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Messages - gmac

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Report
« on: March 17, 2011, 07:05:02 PM »
I should have copied this in before.  This is the comment from the gentlemen who manages our municipal water concerning sodium and magnesium.

Please see attached for additional test results.  The sodium is 23.6 mg/L and is in the online report. The average pH of the water is 7.8. To get the magnesium level you can subtract the calcium from the hardness to give you an approximation.

Not sure if this makes sense.  I will read the section you attached on Alkalinity reduction.  I inquired on another string about Citric Acid and it's use to reduce the pH (I realize I am probably getting pH and Alkalinity confused).  I have been unable to find phosphoric or lactic acid in my limited search to date.

All Grain Brewing / Water Report
« on: March 17, 2011, 03:40:09 PM »
I was able to track down a water report for our municipal water system.  Could someone please help me interpret the results and what that would mean for brewing?  I think the water is pretty alkaline and pretty hard and thus more suited to dark ales than light lagers but please help me understand what all this means and if any water adulteration is necessary.

Edit:  Can't figure out how to attach a PDF, or if that is possible.  Here are some of the parameters, let me know what else I need.

Alkalinity (as CaCO3) - 216
Hardness (mg/L as CaCO3) - 214
pH - 7.8
Sodium - 23.6 (not on the report but communicated so I don't know the units, I am sure mg/L makes the most sense.)
Sulphates (mg/L) - 37
Chloride (mg/L) - 11
Calcium (mg/L) - 38.5
Iron (ug/L) - 169
Copper (ug/L) - 12
Manganese - (ug/L) - 8
Potassium (mg/L) - 1.42
Zinc (ug/L) 10<MDL

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 17, 2011, 03:31:21 PM »
It always amazes me how these threads can meander across so many topics.   :D

For what it's worth, I'll run my chiller "wide open" as you all suggest next time.  Hoping to do a batch tomorrow so I'll see what time it takes.  Our tap water is 45 degrees F.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:53:51 PM »
Now I'm starting to wonder if I should leave it longer before brewing.  I sort of have to work around available days as well.  Would it be advisable to cool it, dump the liquid from the yeast cake and then add a second batch of 1.040 wort and leave it longer?  Would this give me a higher yeast # or would the yeast that is there just use up the sugar without increasing any further in #?  I keep reading that for a lager I need a huge # of yeast and Mr. Malty seems to think I need something around 3. 75 L of starter which seems like an awful lot. 

Or, just stick with the original plan to give it another day, chill and brew?

Next question, and perhaps its a silly one but I will have a bit of yeast left in the bottom of the jug when I pitch.  Is there any reason I can't put a small amount of boiled wort (say a cup or two) on top of that and start it all over again? 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:42:49 PM »
I guess it's alive.  Patches of froth on top and it foams now when I shake it.  I can't believe how slow this is to get going.  I am really glad I did a starter or I'd have probably given it up for dead and gone out and gotten some dry yeast and pitched that if it had been in a carboy.  I'll give it another day and then cool it to brew on Friday.  I really can't get over how slow it was to get started.  Is this typical for most lager yeasts?

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 16, 2011, 04:01:43 PM »
I've also noticed that if you reduce the water pressure (partially turn off the tap) when you get to that 'stalling' point around 90F, you can still get the temp down fairly quickly.  I would guess that its because the cold water is in contact with the hot (warm) wort for a longer period, increasing the heat transfer efficiency.

I believe you are right.  I kept adjusting mine slower and slower by feeling the outlet line.  If it was coming out cold, I figured it wasn't in contact long enough to efficiently transfer the heat.  At the end, I think the tap was barely on.  I will have to try the ice bath that was mentioned.  Our water is pretty cold here year round although in the summer it will get a little warmer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 15, 2011, 09:16:27 PM »
Quote from: oscarvan link=topic=6375.msg77411#msg77411 date=1300222427

Dude..... pipe benders are cheap.... :o

Sure, maybe on a pilot's salary... ;)  I fly a lot and I assume you get at least 1/2 of my ticket cost.  You're doing all the work, right?

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 15, 2011, 09:14:42 PM »
Where were all of you 4 hours ago?

How long should it take to cool a batch?  I boiled a pot of water and mine did the following:

0 min:  212F
5 min: 132F
10 min: 98F
15 min: 92F
20 min: 85F
25 min:  quit 5 minutes ago and opened a beer.

Obviously it cools rapidly at the start and the slows as it gets lower.  Not sure how long it would take to get to 70 degrees, probably 30+ minutes with me stirring frequently.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 15, 2011, 09:11:05 PM »

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:55:59 PM »
When I looked at the hydrometer tube a few minutes after measuring, there were bubbles that had formed on the walls of the tube.  I guess I will take this to be CO2 and hence, a sign of life. 
I don't have a fermentation lock on it, just tin foil as others have suggested.  I may put a lock on it just to see if it bubbles someday.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How long does a batch take/Grinding grain.
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:52:47 PM »

This process will make you want to buy a chiller of some sort.  ;)

I don't have a way to bend copper tube so with 4 lengths of 1/2 inch pipe and about 36 elbows, I now have a square "coil" for the next batch.  Just have to be sure to wash all the flux off it and I'll be good to go.  And yes, it was lead free solder.  It's not pretty but it should work, perhaps not perfectly but we'll see how it goes and make improvements.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Slow Lager Starter
« on: March 15, 2011, 03:22:48 PM »
Took a gravity today, 1.034.  I don't think it's gone down much from the original (didn't take OG) but I'll leave it for a couple days and see if it drops anymore.  There is a slight milky layer above the yeast but I can't decide if it's just yeast still settling out of suspension or something else.  
I disturbed it when I took the gravity so I'll let it settle again for a few hours and try a picture.
Just not sure if its working or not.  Absolutely no sign of foam or bubbles or anything else even remotely similar to the ale starters I've done.  I know it will be slower but this is puzzling.

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 15, 2011, 04:47:32 AM »
Thanks everyone. What I'm really after is a method for figuring out my strike temperature for the water that will be added to my grain.

The BrewMath app does that....
Thanks Oscarvan.

Brewmath hs now been downloaded to my iPod.  Now I just have to spend some time checking it out.  Another unproductive day at work I guess...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acidifying the mash
« on: March 14, 2011, 09:28:43 PM »
I can't say how much as I don't measure. I acidify 20 gallons of my total brew day water at once in one container and monitor the PH actively. I add just literally a pinch at a time and watch the PH fall until I get it to where I want it. Usually right around 6.0.

What you are doing is to partially neutralize the alkalinity of the water. Depending on your water that may not take much acid at all. It's different when you are adding malt and the acid is used to drop the mash pH significantly.


I couldn't find lactic or phosphoric acid around here so I got citric from a wine shop.  Is it better to lower the water pH prior to mashing as noted above or should I add it to the mash (will certainly take me some trial and error to get that right)? 

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewing Software for Mac
« on: March 14, 2011, 06:44:54 PM »
Can't you install Wine and run ProMash on Mac?  I do it on Linux.
I can barely turn the thing on.  Not much of a computer person so unless it's easy and straightforward, I'm at a loss.  I'm sure it's good advice but I have no idea what Wine is.

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