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Topics - richardt

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Ingredients / Irish Red Ale water profile and recipe formulation
« on: August 21, 2012, 08:16:54 PM »
Open to ideas regarding the ideal water profile for brewing an Irish Red Ale.
We're building it with RO water and brew salt additions.
We're leaning towards using the "Amber Malty" or "Amber Balanced" profiles on Bru'nwater.
The "mild ale" profile doesn't look much different, either.

We're steering away from the "historical" water profiles, so I'm not using Dublin or Edinburg, or London.

Grist is 85.4% MO, 4.9% Dark Munich, 2.4% C60, 2.4% C120, 2.4% CaraHell, and 2.4% Roast Barley (300L)
We may be brewing this a little more West-Coast-style with restrained flavor and aroma hop additions (e.g., Cascade). We're considering 0.5 oz Galena hops FWH, 1 oz Cascade at 15, and 1 oz Cascade steeping (once below 180F) x 30 min.

Yeast:  US-05

Any suggestions would be welcome.

OK.  There's boiling and lime softening to lower carbonate levels (reduce alkalinity).

But what about methods to lower sulfate levels?

We're cursed with crappy local water that is high in SO4 and HCO3.
Jacksonville       Ca=70, Mg=31, Na=16, SO4=153, Cl=22, HCO3=139

Only a few cities around the world have higher sulfate levels.  Everyone else has much lower levels.
Burton-on-Trent Ca=352, Mg=18, Na=44, SO4=820, Cl=16, HCO3=320
Vienna               Ca= 163, Mg=68, Na=8, SO4=216, Cl=39, HCO3=243
What can be done--other than dilution (with distilled or RO water) or building the desired water profile (using distilled or RO water and brew salts)?  Is there some way to precipitate out sulfate?  I would love to have sulfate levels in the single digits, i.e., 0-9 ppm, like Portland (0 ppm) or Seattle (2 ppm), or Pilsen (4 ppm).

Kegging and Bottling / Kegerators--any suggestions?
« on: April 10, 2012, 05:54:55 PM »
I'm in the market for a commercially made kegerator (preferably 2, even 3 taps) capable of fitting two 5-gallon cornys (or three cornys, if three taps). 
Anybody have experience with them and suggestions on where to find/buy the best brands. 
This kegerator is going inside the penthouse at the condo complex, and the garage is too far away (by elevator) to be practical, so it has to be located inside the penthouse, and it has to look "really nice." 
DIY keezers and front-mounted fridge conversions aren't going to be considered due to time and aesthetics.

My lager starter (WY2782 Staro-Prague) spent 3 weeks on the stir plate before I decided to take it off and chill it in the fridge tonight.  Is the 3-week duration on the stir plate a bad thing for the yeast? 

I have a quick question regarding the possible substitution of Briess 2-row pale malt or Crisp Marris Otter Malt in place of Pils malt in various lager recipes.  I have a bunch of the first two, and none of the latter.

I'd like to use WY2782-PC Staro-Prague yeast to brew a pilsner or a munich helles (possibly with Briess 2 row pale malt), then use the yeast cake for a muni dunkel and/or a schwarzbier (using 80-90% Gambrinus Dark Munich malt).

Personally, I am not a fan of grain/husk flavors, faint sulfur notes or DMS (more likely to be encountered in Pils malt), so can I make a reasonable pilsner without using pils malt?

Ingredients / Enzymes and water pH
« on: January 03, 2012, 06:28:29 PM »
Enzymes are proteins that help catalyze chemical reactions (e.g., breaking down long chain starches and sugars into smaller units) and each enzyme has different temperature and pH optima for ideal function.

Most of us are well-versed in the effects of mash temperature on mash enzyme activity:
Elevated mash temps (and adequate exposure times) can irreversibly denature enzymes (e.g., 170F x 20 min).
Very low mash temps means sub-optimal, or no, conversion.

I was wondering, though:  What are the effect(s) of an excessively high (or low) mash pH?
Are those effects exposure time-dependent? 
Are the effects "irreversible?"

Ingredients / "Bright" and "earthy" hop character--what does that mean?
« on: October 05, 2011, 03:43:39 PM »
Just trying to understand what "bright" hop character means, e.g., "German Saphir Hops--Typical alpha: 2-4.5%. Low-alpha aroma hop with pleasant, bright character." (from Northern Brewer Website).

Also trying to understand what "earthy" hop character means; e.g., "Columbus Hops--Typical alpha: 14.0-16.0%. Dual purpose hop with intense earthy and faint citrus character."  (from Northern Brewer Website).  Earthy doesn't sound too good to me--is it damp jungle rot, a freshly-tilled garden?


I'm looking to build the ideal water profile for an EPA (8B--Special Bitter).
I'm not looking for alka-seltzer water nor am I looking for super-high sulfate levels (as I detest the taste), so "Burton" water is out.

Hop-wise, I do realize that EPA's do emphasize bitterness over flavor and aroma (according to BJCP style guidelines), but I'd like to have moderate levels of hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma.  In other words, I do not want the balance to be "decidedly bitter," I want it to be flavorful and complex, yet remain a refreshing and drinkable sessionable beer.

What I am especially looking for is the ideal water profile that allows the malt and hop flavors to be appreciated w/o being distracted by minerally taste.

I'd appreciate any helpful comments.

Kegging and Bottling / Best type of keg for a party somewhere else?
« on: July 21, 2011, 07:43:46 PM »
People are always asking me to bring some of my homebrew to a party.  And I'm happy to oblige. 
Personally, I don't want to bring bottles.
I have several 5-gallon corny kegs and a 5-pound CO2 tank.
I often use a tall upright plastic kitchen trashcan to hold the keg and 10-20 lbs of ice.
The QDs make quick work of hooking up the 5-pound CO2 tank and Cobra tap.

But, it is a lot of gear to bring.  Sometimes I bring 10 gallons, and other times, I don't necessarily want to bring all 5 gallons due to the size of the party.  Sometimes, I want to be able to carry all the gear with just one trip from the car and/or offer more than one beer type.  Keeping the keg in the trash can looks kinda redneck, especially for a great craft beer.  So, aesthetics/classiness counts, too.

Are there any simpler systems that would work?  What has your experience been with them?  Here are some that I've been looking at online:          Cost:  $134.95           Cost:  $  22.95  Cost:  $  69.95          Cost:  $289.95             Cost:  $  51.95

Yeast and Fermentation / Fermentation
« on: July 13, 2011, 08:02:14 PM »
Stumbled across this site.  Though I only homebrew beer, there's lots of good info about fermentation in general. 
I also enjoyed the sections that compare and contrast beer, wine, and spirit production.

Kegging and Bottling / Are corny keg Quick Disconnects universal?
« on: June 23, 2011, 10:54:18 PM »
Title says it all.  Are corny keg QD's universal?  I have a few different cornys and I have had a very difficult time on some of the kegs getting the QD's on and off.

Confused by the various keg types like I am? 
Cornelius, Firestone, Challenger, ball-lock, pin-lock, racetrack, italian, poppets, etc.
Is there an online picture atlas of the various corny keg types and parts for reference purposes?
Is there some code or model number on the part or keg that I should be looking for?
I keep all the components of each keg together when I break them down for cleaning, so I haven't had any issues there.
I do have one keg that seems to have a pressure-relief valve that won't hold pressure well and likely needs replacement.
I can't tell where to look on the PRV to determine which type it is.

Thanks in advance.

Yeast and Fermentation / WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale Yeast
« on: May 04, 2011, 12:50:14 PM »
I pitched this on Sunday night (into 4.5 gallons of wort, OG 1.054).  It is for a Belgian Pale Ale.
As I did not have any time to make up a starter (as I usually do), I pitched straight from the vial after the temp had dropped to 66 F.
I did not oxygenate--simply let it aerate by splashing into the 5 gallon corny keg and put the fermenter lid on top.
Still no activity in the airlock (60 hours post-pitch).  Should I just be patient or start to worry?

Ingredients / Difference between Biscuit, Victory, and Amber Malts?
« on: April 28, 2011, 12:52:09 PM »
What is the difference between Biscuit, Victory, and Amber Malts? 
They all seem to say that they lend a warm bread, biscuity malt flavor and aroma.
Are they the same thing or are they distinctly different?

Ingredients / Water Profile for Belgian Pale Ale
« on: April 25, 2011, 09:25:10 PM »
I'd like to build the ideal water profile for a Belgian Pale Ale from scratch using RO water and brew salt additions. 
Any suggestions from those with experience?  I'd like to mimic a De Koninck.
I've not tried using Martin's new Bru'n Water program for this task, yet.  But I will when time permits.

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