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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: B. E. A. UTIFUL day for a brew day!
« on: February 08, 2015, 10:50:09 AM »
Way to go Mrs Rogers!

The Pub / Re: Braunbier Tapping
« on: February 07, 2015, 01:09:53 PM »
Hmm?? When the AHA conference was in Vegas over a decade ago, the Hofbrauhaus had just opened and it was outstanding. We had a pile of homebrewers getting crazy in there. Sorry to hear it may have gone downhill. All the beer was flown in directly from Germany at that time.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water filter help?
« on: February 07, 2015, 01:03:19 PM »
A particulate filter cannot remove any form on ionic content from water. To give you an idea of why this is so, the typical particulate filter can have a micron rating of 1 to 5. That means it will capture particles larger than either 1 or 5 microns. However, the minimum pore size for nanofiltration is about 5 nanometers (a micron is 1000 nanometers). The pore size for RO is about 10 times smaller than nanofiltration.

So don't count on a particulate filter removing your water's ionic content.

The only good thing that a particulate filter does is keep crap from clogging your carbon filter or RO filter. It otherwise is a worthless investment in brewing.

Ingredients / Re: got my water analysis
« on: February 07, 2015, 06:06:35 AM »
Yes, even at 50 ppm TDS, it means there is very little ionic content is in the water and virtually all the individual ion concentrations are below 20 ppm. That is not a lot to worry about. As evidenced above, the thing we are watching for is when the TDS rises to a level like this, we know that the machine may be failing since normal RO operation produces water with much lower TDS.

There are only a few ions that are truly necessary in brewing water. Zinc and copper are truly needed, but at VERY low concentrations. Calcium is needed to help with some enzymatic functions and to help speed flocculation following fermentation, but has no other imperative use. 40 ppm calcium in the mash tun is a good idea to help precipitate oxalate and you don't really need that much in the overall brewing water if brewing lagers. However, you do want to have at least 50 ppm calcium in the overall brewing water when brewing ales so that flocculation is faster.

So, not much in the way of needs....but there can be much in the way of WANTS. Low ionic content brewing water can lead to bland tasting beer. That can be OK for some styles, but can be pretty uninspiring for others. I've tasted many pale ales that were brewed with almost no ionic content and they were: BLAND. Some content is almost always good. Just don't overdo it. Too much content can lead to minerally or alka seltzer flavor.

« on: February 01, 2015, 09:17:14 AM »
Since I don't know my local water profile I use R/O water w/ 1 TSP of Calcium Chloride,  1 TSP Gypsum per 5 gallons for IPAs, and about 2% Acid malt.

Since I can't easily deduce what those additions will mean in terms of ionic content and mash pH, I will just echo the recommendations above to target a room-temperature wort pH of around 5.4 to improve hop perception and bitterness. It definitely matters for these factors.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast RO water
« on: February 01, 2015, 09:12:06 AM »
Osmolarity is a very real concern when administering intravenous solutions. While hyperosmolar solutions are typically a bigger concern, osmotic pressure works both ways and too low is just as real a danger as too high.

Good points. The question then becomes what the proper range of osmolarity for yeast cell rehydration is? As most should recognize, wort has a huge ionic content and RO or DI water has virtually none. Deciphering what is tolerated the best by rehydrated yeast doesn't seem to be well researched, but the recommendation by Clayton Cone does seem to push that desired ionic content toward the low side.

On a related side note, it does appear that using a solute with magnesium instead of calcium for yeast rehydration is preferable. Yeast have a FAR lower need for calcium than for magnesium and infusing magnesium at this rehydration step does appear more beneficial. Calcium displaces magnesium from yeast cell walls and that can injure the cell performance. In addition, natural wort typically has 2 to 6 times more magnesium than calcium. So using a mineral like epsom salt for the ionic content for yeast rehydration is sound. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast RO water
« on: January 31, 2015, 08:42:37 AM »
Without any solutes to provide an osmolarity gradient, what is to keep the yeast cells from taking up so much water that they burst? You can kill someone by administering pure water intravenously; your blood cells end up taking up water to the point of lysis.

Um, osmotic pressure is very low. It should be pretty darn difficult to develop an osmotic pressure that significantly exceeds the internal pressure within the cell and causes it to burst.

The thing with administering pure water (intravenously or orally) is that it reduces the ionic content of the blood to the point that it disrupts the function of systems. It does not burst the cells or cause lysis.

Ingredients / Re: Rahr Premium Pilsner
« on: January 30, 2015, 12:03:25 PM »
ANYTHING over Briess!

I've been less than thrilled with Briess crystal malts for many years. I found out that they used a lot of 6 row for that production. But now I understand that they are moving to all 2 row. I am hoping that this makes a meaningful difference. I'm not willing to dismiss Briess yet.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast RO water
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:15:54 PM »
The objective is to get water molecules into the dehydrated cells. I'm not sure there is a problem with using water with very low mineralization.

Ingredients / Re: got my water analysis
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:38:16 AM »
Yes, for the minor amount of alkalinity that this water contains, lactic acid is very acceptable. Using a syringe or graduated medicine dropper or graduated pipette are all fine for acid additions.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Martin B. is the man!
« on: January 29, 2015, 08:34:57 AM »
I have found that S. pastorianus strains do not lower the initial pH as much as do S. cerevisiae strains.

Agreed. I've seen reports that show lager yeasts are not as aggressive in reducing beer pH as ale yeasts. My understanding from a Wyeast presentation is that the German Ale yeast 1007 is their most acidic producer. It is reputed as a good yeast for final fermentation of Berliners and Gose.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brew Pumps
« on: January 27, 2015, 06:47:49 PM »
Just curious on why you have a valve on the inlet and outlet of the pump. Is it just a design preference?

I need those valves to keep the pump primed when I'm switching hoses. Once I've started a mash, I don't turn off the pump until the sparging is complete. This pump is prone to having its impeller seizing on its shaft if its turned off with high sugar content wort (typical wort). Then you won't be able to get the motor and impeller spinning again. Copious cursing and screaming ensues while you take apart the pump head to free the impeller. Its not a good scene for anyone. Having those valves is a good thing.

PS: shutting both valves while the pump is spinning does not hurt the pump.

Ingredients / Re: Flaked Barley
« on: January 27, 2015, 06:38:22 PM »
It is a HUGE body and head builder and it does have a notable taste. 1 lb in a 5 gallon batch is a lot of flaked barley and I don't think it will be a welcome addition. It will be difficult to serve in a reasonable amount of time due to the amount of head this beer may have. I would plan on carbonating the beer at a low level if you add that much.

The flavor of raw and flaked barley blend pretty well with roast barley. But in a relatively pale beer without that roast flavor, that flavor can be overwhelming. Use with caution.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brew Pumps
« on: January 27, 2015, 07:16:38 AM »
I appreciate the plastic head on my March. It results in less heat loss when I'm using it for my RIMS. The thing that must be accommodated is preventing the inlet and outlet pipes from moving and breaking off the plastic head. I support my piping and the pump as shown below. That pump has over a dozen years on it and that is the original head.

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