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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew All Stars
« on: November 22, 2014, 08:06:23 PM »
I've known several homebrew all-stars. People that are tireless promoters of the hobby that go out of their way to enhance the hobby for others. I've got one in my club here in Indy and I had one in my club in Tallahassee. They make brewing better. They are All-Stars!  You probably have one in your area too. Thank them.

Ingredients / Re: brewing with well water
« on: November 21, 2014, 08:15:14 AM »
The common (and typically correct) perception of ion-exchange softened water, is that it is not suited for brewing. It often has a high sodium or potassium content and elevated alkalinity. However, not all users have a water softener to remove excess calcium or magnesium. Some users have an ion-exchange softener to remove iron and manganese and their water is otherwise soft.

If the OP's water in Hermiston is full of iron or manganese, then the softened water may not have that much sodium or potassium in the treated water and it may be suited for brewing use. In that brewer's case, I suggest that the softened water be sent off for lab testing to see if it is usable for brewing. If the sodium content is less than about 50 ppm, it could be used with little ill-effect.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Incremental step to RIMS
« on: November 21, 2014, 07:07:07 AM »
While the need to step through temperatures is generally unnecessary in modern brewing, the ability to target, hit, and maintain a certain mash temp is a very useful effect of the approach you mention. In addition, it has been proven that creating a truly homogeneous condition in a mash tun via mixing is VERY difficult...if not impossible. It turns out that it is far easier to move and mix the liquid than it is to move and mix the solid media. So moving to a pumped system will provide that benefit.

Then one thing I would caution is that the system needs to include good measures that avoid heat loss. The system needs to be capable of maintaining that target temperature without resorting to overheating the wort in the kettle. Remember that the enzymes that are working on the wort are in the liquid, not the solids. If you overheat the wort in the kettle, you will damage or alter the enzymatic activity. 

Finally, with the system you suggest above, it should be fairly easy to perform a mash-out temperature step  that can add a couple of Brix to the wort strength and that can improve your overall efficiency. Mashing-out is a PITA for most homebrewers, but your system could make it much easier and advisable. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Question regarding water
« on: November 18, 2014, 07:13:31 PM »
I was thinking i might need some sulfates but i heard some where that sulfates will give the noble hops a harsh character..Is there any truth in that or just nonsense?

Unfortunately, that premise comes from someone who ONLY brews and enjoys malty beers. From my palate and from others, it does not seem that this tale is true. The sulfate level in the water for many fine German breweries is modest, but nowhere near zero. In addition, John Palmer confirmed from the noted brewing professor, Dr. Narziss, that even some of the Czech brewers crafting fine Boh Pils add gypsum to their brewing water. The contention that sulfate at moderate level produces a harsh taste seems to be nonsense.

Sulfate provides a level of drying on the palate that can be an important addition to some beers. Even a malty beer can still benefit from a low level of sulfate for this reason.

Now back to the OP's water. The proposed level of chloride is a bit overboard. I don't recommend levels that high for most beers. Substituting a modest amount of sulfate should be considered, probably around 50 ppm. The chloride level can be a little higher than that, but not much. And since you are brewing a lager, there is little need for calcium. Lager yeast prefer low calcium content. Only ale yeast needs a decent amount of calcium in the brewing water in order for that yeast to flocculate well. A recommended approach is to have about 40 ppm calcium in the mash and much less in the sparging water when brewing lagers. That will leave you with a preferrably low calcium content in the kettle.     

With regard to pH drop in the boil, that is a common result. One thing I try to avoid is having a high wort pH into the kettle and needing to rely on an excessive drop through the boil. For many pale beers that aren't hop focused, I target a wort pH of about 5.2 to 5.3 and that gets away from needing a big post-boil pH drop.

Equipment and Software / Re: Grain Mill
« on: November 15, 2014, 09:37:44 AM »
Oh boy! Yes it certainly can have a big effect on the mill if you pre-condition incorrectly! Getting the grain too wet will cause the flour to cake onto the rollers and you will utter expletives!!!!

I've found that using a visual criterion to the wetting process is relatively safe and effective. OK, you probably can notice that your grain will produce a dust when you move the grain around in your bucket or bin. That dust will also coat your hand as you move the grain. What I do is mist the grain mass lightly and mix the mass with my hand. I stop the misting as soon as there is little dust getting into the air and onto my hands. The grain will still seem 'dry', but it will have moistened the husks just that little bit to help prevent them from shattering as they pass through the nib. I do suggest letting the grain sit for about 15 minutes to help distribute the moisture further around the kernels.

I have not noted any rusting of the rollers due to the pre-conditioning. The rollers are still pretty dusty after milling and I don't think they would rust as long as your mill storage environment isnt' humid.

Equipment and Software / Re: Grain Mill
« on: November 15, 2014, 08:04:04 AM »
I've heard too many stories about difficulties with 3-roller mills. I think I wisely chose a 2-roller 2" Monster mill. I'm guessing that as long as you stay with a 2-roller design, it will be relatively trouble-free and produce acceptable crushes.

Here is to 'pre-conditioning' your grain with a bit of water misted on before crushing. It definitely makes a BIG difference in keeping husks more intact while allowing you to set the mill gap a little bit tighter. I've been experiencing efficiencies of up to 90% while keeping the grain permeable enough for RIMS operation. It only takes a little bit of water and a few minutes to make a real difference.

Beer Recipes / Re: IPA Water profile
« on: November 10, 2014, 05:29:44 PM »
Juicy?? Unfortunately, too much malt or malt flavor complexity interferes with hop flavor and bittering. Having adequate dryness in the beer is helpful on several fronts...drinkability, hop flavor, and bittering perception to name a few.

With that said, 150 ppm sulfate is an OK starting point. But I suggest that the dryness won't measure up to the beer. It will still be plenty drinkable, though. I've come to the conclusion that around 200 ppm sulfate is sort of a low end range for hoppy beers and 300 suits my preferences better.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Homebrew Suppliers
« on: November 04, 2014, 06:14:32 AM »
While I appreciate having the option to buy from big players like those listed above, I find that its more important to support your local shop as much as possible. It's harder to create new brewers if they don't have a local place or resource to check the hobby out beforehand.

One good thing about these on-line resources is that they help keep everyone honest. You know what the best prices are and your local shop should be somewhere in the ballpark. Do remember to add the cost of shipping and the wait when considering an online retailer. Its not appropriate to point out that Megabrew is selling something for a dollar less and forget that its going to cost way more than a dollar to get it to you!

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Drill through Freezer / Fridge
« on: November 03, 2014, 07:16:53 AM »
Most modern refrigerators now use a separate condenser unit with a fan mounted at the back of the box. That unit can also be mounted within the freezer for top-freezer style units. There is typically a shuttered vent that regulates the amount of cold air from the freezer into the refrigerator box. Unless you have an old unit with an aluminum internal shell, there is little chance that there are refrigerant lines in the sides or top of the freezer or refrigerator boxes.  However, if you are dealing with a chest freezer, there probably ARE refrigerator lines or plates in the sides that can easily be ruined if the box is drilled.  Below is a picture of my top-freezer refrigerator with a pair of ducts cut through the freezer top for connection to my fermentation chamber. That is aluminum duct tape placed over the foam to help seal the whole and keep it clean. The holes are topped off with a pair of PVC toilet flanges and PVC pipe that the insulated ducting fits over.

Equipment and Software / Re: Aluminum Pot Oxidation
« on: October 29, 2014, 06:36:42 AM »
I was always told to never use aluminum because it will impart off flavors in the wort.

That may be true if you started with a freshly scrubbed kettle that was shiny and bright. But if you start with an oxidized dull gray surface like shown above, there is no chance of metallic flavor.  My kettle now has a tea-colored finish to it. I only scrub to the degree necessary to remove trub, never hard enough to remove the patina. Aluminum is well suited to homebrewing use.  Its not suited for kettles that get scrubbed and polished, like in a commercial brewery.

The first thing affecting color is pH. From the OPs message, I don't get the impression that much is known or done with the water. If the mash and wort pH are high, that will extract more color from the grain.

If they are not looking at the water, they should be.

I agree with Keith. I just kegged a 5 gal batch of pale ale that I fermented with a packet of S-05 that was just pitched in dry. It did ferment out well (FG = 1.010), but it did not seem to have the same vigor as when I normally rehydrate that dry yeast in sterile RO water. I can now say that it does appear that it is better to rehydrate than pitch dry.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH calibration and solutions
« on: October 25, 2014, 07:17:38 AM »
For a new meter and probe, you might be able to get away without calibrating every time. But the take away message is if you want to be sure of the reading, you have to calibrate.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Breiss Bavarian Wheat Extract
« on: October 25, 2014, 05:08:09 AM »
Unfortunately, Briess extract products have higher than typical sodium content because their water supply is ion-exchange softened and contains a LOT of sodium. I've spoken with them about this, but they feel it is economically unfeasible for them to make a change. I think they should switch to RO for mashing their brewery related products. Hopefully they will make that change someday.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: PH calibration and solutions
« on: October 25, 2014, 05:04:01 AM »

It's doubtful that calibrating at 10 and then measuring near 4 would be as accurate due to inevitable nonlinearity in the probe's response across a large range. 

That is what I expect also.

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