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Topics - Kaiser

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All Grain Brewing / Wort, beer and mash titration experiment
« on: November 25, 2010, 11:40:53 PM »
I finally got around to titrating wort and beer. Something I wanted to do for a while since it would give me insight into how both these substances' pH would be affected by acid and base additions.

Here is the writeup: Wort and Beer Titration

Here is the chart I ended up with:

While this is not necessarily an All Grain topic I put it in here in lieu of a Science section.

For the geeks of you enjoy ;)


The Pub / In case you wonder what happened to me
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:04:02 PM »
Hi guys,

Sorry I disappeared so quickly from the boards. Work has been rather hectic and it was and still is, difficult for me to find time to spend as much time on the boards as I used to. Even work on more brewing articles has come to a grinding halt.
But I’m still brewing on occasions. Sometimes even w/o taking any pH measurements :). I didn’t think it would ever come to that. But hopefully I’ll find more time for the brewing work in the future.

I saw that my Kraeusen article got published and I’ll open a thread on that in the Zymurgy section of the board, if that hasn’t been done yet.

Oh, and we also adopted a dog (Weimaraner/Chocolate Lab mix I think) which is keeping me busy.


Ingredients / Home grown Cascade
« on: July 21, 2010, 09:22:59 PM »
For the first time I used home grown cascade hops about a week ago. One 10g addition at 30 min left to boil and one 20g addition at 10 min. The aroma, that I got from a hydrometer sample, was much more aromatic than I have ever had with Cascade. I got a nice tropical fruit, not grapefruit, character.

This might be the result of hop oils that generally get lost when commercial hops are kiln dried. The guy from
Gorst Valley hops talked about this at the NHC.


Beer Recipes / My Weissbier recipe
« on: July 11, 2010, 03:00:27 AM »
Some of you asked for it and I also though it was time to add a recipe to my recipe collection on-line:


I just posted a write-up on comparing a bottle of Doppelbock that was bottles w/o yeast and one that was bottled with yeast:

The effect of yeast on the flavor development of Doppelbocks

The idea for this experiment came from an online discussion that we had either here or on the NB forum.

Here is the conclusion:

The result of this tasting did surprise me yet supports my thinking that the hallmark flavor of German Bocks and Doppelbocks is in fact the product of oxidation and staling of the beer. It is assumed that the yeasted beer sample did not exhibit that flavor as strongly since the yeast was able to scavenge the oxygen that had been introduced during the bottling process.

The added yeast did not affect the head retention negatively in this case. One way it can do this is by releasing excessive amounts of Proteinase A into the beer which can break down foam proteins.

The pH was not negatively affected either which is a sign that there was not an excessive amount of yeast autolysis or not enough yeast to make a difference.

The idea that big dark beers benefit from small amounts of post fermentation oxygenation has also been brought up by fellow home brewer Fred Bonjour and warrants further investigation into optimal oxygenation rates ad well as aging times.

The Pub / How do I get from the airport to the AHA confrence hotel?
« on: June 16, 2010, 06:08:09 PM »
Might be a stupid question, but is the Sheraton running a shuttle service or is there public transport?


General Homebrew Discussion / Sharing beers at the NHC
« on: June 15, 2010, 04:33:23 PM »
I plan to bring a number of beers to the NHC for sharing and I assume others will do the same.

To get the most out of it I wouldn’t mind meeting up with those of you who are at the NHC and are interested, find a quiet corner and sample each other’s beer.  This way I may palate may still be intact to enjoy some of the more delicate beers.

Any takers?


All Grain Brewing / Batch sparge and paty gyle simulator
« on: May 29, 2010, 02:57:24 AM »
Here is something I had been working on a while back but wanted to make sure its outcome matches what I'm seeing in my brewing:


It's a spread sheet that allows you to simulate an up to 3 run-off batch sparge (which includes no-sparge) and party gyle brewing. While it may look complex here is what you enter:

* E5-E8 gets your unit preferences.
* E11-E15 gets info about the 1st mash. grain weight, extract potential and anticipated conversion efficiency.
* E18-E19 gets info about the apparent grain absorption. Use 0.12 gal/lb or 1.3 l/kg if you don't know it. The efficiency calculator i have can calculate it for you if you supply enough data

In E22 you find the possible volume and gravity you can drain from the mash. It assumes that you would collect this volume but you can change this in E25. The section on the right shows you what you could make from that if you boil it down. 10-15% is a realistic boil-off but you can push it higher if you need to.

If you do a 2nd run-off enter the amount of water you add into E29. If you add grain, you can specify this in E30. The spreadsheet assumes it has the extract potential of the initial grist.

Then it calculates for you how much more wort can be drained and what the expected gravity is. Again, you can specify how much you collect. Note that all these volumes are temperature corrected. If you use a measurement that you took on brew day you need to correct it for temperature.

Now there are a number of permutations on the combination of run-offs:

* 1st and 2nd (typical 2 run-off batch sparge)
* 1st, 2nd and 3rd (typical 3 run-off batch sparge)
* just 2nd
* just 3rd
* 2nd and 3rd

For all of these it lists the efficiency and what volume/strength you should expect from them.

I hope this helps. I still plan to do a party gyle at some point but have no idea when I will do that. It also worked well for calculating the efficiency of partially drained batch sparges. This means you don't let the grain run dry by collecting less than you could. It happened to me when I got my Weissbier lauter stuck halfway through the 1st run-off. I just added more water and made it a 3-runoff batch sparge.

Let me know if the results don't match your brewing observations. The theory behind this spreadsheet is the same I used for my efficiency troubleshooting work and the batch sparging analysis.


Earlier this week James and I recorded an interview about one of my favorite topics: Decoction.

You can find it here

I have not listened to it. I hope I was able to convey a lot of what I have learned about decoction and could have gone on and on. I also sent James a decocted and a non-decocted beer to compare on the show.

I totally forgot to mention my decoction video's on YouTube though. Oh well.


All Grain Brewing / A new way to visualize pH and buffer capacity
« on: May 25, 2010, 11:26:40 PM »
When I was running a few days ago I thought of an analogy that does a really good job illustrating the workings and behavior of pH buffers and what happens when they are mixed.

Envision a system where there is a reservoir that has a large diameter at a certain height and that diameter then reduces to a narrow tube above and below it. Connected to that reservoir is a sight glass.

Now think of the pH of the system as the water level seen though the sight glass. Just looking at that water level will not tell you how much water the reservoir can hold. This is the same with pH. pH does not tell you how well it is held in place. You’ll have to add a measured amount of water to the system to judge the size of the reservoir by observing the change in water level. A small reservoir will result in a large change of the water level while a large reservoir will cause only a small change in water level.

The same is true for pH and what happens to pH when you add a known amount of an acid or a base to a substance of unknown buffer capacity.
It is also true that the buffer capacity of that model with the reservoir depends on the current height of the water level. As seen below the bulge, where the water level will only change a little, may sit at different heights for different systems. Just like a pH buffer has its best buffer capacity at a certain pH range.

Now use this model to represent malt and water:

Malt has a large buffer capacity and in this case its “natural” pH is 5.5 This is the distilled water mash pH.  Water , on the other hand, is a weaker buffer than malt. And in this case the added water has a pH of 8.

When you dough-in you connect both systems and the water level (I.e. pH) settles at a point between the grist’s pH and the water’s pH. At what point exactly depends on the size of the respective reservoirs (i.e. the buffer capacities). For the malt that buffer capacity is largely determined by its weight and for the water it is determined by its volume and alkalinity.

I think I’ll have to expand further in these models in the future since they do seem to work better than the model with the springs that I have been using before.


Ingredients / How to read a water report
« on: May 22, 2010, 03:50:56 AM »
Despite being busy with my day job and family I was able to find some time to write another article:

How to read a water report

I wanted to write that article for a while and it grew much larger than I thought it would. In addition to information that has already been published elsewhere I also added a short section about reading German water reports.

Now I only have to write a water chemistry article that pulls it all together.


BTW: I thought I already posted this earlier but I could not find such a post by me.

General Homebrew Discussion / PTC petrception and beer preference
« on: May 04, 2010, 01:31:06 PM »
On Sunday we went to the Museum of Science in Boston and there was an exhibit where they give you a PTC test strip for tasting. It is a simple test to see if you have a trait that allows you to perceive PTC as bitter. Most people (about 75%) can’t taste it but it did taste bitter to me. To my surpise my wife did not taste anything at all even though she thinks even the least bitter beers are too bitter for her.  Here is a nice link:

Though I don’t think I’m a super taster it may explain why I don’t like overly bitter beers and why I tend to prefer more balanced or malty beers. Yes, I do love a good IPA, but the east coast or English styles which are lower in bitterness.

Has anybody else here done this test?


Though this is not my article the mashing schedule, which was outlined in the article, is something that I knew about for a few years now. So far I haven’t gotten around to trying it myself and thus haven’t written about it yet.

Unfortunately the author, Michael Elder, was only able to spend a few paragraphs on how that particular mash works.  So let me add a few points. It was first proposed by Markus Hermann in his Dissertation in 2005. The idea was to find a mashing schedule that can increase the ester production such that even the ester suppressing fermentation conditions of tall conicals can create ester dominated Weissbiers. As a result this mashing scheme is not really something that home brewers can benefit from since we don’t have a problem with ester suppression in our comparatively shallow fermenters. But it’s worth a try for the geek factor and I plan to do so in the near future.  It is also a practical mashing schedule where we actually mash down and then up again.


All Grain Brewing / I have been reading up on decoction mashing again
« on: April 02, 2010, 02:04:15 AM »
Once again I'm doing a lot of reading about mashing and after 20+ pages of various decoction mashing schedules I'm starting to think that it is still more widely used in Germany than I had been thinking. In particular in Bavaria I expect many breweries to still use it especially for dark beers. Being from the brewing school Weihenstephan, the authors have a strong background in Bavarian brewing practices and may have an bias to that style of brewing.

One interesting point that was brought up is that triple decoction mashes can lead to an excessive protein degradation when lighter malts are used but that dark malts, like Munich, don't have this problem since their enzymes are already severely weakened from the kilning process. Though the decoction weakens the enzymes even more this effect is compensated by the better gelatinization of the starches which makes them more accessible to the enzymes.

It also states that a triple decoction may not really be necessary but that, especially for dark beers, it is justified from a beer quality or flavor point of view.

For the decoction form of the Hochkurz mash (dough-in at 140-145 F) the SNR of the malt should be above 40% which is in line with the common wisdom that those malts don't need a protein rest.

Another interesting point was that the decoctions themselves don't need to be boiled. It is sufficient to heat them close to boiling temperatures and hold them there. Many breweries seem to do exactly that. This confirms my intuition of leaving the lid on the boiling decoction and thus being able to turn the burner so low that I get just a simmer. In home brewing, this reduces the risk of scorching the mash significantly and eliminates the need of constant stirring.

This shows that decoctions are more widely used in Germany than I initially thought although I know that neither Bittburger or Warsteiner use them. Nor do I think that they are the cause of the "German flavor" but it illustrates that German brewers strongly believe that a large part of a beers character comes from mashing.

I thought I'd share that.


General Homebrew Discussion / braukaiser wiki is down
« on: March 30, 2010, 01:28:04 PM »
I don't know what changed but I'm suddenly getting an error when I try to acess my site (

I guess I finally have to update the wiki software and/or try to understand how it works. I was hoping that I would never have to deal with that kind of maintenance stuff but my hosting company support team says it's a coding error. I hope to have it up and running again within the next few days.


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