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Messages - mabrungard

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Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 21, 2015, 03:32:32 PM »
As Paul Gatza has stated to his BA members: The biggest challenge facing the craft industry is poor quality beers.

There are a lot of crap craft beers out there. Finding that diamond in the rough is great, but you sure have to down a lot of coal dust to get there.

As you will notice with many of the European beers that we hold dear, they only make a few beer styles or maybe one, but they focus on honing and refining that limited slate to high quality. We need more of that focus here in the craft beer industry too. 

I have to assume that your temperatures are only a few degrees off and a small quantity of water is added. Since you are using RO water that has little alkalinity, its effect on pH should be minor. However, there could be a slight increase in the mash pH since you are diluting the acid content. The same thing occurs when mashing with a thick versus thin grist ratio.

Of course, you would be diluting the ionic content that you were targeting with the original mineral additions, but if the cool water addition is small in comparison to the total mashing water volume, then the effect will also be small.

It doesn't sound like this is a serious concern. I do agree with the others that recommend using ice cubes since there is greater temperature reduction per unit of added water.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Making it smooth
« on: May 14, 2015, 07:14:13 PM »
Guinness creates their Guinness Flavor Extract (GFE) that is apparently just roast barley steeped in their very low alkalinity water. That should produce a liquor that has a pH nearing 4.5. That's low for a typical wort, but not 'sour'. I do not know if they actually sour the GFE. They combine that GFE with the regular wort composed of raw and malted pale barleys. That combination of substantial roast content, low pH, and regular wort help produce that sharp, roast flavor. That flavor and its moderation by the huge body imparted by the raw barley beta-glucans and raw barley flavor are what create that smooth Guinness flavor, IMHO.

I feel that you can get reasonably close to the Guinness dry stout result by adding the roast barley as a late mashing addition. However, as many pro-brewers and multi-Ninkasi winner Gordon Strong can attest, having the ability to Blend the beer components, gives you much more opportunity to fine tune the final product to taste and uniformity. I think that is why Guinness uses the GFE. Another reason is that their other breweries around the world may not have had access to low alkalinity brewing water and they could easily export the GFE to the other breweries for blending on site.

Guinness dry stout brewing is an interesting study, but I have to admit that I prefer other stouts and porters with smoother roast character.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brunwater target mash pH vs room temp pH
« on: May 14, 2015, 12:12:51 AM »
Now look what you've started??

Events / Re: NHC forum meetup
« on: May 13, 2015, 12:26:37 PM »
Yes! There will be homebrew. Its just that we are seeing another case of alcohol law dumb-assery. We can't mix the two classes of beer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brunwater target mash pH vs room temp pH
« on: May 13, 2015, 12:23:58 PM »
Another way to think of it is, pH is just a number and your beer came out tasting like 'this'. If the beer was too harsh or tannic, you know you need to adjust your processes to produce a lower number. If the beer was too crisp or tart, you know you need to boost the number.

Its a reference standard that helps you 'tune' your beer.

Ingredients / Re: RO sparge water
« on: May 12, 2015, 12:36:16 PM »
Low is relative. I have suggested that 50 ppm TDS is an appropriate level at which you start to worry about RO quality. As mentioned above, the typical RO machine is going to produce much better quality than 50 ppm, so that value would be significantly out of range.

Now let's look at what that 50 ppm TDS might mean in actual ionic levels: maybe 12 ppm Ca and ppm HCO3 or 14 ppm Na and 36 ppm HCO3. As you can see, these are very lot concentrations. If you start including more ions, then the totals of each will fall even farther. So these are still teeny levels that shouldn't destroy your brewing, but still signal impending problems with the machine.

Ingredients / Re: RO sparge water
« on: May 10, 2015, 08:32:21 PM »

Wow, that's pretty awful. There was a well publicized brewery closing in the last month or so - any chance that's  the one ?

Nope. Although John Palmer and I visited that brewery about a year and a half ago and found they had water related problems with their beer too.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Treating Sparge Water
« on: May 10, 2015, 01:22:18 PM »
I've hypothesized that adding ionic content to the sparging water is helpful when your raw water has very low mineralization. That extra ionic content helps reduce the osmotic pressure that may leach tannins and silicates out of the grain. However, that is unproven.

In the mean time, I've discovered that there can be times when you want to add add the batch's salts to the mashing water so that pH is driven lower by the salts and less acid is needed and the overall ionic content of the brewing water is kept low. This is especially useful when brewing lighter-flavored lagers where you want low ionic content in order to keep the water from overbearing the beer flavor. Adding all those salts to the mash enables you to produce a higher Ca content in the mash so that more oxalate can be removed from the wort and there is less beerstone in your brewery and kidney stones in your gut.

Ingredients / Re: RO sparge water
« on: May 10, 2015, 01:10:11 PM »
Lactic acid has a very long shelf life. I've done some research on that subject a while ago and wrote about it somewhere. It's probably in either the Water Knowledge page of Bru'n Water or on the Bru'n Water Facebook page.

Ingredients / Re: RO sparge water
« on: May 10, 2015, 12:28:04 AM » what about tannins? If im pouring 168 degree, straight RO water over my grains for BIAB, aren't tannins going to be released if RO pH isn't low enough?

Nope. With almost no alkalinity, the pH of RO is like a feather in the wind. With any external acid, its pH drops like a rock.

Another important fact is that RO water almost never has a pH about 7. In most cases, the pH of RO water is under 6. Part of the reason can be due to dissolved CO2 in the raw water that easily makes through the RO membrane into the product water. That dissolved CO2 along with the very low alkalinity means that carbonic acid is formed, which quickly depresses the water pH. I had an unfortunate client that called me in too late who had this problem with their brewing water and the resulting beers came out very acidic. With nearly 300 bbls of acidic beer that they ultimately had to waste, the economic impact was the end for that brewery.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Stirring Mash
« on: May 09, 2015, 09:11:14 PM »
I can't envision a reason why stirring would be detrimental to the mash, excepting for the fact that it would create more opportunity for heat loss.

Mixing our mash is a big concern of mine. Getting a uniform distribution of heat and ionic content is a significant goal in my brewing. That is one reason that I recommend combining all mineral and acid additions to the brewing water before its combined with the grain. That way I can assure that those additions are completely distributed in the water.

Obtaining a uniform temperature through the mash is a little more difficult. Mixing grain and water together does make it possible to have hotter and cooler spots in the mash. With really good mixing, you can eventually get the temperature relatively uniform. But moving all the grain and water around is difficult. Another way to do it is to move only the wort via recirculation. Performing some vorlaufing or recirculation does improve the uniformity of the mash temperature. But without an external heat source, that action is likely to again result in heat loss. Brewers with RIMS or HERMS have a better opportunity to create and maintain a very uniform temperature in their mash.

Move the media or the liquid to improve mash uniformity. (moving the liquid is easier!) 

Ingredients / Re: RO sparge water
« on: May 09, 2015, 08:56:57 PM »
Ken, you got it correct. Salts in the sparging water do not cause that water's pH to drop. pH drop is only a product of the phytin reaction in the wort.

While that sparging water will end up in the mash, the resulting wort dilution and replacement with sparging water means that there ends up being very little phytin in the mash to react with. So we can't even rely on those salts to keep the pH low during the sparging step.

Regarding the need to acidify RO water for sparging use: No, you don't need to acidify. The primary thing of concern with sparging water is that it have low alkalinity. Good RO water already has very low alkalinity. So the need to acidify is gone. Another consideration is that with the very low alkalinity of RO water, it would only take a drop or two of most acids to cause the pH to plummet.

All Grain Brewing / Re: pilsen water profile
« on: May 08, 2015, 04:37:58 PM »
While the Color based water profiles in Bru'n Water are modestly mineralized profiles that are well-suited for ales, most lagers can actually benefit from less mineralization.  However, 'less' does not mean none!

We have it from Dr. Narziss that PU does not use the raw tap water in Pilsen. They do mineralize the water somewhat and that mineralization does include gypsum. Unfortunately, we don't have details on the levels they take their mineralization. From other anecdotal evidence, it does seem that very modest mineralization is all that is necessary. On the order of 20 to 30 ppm calcium along with some chloride and sulfate tends to produce good lagers. That mineralization is primarily for flavor...the beer tastes better.

Since there are benefits in using a higher calcium content in the mashing water to help precipitate oxalate, the new supporter's version of Bru'n Water includes a setting that assumes that all of your sparging mineral additions are added directly to the mash tun in order to boost the Ca content. It does all the recalculation of the mash pH at the higher Ca and Mg levels and also reports the diluted levels of all the ions in the kettle (this assumes that the sparging water has no additional minerals). Since lager yeast performance is enhanced by reduced calcium content and there is less flavor from the low mineralized water, this setting provides the best of both worlds. Low mineralization in the kettle and higher mineralization in the mash for oxalate removal.


Ingredients / Re: How do you get chalk to dissove in brew water?
« on: May 08, 2015, 03:33:45 PM »
A Munich Helles is NOT brewed with an untreated Munich water profile. It is much too alkaline for a pale beer. That water would have been pre-boiled to decarbonate it, which reduces calcium and bicarbonate content. That is why there are 'boiled' water profiles in the Bru'n Water software to help brewers understand the more likely STARTING point that historic brewers would have had.

So the boiled Munich water has low calcium and still some bicarbonate that needs to be neutralized. Of course, the Germans performed the neutralization via acid malt addition or saurgut addition. The end result is low alkalinity and elevated lactate ion content.

Since Helles is a lager, there is no need for any additional calcium in the water. The malt provides all the calcium needed for yeast metabolism and health. An important message here is that you don't need the chalk at all to brew a Helles nor to recreate an authentic Munich water suited for pale beer brewing. 

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