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Messages - mabrungard

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerating Wort
« on: November 02, 2011, 06:47:33 AM »
I agree that the disposable red cylinders will provide a lot of O2 for brewing.  I have an inline sintered stone that I use for my wort oxygenation.  At a wort flow rate of about 1 gpm and a fine stream of O2 bubbles the entire time, I've gotten dozens of batches with a single tank.  I wish I had one of those oxygen flow meters, but I don't.  That would probably tell me that I'm running the O2 well under 1 liter/min, but I'm running it longer than James for a 5 gal batch.  Maybe I'm coming close to equivalent????  

My time lags are just a few hours for my ales.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for dark beers
« on: October 31, 2011, 05:24:26 AM »
is there a real diference in tasting a beer with a very low or high diference in Ph? i mean.. if i hit 5.9 or lets say 5.1...
im a little confused about that, need to read a lot

There is a substantial difference in the beer flavor and mouthfeel in a pH difference that large.  At high pH, the flavor is typically characterized as dull and the mouthfeel is relatively unaffected.  At the typical target pH range around 5.4, the flavor is crisp and the mouthfeel is still relatively unaffected.  At low pH, the flavor is typically characterized as tart and the mouthfeel is typically thinned and the beer may be overattenuated.

Try and aim for that middle pH of about 5.4 and the results will be better.

Equipment and Software / Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« on: October 30, 2011, 12:56:13 PM »
Controlling a heating element is easy with a PID controller.  But when you're dealing with boiling water, I'm not sure that a PID could properly tell when to throttle the power since the temperature would build to 212F (@ sea-level) and not go any higher.

I am currently building an all electric brewery following Kal ('s build and advice.  He uses PIDs to control the elements and recommends once a boil is reached to actually lower the temp to around 209 or so as this will still keep enough heat to maintain a rolling boil.

I get this just from reading the site thus far - all my equipment is currently still 'virgin' and in boxes in the garage, so I could be mistaken.

I see that using a PID with a manual mode allows you to set the amount of power applied during the boil and deleting the temperature sensor in the kettle.  I was also just noting on the Homebrew Talk forum that the issue of pulse width modulation (PWM) controllers is another relatively easy way to control power in the boil kettle.  A PWM controller is very cheap and it hooks right up to your SSR(s).  Pretty slick,...I'm considering that option.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Too long in Secondary Fermenter???????
« on: October 29, 2011, 05:01:49 AM »
Let's use this opportunity to further reinforce that beer transfer to a secondary vessel is not required or desirable.  The purpose of a secondary vessel is primarily clarification for most brewers.  It is not a second fermentation unless another fermentable is added to the beer.  If the beer temperature is properly low, then there is little chance of damage from an extended stay in the primary fermenter.

Ingredients / Re: Pickling Lime
« on: October 28, 2011, 03:10:25 PM »
I don't think that conversion applies.  The cited conversion appears to be for water, not a powdered solid.  There are a few variables involved in converting a mass measurement to a volumetric measurement.  And those variables differ for each mineral and its situation.  That is why I refuse to offer a conversion in Bru'n Water for volumetric measurement. 

With a mass measurement, the primary variable is the moisture content of the mineral.  That is a whole lot better than trying to use a volumetric measurement.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for dark beers
« on: October 26, 2011, 08:10:01 AM »
If you were using a beer color-based estimate for what your residual alkalinity needed to be (like Palmer), then you were probably overdosing with alkalinity.  Bru'n Water was created based on Troester's experiments and it does account for the limited acidity of roast grain.  Roast grain does have less acidity than Crystal malts when compared on a grain color basis. 

There was no mention of any crystal malts in the stout above, but its very possible that the tap water was well suited for this beer with respect to the grain bill.  Bru'n Water lets a brewer test the effect of their grain bill with their amended brewing water to assess if further amendment is needed to produce an acceptable mash pH.

As I recall, work by both AJ and Kai have indicated that pH strips typically read about 0.3 units too low when compared to the result of a calibrated pH meter on a sample measured at room temperature.  I cannot recommend pH strips as a preferred measurement in mashing due to the measurement error and the effect of wort color on the reading.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Keg maintance
« on: October 23, 2011, 03:58:46 PM »
A hot soak with PBW will help.  Disassemble all the posts, poppets, and dip tubes.  Make sure the o-rings are replaced if you're concerned that the previous use will impart flavor to your beers.  Sanitize with StarSan.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash bed temp
« on: October 23, 2011, 03:01:41 PM »
I picked up a NIST certified reference thermometer off of eBay many years ago.  I don't remember the price, but as with all things on eBay, waiting and watching will reward you.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Disassembling cobra taps for cleaning?
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »
Wished I could buy parts for them.

I also wish that were the case.  But in consolation, the price for a new plastic picnic faucet is already pretty low depending who you're buying it from.  I see that I can get them for $4 each.  Consider that the cost of just the silicone end piece and just set the extra faucet housing aside.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash bed temp
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:12:09 AM »
You substituted a potentially incorrect digital temperature probe to replace obviously incorrect thermometers?  You still have not solved your problem.  You need a verified reference thermometer and the rest of the thermometers need to be adjusted or corrected to that standard. 

This has been a recommendation of mine for some time:  Every homebrew club should have a reference thermometer somewhere in its ranks.  That reference thermometer should be brought to the club's meetings and events so that the members can compare their working thermometers to the reference occasionally.  All that is needed is an insulated vessel with hot water (preferably in the 150F range).  That way, members have the opportunity to find out and correct errors in their temperature measuring capability.   

Temperature measurement is a critical component in brewing.  Just because you have checked your thermometer at freezing and boiling, does not mean that its reading correctly at the more important mashing temperature range. 

Using an electronic instrument does not mean its more accurate than a analog instrument!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« on: October 23, 2011, 09:00:09 AM »
I concur that if this bill is intended to allow 'sampling' then the issue of needing a licensed bartender is overreaching.  That amendment needs to be discussed with the sponsor to point out the deficiency in the logic for needing a licensed bartender.

I'd say that a definition of what constitutes 'sampling' might be in order, excepting that I don't like the idea that putting a numeric limit on sample size or number.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Disassembling cobra taps for cleaning?
« on: October 22, 2011, 07:41:07 PM »
Absolutely!  The silicone plunger of the cobra tap will become contaminated with a variety of organisms.  You do need to unscrew the unit and make sure that any accumulations are removed and the plunger is disinfected to the degree possible. 

I find that the silicone will become so embedded with 'stuff' that I have to abandon the thumb tap and replace it with another.  Since they are only a few dollars, its not a big deal to toss and replace it. 

Do take them apart after each keg's worth and give them a good cleaning.  That will extend their replacement interval.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Interesting Observation wlp 530 vs 500
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:27:48 PM »
James, by split down the middle, do you mean that you ran off the first half of the wort into a fermenter and then ran off the last half into a second fermenter?  Did you happen to measure the actual gravity in each fermenter? 

I find that wort tends to stratify in the kettle.  I've noted that if I collect a gravity sample immediately after whirlpooling, the gravity is higher than if I wait a few minutes.  I assume that the sugars in the wort tend to settle, which leaves the more watery wort at the top of the kettle.  Since I use a refractometer and collect my sample with a dropper, I can't reach down into the wort very far.  Has anyone else observed this?

If this separation were to occur, then its possible that the worts you started with in these two fermenters were not as identical as assumed.  It would be the first-filled fermenter that would have the higher gravity wort.  Is it possible that this fermenter was the 530 recipient?

Just a thought.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Switching to Whole Hops!
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:14:57 PM »
I've found that pellets with whole hops is a good way to go.  Pelletized hops produce a loose and unstable trub pile after whirlpooling.  Adding an ounce or two of whole hops per 5 gallons adds 'fiber' to the trub pile and it seems to hang together better for me.  I do use a peripheral wort intake along the wall of the kettle, so keeping that pile together at the center of the pot is important for me.

I do prefer pelletized hops for freshness and their ability to hold less wort when the kettle is drained.  Whole hops are like a sponge, so I don't like to have too much in the kettle.  The higher IBU utilization is also another nice factor for pellets.

Equipment and Software / Re: 809 March Pumps
« on: October 17, 2011, 06:01:38 AM »
To avoid trapping air in the pump, you should have the pump outlet at the highest (or near highest point). 

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