Without an alkalinity test, it is hard to know how to adjust your water.
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When literature review is not practical, couldn't peer review of the knowledge base be done?This is a fascinating thread, which coincidentally I found only after I posted this (provacatively titled) blog entry last night ("Are Homebrew Experiments Scientific?"): https://andybrews.com/2017/02/07/are-homebrew-experiments-scientific/
I completely agree with you Andy. I have worked in science for 25 years, lab setting for 7, and clinical research for the last 18, and know that "labs" are not much different from a homebrew setting.
The humble advice to Denny and the IGORs (sounds like Benny and the Jets )
- Researchers must do a literature review to the extent that is possible, so it is clear in your mind how your experiment will add to the knowledge in the area (it is not that it was never done, but that it must be done for every experiment)
- Researchers must provide an objective evaluation of the quality of the beer whenever possible. Less flaws mean less statistical noise. Flaws in the beer may explain why a difference could not be detected.
- Researchers must maximize the odds of finding a difference should there be one (meaning, pick the best style). The argument that a more flavorful beer is more "real world"is not invalid, but research-wise, one does the experiment with the best chance first, and then does the extrapolation experiment.
Welcome to the forum, Andy !!
Nice to be more active on the forum, and to have some good discussion!
It is worth noting that my "lab" equipment includes everything from helicopters to jackhammers to binocular microscopes to CT scanners. Science is awesome. The only place I use an Erlenmeyer flask (that old science stereotype) is in brewing!
The issue of delving into the brewing literature is one I talk about in a bit more depth for my post, and have been thinking a lot on lately...a real challenge is that much/most of the brewing literature is paywalled (and thus not terribly accessible in any easy fashion for most users), much of it is highly technical (I certainly am not always in a good position to evaluate its quality, and I have a Ph.D. in science!), and a lot of the brewing literature centers on brewing at commercial scales. Of course, the latter point has me thinking--has anyone done a good review article on differences and similarities between commercial and homebrewing setups, in terms of chemistry, physics, biology, etc.? There are lots of scattered references, of course (e.g., pressure differences between a 5 gallon carboy and a 500 gallon conical), but if anyone knows of a single piece that ties this all together I'd love to see it!
And hey...is it time to start a peer reviewed, open access journal of homebrew science? (I'd love to help out!)
Perhaps our difference viewpoints might be explained by the starting water. Specifically, a low mineral water - moderate alkalinity is OK - doesn't produce a beer that has unpleasant mineralogy with high sulfate and chloride but a high mineral one does?Over 100 ppm sulfate and chloride doesn't seem to be an issue in New England IPAs. Check Scott Janish's blog for more info.
Maybe so. Those are more chloride heavy. I can't speak as a NEIPA expert by any means, but I do trust Martin's advice and have seen the results in sulfate heavy beers with too much chloride. All in all, I'd rather give water advice to someone on the conservative end and let them run with it.
I live in a Northern State and intentionally started kegging in the winter so I could store my keg in my garage (never freezes) without refrigerators/kegerators etc. I bought a used keg ($30?) a regulator ($40?) a used steel Co2 tank and a new picnic faucet. Of course this was close to 30-years ago (I still use that keg and regulator). Like everyone else in this post, I added kegs, keezers, regs. etc. Obviously everything is more expensive now...but the point is you can start kegging relatively inexpensive if you are creative and are a "toe dipper" (cheap) like me.