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Messages - ne-brewer

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« on: January 01, 2010, 03:56:56 AM »
Thanks again Kai ... I'll do the double batches and see how they turn out.

The help is much appreciated!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« on: December 31, 2009, 10:43:24 PM »
Is the CaCO3 hardness or alkalinity? ..359 as Hardness and 346 as alkalinity

Either way you have very alkaline water and I see how it can be a problem for anything below ~15 SRM.

To brew a 12 SRM amber with this water and about 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness I estimate a mash pH of about 5.7. It might work but it is on the upper end. To get you closer to 5.5 you coud dilute with 50% R/O water or add 0.02 % of the water volume as lactic acid. For 15 qt strike water this is about 3 ml. As you probably know, I'm a noobie with only 9 months experience so I'm always looking for verification/confirmation .... I'm glad to say that I had goten the 50% RO or 3ml lactic acid... thanks!

Given that it is an ale it should not have much problem with the high calcium and magnesium content of the water. But you may actually try both and see what you like better. I know that this might be more work than you wanted to do but it will give you an idea how to best deal with your water. Very good suggestion. I have two mash tuns and two pot/burners so I will make a couple of 2.5 gallon batches (and put them in 3 gallon carboys) and compare.

Given that your water is very high in temporary hardness (low sulfate and chloride compared to Ca, Mg and alkalinity) it should also respond very well to alkalinity reduction by boiling or lime treatment. The latter is used by many breweries but a bit more involved. Okay, now you lost me (I think). Does this mean that I could boil my strike water (and then let it cool to the correct temp) and that would help also? Would this mean that I would need less RO or lactic acid?


Thanks again Kai !!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« on: December 31, 2009, 06:26:16 PM »
I think 3 ml is fine. This corresponds to about 5% acid malt. Not having much data on that I would not go much beyond than amount of lactic acid or acid malt. At some point I figure that you'll taste the lactate that comes from the lactic acid.

How alkaline and hard is your water? Light lagers, for example, may not do as well with very hard water in the first place. And acid additions don't change the water hardness. They only change its alkalinity.


Thanks Kai...

My water report (Ward Labs) shows: Ca=112, Mg=19, CaCO3=346, Na=55, Cl=17, SO4=14   So....adding .5g of table salt (no Iodine) brings the Na to 65 and the Cl to 35 so I end up with a Cl:SO4 ratio of 2.4:1 which is what I like (malty!).

Should I be trying to get any of those other numbers  modified? I'm doing a low hop Malty Amber that is SRM of 12. That is about the lightest I go for SRM.

Thanks again Kai!

All Grain Brewing / Adjusting RA with Lactic - How much is too much?
« on: December 31, 2009, 04:58:17 PM »
I have very hard water (great for SRM of 26+) and have been diluting my water with as much as 75% RO for a light colored beer to get RA in line with Palmer's spreadsheet (and then adding back the minerals needed to get balanced again). This means as much as 4+ gallons for a 5.5 gallon batch. At $1 a gallon, that adds $4 to each batch. :o

Although hard, my water has well balanced minerals. So..... I am wanting to make the adjustments with Lactic acid instead of RO and salts. Apparently I need to add 3 ml of 88%-lactic acid to get the RA where it needs to be to get the proper pH.

Is there a limit as to how much lactic can be added before flavor starts to suffer?  ???


Ingredients / Re: Oops... wanted Munich but ordered "Caramel Munich"
« on: December 18, 2009, 12:03:15 AM »
Tom.... thanks... that was very informative (and I bookmarked it).

Blatz... based on the above, I would lean towards what you said ... but you provided the confidence for me to do it...

Thanks guys !!!  I appreciate it.. :) :)

Ingredients / Oops... wanted Munich but ordered "Caramel Munich"
« on: December 17, 2009, 10:12:16 PM »
Oops.... ::) :o

Is Caramel Munich just a crystal malt? Does it actually have any Munich qualities?  ???

I will be making a Scottish that calls for a pound of caramel 60 and a half-pound of Munich. Can I just substitute the pound of  "Caramel Munich" for the Caramel 60 and still add the half-pound of Munich?? ???

If not, what would you recommend?


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Mash pH at room temp or mash temp?
« on: December 14, 2009, 10:14:37 PM »
This is a favorite topic of mine since it is quite confusing and there are many different opinions. This article has some detail:

In short:
- don’t test at mash temp since this shortens the life of your pH meter probe
- the room temp to mash temp pH shift is more like 0.2 than 0.35
- Mash pH optima are generally reported as room temp pH values and by comparing them to room temp measurements you remove the ambiguity.
- A correct room temp mash target range is 5.3 – 5.6 with the boundaries being quite fuzzy. I.e  5.2 and 5.7 should work too.
- Don’t worry what the actual mash temp pH values are.


That is exactly what I was looking for.
I always take a few drops from the mash and test it and have been subtaracting .3 to get to the mash temp guidelines but wasn't sure if that was correct.

Thanks again Kai !!

Yeast and Fermentation / Mash pH at room temp or mash temp?
« on: December 14, 2009, 02:39:18 AM »
My notes show that I should have a mash pH between 5.1 and 5.5 at mash temp.

But, due to using a pH meter that is ATC (automatic temp correcting) that I need to subtract .3 from my readings to get to the mash temp readings. So a reading of 5.7 on my meter would be 5.4 at mash temp.

Is this correct?  ???

I don't remember where I got those notes. 

What should my mash pH reading (range) be on my ATC meter? 


Another thing you can try is a ferulic acid rest at 111 degrees for 20 minutes. This increases 4- vinyl-guaiacol which the yeast use to tun into the clove phenols. IME the beers that I have done a ferulic acid rest on have had a little more clove character than those that didn't. Not write home to mama more, but more none-the-less.

Being a new brewer I've never done anything but single temp mashes. I tried to do a rest but did it at 125*F but was still afraid I would not be able to get my temp up to where I needed to go before filling my MLT. Even at 125 I ended up having to have to take some liquid out and heat it up (sort of like a decoction) to get to my mash temp (I'm using an Igloo cooler so I couldn't add direct heat to the MLT).

Next time I will try to do things differently (maybe thicker intial mash for the rest then add some very hot 220 water etc.). Obviously still learning.. ;D

Thanks again Keith !!

Most German Breweries ferment their weissbiers in the high 50s/low 60s. There are some who ferment warmer - but it will ultimately depend on the strain. My experience has always been you get a much more authentic HefeWeizen if you keep the temps on the cool side. If you want banana and clove you need to use WLP380 HefeWiezen IV. WLP300 is mostly banana.

I ended up fermenting it at 59-62*F and it turned out great with a lot of banana. But the clove was almost non-existent. I love clove.

I'll try the 380 next time.

Thanks Major!!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: AHA Membership
« on: November 29, 2009, 11:54:00 PM »
Just joined a month ago...

Looking forward to AHA activities!!!! ;D

All Grain Brewing / Re: Wheat Beers - short lived?
« on: November 28, 2009, 03:28:44 PM »
Thanks Fred, Major, etc...

That is what I was looking for.

"IF" any remains at the end of 3 months, I will "FORCE" myself to drink them ..... ;D

All Grain Brewing / Wheat Beers - short lived?
« on: November 27, 2009, 12:08:39 AM »
I remember reading something about wheat beers having a very short life and that they should be consumed young.

I like Hefeweizens and Dunkelweizens but now sure just how long is too long  ???

Although they may not last very long at all ;D, I was wondering just how long they would be good for.  Will they just gradually go downhill and lose its banana and clove features or will they just go bad (such as taste bad)? :'(  Are we talking 3 months? 6 months? or a year? They will be kept refrigerated all the time.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Storing Grain?
« on: November 26, 2009, 11:53:19 PM »
For base grains, I use Homer Buckets and pails that wine grapes come in. They have good seals and I purge them with CO2 before closing them up.

For specialty grains, I use a vacume sealer.

During the winter I keep everything in the heated garge (55*F) and then in the basement (60*F) for the summer.

Seems to work okay so far....

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg, bottle or both?
« on: November 17, 2009, 10:09:57 PM »
I usually do 6 gallon batches then keg 4 or 5 and bottle the rest.

Sometimes I bottle some from a keg with a counter pressure filler --- but, that is only if I need some bottles and I'm out of filled bottles and still have beer in the keg.

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