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Messages - mabrungard

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Understanding Oxygen Help
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:29:12 AM »
Yes, the question should be: aeration vs oxygenation. While similar, they have differing application.

I prefer to aerate my yeast starter since we want the yeast to have a consistent O2 supply to promote conditions that create sterols and build yeast cells. Unless you have an oxygenation system that supplies a really low, constant flow to the starter vessel, it would probably be a waste of oxygen. Using filtered air is a good alternative to supply the constant and low oxygen content to a starter.

For freshly boiled and chilled wort, you want to bring the wort O2 content up quickly and you only get to do it once (typically). So using oxygen is best then.

But it's questionable if you really need to oxygenate at all if you pitch big enough with yeast that has high sterol content. For us homebrewers that aerate their large yeast starters, it seems reasonable that you could get away without oxygenating the wort. For major brewers that are repitching yeast, the yeast probably doesn't have a sterol reserve and oxygenating the wort seems imperative.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:16:27 AM »
My system is down in my mechanical room, so there is space. Adding extra storage to your system is very easy. If you are running a pressurized system and you already have the typical small pressure tank that many home systems come with, all you have to do is Tee in another pressure tank(s) into that line that the existing pressure tank is on. It is that simple. If you get a great deal on multiple small tanks, its OK to gang them together by Teeing them onto the line.

Equipment and Software / Re: Cheap heater
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:28:18 AM »
+1 regarding the heating pad that Jim mentions. My fermentation chamber won't warm up above about 70F and I just through in the pad and it provides enough heat to keep the chamber temp up. The regular thermostat-controlled cooling circuit keeps the temp from getting too high. If the cooling circuit is activating too much, then the heating pad power is turned down as needed.

Getting a pad with no auto-shutoff is important!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: State Championships
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:22:30 AM »
Indiana does produce a championship contest for both the amateur and pro ranks. It is sponsored and held at the State Fair grounds, but fortunately not during the fair. The entries are not limited to only Indiana residents though. With over 1200 entries for the combined amateur and pro ranks, its a big event.

PS: Judges participating in this event are paid a stipend to cover their expenses. They are not 'bought'.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:35:43 PM »
I have a big pressure tank for my RO. It also supplies the tap at the kitchen sink and the ice maker. For 10 gal batches, the 20 gal pressure tank is just sufficient to supply the water needed. In general, a pressure tank needs to be twice the size of your demand. You folks using an open tank are good to go with a tank sized equal to your demand. You are more efficient with your RO system output too!

I hear from a lot of brewers that prepare a single large batch of water for the entire batch's needs. I've always prepared and heated separate batches for the mash and the sparge. Even when I had only a single pot for heating the water! All it takes is planning. There is no extra equipment needed. This also allows me to focus on the unique needs of the mashing water chemistry. Sometimes it needs a little alkalinity, while sparging water never does. Two batches of water work for me.

Ingredients / Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:27:17 PM »
That is a weird recommendation for the water with so much sulfate and chloride. My tasting impressions of Old Pec were not on the water...its the malt. With the levels proposed above, I am concerned that the water would exert more influence than it should. I urge caution.

Given the large amount of maltiness in this beer, I don't dismiss the possibility of using a decent amount of sulfate in the water to help enhance the drying of the finish. 400 ppm is a bit higher than I typically employ, but to each his own. I do have serious reservations with using that high dose of chloride since that is a recipe for minerally flavor in beer. I don't recall minerally perceptions in Old Pec, but if you want to exhibit that in this malty beer, the minerally water may be overwhelmed by the sheer maltiness of the beer. This won't destroy the beer, so it may be workable. Go for it if you are ready to experiment.

For the given ion concentrations, it appears that they water might also contain around 40 ppm Mg and 50 ppm Na to get the profile to balance. Again, these may not destroy the beer if the maltiness covers up the water. I would still be shy in pursuing the level of mineralization suggested above.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: % of IBUs from bittering addition?
« on: February 13, 2014, 09:25:19 AM »
I agree with Denny. I'm setting up a hopping schedule to produce the hop flavor and aroma (or lack of it) that I want in a beer and then altering the bittering contribution by its size or boil duration to produce the bittering level I want. Of course those flavor and aroma additions may be influencing the bittering too.

With that said, do any brewers have rules of thumb they could share with respect to the size and timing of their flavor and aroma additions in typical batches?   

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: why whirlpool
« on: February 13, 2014, 09:15:38 AM »
The utility of whirlpooling is strongly influenced by the height vs diameter of your kettle and the location of your drain. You may have noticed that kettles (boil or whirlpool) in large breweries have relatively large diameter in comparison to the depth of wort they boil. That significantly improves the brewers ability to whirlpool the wort and have the trub cone stay away from the sides of the vessel. That allows for the wort drain to be located at that periphery and more clear wort is drawn out of the vessel.

Since a keggle has a configuration that is almost opposite of what it should be (small diameter, but tall), whirlpooling may not provide much benefit. If you have a large diameter kettle, then you should utilize physics when possible!

Beer Recipes / Re: Ah ha moment
« on: February 12, 2014, 09:40:45 AM »
I'm with you, Keith. Far too many homebrews in competition have an overly 'wet' finish that fails to dry. Excessive crystal use and too high mashing temperatures seem to be endemic in the homebrew mindset. When a brewer first mentioned that he mashed at low temperatures like you do, I thought he was crazy. I've since found that mashing at lower temperatures like that are the way to go. Brewers need to understand that they don't have to make beer the crystal/high temp way. You make cleaner, more drinkable beers by avoiding that method. It also allows you to use less bittering since the beer dries out better and doesn't need a ton of bittering to balance. 

Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC
« on: February 11, 2014, 11:03:17 AM »
Janis, could you report on the typical number of entries that brewers were able to get in? I only entered one, so I was pretty sure to get it in.

Equipment and Software / Re: Star San
« on: February 11, 2014, 06:23:39 AM »
That cloudiness is a calcium precipitant. While it doesn't seem to affect the solution's effectiveness, it does add a slimey coating on your equipment. I definitely worry about that.

Its best to use a very soft water to make starsan solution. RO is great and even ion-exchange softened water is usable. They stay clear.

Beer Travel / Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« on: February 11, 2014, 06:18:42 AM »
Has anyone been there for Fruhlingsfest? I understand its the spring counterpart of Oktoberfest.

All Grain Brewing / Re: PH Test Strips
« on: February 09, 2014, 01:27:07 PM »
If the water composition is relatively constant, a water test and utilizing a decent water calculator will get most brewers 90 + percent of the way to what you can achieve with a pH meter. Meters are generally more accurate than any strips, but they have more upkeep.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Hop Utilization
« on: February 09, 2014, 10:36:14 AM »
Remember, any under or over hopped batch is fine for blending with others. No dumping.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermapen Open Box sale
« on: February 01, 2014, 06:09:30 AM »
Ah yes, the Thermopop does have a bit less accuracy than a Thermapen. I picked up the RT301WA model that has 0.9F accuracy compared to the 0.7F for the Thermapen. So no significant difference there. They had a sale of $16 each when you buy 2 or more. It was worth it.

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