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Messages - Kaiser

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Events / Re: AHA Conference: 2013 Call for Presentations
« on: January 31, 2013, 02:40:06 PM »
I'm waiting for that too. I hope it comes before the 5th.


Ingredients / Re: Rahr Base Malts and Bru'n Water
« on: January 31, 2013, 12:12:19 PM »
I haven't tried the pilsner malt, but if it's the same barley cultivar I would expect that. Maybe the PH will be a bit higher since it id kilned to a lower color.


Is there a way to calculate for RO or distilled water?

Leaving the source water fields empty should do.


Ingredients / Re: Rahr Base Malts and Bru'n Water
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:57:10 PM »
Wow, that looks really nice, Kai.  I can't wait to look into it further.

Thanks. The only drawback is that you need internet to use it. I know you mentioned that this is an issue where you brew.


Ingredients / Re: Rahr Base Malts and Bru'n Water
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:08:03 PM »
I have known about this issue for a while. It's not just Rahr 2-row that is a poor fit to the pH or acidity estimation based on malt color. Wheat malts tend to have a DI water pH closer to 6 and I once had a vienna malt that has a DI pH at 5.8.

That's a general limitation of all color based pH estimation (grist or beer color based). I just released the new water calculator for Brewer's Friend ( and in future releases we plan to integrate it with the recipe editor. That way we can keep pH properties of some malts, like Rahr or Weyermann, in the grain library and the tool doesn't have to estimate their pH from color.


When I started helping Brewer’s Friend as a technical adviser I couldn’t help but notice that the mash pH predicted by its brewing water calculator was way off. Since I have done extensive work on brewing water and mash chemistry already I took this as an opportunity to develop a new Mash Chemistry and Brewing Water Calculator from scratch. The goal was to build something that provides a simple and intuitive user interface yet implements the underlying chemistry to at a level of accuracy that is generally not done in brewing water calculators. In fact the only calculator that goes to that extent is A.J deLange’s NUBWS (Nearly Universal Brewing Water Spreadsheet).

Since Brewer’s Friend is an online recipe calculator the new calculator would also become an online tool. This worked very well in its favor since it is very cumbersome to model complex systems in spreadsheets. PHP, or any other programming language for that matter, makes that type of modeling much easier. In addition to that modern web browser technology makes it simple to create dynamic forms that can readily adjust the form to only asking the user for information that is actually needed based on the context.

That was 3 months ago and after many long nights of coding, re-coding, testing and even running more mash pH experiments version 1.0 has finally been released and is available on Brewer’s Friend.

When you first open the calculator it presents itself like any other basic water with sections for source water, salt additions, grist, mash pH and final water report following this flow chart:

Flow chart for basic use of the calculator
But that’s not all. For those who need want to do more complex water treatment calculations, the full flow chart looks more like this:

The first release features makes these features available:

  • Blending of two water sources
  • Bicarbonate/carbonate content can be set from either alkalinity or bicarbonate. pH can also be entered for increased accuracy
  • Electrical balance (ion balance) of the source water
  • Simple GH&KH measurements can be used as a crude way of specifying the source water.
  • Report of basic and advanced water parameters of the source water. Among the advanced properties are temporary/permanent hardness and CO2 partial pressure
  • supports all major salts (including magnesium chloride) as well as the hydroxides slaked lime and lye
  • Alkalinity reduction through boiling and slaked lime. These are features that rely on a more accurate implementation of the water’s carbo system
  • Wide range of supported acids including the less commonly used citric, tartaric and acetic acid.
  • Salt and acid additions can be made to all water or only the strike (mash) water
  • A different water source can be used for sparge water. In most cases that might be reverse osmosis water when the tap water is suitable for mashing.
  • Salt additions to sparge water or kettle
  • Sparge water acidification with a wide range of acids.
  • Detailed report of the treated mash water
  • Support for undissolved chalk.
  • Grist pH properties can be estimated from beer color or malt bill
  • Mash pH prediction based on balancing the various weak and strong acid systems that might be present (carbo system, weak acids and grist)
  • overall water report based on the mash and sparge water profile
  • target water comparison of the overall water report

For now this tool is only available as a stand-alone calculator but Brewer’s Friend is planning to integrate it into the recipe editor. This will eliminate duplicate entry of the beer’s malt bill. It will also allow the user to use saved source water profile(s).

Go ahead and give it a try. If you have feedback, positive or negative, please let me know:

In subsequent posts I’m planning to write more about some of the discoveries I made while writing this tool and how it’s mash pH prediction does compared to actual mash pH data that I have.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Added yeast at bottling/Now Diacetyl present
« on: January 25, 2013, 03:35:09 PM »
yes, you can get Diacetyl through bottle conditioning. Happened to me on one occasion when I used Kraeusen. But as others wrote, it will be gone with time.

Possibly the dry yeast found enough nutrients to grow a little. You don't tend to get diacetyl if you use the beer's yeast and just add sugar. Since the yeast won't have the nutrients for growth. It only has nutrients for creating alcohol and CO<sub>2</sub>


Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Need advice on stirrer plate
« on: January 25, 2013, 02:40:43 PM »
FYI: I recently played with PWM (pulse witdth modulation) for fan speed control and it works much better than using voltage to control fan speed. But it does require a few more parts and soldering skills.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« on: January 23, 2013, 05:11:29 PM »
Thanks, Kai.  I see what you are saying.  You, and many brewers, may desire a gain of 5% efficiency.

If I'm not getting close enough to my expected efficiency I'll have to boil off more and I want to avoid that.

Plus, for me, with a wife and 3 small kids to attend to, I like my brew day to be as short as humanly possible.  I can knock out a small batch in 3.5 to 4 hours, versus the 5 or 6 hours it might take to do 5 or 6 gallons. 

I hear you just to well on that one. In my case longer mash rests can give me more time to help around the house. I have made a few beers in the past where I timed mash rests and boiling with preparing and eating dinner and putting the kids to bed, respectively. In that case long mashes do help.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« on: January 23, 2013, 04:19:04 PM »
I do hope Kai corrects me where I'm scientifically off base.  All I can do is share what I've learned through experimentation and experience, in the hopes that it will help someone out there to be a more critical thinker such as we are.

No, you are not off base. I never said that its impossible. The point I'm trying to make, and that is not directed at you Dave, is that many brewers jump to the conclusion that they can mash much shorter than 60 min just b/c some malt analysis tests can get the malt to convert in 15 min.

Maybe my crush is not tight enough, but very often I see that I gain another 5 points in conversion efficiency if I mash longer than 60 min. In most cases I'm counting on that. The time the mash is resting doesn't bother me much since I can do other things during that time.


All Grain Brewing / Re: more efficiency questions...
« on: January 23, 2013, 04:01:06 PM »
I have been too lazy to dive into pH and water chemistry so I am hoping most of my efficiency inconsisteny issues are indeed tied to the crush.

Even if your efficiency is fine there is still a benefit to knowing the basics about mash pH and how it is affected by the water and the grist.


Sprinkling dry yeast on stuck fermentation has never worker for me.

yeast doesn't do so well when rehydrated with alcohol.

hookerer brought up important points about dry yeast and their internal reserves.

Compared to liquid yeast it is not so mych a matter of cell count but what we generally call "yeast health". For liquid yeast a starter is not only recommended for increasing the cell count but also for replenishing reserves that the yeast was living on while sitting in the fridge. If those reserves are replenished, and not spent again b/c the starter was sitting in the fridge for a week, then the lag phase will be shorter and the yeast will perform better in your beer.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Hockhurz Step Mash: Check my Process
« on: January 23, 2013, 01:55:33 PM »
I hold the maltose rest for 30 on more malt forward beers and for 45 min on pilsners.


Beer Travel / Re: Leipzig/Dresden beers
« on: January 22, 2013, 11:28:25 PM »
Only Gose comes to mind for Leipzig. The town is not really known for a diverse beer culture like Munich.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Big beer efficiency and fermentation question
« on: January 22, 2013, 11:23:51 PM »
I rarely find that conversion is complete after 30 min. It also depends on how you measure it. an iodine test may be negative at that time but the mash gravity test may show that not all the starches have been converted yet.

ImperialStout, oftentimes it's the lower efficiencies  that are fluctuating from batch to batch. There is a similar thread going on in parallel.


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