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Messages - Kaiser

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Various water recipes
« on: November 25, 2009, 06:32:57 PM »
Building water from scratch is really a home brewer only thing. I think only few commercial brewers would want to go that route given the capital investment and the amount of waste water produced by an RO system.

But building water adds so many more knobs that a homebrewer can turn and this can be rather daunting for beginners. When I moved to the new house and started using RO water I didn’t know want to aim for either. So many choices. In the end I actually started emulating the water I had in North Carolina b/c it had worked so well for me. Later I gained a better understanding of water chemistry and figured out what is important and what not.

But having a collection of basic water recipes for a handful of different styles should help many who want to or have to build water from scratch but don’t know where to start.

All Grain Brewing / Various water recipes
« on: November 25, 2009, 04:32:20 PM »
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.


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Water in yeast plates?
« on: November 25, 2009, 04:27:49 PM »
Nice. once thing, that makes me more comfortable is taping around the cap. This way nothing gets under the cap and closer to the opening of the vial. Not that it can get into the closed vial but I like to keep the other bugs away as much as it is reasonable.

I also made a log-book for yeast in which I can record how I have been propagating a particular strain. Here is a PDF: I just started using this form but have been keeping track of my cultures ever since I started yeast banking. Some are now as old as 3 years. This is the time since I cultured them first and not the age of a prticular culture. I found that stab cultures make a nice longer term storage than slants while with slants I can easily scrape off some "lawn" and start propagating from that. As a result I now keep one stab and one slant for each yeast strain I have.

BTW, one of the Weissbier bottle dregs I brought back from Germany is finally showing yeast growth. I now have to propagate enough to make a small sample fermentation with it.


Beer Travel / Re: Lay-over in Munich
« on: November 25, 2009, 03:39:41 PM »
That Deutsches Museum is AWESOME. I was only in Munich for two days and it rained pretty much nonstop, so I had to find a lot of things to do inside.  :-\

It would have been more awsome if they had a brewing exhibit. After all its in Munich.

But at least I know much more about oil exploration and mining now ;)


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: < 48 Hr. Primary Fermentation?
« on: November 25, 2009, 03:24:48 PM »
I got the 75F pitching temp from my local home brew store's directions. 

I see that a lot and I don’t like it. Just last night I was asked to double check a HBS’ directions for making a lager which asked for pitching at 75 F (!!!!).

To understand this you have to keep in mind that a HBS’ primary objective is to make the process simple and avoid calls from angry customers when they don’t see fermentation within a day or so. They also look for a method that allows pitching a beer w/o the use of a yeast starter.

But many experienced brewers will tell you that your beer will be better if you ferment slightly on the cool side for the yeast (65-68F for ale and 48-50 for lager) and pitch a few degrees cooler than the fermentation temp. This allows the yeast to get up to speed more gently and they won’t produce as much esters and , which is most importantly, fusels. But to make this happen with a reasonable lag time and fermentation performance you need to pitch more yeast than there is in a vial or smack pack. This is in particular true for lagers. Here is where starters come into play. They are mini fermentations aimed at vitalizing and possibly multiplying the yeast.

You may also use dry yeast where you don’t have to make a starter.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Magnesium carbonate
« on: November 25, 2009, 02:36:17 PM »
I fond the stuff in health food stores.

Some of the climbing chalk claims to be 100% pure with no additives but I have always been a bit cautious with that. Although, I have breathed my fair share of chalk dust at this point. Maybe I try dissolving it wit CO2 to see if it would actually work.

My tap water has a lot of Mg too, but also arsenic, which is why I use RO water in the first place.


All Grain Brewing / Magnesium carbonate
« on: November 25, 2009, 02:22:06 PM »
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.


The Pub / Re: 1000th member
« on: November 25, 2009, 05:14:10 AM »
118, not too bad. And now I have one more post as well ;)


All Grain Brewing / Re: undissolved vs. dissolved chalk
« on: November 25, 2009, 03:26:38 AM »
What happens when the pressure is released?

The excess CO2 will come out of solution, but the chalk should stay dissolved for a while. Once you put that water into the much larger strike/brewing water volume the temporary hardness (which dissolved chalk is) will be low enough that it won't precipitate for a few days even if the CO2 gases out.


All Grain Brewing / Re: undissolved vs. dissolved chalk
« on: November 25, 2009, 02:49:46 AM »
Kai, I know I've asked this before, but can you provide any recommended concentrations for creating a chalk brine? 

I have yet to find a formula that determines how much CO2 pressure is needed to hold a known amount of chalk in solution. But I know that you can get about 800 ppm CaCO3 dissolved with about 20 psi.


The Pub / Re: 1000th member
« on: November 25, 2009, 02:17:46 AM »
where do you get those numbers from?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: < 48 Hr. Primary Fermentation?
« on: November 25, 2009, 02:01:15 AM »
What's the current gravity?


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crash Cooling
« on: November 24, 2009, 09:15:52 PM »
I don't know. After keeping it cold for a week or two, I suck it out and the beer is clean and clear, however when the keg is about to kick, some yeast appears (guess they must be on the sides or something)

What you are making is a small area around the dip tube that is free of sediment. The bottom is still filled with sediment but it won't move until the beer level is low enough that it starts to wash the sediment down. This is when the keg goes empty. As a result the last and the first few glasses are the cloudy ones.

There may not be a problem with that. Especially if you don't move the keg around. I just prefer to rack the beer off the sediment into a new keg.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crash Cooling
« on: November 24, 2009, 09:00:11 PM »
I cold crash in a keg and suck out the sediment.

I don't think that you can suck out all the sediment in a keg. The sides of the bottom are not steep enough for all the sediment to slide towards the dip tube.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Crash Cooling
« on: November 24, 2009, 08:01:12 PM »
The chill haze is formed by hydrogen bonds between tannins and the proline rich regions of proteins. Proline is a particularly hydrophobic (water hating) amino acids and typical for haze forming proteins. So typical in fact that some fining agents are able to use that property of haze forming proteins to selectively remove them while keeping the foam positive proteins in the beer.

As more and more proteins link with tannins the blob grows lager and larger and eventually precipitates and settles to the bottom. But since these bonds are very weak, an increase in the thermal energy in the beer (i.e. temperature increase) can easily break them and the blobs disintegrate and go back into solution. As a result the colder the beer the more bonds will form and the larger the blobs will become.

If the heating and cooling cycle repeats the bonds can get stronger and eventually so strong that warming the beer doesn’t break them and won’t re-dissolve the haze. At this point you have a permanent haze. We don’t really get this as we don’t abuse our beer as much.

To efficiently remove chill haze from a beer you need to chill it as cold as possible w/o freezing it (29-30F), let the haze settle and rack the cold beer off the sediment. You may also filter. But I feel that lagering the beer long enough is less hassle than setting up a filter.


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