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Messages - erockrph

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Playing around with final beer pH
« on: October 14, 2015, 08:28:12 AM »
I've done this the other way with bicarb in a porter, but I've never thought to add acid to pale beers. I can think of a few beers that ended up a bit flabby and this may have been the missing piece. I will definitely be trying this in the future if needed. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

Remember to check your munich malt before assuming anything about its modification.  Best Malz munich is pretty well modified.
Fair enough, although that may still be a good example. A "Pale Ale" kilned heirloom UK varietal may be a better example for what I was trying to get at.

I guess the TL;DR of my previous post is that if a malt has a higher alpha amylase content then it can tolerate a higher mash temperature and/or longer mash, yet still retain some alpha amylase activity by the end of the mash.

This probably explains why there is data showing peak fermentability from mashes in the mid-150's, rather the 140's as we'd typically expect. If your malt is hot enough, then you can push your mash further into beta range before you lose the bulk of your alpha activity.  Your main variables are the half-life of the reaction that denatures your alpha amylase, and the amount of alpha present in the mash.

The Pub / Did you ever wonder...
« on: October 13, 2015, 04:55:15 PM »
...if brewers ever release a beer as a giant inside joke thinking "I wonder if anyone will actually buy this?"

...and then you slap down your credit card...


The real trick is pretty much exactly that.  Mash in the overlap range for long enough to give the beta time to work.  I use 149F for 75 minutes for most 'normal' strength beers and 90-120 minutes for high grav beers.
Enzyme content of the malt is a huge factor in determining the time and temperature of this overlap range, and is why is is so hard to extrapolate data from any experiment like this. Enzyme activity and denaturation are temperature-sensitive rates. In particular, the denaturation of enzymes have temperature dependant half life. So if you have more of a particular enzyme in one malt you can push the temp higher and still have some enzyme remaining at the end of the mash that hasn't yet been denatured.

It would be interesting to see how this experiment looks using Munich malt or something else with lower enzyme content.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
« on: October 12, 2015, 09:43:12 PM »
I've been wondering if I've been fighting a mild persistent infection in my beers. My thoughts on using rubbing alcohol as a "nuclear" option for a few beers and see where that leads me.

With my brewery I really require a no-rinse sanitizer, unless I did all my sanitizing on the complete other end of the condo. With a no-rinse option I can tackle everything in the garage. Iodophor may be my eventual choice for a sanitizer, but I'd like to prove to myself that star-san isn't killing what's in my garage before I switch to a product that can stain.

If you do not want to use bleach and vinegar, you can use 12.5ppm iodophor.    Both solutions are no rinse and full spectrum.  I have been using 12.5ppm iodophor lately.
Iodophor isn't sporicidal (neither is alcohol, by the way). If you're looking for a truly "nuclear" option then bleach is the way to go.

One other point of note regarding iodophor is that it may degrade certain types of silicone. In the medical field iodophors aren't used on silicone tubing as a precaution. I don't know how many brewers use silicone tubing on the cold side, but I figured I'd put that out there.

Personally, I have yet to run into any issues with Star-San in my brewery. I have several spray bottles of both Star San and Iodophor floating around and I feel comfortable reaching for either one if needed.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Swap-toberfest '15
« on: October 12, 2015, 09:07:22 PM »
I'm enjoying my first beer from Jon (Hoosierbrew). This was simply marked "IPA".

The beer is pale gold in color, and is crystal clear aside from some hop haze. The head is just a ring of white foam. Upon closer review, my glass is not as beer-clean as I would like, so the lack of head may be my fault. The aroma has citrus up front, followed by a big, dank cannabis note, as well as a hint of juniper in the background.

On the palate, I get fleeting notes of stonefruit and citrus, that quickly turns into a clinging, resinous hop character. Bittering is firm, but not harsh or abrasive. The fermentation character is clean, with no flaws, or any other notable yeast or ester character to speak of. The malt character is very low, and just lets the hops do their thing. There is also a hint of a gypsum/mineral water note. The finish is crisp and dry, As the hop resin starts to fade at the end you can pick out some fruit and pine notes that come back in, and maybe a low sulfur/onion note way in the back.

Carbonation was a bit low for this type of IPA. I think a bit more fizz would help boost the aroma a bit more, and might break up the strong resin punch a bit. But that's a minor quibble (and expected, Jon let me know that the carbonation wasn't fully dialed in yet, but he wanted to time his package so it wouldn't be sitting in a hot warehouse all weekend).

Overall, this is a damn nice IPA that I could easily drink in quantity. Great beer, Jon!

Interesting post from the reddit subforum on this exbeeriment:

"If the sugars left are mostly dextrines, then the beer simply won't be sweet - I've made diy cycling hydration/nutrition mix with 60g/L maltodextrine, and this is really un-sweet; it's kind of somewhere between very dilute sugar solution and very dilute starch water, which I guess makes sense. I then add 30g/L fructose, and that's all you can taste. 9 points is less than 30g/L maltodextrine, so I'm really not surprised it barely has any flavour impact."

So maybe a high mash temp just leaves a load of tasteless dextrines that hydrometers detect better than taste buds.
That was exactly my thought when I was reading this. The yeast is going to eat up all the simple sugars that would taste sweet, and leave only the relatively flavorless dextrins behind. I quickly gave up on using maltodextrin in my extract batches because I never noticed a difference in the finished beer.

It would be interesting to see this xBmt repeated with a low attenuating yeast like Windsor. If you have a yeast that already leaves a bit more fermentables behind than others, maybe that would be enough to notice a flavor difference. I also wonder whether using a large amount of crystal malt would lead to a more noticeable difference as well.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Whirlpool IBU Thing
« on: October 12, 2015, 06:50:01 PM »
My Double IPA came out to 65. Tinseth had it around 90-100 IIRC.
Mine measured 98. Tinseth had 475 and Rager had 440. So Rager was quite a bit closer. Maybe you were using the wrong equation  ;D

Beer Recipes / Re: Chasing the perfect Munich Helles
« on: October 11, 2015, 08:34:46 PM »
For grist, how about Cologne malt?  It's definitely bready, kinda rich and it's a really nice compliment to pils.  Maybe use it as a substitute for your Vienna?
I'm planning on tackling the Helles style myself this winter and I'm planning on using Kolsch malt in the grist. I agree with the "super pilsner" description. Pilsner malt gives me dry pasta and cracker notes, but I get something closer to the inside of a baguette from a lot of Helles. Big breweries can have malt made to spec, so it stands to reason that they could be using something kilned just a hair beyond a typical pilsner malt.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
« on: October 11, 2015, 08:22:31 PM »
Mark, stupid question, but is there any reason not to use rubbing alcohol as a general-purpose no-rinse sanitizer? If it were that simple why isn't everyone using it?
Rubbing ethyl alcohol has additives specifically to make it toxic for oral consumption, and isopropanol is toxic in sufficient quantities. I don't think you'd have to worry at the quantities we'd be working with, but I'm not to excited about dumping a bottle in my carboy.

Any spirits at 140 proof or higher would be sufficient, but as Mark mentioned that gets to be cost prohibitive.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Another Whirlpool IBU Thing
« on: October 11, 2015, 08:01:48 PM »
To go one step further, when I steep at 170F, it is specifically because I don't want to get any IBUs from that addition. This allows me to really dial in my bittering separately without having to make a WAG about utilization from my hop stand. You can adjust your flavor and IBUs completely separately that way.

Other Fermentables / Re: cider:water ratio for a cyser?
« on: October 11, 2015, 07:59:10 AM »
After posting here this morning, I got to thinking about a specific recipe for my "morat"/cyser -- I just learned the term "morat" is used for mulberry mead, and that's sort of what I'm going for, except that I want about half my base fermentables from cider and not all honey.  The 1 liter of mulberry should be sufficient for that flavor but if not I have a second liter that I could add in secondary.  So here's what I've kind of figured out, for anyone interested -- this is for 3 gallons of "morat/cyser", planned OG of 1.057-ish and ABV 7.5%-ish:

2.5 lb local basswood and apple blossom honeys (about a 50/50 mix)
1.6 gallons local unpasteurized cider (most likely McIntosh, Cortland, Wealthy, and other local culinaries)
1 liter commercial mulberry juice
0.9 gallon municipal tap water (heated to eliminate chlorine)
1 pack Cote des Blancs yeast

I'm a heat pasteurization guy, as I trust nothing to chance or to sulfites, so I will heat treat the must to about 160 F for 15 minutes, then cool and pitch.  I'm also a bit of a purist, so there will be no chemical additions of any kind, except for possible gelatin (see later) and possible traces of sorbate in the commercial mulberry juice.  Ferment at around 55 F for a month or two, racking once per week to slow the fermentation even more and hopefully stall it out around 1.010.  If proceeding too quickly (as is often the case!), I will hit with gelatin and chill further (probably in my garage in winter!) to knock out the yeast even further.  Want this to finish above 1.000, and 1.005-1.010 would be best.  Eventually after several months, bring up in temperature for a little bit and ensure fermentation is pretty much dead, then prime and bottle.  If I absolutely have to, I'll add sorbate.  Yummy mulberry apple honey wine-cooler!!!!!

I'll confess I'm not a snobbish mead guy at all, I just know what I like and I make it to suit my own tastes!  And I believe this will do the trick VERY nicely.  I can't wait!  Should be heavenly, and not so dang strong so I can drink it like Kool-Aid -- I know -- blasphemy!  It's gonna be great though.
Dave, I'm dipping my toes into the "wine cooler" style meads as well. I'll be interested to hear how yours turn out. For mine I'm going to go the "keg and keep cold" route to try to avoid sorbate/sulfiting. I'm also planning on using juice to backsweeten when feasible to maximize the fruit flavor.

Equipment and Software / Re: primary bucket spiggot
« on: October 11, 2015, 07:35:44 AM »
Let us know how it goes. You can always try it out with water first rather than spill beer
+1 - I brew a lot of 1-gallon batches and they're a PITA to bottle. I've been using an autosiphon attached to a bottling wand to bottle right from the primary because I'm worried I'd lose too much by racking to a bottling bucket first. If you come up with a decent rig, I'd be tempted to give it a shot.

For my next round of trial batches I'm thinking of racking to a keg, then bottling from there under low CO2 pressure.

A microscope is not very useful when it comes to the isolation and identification of microflora.  About the only thing that a microscope is useful for is counting and determining the viability of cells.  Plating is the fundamental skill when working with brewing microflora. Yeast, mold, and bacteria look very different on a plate.   There are also different plating media for the identification of different types of microflora. There's even a plating medium that can differentiate between domestic and wild yeast.
Mark, is any of this selective media available in pre-poured plates? I'd love to be able to plate a mixed culture from a lambic and easily find the Brettanomyces colonies. Since I don't have a pressure cooker, getting some pre-poured plates eliminates my primary barrier for entry into this part of the hobby. It's been a while since I took Micro lab, but I'm pretty sure I can muddle through with plates and paperclips to start.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: first time for everything...uugghhh!
« on: October 10, 2015, 11:50:28 AM »
Was the pack already partly swelled? Because that's the only way I can envision this happening. The trick is to slide the inner pouch down to the bottom corner, then press straight down with the heel of the palm. It's just like performing chest compressions for CPR.

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