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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 12:50:14 AM

Title: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 12:50:14 AM
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: dannyjed on June 18, 2019, 01:49:18 AM
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 01:55:51 AM
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: dannyjed on June 18, 2019, 01:58:53 AM
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
That’s for sure...the original SMASH beer. By the way, how much does a 55 lb bag run?


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: BrewBama on June 18, 2019, 02:02:08 AM
While I can absolutely appreciate and respect Brewer’s like you and others here that get down to the Nth degree of every scientific detail, I am finding myself closer to the simplicity camp at the opposite end of that pendulum swing.  If I know the lot number and can get a few data points to update the BeerSmith malt page I figure I’m doing good. Usually, I have no idea and go with defaults for ‘close enough’ using Bru’n Water color calculations and BeerSmith.

Watch builder vs timekeeper I guess. It takes all kinds. Cheers!


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 02:03:31 AM
I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.
That’s for sure...the original SMASH beer. By the way, how much does a 55 lb bag run?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
At Grape & Granary in Akron, or Vine n Hop in Brunswick (literally around the corner from the malthouse) it's $49 and pennies -- actually a hair less than Briess or Rahr.  But they get direct delivery, so there's no shipping cost to the shops.  I have no idea what price class this stuff would be in in normal distribution.   I imagine it would run about what Mecca Grade does.  So your gas money will be well spent!
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: dannyjed on June 18, 2019, 02:08:44 AM
Thanks for the info. I think I’ll make a day of it in Brunswick and check out the malt house as well. That’s a nice price.


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 02:08:55 AM


While I can absolutely appreciate and respect Brewer’s like you and others here that get down to the Nth degree of every scientific detail, I am finding myself closer to the simplicity camp at the opposite end of that pendulum swing.  If I know the lot number and can get a few data points to update the BeerSmith malt page I figure I’m doing good. Usually, I have no idea and go with defaults for ‘close enough’ using Bru’n Water color calculations and BeerSmith.

Watch builder vs timekeeper I guess. It takes all kinds. Cheers!


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I'm just letting folks know that if they plug it in to BW or BS or whatever they won't get a realistic pH prediction.  Like maybe off by significantly >0.2.  Same with a lot of malts, IME.  TIFWIW.  I didn't figure a lot of folks would care.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: BrewBama on June 18, 2019, 02:23:31 AM
It’s cool you guys know how to do that stuff and can use the information to your advantage.


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 02:34:26 AM
I'm not a scientist or anything.  Well sort of, amateur like, but I've pretty  much learned it all through my interests in brewing, baking, etc., not formally.  I'm curious.  When the software doesn't work for me, I try to work it out for myself.   The same kind of impulse that makes me brew, bake, tinker, whatever, in the first place.  Basically poking stuff with a stick to see what happens.  Maybe smarter people can use my contribution of data and build on it. 
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 18, 2019, 03:11:05 AM
Thanks for the info. I think I’ll make a day of it in Brunswick and check out the malt house as well. That’s a nice price.


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Oh, and don't forget to have BrewGuru on your phone or your AHA card handy.  Vine n Hop gives 10% member discounts on ingredients (not equipment.)
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: HopDen on June 18, 2019, 10:58:25 AM
Robert, another fine area grower and maltster in Columbiana,Ohio is Yarian Quality Malts. I have been using their pilsner, pale, munich and vienna for a little over a year now. I'm very happy with their product!
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: ynotbrusum on June 18, 2019, 11:27:36 AM
Very cool to have a craft maltster so close by...and to think I thought I had the world by the tail when my LHBS started to carry Bestmalz Pils for me! I guess the surge in local craft is producing these side benefits for us homebrewers.

Cheers to the local availability of high grade ingredients!
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Lost Nutz Garage on June 28, 2019, 02:51:14 AM
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts. 


I too love the idea of using local ingredient when possible.   I have used West Branch Pale and Pilsner as my base malt for the past 2 years and 20 or so brews.      I don't know that the malt is any better or worse than malts from the big guys, but I enjoyed the beer.    The AHA discount at Vine & Hop makes the 50# bags a steal.

West Branch now lists a Vienna and Munich on their website, I want to get my hands on those too.

I'm on a quest to brew with local and small producer ingredients when possible.   To that end, I also plan to use exclusively Ohio grown hops during the next brewing season.

Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 28, 2019, 03:18:09 AM
The Munich and Vienna don't seem to be released yet, but Kristen at Vine n Hop had some samples, with analyses,  as well as of another product in development that I'm not quite sure what category it fits.  ("Special 60" -- that's the color range, but it's enzymatic, so maybe a very dark Munich type.)  I gather there will be more products eventually than just what's on the website.  I look forward to transitioning more and more to them.  I guess since they've only been open for 15 months we should be patient with the rollout.*   I just hope this weather doesn't impact things too badly -- there's an inherent risk in committing to contracting for local barley.

If you have good information on hop resources I'd be interested.  My complication is that I'm also committed to using whole cone.  I talked -- by sheer chance at Vine n Hop -- with the owner of Barn Talk Hops, who said I might be able to arrange to get some set aside pre-pelletizing.  At this point, I'm just happy to minimize imported ingredients in my beers.

*EDIT  Just looked back at my notes.  Looks like the Pale was first available to homebrewers about a year ago, and the Pilsner a couple of months later.  If that's any guide, the availability of the Vienna and Munich does seem to be taking quite a while.  But most of their production is going to breweries and I don't know how much of what they're actually making.  Patience, I guess.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 30, 2019, 06:16:35 PM


I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


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Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.

Just sampled the fermenting beer.  It's going to be a long, agonizing couple of months till this comes on tap in my rotation and I finally get to drink it.  Absolutely delicious Pilsner malt flavor.  Performed very nicely in the brewhouse too.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: dannyjed on June 30, 2019, 06:38:49 PM


I need to get some of these malts. Unfortunately, my LHBS won’t carry them. I’ve emailed them and they were very quick to respond and offered to give me a tour of the place. Time for a road trip in July possibly. Let me know how you like the Pilsner malt because that’s what I use for base malt in most beers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Based on the sniff & chew, and my 100g test mash, I can't wait to get brewing with it.  European style Pilsner flavor and aroma.  Going to do a SMaSH Helles weekend after next with whole Saaz from Hop Heaven.  Can't think of a better way to really see what it's like.

Just sampled the fermenting beer.  It's going to be a long, agonizing couple of months till this comes on tap in my rotation and I finally get to drink it.  Absolutely delicious Pilsner malt flavor.  Performed very nicely in the brewhouse too.
That is good to hear because I’ve never used a domestic Pils malt that is comparable to the German Pils malt.


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 30, 2019, 07:41:14 PM
Distinctly honey like, not grainy or biscuity.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: The Beerery on June 30, 2019, 09:23:54 PM
Distinctly honey like, not grainy or biscuity.

Thats mainly impart to your hot side processes.  ;)
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on June 30, 2019, 09:29:20 PM
Distinctly honey like, not grainy or biscuity.

Thats mainly impart to your hot side processes.  ;)
True, this is the 2nd batch since I've implemented my full low oxygen hot side procedures.  Still, the malt is exemplary in itself, I'm just taking fullest advantage of it.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Lost Nutz Garage on July 01, 2019, 01:58:48 AM

If you have good information on hop resources I'd be interested.  My complication is that I'm also committed to using whole cone.  I talked -- by sheer chance at Vine n Hop -- with the owner of Barn Talk Hops, who said I might be able to arrange to get some set aside pre-pelletizing.  At this point, I'm just happy to minimize imported ingredients in my beers.

Risking having this thread veer away from NE Malts to NE Ohio hops......

I have been in touch with Steve at Spearhead Hops in Hiram, OH.     I purchased a couple of pounds last year, and plan to do so again.      I really liked their Cashmere, and they will have several other varieties available this year.   I plan to check in with him in a few weeks when I get back to Portage County.  I'd be happy to ask about the availability of whole and/or fresh hops this fall.   
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 01, 2019, 02:05:05 AM
Cool.  Contacts and other info for a lot of farms at ohgg.org, Ohio Hop Growers Guild.  Not sure if your guy is in there.  I have used pellets from Second Sons in Harville,  but I am a whole cone curmudgeon.
 EDIT yep Spearhead is there.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: goose on July 01, 2019, 01:18:53 PM
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.

Thanks, Rob for doing this.  I am definitely going to get some of their pale malt and try it.  Was debating between the pale and pils for my next IPA and think I will get the pale because of the higher diastatic power (I currently ue Briess 2 row in that beer).

I just saw a presentation at Homebrew Con from Bother James Czar (no he isn't a monk) who works at Grainworks Brewing in West Chester, OH and he says that you want your total mash to be in the range of 50 degrees Lintner for good conversion.  He claims that anything below 30 is too low for good conversion.  I think that 50 may be a bit high because you would have to use a lot morem of this base malt at 2.8 degrees L which would throw off my OG and ABV.  What do you shoot for, or do you even worry about it?  Maybe I am overthinking this as I seem to get good conversion and hence extraction from  what I am doing presently.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 01, 2019, 03:13:21 PM
I still haven't got detailed analyses of these malts, but I've seen the Pilsner listed at 110-130 Lintner, the Pale has got to be in that range, and the Munich and Vienna samples I saw were at least 50-60.  I don't worry because I think anything made from American barley that's not high kilned is going to be easily north of 100 (continental malts too,) and any  base malt in the world today is going to be more than sufficient to make up 100% of the grain bill and probably have some DP to spare (think of the Brits and Belgians with significant amounts of raw adjunct.)   As far as these go in practice, they convert as quickly as any other base malt.   I'd pick the malt for flavor.  In this case if you want the equivalent of a German Pils, go Pilsner, if you want something more like a Golden Promise or other British pale, go Pale.  Neither is equivalent to generic US 2 row brewers malt.   And for that we should rejoice.  ("I can taste my malt!"  )
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 12:01:32 AM
I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.

If you are actually measuring these values you should try my water troubleshooter sheet and see half the estimations turn out.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 12:15:26 AM


I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.

If you are actually measuring these values you should try my water troubleshooter sheet and see half the estimations turn out.

32 mEq/(pH*kg), BTW, turns out to be close enough on the Pilsner too.  This is getting my actual mash pH within 0.02 of predicted.  Which is pretty darn good since BW for example can be off by >0.30 for me anymore, especially where acid additions are included.  But I will gladly have a look at any of your sheets, Derek, especially as much of the chemistry is well beyond me.  Though I am quite happy to technician all this more than engineer it.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 12:52:24 AM


I've mentioned elsewhere that I'm kind of over the moon about these local Ohio malts.  I've used a bunch of the West Branch Pale, and today I finally picked up a sack of the Pilsner to fill those buckets. 

Just a little technical note for the information of anyone interested in this sort of thing (and yes, I do these sorts of things when I get a new malt )

I've measured the DIpH of the Pale (2.8°L) at 5.76, and of the Pilsner (1.5°L) at 5.88.  (I've empirically confirmed that the buffering capacity of the Pale is in the ballpark of my default, initial assumption of 32 mEq/(pH * kg).   Haven't got empirical evidence on that for the Pilsner yet.) 

These DIpH values seem different enough from the assumptions based on color that most of the usual software appears make that I thought maybe at least one other Buckeye brewing nerd might care.  I'm probably quite delusional there.

I've emailed the maltster for actual analyses, but haven't heard back yet.

If you are actually measuring these values you should try my water troubleshooter sheet and see half the estimations turn out.

32 mEq/(pH*kg), BTW, turns out to be close enough on the Pilsner too.  This is getting my actual mash pH within 0.02 of predicted.  Which is pretty darn good since BW for example can be off by >0.30 for me anymore, especially where acid additions are included.  But I will gladly have a look at any of your sheets, Derek, especially as much of the chemistry is well beyond me.  Though I am quite happy to technician all this more than engineer it.

Go to the troubleshooter website in my signature and pull down the water troubleshooter. Let me know what you think.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 01:42:29 AM
Go to the troubleshooter website in my signature and pull down the water troubleshooter. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.  Got it.  The thing is, I'm not measuring for a1, a2, and a3 (though I'm an intermittent lurker on the HBT science board so I'm familiar with the concept.)  My method is a gross simplification.  FWIW:  I measure an actual DI pH (unless I have a COA which saves me the trouble) and where using multiple malts figure an aggregate.  I then simply assume, as a starting point, a buffering capacity of 32 mEq/(pH*kg) for the typical mash (which I'm sure I picked up somewhere attributed to work by Kolbach and has long been stuck in my head.)  Multiply through the desired shift in pH to get total mEq acid required, account for the total equivalent in (positive or negative  residual alkalinity * water volume), and what's left is to be supplied by my acid addition.  (Or the other way round in a dark beer requiring additional alkalinity.)  As I said,  this has been getting me right on target, probably within my margin for measurement.   If the actual mash result was off on a particular malt, since I know DI and mash pH, and the total mEq acid or alkalinity,  I would simply, in the future, assume a new, inferred buffering (never had to do this yet.)  Technicianing it, not engineering or (Heaven help me) theoreticianing.  It works.  I'm curious just how horrified you are at such an approach.   I'm just a practical brewer who wants to reliably predict mash pH, and this works far better than the available software (yours excepted, as I haven't tried it.)  Why my quick and dirty method so outperforms professional software is the next mystery.   Maybe some are overthinking?

EDIT
(Note:  I've recently gone back over a large number of brew logs, checking actual mash results against what this old school method predicts, and what other software would predict, and just can't find a mash where that magic number of Kolbach's of 32 plugged into this method seems not to be confirmed very reliable by my experience, while results from other calculators are quite varied and unreliable.  Douglas Adams was wrong, the answer isn't 42 after all.  Whatever you can make of that.)
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 03:08:15 AM


Go to the troubleshooter website in my signature and pull down the water troubleshooter. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.  Got it.  The thing is, I'm not measuring for a1, a2, and a3 (though I'm an intermittent lurker on the HBT science board so I'm familiar with the concept.)  My method is a gross simplification.  FWIW:  I measure an actual DI pH (unless I have a COA which saves me the trouble) and where using multiple malts figure an aggregate.  I then simply assume, as a starting point, a buffering capacity of 32 mEq/(pH*kg) for the typical mash (which I'm sure I picked up somewhere attributed to work by Kolbach and has long been stuck in my head.)  Multiply through the desired shift in pH to get total mEq acid required, account for the total equivalent in (positive or negative  residual alkalinity * water volume), and what's left is to be supplied by my acid addition.  (Or the other way round in a dark beer requiring additional alkalinity.)  As I said,  this has been getting me right on target, probably within my margin for measurement.   If the actual mash result was off on a particular malt, since I know DI and mash pH, and the total mEq acid or alkalinity,  I would simply, in the future, assume a new, inferred buffering.  Technicianing it, not engineering or (Heaven help me) theoreticianing.  It works.  I'm curious just how horrified you are at such an approach.   I'm just a practical brewer who wants to reliably predict mash pH, and this works far better than the available software (yours excepted, as I haven't tried it.)  Why my quick and dirty method so outperforms professional software is the next mystery.   Maybe some are overthinking?

I don’t think you’re crazy. Your buffering assumption is your a1 value:

dQMalt (mEq/kg) I= a1 * (pHz - pH DI) + a2 * (pHz - pH DI) ^ 2 + a3 * (pHz - pH DI) ^ 3
  QMalt (mEq) = kg * dQMalt

While the full equation is polynomial, My sheet will accept linear parameters. Just make your malt a custom entry and use that.

Charge conservation is far superior than color based proxies for acidity. In fact, if you have decent malt data, mine and A.J.’s stuff is the best pH estimation algorithm going.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 03:11:39 AM


Go to the troubleshooter website in my signature and pull down the water troubleshooter. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.  Got it.  The thing is, I'm not measuring for a1, a2, and a3 (though I'm an intermittent lurker on the HBT science board so I'm familiar with the concept.)  My method is a gross simplification.  FWIW:  I measure an actual DI pH (unless I have a COA which saves me the trouble) and where using multiple malts figure an aggregate.  I then simply assume, as a starting point, a buffering capacity of 32 mEq/(pH*kg) for the typical mash (which I'm sure I picked up somewhere attributed to work by Kolbach and has long been stuck in my head.)  Multiply through the desired shift in pH to get total mEq acid required, account for the total equivalent in (positive or negative  residual alkalinity * water volume), and what's left is to be supplied by my acid addition.  (Or the other way round in a dark beer requiring additional alkalinity.)  As I said,  this has been getting me right on target, probably within my margin for measurement.   If the actual mash result was off on a particular malt, since I know DI and mash pH, and the total mEq acid or alkalinity,  I would simply, in the future, assume a new, inferred buffering.  Technicianing it, not engineering or (Heaven help me) theoreticianing.  It works.  I'm curious just how horrified you are at such an approach.   I'm just a practical brewer who wants to reliably predict mash pH, and this works far better than the available software (yours excepted, as I haven't tried it.)  Why my quick and dirty method so outperforms professional software is the next mystery.   Maybe some are overthinking?

I don’t think you’re crazy. Your buffering assumption is your a1 value:

dQMalt (mEq/kg) I= a1 * (pH DI - pHz) + a2 * (pH DI - pHz) ^ 2 + a3 * (pH DI - pHz) ^ 3
  QMalt (mEq) = kg * dQMalt

While the full equation is polynomial, My sheet will accept linear parameters. Just make your malt a custom entry and use that.

Charge conservation is far superior than color based proxies for acidity. In fact, if you have decent malt data, mine and A.J.’s stuff is the best pH estimation algorithm going.
Thanks.  I just added an edit which tells me I'm not crazy.  You typed faster.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 12:11:54 PM
The thing is, I'm not measuring for a1, a2, and a3 (though I'm an intermittent lurker on the HBT science board so I'm familiar with the concept.)  My method is a gross simplification.

Not as much as you think. Can you post some data from a recent batch so I can run some analysis?


I then simply assume, as a starting point, a buffering capacity of 32 mEq/(pH*kg) for the typical mash (which I'm sure I picked up somewhere attributed to work by Kolbach and has long been stuck in my head.)  Multiply through the desired shift in pH to get total mEq acid required, account for the total equivalent in (positive or negative  residual alkalinity * water volume), and what's left is to be supplied by my acid addition.  (Or the other way round in a dark beer requiring additional alkalinity.)  As I said,  this has been getting me right on target, probably within my margin for measurement.

Turns out that for RO/DI water as source, a1 (which is what you'd want to use in the linear equation in the absence of a2 and a3), Total Mash Buffering (mEq/dpH/kg) is roughly equal to a1.

This gets screwy when water with alkalinity is present but it could be a good way for you to use my sheet.

I'm just a practical brewer who wants to reliably predict mash pH, and this works far better than the available software (yours excepted, as I haven't tried it.)  Why my quick and dirty method so outperforms professional software is the next mystery.   Maybe some are overthinking?

Define "professional"?  ;)

You "back of the envelope" method works better because it's actually grounded in the science and mechanics of the mash better than others.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 01:09:40 PM
^^^^
Derek, here's the most recent batch, notes were handy and it's a convenient example because it's a single malt.

Note that I ignore the probable mineral content of the raw liquor, because my RO unit puts it out with only 5ppm TDS, and I also assume the pH reduction of 0.01/10ppm SMB as given on the LOB site.

I was looking for a room temperature mash pH of around 5.6 with this, but for convenience used nice round measures for water treatment to get "close enough."

9.5 lbs West Branch Pilsner, measured DI pH 5.88

Strike 3.75 gal RO w/ 0.3 g/gal gypsum 0.6 g/gal calcium chloride dihydrate  50ppm SMB 1.4 mL lactic acid 88% (and AA and BtB but I assume those are irrelevant.)

I predicted, back of the envelope as you say, room temperature mash pH 5.62.

Actual room temperature mash pH 5.60.

[FWIW BW predicts 5.34.]

Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 01:25:50 PM
^^^^
Derek, here's the most recent batch, notes were handy and it's a convenient example because it's a single malt.

Note that I ignore the probable mineral content of the raw liquor, because my RO unit puts it out with only 5ppm TDS, and I also assume the pH reduction of 0.01/10ppm SMB as given on the LOB site.

I was looking for a room temperature mash pH of around 5.6 with this, but for convenience used nice round measures for water treatment to get "close enough."

9.5 lbs West Branch Pilsner, measured DI pH 5.88

Strike 3.75 gal RO w/ 0.3 g/gal gypsum 0.6 g/gal calcium chloride dihydrate  50ppm SMB 1.4 mL lactic acid 88% (and AA and BtB but I assume those are irrelevant.)

I predicted, back of the envelope as you say, room temperature mash pH 5.62.

Actual room temperature mash pH 5.60.

[FWIW BW predicts 5.34.]

So...

My water troubleshooter predicts 5.669 - 0.05 (SMB) = 5.619

(http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Capture.jpg)

I matched your values and set the malt at 5.88 pH DI with an a1 value close to the mash buffering.

Summary:

QWater (mEq) = 0.0303
QAlkalinity (mEq) = -0.3605
QMalt (mEq) = 29.0526
QCalcium (mEq) = -12.4792
QLactic (mEq) = -16.2432

pHz = 5.669 (the value that zeros QTotal)

SMB Δ pH = 0.05

pHz  = 5.669 - 0.05 = 5.619

If I flick the selector from dihydrate to anhydrous for CaCl:

QWater (mEq) = 0.0318
QAlkalinity (mEq) = -0.3642
QMalt (mEq) = 31.8824
QCalcium (mEq) = -15.3187
QLactic (mEq) = -16.2313

pHz = 5.649 (the value that zeros QTotal)

SMB Δ pH = 0.05

pHz  = 5.649 - 0.05 = 5.599

Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 01:46:09 PM
^^^^
Derek, here's the most recent batch, notes were handy and it's a convenient example because it's a single malt.

Note that I ignore the probable mineral content of the raw liquor, because my RO unit puts it out with only 5ppm TDS, and I also assume the pH reduction of 0.01/10ppm SMB as given on the LOB site.

I was looking for a room temperature mash pH of around 5.6 with this, but for convenience used nice round measures for water treatment to get "close enough."

9.5 lbs West Branch Pilsner, measured DI pH 5.88

Strike 3.75 gal RO w/ 0.3 g/gal gypsum 0.6 g/gal calcium chloride dihydrate  50ppm SMB 1.4 mL lactic acid 88% (and AA and BtB but I assume those are irrelevant.)

I predicted, back of the envelope as you say, room temperature mash pH 5.62.

Actual room temperature mash pH 5.60.

[FWIW BW predicts 5.34.]

So...

My water troubleshooter predicts 5.669 - 0.05 (SMB) = 5.619

(http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Capture.jpg)

I matched your values and set the malt at 5.88 pH DI with an a1 value close to the mash buffering.

Summary:

QWater (mEq) = 0.0303
QAlkalinity (mEq) = -0.3605
QMalt (mEq) = 29.0526
QCalcium (mEq) = -12.4792
QLactic (mEq) = -16.2432

pHz = 5.669 (the value that zeros QTotal)

SMB Δ pH = 0.05

pHz  = 5.669 - 0.05 = 5.619

If I flick the selector from dihydrate to anhydrous for CaCl:

QWater (mEq) = 0.0318
QAlkalinity (mEq) = -0.3642
QMalt (mEq) = 31.8824
QCalcium (mEq) = -15.3187
QLactic (mEq) = -16.2313

pHz = 5.649 (the value that zeros QTotal)

SMB Δ pH = 0.05

pHz  = 5.649 - 0.05 = 5.599
So, we got the same result (yeah my prediction was 5.619 etc but I round off)!  Now, having repeatedly read through the sticky on HBT, and being unmotivated to go through all the process laid out, and my head set spinning by AJ's raw code for Excel... I have no idea how to determine a specific a1 or mash buffering.  If it's really simple, let me know.  But my placeholder 32 mEq/(pH*kg) seems to work (I assume it came from work Kolbach did on a very narrow range of standard Pilsner mashes, so I might just be lucky since most of my grain bills are pale/Pilsner based.)  With the actual measured pH within 0.02 of my prediction, and my meter's stated accuracy being +/- 0.05 with 0.01 resolution,  I don't see much point in trying to refine this much -- I'm willing to accept a pH anywhere within +/- 0.5 of target.  So while your sheet would probably progressively refine my results, I'm also happy with my quick and dirty approximation for now, unless you see some fatal flaw that just hasn't reared its head yet. (Like most things, if I determine there's a simple formula that will generally apply, I'll probably make my own little calculator in Excel on my phone, though tapping it all out on the old calculator every time is no big hassle.)  I really appreciate your help.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 02:19:33 PM
Now, having repeatedly read through the sticky on HBT, and being unmotivated to go through all the process laid out, and my head set spinning by AJ's raw code for Excel... I have no idea how to determine a specific a1 or mash buffering.

Well, the great thing about having worked through the original raw code A.J. posted with him was that he then developed a set of callable VBA functions that I then modified for the current troubleshooter. It really is very simple to use and does what you are doing but likely a bit faster.

Short of titrating the malt, which is the method for determining the co-efficients, you can guess. If you take a look at my sheet, you'll there are 10 "Custom Malt Parameters" slots in the Malt Type Database. I added 2 new cells and I will upload the revision to the main site shortly:

1.) Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH)
2.) Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH/kg)

I believe the second value is what you have been targeting.

For RO/DI water, which it seems like you are using, I think it's safe to assume that

Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH/kg) = a1 insofar as the values you are predicting are close to what you are measuring.


I really appreciate your help.

No problem. A.J. was very patient with me when some of the threads came about last year and I think he was happy to finally have someone who understood and could "pretty" things up for public consumption.

The biggest hurdle is really malt modelling. The model is simple:

dQmalt (mEq/kg) = a1 * (pHz - pH DI) + a2 * (pHz - pH DI) ^ 2 + a3 * (pHz - pH DI) ^ 3

The issue is getting a1, a2, and a3 but the savvy homebrewer can tweak the inputs in my sheet to get decent data after a few batches with the same malt.

I would suggest tweaking for base malts and using my stock values for specialty malts.

Ultimately, the concept of charge conservation/proton deficit is that all the Q values of the contributors (QTotal) need to be zero'd out by a value of pHz (mash pH estimate). Excel is our friend here. You can use the solver to tell the sheet specific values of acid, etc. or you can do like A.J. did (and that I adapted) and put code in that does it when you change a variable.

Either way, "following the protons" (as A.J. says) is a much better way than color proxies, etc. Also, by taking into account the pH dependence for things like acids, baking soda, lime, etc., you eliminate incremental errors that plague sheets that can't track pH dynamically.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 02:54:31 PM
So if I understand, by your definition 2.) Total mash buffering, a refined figure in my present case, rather than 32 mEq/(pH*kg) would be ~29.89 mEq/(pH*kg) for this Pilsner malt?  Then going back over a couple of other batch records, I'd work out the buffering for the West Branch Pale Ale malt to be ~38.1 mEq/(pH*kg).  I can use these assumed values going forward, but I notice they still leave a bit of discrepancy on a couple of batches as recorded, and that my default 32 for an unknown malt is also still nearly as close *in practical terms.*   As a starting  point.  (Dosing of salts and acids in such small quantities is also a source of error no doubt.)  So I will refine my method.  I could, when I test DIpH of a new malt, then just add a given amount of acid to get an approximation of this more specific buffering value.   Or just follow my pragmatic inclination, and revise my assumptions based on actual batch results.  Thanks again.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 03:11:49 PM
So if I understand, by your definition 2.) Total mash buffering, a refined figure in my present case, rather than 32 mEq/(pH*kg) would be ~29.89 mEq/(pH*kg) for this Pilsner malt?  Then going back over a couple of other batch records, I'd work out the buffering for the West Branch Pale Ale malt to be ~38.1 mEq/(pH*kg). 

Here is what I did:

1.) Zero out all charge/proton contributors

2.) Calculate Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH) = -137.88

3.) Calculate Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH/kg) = -137.88/4.31 = -31.98

Since the mEq contributions of pure water and alkalinity are so low in your case, and there are no other charge/proton contributions (minerals at zero, no acids, etc.), it is a relatively safe assumption to say all the mash buffering is malt based. So we use -31.98, rounded to -32 as a1.

Now I add back your minerals (assuming both dihydrate and anhydrous forms of CaCl)and acid contribution. We know your measured pH was around 5.60 and if I adjust for the Meta you used, my prediction becomes:

Estimated pHz (Dihydrate CaCl) = 5.671 - 0.05 = 5.621
Estimated pHz (Anhydrous CaCl) = 5.651 - 0.05 = 5.601

The value for Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH/kg) only changes to -32.12 with the addition of your minerals and acid. So, for the case of RO/DI water, we can assume that the Total Mash Buffering (mEq/Δ pH/kg) value can be a stand in for a1 of the base malt.

Not perfect but convenient.

I can use these assumed values going forward, but I notice they still leave a bit of discrepancy on a couple of batches as recorded, and that my default 32 for an unknown malt is also still nearly as close *in practical terms.* As a starting  point.

I don't think you need to change anything. My analysis above shows that -32 works. You can use my sheet and take some of the guesswork out of what you are currently doing.

Obviously water with low to moderate alkalinity will make the assumptions and correlations above not ring true but for your purposes you can pull down my sheet and use if for the same type of analysis you've already been doing. Also, different malts may give deviations from this assumptions as well.

Always let the protons be your guide...
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 05, 2019, 03:34:13 PM
What I've been after is simply a way to empirically, cumulatively predict what will happen in the next mash.   I'd at some point intuited some of what you've laid out (regarding total mash buffering) but not fully incorporated it.  I think I've taken a great leap forward here.  Thanks again again.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Big Monk on July 05, 2019, 03:49:28 PM
What I've been after is simply a way to empirically, cumulatively predict what will happen in the next mash.   I'd at some point intuited some of what you've laid out (regarding total mash buffering) but not fully incorporated it.  I think I've taken a great leap forward here.  Thanks again again.

In this case it seems you were simply lucky to have settled on a value for mash buffering that pretty closely approximates the a1 value for the malt you used.

It won't always work out like that but at least now you have a troubleshooting tool you can use to get useful estimations.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: BrewBama on July 11, 2019, 03:13:43 AM
True, this is the 2nd batch since I've implemented my full low oxygen hot side procedures.  Still, the malt is exemplary in itself, I'm just taking fullest advantage of it.

Do you Oxygen Scavenge your Strike water (and if applicable Sparge water) with yeast and dextrose the night before or do you boil and cool prior to dosing with Metabisulfate?


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 11, 2019, 03:27:28 AM
I use yeast scavenging.  I do my general setup and water treatment the night before so I can get an early start.  So I PM'd Bilsch to get an idea whether I could go with adding the yeast the night before.  He said that in his tests, the indications were that yeast could scavenge oxygen much faster than it could be taken up from the atmosphere even in an uncovered vessel,  so that 12 hours would probably be perfectly fine, though he didn't have data out beyond that range.   But he also said that it could go to <0.5ppm in just 30 minutes and <0.2ppm in not much more.  So my SOP now is to get up, feed the cat, toss in the yeast and dextrose, have a quick breakfast and look at the sports page, and get brewing.  If you don't have a cat, skip that part.  All evidence is that this works perfectly.
 
EDIT (It's probably about 1.5-2.5 hours from dosing till my water hits the temperature that will kill the yeast, though I assume it's most active right there at the end.   I dose the SMB, AA and BtB 5 minutes before mashing in. )

FURTHER EDIT I do sparge.  Dose yeast at the same time as strike liquor after feeding cat, add desired SMB just before commencing sparge.  Also relevant to all this, I use a mash cap, lauter cap (I mash in kettle with direct fire for steps, transfer to LT) and a cap on the sparge liquor in the "HLT."  Caps are, of course, floating cake pans.
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: BrewBama on July 11, 2019, 11:26:48 AM
Thx. I’m having trouble finding a floating cake pan for my blue rectangle cooler.


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Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 11, 2019, 11:57:20 AM
Thx. I’m having trouble finding a floating cake pan for my blue rectangle cooler.


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What are the dimensions?  You need to leave a little space around the edges or you can't grab it to get it in and out anyway.   If not one, two of some size would probably fit.  If not high sides cake pans (harder to sink by accident) maybe regular sheet pans.  Or something.  The goal is just to cover as much surface area as possible, to reduce atmospheric uptake as much as possible.  Possible being the operative word.  It's another incremental step in tightening everything up.


EDIT

Hey wait a minute BrewBama... aren't you just a little bit handy with sheet metal? 
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 12, 2019, 07:09:41 PM




Do you Oxygen Scavenge your Strike water (and if applicable Sparge water) with yeast and dextrose the night before or do you boil and cool prior to dosing with Metabisulfate?






I use yeast scavenging.  I do my general setup and water treatment the night before so I can get an early start.  So I PM'd Bilsch to get an idea whether I could go with adding the yeast the night before.  He said that in his tests, the indications were that yeast could scavenge oxygen much faster than it could be taken up from the atmosphere even in an uncovered vessel,  so that 12 hours would probably be perfectly fine, though he didn't have data out beyond that range.   But he also said that it could go to <0.5ppm in just 30 minutes and <0.2ppm in not much more.  So my SOP now is to get up, feed the cat, toss in the yeast and dextrose, have a quick breakfast and look at the sports page, and get brewing.  If you don't have a cat, skip that part.  All evidence is that this works perfectly.
 
EDIT (It's probably about 1.5-2.5 hours from dosing till my water hits the temperature that will kill the yeast, though I assume it's most active right there at the end.   I dose the SMB, AA and BtB 5 minutes before mashing in. )

FURTHER EDIT I do sparge.  Dose yeast at the same time as strike liquor after feeding cat, add desired SMB just before commencing sparge.  Also relevant to all this, I use a mash cap, lauter cap (I mash in kettle with direct fire for steps, transfer to LT) and a cap on the sparge liquor in the "HLT."  Caps are, of course, floating cake pans.

RE:  my yeast scavenging protocol given above.   Brewing tomorrow morning.   Think maybe this time I'll try dosing the yeast and dextrose tonight when I set up, and leave the vessels capped.  Just to see if it makes any difference either to my convenience, or to the actual effect (not entirely sure how I'd determine that.)
Title: Re: West Branch Malts
Post by: Robert on July 13, 2019, 03:54:47 PM
^^^^
Well, that at least got me an even earlier start, which could be handy in the summer when I don't want brewing to go too far into the heat of the day.

Otherwise -- lacking a DO meter -- indicators like lack of mash smells and flavor of wort suggest the two timing methods are equally viable.