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Messages - brianbgarber

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Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: November 19, 2013, 01:45:42 PM »
That is a typical result. Only the Ca, Mg, and Na results really shift. Ion exchange softeners are very good at their job. 

PS: that unsoftened water has fairly high Mg. There is no need to ever add Mg to that water, so don't consider it. RO water would be a good addition to the brewing tools...just to reduce that Mg content.  The rest of the profile is OK...well excepting for the alkalinity that needs to be neutralized!

Thank you for your insight Martin, your great article in the Nov/Dec '13 Zymurgy is what got me interested in looking into my brewing liquor. After working with the numbers on your spreadsheet I plan to use at least 50% RO from now on in my brews. So to help with the alkalinity, would you recommend using acid or just start with more RO?

P.S. I made a couple of beers with the softened tap water... no wonder my IPA tasted a bit harsh and salty! Lesson learned.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Building Water
« on: November 18, 2013, 07:23:02 PM »
Posted water results from before and after softener here...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Building Water
« on: November 13, 2013, 06:20:46 PM »

Post the results when you get those. Always good to see water profiles from around the country.

There is the sticky thread in the ingredients section with many posted there.

Will do. I'll post both results so everyone can see the effects of a softener... or at least my softener!  ;D

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Building Water
« on: November 12, 2013, 08:00:59 PM »
Bit the bullet and ordered my Ward Labs test. It won't be done by my next brew day obviously, but it won't be long till I get to retire from this guessing game. Woo hoo!

Me too! I sent in samples of pre-softened and post-softened water to the lab and they're on the way. Just wanted to see the delta. I live in Beavercreek, OH so I suspect pretty crappy results (as Gordon Strong has suggested) and I expect that I'll start using RO water as well.

Brewed my last few batches (IPAs and a Pumpkin) with post-softened water. They weren't bad, but not great either.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: October 28, 2013, 02:45:54 PM »
Gonna send off a water sample to Ward Labs... do you guys recommend pre or post softener water? I've used post softener water (just brewed a couple of batches in our new house) and I'm pretty happy with the results, but now I want to take my brewing to the next level... i.e. turn it up to "eleven" by treating my mash liquor.

Here are the results for Beavercreek, OH, pre-softened and post-softened.

ParameterPre-softened     Post-softened
Total Dissolved Solids Est, ppm        442465
Electrical Conductivity0.740.77
Cations / Anions, me/L8.9/9.19.2/9.2
Sodium, Na19210
Potassium, K1<1
Calcium, Ca1021
Magnesium, Mg35<1
Total Hardness, CaCO34013
Nitrate, NO3-N<0.1<0.1
Sulfate, SO4-S1312
Chloride, Cl3434
Carbonate, CO3<19
Bicarbonate, HCO3447435
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3367372
Total Phosphorus, P<0.01<0.01
Total Iron, Fe0.010.01

Beer Recipes / Re: Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 23, 2013, 06:23:36 PM »
evaporative cooling works pretty well if it is not too humid. This is where you put you fermenter in a tub or shallow pan and cover it with a cotton shirt or towel. The cotton should hang down into a couple inches of

Ah, great ideas, thank you!!!

Beer Recipes / Re: Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 23, 2013, 06:09:01 PM »
...and religiously control fermentation temp. Slowly raising then holding the temp near the end of fermentation will help drive attenuation and reduce diacetyl/acetaldehyde....

Temperature control is an area that I've not done much with at all. My (unfinished part) basement holds very steady between 68 - 70°F, and that's all I do. Without getting too much off topic, what are some good ways to control fermentation temp without investing in a new refrigerator and temperature controller (or is that it)?

Beer Recipes / Re: Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 23, 2013, 02:32:55 PM »
Good advise, thanks Dan!

Based on what you said about the hop fade I think I'll try the American Barleywine. The recipe has it at 95 IBUs vs 73 for the Hybrid.

Good idea on the blow off tube. I once had a Belgian Tripel blow the lid off my primary when the airlock got clogged. Darn thing sounded like a shot!


Beer Recipes / Nov/Dec 2010 Barleywine recipes
« on: October 22, 2013, 04:26:22 PM »
Has anyone tried any of Mr. Strong's Barleywine recipes in his Nov/Dec 2010 "All About Barleywines" article? I was debating between the American Barleywine and the Hybrid Barleywine recipes.

There is also a Belgian barleywine recipe, but I've narrowed it down to the two listed above.

I've never brewed a barleywine before, so I'd appreciate any insight or feedback on these recipes!


Ingredients / Re: Pumpkin
« on: October 29, 2012, 02:29:48 PM »
Follow up...

Everything went pretty well with the mash. I ended up mixing the pumpkin in the strike water, and then adding that to the mash. Opted not to use rice hulls, and nearly had a stuck mash... lesson learned.

Added powdered ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg at 5 minutes to go, and then added vanilla extract in the secondary.

Other than some haze, I'm really pleased with this beer. Will probably do it again!

Thanks for all your advise and help!

Ingredients / Re: Pumpkin
« on: September 27, 2012, 01:26:26 PM »
No, I'll be making an all grain batch. Sounds like a good plan, I'll modify the recipe to throw the pumpkin in with the mash.

Thank you for your reply!!!

Ingredients / Re: Pumpkin
« on: September 26, 2012, 07:25:06 PM »
Agreed. Put in the mash, not the boil. I liked to use canned pumpkin for convenience.

I'm going to brew the Holiday Pumpkin Ale recipe from the Nov/Dec 2008 Zymurgy article (pgs. 20-24). In the article the author mentions using neck pumpkins, but due to availability and laziness I'll probably opt for the canned version. He mentions that you can indeed use canned pumpkin however in my experience, canned pumpkin is pretty much a pureed blob without much firmness at all.

Now, the author recommends boiling and not mashing the pumpkin. Questions... during the boil, won't the canned pureed pumpkin pretty much dissolve in the wort? Does this cause any issues with flavor in the final beer?

I suppose I'll put the pumpkin blob into the oven just as you would with neck pumpkin flesh, but it seems like canned pumpkin is already somewhat prepped. Maybe not.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Refractometer vs. hydrometer
« on: January 30, 2012, 08:50:41 PM »
I've also been considering taking the leap to a refractometer. Apparently there are equations and spreadsheets to use the refractometer after fermentation to calculate f.g. and alcohol, but those seem like a pain in the butt and has been the biggest deterrent for me. However, the refracto's with both brix and s.g. scales look pretty cool.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Clear Weizen beer?
« on: August 05, 2011, 06:42:21 PM »
"Drink 'em up faster"! Now that is good advice!!!!

Thanks for the tips!

General Homebrew Discussion / Clear Weizen beer?
« on: August 05, 2011, 06:30:58 PM »
Not sure why, but it seems like my weizen beers always turn out clear. Here are the details...

Wheat- Dingemans,  5 lb
Lager Malt-6 Row Briess,  5 lb
Saaz-Pellet, 0.25 oz, 120 min
Perle-Pellet, 0.4 oz, 30 min

Step mash, 133° for 15 min, direct heat to 148° for 20 minutes, finally direct heat up to 155° for 30 minutes. o.g. 1.048, no filtering. After ~ a month or so in the keg, I get perfectly a clear weizen pour, and not much head retention either. Serving temp is about 45°, and I hand wash my beer glasses.

I thought weizens were supposed to be a bit cloudy!!! Thoughts?


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