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Messages - mabrungard

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841
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Headache City
« on: July 25, 2012, 05:55:11 AM »
A brew pub here in Indy that specializes in Belgian styles gives me headaches everytime I have some of their beers.  They are tasty, but I could do without the side effect.  I do not typically pick up fusel, hot, or alcoholic notes in those beers, but they must be there.

842
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: 5.2 PH Mash Stabilizer??
« on: July 20, 2012, 04:13:15 AM »
As AJ says: 5.2 works great for brewers that don't check pH and doesn't work at all for those that do check. 

A smart brewer learns to properly manage their mash pH.

843
Ingredients / Re: Carawheat malt
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:10:12 PM »
i'm not sure I would go in the direction of adding sweetness builders or unfermentables.  I agree that raspberry can be quite tart, but it can also deliver a good dose of tannin if unstrained fruit solids are added to the beer.  The seeds are the source. 

I'm curious if either of you had the opportunity to taste the base beer before adding the fruit or flavoring?  Since its unlikely that the base beer was too tart to begin with, I'll assume that all the tartness came from the fruit. 

On the thought of increasing the 'sweetness' perception, an easy adjustment could be to reduce the bittering level.  Increasing the mash temp would also be an option.  If the fruit tartness is the primary cause of the overall beer perception, then another option could be to add an alkaline buffer to the finished beer.  Since there are apparently free acids in the beer, this is one situation where chalk could be an effective agent for reducing excessive acidity.  Recall that chalk doesn't work well in the mash since the acids there are too weak.  I'd suggest pouring a glass full of beer and adding measured doses of chalk until the level of tartness meets your taste goals.  Once you've figured out the amount, you can scale it up and add it to the keg. 

844
Ingredients / Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« on: July 12, 2012, 12:35:10 PM »
So, what is the pH in the mashtun at a higher temp?  And is the pH I'm concerned about the one in the mashtun or the one I measure at room temp?

The mash pH at mash temp is relatively consistent at about 0.3 units lower due to the increased disassociation activity due to the increased heat content of the hotter wort.  Since that is a relatively constant pH offset, we can ignore the pH value at mash temperature and do all of our correlations with wort and beer flavor and texture based on room-temperature pH readings. 

Many of us know that 5.2 is a magic number in mashing.  That pH value would be appropriate if measured in mash temperature wort, but too low if it was measured in room-temperature wort.  You should note that now you may see ideal mash pH quoted as being 5.3 to 5.5 at room-temperature.  This is similar to the 5.2 mash-temperature pH that has long been targeted, when you figure in that pH offset. 

Don't worry about what the mash-temperature pH is.  Just understand that if you measure pH at room-temperature, pH will actually will be lower in the mash and you don't care what that pH is since you have a safe room-temperature pH allegory to guide you.

845
Yeast and Fermentation / Re: New Wort over an active yeast cake
« on: July 12, 2012, 08:35:45 AM »
Hop flavor and bittering can be transferred via the yeast into the subsequent ferment.  Color and roastiness can also be transferred via the yeast.   I've pitched onto yeast cake before and it works well as long as you don't work from hoppy to malty or from dark to light beers.  I guess I would also avoid going from a spiced beer to non-spiced to avoid that flavor carry over.

846
Oh, by the way.  If the beer is meh and the cause is due to low sulfates, its easy to test out higher sulfate content in the beer.  Just mix up a solution of gypsum and water and get it to dissolve.  Just a small glass should do.

I suggest creating a super-saturated solution by adding excess gypsum to the water.  That excess gypsum will just sit at the bottom of the glass, but at least you are assured the maximum concentration of calcium and sulfate are dissolved in the water. 

Add a dose of that water to a glass of beer and mix it a bit.  See if it improves or degrades the taste.  Try differing amounts to see if there is a sweet spot with respect to your taste preference.  If you are kegging the beer, scale up the volume of the gypsum water and add directly to the keg.

847

What exactly about "hop expression" is diminished by lower pH? Is it IBU's/utilization? Or is it flavor/aroma?


This comes from a revelation from Colin Kaminski who is a professional brewer with hundreds of hoppy beers under his belt and co-author of the upcoming book on brewing water.  He termed that 'hop experssion' term without much explanation during our presentation at the Seattle national homebrewers conference.  But, I had previously observed similar effects in beers that I had over acidified.  So I agree with his findings.   

I find that it effects bittering, flavor, and aroma to a small degree.  This makes sense since pH affects the extraction of a number of compounds in the mash and boil.  We know about the negative effect of too high mash pH on tannin extraction.  But there is plenty of evidence for keeping mash and kettle pH in the 5.2 to 5.6 range is beneficial to flavor and color extraction from roasted grain, and probably flavor and aroma extraction from hops. 

848
I find that limiting Na and Mg to around 30 ppm is a good idea for beers with bitter focus.  Those ions should be reduced significantly for beers with more malt focus.   

The 30 ppm Mg limit is fairly prevalent in brewing lore and that level appears warranted.  But the limit for Na is frequently cited as 100 to 150 ppm.  I dispute brewing with sodium levels anywhere near that high.  My review of waters from historic brewing centers indicates that there are very few brewing waters that exceed 50 ppm.  The few waters that do are just barely over that.  In Bru'n Water, I've written that sodium should be kept to less than 50 ppm in most beers.  I don't know what the origin of the 100 to 150 ppm limit was, but I expect that it has to do with injury to yeast due to excessive osmotic stress.  The 50 ppm limit is a good limit based on flavor effect.

There is an anachronism regarding sodium and brewing when it comes to the Gose style.  An award-winning Gose brewer that I've consulted uses up to 250 ppm sodium in his beer.  But when you look at the fact that this is added as a post-fermentation flavorant in this soured beer, then it makes more sense.  As I mention above, high sodium content would place the yeast under a high osmotic stress and could hinder their fermenation performance.  Adding the salt post-fermentation avoids this problem.   

I have the feeling that those that say 'no' Mg or Na would be more amenable to an argument for the 'low' levels I recommend above.  I think we are generally on the same page.
 

849
I have to differ with you guys on Na.  It is a welcome addition in beers that need a bitter focus.  The same thing applies for Mg too.  Those ions help bring focus to the bittering and add to it.  Just recognize that in the case of both of these ions, their maximum concentrations are still fairly low when you are using them for this purpose.

850
You don't mention if you accounted for the partial boil in your IBU calc's, but I'll assume you did.  You don't mention what your water is like.  Adequate sulfate is important in bringing out the hop and bittering expression.  I prefer about 300 ppm sulfate in my pale ales. 

In addition, if the pH of the wort into the kettle was lower than about 5.2, you start loosing hop expression.  If you used RO or distilled water, then its possible to have the pH drop lower than desirable.  Its not likely though.
 

851
Ingredients / Re: Water Has My Head Spinning...
« on: July 09, 2012, 07:27:18 AM »
Adjusting brewing water to a pre-use pH of 5.5 means that SN is knocking out a lot of the tap water's alkalinity.  The amount of reduction is dependent upon the water's starting alkalinity, but its likely that most alkalinity (HCO3 content) has been neutralized.   This should be great for many of their pale beers.   

Thanks to Gordon for re-emphasizing the preference in measuring mash pH on a room-temperature sample.  Its much kinder to the pH probe and still provides a repeatable corollary to the pH at mash temperature.  In general, the room-temperature mash pH should fall in the range of 5.3 to 5.5 for best results.  But, the best pH for a particular brew will fall to the brewer's preferences in beer taste and texture.  You can read more about how mash and kettle pH affect beer taste and texture on Bru'n Water's Water Knowledge page.

852
Ingredients / Re: Carbon filtered water
« on: July 09, 2012, 07:14:24 AM »
I ended up using my Fort Worth water, adding campden tablet, and putting a teaspon of Epsom salt and a half teaspoon of Gypsum to get the sulfate up. 

That seems to be a large dose of Epsom Salt.  Hopefully the beer doesn't turn out too bitter and astringent.  Since there is a definite upper limit for magnesium that is relatively low, dosing with Epsom Salt may not be the best way to increase the sulfate content.  Since there is less taste penalty from excessive calcium, it would be preferable to use the Gypsum and reduce the Epsom additions to very moderate levels.  I don't use volumetric measures for mineral additions, so I don't know what that teaspoon amount of Epsom amounts to.  But I'm pretty sure its well above what I like in my Ales.   For best control and certainty in your mineral additions, using a scale with 0.1g sensitivity is a good way to go.

853
Equipment and Software / Re: What pH meter do you use?
« on: June 28, 2012, 02:51:12 PM »
I use the one Kai uses, the MW-101. I have to calibrate before each use (those little recessed dials are very sensitive) but so far, so good. $65 on amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009YH06Y/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i00 )

You got a better deal than I found.  My new MW-101 was $78 shipped from a seller on Ebay.  It has proven to be a capable and reliable meter for me. 

854
General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Carbonation fineness/coarseness?
« on: June 28, 2012, 02:44:13 PM »
I agree with kramerog, injecting CO2 into an aqueous solution initially produces an 'aqueous CO2' product (CO2 + H2O = CO2aq).  It takes time for that aqueous CO2 to hydrate into its end form: carbonic acid (H2CO3).  This is a slow reaction due to the change in the molecular configuration that the molecule has to undergo.  That change is temperature dependent. 

In a way, the temperature effects for CO2 solution are counter to each other.  You want low temperature to improve the solubility of CO2 in an aqueous solution, but low temperature delays the ultimate hydration of the CO2 into carbonic acid. 

I wonder if particulates play a part in the overall nucleation and release of gas bubbles?  Morticaixavier raises an interesting issue, but it appears that the primary change from coarse to fine bubbles is the CO2 hydration into carbonic acid.

855
Ingredients / Re: No hop flavour
« on: June 27, 2012, 03:04:04 PM »
I heard an interesting report from Colin Kaminski during our Water Panel presentation at NHC this year.  He said that hop expression is muted as kettle wort pH is reduced. 

I had not put this effect together before in my mind.  But I had noticed that some low pH worts that I had produced in years past, did not seem as bitter nor hoppy.  I just never put the cause and effect together before.  So I think that Colin is correct that there is another effect of too low wort pH and that is low hop expression.  This is in addition to increased attenuation and tart flavor perceptions when wort pH is lower than ideal. 

So if the overall pH of the pre-boil wort in the kettle is less than about 5.2, you might experience this reduced hop expression.  It may be better to keep pre-boil pH around 5.4.  Of course, these are all room temperature pH measurements.


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