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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too much SO4?
« on: February 22, 2018, 08:26:49 PM »
Makes one wonder if the use of tannins like BrewTan-B is caused by the promotion of low calcium levels (as compared to the levels used by the British).

Gallotannins are known to chelate any free divalent metals in the wort, including Ca and Mg. I've seen research articles that showed something like 20 ppm Ca reduction. I suppose that we should be considering this effect when using gallotannin products.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too much SO4?
« on: February 22, 2018, 12:51:12 PM »
If you're aiming to make British style IPA, 200 ppm sulphate is on the low side (see table at bottom here:

Sulphate is balanced by chloride (what's your Cl level in ppm?) and sweetness from malt, so there isn't really a personal limit as such - what tastes right depends on how much caramel/crystal malt is used and how much chloride is in the water.

1060 OG is not typical of British IPA. Over here IPAs are about 4.5% abv, but 1060 will give you more than 6% abv. That's really an American IPA, which is a valid style but stronger than the British version. I'm not sure what SO4 level would suit a 6+ abv beer, but the table on the Murphy's website applies to weaker beers.

As Charles has probably seen, I'm routinely castigated on the British forums for the modest mineralization that the Bru'n Water profiles suggest. As noted in that Murphy's table, they recommend far higher mineralization than I've found to be enjoyable. I guess it's a product of what you're used to.

All Grain Brewing / Re: India black lager water adjusments
« on: February 21, 2018, 05:39:06 PM »
Well given the amount of roast grain in that recipe, its possible that some alkalinity might be needed for that mash. But my question is: why so much roast in a black lager? In addition, that is a healthy bittering level. Both of those components are likely to need plenty of malt in order to provide a reasonable balance.

If this is a 5 gal recipe, I can see that the gravity will be high, so the malt may be sufficient. But I find that beers like Dunkel, Schwarzbier, and Black IPA tend to have roast in order to provide color and less so for adding roast flavor.

Another consideration is that lager yeast may leave the beer too clean and not supplying esters that might compliment or enhance the roast features in that recipe.

With regard to water adjustment, the amount of roast in the grist suggests that the beer should be somewhat drying already. You shouldn't need to add much sulfate to the water. I would be looking to add chloride as primary addition to the water. Sulfate can be added, but should be minor.

Equipment and Software / Re: Any home-brew weighing scale recommendations?
« on: February 21, 2018, 01:25:36 PM »
While a scale with resolution of 1 gram is good enough for most all homebrewing duties, I find that having 0.1 gram resolution is needed when dealing with water salts and acids. I've been using a triple beam Ohaus with 0.1g resolution for almost 20 years. It doesn't have a large capacity, so I bought an electronic luggage scale for grain measurement. I checked its accuracy and found it to be a half percent off (0.05 lb in 10 lbs), good enough for me.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry Calculators
« on: February 20, 2018, 01:46:07 PM »
Maybe Martin finds mashes gravitate toward 5.4 because he has (as we would expect, effectively) set the conditions for that;  were he to erroneously set up the conditions for 5.0 or 6.0, that would be the center of gravity. 

Well, I'm not sure that this is true. I do try and target pH's several tenths above and below that 5.4 median (dependent upon style brewed), and that tendency for the pH to trend toward 5.4 is ever present. Now, I haven't tried targeting the large deviations mentioned above, but its an interesting experiment. Now if I only had the time to experiment.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Too much SO4?
« on: February 20, 2018, 01:39:13 PM »
It's important to recognize that many things affect dryness and balance in beer.

We know we have malt and it has sweetness. That sweetness has to be balanced by other factors (bittering, roast flavor, acidity, astringency, sulfate, etc) in order to be a more pleasing beverage. Jim points out another factor that I had not previously considered: the sweetness and fermentability of malt components. They sit on the other side of the balance equation, but they certainly affect the balance.

One thing that surprised me a few years ago was finding out that Burton Ale was a big malty (not highly bittered) beer that was brewed in Burton on Trent. I didn't expect that this type of beer would be effectively brewed with the high sulfate water of that city. But the water's high sulfate content was offset by the high malt content. The dryness from the sulfate helped balance that malty style.

The 200 ppm sulfate content that Jim mentioned for his beer, seems to be a good starting point for many brewers interested in exploring the effects of sulfate in their brewing. I believe that it may have been the combination of the elevated sulfate and the increased wort fermentability provided by his low mash temp that helped produce the imbalance that he didn't like.

I still prefer 300 ppm in my PAs and IPAs, but its an acquired taste. I'm typically mashing those styles in the 152F to 154F range, so they do still have a bit of residual sweetness. Maybe that's why they're enjoyable to me? 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Potential of Hydrogen (Another pH thread)
« on: February 20, 2018, 01:21:12 PM »
The term: STP is widespread in chemistry. Standard temperature and pressure are important aspects since so many parameters can vary with those components. Its a stretch to assume that pH measurements were not conducted generally with respect to STP unless their deviation is specifically called out. Now, if there were only a true 'standard' to the STP. Unfortunately, even that isn't fixed. But generally, somewhere around room-temp and sea level atmospheric pressure is typically used.

The pH offset between mashing temp and STP cannot be a fixed number unless a mashing temperature is applied. I'm assuming that most can recognize that the offset is zero at room temperature and it grows with increasing temperature. So the 0.18 to 0.35 offset range may have validity...but at differing temps. 

I see that Steve's article is a special feature available only online...excepting that the link is broken. I'll send a note to the powers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry Calculators
« on: February 19, 2018, 07:31:29 PM »
One point to note here: You have to be in the ballpark using estimation first. A very low or very high pH won’t just magically gravitate to 5.4.

Very true!! That phenomena only seems to work when I've done treatment measures that were targeted to fall in the 5.2 to 5.6 range. Now if I could only figure out why that phenomena occurs???

Equipment and Software / Re: Brewers Edge Mash and Boil
« on: February 19, 2018, 05:45:32 PM »
I'm never going back to gas. The only thing to be sure that you do with electric systems is to make sure the element(s) is clean after each use. Organic deposits do collect on the element and will burn in the course of many batches. I find that those deposits come right off with a scrubby pad if you attend to them after each batch.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Potential of Hydrogen (Another pH thread)
« on: February 19, 2018, 04:42:09 PM »
Sadly the article cited above, set the state of brewing water chemistry back a step. While there are plenty of pH optima that we are forced to compromise on while brewing, the fact of the matter is that tens of thousands of brewers have found that targeting the 5.2 to 5.6 range (room-temperature measurement), produces a better tasting beer than if assuming that range is at mashing temp. There is a spirited discussion of that article and this issue on Bru'n Water's Facebook page.

Do yourself a favor and forget about measuring pH at mashing temperature. It's damaging to your pH probe and it doesn't lead to a better beer. While there are pH probes that are fabricated for high-temperature use, they generally stay at that high temperature throughout their life as part of a process measurement. That's not what happens in brewing where you're taking a room temp probe and plunging it briefly into high temp wort and then back to room temp. That thermal stress does hasten the breakdown of that probe's thin glass membrane.   

All Grain Brewing / Re: Switching to all grain: krausen and head issues
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:38:50 PM »
Miami water isn't too bad. Although its reputed to be from the Biscayne Aquifer, but that aquifer is so permeable that its pretty much water directly out of the SFWMD drainage canals. It's lime softened in most cases. But it would require a bit of acid when brewing paler beers. Of course, you also need to neutralize the chlorine in the tap water. But there should be no need to use 'spring water' since that is what your tap water is.

How long are you boiling and how hard? Boiling too long and hard does damage wort and one of the things that gets damaged is heading ability. A gentle boil with just enough vigor to cause the wort to circulate is good enough for the first 30 minutes. Keep the wort fully covered during that initial period. For the final 30 minutes, remove the lid and make the boil slightly more active. That will remove all the DMS, if you used Pils malt in your grist.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast cell count..
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:23:54 PM »
I don't concentrate on the cell count, but I do know that the practical limit for ales is roughly 1 packet per 20L for 1.065 wort. You can use that for lager too, but then you run the risk of developing more fermentation by-products. Most pitch roughly 1.5 to 2 times that amount for lagers.

I'm sure that someone else will evaluate your math.

All Grain Brewing / Re: How is Munich malt made?
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:18:54 PM »
Using RO for Dunkel and Dry Stout is OK. In the case of Dunkel, the roast addition is so small that it doesn't drive pH down excessively. In the case of Dry Stout, the pH depression is desirable, but you don't want the mashing pH to be low for most of the mashing duration. That will cause excessive proteolysis and that can destroy head and body. Adding the roast at the end of the mash is a good technique for keeping the mash pH at normal level for most of the duration and then crashing it at the end.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Closed transfer
« on: February 15, 2018, 01:11:07 PM »
Iodophor: Embrace the stain

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