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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: astringency
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:54:03 AM »
Don't forget the third wheel in the astringency train...oversparging. Sure, make sure the alkalinity of your sparging water is reasonably low and avoid taking the sparging water temp above 170F. But the thing that tripped me up a year ago while I was breaking in my new brewing system, was oversparging. I was ending runoff at 2 Brix and had a faint tannin note. I now aim to end runoff at about 3 Brix. Problem solved.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adding java to a stout
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:48:18 AM »
One of my clubmates, Sandy Cockerham, is a BJCP Master and owner of a local coffee shop. She also supplies the coffee to many of the Indy breweries and guides their practices. Cold beer steeping seems to be the direction she espouses.

In a recent brewery's rendition of a coffee beer, there was definite bell/hot pepper notes. I seem to recall they used a Guatemalan bean. Of course Sandy roasted the beans, but I don't remember how dark. I also recall a presentation she gave to our BJCP judge pool in which she worked with SunKing and their Cream Ale and infused some lightly roasted (Ethiopian?) coffee and the result was surprisingly refreshing and light.   

Ingredients / Re: Chit malt?
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:39:07 AM »
I know that a very small percentage of flaked barley will raise a huge head. I'm guessing that only a portion of the original beta-glucans exist in Chit malt since the 'full' malting process converts most of them and this is partially malted grain.

I agree that flaked barley imparts a raw flavor that I don't like in pale beers, but its OK in roasty beers. Even at 1%, flaked barley can create a huge head and impart that flavor. I don't have that flavor impact when I use flaked wheat. I still get a decent head production, but the flavor is more wheaty and grainy. I like that better.

My findings are that you don't need much flaked barley to overdose your beer. In some respects, I'm surprised that brewers use as much Chit malt in their grist. But I suppose that Chit malt must be well on its way to being converted when its kilned and the amount of beta-glucan is actually very low in comparison to raw or flaked barley. 

Ingredients / Re: Chit malt?
« on: February 23, 2014, 05:57:13 PM »
Chit malt is essentially raw barley that has been barely malted. It has a substantial beta-glucan content and that typically requires a beta-glucan rest to avoid later brewing problems.

Although I hear that chit malt offers different flavor than if you used a percentage of raw or flaked barley along with regular malt, I have to wonder. I personally think that you could create some of the effects of chit malt with a very small addition of raw or flaked barley.

Wow, that is a lot of roast. But I'm assuming this must be for more than a 5 gal batch!

No, you wouldn't need or want to modify the water/grist ratio. Remember, you will eventually be adding those roast grains back to the mash and there are minor benefits in having a slightly thinner mash. Additionally, the pH prediction for that roast-less mash is based on the water volume you have originally input.

The mash pH prediction is a balance that looks at the total acidity of your mash grist and the alkalinity of the water you are mashing with.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Purposely stressing yeast
« on: February 21, 2014, 10:24:10 AM »
Chris White was at our LHBS for big brew. Asked about English ales and esters, he said the English brewers underpitch.

I used to make some tasty English bitter and milds back in the day before I learned better techniques. Then I learned how to make lagers. I was pitching big and oxygenating. Those lacked character. Stopped using O2 and it was better. Will try about 2/3 the pitch rate next time, maybe one half.

One of the local brewpubs doubles the pitch rate of the house yeast, WLP 022 Essex Ale, when they want to make a clean APA.

There is merit to what constitutes a 'proper' pitching rate. I've been working with Chris White on this calcium/yeast issue and I asked specifically if he knew of a reason why lager brewing typically employs roughly twice the cell count. I suggested that it was only the result of empirical results...lagers pitched with high cell counts tasted better. The same guidance is valid for any brewing. If the resulting beer tastes better with either higher or lower cell counts, oxygenation or not, then that is the right way to go. I didn't get the impression that there is a hard and fast rule in this area.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: I'm in reruns!
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:53:23 AM »
Wow Rob! If I had known you were a celebrity, I would have fawned more when we judged together last weekend. Good job.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Understanding Oxygen Help
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:29:12 AM »
Yes, the question should be: aeration vs oxygenation. While similar, they have differing application.

I prefer to aerate my yeast starter since we want the yeast to have a consistent O2 supply to promote conditions that create sterols and build yeast cells. Unless you have an oxygenation system that supplies a really low, constant flow to the starter vessel, it would probably be a waste of oxygen. Using filtered air is a good alternative to supply the constant and low oxygen content to a starter.

For freshly boiled and chilled wort, you want to bring the wort O2 content up quickly and you only get to do it once (typically). So using oxygen is best then.

But it's questionable if you really need to oxygenate at all if you pitch big enough with yeast that has high sterol content. For us homebrewers that aerate their large yeast starters, it seems reasonable that you could get away without oxygenating the wort. For major brewers that are repitching yeast, the yeast probably doesn't have a sterol reserve and oxygenating the wort seems imperative.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« on: February 19, 2014, 06:16:27 AM »
My system is down in my mechanical room, so there is space. Adding extra storage to your system is very easy. If you are running a pressurized system and you already have the typical small pressure tank that many home systems come with, all you have to do is Tee in another pressure tank(s) into that line that the existing pressure tank is on. It is that simple. If you get a great deal on multiple small tanks, its OK to gang them together by Teeing them onto the line.

Equipment and Software / Re: Cheap heater
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:28:18 AM »
+1 regarding the heating pad that Jim mentions. My fermentation chamber won't warm up above about 70F and I just through in the pad and it provides enough heat to keep the chamber temp up. The regular thermostat-controlled cooling circuit keeps the temp from getting too high. If the cooling circuit is activating too much, then the heating pad power is turned down as needed.

Getting a pad with no auto-shutoff is important!

Homebrew Competitions / Re: State Championships
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:22:30 AM »
Indiana does produce a championship contest for both the amateur and pro ranks. It is sponsored and held at the State Fair grounds, but fortunately not during the fair. The entries are not limited to only Indiana residents though. With over 1200 entries for the combined amateur and pro ranks, its a big event.

PS: Judges participating in this event are paid a stipend to cover their expenses. They are not 'bought'.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Starting with RO Water and adjusting from there
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:35:43 PM »
I have a big pressure tank for my RO. It also supplies the tap at the kitchen sink and the ice maker. For 10 gal batches, the 20 gal pressure tank is just sufficient to supply the water needed. In general, a pressure tank needs to be twice the size of your demand. You folks using an open tank are good to go with a tank sized equal to your demand. You are more efficient with your RO system output too!

I hear from a lot of brewers that prepare a single large batch of water for the entire batch's needs. I've always prepared and heated separate batches for the mash and the sparge. Even when I had only a single pot for heating the water! All it takes is planning. There is no extra equipment needed. This also allows me to focus on the unique needs of the mashing water chemistry. Sometimes it needs a little alkalinity, while sparging water never does. Two batches of water work for me.

Ingredients / Re: Water adjustment for an Old Peculier clone
« on: February 17, 2014, 03:27:17 PM »
That is a weird recommendation for the water with so much sulfate and chloride. My tasting impressions of Old Pec were not on the water...its the malt. With the levels proposed above, I am concerned that the water would exert more influence than it should. I urge caution.

Given the large amount of maltiness in this beer, I don't dismiss the possibility of using a decent amount of sulfate in the water to help enhance the drying of the finish. 400 ppm is a bit higher than I typically employ, but to each his own. I do have serious reservations with using that high dose of chloride since that is a recipe for minerally flavor in beer. I don't recall minerally perceptions in Old Pec, but if you want to exhibit that in this malty beer, the minerally water may be overwhelmed by the sheer maltiness of the beer. This won't destroy the beer, so it may be workable. Go for it if you are ready to experiment.

For the given ion concentrations, it appears that they water might also contain around 40 ppm Mg and 50 ppm Na to get the profile to balance. Again, these may not destroy the beer if the maltiness covers up the water. I would still be shy in pursuing the level of mineralization suggested above.


General Homebrew Discussion / Re: % of IBUs from bittering addition?
« on: February 13, 2014, 09:25:19 AM »
I agree with Denny. I'm setting up a hopping schedule to produce the hop flavor and aroma (or lack of it) that I want in a beer and then altering the bittering contribution by its size or boil duration to produce the bittering level I want. Of course those flavor and aroma additions may be influencing the bittering too.

With that said, do any brewers have rules of thumb they could share with respect to the size and timing of their flavor and aroma additions in typical batches?   

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: why whirlpool
« on: February 13, 2014, 09:15:38 AM »
The utility of whirlpooling is strongly influenced by the height vs diameter of your kettle and the location of your drain. You may have noticed that kettles (boil or whirlpool) in large breweries have relatively large diameter in comparison to the depth of wort they boil. That significantly improves the brewers ability to whirlpool the wort and have the trub cone stay away from the sides of the vessel. That allows for the wort drain to be located at that periphery and more clear wort is drawn out of the vessel.

Since a keggle has a configuration that is almost opposite of what it should be (small diameter, but tall), whirlpooling may not provide much benefit. If you have a large diameter kettle, then you should utilize physics when possible!

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