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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Report Help
« on: March 20, 2011, 05:19:46 PM »
Are you sure that the report says the manganese concentration is 3.3 ppm?  That is extremely high if its manganese and would be a very metallic tasting water.  Are you sure its not the magnesium concentration or that if it is manganese, the units were actually ppb (parts per billion)?

Using the 45 ppm Ca and assuming the 3.3 ppm is Mg, then the hardness value is confirmed.  It is magnesium, not manganese.  

The alkalinity indicates that the bicarbonate content is 126 ppm.  The overall water report balances acceptably.  

Most of the hardness is temporary and the sulfate and chloride are fairly low, so this water is an ideal candidate for alkalinity control by acidification.  

All the analyses I just performed where conducted with Bru'n Water.  In addition, all the water adjustments you would need to evaluate are also fully supported in Bru'n Water.  Dialing in the acid additions is easy with the program since it calculates the actual amount of alkalinity consumed with the acid addition used on the Water Adjustment sheet,  In addition, it has you covered for increasing alkalinity too.  To brew a really dark beer, this water might need a little more alkalinity to moderate the pH.

Overall, its a decent water to brew with and be able to adjust.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adding Magnesium to Brewing Liquor
« on: March 19, 2011, 07:15:19 AM »
I just listened to Palmer's Brew Strong series on brewing water this week.  There were some minor errors in what John mentioned in his shows, but not too bad.  One of the things that John did mention was that his co-author Colin Kaminsky has found that minor Mg additions were very beneficial to flavor in some styles. 

In addition, Tobias Fischborn with Lallemand (the yeast people) specifically called out Mg as a desirable nutrient for yeast. 

While I agree that malt does supply some Mg, I've seen too many references that indicate small Mg additions can be desirable to the overall performance and flavor of beer.  The malt had to be adding some Mg for those other brewers, so I suggest that a minimum of 5 ppm of additional Mg should be included in any brewing water (ie, minimum brewing water Mg content should be 5 ppm).  Brewers should be careful and recognize that the desirable Mg range is small and going above 30 ppm is probably going to negatively affect their beer.


Interesting results.

Since you're starting with distilled water and adding hardness, its apparent that the RA will be negative.  Therefore, it should not be necessary to add acid malt in the first place.  You're setting yourself up for a disappointingly tart beer with that addition.  The mash pH will be perfectly fine without the acid malt.  The use of acid malt is only needed when a brewer's water has excess alkalinity that needs to be consumed. 

The pH may drop as far as Bru'n Water indicates, but I sort of doubt it.  The former version of Bru'n Water had a limit on how negative the RA could go and still affect mash pH.  That is because Kai performed experiments that prove that the mash pH will never fall below about 5.1 by adding hardness to the water.  In other words, a highly negative RA will NEVER cause the mash pH to fall below 5.  Now, this doesn't mean that a brewer can't get the mash pH to drop below 5 if they are using acid to reduce pH. 

I took out the negative RA limit in the current version of Bru'n Water, but you should never be purposely aiming for a pH below 5.3 if you expect to produce good beer.   I have found the pH range of 5.3 to 5.5 (@ room temp) to truely be the range that produces good beer.  Aim for 5.3 if your style would benefit from being sharper and crisper or 5.5 if the style would benefit from being fuller and rounder. 

The bottom line here is to forget the acid malt in your case.  Its unneeded.  Recalculate the results with the acid malt deleted and brew it up.  Report back here with your mash pH results.  I'm expecting that both programs should be close to right.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water Adjustments
« on: March 17, 2011, 02:04:25 PM »
Just remember that your hop utilization is going to change if you're reserving that water until after the boil.  Its OK to do it either way.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water Adjustments
« on: March 17, 2011, 05:57:52 AM »
If tap water has elevated alkalinity (bicarbonate), then it becomes more important to consider using distilled or RO water since the extract already has its minerals in it as Tom points out.  The alkalinity will dull the flavor and perception of an extract based brew.

All Grain Brewing / Re: More Water Report help
« on: March 16, 2011, 09:30:47 AM »
The iron concentration can't be correct.  The water would be running red with rust and it would be unpalatable.  I think the units may have been misinterpreted.  If they show 41 for the concentration, it is probably in units of micrograms per milliliter or parts per billion.  That is equal to 0.41 ppm which is more palatable in a drinking water.  Double check that.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adding Magnesium to Brewing Liquor
« on: March 15, 2011, 06:04:06 AM »
Mg is available from the malt, but I have a paper that researched yeast performance and they confirmed that yeast flocculation performance is significantly enhanced with at least 5 ppm Mg in the wort.  It would seem to me that this researcher's results would have already had Mg in it if they used a malt wort, but I don't remember if it did.

This doesn't provide definitive guidance on Mg's effect of yeast growth and performance, but I believe that it doesn't hurt as long as the Mg concentration is kept moderate.  You will start to have taste impact at concentrations of 30 ppm.  Therefore, I recommend that a preferred Mg range is 5 to 30 ppm in the mash and sparging water. 

I am still impressed with Dave Miller's Homebrewing Guide, even though its over 15 years old.  The Continental Pilsener book is another situation and aimed at a particular style.  In the Homebrewing Guide, he does say that 10 to 20 ppm is desirable and the max is 30 ppm.   I agree that in that style, it has delicate flavors that would probably be affected by the harshness that Mg might apply.  I agree with the recommendation for that style, but not in general. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« on: March 15, 2011, 05:49:40 AM »
  I don't think it would be a problem from a pH perspective unless your water was off-the-charts hard,

Lennie, hardness is a brewer's friend.  It's alkalinity that is the brewer's enemy.  Let's get in the habit of looking at alkalinity first and discussing its impact as our main criteria.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water Adjustments
« on: March 15, 2011, 05:44:28 AM »
This situation is appropriate for getting the GH and KH test kits for hardness and alkalinity testing as Kai recommends.  If the water quality for those water sources is that different, it would be helpful to be able to test the water quickly on each brew day.  Bru'n Water includes some guidance on this testing, but Kai has much more experience with it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acidifying the mash
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:52:10 PM »
Yes, water pH is less the issue for mash use.  It is water alkalinity that is the primary concern which drives mash pH.  Fortunately, Bru'n Water is a tool that enables brewers to adjust their water alkalinity prior to doughing in to improve the probability that they will hit their desired mash pH.  

I personally adjust alkalinity of my mash water with acid prior to doughing in, but it should be roughly equivalent to adding the acid after doughing in and the volume of acid added should be equal.  Your choice.  I do recommend that even when calculating what the acid amount is with Bru'n Water, you should reserve a bit of the acid and check the mash pH after a few minutes and see if you still need to add the remainder.  

The acidification calculator used in Bru'n Water is directly from the work by AJ Delange and I've used it for years.  It is quite accurate as long as you know your water alkalinity and acid type and strength.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Acidifying sparge water
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:39:35 PM »
Bru'n Water has a acidification calculator for exactly that purpose and it includes various acid types and strength.  

If you're using RO water, the alkalinity will probably be quite low and it will take very little acid to acidify the sparge water to the proper pH.  

Download Bru'n Water from the link in my signature line.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water to grain ratio for mash tun.
« on: March 14, 2011, 01:19:37 PM »
What's the downside to going above ~2 qts lb?  pH?

Mash pH can be a problem if you're dealing with an alkaline water source.  There is only so much acidity provided by the grain bill and so much alkalinity from the mash water.  If you bump up the amount of water, you're also increasing the quantity of alkalinity and the mash pH will end up higher than it would if the water to grist ratio was thicker. 

Reducing the mash water alkalinity is one way to account for thinning the water to grist ratio.  Bru'n Water users have the capability to assess this effect and correct for it easily. 

Ingredients / Re: Advanced Software for Brewing Water Analysis
« on: March 13, 2011, 05:20:23 PM »
Version 1.5 of Bru'n Water has been uploaded and is ready for downloading. 

Enhancements include:
  • Revised Mash pH algorithm
    Mash and Sparge Additions Totals
    Sparging Water Recommendations
    User Customizable Water Profile fields
    Advice for Water Report Troubleshooting
    Water Report Units Convertor
    More Notes throughout
    Enhanced Instructions
    Additional Water Knowledge


All Grain Brewing / Re: Improving Efficiency
« on: March 13, 2011, 12:05:35 PM »
I have a long-handled nylon spoon that I use as my measuring stick.  I scratched in volume markings on the spoon for my kettle.  Sharpie was really short lived on that nylon but I would imagine it will last a while on wood. 

Water adjustments can improve efficiency if your mash pH is way out of whack, but I would be surprised if it was more than a few points.  There are plenty of water programs out there.  Until Palmer's and Kaminski's Water book come out, I suggest that brewers download Bru'n Water for the Water Knowledge section alone.  You may prefer other programs for calculating your water adjustments, but you're not going to get the volume of knowledge that Bru'n Water provides.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Got a break on the hot break......
« on: March 13, 2011, 11:57:33 AM »
Using whole finishing hops is one of those tricks one of my clubmates in the North Florida Brewers League taught me.  It does help consolidate and hold the trub in the center of the pot after whirlpooling.  The overall trub mass is less likely to be drawn off from the kettle.  Having a large bottom area is helpful too.  My 15 gal pot is probably 6 to 8 inches larger in diameter than a typical 1/2 barrel keg pot and the trub island usually doesn't slope all the way to my wort drain manifold at the periphery of the pot.

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