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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: raisins
« on: August 28, 2012, 09:25:24 AM »
I've used raisins a couple times.  My method is to wit til the beer has finished primary fermentation, then caramelize the raisins ins super red hot wok. 

Very interesting!  I like it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Palmer's Spreadsheet - Kettle addition
« on: August 28, 2012, 09:24:00 AM »
Everyone loves Bru'n water but i hear people saying that they add the most minimal salts. My question is: if you are trying to mirror a profile (malty brown for ex) on this spreadsheet you aren't going to be able to achieve that without adding multiple different salts, right?  Especially if you are starting with RO water you wont reach the target with cacl alone.

The salts added to your brewing water are dependent upon the flavor character you are looking for in the finished beer.  Excepting for calcium and bicarbonate, the rest of the ions are generally added only for their flavor contribution.  There is no reason why brewing with calcium chloride alone can't produce a good beer for some styles.  As the mash acidity increases, there could be a need for some alkalinity.  But there is little need for anything except the calcium in the mash and wort. 

Its when you are interested in incorporating other flavor contributions that more mineral salts will be needed.  Brewing with only RO water and calcium chloride is espoused by AJ Delange and he is a notorious fan of chloride.  Conversely, Colin Kaminski is a huge fan of sulfate.  I sat between Mr. Chloride and Mr. Sulfate at the Water Panel in Seattle and that was an appropriate position for me.  I feel there are definitely times when either of those ions are desirable in brewing.  In addition, I feel that there are nuances that low levels of Mg and Na can produce.  That is why you will find that the color-based profiles in Bru'n Water include those minor additions.  But, a brewer is free to revise the relative levels of any ion based on their taste preferences and mineral availability.   In the end, the only thing that will matter is the calcium content and the pH of the mash. 


All Grain Brewing / Re: Water additions for red ale
« on: August 26, 2012, 05:43:07 PM »
Martin's amber malty profile is for beers with an RA of -13. My calculations put the RA for a red as between 10-15. Am i reading this wrong?

Beers don't have a RA.  The RA of the water used in the mashing will vary depending upon the needs of the grist.  Don't fall into the color trap.  You don't set RA based on beer color.

The color mentioned in those water profiles is intended to get you looking at the approximate alkalinity and hardness values that MIGHT be appropriate for a beer of that color.  The brewer then goes on to fine-tune the bicarbonate content to meet the needs of the mash grist.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Style Guidelines and Judging
« on: August 26, 2012, 02:18:34 PM »
The thing is these beers have to go through a first round by at least two judges and be in the top three of who knows how many, then be judged by three more judges, one of whom is probably master, get pushed to the mini best of show, then picked as the winner, probably by more than one master. 

Unfortunately, that is less and less likely at our comps.  I'm still depressed with the lack of highly experienced judges at this important contest.  Its tough to get those judges to show up and I don't blame them.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water additions for red ale
« on: August 23, 2012, 06:08:03 PM »
You guys crack me up!

All Grain Brewing / Re: composting spent grain
« on: August 23, 2012, 05:19:38 AM »
Its imperative that you avoid letting the mass of grain go septic (anaerobic).  The smell is horrendous!  Mixing the grain with other loose organic materials can help keep the pile open and breathing.  Occasional fluffing and turning of the compost pile will also help keep the environment of the pile aerobic. 

If you are starting out a new compost pile, mixing in a little bit of the local soil will help innoculate the pile with microbes needed to perform the composting.  Place the compost pile in a shaded area to reduce the moisture loss or be ready to ocassionally wet the pile to keep it moist. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: August 22, 2012, 05:41:50 PM »
I think Chris nailed it.  The alkalinity is fairly high and the hardness is modest.  The residual alkalinity is in the 60 ppm range and that could be problematic for a light beer like a pils.  Slight acidification of both mash and sparge water appears needed for brewing a light beer with this water.  High kettle pH of the wort can increase the harshness perception of hopping. 

Thirsty, make sure your wort pH in the kettle ends up in the 5.3 to 5.4 range when measured at room temperature.

Equipment and Software / Re: efficiency false bottom vs bazooka
« on: August 22, 2012, 12:58:08 PM »

That's a good thought, Sean.  I guess the hat didn't kill your brain after all!  ;)

If I'm not mistaken, I was sitting just to the right of Sean in that picture.  He was doing a fair job of killing brain cells at the time.

Ingredients / Re: Irish Red Ale water profile and recipe formulation
« on: August 21, 2012, 02:19:57 PM »
Ideal? I don't think there is one.  But you should be able to narrow into a profile that worked well with the style.  Considering that you can always add sulfate to check the effect in the finished beer, I would aim for the malty profile and possibly spike a glass or two with a bit of gypsum to evaluate if you would have preferred the flavor of a more balanced profile.

Remember that the bicarbonate content in any profile is just a starting point.  You will have to adjust that level up or down to suit your grist.

Its good that Carl is using a LDO unit.  I think its similar to the RDO units in that the probe does not consume oxygen to measure it.  Other oxygen meter probes do consume oxygen and you can't rely on their measurements in a closed environment since the oxygen is constantly consumed.  Any oxygen consumption in our fermentation would be due to biologic action if you are measuring with LDO.  I'd love to have one of those LDO units and experiment with it!   

Ingredients / Re: Columbus hop / funk
« on: August 21, 2012, 07:57:52 AM »
Being a commodity hop, I find that it varies widely from supplier to supplier. And Columbus is especially prone to powdery mildew. I have heard a couple of pro brewerers state that they believe (their words, not mine) that we may see CTZ go away in the next decade because of it's susceptibility.

The Stats for Washington state say CTZ has gone down ~1500 acres 2011 to 2012. Still a lot of it left.

I wonder if the fact that CTZ is primarily used as a bittering hop and its disease susceptability make it less attractive to growers than hops like Magnum?  Magnum is such a amazingly clean bittering hop from the few times I've sampled it.  It would be a shame to lose a hop like CTZ and its flavor and aroma character.

Ingredients / Re: Columbus hop / funk
« on: August 21, 2012, 05:11:46 AM »
Hops are an Ag product, they can vary.  The terroir (ground) and the weather can make a big difference.  It seems you got a batch that isn't to your liking.

Equipment and Software / Re: efficiency false bottom vs bazooka
« on: August 20, 2012, 11:46:16 AM »
There is no mention of how large the mashing vessel is and the length of the screen.  If the vessel is much longer than the screen, then might have some effect.  But, I find that the most influential variable for efficiency is the length of time used for the runoff and sparging.  The longer the time, the higher the efficiency.  Go slow.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Palmer's Spreadsheet - Kettle addition
« on: August 20, 2012, 07:13:34 AM »
What about trying LibreOffice on the Mac?  OpenOffice is the old version and I understand the original developers moved on after Oracle got control of that software and they crafted LibreOffice from there.  It may be better able to perform.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: August 20, 2012, 07:10:09 AM »
I would not be surprised if the water in Eau Claire is hard and alkaline.  That area is prone to that. 

I assume that Thirsty is properly controlling alkalinity and pH of mash and kettle wort.  If that pH was a little high, that could make the hop flavor coarser and less pleasant. 

I have found FWH to be quite effective in my ales.  I haven't made a hop-forward lager, so I can't comment on the effect there. 

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