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Messages - thcipriani

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry Question
« on: August 09, 2011, 02:12:02 PM »
I think your 4g CaSO4 and .25g NaOH is probably a reasonable plan of attack.

My understanding about Camden tablets is that they won't affect Chloride levels - if so only negligibly. I know that metabisulfite is a powerful reducer - not sure what it reduces chlorine/chloramines to - either way I wouldn't worry about it.

I'm not sure what I think about Cl:SO4 ratio - I saw Colin Kaminski (co-author of the upcoming water book) talking about dosing beers with CaCl2- and CaSO4-spiked water post ferment to give you idea of the affect. Haven't tried it, but I'm going to - just to see if I can tell a difference. He suggested using 1tsp/pint of CaSO4 and 1/4tsp/pint CaCl2 since the gypsum doesn't dissolve too well.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Transferring to Lauter Tun
« on: August 09, 2011, 01:50:42 PM »
I mash in a 10 Gallon Gott cooler - in a setup probably fairly similar to what you've got - and I think I'd either infuse with boiling water in the cooler, do a decoction mash to hit my temps, try a combination of those two techniques or, most likely, stick with my SOP and single-infusion mash.

Can you make a better beer with a multi-step mash? Maybe. I'm not sure that I could. I don't have any practice with that technique. I wouldn't try what you're proposing because I'd likely never use this technique and would, therefore, never get good-enough at this technique to make better beer than I could with my standard technique. My new mantra is, "Don't fight your system".

I say all of this with the caveat that recently (about a year ago) I decided to branch out and try a ton of new techniques. I think what I found, after 40-some-odd batches of experiments, was that all of these techniques can make amazing beer; however, none of these techniques are the secret to making amazing beer. The secret to making amazing beer, I feel, is perfecting a process that works well for your system. That's my current brewing philosophy FWIW.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Transferring to Lauter Tun
« on: August 07, 2011, 05:47:49 PM »
while most modern grains are well modified that doesn't mean that a step mash can't offer some benefit. For one thing the glucose/maltose balance is effected by mashing regimen among many other important

My concern would be oxidation of the mash - I think if you could do a gentle transfer you'd be fine; however, I think it's a reasonable idea for you to evaluate why you're step-mashing. If you're doing it for fun or authenticity, that's fine; however, there are better ways to improve your beer.

As was noted above, I think you could probably get away pitching your whole 2-liter starter at the height of activity in something like a stout or something with enough flavor to hide it. I saw the 10% rule in Dr. White's and JZ's yeast book and was a little surprised - I remember back when Jamil was winning Ninkasi's and said multiple times that he just pitches his whole starter after about 8 hours. Pitching at the height of activity is definitely something to consider when you're brewing on short notice, but I tend not to do that too much anymore.

What I've been doing is a combination of decanting and pitching at the height of activity - I saw this in Zymurgy and it's apparently Jamil's revised process. I pressure cook starter wort and I do 3 sizes - 500mL, 1L and 2L. I use the 1L and 2L as you'd expect - the 500mL I save for brew day. I let my starters ferment out, then let them sit out for 8-12 hours to rebuild glycogen reserves then refrigerate until brew day. Morning of brew day - sometime when I'm heating sparge water - I'll decant my starter and let it warm back up to a reasonable temp (or until I get my mash pH set - whichever comes first) then I'll throw 500mL additional wort on the settled yeast and I pitch that whole thing. I only do this with ales. This is a technique that's been working amazingly well for me - fermentations have been pretty amazing - quick and complete.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast Management?
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:35:12 PM »
The easiest way to give a rough estimate of the number of yeast cells you had in your slurry is to do a sedimented cell volume:
Of course it's easier with a microscope and hemacytometer

I'd recommend looking into the Yeast book by Chris White and JZ for your other questions.

Equipment and Software / Re: blichmann burners
« on: August 04, 2011, 07:00:11 PM »
I really like mine; however, unless you're getting a stand I would just get a banjo burner.

Banjo uses the same burner - I'm skeptical that the stand makes as much difference as Blichmann claims. Diminishing returns for the excess change unless you're building the stand piece-by-piece.

Also, my beef is that there's this 2-3in gap between the top of the stand and the bottom of the pot - when it's windy I have a hell of a time keeping a boil. This wasn't a problem when I had my Bayou Classic.

Equipment and Software / Re: Milwaukee pH meter issues
« on: July 28, 2011, 10:00:14 PM »
I actually emailed Kai this question about a year ago - hopefully he won't mind me sharing his answer in full here:
I just used the meter and what you are seeing is normal. You need to swirl the probe around to get a stable reading. In a lab you would put the sample on a small stirrer.

The probe acts like an acid itself and changes the pH in its vicinity. That's why you have to keep it moving a bit to  disturb the layer of changed pH solution that formed around the probe.

Quick thought on the siphon - sometimes my hose clamps will poke holes in my tubing - have you removed the hose-clamp recently and checked the tubing? Try replacing the tubing with some tight-fitting tubing (5/16" ID) and ditching the hose clamp maybe?

As far as the gushers are concerned, my only nugget of wisdom is to make sure you're stirring really well - not fast or vigorously - just thoroughly - get the sugar solution nice and even. Maybe try carb drops - limit your variables.

If you really think you have an infection try a Wort Stability test - collect wort from the kettle into a sterile container and see how long it takes to start spontaneously fermenting. If your wort makes it 4-5 days without showing signs of fermentation then your infection's somewhere on the cold-side, else, it's in your chilling or racking to the kettle.

The Pub / Re: Beer making gifs
« on: July 09, 2011, 08:30:55 AM »
Fine - he didn't sellout - he bought in...whatever.
sorry didn't mean to jump down your throat. It's just that all too often a company will actually sell out and the quality and/or variety of their products will drain away as they are corpratized ( I don't think that is a word). I don't actually drink alot of DFH beers although the midas touch is a special thing.

Hey man, it's like 2Pac said, i ain't mad atcha.

Also, another lyric from the same 2Pac song that's pertinent to the discussion, "I moved up out of the ghetto, so I ain't real now?" - Mr. Shakur has, once again, given us all a little something to think about.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« on: July 09, 2011, 01:30:34 AM »
Also, let's not forget when Kai sent water dosed with 5.2 off to Ward - It proved unequivocally that 5.2's anion was Sodium.
Sodium is a cation not an anion...

I'd believe it.

All Things Food / Re: TED Talk about food and science
« on: July 08, 2011, 09:06:12 AM »
Here is an article for 'A Hamburger Today' about Nathan Myhrvolds burger:

The Pub / Re: Beer making gifs
« on: July 08, 2011, 07:36:27 AM »
Fine - he didn't sellout - he bought in...whatever.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
« on: July 07, 2011, 07:47:47 PM »
This yeast can throw a very nice low smoke phenolic,  Great for Scottish/Strong Scotch Ales. 

This must be the origin of the "peated Scottish ale" myth.

That's what I attribute it to, but Kris England (IIRC) has done some research relating it to the water used.

I've seen that - here:

I just got back from Scotland and the water didn't have any sort of peat character that I could taste, although, admittedly, I didn't get much into the highlands. Caledonian and Belhaven had nothing I would call peaty - the were just clean, with a subdued caramel sweetness, they were dry and malt-forward beers. Jamil's Scottish recipe actually gets you pretty close. I have no idea where this idea originated - I just wish any reference to any smoke perception would get out of the guidelines. I hate judging this category and then in MBOS you get an "Other smoked beer" from the other side of the table.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« on: July 07, 2011, 07:20:56 PM »
In the interest of full disclosure I used to use 5.2 and I've actually made award-winning beers with it; however, I'm the first to admit that it was more of a hindrance than a help.

That just goes to show you what a truly tiny difference water actually makes - I was brewing with Burton level sulfates (around 400ppm) and 5.2 and I still turned out very good beer. My beer may have been improved by using different water; however, using the absolute worst water it was still pretty good. Brewing is more about adapting ingredients and recipes to your process than the other way around - back when, I always brewed with bad water so my recipes likely evolved around it - just like historic water profiles/historic beer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash PH using 5.2 stabilizer
« on: July 07, 2011, 05:14:24 PM »
Also, let's not forget when Kai sent water dosed with 5.2 off to Ward - It proved unequivocally that 5.2's anion was Sodium. So not only do phosphate buffers work extremely poorly in the mash pH range, you're also adding 100ppm sodium to your beer at the recommended dose!

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