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Messages - thcipriani

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Who does late mash?
« on: September 23, 2010, 08:48:23 PM »
In the current issue of Zymurgy (September/October 2010) Drew Beechum wrote and article entitled "More Beer From Your Brew Day" which mentioned the late addition of specialty grains to your mash tun as a method of obtaining two beers from two separate runnings of your mash tun - a pseudo parti-gyle.
Instead of using the blended runnings, adding more grain can bump the second beer's character. "Capping" [sic] the mash entails a small addition (0.5-2 lbs) of crushed malt added and soaked for a few minutes before the sparge is resumed. Common additions include color malts alike crystals and roasts to boost SRM and malt perception.
- Drew Beechum, "More Beer From Your Brew Day"

Also, in 1999 George Fix on HBD was quoted talking about the late addition of the liquid from separately cold-steeped specialty malts to the end of the boil. He is quoted as having said this method was designed to, "maximize the extraction of  desirable melanoidins, and at the same time minimize the extraction of  undesirable ones":

I hate it when I get logged out after typing a post and have to re-type it. It's bologna - BOLOGNA!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« on: September 23, 2010, 08:26:08 PM »
As a practical anecdotal aside. I used to treat my water in the mash tun and the boil kettle exclusively. In the mash I'd add all the salts I'd need to get my calcium up (since, around here, we have zero calcium in our water) then, after taking a mash pH, I'd add acid or CaCO3 to get my pH in the right range. After that I'd add salts to the boil kettle to keep my Calcium ppm level where it was given the dilution. I was taught that you calculate ppm of calcium based on the total amount of mash water and then add calcium to the kettle to derive the same concentration of calcium based on the amount of additional sparge water you've used.

This method may be the right way to do it; however, I don't use this method today. Now I treat all my brewing water in bulk before brew day. Then I adjust in my mash tun if need be.

You can build most water before brew day using most salts, the major exception being chalk. Water becomes saturated with Calcium Carbonate very easily check out the solubility chart here:

You can dissolve chalk in your brewing water for the purposes of authenticity or pH (IMO only if you've brewed the beer before or have done a test mash) pre-brew day, pre-mash using the process outlined here:

However, outside of an attempt at pure authenticity, I don't think I'd go to the trouble as you'd probably see the chalk fall right back out of solution as soon as you began to heat your water. If you've decided that you need to add Calcium Carbonate to your water it's probably best to attempt to dissolve it in your mash using an amount appropriate to your total mash volume. My $.02 - worth about as much.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« on: September 23, 2010, 07:56:23 PM »
Quote from: mabrungard on Today at 10:22:48 AM
While chalk does contribute 105.8 ppm Ca, it also provides 158.4 ppm of CO3 (not HCO3).  The equivalent concentration of HCO3 is 322 ppm.  1 ppm of CO3 is equivalent to 2.033 ppm HCO3.  Although the chemical formula for chalk (CaCO3) says that its supplying CO3 to the solution, at the pH of typical drinking water, all the CO3 is immediately converted to HCO3 in solution. 
II know that carbonate chemistry in water in the presence of CO2 is complex, and I can't claim to really understand it, so I'd be glad to see an explanation of that statement.
Martin is referring to the concentration of CO3 expressed as an equivalent weight of HCO3 - this is the same concept as when you see on a water report your alkalinity expressed as "as CaCO3". That refers to the total sum of all alkalinity in your water expressed as an equivalent weight of CaCO3 - this helps determine the electrical balance of cations and anions in a given sample of water.

To express the concentration of a substance as an equivalent amount of substance you first find the mg/L (or ppm - they are equivalent measurements) concentration of the substance for which you are attempting to express as an equivalent weight of another substance. For the example above the concentration of CO3 is 158.4.

Then you must find the equivalent weight of that substance, in the above case the substance is CO3. The equivalent weight of a substance can be derived by dividing a compound's molar mass by the number of positive or negative electrical charges that result from the dissolution of that compound (or, more conveniently, just Google search, "Equivalent weight of x" and you can usually find it). In the case of CO3 the gram equivalent is 30.004 (roughly).

After finding the equivalent weight of the first substance you must find the equivalent weight of the substance in which you'd like to express the concentration of the first substance. In the case of HCO3 the equivalent weight is 61.016. Also, as an aside, CaCO3's equivalent weight is 50 - in case anyone was wondering.

Once you have all of these numbers the math is fairly easy:
A mg/L * A equivalent weight/B equivalent weight = ppm of A as B

The above example works like this:
158.4ppm CO3 * (61.016/30.004)=322.121530462605 ppm CO3 as HCO3

All Grain Brewing / Re: A little help with my Water Report
« on: September 19, 2010, 07:07:23 AM »
I brew AG, add Buffer 5.2 to all batches, Campden / Water filter for chlorine & batch sparge.
I'd be wary about the Buffer 5.2. The one thing that is known for certain is that there is some blend of monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphate that make up some portion of 5.2:
Which means you're going to be adding a hell of a lot of Sodium to every beer at the recommended dose of 5.2.

Also, if the only constituents of 5.2 are the phosphate salts (which seems like a safe assumption when you read phrases like, "5.2 is a proprietary blend of food-grade phosphate buffers" on Five Star's website) then 5.2 would not be a very effective buffer.

Monobasic sodium phosphate has a pKa of 7.2. In general a substance's buffer capacity is maximized at that substance's pKa. At a substance's pKa ±1 the buffering capacity of that substance is 33% less effective than at a substance's pKa. So monobasic sodium phosphate has a pKa of 7.2 and its effective buffer region is 6.2 to 8.2. According to Wikipedia (which is a great site that is highly accurate all the time and always will be forever) a blend of monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphate has a buffer region of 6-7.5 ( I don't think it's unreasonable to say that a buffer composed primarily of "food grade phosphate buffers" would be a buffer that would not be effective at a pH of 5.2. Chemistry 101 does not support Five Star's claims.

HOWEVER, if 5.2 is a buffer solution that is made with phosphates as a constituent with other buffers then it may work, although, anecdotally, I've yet to hear a scenario where someone with a reliable means of checking pH (a calibrated meter) has said that it works in both a Stout and a Pale ale. I'd be surprised to hear from that person.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profile for Oatmeal Stout
« on: September 19, 2010, 06:27:15 AM »
This thread is great - we started with water that doesn't exist and a beer with an unknown SRM and we've figured out salt additions to achieve a mash pH with an accuracy of 1/100th of a unit. I see no problems with this logic.

Equipment and Software / Re: BernzOmatic O2 Flowmeter
« on: September 14, 2010, 05:35:02 PM »
Anyone have any thoughts or experience with using one of these:

in conjunction with a little red cannister?

All Grain Brewing / Re: A little help with my Water Report
« on: September 14, 2010, 05:14:51 PM »
That's odd. Even with those 2 numbers my calculations are a bit off of Ward Labs' - I got 6.210/5.818. I was using Nitrate As Nitrogen and SO4 as Sulfur, just like they do so beats me where I'm off. Either way you'll have to fudge your profile a little to glean any real insight.

Anyway, to your original question. I plugged in your numbers and I think a good place to start your adjustments for pale beers would be adding 4 grams of lime and 5 grams of calcium chloride for 5 gallons of treated water which should enable you to precipitate enough CaCO3 to brew a reasonably pale beer while keeping your Calcium levels high. Although I'd still recommend checking the pH in the mash and adjusting with acids based on the reading on your pH meter. My feeling (very scientific, I know) is that after adjusting with lime and CaCO3 you won't have to adjust your pH except for very pale beers.

Let us know how it turns out for you.

Equipment and Software / BernzOmatic O2 Flowmeter
« on: September 14, 2010, 08:55:16 AM »
I have the standard oxygen setup available from any of the major homebrew stores - it hooks to the red bernzOmatic O2 cylinders from the hardware store. I was wondering if anyone had been successful in finding a flow meter that worked with this setup or if anyone had any cheap way to upgrade to an O2 system that included a flow meter? Thanks.

All Grain Brewing / Re: A little help with my Water Report
« on: September 13, 2010, 10:27:21 PM »

looks like there is a slight cation/anion imbalance in your water report (you should see Cations/Anions, me/L at the top of your report - it should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.1 / 5.5 - but I could be off since I didn't get the Potassium or Nitrate levels from your report). This is typical of the quality of Ward's Labs reports. None of this is important...


Your water has a RA of 155.88 using Ward labs numbers, if we screw around with those numbers to balance Cations/Anions by upping the level of alkalinity until we reach 255 ppm as CaCO3 to bring the "water" to electrical neutrality the RA is around 185.88 ppm as CaCO3. The pH shift of a mash that uses your water and 100% base malt would be +0.31. That is to say if you brewed a 100% base malt beer with malt that was similar to the malt Kolbach used in his RA experiments in the 40s and 50s you might end up with a mash pH of almost 6.

Fortunately the hardness in your water is mostly temporary hardness and can be precipitated either by boiling and then removing the precipitated CaCO3 or by treatment with lime as outlined here:

Zymurgy / Re: 2011 Zymurgy topics
« on: September 09, 2010, 10:40:51 PM »
I would like to think that we could all agree that a "Ubiquitous AHA Forum Members in Banana Hammocks" issue would likely be what we'd NOT like to see in 2011.

Equipment and Software / Re: A Better Siphon
« on: September 09, 2010, 10:35:49 PM »
Quote from: tygo on August 21, 2010, 07:22:45 PM
Anyone use one of these?

Any thoughts on the product?
That's what I use, I love it.  It's super easy, and the stainless racking cane doesn't break.
+1. If you remove the sterile inline filter and use co2 at like 1psi (of course only in stainless and in better bottles - not glass) and you attach a liquid out (which would now act as a liquid in) to the end of the siphon hose you've made a complete, co2 blanketed, closed transfer system. The day I set it up was the day I stopped worrying about potential introduction of either o2 or bacteria.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the old classroom standard heat sterilization with an oven method as outlined here:

as well as in other, likely more appropriate, sources.

I've heard it makes bottles more fragile, although I've never experienced it.

Clean your bottles with soap and water, final rinse with distilled water, cover opening with tin foil - bake at 350F for 2 hours - that's sterile. Plus it's cheaper than star san (if you've never taken intro econ and learned about opportunity cost).

Bonus points for pressure canning starter wort and antiseptically pouring into sterile e-flask - my yeast don't out-compete because they've never had to.

Beer Recipes / Re: Gluten Free recipes
« on: September 09, 2010, 09:48:46 PM »
It may well be worth while to look into brewers clarex/clarity ferm - I don't know enough about it to have an opinion on the stuff, but I have heard enough chatter that involved both brewers clarex and gluten reduction to know there is a supposed linkage.

White labs recently began selling clarity ferm as a beer clearing enzyme for homebrewers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Controlling pH
« on: September 07, 2010, 09:28:31 PM »
What is the range you want to keep the pH in?
I asked that exact same question of A.J. Delange not 2 days ago. Hopefully he won't mind me sharing his answer here because it was the most interesting answer I've gotten on the subject. First, let me share my question since I felt I had to justify asking this question in the first place:
I do have one additional question for you since I have you ear (or, I guess, your eyes) for the moment. Even though its a very simple question (one that I'm almost embarrassed to ask) it's a question that I'd kick myself if I didn't ask. Here are a few quotes that explain my confusion:

Kai Troester, :
many authors report wort and beer quality benefits if the pH is lowered into the 5.2 - 5.4 range [Kunze, 2007][Narziss, 2005].
Any mash pH between 5.3 and 5.8 should be sufficient for most mashes
A mash pH between 5.2 and 5.5 is well suited for infusion mashes

Kai Troester,
optimal mash pH range of 5.4-5.7 (when measured at room temperature)

John Palmer, Zymurgy, Volume 21, No 4, July/August 2008, pg 32
For best results for all [sic] beer styles, the mash pH should be 5.1 to 5.5 when measured at mash temperature, and 5.4 -5.8 when measured at room temperature.

Really, what is the optimum target for the pH of a sample from a mash that has been cooled to 77F? I have been targeting 5.4 since it seems to be acceptable no matter what source you view, but I really don't have any idea. I know that there is a pH difference between hot and room temperature samples but is there some difference between samples that have never been heated vs. samples that are heated and then cooled?

A.J.'s reply was:
That's a very good question but one that does not, unfortunately, have an answer. When asked I usually tell about the Jean DeClerck Chair, given every two years by, the Catholic University of Louvain (jointly, by the Flemish and Wallon schools into which the original split). The year I attended the session was titled "The pH Paradox". Over three days of presentations the subject of pH in brewing gone over with respect to mash, stability, flavor, colloids etc. The title was chosen, of course, because even in a single area, such as mash pH,  there is range of workable pH's. As you well know alpha amylase is most active at one pH while beta is most active at another. Which pH is the "best" for any particular beer is, IMO, only determinable by repeatedly brewing the beer at various pH's and seeing what produces the best beer. This is, of course, what a commercial brewer does either explicitly, by taking measurments, or implicitly by changing the amount of acid he adds to the mash and tasting. Anecdotal evidence is not the best way to draw a conclusion but I will say that the biggest single improvement in my brewing in the last 5 years or so came when I started actively controlling pH to between 5.3 and 5.4 (room temperature) rather than just monitoring it.

As to your other questions I'll go with the only one I'll be able to answer with any level of certainty:
I've heard you add baking soda or salts (gypsum)  to change it. Which one does which?
Baking soda (the HCO3 in baking soda) raises pH, gypsum (the Ca++'s reaction with malt phosphates [Hydrogen Phosphates, mainly, according to Fix]) lowers pH in the mash.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Recipe scaling
« on: September 07, 2010, 09:17:34 PM »
I feel that gallons per hour is the only righteous way to keep track of my boil-off rates since, given the diameter of my kettle and the intensity I like to see in my boil, I tend to boil off 1 gallon per hour regardless of whether there are 7 gallon of wort in my pot at the beginning of that hour or 7.5 gallons of wort in that pot. Obviously 1 gallon is a different percentage for every batch size depending on whether I'm doing a 90min boil (and I start with 7.5 gallons) or a 60min boil (and I start with 7 gallons). I think the only time I've ever seen anything that I felt was substantial that quoted boil off as a percent was:
The most widely used indicator is the percent evaporation that takes place in the boil (Narziss, 1992). With standard boiling systems, a general rule is that the volume reduction be at least 7%. However, it has been show that evaporation rates above 12% may produce level 2 heterocyclics, leaving vegetal malt tones that are accompanied with some astringency. A wide range of level 2 and 3 heterocyclics is possible once evaporation rates exceed 15% As already stated, the flavor of the finished beer will determine the extent to which this effect is relevant
- Fix 1999
To me it seems that a 15% volume reduction over the course of a single hour's time boiling would be more significant to a commercial brewer than to a home brewer but that quote is verbatim so take it with as many grains of salt as you feel necessary.
I've got that set at 23% to achieve 2.5 gallons of boil-off for a 75 minute boil (yeah, that's a lot; I've got a wide kettle).
That seems like quite a bit off boil off. What is the width of the kettle that you use? Remember it's not the size of your kettle it's the motion of your wort  ;)

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