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Messages - mabrungard

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1081
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.     

1082
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!  ;-)

1083
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.

1084
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!

1085
Ingredients / Re: Multi-Step Infusion & Water Adjustments
« on: December 27, 2012, 10:12:09 AM »
It does depend upon the water and grist.  There could be cases where adding minerals to the mash would be counterproductive. So its not so easy to just say...add them all at once.  Since the OP indicates that they start with RO water, there could be cases where a bit of alkalinity needs to be added.  If they are step infusing, then adding all the alkalinity producers at once could really throw off the mash pH. 

There are only a few styles that benefit from step mashing.  Looking at one of the most extreme cases would be the typical Hefe in which you might start with a rest in the 110 to 125F range and then want to boost it to the 150F range.  That step infusion could approach the original mash in volume.  That will definitely throw off the water chemistry. 

In the case of stepping from just a Beta rest temp to an Alpha rest temp, the infusion volume is probably minor.  Then I can agree that throwing all the minerals in wouldn't be a big deal. 

1086
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German Lager flavor, round 2
« on: December 23, 2012, 11:33:11 AM »
I guess that I missed a recommendation for a 5.2 mash pH.  I feel that would be a little lower than desirable to promote that malt backbone that I like in the styles. Low pH improves the fermentability and that will tend to reduce the malt presence. I prefer 5.3 to 5.4.

1087
Ingredients / Re: Water Check - not Happy with "Pale Ale" profile
« on: December 21, 2012, 11:42:13 AM »
That modest Mg content is probably not going to alter the taste that much.  The main objection is probably the sulfate and calcium.  The bicarbonate is there only as necessary to produce an acceptable mash pH.  I assume Paul adjusted it up or down to meet the needs of his mash. 

If that Pale Ale profile was not to your liking, I would reduce the sulfate even lower than 242 ppm.  A 60 ppm reduction is not that significant if you were used to (and liked) about 100 ppm.  I'd drop it to about 200, since that is midway. 

Remember if you find water profiles that are more to your liking, custom water profiles can be entered into the water profile table on the Water Adjustment sheet.  The table even has the ability to error check your ion totals to make sure that you enter a reasonably 'balanced' set of ion inputs.   

By the way, I'll be brewing my next SNPA using the yellow bitter profile.  I've always used the Pale Ale profile and like it, but AJ kept hounding me that better pale ales can be made with lower sulfate content.  I'll be finding out.  The good thing is that I can always add additional gypsum to the keg if I don't like the low sulfate taste!

1088
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Forgot to add roasted barley
« on: December 21, 2012, 08:02:32 AM »
If there are enough yeast in the beer to re-ferment the roast addition, it would be possible to steep and add that missing component.  This is exactly what Guinness Flavor Extract is, a separately steeped and added wort component.  For the most part, roasted malts don't really add fermentables.  But there could be a little.  I'm more worried about starches and haze.

Since this beer has been chilled and carbonated, I'd doubt that it would work in the keg.  But you might be able to separately ferment the GFE component.  I would 'mash' this roast with a little 2 row just to make sure that any convertable starches are reduced to sugars and to give that yeast charge something to work on.  Then add that beer to the keg. 

1089
This is snowballing into a disaster.  What was Charlie thinking when they crafted this message?  I assume this was a directive or sentiment from the BA board, but they need to be more 'crafty' with their message.  All I can see is a gunshot hole through a Size 10. 

Brewery size is not a criterion for 'craft' brewing. 

1090
All Grain Brewing / Re: Water profile: Can someone just tell me what to do?
« on: December 14, 2012, 11:27:40 AM »
Americans obsess over brewing water. I don't think it's really all that important, in the grand scheme of things. Use a light touch. Only add stuff if you have a specific reason to do so. All things being equal, I've had the best results just by using the least-mineralized water I can. Make sure you hit your target pH though (use acid if you need to), because that can make a big difference.

+1 on what Nate says.  But unfortunately, not all brewers have a low mineralized water source and have to use what they have.  Sometimes its a disaster in waiting and all a brewer can do is screw it up more.  But until the brewer has a decent idea of what is in their water, any way could be the wrong way to go. 

I suppose another aspect that Nate is alluding to is the quest that some brewers have for using a water profile from a historic brewing city.  That can be a bad idea too. 

Nate's overall sentiment to use low mineralization is very sound though.  God has smiled on those of you that have a water source with little mineralization. 

1091
Ingredients / Re: calciuim chloride post ferment
« on: December 13, 2012, 12:07:05 PM »
I haven't thought of this before, but maybe there is some merit.  Assuming that the spices added some excess tannins to the beer, it could be possible to chelate those tannins with a dose of calcium ions.  And since you wouldn't want to enhance the drying perception of the beer, sulfate is out.  So calcium chloride could be a valid option to help with this remediation. 

Do explore this effect some more.  It could work.  Your palate is as good as anyone's.  Although, I would suggest that you gather some friends and explore the effect more scientifically by performing blind triangle testing to assess the effect. 

Thanks for sharing!

1092
Just ruff back of apkin math, if the 75% of the beer market in america that is controlled by the big guys were in the hands of small indie brewers that would mean around 725,000 new jobs! that's huge!

Not quite, this was an apples to oranges comparison.  I have the feeling that the 100,000 plus jobs mentioned in the article include all staff involved in getting grain, water, and hops to the consumer and getting them to buy it (read: marketing staff too).  I read the 25,000 folks as just being at the breweries for the mega brewers.  They have a bunch more folks involved with distributing and marketing that would then dwarf the number applied to the craft breweries.  I think this was a bit of a ruse, but since most readers don't get into the details, it serves the point that the craft industry has an important impact on jobs too.

1093
The barrel limit is a thoroughly flawed concept by which to gauge a craft brew.  With continuing market penetration, there will be plenty of breweries that exceed that threshold in the near future.  I think that BA just boosted the output barrel limits so that some of the current BA members could still be called craft. 

And the thing is that a large market share is exactly what we craft beer drinkers would like to see in the future.  More folks interested in drinking beer with flavor!  That could mean better beer in more places. 

I have a big problem with the contention that a craft beer sellout that is bought by a brewing conglomerate suddenly is no longer a 'craft brewer'.  I contend that the definition of a craft brewer is one that produces beer that has flavor.  Several of the examples cited in that article are imitation beers with dumbed down flavor...Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc.  Those are beers that are 'crafty' and not craft.   Considering that these conglomerates probably have access to the finest equipment, materials, and staff, they could make the finest beers in the world.  But that is not what the market currently wants.  The masses want dumbed down beer.  The majority wants the mere essence of malt and a glimmer of hops, all delivered in a brilliant golden liquid with foam on top. 

Clearly, our craft brewing industry does need promotion and protection since the mega brewers could dominate that segment instantly if they so choose.  So I appreciate the move by BA to promote and distinguish the craft beer industry from the mega brewers.  BA should probably be a little more exacting in their promotion of the little guys without stepping on the big boys toes.

1094
Equipment and Software / Re: Pumps
« on: December 12, 2012, 02:55:01 PM »
Denny, 

There are plenty of places on the web that sell the 815 impeller.  I think even on Ebay sometimes.  Google!

As James points out, be sure to get a couple of thrust washers too.  My washer wasn't there when I disassembled my pump for the impeller replacement.  Wish I had bought more than one washer.  If you've disassembled the pump frequently, then you should also think about getting a new O-ring too.

1095
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Quick Hop Aroma and Flavor Loss
« on: December 10, 2012, 03:06:32 PM »
I get a loss over time, but I don't think its to the degree mentioned here. 

I take it that the beer is nice initially, but fades?  Do you brew with really low alkalinity water like rainwater or RO water?  Colin Kaminski reports that hop expression is muted if the beer pH is too low. 

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