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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Fresh Ginger or Dry Ginger??
« on: March 08, 2013, 10:12:21 AM »
Keith points out an important distinction with fresh ginger.  Using the plumper, fresher root works for him.  Deconstructing his recommendation, you should recognize that the difference is the amount of water in the amount of ginger used in your beer.  The plumper root means that you are more likely to effectively use less ginger in your beer.  So Keith is self-moderating the amount.  A person using a drier and more shriveled root is going to add more 'essence' to the beer and may be more likely to overdose it compared to using a plump root.  The same thing applies to using the dried product...even more concentrated.  One brewer's recommendation to use a tsp of plump, fresh ginger may need to be far less in the dried form.  Keep this in mind.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Next Step-Water
« on: March 08, 2013, 06:51:20 AM »
I'm more concerned with the alkalinity presented by this water.  At 100 ppm as CaCO3, it has the chance to adversely affect any of the lighter beers.  The remainder of the ions are in decent ranges as starting points.  Definitely no additional Mg is needed or should be added unless brewing a hoppy and bitter beer that could benefit from additional bittering effect.  Boosting Ca is typically helpful.  As Kai mentions, increasing the ionic strength of the water can have the effect of reducing the extraction of less desirable components like silicates and tannins from the malts. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium carry over to kettle question
« on: March 07, 2013, 09:32:41 AM »
Martin suggested 40 ppm of Ca as a good lower value for the kettle (in the thread I referenced previously). I have previously been using 50, and this will help on occasion (like for bopils).

Thanks for that data point from Kolbach, Kai. I'll assume that's a pretty good ratio to use at the concentrations of malt and Ca we typically encounter in our mashes.

And yup JJ, you could intend your Ca kettle additions for yeast health, beer clarity, beer stone (more of a pro issue), or flavor (via the Cl or SO4 anions). Or all of the above.

It'll be interesting to see if the water book publishes any new proven data on any of this stuff.

No.  I had not made assumptions on kettle Ca concentrations.  Only mashing and sparging water concentrations.  Its too fuzzy to make assumptions on how much Ca and Mg actually make it through to the boil. 

The 40 ppm Ca limit is an empirical assessment of when beerstone problems are likely if that minimum content is not provided in the mashing and sparging water to help precipitate oxalate in the mash.  That calcium might effect beerstone forming reactions in the kettle, but I have no idea if adding Ca only to the boil would provide that benefit. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: calcium chloride
« on: March 03, 2013, 08:01:18 PM »
so it does not represent a big issue in using either anhydrous or dihydride? for example, what does brun's spreadsheet consider?

It assumes the dihydride version.  Anhydrous is tough to keep 'anhydrous' since its highly hygroscopic.  It will suck moisture out of the air quickly.  The dihydride will too, only a little less vigorously.  Dihydride is the typical version you can get at the LHBS.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 02, 2013, 01:40:28 PM »

OK.  Here's another question about Brun Water: What difference is there is adding something like gypsum to the mash vs. adding it to the boil. For instance, with my current SNPA clone recipe, if I add gypsum to my water to get around 150ppm sulfate, my mash pH is predicted to be around 5.7.  If I add more gypsum to get 300ppm sulfates, it drops my pH to 5.5.  Both of these are OK mash pHs, but if I want that higher sulfate level is it more "efficient" to add the extra gypsum to the boil? 


It may be more efficient to add it to the boil if adding it to the mash drives the pH down too far.  However in most cases, it is best to add it to the mash.  Calcium can be bound and precipitated in the mash reactions, but the more mobile ions such as Na, SO4, and Cl will predominantly stay in the wort and be carried into the kettle.  Your sulfate contribution will make it to the kettle.  The other good thing about adding minerals to the mashing and sparging water (and not adding them directly to the kettle) is that you are increasing the ionic strength of the water which helps reduce the extraction of things like tannins and silicates from the malts. 

When the pH will be depressed farther than desired, then adding a bit of alkalinity could be the best way.  In that case, use baking soda or lime.  Lime is the preferred option since no sodium is added.  However, last week during our discussion for the upcoming Water book, we came to the conclusion that using baking soda MIGHT be OK as long as the Na concentration is kept below 50 ppm.  If you had no sodium in your starting water, 0.5 gram of baking soda per gallon raises the sodium to 36 ppm and the alkalinity rises to 80 ppm.  That might be enough for many brewing situations.  If your water already has a lot of sodium, then this option is probably out. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 02, 2013, 06:17:51 AM »
High calcium is generally not a detriment to beer flavor.  It has little flavor impact.  However, the high calcium can drive the RA of the water down.  If you start with RO or distilled water, it could be possible to need some alkalinity in the water to help avoid an excessive mash pH drop.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 01, 2013, 03:40:43 PM »
In working through the Water book editing, Colin Kaminski has mentioned that he has brewed with up to 1000 ppm sulfate.  He has also stated that he enjoys 600 to 800 ppm in some beers, but his customers don't.  I've heard pro-brewers mention that the beers can get sulfury when you get on up there.  I think the 300 to 350 ppm range is about the limit for dry yet not sulfury beer. 

I have data from the English Environmental Agency for shallow wells at 2 of the Burton breweries and one had ~600 ppm and the other ~800 ppm.  I don't recommend trying to replicate that water.

Oh, no no...its probably not an infection.  If I leave the yeast and trub in my conical for several weeks after I've transferred the beer (sorry, I get lazy sometimes), I can get a powerful acetone aroma when I pop the top!  Apparently, the autolysis process can create those sorts of compounds.  There may not be any sort of strange infection causing the aroma in the barrel.

Ingredients / Re: Adding Gypsum to Beer
« on: March 01, 2013, 03:29:47 PM »
Of course you should be weighing it out to the nanogram and dropping a stir bar in your glass....just kidding! 

I've just added a few dashes of sulfate to try the effect and it does work.  It does take a while for the gypsum to dissolve though. 

If you decide to add a dose to a keg, then you probably should figure out what the dose should be and add that to the keg and give it a shake.  It should be dissolved in several hours.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: March 01, 2013, 10:47:18 AM »
I enjoy a bit more sulfate and typically target about 300 ppm.  I recently tested a version of my standard SNPA clone with a reduced sulfate water to evaluate recommendations that AJ deLange recommends.  I used the Pale Ale profile excepting that the gypsum addition was backed off until a 100 ppm sulfate level was produced.  That beer is very good, however it lacks the dryness in the finish.  Clearly, the sulfate is the component needed to assist in that dryness perception.  I prefer 300 ppm sulfate over 100 ppm.

The lore with the sulfate/chloride ratio has typically used the terms malty and bitter.  I don't really think that is the way we should be considering this effect.  I think that the sulfate is more appropriately characterized as dryness and not bitter.  I was recently reviewing my copy of Malting and Brewing Science while helping with the upcoming Water book by Palmer and Kaminski (it is looking very good by the way) and MBS also uses the term 'dryness' for the sulfate contribution.  They go on to describe the chloride effect as 'fullness'.  I have to admit that those descriptors fit better with what I perceive in beers and this effect.  Dryness helps mute the malt perception and allows the bittering and hops to shine.  Fullness helps accentuate the sweeter/wetter aspects of the beer flavor and reduces the bittering perception. 

Remember, you can't just add chloride and sulfate to your heart's desire.  At some point, you'll have a minerally beer on your hands.  I feel that keeping chloride to less than 100 ppm is always good and you can vary sulfate from 0 to around 300 ppm with no problem.  However when you really boost sulfate, chloride should be reduced well below 100 ppm.  If you want minerally beer flavor, boost chloride above 150 ppm and sulfate above 300 ppm. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lactic Acid Impact on flavour
« on: February 26, 2013, 01:24:46 PM »
The 400 ppm taste threshold for lactic in beer was presented in Malting and Brewing Science.  The important things to remember is that this is the median response in humans, some may detect it at lower concentrations. In addition, malt and yeast also contribute lactic acid to the beer.  Malting and Brewing Science indicates somewhere in the range of 200 to 300 ppm is contributed by those sources.  Therefore you can't just add the equivalent of 400 ppm lactic acid to a beer or the water.  The allowable amount will be less.  I've suggested that limiting the lactic acid addition to produce 200 ppm or less concentration is wise. 

Since lactic acid is a monovalent acid, for every 1 ppm of bicarbonate you neutralize with that acid, 1 ppm of lactate is added to the wort or water.  So using the Bru'n Water calculator, you can quickly see what you are adding to the mash water since the acid addition shows up as a negative Bicarbonate addition.  Keep that value below -200 ppm and you should be good.  It turns out that for 88% lactic acid, that equates to about 1 to 1.1 mL acid per gallon of water.  So 5 mL in 5 gal is safe.  10 mL is probably pushing it.

PS: Lactic flavor can be a pleasant component in some beer styles, so don't fret if you exceed this limit.  For instance, doubling that safe 1 to 1.1 mL per gallon dose should produce a notable lactic taste.  Good for Wits, Berliners, etc.

Ingredients / Re: My Recent Experience with Citra
« on: February 26, 2013, 01:05:16 PM »
Oh come on! All things in moderation.  This was just a learning experience.  A data point that helps dial in the proper dosage. 

Now if that beer is unpalatable for you, I suggest that you plan on blending it with another less hoppy beer and enjoy it that way.  That may also help to define what the amount of a particular hop you can tolerate or enjoy.  I find Sorachi Ace the same way, pleasant in very restrained doses and easily overdosed. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Is my pH OK?
« on: February 24, 2013, 02:05:42 PM »
Different yeasts can have different effects on beer pH.  Don't fret over beer pH.  If the mash and sparging pH's were in an appropriate range, there is little concern with beer pH.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My water profile
« on: February 23, 2013, 07:34:57 AM »
There are plenty of brewers that produce beers with that Na level every day.  Brewers using Briess extracts end up with fairly high sodium and those beers are OK.  To move to 'great', a brewer might need to make changes to make sure that sodium is more moderate.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'n water spreadsheet
« on: February 22, 2013, 05:30:32 PM »
One question you can pose for deciding your sulfate level is: how dry do you want the beer to finish?

If you want it to finish malty and wetter, then you should find that the Yellow Bitter profile is still going to leave you with that impression in a pale ale.  If you want the finish to dry nicely, then the 300 ppm sulfate in the Pale Ale profile will treat you well.  300 is not an excessive concentration in my experience.

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