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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Store in Alabama Raided
« on: September 22, 2012, 06:43:56 AM »
Unless those folks are going to shut down the border and prevent the import of that equipment and the associated supplies, they are wasting time.  In fact what they did was damage the livelihood of someone that 'built that' business.  Alabamans need to use this to get this law updated. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: IPA Help PLEASE!
« on: September 21, 2012, 02:42:42 PM »
Having tasted PA's and IPA's that were brewed with low sulfate concentrations, I am of the opinion that sulfate is a critical component of a good hoppy beer.  I'm having an on-going discussion with Dr. Chloride (AJ deLange) regarding the necessity of sulfate.  Having listened closely to Mr. Sulfate (Colin Kaminski), I have to admit that I'm not as big a fan of sulfate as he is. 

But to help decipher my preference for sulfate level, I'm going to bow to AJ and brew my standard PA with a very modest sulfate level next time.  I will be adding gypsum to my glass on a post kegging basis to see if I do prefer the lower or higher sulfate level.  As many of you Bru'n Water users know, there is a Pale Ale water profile in the program.  It has been my favorite for many years now and its origin is Randy Mosher's profile (with minor tweaks for appropriate chemistry).  It has 300 ppm sulfate.  I guess I'll aim for somewhere around 100 ppm sulfate for this test.   

I invite other brewers that have a tried and tested PA or IPA recipe to rebrew with a lower sulfate content and see if your preference lies in the higher or lower sulfate range.  If you find you like more sulfate, you can always dose that missing sulfate into the keg after its brewed.  Gypsum is relatively soluble.  Test it out!

As an afficionado of the style and multi-time judge of the category at the first and second rounds, I strongly feel that rousing the yeast in a weizen is desirable.  It can be a significant component of the flavor and if the brewer made the effort to include a yeast charge or bottle condition that beer, I feel that its appropriate to include that component in my evaluation. 

If the bottle has sediment, I may try to rouse via rolling the bottle.  Sometimes that is insufficient to get it into suspension.  So after pouring a sample, there is usually enough headspace so that I can swirl the bottle to help suspend the yeast before getting an eruption of foam.  The rest of the beer samples can be poured from that result.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash pH and water adjustments
« on: September 17, 2012, 02:41:45 PM »
I have an ESB recipe. Using Bru'n water to calculate the Ca additions and Cl:SO ratio I want, I get a mash pH of 5.4.
When I toggle between the Adjusted water and the Existing water on tab 4, line 24 I get a mash pH of 5.4 on the existing water.

Am I correct that as i have an acceptable pH with no mash adjustments, I can add all my salts (both mash and sparge) straight to the kettle, then just go ahead and acidify my sparge water as necessary? I do need the water additions as my water has very low mineral content.

Yep!  That is one of the reasons I put that toggle capability in there.  Your tap water must be suited to that grist.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: September 17, 2012, 05:43:43 AM »
That is a Start of boil pH.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Tell me about kettle and fermentation pH
« on: September 16, 2012, 01:18:07 PM »
Beer pH has a lot to do with the yeast used.  There are some yeasts that naturally reduce beer pH more than others.  I would worry more about the kettle pH values since those are more in your control.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water adjustment for very thin mashes
« on: September 16, 2012, 01:09:47 PM »
Using a mash thickness of 4.9 l/kg I get the following mash PHs:
Kaiser 5.4
Brun 5.7
EZ 5.8

The variation is more than I like.  The above numbers are all with very soft water with no adjustment.

Soft water is meaningless.  What is the water's alkalinity.  Hardness is generally not an issue in brewing.  Alkalinity ALWAYS is!

Bru'n Water's calculation on mash pH is directly affected by the volume of water in the mash.  It should be fairly accurate for that use.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Water Profile for IPA
« on: September 14, 2012, 10:40:16 AM »
Jeff, I wouldn't go as high as 100 ppm for BOTH chloride and sulfate.  In an IPA, 100 ppm sulfate is a good starting point.  But adding 100 ppm chloride with that is inviting an antagonistic flavor impact.  I like to keep chloride in the 50 ppm range when I'm boosting sulfate above 100 ppm. 

Another unfortunate thing that an extract brewer needs to watch out for is the very high sodium content of Briess extracts.  At a reconstituted gravity of 1.045, a Briess extract wort contains 100 ppm sodium.  Add that concentration to any sodium that the brewing water already contains.  Double the wort gravity and the sodium content of the wort goes to 200 ppm.  This problem with Briess extract comes from them using the local Chilton, WI tap water which is ion-exchanged softened by the City prior to distribution.  I've already had a long conversation with the water system manager in Chilton and he confirmed the water quality they produce for their customers.  Because of the high sodium content, I have to recommend that extract brewers consider using other extracts for their brewing. 

By the way, this sodium result for Briess extract applies to all of their liquid and dry malt extract products.  All the other ions in their extracts are in appropriate ranges. 

Ingredients / Re: Dry hop-cigaring?
« on: September 09, 2012, 03:21:35 PM »
I spent about a half year in Tifton, GA on a hazardous waste cleanup.  The site was next door to a tobacco leaf wholesaler's barn.  When the crop came in, the aroma was great.  Rich and pleasing aroma.  But its just so hard to fathom how bad that aroma becomes when smoked.  I wouldn't mind the aroma of fresh-cured leaf in a beer, but the other tobacco constituents would probably not be welcome.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: September 07, 2012, 12:43:17 PM »

Kettle acidicfication allows you to run your mash at a higher, more optimal pH for starch conversion, while keeping the kettle pH optimal for protein coagulation, bitterness quality and cast-out pH. With higher mash pH you may actually get a lower beer pH. This has to do with a increase of the wort's pH buffer capacity due to phytase that is more active at lower mash pH.

Very good point.  Not a band aid.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: That German lager flavor
« on: September 07, 2012, 10:15:16 AM »
If I find that my wort pH is higher can I add more lactic acid to it?

Sorry, I didn't see this post earlier.  Yes, if you find that the wort pH in the kettle is higher than your target, then adding an acid to the kettle is a good idea.  Having a high wort pH can make the bittering and hop character a little rougher. 

Of course, if the sparging water has already been treated to have low alkalinity or it natually has low alkalinity (like RO) and the pH in the mash is kept in the desired range, then its unlikely that the wort pH in the kettle will be out of range.  Focus on all the contributors before adding a band aid at the end, if at all possible.

All Grain Brewing / Re: step-mashing, and when is it inappropriate?
« on: September 05, 2012, 12:01:18 PM »
I note that several commercial craft brewers like to perform multi-step sacharification mashs, with a rest in the 140's and then a step to the 150's.  I assume that they also step up to a mash out temp to improve lautering and extraction.   I like a Ferrulic rest, but only for Weizens.    But not too many brewers seem to deal with a protein rest.

Equipment and Software / Re: New Equipment - What to get?
« on: September 05, 2012, 05:48:52 AM »

2. Kegerator + temp controller

Definitely, this is a huge improvement in beer quality.  Having fermentation temperature control is imperative.

3. 1-10 gallon SS brew kettle with ball valve
4. 1-5 gallon SS brew kettle

I don't feel that the premium for a SS kettle is worth it.  Aluminum is more effective than SS with heat transfer from external flame to internal wort. In addition, I've found its every bit as durable.  I suggest finding a 10 to 15 gal aluminum kettle on Ebay or craigslist along with a lid of some sort.  You can easily add a drain valve later. 

5. Coleman 52 Quart Xtreme cooler as my mash tun

That is what I have, works well.

6. 5 gallon corny keg

Once you have kegs, you'll wonder why you ever bottled.  It is such a time and effort saver.

7. Counterpressure filler

This is kind of iffy.  I have one, but hear a lot about a Beergun.

8. 5 gallan & 6.5 gallon glass carboy

You only need the big one.  Don't move your beer to a secondary vessel, just move it directly to the keg after the beer has cleared.  You don't really need a glass carboy if you move your beer in a timely fashion from a bucket to the keg.  A glass carboy is definitely one of the most dangerous articles in a home brewery.  Think carefully about including one in your equipment list.  I bit the bullet and upgraded to a SS conical fermenter, just for safety reasons.

9. 2 Bayou Classic burners

I found that a single burner was sufficient.  When you think about it, you'll be heating sparge water when the rest of your wort is in the mash tun.  So there isn't a need for two burners then.  Having an insulated vessel to hold that hot sparge water is recommended.  I used to overheat my sparge water and put it in a regular bottling bucket and that worked well. 

When you are running off your wort into the kettle, it can be sitting on the burner and you can proceed directly to the boil. second burner is necessary. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: Protein rest in RIP
« on: September 04, 2012, 07:36:33 AM »
Head Retention???  With over 6% flaked barley, that beer will have rock hard head.  The protein rest is not necessary.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water additions for red ale
« on: September 02, 2012, 07:39:01 AM »
Thanks Martin for Bru'nwater info and spreadsheet. I am going to have to decrease my grain bills because with the water additions my efficiency raised from 62 to 72%

I don't think that water adjustments alone could make that sort of improvement.  The original water would have to be way off for that to be feasible.  I'm betting that other improvements to the brewing process like runoff time or grain crush.  Glad to hear about the improvement though.

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