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Messages - dmtaylor

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1
Efficiency loss from skipping a sparge depends on how strong the beer is. Light beers use a small amount of grain, so loss of wort to grain absorption is smaller than for a strong beer.

Full volume mashes also leave nowhere for doughballs or air pockets to hide, which helps counter the lower efficiency.

I regularly skip the sparge for light beers with under 4.5% abv. Not just for time saving but also for clarity as I think the cloudiness from sparge runnings can persist into the final beer as haze or excess body.

I haven't found your first point to be true.  In a high gravity brew, you will lose a lot of efficiency even with a sparge but with no sparge or a "poor" sparge where I only pour a small amount of water over the grains for 1 minute my efficiency has never dropped below about 55% even for a big beer.

Also I too regularly do no sparge for small beers simply because my efficiency is already close to 90% with small beers so there's no point in making it any "worse" by taking it to 95% or more!  ;)

2
I find the only 2 point gravity difference between batch and no sparge to be interesting. I expected a bigger difference in efficiency.

I too am intrigued by this.  Should be at least a 10% efficiency swing in my experience if not way more.  Otherwise I have to wonder if they did it right!  Brings the whole thing into question.

That said, I am not at all surprised that tasters could reliably detect some difference, given the benefit of the doubt that the no sparge truly was not sparged etc.

3
Kegging and Bottling / Re: mastered kegging...issues when I bottle
« on: August 24, 2016, 05:20:03 AM »
THanks for the help....but to be clear, I am not taking beer from the keg and adding sugar. I pull off six bottles and then add sugar from the carboy, and then after i have the six bottles, I put the rest in the keg. Not kegging and then bottling.

You need 1/2 teaspoon regular household sugar (cane or beet) per bottle for this to be successful.  Drops unnecessary.  And if you don't like that level of carbonation, then try 1/3 teaspoon in future or whatever.  Piece of cake.

4
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 23, 2016, 08:27:12 AM »
  My question is how anyone knows for certain exactly what their mash temperature is, and that said mash  temperature is entirely consistent throughout the mash. Granted my experience is limited to about a dozen brews since I finally was able to get back into this a few months ago, but every mash I've done I can get substantially different temps in different parts of the tun, or with different thermometers. The variability in different areas of the tun was much greater when I was still mashing in the BK, especially during re-heat, but it exists in the cooler also. And I'm not talking one or two degrees, even in the cooler tun there can be as much as 10 or 15 degrees difference in areas only a few inches apart, although usually it's closer to 5 or so degrees. And yes, those differences exist after substantial stirring of the mash [which I'm aware increases the risk of oxidation from HSA].
  Unless the rest of the homebrewing world knows some secrets about temp control that I haven't yet stumbled across, I suspect there is a healthy dose of guestimating and assuming when it comes to mash temps. I would love to be able to control mash temps to 1 or 2 degrees, but have no realistic expectation of that happening any time soon.

Again I question how much any of this even matters.  Why do we concern ourselves with things that probably do not matter much if at all?  But of course we do.  No mash tun is perfect.  We could try, but I really don't think it matters when it comes to final beer flavor, which is all that DOES matter.

5
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 23, 2016, 07:27:33 AM »
I haven't really noticed any trouble with foam although I have to say that my mashout never quite hits 168 F, but only goes to about the low 160s, so I've probably been enjoying the benefits all along completely by accident!

It never ceases to amaze me just how much malt mixed with warm water then allowed to ferment loves to turn itself into the most perfect beer even without a whole lot of help from expert brewmasters.  :)

6
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 22, 2016, 05:49:47 PM »
The one difference I'm absolutely convinced of is the benefit of better foam from the alpha rest @ 160-162F. It's an easily noticeable difference IMO.

Interesting.  I haven't heard of that but might have to toy with it now based on your endorsement of it.

7
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 22, 2016, 05:29:14 PM »
If someone were to do a longer rest at beta temps (like 60-90 min) then mash at alpha temps for like 30-40, it seems like you would get the best of both worlds right?


You just hit on the reason some brewers (especially lager brewers) like to step mash a beer - to have the best of both temp ranges. Alpha works best at 154-162°F, while beta works best between 131-150°F. So if I mash a helles for 45 minutes at 145F and 45 minutes at 160F, I've created a beer that will both attenuate well with a nice drinkability (from the beta rest), and also have some nice body and foam stability (from the alpha rest).


Jury's still out if you ask me.  More experiments are needed.  Personally I'd rather save the time and extra dorking around for something that we most likely can't probably taste the difference anyway, just split the difference, mash in the 150s for 45 or 90 minutes as you prefer, and call it good.

Another thing I wonder about.... if beta amylase doesn't all die right away at 154 F or so, doesn't it make more sense to do a reverse "step" mash (actually more of a "smooth" mash) starting at that point, not insulating, and allowing the temperature to fall to the mid 140s by the end of the mash?  Anyway, that's what I do almost all the time, without thinking too hard about it and without worrying, and with very good results IMHO.  Way less effort for probably very similar results.

But, you know, many people just can't help but play with their food.  Insulated mash tuns.... bah... humbug.  :D

8
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 22, 2016, 12:31:49 PM »
ynotbrusum, thanks for the props.

I just noticed I should have clarified, where I said "From 40 minutes and above (again, on a homebrewing scale, not commercial), you won't be able to notice any difference in attenuation/fermentability".  That's not exactly true unless you're only mashing for the standard 40-90 minutes that most homebrewers employ.  However, if you mash for a really long time like 90-120 minutes or even more like overnight or something like that in any broad range of temperature from 130s to 160s, you will indeed notice an increase in fermentability as well.  No matter whether it's the alpha or beta amylase or other enzymes available, they'll continue to chomp away at the sugars and simplify them more and more until they are all denatured or until the temperature falls to someplace they don't want to act much anymore, or until all the sugars are tiny size molecules, whichever comes first.  In any case, if you want a super dry beer, you have two options: either mash for a really long time, or use saison yeast.  Either one will work.  If you want to maximize fermentability but only want to mash for about 60-90 minutes, then a mash temp in the mid 140s is probably best to maximize the beta's time in their favorite zone without denaturing them too much.

9
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Mash Temps
« on: August 22, 2016, 11:32:54 AM »
In my experience, if you mash anywhere from about 148 to 155 F for at least 40 minutes, you're in pretty good shape and will make good beer that way.  Below about the 147-148 F point, beta amylase is the dominant enzyme.  Beta works more slowly but will do a good job of simplifying the sugars after sufficient time is applied, say 90 minutes or longer.  Both alpha and beta work together quite well in the 148-155 F range previously quoted.  Above some point around mid-150s, the beta enzyme begins to become denatured.  However, this also takes time and the beta doesn't all die at one time.  Meanwhile the alpha goes chop-chop pretty fast at those same high temperatures, so you might not even notice a huge difference until you get up into the 160s F, where beta is denatured much more rapidly.  In that case, your wort will be less fermentable by most beer yeasts.  Saison yeast might be the one exception where it continues to munch on almost all sugars no matter what the mash temperature.

Since any schmuck can make great beer in the range anywhere from about 148-155 F, I find that mash TIME is a far more interesting variable worth playing with.  My own experiments have found thatm at least on a homebrewing scale, 30 minutes still results in a full efficiency beer, but with full attenuation/fermentability occurring only roughly 50% of the time.  The other 50% you will end up with a fuller beer with lower alcohol.  Below 30 minutes, you are virtually guaranteed a very full bodied beer.  From 40 minutes and above (again, on a homebrewing scale, not commercial), you won't be able to notice any difference in attenuation/fermentability unless perhaps you are using >50% Munich malt as your base malt.  Dark Munich especially contains far less enzymes so you'll want to mash for at least 60-75 minutes when using a ton of Munich.  But any other base malt I've found is perfectly capable of getting the job done in just 40 minutes.

My 3 cents.  YMMV.

10
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Oktoberfest Ale
« on: August 19, 2016, 08:54:29 AM »
It's almost done but not quite.  Just a little patience.  Yeah.

11
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Are We All Overpitching All Dry Yeasts?!
« on: August 18, 2016, 05:59:27 PM »
I picked up a couple AG saison kits from NB, and I read that they recommend pitching TWO packs of dry yeast in the 5 gallon batch.  I kind of thought that was overkill.  I'm going to brew tomorrow - do you think I can get away with just the single pack?

That's just silly.  In future I shall use a half a pack.

12
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Question on storing beer
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:51:43 AM »
Maybe I have too much skull where my brain should be, but I'm having difficulty understanding how atmospheric pressure could be greater than the pressure inside a sealed bottle of carbonated beer.

It can't.  However the laws of osmosis don't care as much about pressure differentials as the layman mind might imagine.

EDIT: I might be confusing the terms "osmosis" and "partial pressures" or maybe something entirely different.  It's been too many years since I've dealt with this stuff.  Somebody out there is smarter than me on this and knows the right stuff or will Google it.  Thanks in advance.

13
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: infected
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:46:57 AM »
I could be wrong but I don't believe vinegar to be a curable condition.  Heat pasteurization at like 160 F for 15 minutes then repitching with more bugs might be your best bet.  You also want to ensure you have a CO2 blanket to keep the oxygen out.  If you play around with the beer too much, racking into new vessels or whatever, you lose this CO2 blanket, which can cause the acetobacter to take hold.

Or so I have been led to believe.  I'm certainly no expert on sour beers.  Now making vinegar from cider, on the other hand.......

14
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerating wort
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:39:15 AM »
I think aeration matters.  But how much, don't know.  More experiments are needed.

15
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerating wort
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:33:17 AM »
My method of aeration is to pour the wort into the carboy.   :o

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