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Messages - gogreen437

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31
All Grain Brewing / Efficiency: How Good is Too Good
« on: January 10, 2012, 09:01:46 AM »
So, I recently did Jamil Zainasheff's hazelnut chocolate porter, using maris otter as the base malt.  I batch sparged in a 70 qt coleman cooler and collected 6.5 gallons and collected 5 gallons after it was all said and done for the fermenter.  The gravity reading was well above what the recipe stated.  When I calculated the efficiency after, it was almost 82%.  Is that too high?  I've heard that too high of an efficiency can be a bad thing, as you may be extracting things from your mash that are undesirable. 

32
All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Temperature and pH
« on: August 28, 2011, 01:00:47 PM »
But, after reading a comment from Denny the other day who said he heats his sparge water up to 185F (or something along those lines) I was confused.  So I looked into Denny's batch sparging tutorial.  It makes reference to doing a mash out, but also makes reference to getting the grain bed to 165F to 168F during the sparging process, but doesn't really explain why.  I understand a mash out is to stop enzymatic activity.  But once that has been done, what is the benefit of raising the grain bed temp to 165F to 168F during *edit* sparging?  I'm sorry for the very long winded question, but I want to understand as much as possible.

I'll try to clarify things a bit....I used to believe in a mashout for 2 reasons.  One was to stop the enzymatic activity and "fix" the fermentability of the wort.  The other was that it would reduce the viscosity of the wort and improve the runoff.  I've since found that in order to denature enzymes you need to hold 170F for 20 min.  I've never done that, and I suspect not many homebrewers do, either.  In addition, I realized that you're bringing the wort to a boil very quickly with batch sparging, so you don't even really need to worry about denaturing enzymes (the boil obviously does that  To the second point, I realized that even if raising the temp really did reduce viscosity (and I question the extent to which that really happens), you got no benefits from it.  I tried sparging with cooler water and didn't really see any change in efficiency or fermentability.  In reality, even if I added 190F water, the grain bed still rarely reached 170.  These days, I don't worry about a mashout step per se, but sparge with water that's at least 190F.  That in effect gives me a beta/alpha step mash, which I think does increase my efficiency a bit by promoting fuller conversion in the mash.

And while it may or may not matter in this instance, keep in mind that John is almost always speaking of fly sparging, not batch sparging.

Thank you! That clarified a lot for me in one post.  It sounds like adding sparge water that is heated to 190F is the most efficient thing in terms of actual benefit based on the options.  Thanks again.

33
All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Temperature and pH
« on: August 28, 2011, 12:29:50 PM »
It is the grain bed temp, not the sparge temp that you want to monitor.

This is an important point.

The grain bed should reach 168F-170F during the sparge. So after the sacch. rest, one will need to infuse or rinse with water higher than the targeted temp in order to achieve those temps. Typically the strike temp will be 20-30 degrees higher than the target temp depending on the amount of grist, initial temp of grist and volume of water added. There are some decent brewing programs that will calculate this for you. I like Beersmith 2.

So there is where I am confused.  I just heat my sparge water to 170F and use that.  After recently listening to an episode of Brew Strong on sparging, John Palmer seemed to say that the sparge water (not the grain bed temp) is fine in the 170F to 175F range.  In fact, he even suggested you could just use warm water and it wouldn't make much difference.  When describing the original mash process he said nothing about doing a mash out in regards to the first runnings, and in How to Brew he states that many homebrewers skip this step and it doesn't negatively affect their beers.  All this is a long way of saying that I don't do a mash out and I only heat my sparge water to 170F.

But, after reading a comment from Denny the other day who said he heats his sparge water up to 185F (or something along those lines) I was confused.  So I looked into Denny's batch sparging tutorial.  It makes reference to doing a mash out, but also makes reference to getting the grain bed to 165F to 168F during the sparging process, but doesn't really explain why.  I understand a mash out is to stop enzymatic activity.  But once that has been done, what is the benefit of raising the grain bed temp to 165F to 168F during *edit* sparging?  I'm sorry for the very long winded question, but I want to understand as much as possible.

34
All Grain Brewing / The More I Read...Confusion and Vorlauf
« on: August 23, 2011, 11:53:45 AM »
Still relatively new to all grain brewing, but I have been reading all I can about all grain long before I ever took the plunge and this one caught me off guard.  I apologize if this is a rehash of things that have come up before, but there is a post that I came across on the Northern Brewer Blog called "2 Things Literature Says You Should Do That You Shouldn't."  The second one down says that you should not do a vorlauf as this strips your wort of fatty acids needed for a healthy fermentation.  He elaborates on the point two posts under the initial entry and maintains that the benefits do not outweigh the cons. This is the first time I've read someone advocating not doing a volrauf.  Has anybody experimented with the differences between doing a vorlauf and not doing one and the results?  I'm interested to know if this has any traction, or is a bit of a fringe opinion?  Thanks for any insight.

http://northernbrewer.blogspot.com/2010/03/2-things-literature-says-you-should-do.html

35
All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Temperature and pH
« on: August 23, 2011, 09:20:30 AM »
In my experience, you are correct.  pH seems to be a far larger issue than water temp for tannin extraction.  I typically use 190F water to sparge without any problems.  Especially if you're batch sparging.  In that case, pH becomes even less of a concern.

Just out of curiosity, why the 190F sparge water? 

36
All Grain Brewing / Re: Barley wine question
« on: August 23, 2011, 06:27:08 AM »
I think the thicket mash would be to avoid having too much wort. figure 2 gallons of 1.1 is about 7lbs grain so at 2 qt/lbs that's 14 quarts or 3.5 gallons less .8 held by grain is 2.7 gallons of first runnings alone. to get to your 2 gallon mark you would have to boil alot. or just use first runnings.

I was going for a 5 gallon batch when I brewed my barley wine and used 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain and ended up with almost 7 gallons of first runnings.  I didn't sparge, though I could have and just made a smaller beer with the second runnings.  I was happy with it, boiled down to a little over 5.5 gallons and  it has some awesome maltiness to it.  It's still relatively young and hot, but I'm excited for it when it mellows.  

37
All Grain Brewing / Stale Grain, How Do You Know?
« on: August 15, 2011, 05:52:47 AM »
I ordered a 50 pound sack of Maris Otter back in February, so about 7 months ago.  I portioned it out into 1 gallon zip lock bags after using it the first time.  I brewed a pumpkin spice ale this Saturday and used the last 8 pounds of the Maris Otter, along with 3 additional pounds I picked up from my local homebrew store to round out my base grain.  The stuff I got from the store definitely had more of a crunch to it.  The old Maris Otter still had a little crunch, but was a little mealy, though it didn't taste bad by any means.  How do you know when malt has gone bad, and how much does your beer suffer when using old grain?

38
All Grain Brewing / Re: Rahr Pils vs Rahr Old World Pils
« on: July 24, 2011, 09:21:26 AM »
Without seeing the spec sheets, I would guess that maybe the Old World is less well modified than the standard Pils? 

39
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How many people use hop bags?
« on: July 15, 2011, 11:34:17 AM »
It sounds like you're pouring the wort into the fermenter. That would be one reason you're fighting with the trub.  A proper whirlpool and cooling will allow you to siphon off the wort from the kettle into the fermenter while leaving more trub behind. 


Yes, I do pour.  My bootleg manner of adding oxygen is pouring between my bucket and brew kettle a few times before pouring through a mesh screen.  If I want to whirlpool I stir and let settle, then siphon? Or is it more complex a process than this?

40
General Homebrew Discussion / How many people use hop bags?
« on: July 15, 2011, 11:26:04 AM »
I've always just thrown my hops right into the boil, but I'm getting tired of cleaning my little funnel/filter out 4 or 5 times when transferring from my brew kettle to my carboy.  How many use hop bags out there and do you notice any loss in utilization? 

41
All Grain Brewing / Re: Porter Question
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:55:04 AM »
Thanks for the responses!  I think I'll add them all at the beginning this time and go from there. 

42
All Grain Brewing / Porter Question
« on: July 14, 2011, 08:32:05 AM »
I'm going to be brewing a robust porter this weekend and it will be my first all grain using darker grains.  I'm sure this question has come up a ton, but should I add the black patent malt and the chocolate malt towards the end of the mash (like in the last 20 to 10 minutes) or mash it from the being with my base malt and my crystal malt (I'll be using maris otter for the base)?  I know that adding them later will reduce the harshness of the roast character, but is this counterproductive for the style? 

43
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Regarding yeast starters...
« on: June 01, 2011, 07:46:10 AM »
I usually like to pitch at high krauesen, so I pitch the whole thing.  But, I usually make 1 liter starters. 

44
I'm most likely the cheapest, most ghetto brewer in the entire nation, but...... even if I wasn't, I couldn't see shelling out any dough at all for a temperature controlled system if I was happy with the ales I was making in my basement in the low 60s.

Which I am.  And which, it seems, you are, too.

I am, and appreciate the perspective since I'm not looking to shell out cash without need.  I've just read so much about the importance of temp control in fermentation recently that I wanted to make sure I'm not missing the boat. 

45
Yeast and Fermentation / Basic Fermentation Temperature Question
« on: May 31, 2011, 11:24:30 AM »
I'm sure this question gets asked a lot in various ways, but I'm taking steps to improve my process and wanted some feedback.  I've been brewing ales for a number of years now and when it comes to primary fermentation I use my basement, where ambient temps are typically in the low to mid 60s.  I know that fermentation can raise the temp of the beer by 5 degrees (give or take a few degrees) but I've never seen the temp strips on my fermentors above 71 at the highest and most often it's in the 60s.  So  I'm hesitant to go looking for a spare fridge and shelling out 50 to 100 bucks for a temp regulator for my fermentations.  But, it seems like temp control is the most universally pushed "improvement" a homebrewer can add to their process.  Should I be looking at temp control, regardless of basement good fortune? 

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