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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Magnesium!
« on: February 26, 2016, 09:37:01 PM »
I'm glad someone finally agrees with me. Mg is OK in bittered styles.

We are 501 c 7 and we file every year, but as long as you're under whatever the mark is (I think currently 50k) you're fine.

Recognize that the Maltose Falcons are a case in point for clubs that really need 501(c)7 designation since they have a huge fundraiser and the tax ramifications would be dramatic if they didn't have it. But if your club doesn't have a huge income like the Falcons, don't worry about getting 501(c)7.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water Questions
« on: February 25, 2016, 01:29:49 PM »
Something does seem amiss. Although a TDS or conductance reading is an inexact measure with respect to ionic content, the 19 ppm Na seems several times too low with respect to the TDS reading. In addition, the water report information is missing the anions and most importantly, the alkalinity. Nothing can be deduced from this report.

Events / Re: 2016 Homebrew Con
« on: February 24, 2016, 01:43:54 AM »
Sorry folks, but NHC stands for at least a couple of things in our world. National Homebrew Contest and National Homebrewers Conference. We got tired of confusing these things and frankly, we wanted to freshen the convention perception. Therefore, you now have HomebrewCon. Yes, it is geeky, but its our new moniker.

Events / Re: NHC 2016 First Timer Questions
« on: February 24, 2016, 01:39:53 AM »
No problem with taking in only a portion of the convention, but its your loss. There is a lot going on...all the time. Learning, doing, partaking, enjoying. I haven't regretted going to any of the conferences, and this will be about 9 for me.

You are free to stay anywhere you like, but I can assure you that being in the middle of the action is a lot of fun and it keeps you out of trouble. Do try and meet up with folks from your local club or here on the forum. Sharing is caring.

All Grain Brewing / Re: BJCP Guidelines - pH
« on: February 23, 2016, 10:00:21 PM »
Extract brewers don't benefit by checking pH?
They can't do anything about mash pH.

Actually, they can. If they reconstitute with alkaline water, the resulting wort pH is likely to be higher than desirable. Even if using distilled or RO water, the brewer can still alter the pH of the resulting wort with base or acid additions.

All Grain Brewing / Re: BJCP Guidelines - pH
« on: February 23, 2016, 03:11:39 PM »
Why aren't target mash and boil pH ranges included for each style in the BJCP guidelines?  (i.e. Too subjective, too much work to include, etc...)

For the same reason that other recipe specifics aren't stated in the guidelines. For the beer drinker, its all about where the beer ended up, not how it got there.

Beer Recipes / Re: California Common idea
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:41:50 PM »
I can assure you that NB and Cascade is a pretty nice combo. Even in dry-hopping.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: How come Starsan turns cloudy?
« on: February 22, 2016, 04:35:33 PM »
Using the softest water possible is important for the longevity of StarSan solution. As mentioned, the cloudiness is caused by the complexing of the active ingredients with the calcium in the water. While the cloudiness does not indicate the solution is ineffective, the cloudiness is a precipitate and it does coat all of your equipment soaking in the solution with a slimey layer. In my opinion, that is more than enough reason to insist on using completely softened water. Distilled, RO, or ion-exchange softened waters are OK for making up StarSan solutions. Be aware that you may need to add more concentrate when using a softened water since there is probably a good bit of alkalinity in that water that neutralizes some of the acid.

I definitely would not worry about a somewhat low calcium level. Calcium is only needed for removing oxalate and speeding yeast flocculation. I've noticed that dark beers tend to clear pretty well anyhow, so speeding flocculation doesn't seem to be critical.

I've focused on only using baking soda in my last several dark beer batches and found that the flavor is improved by the sodium. Of course, its still pretty low Na content, but more than I used to use.

The flavor ions (Mg, Na, SO4, Cl) are what I tend to focus on. The Ca and HCO3 content is far less important and is likely to vary from those published profiles.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mash For Kolsch...
« on: February 20, 2016, 05:01:31 PM »
Probably not, Dave. ;D  Having won a medal or two that surprised me on beers that I thought were 'pretty good', and having really good beers come up short just reinforces (to me anyway) that comps are unpredictable. Judges have varying experience, knowledge of a given style, and palate fatigue within a style. Judges - please understand that I mean no disrespect. 90% of the time I am harder on my own beers than any judge ever. The other 10% I chalk up to a tough category, and occasionally 'they missed a good one'. Stuff happens.

Agreed! I place no credence on anyone's medal in a competition. That just means your beer was better than the others. In some competitions, that is not saying much. The only thing that counts to me is the score of a highly ranked BJCP judge or a pro-brewer that is known for producing outstanding beers.

This is not to say that un-ranked or lesser ranked judges can't be may just mean that they haven't had the opportunity to advance their rank...yet! However, I am loath to give any credence to a pro-brewer as a beer judge. As most of you know, there is a huge amount of poor 'craft' beer out there. Its piss-poor brewers that decided that they want to brew for a living, that drag down the craft industry. Learning to recognize beer faults and knowing how to correct them, is a critical factor in a brewer's skill set. Being able to add hot water to grain and get paid for it, does not make you capable of judging beer effectively.

With over 15 years of judging, I too am pretty hard on judging my beers before competition. Having had to taste so many poor beers in competition, I wish more brewers had the skills to decipher their beer's faults prior to entering. But I do have to remind myself that this is also how brewers learn to recognize their beer's faults and add that data point to their skill set. Hopefully, my liver sacrifice goes to someone else's benefit.

Here is to those of you that enter and those that judge...just make sure that you take your results with a grain of some cases!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mash For Kolsch...
« on: February 20, 2016, 04:33:47 PM »
Gordon won Ninkasi more times, and more recently than JZ. I trust Gordon's cred as a brewer as much as I trust JZ's.

While Gordon is a very good brewer, you need to remember that he back-doored his way into the Ninkasi, in my opinion. Each one of his Ninkasi's was pushed by Mead wins. While that is still a crap-load better than my results, I believe that JZ won his Nindasi's with beer only. In a way, that may place more cred on Jamil's expertise.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water salts mass to volume equivalent chart
« on: February 17, 2016, 10:41:54 PM »

And do you weigh your water? Chances are people who are carefully weigh their salts are making a solution in water they measured by quickly eying at a bad angle.

Yep, sometimes I do weigh my water or acids. But that is when doing something special. I've had brewers suggest that weighing all your liquid additions is more accurate than using a volumetric measurement. I know of some breweries that use load cells under their tanks to measure the weight of added water (and therefore the volume).

There are many reasons why having a good scale that reads to 0.1 gram is a very useful thing for the homebrewer. Pro's can live with a scale that only reads down to 1 gram since their batches and additions are larger.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water salts mass to volume equivalent chart
« on: February 17, 2016, 08:00:50 PM »
But Eric has me thinking about CaCl2 - will an open bag of it begin absorbing water from the air and then weigh more per granule than an unopened bag? 

The gradual absorption of moisture from the air is almost certain. You have a couple of options for combating that: create a CaCl2 solution and calculate the additions based on the solution strength, or bake your CaCl2 in the oven for an hour or so at 375 to 400F to drive the salt back to its anhydrous form. Of course, you need to make sure your calculations are set up for anhydrous CaCl2.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water salts mass to volume equivalent chart
« on: February 17, 2016, 06:21:46 PM »
I'm curious, when adding your hops, how many teaspoons of hops do you use? I find that I need an accurate scale for more than mineral additions. There really is no substitute.

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