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Topics - Greg A.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Need to overcome irrational fear of kit beer
« on: November 08, 2012, 05:30:02 PM »
So I have brewed 10 batches so far.  First was extract, the other 9 were all grain.  All of them were recipes I found online or in Brewing Classic Styles and then just ordered the ingredients. 

I have ordered ingredients a few times from Northern Brewer and started looking at their all grain kits (my first extract kit was from NB).  They seem very appealing.  Some get good reviews and the price is right.  It also allows me to stop worrying about the recipe so much and just get to brewing and nail down those processes.

But...I still have an irrational fear that this might be cheating.  Anyone else feel that way?  Has anyone brewed kit beer and found it worthy of submitting to a competition?

Equipment and Software / Bru'n Water - cation/anion balance
« on: May 20, 2012, 01:46:49 AM »
I noticed when altering my water profile in this tool, that my base profile without adjustments has green cells for cation and anion but when I start adjusting the profile with salt and acid additions, then the balance is thrown off and the cells are no longer green (yellow cells, cation: 5.3, anion: 4.3).  Should I be trying to make adjustments to create a balance between these ions?

Ingredients / Brewing water adjustment - Chicago water
« on: May 11, 2012, 07:36:28 PM »
So I've only done about 6 batches.  Most of which are mediocre, except for one that scored 39/50 at a local contest.  I like worrying about the small things so the moment I started reading about water chemistry, I was hooked.  However, I keep talking myself into and out of doing it and just not sure if I should even be worrying about it or if it doesn't hurt to do it as long as you calculate it correctly.  I live in Chicago and our water is a midrange type water, although I wish the calcium was over 50 (currently 37.2) and the chloride to sulfate ratio was more on the balanced side (currently .66).  I have adjusted numbers in EZ Water, Bru'n Water, Beer Smith, and Palmer's spreadsheet and the calculations I'm making all are in the same general vicinity.  The adjustments I made are below (copy from EZ Water) and wondered if anyone else has input on it or if someone  from Chicago can make a recommendation about adjusting the water.

I'm trying to build a profile for a Saison (SRM 5.1) using Pilsner, munich, wheat, and cara 45.  I plan on using some lactic acid to lower the mash and sparge pH.  Recommendations?  Should I not even be worrying about this right now?  I do have temperature control and I think sanitization down so I would not be neglecting those things.

Starting Water (ppm):         
Ca:   37.8      
Mg:   13.6      
Na:   10.1      
Cl:   20      
SO4:   29.9      
CaCO3:   108      
Mash / Sparge Vol (gal):   2.64   /   2.93
RO or distilled %:   0%   /   0%
Total Grain (lb):   6.2      
Adjustments (grams) Mash / Boil Kettle:         
CaSO4:   1.1   /   1.220833333
CaCl2:   1   /   1.109848485
MgSO4:   0   /   0
NaHCO3:   0   /   0
CaCO3:   0   /   0
Lactic Acid (ml):   0.8      
Sauermalz (oz):   0      
Mash Water / Total water (ppm):         
Ca:   90   /   90
Mg:   14   /   14
Na:   10   /   10
Cl:   68   /   68
SO4:   91   /   91
Cl to SO4 Ratio:   0.75   /   0.75
Alkalinity (CaCO3):   14      
RA:   -58      
Estimated pH:   5.65      
(room temp)         

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