer in more than 1 aspect so you should do your best to keep them happy. In the case of head retention it is advisable to ferment at temperatures that are not too high. Esters and high alcohols are formed and they are not good for your head. (High alcohols are really not good for YOUR head as well.)
  • Shake the bottled beers 2 weeks after bottling. I am not sure if it is a myth or truly helpful but the idea is that shaking the bottles dissolves the CO2 in the neck back in the beer.

I am merely an amateur and do not have the intellectual background to explain all the above. I doubt that there is any person on earth that possesses so much knowledge. I gathered these tips and translated them in “normal people language” because I found them helpful and I hope that it helps to give you a healthy head.

Cheers

Hans

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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Ring Ring

Yes, it is ringing. Outside. But not in my house! The Ring doorbell is a really funny item. It is a doorbell which enables you to see who is in front of your door and talk with this person.

With your phone! No matter where you are. As log as the internet can find your phone. Very funny and useful.

You have to abandon your privacy because it knows practically everything about you, it films your visitors, whoever is walking in the street and records everything. In HD. Big Brothers dream! But very useful.

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The Ring app has some problems. It is so unreliable that I removed it. When somebody would ring the bell the following could happen:

  • It would work perfectly. The phone notifies you that somebody is a the door immediately.
  • It would sort of work. The phone notifies you that somebody is at the door after 3 minutes.Of course that person would have left already.
  • It does not work at all. There is no notification at all. You can have a look at a movie of a frustrated person ringing and leaving. Perhaps funny for youtube.

The hardware seems ok but the software…. And Ring is aware of it, There are problems with anti virus software and battery optimization apps. Since I do not have any installed there must be some other issues.

After a few days I focussed on: My wifi network, the connection to the Ring server, and the phone settings. The hardware seems fine.

My wifi seems fine as well. I cannot do anything about the Ring server. The phone is a black hole.

After a few weeks of brainstorming, re installing the app, changing settings, I believe that I reached the Eureka moment! A normal person would have returned the item a long time ago.

For my phone, a Motorola G4, android 7.0, this seems to be the solution: Disable battery optimisation! Since my phone is Dutch I have to guess the menu names.

Here is how it is done:

  • Go to settings
  • Battery
  • Press the 3 dots in the upper right corner
  • Battery optimisation. You see a list of apps which are not optimised.
  • Select All apps
  • Go to the Ring app and select Do not optimise
  • Press Ready

I cannot guarantee that this solves all your problems but my doorbell is working! Most of the time…..

Hans

P.S. Visit our shop: Leven in de Brouwerij.

Leven-in-de-brouwerij

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