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Messages - Brewtopalonian

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All Grain Brewing / Re: increasing abv
« on: March 27, 2019, 10:48:03 PM »
Yes it's absolutely possible any convertible sugar will suffice.  Most obviously, dextrose comes to mind.  If you want to increase your complexity, black strap molasses is a good idea, though be wary, it is a very strong flavor.  Maybe combine blackstrap molasses with some dextrose.  Honey is also another viable option that can add a lot of depth of flavor.  As for how much, you need to look up how many points per pound per gallon each will provide.  Most I believe are 35 ppg/p.  I don't know if I helped at all, but if it we're me I'd do a combination of both molasses and honey.  Bear in mind that a higher alcohol beer will require a longer aging/maturation period in order to smooth out.  Good luck and I look forward to hearing how it turns out and what you decided to do!

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All Grain Brewing / Re: First Time All Grain Questions
« on: March 27, 2019, 03:35:26 PM »
Good Morning Scott,

I am brewing as well today, but thought I'd give you some help before I get started:

1) In regards to your whirlpool, if you don't have a brew kettle with a whirlpool port, then you can simply place the hose over the side of the kettle and up against the wall of the kettle pointed in one direction or the other (whichever way you want the whirlpool to go, doesn't matter).  Typically, a whirlpool will come with a time, on this recipe it says 30 mins which means you will begin the whirlpool immediately after flame out and whirlpool for 30 mins after flame out trying to maintain a temperature of 140*F (as per the recipe you sited).  So you can cool to 140 using a counter flow / plate chiller / immersion chiller and then stop cooling and put the heat back on ever so slightly to maintain 140*F for 30 mins.  I think this also answered your question in 2b.

2) a)  It is a complicated recipe to dive into as a first time all grain brewer, however not impossible by any means.  If you have brewing software, I recommend simply putting the ingredients into the software with their percentages and then scaling the recipe for your setup to reach the desired OG and BU/GU ratio.  This would be the easiest way to do it.  Otherwise you'll have to do some math, and lets face it, no one likes to do math!  Basically you keep the percentages the same (ratio of grist) and adjust to get to the gravity in the volume you want. I hope this makes some sense to you.

c) The dry hopping assumption you made is correct.  Wait until terminal gravity is reached, then add your first (5 day dry hops) then after three days, add your 2 day hops.  Then it's time to rack to keg/bottle and pull the dry hops bag.  Also, don't forget to add your blueberry puree BEFORE doing this dry hop schedule to allow fermentation to kick off again and reach terminal gravity.  I would be very careful about handling the puree and maintain a sanitary environment.  If you're worried about it, you can always pasteurize your blueberry puree with some gentle heat or use some campden tablets to stabilize the puree. 

Good luck, you've got your work cut out for you for your first brew, but it should be rewarding! 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 22, 2019, 02:32:18 PM »
Thanks Jeff, that's some excellent information and certainly going to adjust how I study. 

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You can certainly dilute your water with distilled. 

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I would get an RO unit and build from scratch.  You've got very hard water and a lot of Sulfate.  It could lend to harsh flavors with hops.  Calcium looks good for brewing though.  I also suffer from very hard and mineralized water.  I bought an under sink RO unit relatively cheaply and it's improved my brewing ten fold.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: ph meter
« on: March 18, 2019, 08:34:15 PM »
Appreciate the device recommends fellas.  I will check them out. 

dmtaylor - which chinese cheap meter are you talking about? 

[quote author=BrewBama link=topic=33253.msg424425#msg424425 date=1552936725
However, I do take my sample at 20 min and let it cool to room temp before checking pH. By the time it’s cooled off I am well into the mash and any pH adjustment at that point would be shutting the gate after the cow has left the barn.

I guess this is what confuses me.  I really dont see the point in spending $100+ for an instrument, for readings that are too late in teh process.  I mean, what am I learning by waiting to test a sample at room temp?  Am I missing something here?
[/quote]You can cool your sample quickly in an ice water bath.  You don't need much to test. 

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All Grain Brewing / Re: ph meter
« on: March 18, 2019, 05:00:03 PM »
As has been often discussed here, you can't test mash at those temps.  The automatic temperature correction built into pH meters only accounts for the function of the probe.  But the chemistry of the mash itself, and its pH, is altered at temperatures higher than the standard reference temperature, and the ATC cannot account for this.   All references to mash pH in any literature are to pH as measured under standard reference conditions, that is, at room temperature.   Alleged "correction factors" are inaccurate.  And while there are some probes available which will have a slightly longer life when used at higher temperatures, the life of any probe will be radically shortened by such treatment.   So you'd do well to get a good, standard meter and probe and use it properly,  that is, measure mash samples at room temperature,  which is the only way to accurately obtain the information you're after anyway.

Some like the bench meters, but many of us prefer the pen type.  I've read a lot of trials where, in brewing use, they were found to be at least as good if not better.  I've long preferred the Hanna pHep5, HI98128.  Easy to use and maintain, accurate, has provided long, reliable service.
That's good to know Robert.  I didn't realize it drastically altered the life of my pH meter and the reading was still inaccurate.  This bit of info may improve my brewing significantly!

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:47:35 PM »
Thanks again!  I'll look there.

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:43:20 PM »
There are some pretty good discussions and resources here:

But also - there is a study guide at the BJCP site that is pretty comprehensive.
Awesome thanks!  I don't have Facebook and don't intend on getting another account but I'll look for the study guide.  Is it just me or does the bjcp website need some work?

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:33:30 PM »
I spent at the least 3 hours a day for 6-8 months studying for it.  It paid off, though.  I scored one point below Master.  One resource that I found invaluable was Michael Jackson's New World Guide to Beer.
Awesome!  Thanks Denny! I've been reading for the most part of everyday I have off of work.  I work at a LHBS store so I get my learn on there too.

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General Homebrew Discussion / BJCP entrance exam
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:29:01 PM »
So I've recently been enticed to pursue becoming a BJCP Judge and I have been going down the reading list of suggested reading on the BJCP website.  I was wondering if anyone has any pro tips for studying for both the entrance exam and the tasting exam?  Aside from reading each style guideline, how does one commit so much to memory?

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All Grain Brewing / Re: ph meter
« on: March 18, 2019, 04:25:06 PM »
The Milwaukee MW102 is what I use.  I love it.  Easy to calibrate and has temperature correction built in. 

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Ingredients / Re: Water Profile Wheat/Hefe
« on: March 17, 2019, 03:20:50 PM »
I'm sure Martin will chime in eventually, but basically what I've learned from him and many others on this forum is for Hefes/German beers in general, using soft water is better.  Calcium to 40-50ppm keep sulfate/chloride to 20 or less ppm.  Use lactic acid to correct for mash pH unless you are using undermodified grain and doing a Ferulic Acid rest.  If so, no acid addition until you check the pH during beta rest.

Edit:. To be clear, whether or not you are using well modified/undermodified grain, if you do a Ferulic acid rest, wait until after that rest and 10 mins into your sacc rest to take a pH reading and then, if necessary, adjust your mash pH to 5.4 (ideal) using lactic acid.  You're safe in 5.2-5.6.  just try to get in that range if you have the means to take a quick pH reading with a temperature adjustment. 

A note on the grain modification: I said that because I confused acid rest with protein rest and you should do a protein rest if using undermodified grain, however most grain us homebrewers get is well modified these days and there's often no need to do a protein rest and can actually harm the head by doing one with well modified grain.

Apologies for the confusion, just wanted to clear that up.  I may be incoreect, but this is basically what I've learned from others here. A lot will depend on how you're doing your mash, by the looks of the recipe, I'm guessing your doing a straight single infusion.  I say that because if you were to do a Decoction I would skip the melanoiden malt as you will get some color from the decoctions.

Good luck, don't over think it, if you are in doubt, err on the side of softer water and just focus your efforts on getting the correct mash pH.

Ingredients / Re: Water Profile Wheat/Hefe
« on: March 17, 2019, 03:03:51 PM »
I use Bru'n water and the yellow balanced profile for mine.

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Ingredients / Re: sparge water pH
« on: March 12, 2019, 05:47:42 PM »
As Brewtopalonian suggests,  we want to keep the pH of the runoff in the range where we won't extract tannins and silicates,  generally below 6.0 or better below 5.8 -- in the mash range.  In a fly sparge, as the runoff becomes more dilute, the residual buffering power of the mash has less effect, and the runoff will tend to rise toward the pH of the sparge liquor,  so it needs to be within the acceptable range itself -- nearer 5.5.  In a batch sparge, you never really dilute the wort to where you lose the help of the mash buffering,  so the sparge needn't be acidified as much; 6.0 ought to be sufficient.   If you're running off in two batches, all you need to do is check that the second, diluted, batch, after stirring in the sparge, is not above 5.8, and you should be able to establish a rule of thumb to go on.   

But pH of the liquor is not the be all and end all. It's kind of a red herring. What we really are after is having little or no ALKALINITY in the sparge liquor.   With no alkalinity, that is no alkaline buffering in the liquor,  the pH of the dilute mash can't be pulled up too high.  If you use RO, just don't add alkaline salts to the sparge.  In fact don't ever do that, period.  If you use Bru'n Water,  note that it will tell you the alkalinity of the sparge water after acidification.   Instead of calculating the acid addition based on pH, aim for alkalinity between 0-25 ppm, and you'll be good even in a fly sparge.   Once the buffers in the mash are set up, they really don't want to pull too far off the mash range.

Thanks Robert!  That was super educational, didn't know you could treat batch sparges differently!  Also didn't know that Alkalinity was the real enemy, just always assumed low pH was preventing the unwanted extractions.

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