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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Negative Bicarbonate in Bru'n Water
« on: May 04, 2013, 06:00:50 PM »
Of course, there is no such thing as negative bicarbonate in chemistry.  But in Bru'n Water, its just an indicator of added acid in the water. 

Since a positive bicarbonate concentration is neutralized by malt acids, a negative value just indicates that it is adding to the overall acidity of the mash. In the case of a low acidity mash grist (mostly base malt), there is a need for the mashing water to provide additional acidity (negative bicarbonate in the case of Bru'n Water's convention) to reduce the mash pH to an acceptable level.   So in the case of that Steam Beer, the negative bicarbonate indicator is not a problem. 


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH adjustment?
« on: April 29, 2013, 11:01:21 AM »
Sure.  It turns out that the minimum alkalinity level achievable through boiling is around 50 ppm as CaCO3.  That equates to about 61 ppm bicarb.  If the boiling is a little incomplete, then the level may be higher (say 80 ppm bicarb).  So 60 to 80 ppm is a typical range. 

This bicarb reduction also reduces calcium.  The formula for decarbonization by boiling is shown on the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website. 

So with the revised Ca and HCO3 concentrations, you can enter those values in Bru'n Water and that will allow you to estimate the new acid amounts for that decarbonated water.  What you are doing is creating "boiled" water profiles that are similar to those included in Bru'n Water, but this one is based on your tap water quality.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH adjustment?
« on: April 29, 2013, 09:21:13 AM »
Any suggestions on how long to boil to precipitate some of that bicarbonate out?  I do use phosphoric however It never changes my PH in my HLT with my water profile. I assume that there is just to much bicarbonate and it is buffering the acid to much.

Although any period of boiling should drive all CO2 from the water and cause all the precipitation, there are plenty of sources that state that 20 minutes is required to remove the maximum possible.  One of these days, I'm going to have to test that for myself.

I am assuming that you are using 10% phosphoric.  Its so dilute that it would seem like its not doing anything.  Get some real phosphoric from Duda Diesel, 75 or 85% strength.  That is far cheaper than buying the diluted stuff from the LHBS.  However if the dilute stuff is all you have, just add more.  Bru'n Water will tell you that you are going to have to add a lot of that strength acid to provide the neutralization.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH adjustment?
« on: April 29, 2013, 05:27:35 AM »
That water is well suited to pretreatment by either pre-boiling or lime softening.  Lime softening requires some special training and equipment, but pre-boiling is simple. 

Those pretreatment alternatives will substantially reduce the alkalinity and reduce the degree of acidification needed.  Another alternative is to switch your acid to phosphoric acid to avoid flavor effects.  Given the level of alkalinity in that water, its likely that enough lactic acid would be needed that would add that 'twang' to the beer flavor.  That can be fine in some beer styles, but unwelcome in others. 

Dilution with RO is also a simple alternative, but might be a pain if you have to run to the store to buy it.  Phosphoric acidification is probably the simplest alternative and quickest.  Use Bru'n Water to figure out how much acid you need to add to your brewing water.

The Pub / Re: Sh!t Beer Geeks Say
« on: April 26, 2013, 05:04:13 AM »
Great video...yes, I've said some of those things ::)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Whirlpooling
« on: April 22, 2013, 07:08:34 PM »
The kettle height to diameter is important.  I use a turkey fryer kettle and I cannot get any kind of a cone to form.

Definitely!  A large diameter and modest height is the way to keep the cone confined to the center and allow you to draw the wort from the periphery.  The typical 15 gal keg is exactly what you don't want your kettle shape to be.  Fortunately for the keg users, the dished center of the keg is a good repository for trub.  Notice that all the kettles in large commercial breweries are relatively broad and not too deep.  A large diameter stock pot that has much larger capacity than you actually brew, is a good idea.  I use a 15 gal stock pot to brew 5 gal batches.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Next Step-Water
« on: April 22, 2013, 07:01:52 PM »
Somewhere in the 100 to 350 ppm sulfate range is probably OK.  As many brewers reading these forums know, I recently brewed my house SNPA clone with a reduced sulfate level of 100 ppm from my normal 300 ppm.  All I did was reduce the gypsum addition and kept all other mineral additions at my normal levels (Pale Ale profile in Bru'n Water). 

It is a fine beer with no apparent brewing or fermentation faults (saying this just so you know its not F'd Up), but the finish is a little fuller and 'wetter' than I'm used to. The reduced sulfate level keeps the beer from drying out like it typically does.  An unscientific dose of gypsum in the glass restored the drying finish.  But the bottom line is that sulfate is an important tool for assisting in creating an appropriately dry finish.  One thing I notice about great commercial beers is that they all have an appropriate level of dryness in the finish.  A beer that leaves the palate too wet or malty is not going to encourage that drinker to buy the second and third glasses. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Ph questions for a Kolsch
« on: April 21, 2013, 09:25:50 AM »
It sounds like your water has some alkalinity and needed the acid.  Was the 5.5 pH in the mash?  I recommend a little lower pH than that to help make the beer a little more crisp and tart.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bru'n Water help
« on: April 21, 2013, 09:23:39 AM »
When adding salts to the sparge, do you add them to the hot liquor tank or the mash tun?

I prefer adding the sparging minerals to the HLT so that they are added in proportion to the water amount.  This also helps me assure that they are dissolved.  Gypsum typically takes a few minutes of stirring to get it all into solution.  The other minerals are quite soluble.

Ingredients / Re: black hoppy ale hops
« on: April 20, 2013, 06:26:59 AM »
I suggest that Northern Brewer is an excellent hop in darker beers due to its 'woody' notes.  I've used NB in my American Brown ale for years as a compliment to the Cascade notes. 

I hear that Brewers Gold is excellent in darker ales and it has some similarity to NB.  I have a pound of BG in the freezer, but haven't had the chance to test (taste) it yet.  That is next on the list.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Next Step-Water
« on: April 20, 2013, 05:02:04 AM »
There is sort of an anti-sulfate crusade that has been promulgated by a person that only brews European light lagers. Unfortunately, that sentiment has 'bled' into the psyches of other brewers and their quest for great beer.  I can assure you that many styles benefit from varying levels of sulfate in the brewing water. Lately, the lore has been that sulfate enhances bitterness perception (which it does).  However sulfate is actually helping to dry the beer finish (which enhances bitterness perception) and that can be a valuable tool for the brewer to tune their beers.

Certainly, sulfate should be used in moderation. But it should be viewed as an important tool in perfecting your beers. Using it only in hoppy beers may restrict your brewing abilities. Next time you have a recipe that produces a beer that doesn't dry the finish adequately, think about bumping the sulfate content of the water up a bit. An extra 20 ppm may be all you need.

Don't be afraid of sulfate!

The Pub / Re: Reinheitsgebot craziness
« on: April 17, 2013, 06:46:24 PM »
Ah, do remember that the finest beers are from the US and Belgium where brewers aren't limited by arcane and outdated rules.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bru'n Water help
« on: April 16, 2013, 09:15:33 AM »
Accounting for the dilution is fairly easy.  With your water properly entered on the input sheet, go to the Water Adjustment sheet and dial in 50 % dilution with RO.  That will report what the new alkalinity of that Diluted Water Profile is.  Enter that alkalinity on the Sparge Acidification sheet and you are ready to go. 

Its easier than that on the supporters version of Bru'n Water.  The sparge acidification sheet has a dilution calculator built into it and the alkalinity of the tap water from the input sheet is automatically brought over.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bru'n Water help
« on: April 16, 2013, 06:49:44 AM »
The RA shown for a water profile is a 'first guess' as to what your water MIGHT need for producing a decent mash pH.  There is no 'ideal' RA that you are aiming for.  The only thing that matters is the resulting mash pH.  Given your very alkaline tap water, the acidification is not surprising.  The other thing that you are doing is adding a dose of calcium chloride that is adding hardness and further depressing the RA.  It doesn't appear that that much CaCl is needed, but its your choice. 

As Narvin mentions, allowing a slightly higher target mash pH is another option.  That bump to 5.5 can help extract a little more color and fullness from the roast components.  I like the slightly high mash pH for my darker beers since I feel it softens the flavors.

Ingredients / Re: Getting started with Bru'n Water
« on: April 16, 2013, 06:39:10 AM »
Looks as good as its going to get.  Hetch Hetchy water is nice.  The balance of cations and anions is quite close.  Given that these are averages, its nice that they're as close as they are. 

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