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Messages - mabrungard

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1096
Equipment and Software / Re: How to use a pH meter
« on: April 04, 2012, 12:03:31 PM »
Can you store them with the probe immersed in distilled water?

No.  The probe is filled with a ion-saturated (typically potassium) solution or gel.  Its important to keep that solution saturated with that ion.  The glass probe is actually permeable.  Immersing the probe in a solution with very low ionic strength creates an osmotic pressure that draws those ions out of the probe and into the exterior solution.  You end up depleting the ion solution inside the probe.  pH probe storage solutions are typically high in the particular ion and when the probe is immersed in that solution, then there is not the osmotic stress drawing ions out of the probe.  The probe solution stays saturated.

1097
Equipment and Software / Re: How to use a pH meter
« on: April 04, 2012, 04:57:46 AM »
I don't ever wipe the bulb on my pH probe.  The whole probe gets a distilled or RO rinse and then I blow out the droplets by mouth.  I suppose it would be even better to blow it off with compressed air, but its not like I'm spitting on it.  The blowing gets the droplets out from around the protected bulb area.  Then I can use a regular paper towel on the exterior of the probe housing to absorb those droplets.  It usually takes a couple of blows and wipes to get the bulb and probe dry.

1098
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Okay Princess Bride fans...
« on: April 03, 2012, 02:16:23 PM »
To Blathe (true love)

1099
Ingredients / Re: Rahr 2 Row Attenuation
« on: April 02, 2012, 11:23:44 AM »
I use the 2-row Pale

1100
Ingredients / Re: Northern Brewer hops question
« on: March 30, 2012, 09:52:52 AM »
PS: I do late hop and dry hop with NB.  The flavor and aroma come out then.

1101
Ingredients / Re: Northern Brewer hops question
« on: March 30, 2012, 05:50:28 AM »
I've been a long time user of NB hops in my American Brown Ale.  I've never characterized their flavor or aroma as minty.  I find them to be more woody.  They are a good compliment to Hallertau and Cascade hopping.

1102
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Starter
« on: March 30, 2012, 05:45:02 AM »
Hefeweizen is one of the few styles where you might not want to make a big starter.  The increased yeast growth required from modest underpitching can be helpful in creating a fruitier ester profile in the flavor. 

I make big starters for my typical ales and that includes my Hefe's.  I could enhance the fruitiness if I cut that starter size back a bit.  I still suggest that a starter is always a good idea for 'proofing' your yeast and enhancing their glycogen reserves. 

1103
Equipment and Software / Re: How to use a pH meter
« on: March 29, 2012, 12:45:10 PM »

I got to Milwaukee tech support again today and they agree that my meter seems flaky. They are going to replace it free of charge so we'll see if that helps.

I've had the Hanna meters for years and they are alright.  I recently moved to Milwaukee meters and am pleased.  I use the MW-101 and it works very well.  Hopefully this replacement will solve your problems.

1104
Ingredients / Re: White Table Sugar
« on: March 26, 2012, 10:58:36 AM »
I am in general agreement with respect to white sugar or corn sugar...there is little difference.  When you get into the less refined sugars, then you are talking about flavor nuances that can be desirable. 

Another aspect that came up at my club's meeting on Saturday was the issue of "Inverting" the sugar with heat and an acid.  The thought was that you are saving the yeast from having to enzymatically invert the sugar prior to consumption.  It seems easy enough, but is it needed or necessary in brewing and fermenting?

1105
Equipment and Software / Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« on: March 25, 2012, 10:27:09 AM »
you mention a liquid with nutrients present is needed to grow nasties. I'm based in Indy also (we've met briefly at a couple of FBI functions)  - in your expert water opinion do you think our city water has enough nutrients for this to occur?

Well, aquatic life requires 3 building blocks to grow: carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus.  There is a concept termed the Redfield Ratio that says that this life needs 106 parts carbon, 16 parts nitrogen, and 1 part phosphorus to grow.  As seen from that ratio, only a minute amount of phosphorus is needed and most waters do have phosphorus at very low levels.  Many waters also contain 'active' nitrogen compounds like nitrate.  Nitrate can be present at low to modest levels in water supplies, especially anywhere that agriculture is practiced.  As indicated above, the biggest component for life is carbon.  For most water supplies, carbon compounds are not present at significant levels.  Carbon content would have to be significant in the water.  Therefore as long as you have rinsed the tubing to adequately remove any carbon sources (sugary wort is a huge carbon source), its unlikely that the remaining rinse water would have the carbon needed to promote biologic growth.  Carbon is the limiting component.

1106
Equipment and Software / Re: Tubing storage and sanitization
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:38:13 AM »
I use a similar approach as the OP.  I use 25' of 3/8" vinyl tube to run from the plate chiller into the fermenter.  I have an in-line oxygenation stone in there too.  I could shorten the tubing length by about half, but I want the extra length so that the wort has extra time to absorb the O2. 

I've been using this equipment for over 5 years and have not experienced infection.  I do run hot PBW through that tubing as a regular cleaning regimin.  I also alternate between Starsan and Iodophor for sanitizing before each brew. 

Of course, making sure that there isn't any liquid with any nutrients in it in the tubing is an important measure to avoid inviting critters to set up house in my tubing.  Its rinsed well (if it had not been PBWed) and then hung up as high as possible to get any remaining water to drain. 

Beer Line Cleaner is another tool that I sometimes use.  It does a good job of removing any stuff in the tubing.  If I can't get the tubing to look good, it gets replaced.  Tubing is cheap, beer is not.

1107
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: point/counter point yeast experiment.
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:24:44 AM »
No starter + 1.086 OG = poor fermentation...all it takes to make a starter is a gal. jug and some DME.  No fancy flask or stir plate necessary.  I'd recommend you make a starter for anything over 1.040.

Yah, the yeast pooped out in that high gravity wort due to limited ability to replicate in that wort.  A larger yeast population was needed at pitching to avoid relying on excessive replication.  Don't do big beers without a starter. 

1108
All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash thickness question
« on: March 24, 2012, 11:18:29 AM »
I used to mash in the 1.25 to 1.33 qt/lb range with my RIMS.  I thinned my mashes to about 1.5 to 1.75 qts/lb in the past couple of years and have not noted a difference in body or fermentability due to that factor.  Mash temperature is more influential to fermentability in my opinion.  Body can be somewhat influenced by wort fermentability. 

The other big factor in body building is the level of beta-glucans in the wort.  That is a super body builder, but has to be managed carefully to avoid clouding the beer. 

Now I feel that mash thickness should be viewed as a factor decided by the size of the brewer's mash tun and the water chemistry of the water.  The water chemistry plays its part through the amount of alkalinity that the water delivers into the mash.  If the mash pH is a little too high because the water alkalinity is too high, then reducing the amount of water in the mash (thickening the mash) might help produce a decent mash pH.  If the water has low alkalinity and the mash demands more alkalinity, then adding more water (thinning the mash) may help produce a better mash pH.

In general, I think that mash thickness in the 1.5 to 2 qt/lb range is a good starting point.  I don't see a reason to aim for thicker mashes unless you can't fit it in your tun.

1109
All Grain Brewing / Re: Hitting A Color?
« on: March 23, 2012, 01:43:38 PM »
That is the Morey formula.  Its in Promash and I've coded it into Bru'n Water.  If you have that program, you can use it to estimate beer color in the same way as Promash.

1110
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: grassy flavors and dry hopping
« on: March 21, 2012, 01:32:25 PM »
If you switch up your bittering hops with a low alpha hop (and therefore use a lot more) you can get that classic british grassy/vegetal character pretty well.

That is a good point.  The total load of vegetative matter is going to influence the grassiness.  Consider that in many cases, dry-hopped beers are well bittered.  That bittering charge can easily be adding to the perception of grassiness when the mass of hop is high due to using lower alpha hops for bittering.  If brewing a bitter beer, using a little super-alpha hopping for bittering can really reduce that vegetation load in the beer.

I find that extended dry hopping duration creates grassiness, although I've heard many say they leave their dry hops on the beer for weeks and months.  I try to keep it to 4 to 6 days.  I've used 2 oz in 5 gal batches with no grassiness in that case.

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