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Messages - mtnandy

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Diacetyl rest
« on: March 11, 2012, 01:32:12 AM »
It's not a problem at all. Go for it!

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Wild Hare
« on: February 24, 2012, 02:45:31 PM »
Trust me- there is plenty of beer available in Texas, from excellent to poor quality.

Agreed. The beer scene here in Houston has absolutely exploded in the past couple of years. The only problem is, because Texas is such a huge market (I read somewhere that it's the largest market in the US), most of these breweries don't have the capacity to distribute out of state. So, many people who live outside of Texas see it as a beer "wasteland" because they never see Texas brews on their shelves or on tap. If I remember correctly, Shiner and Real Ale are the only ones who have a nationwide distribution.

Beer Recipes / Re: Cali Common
« on: February 10, 2012, 04:08:28 PM »
The only reason northern brewer is 'definitive' is because, until recently anchor was the only one still making this style commercially. I agree that if you are going to enter in comps you probably need to use at least some NB but if you are drinking for yourself branch out! I have made cali common with cascade to great effect.

Would it not just basically be a pale ale then (other than the yeast, which is a relatively clean profile either way)? To me, what I like about the cali common is the difference between the woody/minty of the NB hops, compared to the grapefruit/citrus of Cascades in pale ale. That being said, anyone know what other hops give the woody/minty character like NB?

Beer Recipes / Re: Cali Common
« on: February 10, 2012, 03:09:28 PM »
Northern Brewer hops are one of the defining characteristics of the style. For what it's worth, this very simple recipe won me a gold medal at my first competition:

10 lbs pale malt
1 lb Caramel 60

1 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 60 min 29 IBU
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 30 min 11.1 IBU
.5 oz Northern Brewer (8%) 0 min
40.2 IBU

WLP 810 yeast

Mash at 152-154 for 60 min. Batch Sparge

Ferment 2 weeks at 58 Degrees, keg and lager 1 month at 33 Degrees.

OG 1.052
FG 1.012

I felt it was missing some of the toasty component in this recipe, so I subbed 1lb of the pale malt for vienna on this last batch. I should be sampling it this weekend.

Yeast and Fermentation / Bohemian Lager Yeast at Ale Temps?
« on: January 31, 2012, 04:34:05 PM »
So, I was watching Brewing TV last night, and they split a kit into two carboys, each with a different yeast. One used US-05, and the other used the 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast. Both were fermented at the same temp: 66-68 degrees. When they tasted them, they said that the 2124 retained its lager characteristics and had less esters than the US-05 even at that elevated temp. Has anyone else used this yeast at ale temps? What were your results? I would love to be able to make some lagers at ale temps (even though I do have lager capabilities), but I am very nervous about going that high with a lager yeast.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dry pasteurizing sugar?
« on: January 27, 2012, 01:27:20 PM »
The last time I dumped dry sugar into a beer (a belgian golden strong) it created a geyser because it let out all of the CO2 that was in solution, so watch out. Anyone else have this happen to them?

Equipment and Software / Re: Where to get Blichman Brew stand......
« on: January 20, 2012, 01:25:31 PM »
After talking to some people that deal with metal stock, I was told that their center support is a commercially available piece. The legs to the stand are easy to make through welding or if you have a friend with a metal shop that can bend them up. It's more work to do, but could be alot cheaper, though I don't know I just bought it from be.

I think the center support is a piece from 80/20 inc. It's some pretty cool stuff. I used to use it a bunch when I was working at an engineering shop in college. You could easily design a stand using only stuff from their catalog. I seem to remember it being kind of pricey, though. Here is their site:

Ingredients / Re: Bock Water
« on: January 12, 2012, 05:30:59 PM »

I just reread a10t2's post.  They were recommending DISREGARDING the ratio, not advocating it.  In my original read, I thought they were advocating it.  Sorry. 

As mentioned in that posting and mine, targeting chloride and sulfate levels is more important than targeting a ratio of those ions.  a10t2's comments on the shortcomings in their next post help illustrate why its not a good idea to target the ratio and lose sight of the total concentrations of either of the ions. 

For mtnandy, unless there is a flavor goal for the increased magnesium concentration, there is not a pressing need to boost that concentration.  A malt wort supplies some magnesium and I've hypothesized that a minimum Mg concentration of 5 ppm in the water is good insurance that the wort will have sufficient Mg for good yeast performance.  The 5 ppm Mg value came from another published paper that apparently used a sugar-based wort.   

The paper cited above shows a pretty high Mg concentration in the base wort used in the study, but there is not an indication of what the starting Mg concentration of the water used in the wort was.  In addition, the wort was fortified with Peptone Yeast Nutrient that happens to have a significant Mg content.  The base wort showed Mg concentration of 106 ppm.  The problem is that I can't decipher if all that Mg came from the mash and not from the nutrient or mash water. 

I keep hearing that grain and malt based wort's provide a lot of Mg to the wort, and as shown above, I still can't confirm that with definitive numbers.  That's why I currently recommend a 5 ppm Mg minimum just to be safe.  Going beyond that is a matter of desired taste.  Mg has a sour bitterness that may be desirable in some beers.  Going above the 30 ppm range might change that perception to astringent and bitter.

Sorry for the confusion and keep up the good work!

Wow, the rabbit hole keeps going deeper and deeper  ;) This stuff fascinates me...
So, let me make sure I have this straight. Since bock is a malt focused style, I want a water profile that accentuates the malty sweetness in the beer. Because of this, I want to target elevated levels of Cl (below 100 ppm), while keeping the SO4 low. Since there are no definitive answers about Mg required, I will keep the concentration at 6.5 ppm with epsom salt, which sets the SO4 at 25.7 ppm. If I elevate the Cl to 54 ppm, I get a good ratio of 0.5 SO4 to Cl while keeping the Cl at moderate levels well below the taste threshold.

Hypothetically, if for some reason I could not get a good ratio AND keep the Cl below 100 ppm, it would be more important to keep the Cl levels below the threshold than to have a good ratio. Am I thinking about this correctly now?

Again, thank y'all for all the help. Up until now, I have just been plugging numbers into Bru'n water to try and match a recommended profile, and it has been working great. I am just now starting to look at the "why" of the mineral additions.

Ingredients / Re: Bock Water
« on: January 12, 2012, 02:26:01 AM »
The sulfate/chloride ratio (or vice versa) is mostly applicable when at least one of those ions is in the mid range of desirable chloride or sulfate concentration (in the vicinity of 50 ppm).  That way you can either have a reasonably high chloride or sulfate concentration without the clashing that occurs when both ions are over 100 ppm.  I strongly suggest that a10t2's recommendation might get some brewers into trouble.  Don't use the ratio as the only criteria.  I see that in a way he is implimenting my recommendation in that he might jack up the chloride, but keeps sulfate low.  The ratio has an influence when at least one of those ions is less than 100 ppm and that should be a more important criteria.  The other time the ratio falls flat is when either or both of the ions are at relatively low concentration.  I don't think you could taste their impact then. 

So, if I am understanding you correctly, since the sulfate is at 25.7, the ratio is somewhat important at this range. So, now I have raised the chloride level to 54 ppm, which puts the ratio at 0.5, and keeps it well below 100. I can't lower the sulfate at all because I need the epsom salt addition to get the required magnesium. How does this profile stack up?

66.3 Ca
6.5 Mg
19.5 Na
25.7 SO4
54 Cl
137.3 Bicarb
62 RA

Thanks for the help guys!

Ingredients / Re: Bock Water
« on: January 11, 2012, 06:15:54 PM »

I would say yes. In this case, for a malty bock, I'd shoot for 100-150 ppm Cl. That will make the ratio work out to something ridiculous, but it doesn't really matter.

Actually, I would argue that the ratio *never* matters and that what you should be doing is targeting specific SO4 and Cl concentrations.

Isn't 100-150 ppm Cl too high? Bru'n water says the recommended range is 10-100.  What concentrations of SO4 should I be targeting? How well would this profile work?

52.8 Ca
6.5 Mg
26 Na
25.7 SO4
40.1 Cl
137.3 Bicarb
72 RA

Ingredients / Bock Water
« on: January 10, 2012, 06:53:09 PM »
I will be brewing a traditional bock in a few weeks and am working up my water profile. I think I am finally starting to get a grasp on the relationships among the malt, pH, and the minerals. I use Bru'n water for all my water needs. Here is the recipe and profile I have worked up for my bock:

13 lbs Best Dark Munich 10L
Mash Water to grist ratio: 1.54

Ca: 39.6
Mg: 6.5
Na: 6.5
SO4: 25.7
Cl: 10
Bicarb: 120.9
Alkalinity: 100
RA: 68

How does this profile look? One question I have is on the SO4/Cl ratio. Bru'n water says that it should be below .5 for very malty beers, but I have also read that it doesn't matter at low concentrations of sulfate and chloride. Is this true? If so, what is the threshold at which the ratio becomes important? Also, Bru'n water lists Magnesium Chloride and Pickling Lime as possible water additions. I have not been able to find either of those. Where can those be obtained from and are they ever really useful?

Thanks for the help!

Beer Recipes / Re: Formulating my first Dunkel
« on: January 06, 2012, 04:29:47 PM »
Thanks for the input, everyone! I am going to keep my recipe as is for now, and change one variable on each subsequent brew of this style. I am a little stumped on the water profile. I use Bru'n water and I'm not sure if I should use the brown malty profile or the Munich boiled profile. Right now, I have my water adjusted to:

Ca - 26.4, Mg - 6.5, Na - 5.2, SO4 - 25.7, Cl - 8, Bicarb - 80.6, Hardness - 93, RA - 44, est. pH - 5.3

Are these levels appropriate for the style?

Beer Recipes / Re: Formulating my first Dunkel
« on: January 05, 2012, 07:40:39 PM »
I managed to find a site that has Best Dark Munich. Has anyone ever bought from Weber Organic Homebrew Supplies?

I changed up the recipe a bit:

8 lbs Best Munich Dark
2 lbs Best Pilsner
2 oz Carafa II

the estimated SRM right now is showing 13.6. How much will it darken due to the decoction mash?
Denny, what would you recommend for rest temps if I do beta, alpha, and mash-out with a double decoction? i see that the beta range is 131-150 and alpha is 154-162. If I want a slightly more fermentable wort should I stay on the lower end of both rests?

Beer Recipes / Formulating my first Dunkel
« on: January 05, 2012, 05:50:43 PM »
I am going to be doing my first Dunkel in a couple weeks and am trying to formulate a recipe. Here is what I have so far:

6 lbs Munich 15.5 SRM
4 lbs Best Pilsner
4 oz Carafa II
2 oz Hallertauer 3.5%, boil 60 min
WLP 833 German Bock Lager yeast, 3L starter on stir plate

Triple decoction mash, 95F, 122F, 152F
batch sparge

I decoction mashed a bohemian pilsner last week, and hit 81% efficiency, which is way better than any single infusion I have done, so I want to stick with the decoction. How do my temps look?

As far as malt goes, I have seen people rave about Best Malz, but I can only locate pilsner. I can get several different kinds of Munich, so I am not sure which one to use. My choices are: Munich 15.5L, Munich 10L, and Munich 7L (not sure on the malster of any of those). Which should I go for, or does anyone have a website where I can order some Best Munich?
As far as the yeast goes, how well does 833 work in a Dunkel? I am trying to make this beer medium-dry, and I want a lot of the malty goodness without a lot of the sweetness. I will also have a yeast cake of 2001 Urquell Lager available, but I am not sure how well that one works for Dunkels.

Going Pro / Re: Brewery Financing for someone with no wealth/collateral
« on: January 04, 2012, 07:46:21 PM »
My personal feeling is I think you could make it work with a tasting room, off premise sales (growlers to go) and low volume local distribution on a 3 bbl scale. Maybe even a 2 bbl scale. Especially if you could sell growlers for sale at grocery stores/beer vendors. You may even be able to make a living at it, as long as you don't mind eating ramen.

Along these lines, is it even possible to make it work in a state where you can't sell and distribute from the same location? I am looking at a brew pub as a "pipe dream", but I could only serve my beer on-site, and people could only take it home in growlers due to our archaic laws. i am in Houston, and in this "town" of 6 million in the metro area, there are a grand total of 0 brewpubs, so the market is definitely there. I am guessing that any brew pub here would pretty much make all of its money on food, and lose some on the brewing? I have seen the beer culture explode here, so I am not sure how much longer these laws will be on the books...

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