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Messages - thcipriani

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Determining yeast numbers?
« on: March 03, 2012, 03:18:12 PM »
The other application that I think would be really awesome is determining FAN content for meads.

Looks like you could also do IBU:

Also, looks like, could be used for carbon-filtered water chlorine, diacetyl, etc

I have to say that the lab part is one of my favorite parts of the process – almost as addictive as the brewing   ;)

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Determining yeast numbers?
« on: March 03, 2012, 05:55:26 AM »
Any good links to resources for using a spec in brewing?

I use the White Labs nutrient for all my batches. Good thought though. Also, the first batch I brewed I fermented around 64. The second I did at 58. The 58 degree one actually had less of the sulphur character. I am totally stumped what the problem was. Definitely open to any suggestions.
What was your pitching rate and O2 rate? I recently pitched a hefe with 3068 at 12E6/mL, O2 to 13 mg/L – really sulfury.

I recently read an abstract on the MBAA site about how beers with pitching rates of 3, 6, 9 and 12E6/mL finished with an even cell count. Higher pitching rates lead to older cell populations. My theory is that a low vitality (resulting from an older cell population) yeast is either more likely to produce sulfur OR is less able to clean sulfur out after creating it.

Tried to brew the same hefe recently with identical process, but pitched at 6E9/mL (and 8.5mg/L O2) and it tastes great.

Grasping at straws, more data points would be helpful.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Boil Time
« on: January 15, 2012, 07:09:29 AM »
What I'd like to see (what everyone wants) is a definitive experiment. I'm talking controlled, double-blind, triangle-tested, standard-deviation-recorded, ACTUAL experiment. An experiment upon which one, at a homebrew level, could draw a definitive conclusion. My constant rant about homebrewing is that so called experiments don't stand up to scrutiny (i.e. I brewed two beers and one tasted better - really?). Let's go after this like we'd go after FDA approval -- where's Mashweasel? Who knows how to structure and experiment? Who knows statistics? I know that my data points are insufficient. I'll help in any way I can if someone can tell me how to factor out randomness and bias. Let's actually produce something.

Ingredients / Re: pumpkin blossom honey
« on: January 15, 2012, 06:53:35 AM »
I think expensive is the name of the game with pumpkin blossom honey. In fact, I clicked on this post hoping to justify purchasing pumpkin blossom vis-à-vis a glowing review of the mead it produces. Please let me know if you make mead with this honey! My advice? If you don't have access to (or haven't had the horrifying experience of making) 2M KOH refrain from making mead with super expensive honey -- cut your teeth on inexpensive orange blossom.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Boil Time
« on: January 14, 2012, 02:58:01 PM »
I think that this question, this discussion, presupposes that decoctions deliver a flavor impact. I think that while there is a large impact as a result of decoction mashing the portion of that impact that relates directly to flavor is small.

I think you get some carmelization and fuller flavor.  Not a huge amount of flavor per se, but definitely noticeable.

When I do decoction mashes the beers they produce, to me, taste the same as stepped mash beers where I hit the same steps. I do think there is an impact of decoction. I like Eric Warner's reasoning in German Wheat Beer:
A single or double decoction mash is used when brewing a Weissbier wort for three main reasons. First, it supplies the yeast with an adequate amount of amino acids. Second, it breaks down the higher-molecular-weight proteins [...] Third, [...] it reduces chill haze in the final product.

That's it, those are the only reasons mentioned. I would add two reasons - 1. Further breakdown of starches than with a traditional mash, ensuring full and complete conversion and, potentially, a higher extract yield and 2. The residual body benefits of a stepped mash procedure (really dry and yet really malty).

I actually heard Charlie Bamforth of the brewing with beersmith podcast say (paraphrasing) that the only reasons large breweries step-mash is to improve runoff and on a homebrew scale it makes no difference. Of course, he then went on to say that he has never homebrewed and tries to avoid drinking homebrew, so what does he know about it?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Decoction Boil Time
« on: January 14, 2012, 07:37:32 AM »
I think that this question, this discussion, presupposes that decoctions deliver a flavor impact. I think that while there is a large impact as a result of decoction mashing the portion of that impact that relates directly to flavor is small.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Nutrient
« on: December 10, 2011, 08:17:43 PM »
To answer the yeast suppliment question, I use 1/2 of a 15 mg tab for a 10 gallon batch.

As to research/data on Zinc and yeast health, I remember this one.

That's interesting, slide 16 mentions the ideal is between .4 and 1ppm zinc in your wort. A while back I had an email exchange with Wyeast about their nutrient (actually about zinc toxicity and starter volume) and they stated, "Adding the nutrient [bc nutrient] at recommended levels will add 0.45 ppm zinc to your wort (that assumes 100% makes it into your fermenter).  I read a journal article that reported toxic effects at 50ppm (a lot)."

Doubling recommended rate (i.e. 1 tsp) may be the best way to ensure that you're getting the minimum without exceeding the maximum 1ppm.

Ingredients / Re: Reading water reports that state "ppm as CaCO3"
« on: December 10, 2011, 03:15:18 PM »
When you're trying to find the concentration of one substance as another substance you're talking gram equivalent weights.

The equivalent weight of an element can be derived by dividing an element's molar mass by the oxidation number (or, more conveniently, just Google search, "Equivalent weight of x" and you can usually find it. Also, here's a table of equivalent weights: In the case of Calcium the equivalent weight is 20.04 (molar mass 40.08 oxidation number 2). 

Once you have the equivalent weight of a substance expressing it as ppm as CaCO3 is the easy part. The equivalent weight of CaCO3 is 50 - that's why everything is expressed as CaCO3 - it's easy! It's like a lowest common denominator.

SO Calcium ppm * CaCO3 equivalent weight / Ca eq weight = Ca as CaCO3

200ppm Calcium in water expressed as CaCO3:
200 * (50/20) = Ca as CaCO3
200 * 2.5 = Ca as CaCO3
500 ppm Ca as CaCO3

so, yeah, that's right.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Help! I've brewed a watery mess
« on: November 26, 2011, 05:58:35 AM »
I don't feel like mash temp is going to be the main factor when calling a beer watery. Mash temp shouldn't be affecting your malt character, but your mouthfeel. A low mash temp would cause the  final beer to be starchy (if you're not getting full conversion) or have a dry body - the malt character should come through regardless.

There is a lot of leeway in grain mill gap, malt quality and mashing/boiling procedures. I'm guessing that almost everyone has a slightly different preference for the combination of mill gaps, mashing procedures, maltsers, mashing temperatures and method of temperature measurement. As long as your mash converts, I think you'll have malt flavor PROVIDED you meet the following three requirements:
 1. Avoid bad malt
 2. Use an appropriate pitching rate
 3. Avoid Infection

#1 is pretty easy - as long as the friability of the malt is still good, and you got it from a known maltser it'll make a beer that has malt flavor - the best flavor? Perhaps not, but it likely won't be described as watery.

The most likely culprit, in my early brewing and in commercial and homebrews that I would call watery is #2 (in concert with #3). If you're not using the mrmalty calc then use it. If you are using the calc try using a 20% larger starter and brewing the same beer - sometimes the estimates you get from the calc can be off. Last week I brewed a beer for which the calc recommended a 1.2L starter, I did a 1.5L starter and came up 10% short after a cell count. The calc is a great guideline, but if your beer is coming out watery then you need more healthy yeast.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water amendment
« on: November 15, 2011, 05:17:08 AM »
I know that you're trying to match the "Mosher's Ideal Pale Ale" profile - and if that's the goal, your additions are probably fine; however, I am uncomfortable putting that much chalk into a pale beer like the one you're brewing. In my experience Crisp MO has given me some fairly high pH readings - even with the amount of acid you're adding I feel like you're running the risk of shooting a little North of the recommended pH range.

If I were doing this beer, I'd probably drop the Epsom, Chalk and Phosphoric and just try it with a small amount of CaSO4 & CaCl2 (enough to get to >50ppm, allowing for some margin of error). I brewed a beer last weekend that used 1lb of Simpson Dark Crystal (75L) and 1/2lb of Special B (120+L) using Rahr 2-row base (typically fairly low dough-in pH) and I still had to add acid malt to get into the right pH range. My point is that I'm more often at a higher pH than I'd like to be and adding chalk before I dough in, to me, seems like playing with fire.

I am likely in the minority on this, FWIW.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Kettle v. Mash pH
« on: October 24, 2011, 04:08:13 AM »
FWIW I typically see a slight rise in pH after sparging - like half a tenth or a full tenth of a pH unit to kettle full. Post-boil I'll see a 2-tenth drop from kettle full, typically. For example today was:
5.37 mash pH
5.42 kettle full pH
5.28 post-boil pH

I'll see that rise in pH even though I adjust my sparge water with CRS to ~5.7.

Ingredients / Re: Coffee in a porter recipe
« on: September 11, 2011, 05:16:25 AM »
I've always wondered what kind of coffee people are using for these techniques. Each of the techniques listed probably works best with a particular coffee, or, at least, you'd think some would work better than others. I drink darker roasted coffees - not sure if the bittersweet oily-ness of a french roast would be right for end-of-boil - seems like it would come out either (a) vegetal or (b) bittersharp - french/italian/espresso roast is probably best for cold-steeping I'd think.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Oldest pub in scotland?
« on: September 08, 2011, 03:15:22 AM »
When I was in Scotland pretty much every pub claimed it was the oldest in Scotland, so I'm still skeptical :)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Lager Candy Sweetness
« on: September 08, 2011, 12:52:02 AM »
At first I was thinking that there's not way this could be oxidation - everything's under CO2 on the cold-side; however, as I'm tasting this beer with oxidation in mind I think that might be it - unfortunately.  The system I've been using is I mash and sparge on my stove and then haul a 15gallon kettle full of wort down 7 flights of stairs, sloshing it the whole way, and then boil and haul the fermentor back up the stairs. I hadn't noticed any deleterious effects of this method, but I haven't been doing any structured tastings or delicate beers, so...

Just when you think you've got a process nailed down...I got so spoiled doing the first half of the brew day indoors.

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