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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Water Chemistry
« on: January 16, 2015, 06:36:55 AM »
The RA is probably not too out of line. A slightly negative RA is probably OK since an IPA grist is probably not that acidic unless it includes a bunch of crystal. Remember, this profile has a decent amount of alkalinity and that balances the high hardness from the Ca and Mg.

The SO4-2 is just indicating the valence charge for the ion. Notice that Ca and Mg are +2, Cl is -, etc.

I think the original profile was OK, except for the Cl was a bit higher than I would target. The 200 ppm SO4 should be a good starting point for exploring how you like sulfate in your PA's

Equipment and Software / Re: Beer Stone (maybe)
« on: January 13, 2015, 07:18:34 PM »
I've noticed a whitish film building up on the interior of my new stainless fermentor (and also a bit on the dip tubes of my corny kegs). 

What is your water like and what calcium level do you typically target in your brewing?  Just looking for data points on beerstone.

Ingredients / Re: Water profile for ordinary bitter
« on: January 13, 2015, 07:06:57 AM »
I agree that Yellow or Amber Bitter should be well suited for an English Bitter since it includes a very modest level of sulfate that provides only minor drying in the finish. I made a pale ale last year with only 100 ppm sulfate, down from my normal 300 ppm and found that the finish was definitely fuller and much less drying. That should be well-suited to the typical flavor I find in Bitters.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Water Volumes
« on: January 10, 2015, 02:27:10 PM »
I just stop collecting runoff when I reach the proper volume in the kettle.

Jeff, that's what I've gotten in trouble with in the past. Apparently with my new system, I can now deplete my grist of sugars well before I've reached my desired kettle volume. But, I'm still getting 88 to 92% efficiency.

I'm going to switch to more closely monitoring my runoff gravity and reserving about a gallon of the calculated sparging volume. I'll only add more water to the tun if the runoff is plenty high. That remaining sparging volume will be added directly to the kettle to reach my desired pre-boil volume from now on. We'll see how this approach works out since I've been experiencing low level tannins in my beers with my new system and I have to do something different.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Air distribution manifold expansion
« on: January 09, 2015, 02:32:53 PM »
You can do anything you want. Use the plugged port or add wyes and tees to any of the other ports or valves. Nothing sacred there.

Equipment and Software / Re: Ventilation for Indoor Brewing
« on: January 09, 2015, 12:38:01 PM »
This is what I created. 6" blower, plexiglass, and wood. The plexiglass lets in light from the overhead light so I can see in the kettle better. All electric brewing system.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dry yeast for pre-soured Berliner Weisse
« on: January 08, 2015, 03:37:30 PM »
Mark, you could have a point with that K-97. I'll have to try that.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Best dry yeast for a scotch ale?
« on: January 08, 2015, 03:32:54 PM »
I used S-05 for a Scottish 70 last year and it was great. This was based on the recommendation from Jamil to use 1056 in that class of beers.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Bock attenuation problem
« on: January 06, 2015, 08:42:59 AM »
Well, here's your problem right here. you probably mashed too high. I wouldn't have mashed higher that 152. In fact, 148 would not have been too low. And a couple pound of pils malt will help insure that you have the enzymes necessary to compete conversion and dry your beer down where you really want it.

Too many brewers make the mistake in thinking "more body, more better" - these beers have plenty of body. The trick isn't getting them to have enough body. It's getting them dry enough so that when you finish the first beer, you really want a second. That's really the key with every beer. And rarely is there ever a reason to mash at 155.

+1 to what Keith says above. This is a significant factor to the underattenuation that I commonly detect in judging. Too many brewers focus on body instead of fermentability and they end up with nice and chewy beers, but they don't attenuate and each sip ends up coating and cloying the palette. I rarely find that I want to finish the glass... much less, order another round. Drinkability is an important feature in great beers. Avoiding an overly high mashing temperature is the first step to drinkability in my opinion.

I started out 15 years ago targeting mash temperatures of 155F and higher. I've learned that keeping the max temperature around 152F does produce more drinkable beers for me.  Another thing to consider is the duration of the mash. Both time and temperature are components in fermentability. Only in the smallest of beers do I bump up temperatures or shorten the mashing duration. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparging Water Volume
« on: January 04, 2015, 05:26:05 PM »
Jeff, you raise an ominous specter. Now I'm going to have to do some cross-checking on my refractometer too. As mentioned, this may be more reason to end the runoff earlier.

Extra testing for the next brew.

Beer Recipes / Re: Thoughts on a barley wine... Need advice
« on: January 04, 2015, 02:37:26 PM »
I love GP! I would go with some combination of GP and MO. I don't think you need any other body builders like wheat, but a teeny bit of flavor malts might be interesting. I agree that a long and low mash is desirable to boost the fermentability as much as possible to keep the beer from being a syrupy malt bomb. I like 146F for 90 min.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparging Water Volume
« on: January 04, 2015, 02:31:40 PM »
Matt, I found that there is some sort of threshold below which tannins were extracted into my brews. I had been using 2 brix as the cutoff for about a half dozen brews and kept finding a very mild tannic astringency in those beers. Moving the cutoff gravity to 3 brix solved that problem, but my problem was that I was too focused on kettle volume and the fact that I still had a bunch of water in the HLT.

I use RO water with alkalinity of nearly zero alkalinity and it would only take a drop or two of acid to drop its pH well below 6. I don't runoff for super long periods. I'm usually done with the runoff in about 45 minutes. That is similar to the time I was taking before this issue presented itself, but I did switch from my LHBS' crappy milling to milling my own grist with a MM-2.2 that is set at 0.035" gap. It is a very fine crush, but my pre-conditioning of the malt prior to the crush is leaving a large percentage of intact husk for filtering. My RIMS flow is still pretty good.

The fact that 90% of my sugars do make it into the kettle is encouraging. It's just that I had not run into an inability to run the entire calculated sparging volume through the grist before. I had less volume of wort, but at higher gravity. Now I will conduct operations more like Black Sands and monitor the runoff gravity more closely and just end runoff as the refractometer indicates and add any remaining water in the HLT directly to the kettle to meet my pre-boil volume goal. That should avoid the potential for tannin extraction. 

Thanks for the guidance on this issue. I figured that this was a solution, but I'd never heard of anyone doing it that way.

All Grain Brewing / Re: 60 Minute mash?
« on: January 03, 2015, 12:26:49 PM »
We can definitely design a beer around a more fermentable wort. It just takes a brew or two to dial in the proper bittering balance. Underattenuated beers are one of the primary faults I find when judging homebrews. While having a thick and chewy beer can be satisfying, I find those beers are rarely enjoyable to the bottom of the glass or for a second glass. Having enough body along with an appropriately crisp or dry finish seems to create beers that can merit a second or third glass.

One thing that I've adopted from Mike McDole is to include a very small percentage of flaked wheat in my grists to enhance the body and mouthfeel of my beers. It works very well for me. Nice rocky heads.

All Grain Brewing / Sparging Water Volume
« on: January 03, 2015, 12:14:28 PM »
I've been a fly-sparger for 15 years and have been using ProMash all of that time. Prior to my move to my electric system, my mashing and sparging water volumes have always worked out well...meaning that the final runoff gravity was just reaching the low limit and I'm running out of sparging water. Now after almost 3 years with my electric system, I've come to the conclusion that I probably won't achieve that coordination again. I always have between 0.5 and 1 gallon of sparging water remaining when the runoff reaches the low limit. By the way, I stop runoff at about 3 brix (1.012) to avoid tannin extraction.

The good news is that my efficiency is very good (80% to 90%). The best I was obtaining with the old system was 82%. The bad news is that my pre-boil volume is too low and the starting gravity is therefore too high. It seems that my procedures are extracting most of the sugars early...leaving the grain bed devoid of sugars. I do use a slightly thin mash ratio of about 1.5 qts/lb, but that is not out of the typical range. I don't think that is a problem.

It seems that I need to plan on sparging a volume that takes me down to my runoff gravity limit and then take that remaining sparging water and adding it directly to the kettle to meet my pre-boil volume target. I haven't heard of anyone else doing this, but it seems like it's what I need to do.

Any comments?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: HELP.... off flavor issue
« on: January 02, 2015, 01:06:44 PM »
The flow rate through the carbon filter was not indicated. For chlorine removal, we can generally get by with a flow rate of about 1 gallon per minute for the 10-inch filters. For chloramine removal, the flow rate has to be dropped even further to about 0.1 gallons per minute. If you were pushing water through the filter faster than this, it is likely that there was residual chlorine or chloramine in the brewing water that does create chlorophenols. Be aware that the taste threshold for chlorophenols is very low and it only takes a teeny bit of the chlorine or chloramine to ruin the beer.

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