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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water profile and IPAs
« on: November 18, 2013, 06:49:44 PM »
Interesting that brewing IPAs with RO was mentioned. John Palmer and I visited a brewery in Indy yesterday and all they use is RO water....and nothing else.  No minerals, no acids, nothing. 

On top of that, they have been monitoring their mash pH and it was at 5.4. However, they were performing that measurement at mash temp! Needless to say, the true (room temp) pH was a bit higher than that. Both John and I could detect a slight tannic bit, but it wasn't too bad. 

Needless to say, we recommended that they at least bring the calcium content up to help lower the mash pH and supply that needed ion.  I mentioned that story about my trial of using 100 ppm sulfate and its lack of hop character and my preference of using 300 ppm. Ultimately, John suggested that 200 ppm is a good starting point. I think that is an appropriate starting point for any pale ale brewer. Take it higher when you are ready. 

PS: that brewer's pH meter had recently been thrown away. The probe's bulb had broken. I wonder why?  ;-D

All Grain Brewing / Re: Iron and IPA's
« on: November 14, 2013, 06:22:47 AM »
You can certainly make beer with straight distilled or RO water. I have tasted the result of a brand new brewer attempting a pale ale with distilled water. It was at one of my club's meetings. The beer was fine, but very bland.  Some flavor ions are important to beer perception.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Iron and IPA's
« on: November 12, 2013, 06:27:01 AM »
A greensand filter is effective at removing iron and manganese. Activated carbon is not effective at iron removal. Ion-exchange is a common iron removal technique and is suitable if the raw water is otherwise free of calcium and magnesium. If there is a lot of Ca or Mg, then the resulting Na or K content of the ion-exchange treated water is likely to be too high to brew with.

Equipment and Software / Re: thermoprobe replacement
« on: November 12, 2013, 06:22:00 AM »
I have thermocouples with stainless steel braid jackets in my system, but the wires beneath that jacket are still plastic coated.  You would need more protection than that if they are exposed to a lot of heat. Provide some other sort of shielding and stay with regular leads. 

Ingredients / Re: Water from Berkely Springs WV Good for beer? What kind?
« on: November 11, 2013, 06:09:57 AM »
Jim, now split all those compounds into their constituents and sum them. 

Ingredients / Re: Water from Berkely Springs WV Good for beer? What kind?
« on: November 10, 2013, 02:12:16 PM »
Sorry Dude, I spent hours converting results like that for the upcoming article on Burton water. You're on your own.  I suggest sending a sample to Ward if you want something intelligible.

Ingredients / Re: What do you think of this hop combo with Galaxy?
« on: November 08, 2013, 02:53:08 PM »
I agree with your move to the Medium Eng crystal. That is more in line with the flavors I find in a PA than that really pale crystal you mentioned in your early post.

Equipment and Software / Re: Electric RIMS tube question
« on: November 07, 2013, 10:50:13 AM »
The sensor MUST be placed downstream of the heat input point. It DOES NOT matter what the temperature of the wort from the tun is. It only matters that you are heating the wort to your target temperature and not overheating it. Remember that the enzymes are in the wort, not the mash.  If you try to control your heat input by observing the wort temperature coming out of the tun, you will likely severely overheat your wort as it passes through the heater.  That will likely denature the wort enzymes and leave you with a starchy wort that does not ferment.  (You don't have to ask how I learned that bone-headed lesson ;-)  )

If you want to know the temperature of wort coming from the tun, insert an extra thermometer there.

Ingredients / Re: oat malt
« on: November 05, 2013, 09:39:35 AM »
Be aware that Michael Lewis wrote about oats in his book on Stout. His findings were not favorable. He said the flavor was not pleasant at the level they used (I don't recall what the % was).

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Building Water
« on: November 02, 2013, 05:38:43 AM »
Jim, your original plan was fine.  Those very minor additions of epsom and table salt can add pleasant nuances to the finished beer.  As many have said, you don't NEED to add those particular salts to your water.  However you may find that you WANT to add them.  I find that too many brewers think of epsom salt in its laxative state and table salt in its potato chip saltiness state.  While I agree that I don't want those flavors in my beers, I recognize that the difference between medicine and poison is DOSE.  With proper dosing, those salts are quite beneficial to beer flavor and complexity.  Those that have made the mistake of brewing with straight RO or distilled water have found the blandness that comes with that purity.

Assuming that those original salt doses produce low ion concentrations, there is no reason not to add them. This is especially true if the alternative is adding only calcium chloride to distilled water.  That addition will solve the calcium deficiency and add a bit of chloride, but the resulting water and beer flavor can still be one-dimensional.  Including low levels of sodium and sulfate will definitely expand and deepen the flavor perceptions in the finished beer.  The need for magnesium is more dubious.  That one can easily be left out, but it will be welcome as you pursue a more bitter perception in particular beers. 

Since many of those salts are highly soluble, you can check their effect on the glass.  As Palmer and millions of cheap lager drinkers have found, a dose of table salt can be welcome in beer.  Other salts can also be welcome and you can test them too.  Do scale their additions appropriately since it does no good to overdose the glass and get a poor impression.  In some cases with the minor ion concentrations I've recommended in the color-based Bru'n Water profiles, you many not really note much difference in flavor.  But you should notice that some additions are notable and pleasant.  Give it a try.

Chico water has fairly low mineralization under most conditions. So I'm not surprised that SN does not use their RO system.  I assume that they employ it during those times when the incoming water quality is degraded.  They do have a relatively intensive incoming water QC process to make sure they keep tabs on the water.  This was documented in the Water book.

I have long encountered an efficiency drop when using wheat.  I'm not sure why that occurs, but I plan for it in my recipes using high percentage of wheat. 

Regarding your pH reading, is that a corrected reading from the strip?  They report about 0.2 to 0.3 units lower than actual and that is confirmed by the manufacturer.  So if you haven't corrected the reading, your pH could be 5.5 to 5.6.  That is a bit high for a pale beer. 

Found this from A J DeLange at HomeBrewTalk responding to the same question.

"Most breweries do not treat the sparge and mash water separately. Why would they go to extra effort (costing more money) if they didn't have to? If they treat the water at all they treat the whole volume and just brew with it. Similarly most don't make kettle additions if they don't have to.

and this post from Martin Brungard also at HomeBrewTalk:

"I feel that mashing and sparging water should generally be treated the same. The only difference is the amount of alkalinity in each water. The alkalinity in the mashing water should be keyed to the needs of the grist, while the sparging water should always have low alkalinity."

Bottom line:  Treat mash water and sparge water equally with appropriate salts.  Kettle salt additions are rarely done / needed.

A few qualifiers to note here.  First regarding AJ's comment above.  When AJ mentions "most breweries", remember that its light-colored beers that most of those breweries produce.  In that situation, treating all brewing liquor the same is likely to be OK.  However when the beer production 'strays' into the darker styles, that is when it can become very important to treat the mashing and sparging water differently.  I get the impression from JJ's comment that he overlooked my comment that the mashing water alkalinity needs to be keyed to the grist.  Darker colored grists and those with more crystal malts are likely to need more alkalinity than sparging water should have. So while I agree that the flavor ions in mashing and sparging water should be similar, the alkalinity can be quite different.   

Ingredients / Re: Spices for Winter Warmer - boil or steep?
« on: October 26, 2013, 06:00:44 PM »
I concur with the change in spice flavor with heating. However, is the boil the place to do it to the degree you desire?  I've heard of chefs that pan roast some spices before cooking to help release or refine their flavors. Maybe some pan heating is needed?

Ingredients / Re: Spices for Winter Warmer - boil or steep?
« on: October 26, 2013, 08:19:20 AM »
Is there ever a reason to subject your spice additions to boiling?  I don't know one.  If you want more contact time with the spices, it seems that adding spices at flameout with an extended stand in the kettle following the boil would be best.  Am I incorrect?

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