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Messages - mabrungard

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1081
All Grain Brewing / Re: Am I mathematically challenged?
« on: January 10, 2013, 09:45:37 AM »
What is the remaining 5% mystery grain?  The recipe only added up to 95%

1082
Equipment and Software / Re: butterfly vs. ball
« on: January 09, 2013, 02:05:44 PM »
I hope that wasn't your water system Martin!

Just one of my clients on the Mississippi River with a really old water system.  They have all kinds of problems they are dealing with.  They have a lot of old cast iron pipes that are prone to failing in this cold weather.  They had a 1.5 MGD leak last week that it took several days to find. 

1083
Equipment and Software / Re: butterfly vs. ball
« on: January 09, 2013, 10:56:57 AM »
What do you think are the relative merits between butterfly and ball valves?

I figure the butterfly valve is easier to clean, but the ball is less likely to get clogged.  Anything I'm missing?

How about this for a clog? 


That is a 24" butterfly valve that was located just downstream of a sodium hydroxide injection point in a water system.  The NaOH was added to control corrosion potential in the distribution system.  Unfortunately, the caustic did not mix well in the pipe and it precipitated the deposits in the pipe and on this valve.  I would expect that the deposits were calcium carbonate (chalk), but the high OH concentrations actually caused calcium hydroxide (lime) to deposit instead. 

This isn't really applicable to this discussion, but I figured some might enjoy the mysteries of water chemistry (when done wrong).

1084
All Grain Brewing / Re: Fly Sparging
« on: January 07, 2013, 07:35:24 AM »

I learned that from Jeff (hopfen) who learned it at Sierra Nevada beer camp, so there's at least one major pro brewer that needs your expertise.
I have found that it helps when there is a lot of fine particulate on the surface of the grain bed.

Its interesting that you mention SN since the firm I work for is providing engineering services to both the Chico and Asheville facilities.   I'm pretty sure they don't cut or rake the grain bed in a 200 bbl mash tun.  They are sort of big.  But the description you and others provide, make it clear that the purpose of the cutting is not: "to prevent channeling", but to improve flow through the bed by disturbing that surface layer.  That makes perfect sense. 

I mash with RIMS and the flow rate through the bed during mashing is far higher than when I'm running off.  I've never seen a layer of anything on my mashes.  I wonder why regular mashes present this.  Do most brewers have this layer on their mash?

Given the real purpose of the cutting, many shallow cuts through the surface of the bed would be most effective. 

1085
All Grain Brewing / Re: Fly Sparging
« on: January 05, 2013, 06:02:42 PM »
My sparging technique is similar to Jeff's.  There is one component that I disagree with, the mash bed cutting.

Those that know me well are aware that I'm a geotechnical and environmental engineer.  I've had extensive education and training in flow through porous media (soil).  The parallel is that a mash bed is porous media too.  Penetrating a stable bed of media with something like a knife would actually increase the likelihood of flow short-circuiting, not reduce it.  The thing that the cutting would provide is increased permeability through the bed (by the increased short-circuiting).  I highly recommend that anyone that performs this misguided technique should try NOT doing that for their next mash.  The runoff may be a little slower, but you won't have to worry about short-circuiting.  I don't know where this wive's tale came from, but its not doing what you think it is.

PS: Pro brewers don't do this either.  But its probably because in large tuns, there is no way to 'cut' the mash.  But they also know that its unnecessary.

1086
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Secondary Fermention
« on: January 05, 2013, 05:50:46 PM »
Unless you are adding another fermentable, there is no such thing as secondary fermentation.  Its actually secondary clarification.  If the fermenter is kept cool enough, all clarification can be completed in that 'primary' fermentation vessel.  Do not transfer a beer off the yeast if there is fermentation activity.  If the activity has slowed and the gravity has not attenuated enough, the fermentation temperature may be too low.  This is especially a problem for brewers in the cold months.  Don't be afraid of warming the fermenter at the end of an otherwise active fermentation to achieve adequate attenuation.  Most of the esters and other flavor producers are created in the early stages of fermentation. 

When fermentation is complete and the beer temperature is cool (say under 60F), there is little chance of autolysis in the short term.  Cooling the fermenter further will aid in clarification.  When sufficiently clarified, the beer can be bottled or kegged.

1087
If you are in the midwest your water is changing quickly this year.  The rivers are down to very low levels and in many places more ground water from deeper wells is being used.  Our mineral contents is going up quite a bit right now.  Hopefully the drought (going on 8-10 years now) will end, or at least abate, soon and we can get some water back in the rivers.

Paul

Exactly.  Clouding of StarSan solution is due to hardness in the water.  Using distilled, RO, or even ion-exchange softened water will solve the clouding 'problem'.  Its not really a problem.

1088
Ingredients / Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« on: January 03, 2013, 09:46:50 AM »
No, Reno gets their water from the Truckee River which comes from Tahoe.  I suppose that water could have iron and other metals since that is all hard-rock area.  It should otherwise be decent water for brewing.  I don't know for sure though.

1089
Ingredients / Re: Too much lactic acid?
« on: January 02, 2013, 01:03:54 PM »
Looks like 6.5 mL of 88% lactic in 5 gallons is 400 ppm.  One thing to remember is that Malting and Brewing Science is quoting 400 ppm in beer.  So you would have to stay a bit lower that that concentration in the brewing water due to the concentrating effect of the boil.

1090
Ingredients / Re: Too much lactic acid?
« on: January 02, 2013, 12:03:37 PM »
My philosophy regarding acidification is based on the alkalinity of the sparging water.  I feel that the alkalinity should be 25 ppm or less.  In the case of RO or distilled water use, its unnecessary to acidify those waters since they already have low alkalinity. 

For neutralizing water with modest alkalinity, lactic acid is fine.  You won't have to add enough to notice a flavor impact.  I know from experience, that 150 ppm alkalinity is still OK for lactic usage.  From studies I've seen, the flavor threshold for lactate ion is on the order of 400 ppm in beer (Malting and Brewing Science).  One mole of lactate ion will be delivered to the water for each mole of bicarbonate neutralized.  400 ppm bicarb = 328 ppm alkalinity.  So this suggests that there might still be a little room for using lactic acid on higher alkalinity waters, but I wouldn't recommend it.  I'd say that moving to phosphoric might be safer from a flavor perspective.  Another consideration is that the 400 ppm taste threshold represents the 'average' taster.  A super taster might pick it up at lower concentration.

PS: Beersk, it sounds like you still have the 100 ppm alkalinity in the Sparge Acidification page inputs.  If you put the alkalinity of RO water in that entry, it will report a much lower acid addition.  This was fixed in the supporter version of Bru'n Water.

1091
Ingredients / Re: Too much lactic acid?
« on: January 02, 2013, 11:14:47 AM »
So, it sounds like you have about 100 ppm alkalinity and 5 gal of sparging water?  Adding the acid to the sparging water is a good idea in that it helps reduce that tannin extraction potential and it reduces the pH of the wort in the kettle slightly.  Both aspects could be an improvement if the sparging and wort pH have been too high in the past.  Its a small addition, it won't affect flavor and its good insurance.

1092
All Grain Brewing / Re: astringency
« on: January 02, 2013, 11:03:50 AM »
I have another theory on astringency in wort and beer.  With the make up of Red's water, this may be a candidate.

Tannins are the predominant cause of astringency in brewing.  They are complex organic molecules that can complex with metal ions and precipitate out of solution.  They also complex with proteins. 

For the past several years, I was confused as to why my morning cup of tea tasted better at work than at home.  At home I have RO water in the kitchen and at work I have typical Midwestern hard water.  On the outset, I assumed that RO water would make better tea since it has very little alkalinity.  But invariably, the tea made with the hard tap water was smoother and less astringent even though they are otherwise identical (temp, teabag, etc). 

The other week I was reminded of the fact that tannins and metal ions will complex and then it hit me that was what was missing in the RO water.  So, I did a quick and unscientific experiment to see if adding calcium to my RO water would make better tasting tea.  Before adding the teabag, I dropped in a few pearls of calcium chloride to see if I thought there was a taste improvement.  In my opinion, there was! 

With this unscientific result, I now need to perform a more scientific analysis of this effect and its perceptions.  Calcium chloride is the obvious choice since calcium is moderately flavorless.  Gypsum is a candidate, but sulfate introduces its own flavor.   Chalk doesn't dissolve adequately, so its out.  Magnesium is out too since it adds too much flavor at high concentrations.  I figure I'll mix up a couple of CaCl solutions and brew up some strong teas.  With some triangle testing with a few subjects, I should be able to discern a cause and effect. 

So in Red's case, I think that the calcium content of his brewing water may have been too low to remove much of the tannin that is naturally present in wort. I look forward to hearing what Red has to say with regard to his typical mashing and sparging water calcium content. 

By the way, Polyclar will precipitate tannins too.     

1093
Ingredients / Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« on: January 01, 2013, 11:06:42 AM »
I am tempted to try Stone's water profile (with adjustments for pH if necessary) as stated in Koch's book:

30ppm Ca
12ppm Mg
85ppm Sulfate
40ppm Sodium

The low Ca and high Na are scary though.

When we toured Stone, the guide said that the tap water was blended with RO, 50:50. I am too lazy to look up the water profile for that part of the country, but they get a fair amount from the Colorado River, which is full of minerals. The profile above may be what they have in the HLT.

There was also a shipping pallet stacked high with a 50 Lb bags of Gypsum and Calcium Chloride. I assume they use those minerals to adjust for the beer they are brewing.


40 ppm sodium is not that high.  Don't worry too much about that.

The Colorado River water quality is not too good for brewing.  Ask any Las Vegan or Los Angeleno.  Diluting with RO is a reasonable alternative. 

Hmm??? I have no idea what a brewer would do with bags of minerals!  ;-)

1094
Ingredients / Re: Combination of hops to create an "orange" flavor
« on: December 30, 2012, 07:53:04 PM »
Don't forget that there are different varieties of corriander.  The Indian corriander is yellow and smooth skinned.  It does tend to provide citrusy components.  I find them to be more on the lemon side.  But then there is the Mexican or Moroccan corriander that is brown and wrinkle skinned.  It has more of a peppery flavor contribution in my opinion. 

I've found that since we add orange peel to Wits, I prefer the Mexican corriander in my Wit to provide a slightly earthy and spicy contrast to the orange flavor.  I didn't like what the Indian version did for the flavor.  But, I agree that it might add some citrus impact in the beer in question.

1095
Ingredients / Re: Base Malt for APA
« on: December 29, 2012, 09:23:27 AM »
Oh, poo-poo! Don't listen to the nay-sayers. 

While there is little precedent for using a portion of Pils in a Pale Ale, its not to say its not worth trying.  A lot of brewers concentrate on 2-row Pale and maybe a bit of Munich as the base malts, it would be an education to try a portion of Pils.  Pils definitely has a differing flavor, so it might be an interesting combination.  This is more valuable when you brew a similar brew without the Pils and contrast the differences.

Just remember that Pils malt has more SMM and it requires a longer boil time to make sure most of it is scrubbed from the wort. 

Enjoy!

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