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Topics - Kaiser

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Stone Double Bastard
« on: January 01, 2010, 07:02:45 PM »
I had this beer last night for our New Year's Eve dinner and have to say that I was disappointed.

Do I have to age this beer first? I know it's 10% ABV, but do these 10% have to come with such a harsh and bitter taste? The aroma was also very dominated by alcohol.


Ingredients / dissolving chalk in brewing water
« on: December 26, 2009, 11:35:42 AM »
One of the things I found in my mash pH experiments is that dissolved chalk is able to contribute more alkalinity than chalk simply added to water or to the mash. I don't know why this is by I have been able to confirm than in 5 gal batches.

A side-by-side experiment with a Schwarzbier still awaits official side-by-side tasting but having tapped the 2nd keg a while back I don't taste any significant difference.

However, I decided to write up a description for a fairly practical method of dissolving chalk and building brewing water from it ( in case others want to try this.

Check it out. It has a fairly lengthy explanation of what happens when one adds CO2 to water to dissolve chalk.


Equipment and Software / I calibrated my new fermentation bucket ....
« on: December 24, 2009, 01:00:35 PM »
.... Do you notice anything?

My markings are liters in case you wonder.


All Things Food / Making Brezels
« on: December 17, 2009, 08:14:22 AM »
Last weekend, when I made a basked of Brezels and lye rolls, I took pictures to illustrate the process. I finally finished the write-up:


All Grain Brewing / At home water testing
« on: December 06, 2009, 09:33:14 PM »
I recently started playing around with water test kits that are available for aquariums. In particular the GH&KH tests are useful for brewers who want to get a beter understanding of their brewing water w/o having to send a sample to an lab like Ward Labs.

I took some pictures, updated my water spreadsheet and wrote an article for my web site about this.

Take a look and let me know what you think :


All Grain Brewing / RA over SRM simulation
« on: December 02, 2009, 10:50:33 PM »
Tonight I finally finished something quite interesting that I was working on for the last few days. I'm trying to come up with RA guidelines based on the beer SRM. Similar to what John Palmer is already doing but based on my research with respect to malt acidity and water chemistry.

I ended up writing a script that can create random recipes based on a few guidelines. There are different types of recipe templates as well. Those templates are for example "all base malts" "base malts and up to 15% cystal malts", "base malts and up to 15% roasted malts" .... and a few more that I don't feel like listing. For these recipes I can use the pH estimator that I'm working on and which seems to work for my few recent beers. That allows me to determine the SRM of the beer and the necessary residual alkalinty to reach a pH of 5.2, 5.4 and 5.6. For the ~140 "recipes" I plotted that RA over the beer SRM and also included John Palmer's min and max RA guideline and this is what I came up with:

I expected some spread, but not that much. No wonder than breweries like Stone can use their 100 ppm CaCO3 hardness water for such a wide range of styles. And there are also a number of outliers. Beers that would need a ridiculously high or low RA to create an acceptable mash pH.

I have yet to do more qualification on that data and possibly limit the recipe templates some more to create even more realistic recipes. Stay tuned for that. Right now I just felt like sharing that chart.


All Grain Brewing / Various water recipes
« on: November 25, 2009, 09:32:20 AM »
A number of people have asked me to publish some of the water recipes I'm using. I guess b/c I talk so much about water.

So I decided to do that here:

But don't get the idea that these are highly optimized and elaborate recipes. I generally only care about residual alkalinity and hardness. When it comes to hardness I prerfer softer water but have yet to make a side-by-side with waters that have large diferences in their hardness.

See them as starting points.


All Grain Brewing / Magnesium carbonate
« on: November 25, 2009, 07:22:06 AM »
Does anyone know of a source for food grade MgCO3?

It's just a geeky thing, but this is one of the few salts I'm mssing. I have a hard time making true Munich water w/o that stuff since there is a lot of Mg and little Cl or SO4. I know that mimicing that water exaclty doesn't really matter as long as you match residual alkalinity, hardness and maybe the Cl/SO4 ratio. But I'd like to have that salt too. A fellow brewer was able to get me MgCl2, which isn't widely used by brewers either.

Google didn't show much. There seem to be little food uses of that stuff. I have it as chalk for climbing but I don't trust that it is pure.


All Grain Brewing / undissolved vs. dissolved chalk
« on: November 23, 2009, 10:38:02 PM »
I finally published the report about the use of undissolved and dissolved chalk in two batches of my Schwarzbier.

As a background. A while back I noticed that most water spreadsheets don't handle chalk additions correctly when calculating alkalinity. That sparked some experiments including the mash pH experiments that I published a while back. The result was that undissolved chalk has only a limited ability to raise mash pH. At low chalk levels (less than 300 ppm) it seemed that undissolved chalk has only half the alkalinity potential of dissolved chalk.

I wanted to test that in a side-by side and brewed one batch of Schwarzbier with chalk simply suspended in the water and the other one with half that amount of chalk but dissolved with CO2 pressure. The results can be found here:

I also updated my water spreadsheet to include dissolved chalk:

Going forward I plan to expand this spreadsheet based on the results of my mash experiments but I have to test that first with my own data. My intention is to make the spreadsheet versatile yet easy to use. Less commonly used or more complicated options would be further down or grayed out.

Check it out and let me know what you think. In particular where there is confusion or something is less intuitive than it should be.


Questions about the forum? / Attachments
« on: November 23, 2009, 08:34:02 AM »
Is there a way to attach files (pictured, spreadsheets ..) to posts? I found that to be a very useful feature on other boards.

Right now I just upload them onto my website, but not everybody has such a place available and it would be nice it if would be easier to post pictures.

Taking it a step further, it would also be nice to attach other files. Spreadsheets for example. When explaining water treatment I’d love to be able to fill in a water spread sheet for brewers who need some help and then attach it to my post.

Is this something that is not possible with the type of board software we are running or is it just disabled?


Equipment and Software / My simple carboy washer
« on: November 22, 2009, 09:38:14 PM »
Today I put together a carboy washer with a few things I had lying around at the house. Here is a page with pics and a description:

That idea has been around for a long time and many brewers have build one. I just felt like documenting how simple it can be to build one. The only major piece of equipment is the pump which I already had for pumping ice water through my immersion chiller.


While reading through Bamforth and Lewis’ “Essays in Brewing Science” I came across this interesting statement on page 87:

“crystal malts require pale malt for adequate extraction”

Up to this point I always believed that no enzymes are necessary for proper extraction from crystal malts which is why can steep them. But I was always wondering if it is truly the case that crystal malt’s sugars are not affected by enzymes. I.e. can active b-amylase make some of the extract from crystal malt more fermentable during the mashing process? That problem however is not necessarily what they mean with the above statement.

I’m thinking of an experiment that could demonstrate if Bamforth and Lewis’ statement is true: 3 mashes with the same mash thickness but different grists (100% carapils, 50/50 carapils/pale malt, 100% pale malt) mashed for 1 hour at the same temperature. Ideally the mash pH should be the same and may need some control since these 3 grists are expected to have different distilled water mash pH values. Level of extraction is then assessed by testing the gravity of the mash liquid. That is then put in relation to the potential of the respective grist and if the 50/50 grist is truly doing better than the 100% carapils grist there might be something to this.

Not that this has far reaching implications in brewing, it would just be good to know to satisfy the inner geek.


Beer Travel / Lay-over in Munich
« on: November 17, 2009, 03:56:07 PM »
I just spent the last week in Germany visiting my Parents. On the way to
Germany I scheduled a 12hr lay-over in Munich. I learned that a long lay-over
can be a great way to add yet another destination to a trip w/o much added
cost when I had a forced lay-over in Amsterdam a few years back:

It started out with landing in Munich on time (9 AM) and not having to 
wait at the boarder control. Then I headed to Munich center to have a 
Weissbier breakfast with white sausages at the Weisse Brauhaus. This 
was a suggestion from folks at And I was glad that I 
followed it.

Weisses Brauhaus is the official Brauhaus for Schneider Weisse. I 
started out with a pair of white sausages, a glass of Schneider Weisse 
and some Brez'n. If you don't know white sausage, they are a Bavarian 
specialty, boiled and eaten with sweet mustard. You don't want to know 
what is in them. Even I don't want to know. As I'm ready to leave I 
had to have a look at the menu. There I found Hopfenweisse, a 8.6 % 
Weizendoppelbock with an aroma of lemons. And yes, it was an American 
IPA done as a German Wheat. And I thought all German brewers are 
traditionalists. The beer didn't have the assertive bitterness of an 
actual AIPA or the clove and fruit notes of a Weissbier. But it had 
the full favor and aroma of American hops balanced buy lots of alcohol 
and some sweetness. I learned later that this was the result of a
collaboration between Schneider and the Brooklyn Brewery.

So I decided to stay and have another pair of Weisswurst and Brez'n. 
Those two beers set the mood of the day.

Next was finding an open wi-fi network. Apparently Germans don't like 
to leave their networks open (they are sold as password potected networks
by default). And the only place I could find was the  Apple Store. At least I
found something.

Now I had a few hours to kill before the Paulaner Brewery tour. I 
decided to kill them at the Deutsches Museum (German Museum). This is 
a museum dedicated to technology. Unfortunately they don't have a section
about brewing technology.

Then the Paulaner Tour. There were also 3 Americans for which I ended 
up playing translator and tour guide. I did this tour before, so I knew what
to say. Later at the tasting, the beer was delicious and surprisingly close 
to my own attempts at the respective styles. The only problem was that 
the tour guide, a retired Paulaner brewer, was not able to eat with us 
and I wasn't able to chat him up about brewing.

Then back back to the airport to catch my flight to Leipzig. 
Given that my body was still at Boston time, I wasn't tired anymore  at that


Beer Travel / Schneider Hopfenweisse
« on: November 10, 2009, 04:22:30 AM »
I'm in Munich right now and just went to the "Weisses Brauhaus" to have a Schneider Weisse with some Weisswurst (white sausage) for breakfast. As I check
out the menu after already having one beer I noticed somrhing that caught my interest. Schneider Hopfenweisse, a wheat with 8.6% alc and American hops. Correct, it tastes like a wheat IPA. Denny, even you would like it. The percievef bitterness is that of a regular wheat but it has the full taste and aroma of C hops. None of the clove though. I think that would have fought the hops anyway.

I'll have to post pics when I'm back.

BTW, they put it on the menu just yesterday.


The Pub / Look what I get when I browse the new site on my iPod
« on: November 06, 2009, 01:01:35 PM »

The forum limits images to 200x300, here is full resolution pic: link


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