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Messages - mabrungard

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Conicals again
« on: December 25, 2014, 03:44:04 PM »
I don't subscribe to the contention that a conical creates a better ferment. I do WHOLE-HEARTEDLY contend that moving from a large glass vessel is very important to a brewer's health! While plastic is a decent material for a fermenter, stainless is still better. That is how a SST conical can be better. The new cylindrical SST vessels could be a good option too.

Ingredients / Re: Coffee, how much and what kind
« on: December 22, 2014, 05:51:39 PM »
I was just passing through Jacksonville FL yesterday and there were Busch Coffee Lager billboards all along the interstate. This is a city that is dominated by my former client, AB. So they must be conducting a test marketing trial. This brings up the question: can you impart good coffee flavor in a pale beer?  I know that here in Indy, Sun King did a special version of their Cream Ale with a lightly roasted etheopean coffee infusion that was outstanding. Tasty coffee notes can be incorporated. I know they cold infused the beer. I wonder what enhances the process.

Beer Recipes / Re: Schwartz water?
« on: December 19, 2014, 07:18:31 PM »
Roast is a drying agent on your palate. You wouldn't want to make it much drier with too much sulfate. However, In the case of a Schwartz, the amount of roast is fairly low. It's mainly color that is desired, not the roast notes. So you could tolerate a little bit more sulfate in the water for a Schwartz. Still...not too much. The Balanced profiles might be appropriate. I would still dial all the additions down a bit since this is a lager and you don't need 50 ppm calcium.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Nooner Pils
« on: December 19, 2014, 01:29:04 PM »
Jon, I haven't seen any Firestone beers around here. Have you? The closest I can get is picking up some of the Trader Jack's beers which are brewed by FW. I'm sure we will see the SN pils here soon.

Equipment and Software / Re: Water Treatment Systems for Brewing
« on: December 19, 2014, 11:26:26 AM »
For brewery usage, a 3 stage RO system is completely sufficient. 1-micron filter, carbon block filter, and then the RO membrane. If you run a pressure tank, remember that the available capacity is roughly one-half the total volume since half the volume is air. I have a 20 gal and 3 gal set of pressure tanks ganged together and all I can get out for immediate usage is about 10 gal. I have to plan ahead if my brewing efforts will require more than 10 gallons. If you can manage it, discharging your RO into a non-pressurized vessel can improve the efficiency of the treated water throughput by reducing the backpressure on the membrane.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Nooner Pils
« on: December 18, 2014, 06:52:31 PM »
I just saw the post from SN. I'm wondering what style of Pils it is?

By the way, the Lagunitas Czech Pils is a nice malty pils. Too bad its a little low on the bittering. Just a little to full of a finish, in my review.

Equipment and Software / Re: Monster stir plate
« on: December 09, 2014, 07:23:46 AM »
Don't forget that you need a longer stir bar as the size of your vessel increases. I use a 3" bar in a 6L Erhlenmeyer flask.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Adjusting a stout after kegging
« on: December 07, 2014, 09:14:01 AM »
While an alkali addition might correct an overly acidic beer, you need to be sure that the beer is overly acidic in the first place. If this was a stout made with very low alkalinity water such as distilled, RO, or rain water, then its likely that its overly acidic. In that case, the alkali additions mentioned above could be prudent. I would conduct tests in a glass of beer first, before adding any minerals to the keg. Once you add them, minerals are impossible to remove. So be sure that you the fix is going to be correct before committing the batch.

Equipment and Software / Re: What is the purpose of a Grant
« on: December 05, 2014, 12:39:53 PM »
Right, the vorlauf answer was regarding the question by stevefry.

As already mentioned, the purpose of a grant is to prevent the head at the bottom of the grain bed to get too low. If the difference between the head on the top and bottom of the bed is too large, it can cause the bed to compact and plug. Many of you have seen the 'gooseneck' outlets on historic mash tuns in large breweries. Those outlets are also a measure to help reduce that head difference imposed on the grain bed.

With a grant in place, a pump intake can be inserted there and it will just pump the grant dry instead of applying a suction on the bottom of the bed when a pump intake is connected directly to the tun.

A grant is not really needed. The pressure at the bottom of the grain bed can be regulated by throttling the tun outlet valve. Even if a pump is attached to the tun outlet (like with RIMS or HERMS), the pressure at the bottom of the bed can be reduced by closing the discharge valve on the pump to limit the flow rate.

Including a sightglass (manometer) that is ported to the bottom of the grain bed enables the brewer to avoid placing too much head difference on the bed. By monitoring the head in the sightglass, you will know when to throttle either the outflow valve or the pump.

Equipment and Software / Re: What is the purpose of a Grant
« on: December 05, 2014, 07:32:25 AM »
Stevefry, That recirculation is also known as Vorlauf. That is the process of taking the initial runoff that has a lot of 'fines' from the grain bed and recycles them onto the top of the bed where they are filtered out of the wort. The velocity of flow diminishes as you move away from the drain and into the bed. It is the velocity that has the ability to move fines. Where the flow velocity of low enough, no more fines will be moved into the wort runoff.

You only want relatively clear wort in the kettle since those fines from the grain bed can add astringency to the wort.

I had already adopted a max dry hop contact time of 4 days for my brewing. Now I see that it could be half that when using pellets. Interesting. I'll have to try it.

I do agree that keeping the beer warm (ie: not crash chilled) seems to aid in the extraction. With regard to 'layering', it doesn't make any sense to me to add hops at differing times. Why not all at once? It would result in less oxygen contact.

I do appreciate the note that Heady Topper only has the equivalent of about 4oz of dry hops in a 5 gal batch. I haven't used that much to date, but am more willing to now. My main concern was the beer loss and the potential to leach green vegetal flavor. I'll have to man-up.

Equipment and Software / Re: Johnson analog temp control
« on: November 30, 2014, 01:03:10 PM »
For the digital version, there is a jumper that is switched to change between heating and cooling modes. I'm almost positive that the analog version is the same.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: How important is it to decant the starter?
« on: November 28, 2014, 08:52:03 PM »
+1 to chilling and settling the starter. However, I never pour off the spent wort after chilling and settling. That would disturb the yeast cake too much. I always siphon off the spent wort and avoid any disturbance of the cake in the process.

Since I blow filtered air into the starter flask head space during the starter production, I am left with that sanitized small air line that then serves as my siphon hose. By the way, never use an air stone during your starter production if you use a stir plate. All you need to do is keep an ambient atmosphere above the wort that can then exchange plenty of oxygen with the wort throughout the growth phase. On top of that, I found that using an air stone just promoted excessive foaming of the starter. Getting rid of the air stone solved all my problems! 

Equipment and Software / Re: Fermentation Chamber
« on: November 28, 2014, 03:22:00 PM »
My approach is a separate insulated box that is ducted into the freezer compartment on a top-freezer refrigerator. The freezer works perfectly and holds all my hops and the refrigerator holds all my kegs. The chamber temperature can be varied between freezing and 70F. A muffin fan from a computer is inserted into one of the ducts and a Johnson A419 controls when it operates. I use a 12 gal conical in the chamber and since the chamber is elevated, I just open the tap on the conical and drain the beer into a waiting keg sitting at floor level. It really has been a good system.

Ingredients / Re: Flavor hops for American Brown Ale?
« on: November 24, 2014, 06:46:26 PM »
I like Northern Brewer with Cascade. The woodiness of the the NB is a very nice compliment to the muted roastiness of a brown. The Cascade lets you know its American. This is the Pete's Wicked Brown approach

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