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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Just for fun
« on: April 23, 2015, 12:54:24 PM »
That is great! I'm sure there are trademark issues, but I won't tell.

Events / Re: NHC Thursday night?
« on: April 23, 2015, 12:52:15 PM »
The request for participation to the California breweries went out on the Brewers Association forum today. The request requires that the breweries have a California presence and they receive several tickets to attend the event so that they are more likely to send knowledgible staff. The request specifically tells the breweries that we homebrewers are beer savvy and we like to talk with their staff about beer.

This will not be a repeat of the neutered brewery participation that Michigan made us do.

As mentioned, there are still openings to attend the convention and it is shaping up to be a great event. Make your plans now!

Equipment and Software / Re: Conicals
« on: April 23, 2015, 09:12:44 AM »
No hard feelings at all. Steve caught the gist of my message. "significant difference" could be good or bad.

Equipment and Software / Re: Conicals
« on: April 23, 2015, 05:59:50 AM »
I bought the SS brewtech 7 gal cronical with the FTS system and have seen a significant difference in the quality of my beer.

I'm sorry to hear that your beer has suffered...better luck next time.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: First sour - fermentation plan
« on: April 22, 2015, 06:24:33 AM »
Wow! Sounds like trouble.

I just finished a Berliner that was created via the handful of malt method that is incredible. There is a lot to be said for using more than a monoculture in your sour beer. Here is what I did:

1.5L of 1.030 starter wort in 2L erhlenmeyer flask.
Pitched with handful of Best Pils malt (whole).
Capped with tightly fitting sheet of aluminum foil (didn't have a stopper to fit the flask!)
Wrapped with heating pad and kept at around 100F.
Smelled pretty funky for a few days
Dusty, chalky looking pellicle formed. Was easily swirled away with agitation.
Became nicely smooth and tart smelling after about 5 days
Final pH: 3.1

Created 5 gal of 50/50 Pils/Wheat wort with single step at 154F
Ran off hot wort into 5 gal corny keg.
Installed keg lid and allowed to cool to 100F overnight.
Pitched entire starter (above) and replaced lid.
Wrapped heating pad and blanket around keg and kept at around 100F
Vented keg daily, lacto does NOT produce much CO2, so the venting was minimal.
Smelled like a sewer...funky for a couple of days.
Cleaned up to a smooth and tart aroma after about 5 days
Final pH: 3.1

Poured soured wort into kettle, produced a huge, dense head.
Boiled the 5 gal of soured wort for 1 hour, wanted to make sure DMS from Pils was gone.
Very fruity, pleasing aroma throughout.
About 10 IBU of early hopping applied.
Transferred hot wort directly into fermenter and allowed to cool overnight
Direct pitched packet of US-05 yeast into fermenter at 68F.
Took about 12 hours to show signs of airlock activity.
Fermented slowly for about 5 days...low pH and low gravity probably the reason.
Finished around 1.010, didn't want to let it go too low since I figured the beer needed a little sweetness to counter the acidity.

Very nice, multi-dimensional flavor, very clean and tart. Met with high regard from my club's National and Master judges. By my palate, this was equal to the Berliner's that I've tasted from Fritz Briem 1854 and Berliner Kindle. Mission accomplished!

I feel that an important lesson here is that it is VERY important to prevent oxygen contact with the bacterial culture since that can invite truly funky and off aroma and flavor. Give the culture time and the lacto will eventually out-compete the other organisms and severely limit their activity via the low pH from their lactic acid production. Note that the keg of wort hit with the lacto starter still went funky, so those other organisms were still lurking in that starter. The lacto still out-competed them and produced a great result.

I've tasted the Wyeast Berliner's at the past couple of AHA conferences and have to say that they are quite bland and uninspiring. This multi-organism starter definitely helps avoid that problem. Those of you that have read the Bru'n Water Facebook page know that you can improve the depth of a Berliner's acid flavor by adding distilled vinegar to infuse a low level of acetic acid that is present in a good Berliner. But I'd say that this 'natural' approach does produce a more pleasing complexity and depth.

By starting with a starter, you can avoid wasting a whole batch of beer. Just let that thing go through it's funky phases and eventually it should develop that pleasing sourness and smooth tartness from lactic acid. As noted, this is not a terribly rapid process, but it does work and the result can be outstanding.

Beer Recipes / Re: new Pale Ale
« on: April 17, 2015, 06:24:45 PM »
There could be another reason for the low pH. I've had a similar response from an English brewer using Crisp Amber malt. The maltster calls it a 'roast' malt. But, when the brewer planned the brew with Bru'n Water, he assumed it was a crystal malt. He measured pH and found the mash was a couple tenths low. When he went back and entered the amber malt as a 'roast' malt, the pH prediction was almost perfect.

I guess its possible that this Red malt may have a similar response. Try it as a roast malt and see if the prediction is closer to your observation.

Equipment and Software / Re: Thermapen Sale
« on: April 17, 2015, 01:52:02 PM »
You don't have to burn a lot of bucks to get great instruments. The Thermapen manufacturer makes the following thermometers that have virtually the same spec and they cost WAY less. I use both of these:

Kegging and Bottling / Re: keg conditioning with priming sugar
« on: April 17, 2015, 09:58:22 AM »
It will still take about 2 weeks for the carbonation to become 'fine'. That is controlled by the hydration of the CO2 and it is a time-dependent process. Get the gas in and give it time. In the mean time, you can still enjoy the beer with coarse carbonation.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: distilled water question
« on: April 14, 2015, 03:04:55 PM »
It should be fine to add distilled water to the kettle. It should be free of significant contaminants. I would be cautious if you were added that water directly to the fermenter since there is a remote possibility that it contains microbes.

Equipment and Software / Re: Conicals
« on: April 14, 2015, 09:58:57 AM »
I agree with all the reasons Steve mentioned. My primary reason for using my SST conical is safety and avoiding glass carboys. I don't find an improvement in beer quality, just the enjoyment of the hobby.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Bru'n Water profile for California Common
« on: April 14, 2015, 07:04:23 AM »
San Francisco water is largely Hetch Hetchy water, which is mountain runoff and nearly mineral free. Great water, but you ignore the probability that the brewery in SF mineralizes their water for brewing. No closer to the truth...which I do not know either.

Ingredients / Re: Vienna Water?
« on: April 13, 2015, 11:33:50 AM »
60 ppm sulfate is not high. All its providing is an assistance with drying the finish.

Remember, bitterness comes from bittering, not the water. That 60 ppm sulfate will help dry the finish and let the malt through. There is upwards of 30 ppm sulfate in some parts of Bavaria and Vienna is downstream of Bavaria on the Danube. Most of Vienna's water comes out of wells along the river.

Equipment and Software / Re: Refractometer, what am I missing out on?
« on: April 12, 2015, 02:54:53 PM »
My primary use for my refractometer is for gauging the gravity of final runnings. In that case, it's going to be pretty accurate since the wort is nearly pure water and the instrument was calibrated to that and I know its correct. So its quick and accurate in that situation.

I guess I should kick myself for not having compared hydrometer and refractometer values in the past. So I'm not actually sure that my instruments agree at higher gravities. Guess I got some 'sperimentin' to do on the next brew.

Ingredients / Re: Is German magnum a noble hop?
« on: April 07, 2015, 02:02:09 PM »
Yeah, but if you talk to a couple German brewmasters they are most likely to tell you that using the nobel hops for bittering is a waste of hops (and wort!).

Boy! I used that same line in that discussion with AJ and he just poo poo'd that notion. If nothing else, AJ is consistent. Give him only the true German methods! Fingers in ears for anything contrary.

Ingredients / Re: Peated malt
« on: April 07, 2015, 09:50:03 AM »
I'll echo the strong sentiment here, peated malt is not something that is suited for much brewing use. Use sparingly or not at all. There are other malts with smoke that are more pleasant.

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