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Messages - pehlman

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All Grain Brewing / Another water chemistry question.... Sorry
« on: August 31, 2011, 03:45:04 AM »
Was just reading through John Palmer's book in the chapter about water chemistry and I noticed something. He says "if the total hardness exceeds the total alkalinity, then nearly all the alkalinity can be removed down to the 50ppm limit."

After looking at my latest water report, my Hardness as CaCO3 is 246mg/L and my Alkalinity is 112mg/L

However, my Alkalinity doesn't say "as CaCO3" after it like the hardness does. Can I still assume it's pretty close?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Maximum OG for yeast viability
« on: August 30, 2011, 09:10:52 PM »
Nateo - yeah that answers my question thanks! Makes perfect sense. Love the analogy! Hahaha

Ingredients / Re: Molasses in a stout
« on: August 30, 2011, 09:04:57 PM »
One other thing to consider is to try and keep the sugars from the molasses below 10% of your total gravity. That seems to be the general consensus with most simple sugars and syrups. That should hopefully help you narrow it down a bit as well. And I agree with the others. If you are using blackstrap, even as little as 5oz can be noticeable. Just depends on the beer and how strong you want the molasses flavor to be.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Head space and forced CO2
« on: August 30, 2011, 08:18:22 AM »
Thanks guys!

One more question... a bit off topic...

Does anybody here use a keg as a secondary fementer/conditioning tank? I assume for beers where you're going to be dry-hopping, kegs are easier to purge with CO2. Ive had bad luck with trying to dry-hop beers, and I hear that being able to purge out the oxygen can really help keep the fresh flavor.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Maximum OG for yeast viability
« on: August 30, 2011, 08:08:29 AM »
I'm not sure the OG is the limiting factor, if that's what you're asking.

The highest OG wort I've made came in around 1.12 and was pitched on a yeast cake from a smaller beer, so all the yeast went in at the beginning.  This fermented down to around 1.045 or so, IIRC.

A different yeast may have taken it down further, but at some point the ABV becomes too much for the yeast.

I suppose you could start with whatever OG you want, but the higher you go on the OG the higher will be your final gravity.  How sweet a beverage are you looking for?

Thats what I meant...  I just didn't phrase the question very well... haha :P

I totally know that the gravity itself isnt the issue... I was concered with how far down you could get a given wort to ferment before needing to add more yeast and/or sugars.

Denny - Thanks! 12% is what I assumed it would be around. Ive never tried making anything above 11%

All Grain Brewing / Maximum OG for yeast viability
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:39:58 PM »
What's the highest original gravity in which you can get likely get yeast to thrive and attenuate well? I have heard of people making very strong beers and having to start with a lower-gravity wort, and then adding small amounts of yeast and sugar as it ferments. Is there an upper limit as far as a how big of a beer one can make just using the usual method of pitching all the yeast at the beginning? Given proper yeast-count and aeration, of course.

Kegging and Bottling / Head space and forced CO2
« on: August 29, 2011, 08:20:59 PM »
I ended up with about a gallon less beer than I intended on my last batch. Looks like Im only gonna end up with about 4 gallons of beer in a 5-gal corny keg. I was wondering... Would the extra gallon of head space affect the pressure needed to carbonate it if Im just pumping CO2 into it?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:55:37 PM »
Taking on a pH meter adds a little more complexity to the venture. :D The pH strips suck so a digital meter is almost a must. When I started brewing there was no inkling of how involved it can get, and no idea how much equipment I'd start to amass.

My back yard gets so cluttered from all the s*** that I use on a brew day. Haha. Especially because I don't have a consolidated system. I just have pieces laying around everywhere. Definitely makes clean-up quite dreadful!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:07:14 PM »
When you say pH meter, you mean like a digital meter right? Not just the strips? Any brand in particular pretty standard?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 03:09:28 PM »
Thank you guys. I'll have to give that spreadsheet a try. I'm thinking I'd like to start using RO water and develop a water profile for my beers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 08:39:54 AM »


I use R/O to help build my water since it behaves the same as distilled at the brewing level. IMO.

From what I hear, R/O seems to be the most popular choice for building water profiles. If I was to buy R/O water from the store, do different brands contain different profiles as far as their hardness and pH?

All Grain Brewing / Water Chemistry... Please help!
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:41:57 AM »
Everytime I try to learn about water chemistry with regards to brewing I just always seem to end up confused and frustrated.

I understand the concept of appropriate ranges of minerals, and pH ranges, but it's putting that information into execution in a mash that I just start to get confused.

Here is my most recent water report levels:

Ca - 65 mg/L

Hardness [as CaCO3] - 246 mg/L

Mg - 21 mg/L

Na - 77 mg/L

Alkalinity - 112 mg/L (My water report doesn't show Bicarbonate HCO3)

SO4 - 160 mg/L

Cl - 78 mg/L

When I put these numbers into the equation in Ray Daniels' "Designing Great Beers" book

pH = (CaCO3 x 0.056) - (Ca x -0.04) - (Mg x -0.033]) x 0.028 + 5.8

I get an approximate mash pH of 6.1

The only way I seem to be able to calculate a mash pH of 5.4 (and still stay within ideal ranges of Ca and Mg) I would have to start with a negative amount of CaCO3 (which i assume means an acidic water)... this is where I begin to become frustrated. Can you even have negative CaCO3?

im confused...  :-\

Also, could anybody further explain to me using R/O Water vs. Distilled? At least as far as how the differences apply to brewing...

Pimp My System / Re: Anybody use Minibrew?
« on: August 26, 2011, 06:06:31 AM »

Do you have to stay cylindrical?  What about a 70 qt. rectangular?

No it doesn't HAVE to be cylindrical. I just like the idea of that shape as far as it taking up a much smaller footprint of space.

Pimp My System / Re: Anybody use Minibrew?
« on: August 24, 2011, 07:34:18 PM »
can't speak directly to that equipment but I have to say for the 50 bucks I have in my coller mash/lauter tun I can't imagine spending 250 on that one.

I hear ya there! I use a 10 gallon cooler right now but Id really like to find something a little bigger in the 15-20 gallon range. Does anybody know if there are coolers out there in that size but still in the cylindrical shape?

Pimp My System / Anybody use Minibrew?
« on: August 24, 2011, 05:49:43 PM »
Anybody have any experience with any of the MINIBREW equipment? Always thought their Mash-Lauter Tun looked pretty cool... plus Ive been interested, yet a little skeptical, of their conicals.


 - Mike

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