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Messages - narvin

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1216
Your math may be right, but I don't think the science is correct  :).  Water chemistry, alkalinity, and pH are a complicated subject. 

The math you're using looks like Kolbach's equation which estimates the pH shift in the mash based on alkalinity in the water and the reactions from calcium and magnesium with phytin in the malt.  Obviously, this is not going to hold in plain water.  As Tom said, you can make a rough estimate of alkalinty based on your other ion counts and some assumptions, but a full water report is really the way to go.

What you care about as a brewer is the pH of the mash, which depends mostly on the alkalinity (buffering capacity) of the source water, the water mineral content, and your grains in the mash.  Start by getting a full water report.  Your city water lab can usually help, but remember that these numbers will be averages and may not actually represent your current water (or even a water that can physically exist).  Make sure your measurements are correct.  A pH of 6.3 for the mash sounds pretty high... if you're using those economy strips, at least buy the more expensive ColorPhast test strips.  And, download a spreadsheet likw Kaiser's water calculator or Bruin Water and start playing around with it.  If it interests you, you can start to look at the math once you understand how it is applied.

1217
Equipment and Software / Re: Thermometers
« on: November 08, 2012, 08:58:37 AM »
Thermoworks also sells a type-k thermocouple version, which can accept various probes including a waterproof wire probe.  I use this and leave it in the mash tun and HLT for getting a constant read on temperature.

http://thermoworks.com/products/handheld/therma_k.html

Wire probe (model 113-372): http://thermoworks.com/products/probe/tc_wire.html

1218
Going Pro / Re: Some figures for opening a pub.
« on: November 07, 2012, 01:34:09 PM »
So, that's all well and good, but the assumptions you're making are pretty big ones for a a local brew pub.   For example, that there's demand for that much mild.  Or that IPA won't bring in a bigger crowd to eat your food.

This isn't budweiser level distribution where you can calculate their exact demand for each product reliably. You can play with the math all you want, but the result is only going to be as good as your model.

Yeah, but the math will always be better than your gut feeling.

And like I said, you can include hundreds of variables if you want to. If you think your IPA sales will increase your food volume, you can include your food demand and margin, and assign a coefficient to food volume that's a function of IPA sales. You need to make some educated guesses, but you should be able to get in the ballpark.

We're talking about a business, right? And we want to make a profit at that business, maybe even enough to pay ourselves well?

You can run a business from your gut. I've done it. It was already a successful, established business, so I've succeeded despite my ignorance, but if you want to build something from scratch, I wouldn't recommend being as stupid as I was.

Sure, "the math" is always better than your gut feeling at solving a specific problem, but what are you solving?  A problem that you set the parameters for based on your gut feeling.  I'd be much more inclined to look at sales data and use some simple math based on margins than to start from scratch by building a complex simulation of something as volatile as a small brewpub.  A tool is just a tool, and any tool can use the wrong tool for the job  :-*  I could tell you that you need differential equations and control theory to solve the true problem, which is creating demand, but that doesn't mean linear programming is "mathematically" incorrect.


1219
Going Pro / Re: Some figures for opening a pub.
« on: November 07, 2012, 11:45:46 AM »
So, that's all well and good, but the assumptions you're making are pretty big ones for a a local brew pub.   For example, that there's demand for that much mild.  Or that IPA won't bring in a bigger crowd to eat your food.

This isn't budweiser level distribution where you can calculate their exact demand for each product reliably. You can play with the math all you want, but the result is only going to be as good as your model.

1220
Equipment and Software / Re: Help!! Pickup Tube/Chilling/Whirlpool Dilemma
« on: November 05, 2012, 03:24:52 PM »
The main culprit is the cold break.  I recirculate hot with a homemade hop stopper to sanitize my plate chiller and don't have any problems.  I'd avoid creating a whirlpool with the reentry just so you don't get a cone of trub right on top of the screen.

1221
Ingredients / Re: now hear me out first....
« on: October 25, 2012, 03:48:41 PM »
Stick a slice of avocado in some PBR.

1222
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Barley Genome
« on: October 22, 2012, 11:30:47 AM »
Who is this Barley Gnome? Is it friendly, or will it steal my barley in the night?  :o

1223
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belgian Golden Strong
« on: October 17, 2012, 08:26:06 AM »
Cold conditioning can be beneficial for all beer once fermentation is done, not just lagers.  Be careful, though, about the aggressive schedules you read about from commercial breweries.  You want the beer to be done fermenting, and I've found that you're unlikely to get that to happen as fast as they can on the commercial scale.

1224
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belgian Golden Strong
« on: October 16, 2012, 06:57:57 PM »
I haven't used WLP545, but White Labs claims it's from the the Ardennes region, which is not where Huyghe is.

I did culture from a bottle of DT once and the result was great.  Of course, when you step up from bottle dregs, YMMV.

I was looking at the yeast strain guide on Mr Malty ( http://www.mrmalty.com/white-labs.php ) and didn't see WLP545 so I sent an email to Kristen England asking, and the reponse I got was Huyghe. I checked the map and I see what you mean, I'm not sure what to think now.

Yeah, I don't know... White Labs already has strains sourced from most of the breweries in that region. Could be Caracole... BLAM says they have two different house strains, and given the White Labs description, the stronger one used for Nostradamus is a possibility.

1225
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belgian Golden Strong
« on: October 16, 2012, 04:35:04 PM »
I haven't used WLP545, but White Labs claims it's from the the Ardennes region, which is not where Huyghe is.

I did culture from a bottle of DT once and the result was great.  Of course, when you step up from bottle dregs, YMMV.

1226
Beer Recipes / Re: Avery IPA recipe
« on: October 05, 2012, 08:20:22 AM »
In fact, for a beer that's mostly flameout hops, you may want to do an even longer hop stand.  Most commercial breweries will take a lot longer than 30 minutes to whirlpool and completely drain the kettle.

Ray Daniels tested out 50 and 80 minutes and found that longer gave more flavor and aroma.

http://www.ahaconference.org/wp-content/uploads/presentations/2009/RDRM-BBB-ATRM1-Advanced%20Topics.pdf

1227
Ingredients / Re: Where to get cherries?
« on: October 02, 2012, 01:30:16 PM »
I actually got the quick frozen whole pitted cherries for my kriek, but they don't seem to be available right now.  I think the canned cherries would be good, though.

http://kingorchards.com/store.htm?category=Frozen%20Tart%20Cherries-%20IQF%20Montmorency%20and%20Balaton%20Cherries

1228
Ingredients / Re: Where to get cherries?
« on: October 02, 2012, 04:57:30 AM »
I've ordered from these guys before and was very pleased:

http://kingorchards.com/

1229
The Pub / Re: Credit cards
« on: October 01, 2012, 05:46:31 AM »
For better or worse, credit, debt, and spending drives our economy.  If all the people complaining about thrift and personal responsibility got their wish, their favorite corporations would suddenly become a lot less profitable.

I'm taking an MBA program right now. There's a huge emphasis on "corporate responsibility" and generating "value" for all parties involved, including stockholders, employees, neighbors, etc. rather than generating maximum short-term profits. This is all at a university in Missouri, which isn't exactly known for being "progressive." So, the times are a'changing, but maybe not very quickly.

Well, that's good to know.  But I wasn't even necessarily talking about unethical profits.  Our economic growth has in general been based on credit and spending over saving.

1230
The Pub / Re: Credit cards
« on: September 30, 2012, 02:55:51 PM »
For better or worse, credit, debt, and spending drives our economy.  If all the people complaining about thrift and personal responsibility got their wish, their favorite corporations would suddenly become a lot less profitable.

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