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Messages - tomsawyer

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All Grain Brewing / Re: More about water
« on: January 30, 2011, 01:00:07 PM »
I'm surprised the Britta knocked out so much calcium bicarbonate (hardness and alkalinity)  and so selectively (leaving other cations and anions untouched).  Is it simply filtering out a bit of insoluble CaCO3?

I'm sure it does remove chlorine (Cl2), you probably wouldn't see this in the chloride level since its at low residual levels.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: how long on stir plate
« on: January 30, 2011, 12:29:39 PM »
If you're looking for more concrete answers...

I'd say 3 days for a 1.040 starter wort gravity to ferment out completely,
then minimum of 48 hours at 33F to chill and drop out the yeast before decanting and pitching.

It puzzles me why people say "a day or two" for yeast starters before brew day.  That doesn't jive with my experience.

Me thinks they don't chill and decant (what I actually do most of the time) OR they don't really have much experience doing such.

Purely my opinion.  Take it for what it is worth.

hen you consider that most of the cell growth occurs early in the cycle, I think its not a big deal if you don't let the yeast ferment out all the sugar in the starter.  Does seem like a lot of people pitch the whole starter, without decanting.  and pitching a starter at full krausen also seems to have a bit of an advantage although all the regular methods seem to work fine.  So I don't think the advice is indicative of someone not knowing what they're doing, they're just doing it a bit differently.

DZ while every time you open a fermentor/starter to the open air does increase the chance of contamination, its not a high likelihood event to begin with.  So I think you'll be fine with stepping up as you are doing.  Try and do your transfers quickly and in an area without a lot of drafts, this will minimize the amount of dust floating around in the air.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Modified batch sparge?
« on: January 29, 2011, 01:19:26 PM »
I can't really say this method is any faster than a single sparge.  About the best thing you get is the ability to do a step mash or mashout without adding another step.  I know the sparge should give better efficiency too, but I tend to get a little less than theoretical efficiency numbers so the difference was really minor.  I'd say this method would avoid potential extraction of undesirable compounds but I can't say I've ever experienced that so its more of a theoretical benefit.

The down side is a mashtun that is only 1/2 to 2/3 full during the mash.  I wouldn't mind trying a 3qt/lb mash some time, I understand this kind of mash is used commercially.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Modified batch sparge?
« on: January 28, 2011, 07:58:50 PM »
I tried this sparge-in-the-mash method today.  Mashed at 2qt/lb, then added an additional 1.2qt/lb 190F water and ran the whole thing off at once.  I believe I got somewhere around 80% efficiency.  I guess that is consistent with having 3.2qt/lb in the tun and only leaving 0.125qt/lb behind.  All you need is a big enough MLT.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gap in the BJCP Weizens?
« on: January 28, 2011, 04:41:09 PM »
I was thinking 11 or 12 but its tough to tell.  Thanks for postin the pics and guide.

I understand now why there isn't overlap.  I was just surprised because there seems to be a lot of overlap in similar styles in general.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gap in the BJCP Weizens?
« on: January 28, 2011, 01:14:28 PM »
What is the SRM of Ayinger Ur-Weisse?  Its supposed to be a dunkelweizen, I was surprised it was as light as it was.

General Homebrew Discussion / Gap in the BJCP Weizens?
« on: January 27, 2011, 11:44:33 PM »
I was checking out the BJCP style guidelines  The weizen has a color range of 2-8 SRM, the dunkelweizen has a color range of 14-23.  I hadn't noticed this before.  Where does a German wheat beer that has a color of 10-12 SRM fall?  Is it "take your pick"?  What other characteristics can I use to decide what category to enter a beer? 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Do I need a rest?
« on: January 27, 2011, 03:59:28 PM »
And oddly enough, even though I've brewed quite a few weizens I haven't done the ferulic acid rest.  I started off not really liking the clove aspect of the beers, its grown on me but I feel like I get plenty without trying to accentuate it further.

Putting this on my mental list of things to try soon...

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Do I need a rest?
« on: January 27, 2011, 03:57:16 PM »
For me it kind of depends on the style I'm brewing.  If I'm brewing a German style that traditionally uses a step/decoction mash with the various rests, I might go ahead and do that.  I'd keep the protein rest short, I don't think you are going to go from good to no body in 15 minutes.  I also use the malts specific to that country, I figure they are part of the reason behind using the specific mashes to begin with.

This doesn't mean that it is absolutely necessary, in fact people argue the heck about decoction mashing.  Its kind of fun to fiddle with the stuff though, and experience the traditional ways to get a full sense of the depth of brewing.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: using bottled water
« on: January 27, 2011, 03:36:03 PM »
I occasionally top up with municipal treated water, and haven't experienced chloramine problems.  Thats going to be something that varies by locality though.  To be safe a bit of potassium metabisulfite (or a crushed Campden tablet) is a good idea.

All Grain Brewing / Re: A simple model for pH buffers
« on: January 27, 2011, 02:31:08 PM »
My own view is that a water report gets you in the ballpark and further testing isn't really necessary.  We're not talking about stuff that has to be within 5% to be right.

Before I'd get test kits and have to use them repeatedly, I think I'd just get a cheap pH meter, some cal buffers and storage solution.

Water was the last ingredient I tackled, and it was in stages.  I started by just adding some calcium chloride, figuring calcium was good for the mash.  Turns out it had a rather noticeable effect on my hot and cold break, so I was enticed into learning the whole enchilada.  My beers are the clearest they've ever been, but I haven't been using high enough levels of the flavor components to know if I'm improving flavor.

What can I add or do for water that is low in calcium .
I guess I need to start checking PH levels more  ???

Question one, add a teaspoon of calcium chloride.  Thats probably around 3g.

Question two, no need.  Just look at your hot and cold break, if it gets more pronounced when you add that calcium salt, you can bet you improved your mash pH.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: how long on stir plate
« on: January 26, 2011, 10:13:10 PM »
I'd let it go until it uses up most of the sugar in the wort, that may take a few days.  You'll know by the krausen.  Then refrigerate until use.  You can decant and use it, or if you really want a fast start you can decant theday before and add some more wort, then pitch the entire thing as its actively going the next day.  Not sure it matters but its something I've been doing lately.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Blowout into the airlock
« on: January 26, 2011, 01:09:04 PM »
I think the amount of krausen also depends on the characteristics of the beer.  I generally see it as a good sign if the krausen is high since this means your foam-stabilizing proteins are at a good level.

I am making a 3gal batch of bitter in a 6gal carboy and it was up to the neck yesterday.  Its only fermenting at 58F but I did pitch on an entire yeast cake of West Yorkshire ale yeast.

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