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Messages - mabrungard

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Equipment and Software / Re: Minimum Amps Required For Simple RIMS Setup
« on: December 01, 2012, 02:30:27 PM »
I ran a similar system for years on a 15a circuit.  The thing that makes it OK is that the heating circuit is not typically working full time and the pump amperage is not that great in the first place. 

The most important thing is that you won't burn down the house as long as the wiring in that circuit uses 14g or larger copper wiring and the circuit breaker is rated at 15a.  The circuit will always blow before the wiring is in danger of overheating.  You will know if the circuit is overloaded if the thing keeps tripping.  You may need to try another circuit if that is the case since there may be other loads that you don't know about on the circuit you are using.

Ingredients / Re: Getting orange!
« on: November 27, 2012, 01:18:01 PM »
Hopped wort is always far more bitter than the finished beer.  Yeast takes a lot of the bittering out.  Don't worry about the bittering based on a wort sample. 

The orange nuances should be interesting.  There are all kinds of chocolate and orange treats in the world.  This could work.

Ingredients / Re: Post your water report
« on: November 22, 2012, 11:00:23 AM »
That report for the RO system profile is not good.  If it's your system, it needs the membrane replaced.  A properly operating RO membrane will remove at least 94% of the sodium and chloride.  The TDS value should be under 25 ppm.  If this was from a retail RO vending system, having a portable TDS meter can help you avoid wasting your money by buying water from a malfunctioning machine.

PS: That is some crappy tap water!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Step Mashing? Important?
« on: November 19, 2012, 10:17:31 AM »
I think there is still a place for step mashing.  Hefe's are an important example, but there are plenty of breweries that utilize a 2 step Beta and Alpha Amalyse rest regime.  Having the ability to do that seems like a good idea.

General Homebrew Discussion / For the Love of Hops Pre-sale for AHA Members
« on: November 13, 2012, 02:00:10 PM »
The pre-sale event for the upcoming book: For the Love of Hops has started.  AHA members get a 40% discount.  Another reason to be an AHA member!

Ingredients / Re: RO Water pH
« on: November 12, 2012, 12:27:03 PM »

Oh my.  There is so much I don't know.  This statement at my current level of understanding makes no sense.  Alkalinity is just one side of the sliding scale we call pH, isn't it?  Alkalinity is just the opposite of acidic on this scale isnt it?

There is a definition of alkalinity that presents it as the opposite of acidity.  Unfortunately, that is not the definition in use here.  Alkalinity is a measure of the buffering capacity of the liquid or resistance to acidification as Nate mentions.  In typical drinking water, alkalinity is the measure of carbonate and bicarbonate ions in the water.  They are the ions primarily responsible for alkalinity.  Therefore, alkalinity is not equivalent to pH.  They can be quite different. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Using Irish Moss
« on: November 10, 2012, 05:55:46 AM »
With over a hundred years of practice, I'd say that its a proven clarifier.  If you prefer clearer beer, use it.  It can't fix all faults though. 

Ingredients / Gratzer Water
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:50:54 AM »
I just finished reading the excellent article on the smoked wheat beer, Gratzer in the Nov/Dec 2012 Zymurgy issue.  Since a Gratz water profile was included in the article, it got my interest. 

As with many water profiles from historic brewing cities, the uninformed use of those water profiles can get you into trouble.  The Gratz profiles included in the article are cases in point.  Of those Well samples in the article, only Well #2 comes close to balancing and it requires an assumption to achieve that balance.  The assumption comes for the Alkalinity.  Unfortunately, it appears that the alkalinity should have been labeled HCO3 instead since the profile does not come close to balancing with 325 ppm (as CaCO3) Alkalinity.  So, the Gratz water profile can be reasonably assumed to have the following profile:

Ca:      121 ppm
Mg:      31 ppm
Na:      32 ppm
SO4:    145 ppm
Cl:       67 ppm
HCO3:  320 ppm

Fortunately in the case of this light-colored wheat beer, trying to duplicate the bicarbonate (HCO3) content is pointless.  That water is far too alkaline to brew this pale beer.  Fortunately, the simple process of boiling the Gratz water would result in the following profile that is more suited to brewing this style:

Ca:       45 ppm
Mg:       31 ppm
Na:       32 ppm
SO4:     145 ppm
Cl:        67 ppm
HCO3:   80 ppm

This reduces the alkalinity significantly and creates Residual Alkalinity conditions that are reasonably suited for brewing this beer.  The article goes on to say that an Acid Rest was used in the brewing.  That should further neutralize the HCO3 and make the water more suited to this pale style and make the finished beer more tart and spritzy.  That effect can be parroted with a minor addition of lactic acid.  I'd say enough acid to neutralize about 20 to 30 ppm of the HCO3. 

This sure looks like an interesting beer.  I love session and smoked beers and this should be something enjoyable.  Try it out with these water recommendations and you should be in the ball park. 

That entire issue was really enjoyable and information packed.  If you are not an AHA member, I can assure you that AHA dues provide quite a return.  Seriously consider joining. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: IPA's and Caramel Malts
« on: November 07, 2012, 08:32:07 AM »
In your opinion, can brewing water additions such as calcium sulfate and possibly even mash pH adjustment (in the 5.2-ish range) help to enhance the hop flavor and make the malt profile more subdued in these heavy-crystal IPA's?

I don't feel that water chemistry has that much effect, although reducing the wort pH would thin the body perception and make it a little more tart.  But another effect of depressing the wort pH is that hop expression is also reduced.  That is counterproductive in PAs and IPAs. 

The best way to reduce malt flavor seems to be employing a narrower malt profile.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: IPA's and Caramel Malts
« on: November 07, 2012, 07:04:26 AM »
I just checked several of my successful and unsuccessful hop focused beers and found the following. 

In general, I keep the 'colored' crystal malt content in the 4 to 7% range.  I also note that the 'non-colored' crystal (aka: dextrin or carapils) malts don't seem to have too much effect on cloying or flavor-clouding perceptions.  For instance, I have a very nice PA with 5% C40 and 5%Dex than I find is still quite pleasant. 

I have experimented with PA and IPA recipes with varying percentages of C60, Dex, munich, aromatic, and biscuit malts.  In no case did any of those individual malts exceed 5%, but the sum of those malts approached 20%.  The malt character of those beers was pleasant and complex, but I found it clearly clashed with the hopping the bittering.  I find that a more singular note in the malt flavor is needed to avoid that clash and to allow the hops and bittering to shine. 

Ingredients / Re: RO Water pH
« on: November 06, 2012, 11:56:22 AM »
As mentioned above, RO membranes are dissolved gas permeable.  Hydrogen sulfide and CO2 are common issues in RO treatment systems.  We often pass the treated water through an air stripping tower to get those excess gases out of the water. 

Also as noted above, any heating of the RO water will drive off that dissolved CO2 and return the water pH to a more moderate pH closer to 7.

PS:  Don't worry too much about the pH of any water source in brewing.  Its the alkalinity that counts.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Gotta give the Club some love
« on: November 05, 2012, 12:56:36 PM »
Way to go! Cali is a huge state.  That is quite an accomplishment. 

My club won homebrew club of Indiana for this year.  Not quite what your club did!

All Grain Brewing / Re: HERMS vs RIMS
« on: November 04, 2012, 10:17:00 AM »
one of the nice things about my small system is the 1500 watt element is just enough to bring to a boil.  i have not had to add any pwm or pid. though if i do turn it into a rims i would add a pid. if i decide to go to 2kw element i would add a pwm i think.

Good point.  With my 5500 watt element in 6.5 gallons of wort, it seems that I could almost get the entire batch to jump out of the pot if I didn't have a pulse-width modulator.     

All Grain Brewing / Re: HERMS vs RIMS
« on: November 02, 2012, 02:29:46 PM »
What does matter to me is that when it 2* below zero and snowing outside of 110* in the garage I will be in my nice, climate controlled basement brewery.

That was exactly my situation also.  I'm a Florida boy, now in Indynaner.  It gets cold here!. 

Be sure to install a good exhaust venting system.  I use a 6" centrifugal fan.  Since you don't have to worry about fire, you don't have to use a metal exhaust hood.  My hood is wood and plexiglass and is very effective.

Oh, and since this is a HERMS vs RIMS discussion, I can recommend the RIMS tube from Brewers Hardware.  It has been worth every penny.  I strongly recommend including a PID to control the RIMS heating element.  You will overheat your wort if you don't include that control.  That is another reason I have a problem with a HERMS.  If the water in the exchanger is too hot, you could also overheat the wort and denature the enzymes prematurely.  I can tell you that starchy wort does not make good beer.   

All Grain Brewing / Re: HERMS vs RIMS
« on: November 02, 2012, 06:17:22 AM »
I have to admit that your electricity cost is far higher than I experience.  I lament your dilemma, but for many individuals, the cost of an electrical option may be less expensive.  Do remember that the conversion of watts or BTUs into water heat is much better with electricity when the element is in contact with the liquid.  The gas industry likes to tout the gas water heater as more cost and energy efficient than an electric heater. But a gas-fired brewing kettle is nothing like a water heater while an electric-fired brewing kettle is exactly like a water heater. 

I brewed with propane for 13 years.  Since I've converted to electric, my experience has been incredibly positive.  I wouldn't even consider returning to gas based on my experience.  Its that much better to brew with electric heating. 

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