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Messages - nateo

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Unless you actually have chunks in your runoff, clarity of runoff really isn't related to the clarity or flavor of the finished beer.

How big is a chunk? How much particulate matter / flour is acceptable?

Wow! I don't think you need to vorlauf for that long! ussualy I think you only need to do about a quart or two. You aren't looking for crystal clear wort out of the mashtun just no chunks.

It's not something I plan on doing for all my brews, unless the results are just fantastic. I wanted to try brewing with as little particulate matter as possible to see if the astringency was caused by grain material in the boil, or some other factor. It should be done fermenting in a week or so, and I'll report back with my findings.

One thing I noticed while chilling, the wort had incredible foam stability. I use an immersion chiller, and to finish the last 20* or so to get to pitching temps, I raise and lower the cooler rapidly. It foamed up a lot more than usual, and the foam persisted for a much longer time. Any ideas what would have caused that?

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Overchilled wort + Yeast
« on: March 03, 2011, 09:13:11 AM »
IIRC, Noonan recommends chilling the wort to slush if possible, to get the most of your cold break, and then letting it warm up before pitching. So I don't think you can really overchill it, unless it turns into an ice cube.

Heat it up and rouse the yeast. If you have a heating pad or something, try warming it up to around 80* and see if that helps get things going again.

Just dropping dry yeast in at this point would be a waste. Make a 6L starter and dump in a lot of active yeast, and that might make a difference.

Ingredients / Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« on: February 27, 2011, 08:41:00 PM »
Martin: I had a grist of only pale malt @ 2 SRM, FWIW. I also use the EMD ChloropHast strips, and I'm extrapolating based on Kai's experiments with their systemic errors, so I'm not sure my data is as reliable as I'd want it to be if I were making formulae.

 I would love it if in future releases you could have a metric volume option for the mash and batch total. I like using your spreadsheet, but I hate using gallons.

Ingredients / Re: Temperature and pH
« on: February 27, 2011, 08:32:54 PM »
IIRC, pH at "mash temp" is about -0.3 lower than at "room temp." Mash temp is generally 149-160, I'd say. But I've checked pH at the protein rest step, which is 120-132*-ish and gotten closer values to "room temp" something more like -0.15. There is a relation between temp and pH, but I don't think it's linear.

Just checked myself, and to quote Kai (quoting Briggs):  "Briggs quotes a difference of 0.35 in pH between a mash pH measured at mash temps and the same liquid measured at room temp. The pH measured at mash temp is lower "

Really fantastic work Kai! Maybe people will stop using those Palmer SRM spreadsheets now. . .

Brewing another beer right now. I have vorlaufed (vorgelauft?) for about 2 hours to get the wort clear, but boy is it crystal clear. I think because the grain bed wasn't thick enough to filter well enough? Today has convinced me to construct a proper MLT.

Also, the difference between what my wort currently looks like, and used to look like, is striking. I had no idea I was getting so much grain into my boiler. Like, really, a ton of grain.

Ingredients / Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« on: February 26, 2011, 12:35:40 PM »
Wow! I'm really pleased with the mash pH estimator. Hit 5.3 right off the bat. Thanks for much for making this available for us!

As noted above, any formula has room for improvement, but this thing is as close to perfect as I need.

He answered my question!

That's such a cool feature. I'm really enjoying my new AHA membership.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Best high gravity/high alcohol tolerant yeast?
« on: February 25, 2011, 12:04:59 PM »
I agree with Tygo about 3787. If you're not getting good attenuation with that strain, you're doing something wrong. I usually get 90% attenuation with my quadruples with that strain.

I've also had good luck with S-04 for barleywine. OG 1.120, FG 1.020, 83% attenuation, which is respectable.

Thanks everyone for all the help. It's given me a lot to think about.

DMTaylor: Do you vorlauf just the first runnings, or the sparge as well? I ask because I usually batch sparge, but would a fly sparge work better once the grain bed is established?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acidifying the mash
« on: February 21, 2011, 09:50:53 PM »
Here's a link to some questions about using lactic acid, and the byproducts from doing so:

Take careful note of what AJ Delange says.

So, I've been thinking, and trying to tease out variables that have changed since I started getting the astringency. I've done 20+ batches of BIAB without this issue, all of varied gravity, with the same techniques (squeezing, water treatment, decoction mashing, etc). To summarize:

1) Switched to a poly paint strainer bag instead of cheesecloth.
2) Switched to pre-milled grain instead of milled-at-home grain.
3) I used to filter out the hops/break material going from the kettle to the fermenter, but haven't recently. Lately I've just dumped it all in, at the advice of quite a few people who say that it doesn't make a difference.

The possible differences that has made are:
1) More small particles getting into the wort. This seems to be confirmed by me seeing more grain bits floating to the top of the wort before the boil really gets going. I skim as much off as I can, but I can't get it all off.
2) More flour in the grist to begin with, so maybe that contributes to the particulates.
3) Maybe the hops in the colander acted as a filter to strain break material and grain bits from the wort.

So of the variables that I know have changed (not including variables I don't know I've changed) it seems that particulate matter in the wort is the most likely culprit. Does this sound correct?

Maybe squeezing the bag can cause astringency in some cases, and maybe I've just gotten really lucky in the past when I haven't had this problem when squeezing. And if squeezing does cause astringency, would it be because of the excessive particulates in the wort, or is there some other factor to this?

On a side-note, can anyone describe the mesh-size difference between cheesecloth and voile? I know my paint strainer bag is coarser than cheesecloth, but I haven't seen voile, and I know that's what most BIAB guys recommend using.

"Perhaps have too rough a mesh on your grain bag??"

Now that you mention it, I also switched from cheesecloth bags to poly paint strainer bags, which are a bit coarser. Forgot about that.

" So now what I do is actually recirculate my runnings through the grain bag and a colander."

I like that idea. I'll try that next time I brew.

I'm using high quality 2-row, so I don't think the base malt itself is the issue. It was milled by the maltster, and it has a much higher flour-to-grits ratio than I can get with my 2-roller mill. I assumed the "chunks" I'm getting in the brew kettle were the flour, but it may have little bits of finely ground husk too.

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