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Messages - mabrungard

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Homebrew Competitions / Re: NHC Entry Limits for 2014
« on: September 30, 2013, 01:52:30 PM »
One thing I worry about is the entry fee.  I know some want it to be $30 so people limit their entries.  I was fine with the increase last year but much higher and I'll  just not bother sending entries.

I know they were working on NHC last year, but I hope Philly is a 1st round site this year.  Two years ago, they did an excellent job!!

Wow! Would someone actually send in entries if it cost $30 each?  That is steep, but clearly the demand is high and the amount of support the AHA can provide to the judges is limited.  $15 may be a little low, but $30 is really pushing it.  I do think that pricing should be increased to help moderate the demand and allow the AHA to better support the judges that otherwise donate everything to do this 'service' to their fellow homebrewers. 

Another thing that I would like to see are incentives for judges to participate in the first round competitions.  Incentives such as: reserved entries in next year's competition or reservations to this year's convention (you would still have to pay for them) might be more prized by the judges given the difficulty in getting those slots.  These are NO-COST incentives for AHA and they could have an effect on getting more and better qualified judges to the competition sites. 

Beer Recipes / Re: American Black Ale Recipe (water profile?)
« on: September 30, 2013, 01:41:35 PM »
Be careful with the sulfate level if the beer will have much roastiness.  That is its own form of dryness and a high level of sulfate may be too much...leaving you with an overly dry beer.  300 ppm may be too much, but I haven't tried it and can't offer much help beyond the caution above.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: September 30, 2013, 10:17:15 AM »
2 weeks?  That is not ripping.  My typical ale ferments are done in less than a week. 

But with respect to the results above, my 1.069 batch did finish out in 2 weeks.  Maybe that is typical.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: September 29, 2013, 02:02:15 PM »
At 1.069, I wish I had pitched 2 packets.  I don't think a single was enough.

The Pub / Re: In need of some advice...
« on: September 29, 2013, 02:00:53 PM »
Oh come on! Tune yourself out of that situation.  You can be a fair-weather fan of some other team until you have something to cheer about on your team.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Conversion at 5.2PH?
« on: September 28, 2013, 02:00:17 PM »
There should be no problem with conversion. If anything, the low pH may promote excessive conversion and produce a bit thinner beer.  It will still be beer though!

Equipment and Software / Re: Choosing The Right Brewpot
« on: September 27, 2013, 10:29:55 AM »
Good point Jeff.  I do use a counterflow chiller and forgot that a thermometer could be useful for those using immersion chillers.  I sometimes hang a thermometer in my kettle to allow me to gauge when the boil is about to happen, but I'm not sure that its really necessary.  I generally don't leave my system when brewing and I'd probably see the boil activity soon enough. 

For those conducting BIAB in their kettle, clearly a thermometer is needed.  Wouldn't a kettle-mounted probe get in the way of the bag?

Thanks for pointing out the occasional utility of a kettle-mounted thermometer.

Equipment and Software / Re: Choosing The Right Brewpot
« on: September 26, 2013, 05:19:17 PM »
One issue with size I found was that some of the preassembled 15 gallon kettles, like the Blichmann model, put the thermometer at around the 6 gallon mark, making it somewhat less useful for 5 gallon batches.

I don't understand why in the world anyone needs a thermometer on a boil kettle. 

On aluminum vs stainless steel, it's your call. Aluminum is cheaper, but requires more maintenance and isn't as easy to modify (ie., drilling ports and/or welding; refer to Palmer's How To Brew). I had an 8 gallon aluminum pot for a while, I stopped using it because I upgraded to full boils and had problems with boilover, and also I managed to pit the interior by leaving some cleaning chemical (or possibly temp storage of Star San) in it for too long. Those sort of problems are less likely with stainless.

And we see the effects of not properly caring for an aluminum pot.  To my knowledge, there is no need to sanitize a kettle and there is no need to remove anything more than the trub with a scrubby.  Sorry for your loss.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dry stout water profile
« on: September 26, 2013, 10:59:29 AM »
From a chemistry standpoint, would it matter?

I don't know if there would be a significant difference in the beer flavor if the roast liquor was added pre- or post-boil.  There is clearly a difference when the roast is included in the main mash since it lowers the pH too much.  Anyone with any knowledge of the effect of adding this liquor before or after the boil?

Regarding the chloride and sulfate levels, the evidence suggests that the water that Guinness used probably had roughly 20 ppm chloride and sulfate each.  The evidence from water out of the Liffey River suggests that it also provides about 20 ppm chloride, but the sulfate level may be around 50 ppm.  In both cases, those levels are low.  I think a balanced ratio (1:1) of sulfate and chloride is a safe starting point.  If that beer is not dry enough, increasing the sulfate level to provide about a 2:1 ratio may be prudent.  Still low, but clearly sulfate should be a component of the water.  Remember sulfate is not really a 'bitterness' provider, it is a 'dryness' provider and that allows more perception of bitterness in beer.

Equipment and Software / Re: Choosing The Right Brewpot
« on: September 26, 2013, 05:54:03 AM »
I make 5 or 10 gallon batches and use a 15 gal aluminum stock pot.  That works very well and provides a much larger bottom area than the typical keggle.  That is important for improving the storage of trub in the center of the kettle after whirlpooling and avoiding drawing the trub into the fermenter. 

I picked my kettle on Ebay and it came with an over-sized lid that was intended for a larger kettle.  I was initially ticked that they sent an over-sized lid, but it turns out that it is actually a better way to go.  I have more ability to cover the kettle with that over-sized lid. 

I firmly believe that aluminum is a preferred material for a kettle.  You get much more for your money and if you get a commercial kettle, they are super durable.  The only thing to remember is to leave the patina on the inner surfaces.  Don't scrub an aluminum kettle shiney.

Beer Recipes / Re: Pine in the Neck Clone
« on: September 26, 2013, 05:43:28 AM »
Steve, I assume you are aware of this website and its recommendations for Piney hops:

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dry stout water profile
« on: September 26, 2013, 05:40:12 AM »
Al, your comments are timely.  Next month's Zymurgy will include an article on Irish water and includes the discussion on how and why Guinness brewing water is what it is (and Beamish, Murphy's, and Harp too).  They are all low mineralized waters.  This is quite a contrast to the hard and alkaline water that most homebrewers think is common for Ireland. 

The water quality typical at the St James Gate brewery is fairly similar to RO water...fairly low levels of all ions.  Typical RO water would need minor mineral additions to bring the ion concentrations up a bit, but they are still quite low.  I don't know if Guinness adds any minerals to their brewing liquor, but the most important factor is that water's low alkalinity.  That is the counter-intuitive aspect of this water.  We expect that stouts have to be made with higher alkalinity water.  For most stouts and porters, that need for alkalinity is true.  But for the dry stout style with its crisp acidic bite, low alkalinity water is a requirement.  You can either start with low alkalinity water or acidify the water to produce a lower than typical wort pH.  To stabilize their incoming water quality, Guinness implemented RO treatment so that they could use the variable quality Dublin water.  They didn't have to do that a hundred years ago since the water supply on their side of Dublin had low mineralization. 

The need to mash the base and roast components separately is due in part to that low alkalinity water.  Since a beer will be thinned out too much if the base malts are mashed at very low pH, mashing them without the acidic roast malts keeps that main mash pH higher and the body and fermentability is not impacted.  The separately-steeped roast malt component does produce a very acidic wort when low alkalinity water is used.  Those two components are combined in the kettle. I am not sure if Guinness combines those worts prior to or after the boil.     

Beer Recipes / Re: Apple pie ale
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:26:30 AM »
I've made several paler beers with various percentages of flaked barley and I can assure you the flavor contribution is not creamy sweetness.  The only reason its welcome in a stout is that the graininess pairs well with the roast.  I find that flaked wheat provides a modest boost to body with a much lower taste impact. 

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Water Book?
« on: September 24, 2013, 01:11:27 PM »
My copy arrived yesterday.  Special treatment? ;)

Equipment and Software / Re: Tap Water Temp
« on: September 24, 2013, 06:11:41 AM »
From an engineering and physics perspective, removing most of the heat content from the wort with the tap water chilling system followed by a separate chilling event using ice or other super-cooled method is most efficient.  Pre-chilling your water and using it to cool the very hot wort justs wastes the extra 'coldness'.  The thing that matters is the temperature differential between the hot wort and the cooling water.  Once most of the heat is removed and the wort temperature has dropped to the luke-warm level, then its time to employ the ice-chilled water.

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