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Messages - mabrungard

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Equipment and Software / Re: 809 March Pumps
« on: October 09, 2011, 06:22:10 PM »
I have had this happen many times.  Its a coating of sugars on the shaft.  I'm betting that you also turned off your pump and it wouldn't restart.  The secret is to never shut off your pump motor during the mash and runoff.  Close the outlet valve anytime you need to stop the flow, but don't shut off the motor.  

Since I've learned that trick, I've never had the pump stick.  And I've never taken the pump head apart for cleaning either.  The sugars build up during the mash, but apparently redissolve when the sparge and cleaning cycle occur.  I do run hot PBW and hot water rinse cycles every few brew sessions to make sure the pump head is clean.  

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Transferring the Dryhops?
« on: September 30, 2011, 07:00:28 PM »
I don't agree with any of those options.  Seven days is quite long enough and there is NO benefit in keeping the beer on the hops for 14 days.  I'm assuming that this is a 10 gallon batch?  4 oz is a healthy charge, but OK for 10 gal.  I have had very good results with similar dry hopping rates with only 3 to 4 days contact time.  This is the Firestone Walker way.

Ingredients / Re: Thinking about a Citra IPA
« on: September 30, 2011, 06:26:13 AM »
Truely a unique flavor profile from Citra.  I did have the opportunity to taste a single hop Citra PA and it was remarkable how fruity the profile was.  Very tasty, but as Keith said it can be overwhelming on its own. 

I like that idea to make the single hopped beer and be ready to dry hop or randallize it with another hop to restrain the fruitiness. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: IBU standardization!?!
« on: September 29, 2011, 06:25:10 AM »
The saturation limit for alpha acids in wort or water is on the order of 85 ppm and the conversion to iso-alpha acid approachs 90 percent of the alpha acids with an extended boil.  An IBU is equal to 1 ppm iso-alpha acid.  So, the maximum IBUs achievable in beer will never approach the exaggerated claims from some brewers.  IBU models such as Rager and Tinseth don't take into account the saturation limit and they will show increasing IBUs with increasing hop and alpha acid addition.  

That premise that the IBUs can exceed about 90 ppm is not factual and has been entirely proven by brewers that take the time to measure the amount of iso-alpha in their beers via lab methods.  I heard Vinny Cilurzo quote that Pliny has only about 80 ppm on the best of conditions and more typically is around 75 ppm.  That is more than enough evidence that the saturation limits I mention above are true and factual in practice.  

Now that saturation limit for alpha acids and iso alpha acids doesn't mean that a brewer and drinker cannot achieve and percieve greater bittering through higher hop additions.  There are other bittering and flavor compounds beside iso-alpha acids (oxidized beta acids are one).  But their bittering effect and perception are far less than iso-alphas.  I think its safe to say that a brewer can't really bitter a beer too far given this limitation for iso-alpha.  

The standard for measuring bitterness is Quinine.  I'd say that it may be possible to add more bittering to beer via an addition of that compound, but I'm not sure if its useful in beer.  I'm betting that its been tried by someone before, but I haven't heard of it.

As a testament to the limitation of bittering in beers, take the case of Double IPAs.  They are typically more balanced than IPAs even though the bittering levels calculated for those brews are typically astronomic.  The level of malt overwhelms the bittering and lends to a more balanced perception.  A true testament to that is that my wife will drink most Double IPAs, but finds most IPAs too bittered for her tastes.  

A new IBU formula is needed that includes the limitation of iso-alpha saturation.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Too much head on beer
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:35:38 AM »
For the conditions you stated, 50F and 17 psi.  It appears you're looking for about 2.5 volumes of CO2 in your beer.  If the temperature is going to be dropped to 36F, then you can reduce the pressure to about 11 psi and still maintain the same carbonation level. 

Ingredients / Re: Acid Malt in a Saison
« on: September 27, 2011, 01:56:28 PM »
I'm not a fan of the 0.1 unit drop per 1% acid malt rule.  As Jeff alludes to, the water will have a large influence in how the pH responds.  After looking at that slide presentation that Jeff pointed to, I would say that the laboratory trial that they ran was probably using a Pils malt with a relatively low alkalinity water (maybe distilled water).  

That response would be quite different if there had been much alkalinity in the water.  In addition, I don't think anyone would assume that there is a fixed relationship between pH and adding fixed quantities of an acid.  Those of you that have played with acids and monitored pH know that the pH doesn't move much initially.  This is the phase in which the alkalinity is being consumed by the acid.  But as more acid is added and alkalinity is used up, the pH drops like a rock.  

Acid malt is pretty much the same as adding liquid acid...its just attached to the grain.  Be careful!

All Grain Brewing / Re: What the helles happened?
« on: September 27, 2011, 01:40:12 PM »
Driving the mash pH down does increase the fermentability of the wort.  That acid malt addition probably was the culprit.  A couple tenths lower pH can have a substantial effect on fermentability. 

The 5.3 pH measured is at the lower end of where I prefer the mash to go.  I have had mashes at 5.2 and can assure you that the result was substandard for me...far too attenuated (the malt character was gone) and I could pick up a hint of sourness in the flavor profile.  Aim for 5.4 in your mash in most cases and you can bump that up a tenth if reduced fermentability is desirable. 

In my opinion, mash pH may be one of the final frontiers for tuning wort and beer performance.  Bru'n Water is the tool to use for figuring out that tuning adjustment.


Ingredients / Re: Acid Malt in a Saison
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:34:49 AM »
Don't use acid or acid malt unless your brewing water has moderate to high alkalinity and there is an indication that the mash pH will not drop into the desirable 5.3 to 5.5 range without it.  If you brew with a very low alkalinity water such as distilled or RO water, you may not need it at all.  

Blind additions of acid malt, acid, or minerals without knowing or understanding what your brewing water needs is foolish.  I've seen far too many recipes that tell you to add tablespoon of this or that.  It might have been perfectly OK for the original brewer.  But unless your water is similar, it could be just as easily the wrong thing to do.  There really is a reason that brewers should know what their water is and what they should be doing to adjust it for their brew.

Equipment and Software / Re: Anyone use a cold break filter?
« on: September 23, 2011, 09:27:52 AM »
I concur that removing some cold break can be helpful, but I'm not sure that homebrewers need to do it for the reasons that pro brewers do.  Their packaged beer is more often mishandled than ours and that affects shelf life. 

James makes an interesting distinction between ales and lagers.  Would the point be that lagers have a cleaner flavor profile that cannot hide the defects that cold break might produce?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kangen Water
« on: September 12, 2011, 02:00:27 PM »
I've recently seen ads for Alkaline Water Systems in my local paper.   I'm assuming its some sort of scam for folks looking for a health benefit.  Alkalinity is the last thing most brewing demands. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sulphur smell from US-05?
« on: September 08, 2011, 06:40:59 PM »
How much sulfate are you adding to your water?  You might get that effect if too much is added.

Equipment and Software / Re: Help me improve my efficiency
« on: September 06, 2011, 01:03:02 PM »
Denny, wouldn't batch sparging also be subject to poor efficiency if you ran off the first runnings and then refilled and ran off the second runnings with little time in the mash?  That is sort of like fly sparging too rapidly, isn't it?

Equipment and Software / Re: Help me improve my efficiency
« on: September 06, 2011, 09:40:18 AM »
I'm not sure I would rank crush as the #1 influence for efficiency.  I'd rank duration of mash and duration of runoff as high influences for mashing efficiency.  If I want poor efficiency, all I have to do is runoff quickly.  Extending  runoff duration to 30+ minutes is a great efficiency booster in my experience.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'n Water and British Brown and Amber Malts
« on: September 05, 2011, 08:32:34 AM »
Sparge water is its own issue and is not affected by the grain bill. 

Sparge water alkalinity should be brought down to around 20 ppm (as CaCO3).  Since the starting water alkalinity of various sources vary, the resulting target pH of the sparge water may vary.  For instance, a high alkalinity water might need to be brought down to a pH of 5.5 while a low alkalinity water may only need to be brought down to 6.0. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'n Water and British Brown and Amber Malts
« on: September 04, 2011, 08:37:36 AM »
The hot and cold steeping methods that Gordon mentions are good alternatives to some water treatment altermatives.  The main opportunity they present is avoiding the need to add alkalinity to mashing water when crystal or roast malts are a significant component of the grain bill.  Those of you that are natually blessed with low alkalinity water or who brew with distilled or RO water can benefit from this method. 

Bru'n Water is great for assessing what the effect of leaving those acidic crystal or roast malts out of the grist for the main mash.  The thing a brewer is looking for during the main mash is creating a more ideal mash pH in the 5.3 to 5.5 range.  If keeping those acidic grains in the mash results in predicted mash pH lower than the ideal range, then reserving those grains for the end of the mash is a good alternative. 

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