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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My water profile
« on: February 22, 2013, 05:21:49 PM »
114 ppm Na isn't desirable. But if ions like sulfate and chloride are low, then it probably won't taste salty.  Na in water can typically be tasted when the level is on the order of 250 ppm. 

Ingredients / Re: Salt calculation
« on: February 22, 2013, 06:48:44 AM »
Hmm?  Maybe you should move UP to Bru'n Water?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Accurate thermometer
« on: February 18, 2013, 06:58:18 PM »

On the website it states "user sends the thermometer back to the manufacturer for recalibration after manufacturer's recomended interval"
Do any of you with traceable thermometers send them back for recalibration?

I'm not terribly concerned with an all-glass mercury thermometer altering its response.  If I'm not mistaken, when it has altered its response, I'm likely to be calling on a haz-mat team to clean up the broken glass and spilled mercury.  However, you are correct that I should have it checked if something really critical was hanging in the balance.  OK OK, I know that mash temp is really critical, but maybe not that critical.   ;)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Accurate thermometer
« on: February 17, 2013, 07:02:06 PM »
Disagree on your analysis of freezing and boiling for calibration. It's a well accepted way to calibrate thermometers , considering most do not havens calibration block. The point being, you don't care about the temps of 32 and 210-212, they just provide references on both ends of temperature spectrum so you can establish a calibration curve for your thermometer.

How would you replicate 150f or similar mash temp and know its that temp without a calibration block??

Sorry, but you can't replicate 32F or 212F either without some work.  You cannot rely on actually producing a 32F temperature with water and ice.  The Thermapen website has proof of that.  However, with adequate precautions, it should be close according to that same site.  An important thing with regard to boiling point is that you have to correct for your elevation or you won't properly account for what the temperature is.  Remember that 212F is the BP at sea level.  It changes significantly with increasing elevation. 

As others have alluded, just because you have a match with your thermometer at freezing and boiling, it does not confirm that the linearity of temperature measurement for your instrument will extend through that all-important temperature range we are interested in.  That is why it is still better to find an accurate reference standard to calibrate to in that temperature range.  Its easy enough to add 150F to 180F water into an insulated jug or container and insert the reference and working thermometers.

Ingredients / Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« on: February 15, 2013, 03:06:55 PM »
It looks like the spring water would be OK to use, its nearly distilled quality. 

1 gram of gypsum per gallon of water contributes about 150 ppm sulfate.  Since volumetric measurements for powders can be quite inaccurate, I don't know what to tell you as to how much of a teaspoon to add to approximate that for your batch.  I'm sure someone else has a conversion. 

Normally, I would also say use a good calculator like Bru'n Water.  But that requires knowledge of the water supply quality.  For a new brewer, that might be asking a lot.  However, now that this brewer has several batches under the belt and they are consistently failing expectations, its time to start looking at water as a potential problem.  This brewer does need to start researching the local water or send a sample in for testing.  It will be money well spent. 

With good data on the water, Bru'n Water will help decipher if the water is a problem.

Ingredients / Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« on: February 15, 2013, 11:52:33 AM »
Alexanders extracts are fairly low in all ions.  They have good water quality in the area of California that its made in. 

Since I don't have information on the ionic content of the spring water, I would go with the distilled water if you really want this batch to shine.  You will want to add 100 or 200 ppm of sulfate using gypsum to make the beer dry better and enhance the hopping. 

Homebrew Clubs / Re: Dues for Home Brew Club
« on: February 14, 2013, 03:24:01 PM »
We have been charging $20/yr for individuals for years.  We recently started providing commercial examples of the beer style of the month that are sampled at our monthly meeting.  So now attending the monthly meetings is a way to enjoy the fruits of their dues.  Its a win-win for everyone.  The club shows a definite benefit for membership and membership grows and the meetings tend to get more members there and the activity grows. 

This is the same thing that my old club in Tallahassee does.

Ingredients / Re: Adding gypsum for IPAs
« on: February 14, 2013, 03:16:38 PM »
Ideally, a brewer needs to know what the ionic content of the extract and brewing water is before deciding on adding more minerals.  In some cases, finding the extract ionic content and its result in your beer can be a little tough.  Finding out the ionic content of your water should be a little easier, especially if you start with RO or distilled water.  In many cases, using RO or distilled water is safest when brewing with extract.  That way you don't have to worry about overdosing any particular ions. 

From my review of the major US extract producers, you wouldn't have to worry about excessive sulfate in their extracts.  For Briess extract, you do have to worry about elevated sodium so don't add any sodium or use a water with much sodium. 

So with those caveats, there is no reason not to plan on modest sulfate additions to improve the perceptions of this planned hoppy beer.  The sulfate will help dry the finish and improve the perception of hops and bitterness in the beer.  I would use a tool like Bru'n Water to help calculate how much sulfate-containing mineral you add.  I wouldn't increase the sulfate concentration any more than about 250 ppm since there is some sulfate in those extracts.  If you are not a fan of dryer and hoppier ales, then I would further reduce that sulfate target.  Its all a matter of taste. 

Add the gypsum to the boil.  It does not matter much when, but I would add it early so that there is more opportunity to fully dissolve.


All Grain Brewing / Re: where do you take mash pH?
« on: February 14, 2013, 10:03:36 AM »
Gordon Strong recommends taking your Ph at the beginning of your mash and reading AT MASH TEMPERATURE,  NOT COOLING. Cooled sweet wort is going to read~.35 higher.

I believe that the reading after cooling is the accurate one.  On this I disagree with Gordon.  I could be wrong....again....

No, unfortunately this is something that apparently Gordon did not understand.  Always cool your wort to a somewhat consistent room temperature and perform your pH reading then.  5 or 10 degrees off of the typical room temperature in the 70's F range is OK.  The pH won't vary enough to matter when you are that close. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: My water profile
« on: February 12, 2013, 09:05:06 PM »
Yes, the sodium and alkalinity are quite a bit high.  Is this from an ion-exchange softener?  The profile would suggest so. 

But dilution with RO water should do a world of good.  All the other ions are very low, so after diluting to meet the desirable sodium concentration, I'd plan of adding a little acid to further reduce the alkalinity to meet the needs of your current brew. 

Another option would be to forget the tap water and just use all RO if you have your own machine.  Then I would either use lime or this tap water to add alkalinity to the water as needed. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: where do you take mash pH?
« on: February 12, 2013, 03:32:06 PM »

If you're doing it after vorlauf, isn't that too late to do anything about it since you are done mashing?

No, what I'm recommending is that a brewer perform an early vorlauf to fully mix the wort and any foundation water.  This would be in the earliest stage of the mash.  Then let it set and collect your pH sample. 

Ingredients / Re: honey malt
« on: February 12, 2013, 06:50:46 AM »
Next time you are in your LHBS and they have Honey malt, do sample a few kernels.  It does have an amazingly honey-like flavor that does make it to the beer.  I agree that this is one of those grains that should be utilized in moderation.  It would be easy to overdo. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: where do you take mash pH?
« on: February 12, 2013, 06:47:25 AM »
Funny you should ask about this.  One of my professional clients called me about their practices yesterday.  They run a 20 bbl system and the tun doesn't have rakes.  They have a vorlauf pump, but had not been using it until the end of the mash.  I recommended that they perform more recirculation during the mashing to improve the overall mixing of wort within the mash. 

You can either move the media or move the liquid.  Most homebrewers can mix their mash.  But when you get into the 20 to 200 bbl range, its tough to mix the mash unless there is a built-in raking system.  However, we RIMS brewers know that mixing is not necessary since we are moving the liquid. 

In my opinion, you should sample for pH after you have mixed the mash well and vorlaufed any foundation water from the bottom of your tun.  Remember, that water is part of the overall chemistry of the mash system.  Your sampling should make sure that is well incorporated in the overall wort.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 100% munich
« on: February 10, 2013, 06:35:49 AM »
100% Munich and hops...its an D Alt with extra hop aroma and flavor.  The problem is that hop flavor and aroma tend to clash with malt when the maltiness is very high, in my opinion. Having that cleaner Pils or Pale malt flavor allows the flavors to balance a little better. 

I've tried this experiment also, excepting not to 100%.  Even at more modest percentage, the effect can be overwhelming.  I've also made plenty of 100% Munich D Alts and they are wonderful.  The real difference is that hop flavor and aroma.  Bittering is welcome, hop flavor and aroma...not so much.   

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