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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Water Treatment - Questions on Reducing Alkalinity
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:58:08 AM »
Semantics, definitely! 99% of the readers here could care less about our minutia. Maybe half of the readers would appreciate that both calcium and bicarbonate are reduced by the process, regardless of its actual mechanics.

Welcome to the 1%.

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Jeff from Dayton, Oh
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:25:22 AM »
Good to hear from you Jeff. I look forward to seeing you at events in the Midwest.

Ingredients / Re: Water Treatment - Questions on Reducing Alkalinity
« on: November 21, 2017, 06:23:35 AM »
Raising the pH of a solution to the point that certain salts precipitate, is the purpose of the calcium hydroxide. In this case, the calcium and bicarbonate in the tap water can be precipitated by raising the pH above 11. The water becomes cloudy with precipitating calcium carbonate and it is allowed to settle to the bottom of the vessel. The clear water is decanted off the sediment and the water is typically initially acidified by bubbling air through the water column or through air stripping. CO2 from the air combines with the water to produce carbonic acid and neutralizes the excess hydroxyl ions in solution. That neutralization works only to a certain degree. The remaining hydroxyl and carbonate ions are neutralized with an acid addition.

This process works well in certain waters. Its laborious and time consuming, but its otherwise simple.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash ph and mouth feel
« on: November 20, 2017, 05:47:44 AM »
I haven't noticed differences in mouthfeel when mashing pH is above 5.2, but I've found that beer perception tends to be 'thin' if mashing pH is allowed to be less than 5.2. I'm guessing that the low pH is enhancing the degradation of body forming proteins and beta-glucans, but I'm not really sure of the mechanism or process.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water treatment
« on: November 19, 2017, 02:50:09 PM »
Doesn't that make it pretty tough to hit a desired mash pH if only adding salts to the kettle?

It can. Again, I don't think its the best way to manage your water treatment. I like adding minerals and acids to each water batch.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How's this water for a porter
« on: November 19, 2017, 02:44:55 PM »
Brewbama. There is no requirement that brewers add minerals to their tap water. But the recommendations presented from AJ are based on starting with RO or distilled water. That is a recipe for some pretty bland beer. Add minerals ONLY as needed to IMPROVE flavor, not because a questionable source pointed to that solution. I hope anyone considering brewing water adjustment, considers the source and makes their own assessment of that source.

The most important thing you point out is that that brewery is adjusting pH to fit the style. That is certainly an important first step to making better beer.  It's good to hear.

AJ's recommendations for stout/porter brewing in that post is entirely insufficient for most of those styles. Most stout/porter brewing will require the addition of a base to the mashing water to help keep the mash and wort pH from dropping too low, which can result in harsh and acrid roast character.

Gordon Strong's observations are certainly true. I've experienced that too. Brewers that add a tsp of this and a tsp of that without regard for the style and their starting point, can end up with alka-seltzer minerality in their beer. Again, research your sources and don't over-mineralize your water. In that respect, AJ's recommendations above are very light additions that avoid alka-seltzer when starting with RO and distilled water.  That's a good thing for anyone.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water treatment
« on: November 19, 2017, 02:28:43 PM »
There is one situation that I didn't anticipate. Some brewers have systems that require them to use more water in their system than they will actually use to make wort. For example, HERMS brewers that have extra water in the system to keep the exchanger submerged.

In that case, it might be enough of a reason to not treat the water initially and add the mineral salts to the kettle in proportion to the actual water used to make the wort. I can't recommend this approach, but this is the brewer's choice.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: How's this water for a porter
« on: November 17, 2017, 08:14:27 PM »
This is something I saved from another site. Take it or leave it. Your choice.

Careful in using those recommendations as they are simplistic, incomplete, and superseded. You would have to read through several hundred posts to figure out all the revisions to that initial post.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Racking techniques
« on: November 17, 2017, 06:14:47 AM »
I used an auto-siphon for years, but I now know that any contact between air and beer will lead to the beer staling quicker. If you consume your beer in weeks and don't sent it to competitions, then there is no reason to use anything but the auto-siphon. For all others, employing CO2 to push beer from one vessel to another is always going to be better for reducing oxidation and staling.

A rubber cap or plug with 2 ports is needed. Gas goes in one port and a racking cane in the other. Don't use more than 1 or 2 psi CO2 pressure.

Beer Recipes / Re: Sierra Nevada Celebration
« on: November 17, 2017, 06:05:43 AM »
I shoot for about half of the Bru'nWater "pale ale" profile.

You mean you were using water with less than 150 ppm sulfate to brew an IPA? I'm not surprised the beer was lacking.

I experimented with lower sulfate content in a pale ale a few years ago and used 100 ppm sulfate. The beer was fine, but it lingered too long on the palate and it certainly had muted hop character. From that experience, I can assure anyone that 150 ppm sulfate would be the lowest I'd ever consider in a pale ale or IPA. But for the best flavor and character (to me), I still use the full 300 ppm sulfate as noted in the Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water treatment
« on: November 16, 2017, 01:15:10 PM »
The question which bothers me is how I should calculate my salt additions. I know the method of calculating particular salt addition, but the question is should I divide it by proportion for mash water and sparge water?

It is a good question, since there isn't truly a right answer.

You could add all the salts for the batch in the mashing water, add them all to the kettle after mashing, or split them between the mashing and sparging water. But there are differing impacts in each case. The good thing is that most of the ionic content that you're targeting with your salt additions will make it into the beer. But there are definitely mashing impacts that need to be addressed and accommodated in any of the cases.

Add all to the mashing water: Most helpful when you are targeting a low ionic content in your wort, like a Pilsen water. Adding all the salts to the mashing water can help drive up the calcium content which reduces mashing pH and can increase the calcium content above 40 ppm which helps remove oxalate (beerstone potential) from the wort.

Add all to the kettle: Some think that this helps avoid ionic losses in the mash, but it doesn't. It just delays the precipitation reactions until the wort is in the kettle. Adding all salts to the kettle can help avoid an overly low mashing pH by keeping the calcium and magnesium out of the mashing water. But this trick doesn't help too much since the kettle wort pH will drop when those salts are added in the kettle. For most brewing, utilizing the beneficial pH lowering effect of including the calcium and magnesium in the mashing water, is preferrable and this is the reason I can't recommend this approach in typical brewing situations.

Add proportions of salts to mashing and sparging water: This works well when your targeted calcium content is already above 40 ppm and there is little worry that your wort won't precipitate its oxalate. This method provides some pH reduction in the mash from calcium and magnesium additions and that may reduce the amount of acid that would be needed in the mash.

Take your pick, but understand the consequences.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: bicarbonate calculation question
« on: November 15, 2017, 11:51:05 AM »
You did confuse them, but there is still uncertainty as to what your water's alkalinity actually is.

As I mention, Temporary Hardness is USUALLY equivalent to the alkalinity. But a water source could have high alkalinity and low hardness. Witness a case where you add sodium bicarbonate to distilled water. That water has zero hardness, but it certainly has alkalinity from the added bicarbonate. Some water sources could be similar to this. Thus, its not always true that Temporary Hardness is equivalent to Alkalinity.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: bicarbonate calculation question
« on: November 15, 2017, 08:19:12 AM »
No! Bicarbonate content is a factor in calculating Alkalinity. Alkalinity is almost always equivalent to Temporary Hardness. Therefore, the bicarbonate content should be calculated from the Temporary Hardness.

Equipment and Software / Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« on: November 07, 2017, 07:53:46 AM »
I'm not precise with a lye concentration. As long as the solution feels slippery between my fingers when I touch it (that's a sign that the lye is dissolving your skin and creating soap from the oils in your this quickly and wash off immediately!!), that seems to be sufficient for line cleaning.

Of course, some water flushing is needed after the treatment. Looking through the line when it has water in it also helps you see if there are still films in the line.

Equipment and Software / Re: Acid cleaning draft lines
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:04:41 AM »
I've found that BLC can sometimes be insufficient for removing biologic growth in lines. That's when I pull out the warm lye solution and let that sit in the line for a few hours. It always removes biofilms.

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