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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Profiles and Mash pH
« on: March 20, 2015, 01:50:04 PM »
That book is a bit dry for a book on Water...

Oh, isn't that the truth! At least John Palmer added a bit more mirth to it. Think of how tough it would have been to read if only AJ and I wrote it!! Sahara.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Ca & Mg in Brewing Water article questions
« on: March 20, 2015, 09:55:24 AM »

You are forgetting that you have version 3.0. That is where that new feature was included. Narcout may not have that version yet.

Oh, don't forget that if you add a bunch of Ca and Mg salts to the kettle, it will still drive the kettle wort pH lower. While you will protect the mash from overly low pH, you won't protect the beer. The proper alkalinity level is still required if you want to end up with a certain pH in the kettle.

The Pub / Re: Whiskey
« on: March 20, 2015, 05:36:35 AM »
I'm really enjoying the Town Branch Rye.

I have found that the selection of the bittering calculation method also has a profound effect. It seems that most recipes and the IBU ranges presented in BJCP are most accurately duplicated when using the Rager equation (for me). I've studied the Tinseth equation and I know it more accurately models bittering contributions. But the more accurate Tinseth equation actually causes me to over-bitter my worts. So, consider that if your beers are more bitter than expected.

Another important aspect that can profoundly affect bitterness and its perception is water. If the water has too much alkalinity and the wort pH doesn't drop into a proper range, the bittering from the hops can be higher than expected and rough tasting. Don't ignore your water!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Ca & Mg in Brewing Water article questions
« on: March 18, 2015, 01:52:48 PM »
Oh come on! That 42.5 ppm Mg level is just a quote from that source. There is no way that we can define it as 'optimum'. The other thing that you should take away from that article is that the malt contributes 100% of the Ca and Mg that the yeast need for their fermentation. Adding any more of those ions via the water is at the brewer's discretion and should be made based on their goals. For instance, if you wanted the beer to clear rapidly, then do add Ca. If you want more Cl or SO4, then the brewer might consider more of a salt that contains Ca or Mg to supply those anions for flavor.

I wouldn't worry too much about the Mg:Ca ratio, but it is important to recognize that you may not want to add a boatload of Ca to your brewing water and push that ratio into an unfavorable range. You should recognize that the additions of Mg and Ca to the water are typically going to be modest in comparison to the concentrations of those ions added by the malt. So as long as you aren't overdoing mineral additions in the water, your wort is probably going to be in an OK range.

Regarding starter preparation, yes it may be reasonable to add a Mg salt to the water. I suggested that in the article as a way to help infuse the yeast with a little extra Mg for the main ferment. However, I suggest that you might best prepare your yeast by generally mimicking the water profile that you will be brewing that next batch with. I wouldn't worry too much about it though. 

Let me correct your take home message! Ca additions for the mash ARE beneficial since they help precipitate oxalate from the wort. I suggest that all brewers always include at least 40 ppm Ca in the mash for that purpose. But that does not mean that your overall Ca content in the kettle needs to be that high. For my recent lagers, I've been adding Ca salts to the mash and none to the sparging water in order to end up with low Ca content in the kettle. So target at least 40 ppm Ca in the mash and whatever you want in the kettle (may be higher or lower). By the way, the latest supporter's version of Bru'n Water includes a setting so that you can tell the program that you want to add all the sparging minerals to the mash to create the technique I mention above. The program also reports the ion levels in the mash and kettle separately so that you can assess that you are boosting that Ca level to that desirable 40+ ppm level.

All Grain Brewing / Re: more desirable in water: Ca or Na?
« on: March 18, 2015, 01:23:20 PM »
For the proposed Na level, there would be no problem what so ever if you decided to use table salt to boost the Cl level. If anything, the overall sweetness perception of the beer could improve with the salt addition.

I add table salt to almost all my brewing water for flavor impacts. The Na level I use is typically at your proposed level or less, though. So I'm not pushing at all.

I suggest that you don't need to worry about Na at levels of 50 ppm or less in almost any beer. Above that level, you should raise an eyebrow. However, Na can be an asset in roastier beers since I find that it improves and mellows the flavors. I wouldn't go over 100 ppm Na, since the flavor is just starting to become apparent at that level. At 250 ppm Na, anyone would recognize a salty flavor. 

Ingredients / Re: Water Water everywhere
« on: March 17, 2015, 06:44:53 PM »
Some yeast have differing calcium requirement. I'm sure that some of heard of yeasts that refuse to flocculate and others that seem to floc at the drop of a hat and won't finish their job. Both are examples of those differing Ca requirements. With that said, unless you are having a problem clearing your beer, you don't need more Ca. Probably the most important reason to have higher Ca is to add more Cl or SO4 to your beer for their flavor.

I'm afraid that Randy is still relying on old knowledge. Don't worry, it is not likely to ruin the beer.

Homebrewer Bios / Re: Bio - HoosierBrew
« on: March 17, 2015, 06:39:34 PM »
Speaking of homebrew club, I've been trying to sweet talk him into the FBI (Foam Blowers of Indiana), but I guess we are just a little too far away from New Pal.

Good to put a face to the presence, Jon. Keep up the good work.

Ingredients / Re: Does Pilsner extract require a 90 min boil?
« on: March 16, 2015, 06:57:34 PM »
It is a good question though. I don't doubt that the evaporation process helps strip SMM and DMS, but I'm not sure how much. I'm doubting that the raw wort was boiled much. Jon, it is good to hear that your experience says its no problem.

Ingredients / Re: Pellets vs whole hops
« on: March 15, 2015, 09:29:57 AM »
That is interesting insight, Denny. Thanks. 

I concur that pellets are more likely to stay fresher than whole hops. I do like to use my homegrown whole Cascade and Centennial in my brewing only as finishing hops in hoppy beers. As pointed out above, I find the whole hops tend to help add structure to the trub cone in the kettle and helps me keep it out of my fermenter during transfer. 

Kegging and Bottling / Re: o-ring lube for corny kegs?
« on: March 14, 2015, 09:46:39 PM »
Or you can pick up silicon grease from your local Lowes or Home Depot. Look in the faucet repair supplies.

Equipment and Software / Re: silicone tubing discoloration
« on: March 14, 2015, 10:45:51 AM »

Is FRP tubing as flexible as silicone?

Definitely not. That rigidity can be a blessing or curse.

Equipment and Software / Re: silicone tubing discoloration
« on: March 14, 2015, 08:15:33 AM »
Replacing anything on the hot side is a total waste of money. The only thing you are protecting is your vanity.

If you have soaked hoses and components in hot PBW solution and there is still color, don't worry about it. Its just coloring.

In my case, I use the fiber-reinforced plastic tubing. Since that stuff gives off volatile components, I always pre-boil that tubing before its first use. I suppose one good thing is that it doesn't seem to discolor or pick up much staining, except if I occassionally use iodophor to sanitize. Even that discoloration fades with time.

PS: if you can boil a component, its almost certainly sterile. If you can autoclave the component, it is sterile. On the homebrew level, our components are often small enough that we can boil them. Larger breweries don't have that ability. Don't worry about discoloration. WORRY about debris and films on components.

All Grain Brewing / Re: efficiency observation
« on: March 12, 2015, 12:20:18 PM »
Crush till you're scared.  Then when you achieve >90% efficiency and your resulting beer tastes thin and watery and lifeless, you'll open the gap on your mill, maybe even more than once, to get back down to around 80% for a better balance of good efficiency vs. mouthfeel.

Hmm? Given my experience with really high efficiency for the past year, you may have something there, Dave. While my beer hasn't become thin, watery, or lifeless, I can't say that it tastes better than it used to.

While I agree that the degree of crush has an influence on efficiency, the other factor is duration of runoff and sparging. I'm just not sure that backing off on the gap and resulting crush is necessarily going to improve my results.

As a data point, my last several batches have used a revised sparging scheme where I reserve about 1 to 2 gallons of the sparging water volume and DON'T put that volume through the grain bed. That volume goes directly into the kettle. Now, I've been doing this to avoid oversparging and extracting tannins. But the other effect is that the beers have higher taste quality and the efficiency did go down a little bit.

I'll concede that high efficiency is not necessarily a good thing for beer quality. But I do want to hear more from other brewers on the effect of 'excessive' efficiency since I think that there is such a

Equipment and Software / Re: Super cheap pH meter
« on: March 10, 2015, 12:27:58 PM »
There is a lot of guidance on pH meters on the Bru'n Water facebook site that can help guide you through a purchase and management decision like this.

While I realize that a meter can be an expensive investment, I recommend that you remember that adage: penny-wise, pound-foolish. Almost certainly, a really cheap meter is not going to last as long as a higher quality meter. But another specter is the higher potential that a cheap, poorly calibrated meter is going to feed you garbage and cause you to make adjustments that are bad for your beer.

PS: I really like the Milwaukee MW-101 and 102 meters because they use a double-junction, gel-filled probe that sure has provided years of life for me. That probe should always be stored in a KCl solution, not DI water or calibration solutions.

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