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Messages - Kaiser

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Life of mixed Star San? Newbie
« on: December 02, 2009, 02:31:21 PM »
I've been using iodophor for a little while now.  I've been thinking about getting some star san and after reading this thread think I will definitely pick some up next time I'm buying brewing supplies!

You'll have a multiple life time supply of iodine for starch tests now :) That's what happened to me.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash Ratio
« on: December 02, 2009, 04:05:09 AM »
I don't want to kill this thread but this thread here should be of interest:


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Water Report
« on: December 01, 2009, 11:41:46 PM »
I have often wondered how the brewers in Pilsen get conversion with their soft water?
Do they add some CaCl2?

the need of Ca for mash conversion is overrated. In fact the benchmark
mash, the congress mash, is done with distilled water. Ca stabilizes a-amylase but not b-amylase. At mashing temps a-amylase is plenty stable and it is b-amylase that could use some help.

When I evaluated the effect of Ca on efficiency and fermentability I did not find any significant effect on either of them:

Ca helps in lautering and beer clarification but I just recently brewed a Helles with 20 ppm Ca which is good and very clear.


Beer Travel / Re: Lay-over in Munich
« on: December 01, 2009, 07:45:14 PM »
Did you schedule that leg seperately or did you find a flight that just happened to have the long layover?

I created the long lay-over by selecting a connecting flight that left 12hrs after the flight to Munich landed there.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Water Report
« on: December 01, 2009, 07:20:33 PM »
One thing that occurred to me though is the calculations that I did to figure out ppm where based on the final recipe volume, in my case 5 gallons.  If, say 1g of gypsum was added to the mash this would cause the ppm to be higher in the mash than in the final product since the mash water is only 3 gallons or so.  Is that something that needs to be factored into the calculation of how much of a particular salt to use?

The intention, with the spreadsheet you are using, is to treat the complete volume of brewing water with the calculated amounts of salt. But I doubt that it will make a big difference if you add all the salts to the mash and none to the sparge water. The pH may be a bit lower since there is more pH lowering Ca in the mash, but you didn’t calculate the RA and pH that precisely anyway.

I'm thinking of the gypsum specifically because I think I need to at least bump up by Ca a bit for the mash, correct?

The importance of Ca in the mash is overrated. But it is generally accepted that a minimum amount of 50 ppm Ca in the brewing water is beneficial for a number of process steps in brewing. This being said, I have made very good and clear beer with just 20ppm Ca in the water.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Water Report
« on: December 01, 2009, 02:28:42 PM »

Your Britta filter has some ion exchange resin in it which removes hardness from the water. I see a lot of Ca and Mg missing while potassium and, to some extend, sodium increased. Definitely use the tap water or filter the tap water through a standard charcoal filter. Those filters don’t change the water profile.

In general, this is great brewing water.

When using Palmer’s spreadsheet, keep in mind that his SRM to RA formula doesn’t work so well for really dark beers which have a lot of roasted malts in the grist. Those beers need a lower RA that what you would expect from his spreadsheet. I know he says the opposite, but that doesn’t match my experience. I’m currently in the process of compiling a SRM / RA chart myself. It’s taking some time b/c the relationship is not linear and dependent on a number of factors. However, for any given beer color there is a rather wide residual alkalinity range that will work. Conversely, for a given RA there tends to be a wide range of beer colors that will work and will produce an acceptable mash pH. This is why many commercial brewers don’t even worry that much about water if it is of moderate hardness which you water is.

Make sure you don’t overdo the salt additions. Some brewers tend to get carried away with that and end up adding too much which may cause a mineral taste in the beer.


I noticed my pH was 8.2. In my amateur opinion, this seems a bit high. Am I wrong to think so? Does the pH lower during the mashing of normal grains (i.e. pale malt, crystal, non-highly roasted grain)?

the pH of the water matters little in brewing. What matters is the alkalinity which determines how much the water balances the acidity of the malt the darker the malt, the more acidic it tends to be. Your alkalinity is fairly low. You shouldn't have any problems brewing beers from light amber to dark brown. 

You have moderately soft water that will work for a wide range of styles. I recommend getting gypsum, calcium chloride and chalk to augment it's mineral content as necessary.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Life of mixed Star San? Newbie
« on: December 01, 2009, 12:43:55 AM »
The foam is your friend. It keeps out bugs while you are racking. I let the foam drain for a few minutes and after that I don't worry about the foam that is left in the fermenter when I rack the wort onto it.


All Grain Brewing / Re: wort quality and water ratio question
« on: November 30, 2009, 05:05:56 PM »
I presume this is a 5 gal batch size?

Yes, I updated the caption for that chart. But that only matters for the grist weight numbers that are given.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Life of mixed Star San? Newbie
« on: November 30, 2009, 03:18:46 PM »
I make a batch of Starsan every 2 or 3 months. I brew about twice a month and bottle just as often.

I love that stuff. Before I used it I was using iodophor and had to mix a fresh batch anytime I had to sanitize something. Now I always have a bucket with StarSan sanitizer around in which I keep my turkey baster for sampling. Having a sanitizer ready for use when I need it is so much easier than mixing it on demand. To sanitize a carboy or keg I don’t even fill them completely. Just using 1-2 gallons, good shaking and draining works. The only time I need to fill a keg completely and thus need 5 gal is when I purge a serving keg with CO2 by pushing the StarSan out with CO2.

I bought my bottle 3 years ago and it is about half empty now. Because of its reusability and stability StarSan is one of the cheapest and most practical sanitizers out there.


All Grain Brewing / Re: undissolved vs. dissolved chalk
« on: November 30, 2009, 05:14:25 AM »
I looked a little further into the CO2 pressure needed to dissolve chalk. I took the data from Wikipedia and plotted it into chart with logarithmic x and y axes. Ther formula that approximates the data well in the range that is of interest for us is

[p in kPa] = 8.71e-8 *  [CaCO3 in ppm]^3.24

This means that there is a dramatic increase of the pressure needed as the concentration of chalk that needs to be dissolved is increased. In practical terms this limits the chalk that can be dissolved by the soda bottle or keg method to about 880 ppm and with it sets a minimum amount of water that is needed to practically dissolve the chalk. I'm adding this calculation to my spreadsheet. To dissolve that concentration of chalk about 3 bar or 45 psi of CO2 are needed. This includes the ambient pressure which means you would have to set your regulator to at least 2 bar or 30 psi.

Here is a chart I made that illustrates the relationship

It also shows the chalk that can be dissolved by the CO2 in ambient air and a pure CO2 environment at atmospheric pressure.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Life of mixed Star San? Newbie
« on: November 30, 2009, 04:30:43 AM »
I rarely test the pH of my Star San solutions. If they are still clear I trust them. Even if it gets a bit cloudy it still works. I prepare them with reverse osmosis water and think that it takes a lot of contamination to bring the pH up. Recently I started keeping the old batch of Star San around to rinse any equipment, in particular the turkey baster, before it goes into the current batch of sanitizer. This seems to keep it clear for much longer.


Even though it might be true that longer boils hurt head retention, a 60 and even a 90 min boil should not lead to non existent head. The Major is correct in suggesting that you get your fermentation temp under control first. I would. however, have expected the warm fermented batch to have the a worse head retention.


Dhacker is correct with respect to having consistency and being able to make the comparison you are trying to make. There are a lot of factors that affect head retention.

This being said, what you are seeing matches my expectations. Boiling coagulates proteins and the longer you boil the less head retention you will have. But I expect that effect to be less than the effect hat hops and fermentation, for exampe, have on head retention.

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