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Messages - Brewtopalonian

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Ingredients / Re: Water Profile for Brown Ale
« on: October 07, 2018, 04:00:17 PM »
Maybe becasue CaCO3 is so ineffective at raising pH?  I stopped using it years ago for that reason.  I now use baking soda for slight adjustments and pickling lime for larger ones.

Hmmm. Interesting!  I'll try that!  Thanks Denny, always great getting your advice!  Curious to see if Martin chimes in on this one.

Ingredients / Water Profile for Brown Ale
« on: October 07, 2018, 03:54:55 PM »
Hi everyone!

I'm working on trying to put together a water profile for my brown ale.  I'm using Bru'n Water, entered my grain bill, using RO water, and aiming for Brown Full profile.  However, I am worried about the ultra low pH I'm getting.  It's saying the predicted pH, even with 86ppm CaCO3, will be at 5.03.  As I understand it, I want a pH at around 5.4-5.6 for a brown.  Do I just keep adding more Bicarbonate or is there something else I should be doing?  Here's my grainbill and the profile I'm going after:

Maris Otter - 8lbs 4.7oz
Brown Malt 2lbs 14oz
Crystal, medium 8 oz
Honey Malt 6.4 oz
Crystal, Dark 4oz
Chocolate Malt 3.5oz
Special Roast 3.5 oz

Target Water Profile:
Brown Full

Ca - 50
Mg - 5
Na - 27
SO4 - 50
Cl - 60
CaCO3 - 85

Beer Recipes / Re: Biere de Garde recipe critique
« on: October 03, 2018, 04:50:24 PM »
Okay so what should I read/study to stay up to date and well informed, so as to avoid being made a fool of when I give what I had thought is sound advice?

Online is the place to be.  Right here right now is a good place to start.  And as well.  And maybe  The best thing to do always, of course, is to run your own experiments, learn from your own experiences, and thus become educated on stuff yourself, since there is so very much that remains debatable and contentious everywhere you go.  The hobby as a whole continues to evolve on a daily basis, literally.  I'm learning new stuff all the time, otherwise I wouldn't be here.  Some might think that after 19 years and roughly 160 batches homebrewing, and being online for almost that whole time, and reading tons of books, that I'd know everything about everything.  False.  I don't.  And neither does anyone else.  But if you can keep up with the joneses online, you'll be better off than most.


Just a heads up, I took your advice and have been looking this information up.  I found a Brulosophy exBeeriment suggesting that a protein rest does not have a negative effect on your head retention even given highly modified grains.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Solvent Flavors in Final Product
« on: September 30, 2018, 07:43:41 PM »
I live in Utah so I understand your dilemma!  I eventually built a fermentation chamber that holds three fermenters.  But before I did that I would put the fermenters in my basement closet and got some extra large white t-shirts, soaked them in water and put them over the fermenters then out a fan on it.  This helps during high kraussen when temps are at their highest.

It sounds silly, but as long as you keep your t-shirts wet and some gentle wind on it, in the dry desert air, it works like a swamp cooler and really does the trick.

Good luck!  If you want some suggestions on a fermentation chamber HMU in a PM.

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk

Great Show Denny!  I didn't know you did this, will definitely be tuning in from now on!

Beer Recipes / Re: Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 10:10:02 PM »
I have feeling chewing on chocolate malt will be a bit bitter.

It won't kill you, and you'll learn a ton.

I also always chew my malts before milling for mash-in.  I love to get an idea of what my beer will taste like throughout the process as it develops.  I taste it every step of the way....  just don't try munching on hop pellets, that'll put hair on your chest.  LOL

I've changed some things up in the recipe as per everyones suggestions and will probably give it another run next week.  Thanks for the input fellas!

Beer Recipes / Re: Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 09:34:33 PM »
Nice!  I'll have to experiment with the different brands.  They guys at this shop let you have a sample to chew on if you want... But I have feeling chewing on chocolate malt will be a bit bitter.

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Beer Recipes / Re: Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 06:21:34 PM »
Honestly I have no idea.  I just told the guys at my LHBS chocolate malt and they weighed it out for me.
Thanks Taylor, I appreciate that.  I was hoping the flavor wouldn't change too much if I decreased the amount.  Good to hear a confirmation.

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What chocolate malt are you using?  My brown ale improved dramatically when I started using Castle chocolate malt.

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Beer Recipes / Re: Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 05:44:25 PM »
Thanks Taylor, I appreciate that.  I was hoping the flavor wouldn't change too much if I decreased the amount.  Good to hear a confirmation.

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash runoff/end pH and Gravity Relationship
« on: September 26, 2018, 04:52:14 PM »
Awesome.  Thanks for the info!  Denny, what type of calculations do you make to determine the amount of sparge water to use so you never get close to 1.010?  This is the disadvantage of using brewing software - I really too heavily on it's automated calculations without truly understanding what's going on.

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Beer Recipes / Re: Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 04:46:33 PM »
I have lots of thoughts for you:

•   The Chinook bittering hop might be okay but is totally out of place.  Try an English type.
•   WAY too much honey malt.  Take that down to 0-4 oz.
•   Where’s the British medium & dark crystal?  That can replace some or all of the honey malt.  Dark British crystal malt is a MUST.  I would use both medium and dark for more complexity.
•   Add 4-8 oz lactose.  This is appropriate and traditional for this style, which should be sort of like a brown version of a milk stout.
•   Tone down the carbonation apparently.  2.0 volumes is plenty.

That’s about it.  I like your choices of brown malt and special roast, that’s great stuff, keep that as-is.

Cheers and good luck!
I actually did tone down the Honey to 6 oz for the actual competition brew, it was in my notes, I forgot to adjust the recipe as I made it. 

Thanks for the suggestions!  I'll tinker a little more with the malts and change the bittering hops out, though the Chinook works nicely.

It was a VERY dark brown, almost black and opaque.  Some red hues.  Any way to improve upon the color to style without losing the complexity of the chocolate and special roast?

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Pimp My System / Re: My Professional Basement Brewery
« on: September 26, 2018, 03:59:47 PM »
Thanks all..
Update for those who care.

Still tweaking and adding stuff. Hardware wise only 3 things are left.. On the list is Hop additions, grain delivery, and grain storage. I plan on working on these things in that order.

Whats new?

Added pressure sensors to the brewing vessels to monitor pressure for purging and vac.
Added N2 tank solenoid
Added HLT Boil valve
Added BK  Boil valve
Added Mash Bypass valve
Added Fermenter volume sensors (x4) (in anticipation for auto fermenter transfers)
Added more spunding setups (x4)
Added co2 tank monitoring with high pressure sensors, created a dynamic script showing % left (based on temp and pressure), and alarm notifications for leaks and low tanks (x3)
Closed up the Panel
Revised some scripts
Modified my brew buckets for larger valves (x2) (in anticipation for auto fermenter transfers)
I am sure there is more I am forgetting.

Panel Completed:

Revised Brewing Interface:

Revised Fermentation interface, Tank volumes in top right

Fermenter Modification

Some beers are finally starting to fill the pipeline. They are not quite ready, but close enough to start drinking.
72% Barke pils
20% Barke vienna
8% carahell

80% Barke Munich
10% Barke Pils
5% carared
5% caraaroma
2oz sinamar (for color)

Keller Pils
80% Barke Pils
20% light Munich

That HEAD THOUGH!!! Holy Head batman!  Looks amazing!  I'm super jealous.  I'm going to school for Mechanical Engineering and thought my Capstone Project might be something similar to this.  Full automation and super shiny!  I love it man!  I want one!  Good job!

Beer Recipes / Room for Improvement (Brown Ale Comp Results)
« on: September 26, 2018, 03:19:08 PM »
Hey you Beautiful Brilliant Brewers!

I was wondering if it would be appropriate, or even well received, if I were to post my recipe for my London Brown Ale that recently won gold at a competition in SLC, UT and some of the comments made by the Judges to see if I can improve upon it?  It scored 38/50, and to me, that's not good enough.  I want to cross into the 40's threshold and would love some advice on how to do so.  The judges didn't give me too much to work with in their comments, or if they did, I missed it completely. 

Here is the Recipe:

"The Dark Side of Brown Ale"

10.90 gal Distilled Water Water
8 lbs 4.7 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 62.9 % 0.65 gal
2 lbs 14.0 oz Brown Malt (65.0 SRM) Grain 3 21.8 % 0.22 gal
1 lbs 7.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 4 10.9 % 0.11 gal
4.6 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.2 % 0.02 gal
4.6 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.2 % 0.02 gal
0.94 oz Chinook [13.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 7 23.1 IBUs
0.32 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 8
0.78 oz Fuggle [4.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 9 2.1 IBUs
1.2 pkg British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098) [124.21 ml] Yeast 10

Water Profile:
Brown Balanced (as per Bru'n Water)
Started with RO Water

Single infusion mash 4.4gal 150*F 60 mins
Fly Sparge 6 gal @ 168*F

Keg Carbonation to 2.4vols.

Judges Notes:


Sweet dark fruit aroma.  sugary dates or prune.  hints of dark wine, pino noir. 9/12.

Toffee, caramel, sweet typical fruity esters common with british yeast.  9/12

Nice malt forward aroma.  roasty notes, mild fruit esthers.  10/12


Dark brown.  Solid head retains throughout. 3/3

Very dark brown, poured with a thick head with fine carbonation little high for style. 2/3

Very dark brown, nice color, nice carbonation, good head retention, maybe too dark. 2/3


Hints of sweet caramel fruit.  Flavor stays thru entire tasting lingering sweetness on the after taste. Plums. 14/20

Very similar to aroma, toffee caramel & subtle roast.  Flavor fades quickly & doesnt lingure.  15/20

Nice mild flavor, lots of biscuit up front.  Lots of lingering flavor, a bit of a bitter finish, not sure if its.... 15/20


Medium body.  Bright creamy mouthfeel.  Sweet but in a good way. 4/5

High carbonation & dry for style. 3/5

Nice carbonation, nothing off in the mouthfeel really clean.

Overall Impression:

This is a very enjoyable beer.  Reminds me of a visit to Sherlock Holmes Pub in London. 7/10

Good beer with no off flavors.  I feel the carbonation is a little high for style and it could be a little sweeter, more linguring on the palate 7/10

Very clean drinkable beer. nice carbonation, very clean flavor with just a bit of bitterness on the finish.  8/10

I really want to take this to the next level.  It's my best beer by far, but I want to learn how to push beyond good, into EXCELLENT or even PERFECT.  I know that perfect is a crazy thing to search for, but I always strive to make the best I possibly can.  Thanks for all your brilliant knowledge, I look forward to hearing what you have to say!


All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash runoff/end pH and Gravity Relationship
« on: September 26, 2018, 03:00:00 PM »
Hey everyone,

While brewing today(vienna lager  :) ) I had a thought. I batch sparge using a cooler and typically take gravity readings for my 1st run, 2nd run, and pre-boil. Probably not all necessary, but I'm kinda that way it seems. I've never worried much about the pH in the sparge since it all gets mixed up and shouldn't have a chance to get too high while running off. In BeerSmith I have always looked at the runoff pH entry and been curious what it would be, but never tested. Well, today after pulling the sparge/2nd run for gravity I decided to go ahead and look at it. Sure enough, pH = 5.5 up from 5.35 in the mash. Not an issue.

This did get me thinking, however. Is there a decent relationship between gravity and pH for the sparge? My 2nd run/sparge gravity was 1.020 for this batch. It seems to make sense that as this gravity decreases, pH would increase, and there may be a point at which the gravity may be low enough to indicate a pH that is higher than desired, extracting tannins. This is more to satisfy curiosity than anything. I wouldn't expect to have this issue with a batch sparge unless you were making a very low gravity beer. Got me thinking though. What are peoples thoughts/experiences? Can you estimate a troubling pH simply from the gravity of the sparge?

Excellent question!!!  I came here this morning looking for the answer to exactly this, and here I find you've posted it!  I have often wondered this myself.  But, what I'd like to know is what is more important in tracking your end of runnings gravity/pH?  Is it the pH or the Gravity that we should be watching closely?  I rarely have my end of runnings gravity below 1.010, but last week I brewed an Altbier and the end of runnings gravity was 1.008 before I was finished with the sparge, so out of fear of extracting tannins I stopped the sparge short and boiled a little less ( like .25gal less NBD).

I'd love to get the run down on this and why one is more important than the other if that is the case, and which one we should pay closer attention to?  Also, what is this I hear about an Iodine test?  I've never used it, but would like to learn more about it.  Thanks you brilliant brewers you!


Equipment and Software / Re: HERMS Upgrade
« on: September 26, 2018, 02:51:13 PM »
I am also wanting to upgrade to a HERMS system. I looked into using the Arduino, looks to me like it would work very well, but I decided against that route (not familiar with the coding, yet). I decided to go with a design based on, using three converted kegs (I figured it would be best to allow for 10 gallon batches, can always brew smaller). Made some minor modifications to their design, and have started purchasing components.I still have a long way to go, but it is coming.

David, If you live in WVC, UT we should get together for a brew day!  I live in Sandy!  HMU on personal message and lets brew something!


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