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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Water Profile Wheat/Hefe
« on: March 17, 2019, 05:16:52 PM »
Hefeweissen is a traditional Bavarian style and water from Bavaria is appropriate. Fortunately, the geology for most of Bavaria is similar and so is the water in the region. Munich is located within the region and the Munich water profiles presented in Bru'n Water provide you with examples of what a Hefe brewer might deal with. Both the regular and boiled profiles give you insight. Using either profile could be valid.

Bavarian water is pretty hard. However, it is predominantly temporary hardness and it can be reduced by pre-boiling the water and decanting off of the sediment. The regular profile is unboiled and the boiled profile is....boiled and decanted. For those of you that are up on the subject, you can tell that the reduced calcium and bicarbonate content of the boiled water means its softer and less alkaline. It's better suited to brewing pale beers like hefeweissen. However, many German brewers employ saurergut in their brewing and it can neutralize the high alkalinity found in the regular water there. The hardness or softness of the calcium contribution is not really a concern in my opinion. Either way will work. If you want to enhance the haziness of the finished beer, the softer water will help keep yeast in suspension longer while the higher calcium content of the harder water does drop yeast out a little quicker. Your choice and neither is wrong.

So, you have a choice with regard to what water you elect to use...and either is appropriate. You can use the softer, boiled profile and you won't have to use much lactic acid to bring the mash pH into proper range. Or you can use the regular profile and have to use more lactic acid in order to bring the mash pH into range. Notice that I mention LACTIC acid in both cases. In my opinion, these German styles must be brewed with lactic acid to produce anything remotely authentic to the style. That hint of lactate in the finished beer is an important element in the overall flavor profile. Saurergut and acid malt are both forms of lactic acid that are allowable under Reinheitsgebot. For any other brewer, using lactic acid is more precise and equally effective. The only thing you'll miss when using lactic acid from a bottle, is the interesting nuances that acid malt or saurergut can provide. They aren't as critical to the beer as the lactate ion is, but they might make a difference to you and your drinkers. Your choice again.   

As you'll note here, you have options for brewing water. The main thing that you'll want to adhere to, is the relatively low chloride and sulfate content in the water. Both should be modest. The final thing to be sure to pay attention to is the mashing and wort pH. Bringing that pH to 5.4 or less is very important. Keeping pH that low does help keep the wort color paler. In addition, you do want your finished Hefe to end with a reasonably low beer pH and helping out by keeping the wort pH low assists your yeast in bringing the beer pH low. In fact, some German brewers perform a two-step pH modification where they bring the mashing pH to 5.4 and let that pH exist through most of the boil. They then add a dose of saurergut to the boil to depress the wort pH to around 5.2 at the end of boil. That early stage, slightly elevated wort pH aids in the conversion of SMM to DMS. That is important when you use lightly kilned malts such as Pils and wheat that are likely to have high SMM content. Good conversion to DMS is an important step in avoiding DMS notes in your finished beer.

There is plenty to digest is this post. But the bottom line is that paying attention to your water profile and your wort pH can pay off substantially in brewing Hefeweissen. I advanced a Hefe to the final round in the NHC many years ago and I'm pretty sure that my water techniques helped. You can benefit from this info too.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: No clubs in my area
« on: March 17, 2019, 01:31:06 PM »
So, I'm new to the brewing forum. I've been home brewing beer and spirits for 8 years now. I live in an area that doesn't have any clubs for home Brewers. I'd like to have one locally, but I really don't know what sort of interest level there is around here. How have past clubs started up?

All it takes to have a club, is another interested and welcoming person. Finding people like that in the wilderness of your local community, could be a challenge. If there is some form of local homebrew shop, they might be able to point out customers in your local area. But since privacy might be a concern for the shop, maybe you let the shop know that you're interested in forming a club in your area and for them to give your contact info out to those that are interested.

Another option to check, is to visit the AHA club site and do a search for a club in your area. Maybe there is already something out there in your neighborhood. The other thing you can do is contact the nearest clubs in your area and ask if they know of homebrewers in your area. You've gotta start somewhere!

Good luck in finding others to share your hobby with. It will be worth it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« on: March 16, 2019, 03:33:57 PM »
Ounce by ounce, which contains more leaf material: pellets or whole cone?

They are the same. The only difference is the processing. By the way, I grow Cascade and Centennial at home and I store those hops by drying and then pounding them into a die to produce something resembling the hop plugs that we used to be able to get.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« on: March 16, 2019, 03:09:30 PM »
Indeed, polyphenols are an important facet of beer flavor in hoppier beers. Tannins are a polyphenol and they are important in wine and cider. So there is little doubt that they are a welcome component in brewing. The only question is the level that your hopping methods take the polyphenol level in your beer. 

I suppose that pelletized hops could contribute more polyphenols to beer since the hop matter is highly macerated. All those broken cell edges from the broken up hop matter could increase the potential for drawing polyphenols from that matter into the wort. An elevated wort pH increases that potential. The other thing to recognize is that hop matter itself often raises wort pH. Maybe if you're getting more phenolic notes in your hoppy beers, it may be time to drop their wort pH so that the pH raising action of those hop additions is better neutralized.

Equipment and Software / Re: Looking for opinions on a new PH probe
« on: March 16, 2019, 02:59:26 PM »
My experience with probes for the MW-101 is good. For a budget-priced probe, the gel-filled, double-junction SE 220 probe that comes stock with that meter is pretty good and reasonably long-lasting. The thing that is imperative is that you use your pH probes only in room-temperature wort. There are far too many brewers that think that temperature-compensated meters give them leeway to use their equipment at mashing temperature. As Paul points out above, high temperature use shortens a probe's useful life.

One thing that certainly helps maintain probe longevity is to keep it immersed in a 'proper' storage solution. That means no tap water or distilled water. Storage solutions are typically potassium chloride solutions in the 1 to 3 molar range, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are other types of storage solution that are tailored for unique pH probe chemistry. I've kept my SE 220 probe in a 500 ml container of storage solution that has a hole cut in the cap so that its easy to insert the probe between brew days. I've found that the teeny condoms and caps that are often provided with probes are insufficient for keeping a probe in good condition when stored for months at a time. That SE 220 probe is now over 5 years old and it is still within its adjustment offset specification. That probe doesn't get much use now that I have one of those fantastic Hanna Halo pH probes (Thanks Paul).

The life span estimates that Paul quoted above, are probably more applicable for users that have daily or more frequent usage. That could certainly be the case for a professional brewer, but a homebrewer should easily get much more life out of their probe (as long as its properly stored and used). For those of you that insist on measuring pH at mashing temperatures, be prepared to replace your probe frequently. Those of you that buy a quality probe and use it properly, you should enjoy a longer probe life.

Ingredients / Re: Convert Acidulated Malt amount to lactic acid
« on: March 14, 2019, 05:38:59 PM »

Can anyone comment on the pH level I should shoot for going into the kettle when attempting a Gose?

In my experience, 3.5 is barely acceptable in a sour. But less than 3.2 is too much for most drinkers. Somewhere in that range is what I target.

Equipment and Software / Re: electric brewing systems
« on: March 14, 2019, 05:34:52 PM »
With 4500w, I’m typically ramping the circulating wort to the next temp step instantly. Of course, that means that there is a wave of hotter wort descending through the mash bed and the overall wort temp doesn’t reach my target for another 5 to 10 minutes. But that doesn’t really matter. It just means that some of the wort spent more time at the lower step. The temperature of the wort coming out of the RIMS heater is all that matters.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: what lagering does
« on: March 13, 2019, 08:05:40 PM »
I don’t doubt you, Martin, but unless the lagered version is directly compared to a filtered or centrifuged version, how would one know what attributes were different and why?

Good point, however my beer was quite clear long before the flavor improved. I believe it is due to fermentation by-products and not yeast solids.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: what lagering does
« on: March 13, 2019, 04:32:05 PM »
I’ve used the Wehienstephaner yeast without lagering and its fine. But I’ve also used the Samiclaus yeast S-189 and it was terrible until it lagered for six weeks. After that, it was one of the finest beers I’ve ever made.

Lagering can be a necessity with some yeast.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Think I'm going back to whole cone
« on: March 10, 2019, 02:57:35 PM »
While the storability of whole hops is poorer than pellets, storing your hops in the freezer does significantly extend their useful life. Buying a pound is no big deal to me. I’ll use them eventually.

The water used in Dortmund is no longer from Dortmund. They moved their water source quite a distance from the city due to its hard and minerally quality. Therefore, its difficult to truly ascertain what the quality various brewers in Dortmund used. As typical for many breweries, they often had their own well.  I don't doubt that DeClerck found a well with a differing profile.

The one thing that brewing with the Dortmund profile taught me was that the thing I had hypothesized was true: high sulfate with high chloride is the recipe for minerally flavor. Contrast that with the Pale Ale water profile that has similar high sulfate content but modest chloride. I don't find beers brewed with the Pale Ale profile to be minerally. The chloride level in the Dortmund profile that I published is at 130 ppm which is roughly double the content of the Pale Ale profile.

The bottom line is a warning based on my experience: don't mineralize your water too much...especially in a malt-focused beer.


Equipment and Software / Re: electric brewing systems
« on: March 09, 2019, 09:41:51 PM »
Yes, that's a major factor.  A good reason to buy malt by the bag if you can.

Amen! Having sacks of both Pale malt and Pils Malt in your brewery is an important element of consistent homebrewing. Those are typically the major components in most brews and understanding how they respond in your system is helpful.

Since I researched and inserted a Dortmunder water profile into Bru'n Water, I figured I had to try it out with a Dort. I can tell you that it is a very minerally profile. I produced a solid Dort with notable bittering and a great, clean malt profile (LODO method), but the minerallyness of the beer was distracting to me.

I'd recommend cutting the sulfate and chloride levels that I published in half to produce a less minerally perception in the finished beer. That would still give you some minerally character without going overboard. If you're not really interested in a minerally perception, then Yellow Dry should be an acceptable option. Having a decent sulfate content in your water is definitely helpful for a Dort.

Equipment and Software / Re: Reusing vinyl tubing
« on: February 26, 2019, 02:05:57 PM »
Let me tell you the other reason I’m not keen on bringing new vinyl tubing into my brewery. Vinyl does contain volatile compounds that take a while to leach from the tubing. I try to help that process by pre-boiling new tubing to help get the compounds out. Keeping ‘well-seasoned’ and relatively volatile-free tubing in my system makes sense to me.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Iodophor age
« on: February 26, 2019, 02:00:40 AM »
The main reason we stress the air drying aspect for using the BTF Iodophor solution is that those instructions are stated specifically on our label.  With EPA regulated products, instructions, methods, and applications are strictly adhered to, especially for commercial use.

Air Dry?? I had to go into the brewery and take my bottle off the shelf and read the instructions, but it does say that. The REALLY troubling thing is: "Why did EPA require this?" or  "Why did National Chemicals agree to this requirement?"

I'm afraid that you've just opened a can of worms, but I'm still not about to begin air drying a piece of equipment and have it pick up mold spores. As far as I'm concerned, air drying would bring iodophor back to being no better than an acid-based sanitizer...ineffective against mold spores.

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