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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'n Water and British Brown and Amber Malts
« on: September 02, 2011, 06:53:59 PM »
I believe brown and amber malts are just higher kilned base malts.  I would just input them as base malts with the indicated color level. 

The good thing is that the slopes of the base malt and crystal malt acidity vs color relationships are actually quite similar.  I would still use the base malt setting for these grains though. 

All brewers should note that Roast malts are malts with color greater than about 200L.  Below 200L, grains are either Base or Crystal malts.  Crystal malts are stewed in the kernal and don't require mashing since they have already been converted to sugars.

I don't think that heating in a pressure cooker would be a problem.  The Therminator is all stainless with copper soldering between the plates.  The coefficients of expansion should be similar and the thin plates shouldn't stress the soldering. 

Be aware that the rubber tube that covers the sharp plate edge on the one side of the chiller will come off after heating and you'll have a lethal weapon in your hands.  Just be careful and you'll be alright.

Ingredients / Re: Water salts
« on: August 30, 2011, 02:16:08 PM »
A little bit of Mg is needed for yeast health and floculation, but there is a debate if brewing water actually needs to provide Mg since malt provides some Mg to the wort. 

I recall that about the only water profile that is difficult to reproduce when starting with distilled water is the Munich profile.  It needs a bit of MgCl2 to get the profile in the ballpark.  For other profiles, you should be able to get by with other Mg and Cl sources. 

Considering that the desirable Mg concentration is so low, you could just skip that component and seen how it turns out.  I'm pretty sure that you can pick up MgCL2 at the health food or vitamin stores.

Equipment and Software / Re: Utility Sink for Electric HLT
« on: August 28, 2011, 06:54:36 PM »
And some contain lead, apparently. :o

That is an interesting tidbit.  I have not heard of plastics containing lead, but I don't doubt that it could be.  Do you have more information beyond the statement above?  If it is true, that would be a deal killer.

Ingredients / Re: Got my water report-- Now what?
« on: August 25, 2011, 01:57:56 PM »
Activated carbon takes out organics, halogens, and some heavy metals.  Iron is not "heavy" enough for it to be adsorbed to activated carbon. 

Considering the presence of H2S and iron, a Greensand filter may do the trick for you.  I'm not sure if the H2S would affect the mash, but it does smell and that may prove detrimental to the finished beer quality and perception.

Equipment and Software / New Carbonator Caps
« on: August 24, 2011, 05:37:47 PM »
I was just on the Crankandstein website and noticed they are producing a pretty nice setup for carbonator caps.  Price for 4 caps with the filling chuck....$20 !!!!  And it fits your ball lock gas out fitting.  Way to go.  I'm going to have to cough up some dough and try these.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hops and malt.... a delicate balance
« on: August 22, 2011, 06:31:47 PM »

What about having the sulfate levels stay where they are and increase the chloride levels? I've never messed with chloride levels, I usually just rely on the gypsum to adjust my calcium levels.

That's the recipe for alka seltzer beer.  You can't add your way out of too much of another ion.  If the sulfate is too high, you're better off diluting the water to bring that ion down.  Of course if you're adding gypsum or epsom, then backing off those additions might be a good idea. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Hops and malt.... a delicate balance
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:48:46 AM »
That is a great score.  Anytime you get into the 40's, you've done well.  I question if the beer actually needs any more malt flavor if it scored in the 40's.  You must have done something right.  Maybe lack of malt was the biggest fault the judges could prescribe. 

It sounds to me that maybe backing off the bittering level might be in order while keeping the flavor and aroma hopping at or above the current levels.  IPA's should be assertively bitter, but is this beer bittering too assertive? 

The other thing could be the water profile utilized.  How high are you taking the sulfate level in the brewing water? If you're above 300 to 350 ppm sulfate, back it down to that limit.  If you're already at that sulfate level, trying backing off another 50 to 100 ppm.  Another consideration is the concentration of carbonates in your water.  Excessive carbonates can make the bittering harsher which may be covering up the malt.   

Finally the malt question.   I see base malt and munich in the grist.  Are there more than 1 other crystal malts in the grist?  I find that trying to create maltiness with multiple crystal or color malts can create a muddiness in the flavors that does not play well in well hopped beers.  A very simple grain bill works best for me.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Brown Malt Turbidity
« on: August 22, 2011, 09:35:50 AM »
Sounds like it could be a beta glucan problem.  I haven't used those malts, but if they are a large percentage of the grist, then they may not be as well modified as the typical pale malt. 

Maybe a beta rest or a protein rest to help combat that haze production.

Equipment and Software / Re: Stainless steel braid for Mash tun
« on: August 19, 2011, 02:40:36 PM »

Why would a smaller diameter be better? Less chance of collapsing under a thick grain-bed.

Smaller diameter is better, but you should remember that if you pull the braid lengthwise, its diameter will decrease a lot.  I have 5 feet of braid coiled sinuously around the bottom of my mash tun.  I used pieces of fine copper wire (stainless wire would work too) to sew the braid together at places so that it would remain in an orderly arrangement.  Its worked well for almost 10 years now.

The Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water is a balanced version of Mosher's Ideal Pale Ale profile.  I use it for all my pales and hoppy styles.  Definitely not a minerally flavor to the beers.  The malt still shines through if the hopping isn't overboard.

Ingredients / Re: Got my water report-- Now what?
« on: August 18, 2011, 12:42:32 PM »
Damn good water excepting you didn't post the iron content.  If the plumbing fixtures will be stained red if you didn't have the softener, then the well water may not be usable.  The taste threshold for iron is really low. 

If a rotten egg aroma is noted from the tap, running out your brewing water supply into the kettle the day before will help dissipate the hydrogen sulfide.  Activated carbon filtration can also strip that gas.  Flow at 1 gpm or less if you're using a typical 10" undersink filter.

Don't bother using the softened water.  You'll just add more sodium to the beer and remove the calcium that you actually want in your beer.  If iron is a problem, then the softened water is ideal feed water for a RO unit.

Equipment and Software / Re: Question for conical users?
« on: August 18, 2011, 12:28:02 PM »
I typically ferment 5 to 6 gal batches in my 12 gal conical.  Therefore, I don't get a lot of yeast and trub buildup in the cone and I can typically just touch the top of the yeast cake with the rotating racking cane.  I don't really want to rack off the trub since that would drop that yeast cake interface even lower and I'd end up losing more beer. 

Given the trub drops out fairly early and should be covered by a nice layer of yeast in short time, I'm not sure that wasting off the trub is necessary.

Equipment and Software / Utility Sink for Electric HLT
« on: August 18, 2011, 12:21:10 PM »
I just thought of an interesting and inexpensive alternative to create an electric-fired HLT for my new all electric brewing system.  The typical SST keg or pot is the typical vessel for a hot liquor tank, but that was going to be expensive and require some modification.  Not too bad an alternative, but I was searching.  Aluminum pots are another alternative, but again they will require modification.  Either of those vessels would be more difficult to insulate since they are cylindrical.  

A typical insulated water keg is another option, but I am concerned with placing an electrical element in a plastic vessel with thin plastic walls.  Plus, they have relatively small diameter and that would require installing the element vertically in the keg.  

I pondered other barrels and tanks and then lit upon the idea that a typical single-basin sink could suit my requirements.  I brew batches up to 10 gallon volume, so I might have the need for about 10 to 11 gallons of sparge water.  A utility sink would work since they typically have 20+ gallon capacity.  

The good thing with a utility sink is that a drain outlet is standard and the typically straight side walls are well suited to mounting a flange-mounted heater element so I wouldn't have to deal with a 1" NPS fitting or nut.  There are stainless utility sinks, but there are also the thick plastic or composite sinks that might also be suited to this elevated temperature duty (say 180F).  

The flat sides and bottom of the sink should make it pretty easy to glue on panels of foam insulation.  I figure that insulation shouldn't cost too much and it should pay off with less heating losses.  Another slab of foam can be employed to serve as a lid to the HLT.  

I think this could be pretty neat and effective.  Any other thoughts?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Cleaning Glass vessles?
« on: August 17, 2011, 07:59:12 AM »
If your local water is hard, the haze may be calcium carbonate buildup.  In that case, adding an acid to the vessel may clear up the deposits.  I suggest distilled vinegar or 88% lactic acid as options.  StarSan is also a good acid.  You should be able to add a small amount and swirl instead of having to fill the vessel.  

If that doesn't do it, then the glass may be getting etched by something like a strong cleanser.

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