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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Pump
« on: January 18, 2016, 01:54:23 PM »
I've run the same plastic head on my March pump for over 14 years. The secret is to mount the pump and the inlet and outlet lines so that you can't break the nipples off the pump head.  This works very well.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: New club advice requested
« on: January 18, 2016, 12:08:54 AM »
Dave brings up another!

Yes, meetings should be fun and SATISFYING. I mention satisfying as an alternative to educational since not all attendees have a goal to learn anything at all meetings. At both my current club and my old club in Tallahassee (NFBL), we had regular meetings that were never technical or especially educational and then we also had other special meetings that WERE focused on learning something or geekiness.

Since we are dealing with a hobby, fun is a requirement for everything a club strives to do. However, everyone obtains their own definition of satisfaction. That is the balance that club leaders need to strive for.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH Meter: Balancing cost and quality
« on: January 17, 2016, 09:40:20 PM »
The pH56 unfortunately has a terrible reputation. Think twice.

Homebrew Clubs / Re: New club advice requested
« on: January 17, 2016, 08:20:35 PM »
I can't emphasis Drew's recommendation enough about meeting in a public place. Your club will struggle to grow when interested brewers have to go to some stranger's house to meet people that they don't know. It doesn't work. My current club struggled with low numbers for years before I insisted that we meet in more public places.

Breweries, restaurants, homebrew shops, public libraries or community centers are good meeting place choices. Having a place with food is also a nice feature since weekday meetings are after work.  Having the ability to sample homebrew in those venues is also an important factor. A great benefit of club membership is comraderie, but also the chance to get your homebrew assessed (and hopefully savored) by others.

Zymurgy / Re: Jan/Feb Issue printing error
« on: January 17, 2016, 08:07:14 PM »
I live in Colorado Springs, i joined in December and have not recieved my first issue yet.

You probably missed the cut-off for inclusion for mailing. However, you always have access via the electronic version. Of course, that includes years of previous issues.

Thanks for joining us. All homebrewers are better off that you are a member. Remember, AHA is our only voice in keeping our hobby intact and growing.

Equipment and Software / Re: pH Meter: Balancing cost and quality
« on: January 17, 2016, 08:02:18 PM »
Don't be penny-wise and pound foolish. From my review of the market, I don't think you will find something that provides good response and service for less than $50. Even at that cost, it will still be iffy. Decent equipment starts at about $70.

I am a big advocate of choosing a meter that has a non-proprietary, replaceable probe.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Low pH with Best Pils Malt?
« on: January 13, 2016, 02:13:08 AM »
I wonder if (like Martin said) some maltsters are getting on board with making their base malts more acidic, since most beers need some acid in the mash.

ALL beers need acid in the mash. How it is obtained, is the question. Ca+Mg salts, roast, or an acid addition are ways to get there.

Hmm? I wonder if the gravity difference could have been effectively neutralized by diluting the higher gravity brew to equal the lower gravity result and then correct each batch to a uniform pre-boil volume?  Then more variables would have been brought into agreement and the effect of the sparging method could be considered a greater contributor to any differences. It otherwise looks to be a good comparative study.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Barleywine with us05
« on: January 10, 2016, 11:40:23 PM »
One very important variable that hasn't been mentioned is the mashing temperature. For a beer that big, the mashing temperature should have been in the mid to high 140F's to produce a highly fermentable wort. In my experience, a wort that big doesn't need to rely on dextrins and other less fermentable sugars.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Low pH with Best Pils Malt?
« on: January 10, 2016, 11:33:59 PM »
so after all this craziness...I am brewing a vienna lager with some best pils malt tomorrow.  I entered it into Brunwater as 2L so what changes should I make now?  How does one adjust this knowing this information?  Call it a 4L or 5L to account for extra possible acidity?

Do keep in mind that producing a wort with a slightly low pH is better than producing a wort with high pH. While I have been disappointed that some worts end up a tenth or so low, the beers were still very nice. The need to make these fine tuning adjustments is not critical, but could be desirable.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Low pH with Best Pils Malt?
« on: January 10, 2016, 07:04:42 PM »
The results for the MO and Vienna seem about right, Ken.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Low pH with Best Pils Malt?
« on: January 09, 2016, 08:20:10 PM »
Mashed 0.25 lbs in a half quart of distilled water at 155F in a SS coffee thermos. Calibrated the Milwaukee 101 with fresh 7 and 4 solutions. Then measured the pH after my usual 10 minutes. Result was 5.55 pH.

Hmm. That pH result is similar to that of Rahr 2 row. Again, adding 3L to 4L to the color rating does indicate a pH of 5.55 with distilled water and 100% of that malt.

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Heaters...
« on: January 08, 2016, 06:42:35 PM »
Interesting note:

I did some quick calcs to see what the heat loss for a 3' by 3' by 3' insulated chamber would be so that I could understand how much heating power we really need in typical brewing.


20C interior temp desired (ales)
4C exterior temp (that's cold!)
5 sq meter chamber surface area for 3 by 3 by 3 chamber.
Polyisocyanate foam R = 1.0 sqm K/watt in
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam = 0.7 sqm K/watt in


Temp difference is 16 C or K

Watts = (Area x Temp Diff)/(R x foam thickness)

1 inch polyiso loses 80 watts
1 inch EPS loses 114 watts
2 inch polyiso loses 40 watts
2 inch EPS loses 57 watts

As you can see, the heating power does not have to be that high. Since the example above is pretty extreme, I'd expect that most systems would need even less heating power.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Low pH with Best Pils Malt?
« on: January 08, 2016, 01:26:39 AM »
When you get right down to it, the base malt is what dominates the resulting wort pH for most brews. The distilled water pH of typical pale and pils malts should fall in the 5.7 to 5.8 range. If the distilled water pH in a test came up much different than that, some adjustments to your calculations should be made. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Barley Gelatinization
« on: January 07, 2016, 05:51:10 PM »

I've found that I need to keep the gravity of the final runnings above 3 brix to avoid the tannin perception in my beers. The more popular recommendation is to stay above 2 brix, but that didn't cut it for me.

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