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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adjusting hop alpha acids
« on: March 28, 2018, 12:12:01 PM »
Since I store my hops in the freezer, I also ignore alpha loss calculations. Those alpha loss calculations do seem to be too conservative based on my experience.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: pH probe failing too often
« on: March 26, 2018, 08:51:44 PM »
While I do find that the Milwaukee MW-101 and MW-102 meters are pretty robust and reliable, I've heard plenty of poor stories about the PH56 unit.

As with ALL meters with built-in, proprietary probes, you are stuck with buying the manufacturer's replacement probe assembly. I'll continue to recommend that anyone considering a pH meter, please purchase a meter that has a cabled probe with a standard BNC style connector. That is the best way to assure that you can get standard replacement pH probes for the best market price and not beholden to the manufacturer for their proprietary replacement probe. More than likely, you will get a higher quality probe at a better price when choosing the industry-standard BNC-style probes.

PS: the 101 and 102 meters use the BNC probes. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: recirculate mash?
« on: March 25, 2018, 03:22:09 PM »
OK, I placed a new thread and discussion for the peripheral wort intake that I use, at the following location:

Equipment and Software / Peripheral Kettle Intake
« on: March 25, 2018, 03:16:10 PM »
As we all should know, whirlpooling the wort at the end of boiling or chilling re-suspends trub into the wort and preferentially deposits it in a conic pile in the center of the kettle. Placing a wort intake at the periphery (edge) of the kettle will avoid more of the trub. Here are measures I take to help to maximize the recovery of clear wort while leaving trub undisturbed in the kettle.

The first element is to place a segment of slotted tubing around the periphery of the kettle. While you could make a ring of tubing around the entire kettle, I prefer to limit the intake zone to about 1/4 the kettle circumference so that I can tilt the kettle slightly to improve wort recovery. Slotting should be placed on the bottom side of the tubing.

The second element is to include a better filter to help separate trub from the wort. I place a length of stainless steel braid over the slotted tubing to improve that filtration.

The third element is to incorporate a substantial trub dam to contain more trub in the center of the kettle. The photo above shows the simple strip of aluminum sheet that is pop-riveted together to form a large ring that sits about an inch inside the kettle walls. As shown in the photo below, the tube and braid assembly fit between the kettle wall and the trub dam. While the picture above shows a ring that is only about a 1/2-inch tall, I've since created a new ring that is about an inch tall that works even better.

I can attest that these measures work very effectively in keeping trub of almost any size out of the flow. I chill my wort with a plate chiller downstream of this wort intake and can report that I never have sediment in my chiller.

You've probably seen vendors with their pathetic, little trub dams or accessories for kettles. They'll never be as effective as this. Make a real difference and improvement to your wort handling.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: recirculate mash?
« on: March 23, 2018, 11:36:03 PM »
For homebrewers, it is not possible to separate the processes. 

Not necessarily true. My kettle has a circumferential wort pickup with a steel braid over it that serves as a good filter. I employ this since I pump from the kettle to my plate chiller. That wort is crystal clear coming from the kettle.

All Grain Brewing / Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« on: March 23, 2018, 07:23:14 PM »
I agree with Martin if you're fly sparging, but if you're batch sparging you should stir after adding the sparge water and then vorlauf.

I'm not sure that's true. Batch sparging is pretty much just like fly sparging. The difference is how and when the sparging water is added back to the tun. Mixing shouldn't be required.

All Grain Brewing / Re: stir grain bed when sparge?
« on: March 23, 2018, 03:34:33 PM »
In my opinion, you should not disturb the bed once the bed has been vorlaufed and runoff begun. Stirring the bed means that all those fines that were immobilized near the top of the grain bed during the vorlauf, are now mobile and in the wort. They would then be carried into the kettle where they can do damage to your beer.

If there is a concern that your bed is becoming 'stuck', I find that its often because of formation of a schmutzdeck (dirty layer) at the surface of the bed. Some brewers like to 'cut' their bed with a knife, but I believe that gentle mixing of that layer into the upper inch or two of the bed, will improve permeability better than cutting.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: recirculate mash?
« on: March 21, 2018, 07:59:42 PM »
There are lipids and other constituents that you don't want getting into your kettle and subsequent beer. It is highly recommended that you recirculate your wort until the discharge is clear. Turbid wort is a no-no.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Smooth Bitterness in an IPA
« on: March 20, 2018, 01:18:18 PM »
I forgot to mention THE most important thing that can affect hop flavor and coarseness: pH. For some reason, I assumed that the OP was managing mashing pH, but I don't see that.

If you start with alkaline tap water and only add a modest amount of salts, the mashing pH is likely high. That can definitely make components like hop flavor and bitterness seem coarse and rough. If you haven't been paying attention to pH, now is the time.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Ingredient Battles
« on: March 19, 2018, 11:59:12 AM »
I experimented with Fuggles for about a half dozen brews before deciding I just don't like the flavor of that hop. Its off my list.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Smooth Bitterness in an IPA
« on: March 18, 2018, 06:50:32 PM »
Without knowing what sulfate level was used previously, it may be premature to say that backing down that level is an answer. If the sulfate wasn’t at 200 ppm or more, backing it down probably isn’t the answer.

Is it possible the bittering level is too high for the residual malt level? If the recipe was originally formulated with Rager and then produced with Tinseth, I find that the bitterness is overstated.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water
« on: March 16, 2018, 12:29:49 PM »
That's typical southern Cal water. Pretty tough to brew with. You are better off diluting all or part of the water with RO.

While proper pH is an appropriate target, that only gets you so far with some styles. The relatively high mineralization of those water sources are not well-suited for brewing lighter and more delicate styles, so dilution needs to be in your toolbox.

Equipment and Software / Re: Aluminum Kettle
« on: March 15, 2018, 12:19:19 PM »
I use a 60 qt AL stock pot with nice thick walls for my electric fired kettle. It's worked well for almost a decade now. The main disadvantages of AL in my case is that AL conducts heat better than SST and that means that my system loses a touch more heat. That means I have to turn up my electric controller a bit more...whoopee. 

I don't scrub the kettle too hard. My main goal is remove all trub. However, I will alert you that the internal surface does build a 'varnish' layer from the wort. You can't see it until you give the kettle a hot PBW soak. A soak every few years seems to be frequent enough. 

Homebrew Con 2018 / Re: Homebrewcon 2018 -Who is Going?
« on: March 12, 2018, 01:49:15 PM »
Airport transfer key? I'm not sure what you mean. The light rail goes directly from the airport and past the convention center and into downtown. I have no plans to rent a vehicle while I'm there.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: DISH WASHER
« on: March 11, 2018, 05:17:25 AM »
I wouldn’t even consider using a dishwasher for preparing bottles. The is no guarantee that any flow made it into the bottle. A soak in some sort of cleaner followed by a sanitizer rinse is most prudent.

I’ll concur with Rob that bleach can be an excellent cleaner and long as there were plenty of rinse steps between the bleach and the final sanitizer. The nose is a decent chlorine detector for many people. Bleach has phenomenal killing power in the cases where you have a persistent infector.

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