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Messages - mabrungard

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781
Beer Recipes / Re: Munich ESB
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:49:56 PM »
NO! Not the Burton water I hope. The Pale Ale water profile is much less extreme than Burton water.

The other thing I can see in this recipe is that it may end up more like an Alt. If the hop aroma is low and the Munich malt comes through and the beer dries out well, the beer could be Alt like.

With respect to well hopped beers, I agree that the malt can clash with the hopping. That is why a very simple grist is used in a typical American Pale Ale. Hopefully that won't be the case here.

782
Equipment and Software / Re: Blow off tube odor
« on: January 20, 2014, 02:44:48 PM »
Don't worry about that. But do get the tube reasonably clean and free of deposits. Then you can boil that tube for about 10 or 15 minutes to assure that (most) everything is dead in there. There can be some organisms that make it through the boil, but they are not typically beer spoiling.

783
All Grain Brewing / Re: Distilled water brewing
« on: January 20, 2014, 07:51:35 AM »
I am already in the middle of a research project on this subject and can report that there are only a few consequences of brewing with low calcium water. Conversion and fermentation are NOT affected by low calcium. However, oxalate will not be precipitated which may lead to beerstone formation and yeast MAY not flocculate as well when low calcium water is utilized for brewing. These 'problems' are not really detrimental to beer production...they just mean that you will have to do a little extra work to create fine beer and keep your equipment in order (beerstone removal, filtering, lagering, etc).

However I do see evidence that for some yeast, that elevated calcium content CAN be detrimental to their fermentation performance (mainly lager yeasts).  When you think about it, there are yeast strains that have evolved to perform with low calcium content water and they may NOT perform well when you give them a higher calcium content than they have evolved with.

Another thing to consider: Malt provides around 100 ppm calcium and 300 ppm magnesium to wort. Those values will vary with malt variety and the OG of the wort, but the point is that there is calcium and magnesium  in wort and there is little need for more of those ions in the brewing water.

Many of you know that I recommended magnesium in brewing water at low levels, but that is primarily for taste. Magnesium is needed for yeast function, but malt wort has plenty of Mg. With that said, we have to question the maximum Mg level of 40 ppm that I and others have quoted for brewing water? I can only surmise that the Mg that wort supplies is 'bound' to ligands and organic molecules in the wort and it DOES NOT create the negative flavor perceptions that Mg in water can create.

The recommendation for 50 ppm calcium does appear to be overblown and it appears to be most applicable to ales where it can provide a benefit in the clarity of those beers. In the case of lagers, it does appear that the brewer can and should target a much lower calcium content in their brewing water. AJ Delange told me that he routinely targets 20 ppm calcium in his lagers using calcium chloride and that level is mainly because he feels that the resulting chloride level is where his beers taste best. More calcium is not helpful to the final beer in his opinion and we also have ample example that many successful lager breweries utilize very low calcium water in their brewing.

An article documenting this research will be coming out in the future. For now, I can safely state that you can always brew with no calcium in your brewing water. However, not all yeast will appreciate that condition. Ales do appear to benefit from and be less adversely affected by excess calcium. Lager yeasts will probably benefit from using less calcium in brewing water.

It does appear that the 50 ppm Calcium minimum can be ignored in some brewing.     

784
Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Water options for extract
« on: January 15, 2014, 06:02:32 AM »
I have obtained water profiles from a number of extract producers. Most are fairly innocuous. However, Breiss is burdened by their water supply from Chilton, WI. It is FULL of sodium due to the city's use of ion-exchange softening for their water supply.  Extract brewers would be wise to steer to producers like Muntons, Coopers, and Alexanders. I have confirmed that none of those producers have excessive ionic content.

785
Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: 2014 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
« on: January 13, 2014, 09:09:15 AM »
My club did a vertical tasting event last month on Bigfoot, 2014 to 1994. Yes, I'd agree that 2014 is much more approachable in its youth. I'd say it drinks like an nice IIPA. Its not harsh like in years past. From that vertical, it seems that Bigfoot peaks at about 6 years old. I'm wondering if this newest version is going to age similarly?

786
Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 11, 2014, 07:26:37 AM »

That makes sense that they'd keep you from gaming the system.

It actually doesn't make sense. How is a member going to bring a spouse or friend that is interested in homebrewing? And how is AHA going to handle the fact that when a member gets through the lottery and their partner doesn't, that means that a whole flock of members are not going to follow through and register. This truly is the dumbest thing I've heard.

How is the system gamed by having the opportunity to obtain two spots?

787
Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 10, 2014, 02:33:15 PM »
Can the Governing Board members report when the NHC 1st round judging site and date listing will be published? At present, we only know 12 locations and sometime late March, early April.

788
Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: January 10, 2014, 01:10:39 PM »
What do we get for that increase?

I think the only thing that the contestants can and should expect from that increase is that a better contest is held. I'm hoping that the extra dollars are going toward providing better support to the judges, stewards, and organizers that donate a lot of time for this great event.

Having contestants kick in a few extra dollars doesn't seem that outrageous. If the cost gets too high, contestants can maybe hold back on sending off that questionable beer and only send beers that they think are real winners. That is how supply and demand works. When the cost is under the perceived value received, that invites contestants to send any beer in. Unfortunately, I can bear witness that there are a LOT of poor beers sent to the NHC first rounds!

Here is to an even better NHC! 

789
Ingredients / Re: Dry hopping temperature
« on: January 08, 2014, 01:42:22 PM »

His response?  50*F and below!

I thought it would be 70*+.  His main comment was that it doesn't hinder the oils going into solution, and helps avoid a vegetal character, giving a clean hop taste.


Interesting. I too would have thought a slightly high temperature to be helpful. I typically dry hop at ale fermentation temperature, so that suggests that it may be a bit higher than desirable. However, I do only dry hop for 3 or 4 days and that may be a factor in the lack of vegetal notes. But now I'm going to have to try a lower temp for dry hopping.  Thanks for the info.

790
The Pub / Re: A Snow Day?
« on: January 06, 2014, 07:23:52 AM »
I was a little surprised when I was watching the game this weekend and they showed shots of the city and there was no snow.  I really expected Indy to have snow on the ground.  A foot of snow around here is just a storm...do you not get a lot of snow in Indy usually?



Yeah, there was just a dusting at game time. The dump came on Sunday. It looks a little different now. The Mayor closed the City to all non-emergency traffic. I guess I'm not going to work.

791
Events / Re: NHC 2014 - Lottery System for Registration?
« on: January 05, 2014, 06:26:42 AM »
I attend with my wife who is also an AHA member.

You have it made with twice the probability of the typical member. Do remember that every attendee has the opportunity to include a guest, so you both can enter the lottery and if either gets selected...you both go.

792
Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: January 01, 2014, 07:52:24 PM »
Personally I am very disappointed with the imposition of a lottery to determine who gets to attend NHC.  I have participated in NHC the last three years and never had any issues getting registered right after the process opened up.   In my opinion it should be first come, first served basis. 

We can say that a lottery of sorts, was already in place. Those that were fast on the draw, won the lottery.

The activity crunch that this 'need for speed' created, really killed the AHA servers and put those who couldn't be on-line at the proper moment, out of luck.  I don't see a problem with a 'real' lottery. It seems much fairer and avoids the crunch.

793
Events / Re: NHC entry problems : SOLUTIONS!
« on: December 31, 2013, 10:51:30 AM »

3) I definitely like the service bit. I'm just worried that we'll get all of our 1st round locations flooded with stewards and not judges like the hope is.


This is an idea that I liked. Clearly, we need an adequate number of the best judges we can muster at the first round competition sites and at the final round. Unfortunately, judges don't grow on trees. Stewards are also integral to these competitions, but their trainability and availability are almost infinitely greater. I have a hard time justifying reserving competition slots to stewards, though. In most cases, they can be staffed with local talent. Judges are often needed from far away to adequately staff a competition.

With 750 entries per 1st round site, that suggests that it would be great to have about 75 judges to conduct that competition in a day with moderate strain on the judges (2 judges per flight, about 10 beers per flight, 2 sessions in the day). Stewards would be half to a third of that number. Hmm? maybe that minor number of stewards is not really a big deal.

What is a big deal is making sure that we get highly qualified judges to the competitions. I would love to see every entry judged by at least one Master or National judge. This competition is not the place to have to include novices. In the interest of fairness and the fact that we should get the best judges possible at the tables, I'm hoping that there is a limited number of Competition Service entries that will be allotted to each of the competition sites. Having two high ranked judges and an apprentice or unranked judge helps build experience and a future judging pool, but should that junior judge get a competition entry slot? I agree with Drew that the Competition Committee needs to make sure that the system is not gamed unfairly. Get the best judges to the competition and reward them with this low-cost perk.  PS: I still say that these judges should also get an automatic pick to attend the conference if they want it.

By the way, reading the entry limit information, 6 entries is the max and that IS likely to be reduced if the preregistration indicates that the overall number of entries is high. I suppose that the true number could be well less than 6.  Do I read that correctly?
 

794
Ingredients / Re: Honey Malt in Brun' Water
« on: December 31, 2013, 06:21:46 AM »
The good thing is that the acidity of base and crystal malts is somewhat close when the malts have similar color. If the honey malt is a minor component of the grist, I think you will find that it only makes a few hundreths difference in the pH estimate. It could be on the order of a tenth difference, if the honey malt percentage is high.

I don't know how to classify honey malt, but I am inclined to say it has been stewed to some degree to create that unique sweetness and that implies a crystal malt.

795
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bo-pils frustration (saaz problem??)
« on: December 30, 2013, 02:14:49 PM »
I have a half keg of problem Bo-Pils at home right now. Its not terrible, but there is an odd flavor to it that makes its far less than stellar. The hops were Czech Saaz from Hops Direct. They smelled fine in the mylar bag.

The malt flavor is nicely pils-like and the hops are spicey and assertive. There is just that odd flavor that isn't right. I've had the beer in front of a couple of Masters and a half dozen National judges and there is no consensus as to the flaw or its origin.

With all of that said, I've been wondering if water has something to do with it. I've had discussions with AJ Delange about the effect of mineralization and flavor. Many of you know of AJ's concerns with the interaction of sulfate and noble hops. This certainly could be an example. For the beer under discussion, I created a pseudo-Bo-pils water profile that bumps the calcium content to 40 ppm and keeps sulfate at 30 ppm and chloride at 50 ppm. That is still a low sulfate content.  So I have to question if the anions are working against the flavor in this beer.

But then I look at the low calcium content used by a number of lager brewers. For some of the mega-brewers, they routinely use less than 20 ppm Ca. In addition, Bavarian brewers also use less than 20 ppm Ca. We know there are problems with having low calcium content in brewing water, but this does not mean you can't do it. You just have to work around those problems. So I'm thinking that boosting calcium content is not necessarily desirable in these light malt-oriented lagers. Possibly there is a flavor impact?

So those of you that have noted undesirable taste in your light lagers, review if your calcium and other ion content was a little higher. For those that had favorable results and they have diminished in subsequent batches, was the water profile changed? I would like to get more data points regarding this idea I've presented.

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