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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: How to obtain a water report
« on: November 29, 2011, 02:50:55 PM »
Ward has rebranded the W-5 test as the 'Beer Test'.  As mentioned above, it adds a couple more parameters.  Unfortunately, neither of those extra results are very valuable.  

Phosphorus has no value to our brewing knowledge and since malt adds a huge proportion of additional phosphorus to the wort, the P concentration in the starting water is meaningless.  

The iron content is actually moderately discernable by a typical water drinker.  If the tap water has any metallic notes, its probably got a little too much iron or manganese in it and it may not make the best beer.  A lab test is not all that valuable when your palate can tell you what you need to know.  

Bottom line:  save $10 and just purchase the W-6 test.

Equipment and Software / Re: cleaning a nylon mesh bag
« on: November 24, 2011, 06:26:59 AM »
I now dry hop with my nylon grain bag.  The bag definitely has strong color (golden green brown), but the hop particles rinse out fairly easily.  I do have to reverse the bag to get everything out. 

Maybe in the case of a sticky, gummy sludge like grape debris, you might have to dry the whole thing out and flake it off?  Another option might be some sort of enzyme soak to get the debris to become more compliant?

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: 5.2 stablizer and partial mash
« on: November 21, 2011, 03:55:27 PM »
When I moved into Denver and started using its soft water, I tried some 5.2 in a porter.  The mash pH started at 4.90.  I added 1 T of 5.2, stirred and let it rest for a few minites and the pH was 4.90.  A 2nd T had the same result.  A third T (I don't know why) raised it all the way up to 4.94.  So, in my experinece, it doesn't work for soft water and dark beers.

That is a surprise.  The chemistry of that product should have supplied buffers that would actually raise the mash pH.  It tends to buffer into a pH of around 5.8 according to some research by Troester.

Ingredients / Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« on: November 20, 2011, 07:59:24 AM »
Resurrecting this thread to ask a question about how melanoidin malt should be classified on the Bru'n Water mash acidification sheet.

The Crystal Malt selection on the Mash Acidification sheet is the most 'acidic' of the normal malts.  If you hover your cursor over the Grain Type header on the Mash Acidification sheet, you'll see that Melanoidin Malt is called out as a Crystal Malt. 

Grain summary: 

Any grain with a color rating of over 200L is a Roasted Malt
Any stewed or otherwise processed, non-Base malt is a Crystal Malt
Any Pilsner, Lager, 2-row, 6-row, Pale, Munich, Vienna, Mild, Wheat, Oat, or flaked grain is a Base Malt.


It's of course pricey for many homebrewers but I'm certain there are some that would love it. I'd be more in the market if it connected to a smartphone/laptop over bluetooth (or similar).

I've seen graphs at craft breweries indicating that they are taking daily gravity readings. I'm not sure they'd want a floating version though (They'd have to find it after every batch). Perhaps a version mounted to the fermentor wall, it could also be hardwired (no battery replacement). It would need to be food grade and be able to endure clean-in-place chemicals.

This too has some promise.  Incorporating a hardwired or close-linked wireless connection with a SG/temperature probe would be great.  Incorporating typical thermostatic control capability like my Johnson A419 digital thermostat into the unit would be even better.  Having the temperature and SG display on my fermentor exterior would be welcome.  Having the ability to control the fermenter chamber cooling and/or heating would be even better.

A durable, sanitizable SG probe would be something I will buy.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hard Water
« on: November 19, 2011, 06:44:08 AM »
Hardness is VERY desirable in brewing water.  Soft or softened water is not very desirable (even if it does not contain high sodium concentration) since calcium is very beneficial to many mash and fermentation performance indices.  The typical minimum calcium concentration of 50 ppm equates to a moderately hard water in the water treatment profession.  A soft water would have under 20 ppm calcium.  So, hardness is rarely a concern to brewers unless some of that hardness is due to excessive concentrations of iron or manganese.  I'm assuming that might be the cause of unpalatability that the OP mentioned.  Hard water that is due to just calcium and a small percentage of magnesium is actually very tasty water.

Even those of use that use RO or distilled water in their brewing typically add calcium (hardness) to their brewing water to bring the calcium level into a preferred range.

As pointed out above, alkalinity is always the primary concern for brewers and it is not amended by the typical ion-exchange (salt) water softener.  Kit B properly pointed out that bicarbonate is the problem with Hamiltont's water.  Unfortunately you can't just precipitate only the bicarb, some calcium is going to drop with it.  But you could neutralize the bicarb with acid and leave the calcium intact.  The trick is to avoid acids with strong flavor when a large amount has to be added. 


PS: Paul, Dr. Brungard is my dad.  I only have lowly Masters degrees. 

Oh and since you have a unit in there, it should measure and report temperature too.

I like the potential.  I too have a stainless conical and there are ports in the lid that could allow an antenna or maybe allow some signal to escape the Faraday cage that the vessel represents.  Considering this is a modestly costly device, you would have to consider that the brewer that is interested in this unit is likely to have this sort of vessel.  And almost any brewer strives for a temperature controlled fermenting environment, so a chest freezer or refrigerator is almost a given.

I'm also curious how the unit is sterilized and if there is any need for it to stand up or be oriented in the vessel?  A conical obviously does not have a flat bottom.  I'd be interested in understanding how it is obtaining the gravity readings. 

Ingredients / Re: Local Honey vs Orange Blossom Honey
« on: November 13, 2011, 07:40:08 AM »
Orange blossom honey has no orange flavors.  It does have the faint aroma of orange blossom that might carry over to your beer, but its not likely.  I would not worry about the type of honey used in beer since its typically boiled and any aromatics are likely lost.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What makes a beer "Imperial"
« on: November 11, 2011, 03:31:45 PM »
In my opinion, its along the line of Imperial Stout...a recipe that has been boosted in its alcohol content beyond the normal limits for that style. 

Equipment and Software / Re: BRAND NEW march 809 pump - wrong voltage.
« on: November 07, 2011, 10:09:16 AM »
That issue with the motor overheating when used with a step down transformer must be due to Power Factor issues.  They should be easily correctable by including a capacitor in the motor circuit to bring the Power Factor back closer to 1.0.  I know my old electrical engineering text had some insight into how to do the calculation, but I'm no electrical engineer.  I know just enough to hopefully keep me from getting killed and knowing how to interpret what my electrical engineers tell me.

The Pub / Re: Why hide behind a Alias?
« on: November 02, 2011, 02:06:52 PM »
Nope! Nobody has bullied or spoken harshly up until you folks in this post.  Kind of sad I mentioned it.  Very disappointing.

The Pub / Why hide behind a Alias?
« on: November 02, 2011, 01:22:12 PM »
I've noticed that a lot of participants on this list hide behind an alias and they don't reveal who they are.  As far as I'm concerned, I don't feel that anyone that can't reveal their name can expect to be taken seriously.  Why would a reader assume that if someone is not willing to stand behind what they say, that they should be believed or taken seriously?  On top of this, I think that when you know that others know who you are, you're probably not going to act like an a$$ on the list. 

This is sort of along the lines that created the Rennerian coordinates on Homebrew Digest.  I believe it came from an attempt by Jeff Renner to get participants in that list to identify themselves and improve the factuality and civility of that list.  Fortunately, I haven't noted any uncivil manners on this list.  But it sure would be nice to know who my fellow list mates are. 

Stand up and let the world know who you are.  Put your name in your signature line and stand behind what you say!  You would not be alone.  The folks who only ADD content to this forum let you know who they are.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerating Wort
« on: November 02, 2011, 01:07:36 PM »
I always detach the regulator off the disposable tanks.

Since I haven't had a way to assess the quantity of oxygen added to my wort, I never have worried about the amount.  But as James mentions above, 1.5 L/min for 5 min might be a lot.  I'm betting there is some sort of stoichiometric calculation as to the appropriate amount of oxygen to add to a mass of wort to achieve a certain dissolved oxygen content in the wort.  I know I can dig it out of my wastewater engineering texts, but has anyone already done that calculation?

I also have a little 10 lb oxygen tank, but I've been waiting to use up the 2 disposable tanks I had already purchased.  It should be much cheaper as snowtiger (why don't you add your name to your signature line?) points out.

Ingredients / Re: Pickling Lime
« on: November 02, 2011, 09:47:16 AM »
I've been using an old triple beam for years, but I think it's time for an upgrade.  Its max is too low and I don't have any accessory weights.

I made my accessory weights.  They are the big lead egg sinkers with a loop of fishing line through them so they can be hung on the triple beam attachment points.  I had to back calculate what their equivalent weight was by putting a glass with some water on the scale and then see where it balanced with the accessory weight.  Then I had to remove the accessory weight and get the glass and water to balance.  The weight of the glass and water had to fall in a range that was below the maximum capacity of the scale without the accessory weight and less than the total capacity of the scale with the accessory weight.  Then it becomes a simple subtraction from those two scale readings to figure out what the equivalent weight of the accessory weight is. 

Clear as mud, but it worked.

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