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Messages - mabrungard

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826
Ingredients / Re: Sourcing Phosphoric Acid
« on: July 21, 2014, 08:05:38 AM »
As Amanda points out, the perception of these off-flavors is not exact. Differing tasters have different taste thresholds for these compounds. Don't be surprised if someone says that they can taste it at X and someone says, Y.

827
Beer Recipes / Re: German Hefeweizen
« on: July 16, 2014, 11:54:24 AM »
I like using Aromatic or Melanoidin malt instead of the Vienna. I would keep the bittering at the 11 to 12 IBU range. The late hop addition is unneeded and potentially undesirable since I'm not sure that hop aroma plays well with the yeast character. Make sure that your mash pH is in the 5.2 to 5.3 range so that the beer flavor is crisp.

828
All Grain Brewing / Re: Astringency problem
« on: July 16, 2014, 06:23:53 AM »
If starting with high quality RO water that has been verified to have low TDS, then the amount of hardening minerals added to the mashing water should produce an acceptable mash pH. In addition, high quality RO water should have low alkalinity and there shouldn't be a need to acidify the sparging water.

I'll repeat a favorite mantra: The difference between medicine and poison, is dose. As pointed out above, if you taste straight epsom salt or mix up a strong solution, it will taste like sh*t. Just like the rest of the minerals that we use would taste like sh*t if you performed the same test with them.

At 18 ppm Mg, there is little taste added via the epsom salt, but as pointed out, it adds a bunch of desirable sulfate. However, this not to say that any brewer should add epsom salt willy nilly. Unless you know that your starting water has very low Mg content, don't add more Mg since the upper limit for Mg is fairly low.   

I had an astringency problem like the OP and I finally found out that I was oversparging the mash and the runoff gravity was allowed to fall too low. I had been stopping at 2 brix and found that the problem went away if I stopped runoff at 3 brix.

829
All Grain Brewing / Re: RO system design
« on: July 15, 2014, 05:28:00 AM »
Less than around 50 ppm TDS is a decent starting point. As an example, Pilsen water typically has a TDS of around 30 ppm. So ultra low TDS is definitely not necessary or desirable. In most cases, a home RO system will produce much lower TDS than that. An important factor for success is occasionally monitoring the TDS content of your system to tell when the membrane is going south.

With regard to treated water quality from a system, its unnecessary to seek zero on any of them. Even with the single digit value you can obtain for most ions in a RO system, you are likely to want more of some ions in a quest to improve the flavor of the water and the resulting beer.

Say NO to zero...when it comes to brewing water quality.

830
All Grain Brewing / Re: RO system design
« on: July 14, 2014, 10:45:36 AM »
No! You definitely don't want zero TDS water for brewing. That is a waste of time and money to treat water to that level and then add back ions for taste. In most cases, starting with a low level of ions is OK. In fact, most large brewers know that a low level of ions is OK and they use a higher efficiency process called nanofiltration that actually leaves a little more of the ions in the treated water and it saves water and energy compared to RO.

There is guidance on the Bru'n Water facebook page regarding RO systems. You'll need to go way back in the articles, but look for: What RO System should I Buy?

Enjoy!

831
All Grain Brewing / Re: Overtreated water?
« on: July 13, 2014, 12:31:53 PM »
I'm guessing that you didn't add alkalinity for mashing an amber grist. So I'm guessing that you may have added gypsum and/or calcium chloride in your water treatment. The combination of high sulfate and high chloride is the recipe for 'minerally' taste.

I'm hoping that this was not the case. If the addition was one or the other, high sulfate would lead to an overly drying finish and high chloride could create anything from a salty to an alka seltzer perception. 

832
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast for 11B southern English Brown
« on: July 12, 2014, 07:17:25 AM »
It needs to be a low attenuator. In addition, I understand that they were also back sweetened.

833
Ingredients / Re: Source for H2SO4
« on: July 10, 2014, 01:56:44 PM »
Be sure to obtain high purity acid for any brewing usage. Grade designations such as: Reagent ACS, Reagent, FCC, or USP should be the only acid grades used for brewing. Officially, FCC (Food Chemical Codex) is the food-grade material that you should be using in any brewing. However, not all acids are routinely available in that grade. The other grade designations are supposed to be as free of deleterious matter and should generally be equivalent to FCC.

Do check out how much acid you will be using when selecting the acid strength from the supplier. Plug the strength value into Bru'n Water and see how much of that acid you would be dosing your typical batch size with. If it's high strength acid, it may only take teeny amounts to reach your treatment goals. In that case, you may not need to be buying a lot of that high strength acid and you might consider buying a lower strength or getting a smaller volume of acid.

Getting high strength acid typically saves money, but those acids are more dangerous and require very high precaution when handling. Diluting high strength acid down to lower strength can make them a little safer to handle.

Be aware that there are shipping limitations. You will hear about a term "hazardous quantity" in the chemical shipping industry. If I recall correctly, the typical hazardous quantity of strong acid in the US is 1 gallon. Shipping for a hazardous quantity is quite expensive. Therefore, be looking to purchase a maximum of only a liter or two of any acid to avoid the hazardous quantity problems.

And for God's sake, be sure you've read up on how to handle and dilute these acids and have the personal protective gear for working with it. This is not the time for carelessness!

834
Denny beat me to it. Alcohol can sometimes be perceived as sweetness. I have a 9.2% Saison that finished at 0.998 and it is routinely commented on that it has sweetness. I have not heard to hopping (dry or otherwise) adding to perceptions of sweetness.

835
Equipment and Software / Re: Si Hoses & Camlocks
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:19:14 PM »
I calculated the headloss due to that small passage through those fittings and found that it was something like 2 inches of headloss. Not enough to worry about. Don't worry about it.

836
All Grain Brewing / Re: Dramatic swings in mash efficiency
« on: July 04, 2014, 12:42:35 PM »
I have had efficiency reductions when using high percentage of wheat malt in my grist. A Hefe would display that. I expect that when you brew your next all barley beer, the efficiency will return. I don't know why wheat does this, but I accommodate for the efficiency reduction in the recipe formulation.

837
Zymurgy / Re: Saison Article in July/Aug 2014 Issue
« on: June 25, 2014, 05:38:20 PM »
Dave, I'm with you on the fact that Belle Saison is a great attenuator and it still leaves a hint of sweetness. My last batch finished at 0.998 after pushing the temperature to 80F. My problem with this yeast is that it is too clean and lacks earthyness that I prefer. With that said, I did perform the primary fermentation period at around 70F and the wort OG was a bit high for a Saison. So I might have altered the character a bit with those components.

838
Zymurgy / Re: Saison Article in July/Aug 2014 Issue
« on: June 25, 2014, 01:27:00 PM »
I was disappointed that the author didn't include the Belle Saison dry yeast in the mix. In my review of that dry yeast, it is not really a saison yeast. However, it is a nice light yeast with mild character. I think it would be great in a BPA.

839
Ingredients / Re: Looking for info on magnesium additions.
« on: June 23, 2014, 06:58:26 PM »

I thought, maybe I don't need quite that much calcium, If I add in a tiny bit of Epsom salts and drop my sulfate a bit, I could maintain my balance of chloride and sulfate, drop the calcium to around 40-50 and it would bring my Magnesium up to around 7. Since the acceptable levels of Mg are pretty low, I was afraid of overdoing it, not knowing what the actual Mg contribution would be from my malt. My feeling is, I'm probably OK adding the Epsom salts. What do you think?

There is no problem what so ever with a Mg level that low. A case in point is that almost all southern Bavarian waters have 10 to 20 ppm Mg. I'm doubting that anyone is going to say that beers like Spaten, Paulaner, or Weihenstephaner are terrible tasting beers. So the premise that ANY Mg in brewing water is to be avoided, is clearly false. However, it does rapidly become poor tasting in water when above 40 ppm, so there isn't a lot of latitude in dosing.

The problem I find is that a brewer adds epsom salt to a tap water that already some Mg in it and quickly over runs that upper limit. Be sure you know where your Mg level is before ever considering adding it. 

While I am a fan of tasting ingredients by themselves, be aware that in the case of water minerals, adding a pinch to your mouth probably puts the concentration of those ions in the parts per hundred range. That is a bit higher than the parts per million concentrations that may be desirable in brewing water. Trying to draw a conclusion about epsom salt's contribution from tasting a pinch is not going to be telling. Remember, the difference between a medicine and a poison, is dose.

Minor concentration of Mg in brewing water is OK and it definitely is desirable in hop forward and bittered styles.

840
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Astingency Strategy
« on: June 23, 2014, 09:11:22 AM »
I chased a similar light astringency problem in my beers when I switched to my new system. As you might expect from me, the sparging water was properly acidified and its alkalinity reduced and the sparging water temperature in the HLT was in the 170 to 180F range. Since I run a RIMS, I also perform a mash out step to 168F. Most of my brewing is centered on low to mid gravity beers.

All that information seems typical in most brewing practice that I've seen. However, I did pick up a very light, almost nutty, tannin in the finish of several beers in succession. My friends and clubmates found the beers good, but that tannin note and the slightly excessive drying finish drove me crazy.

As a matter of practice, I had been using a final runnings gravity of 2 brix as my sparging cut off. Suspecting that this was a contributor, I revised my practice to stopping at 3 brix and that did solve the tannin and its astringency in my beers. So as pointed out by others above, I do consider a major contributor to astringency and tannin in beer to be over-sparging. While pH and temperature will wreck your beer if they are way out of line, it appears that over-sparging is a likely culprit when you have those other factors in line.

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