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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: mash pH for dark beer
« on: August 15, 2015, 08:42:29 AM »
250 ppm according to the World Health Organization.

My tap water has up to 200 ppm Na since my municipality performs ion-exchange on all the city water. I don't taste that, but it would probably affect beer flavor. I use RO for brewing.

Ingredients / Re: Question about calcium and flocculation.
« on: August 09, 2015, 12:36:57 PM »
I think that would be an appropriate approach. Malt provides all the Ca the yeast need and the extra supplied by the water is for oxalate reduction and helping powdery yeast to drop. The second aspect is not a concern in your case. 40 ppm is about the lowest I use. Adding all the calcium salts for the entire batch to only the mash can allow the overall wort Ca to be lower.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profile for a Schwarzbier?
« on: August 06, 2015, 06:53:24 AM »
I'm assuming you are using the free version of Bru'n Water? It does not have the calculation that tells you that the sodium addition in the final wort is actually much lower since you add baking soda only to the mashing water and its diluted in the final wort. If you were using the supporter's version and that was the final wort concentration, 44 ppm sodium is actually not that bad and even desirable in darker styles.

Glad you found the incorrect setting, but I do want you to know that having somewhat elevated sodium is OK when adding baking soda for increasing pH.

Beer Recipes / Re: Brunwater with Blonde Ale
« on: August 06, 2015, 06:46:44 AM »
I recently brewed a pseudo Munich Helles with US-05 yeast (therefore it is actually a Blonde) and it came out very nice. Actually served it last night at the FBI Monthly meeting.

I used a water profile similar to the boiled Munich water shown in Bru'n Water. All the minerals were added to the mashing water only (the sparging water additions too) so that the Ca content in the mash would be high enough to precipitate oxalate. That left the overall wort with a somewhat low Ca content around 30 ppm when the sparging water was added. Very nice light flavor that was focused on malt. The ferment was at 53F to 54F and the US-05 left the beer with only very light esters. Not a bad compromise to avoid dealing with preparing a lager yeast starter.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Lactobacillus Starter?
« on: August 02, 2015, 04:36:11 PM »
Yep, pretty much like a yeast starter excepting to avoid any aeration or oxygen contact. Pre-acidifying the wort to around 4.5 pH also helps reduce any infection opportunity.

If you haven't tried it yet, the handful of grain inoculation can be an inexpensive way to produce a lacto starter. With pre-acidification and checking the aroma, you can be relatively assured that your starter is suited for use and the only thing you could lose with that method is some wort or extract.  The real benefit of this method is that the sour flavors are broader and more complex, unlike the single note sourness that you may get with a commercial lacto strain.

In my opinion, tannin and silicate extraction is a non-issue regardless of pH or temperature until the wort gravity gets low. So, its the end of the runoff and sparging that you really need to pay attention to. That is when the pH and temperature issues can bite you. I end runoff at about 3 to 4 brix to help avoid the problem.

If necessary, reserve some of the sparging water and add it directly to the kettle to top up the pre-boil volume to your target and avoid sparging the last few percent extract out of the bed.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Wheat malt and lower efficiency
« on: July 31, 2015, 01:17:36 PM »
Could it be because the extract assumed for wheat and wheat malt is too high in the typical brewing program? I notice that Promash lists wheat and wheat malt at about 1.038 to 1.040 per pound per gallon and other malts are several points lower. My experience is that I could get about a 5% reduction in calculated efficiency when brewing with high wheat grists. That happens to be about the difference in the reported extract amounts between wheat and other grains.

Is it possible that those wheat grains are set too high for the way we typically brew? I'm thinking I should get in the database in my Promash grains and reset those values downward and then I won't have to alter my efficiency setting when moving from barley and wheat grists.

Don't measure boiloff in %.  You will not get twice as much in a 10 gal. batch as you do in a 5.  Measure boiloff in gal./hr.

I monitor boil-off the way Denny recommends, but that has to be taken in respect to the batch size. Most homebrewing batches are probably in the 5 to 10 gal range and the typical 1 gal/hr rate applies. However, Steve's case points out that maybe we do need to also check the boil-off with respect to the total volume...that means use the % calculation also. My typical 1 gal/hr boil-off from a 6 gal starting volume suggests something in the 16 to 20 % boil-off in an hour. Someone making a smaller batch in a similar kettle might get a similar gal/hr loss, but that loss could equate to a pretty big percentage in comparison to the starting batch volume. I never thought about this before, but I think we should.

The rule of thumb can get you a broken thumb! 

For some brewers, I've heard that they couldn't reduce their boil-off rate due to their system design. They were well above the 10 to 20 percent boil-off range. Those brewers do have to worry about excessive concentration of wort and mineral content.

For most other brewers, it is not necessary to compensate for that water loss. Just calibrate your brewing water mineral levels with your beer taste expectations and go from there. If the beer tastes too minerally to you, then back off the mineral level you target for your total brewing water volume.   

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profile Importance
« on: July 28, 2015, 06:12:16 AM »
With respect to mineral content, I feel that water profile is one of those final touches that a brewer might consider. As long as the mineral content is fairly low, it should end up being unobtrusive. Having just the right amount of this or that isn't really that important.

However, the thing that is critical and can really screw up your beer is mash and wort pH. That is what you want to be in that narrow range of around 5.3 to 5.5 for most brewing. Outside that range, the beer quality can easily be negatively affected.

pH = very important.
Mineral content = lower importance, but worth your attention for some styles.

RA is not a targeted value. It is a major influence on mash pH, but RA isn't the target, pH is. Adjust calcium, and magnesium concentrations as desired to meet beer flavor goals and adjust bicarbonate to achieve mash pH target. Those three components are the basis of what we calculate as RA. It is because we have to vary the bicarbonate to match the requirements of the grist, that we can't target a specific RA. 

Ingredients / Re: Summit & Mandarina Bavaria
« on: July 23, 2015, 06:06:09 AM »
One of my clients recently put a new Saison in their lineup and I had noted that it was overly piney, but very tasty. When I mentioned this to the brewer, he told me there was no Simcoe or Chinook that I had suspected. He floored me when he told me it was 100% Mandarina Bavaria for all additions. It didn't come across orangey or citrusy to me. Very strange, but add this to your database.

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« on: July 23, 2015, 05:56:32 AM »
For water, I am using Brun Water and utilize "yellow bitter" and it has me adding about 2.5 g of citric or lactic which is new for me.  It typically doesn't have me add any acidity.  It does have me adding a total 4 g gypsum.  Giving me a estimated mash pH of 5.7. 

A mash pH that high is not likely to be pleasing. I find that pale lagers really need to have a lower mash pH to help them be crisp. I hypothesize that this is due to lager yeast not being that much of acid producers and they tend to have a final beer pH a few tenths higher than ales. I have found that I need to increase the mash pH a bit when brewing ales to keep them from being too crisp or tart.

With respect to the acid used in brewing, only consider lactic acid in German beer brewing. It is an underlying nuance in all German beers and it is preferred over citric since it's flavor is more neutral.

I'm surprised to see so many using the Yellow Dry profile in a GP, but it does have a similar balance as Jever water. My only concern is that the Yellow Dry includes a bit more sulfate and chloride than the Jever profile. For those using Yellow Dry in a GP, is it more minerally? I like the light minerally character of Jever Pils. I suppose that it might get better at a little higher level. I have only used the Yellow Balanced profile in GP. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 22, 2015, 06:00:44 AM »
Oh come on, Dave. Calcium is virtually tasteless, not chalky or metallic. Sulfate is not bitter at all. It is very drying though. Chloride does not have a salty taste. Its only when combined with sodium that its salty and that is only at levels much higher than typically used in brewing.

At the levels we typically use in brewing, any of those ions are only adding nuances to the flavor and pushing our perceptions of other beer flavors in one way or another. Don't worry too much about a perfect level of any of those ions.

In the case of Munich water, the sulfate and chloride are both naturally low. Around 20 ppm sulfate and 10 ppm chloride in the tap water. Of course, the brewers are free to add minerals to their water and there is no telling what they may be doing for a O'fest. I don't think they are adding much of anything, maybe some CaCl2 and possibly a teeny bit of gypsum.

Since O'fest is a lager, you don't have to target 50 ppm calcium. Lower is probably better. Something like the Amber Malty profile that is diluted a bit, should be fine.

Ingredients / Re: Need help with water adjustment
« on: July 16, 2015, 12:58:30 PM »

And to do an Oktoberfest (actually shooting for a Festbier) wanted to adjust to Munich-type water.

So, a couple straightforward questions:
1) am I using the correct values in Promash for my water?
2) Is my target water (Munich) appropriate for the style and
3) Given the results from Ward, do you have any suggestions and/or should I even be tinkering with adding salts?

No!! Don't emulate regional water profiles without understanding what those local brewers did to make it work with their brews. In the case of your water, it already has way too much alkalinity in the first place and your treatment will make it worse. Just acidifying the tap water and adding a minor amount of calcium chloride would be a major improvement. Lactic acid is required when brewing German styles to help add the proper nuance to the flavor.

Promash's calculator is only a mineral addition calculator. It has no capability to tell you what the effects of those additions are. For that, you have to employ a brewing water chemistry calculator like Bru'n Water.

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