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Messages - mabrungard

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Overtreated water?
« on: July 13, 2014, 12:31:53 PM »
I'm guessing that you didn't add alkalinity for mashing an amber grist. So I'm guessing that you may have added gypsum and/or calcium chloride in your water treatment. The combination of high sulfate and high chloride is the recipe for 'minerally' taste.

I'm hoping that this was not the case. If the addition was one or the other, high sulfate would lead to an overly drying finish and high chloride could create anything from a salty to an alka seltzer perception. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Yeast for 11B southern English Brown
« on: July 12, 2014, 07:17:25 AM »
It needs to be a low attenuator. In addition, I understand that they were also back sweetened.

Ingredients / Re: Source for H2SO4
« on: July 10, 2014, 01:56:44 PM »
Be sure to obtain high purity acid for any brewing usage. Grade designations such as: Reagent ACS, Reagent, FCC, or USP should be the only acid grades used for brewing. Officially, FCC (Food Chemical Codex) is the food-grade material that you should be using in any brewing. However, not all acids are routinely available in that grade. The other grade designations are supposed to be as free of deleterious matter and should generally be equivalent to FCC.

Do check out how much acid you will be using when selecting the acid strength from the supplier. Plug the strength value into Bru'n Water and see how much of that acid you would be dosing your typical batch size with. If it's high strength acid, it may only take teeny amounts to reach your treatment goals. In that case, you may not need to be buying a lot of that high strength acid and you might consider buying a lower strength or getting a smaller volume of acid.

Getting high strength acid typically saves money, but those acids are more dangerous and require very high precaution when handling. Diluting high strength acid down to lower strength can make them a little safer to handle.

Be aware that there are shipping limitations. You will hear about a term "hazardous quantity" in the chemical shipping industry. If I recall correctly, the typical hazardous quantity of strong acid in the US is 1 gallon. Shipping for a hazardous quantity is quite expensive. Therefore, be looking to purchase a maximum of only a liter or two of any acid to avoid the hazardous quantity problems.

And for God's sake, be sure you've read up on how to handle and dilute these acids and have the personal protective gear for working with it. This is not the time for carelessness!

Denny beat me to it. Alcohol can sometimes be perceived as sweetness. I have a 9.2% Saison that finished at 0.998 and it is routinely commented on that it has sweetness. I have not heard to hopping (dry or otherwise) adding to perceptions of sweetness.

Equipment and Software / Re: Si Hoses & Camlocks
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:19:14 PM »
I calculated the headloss due to that small passage through those fittings and found that it was something like 2 inches of headloss. Not enough to worry about. Don't worry about it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dramatic swings in mash efficiency
« on: July 04, 2014, 12:42:35 PM »
I have had efficiency reductions when using high percentage of wheat malt in my grist. A Hefe would display that. I expect that when you brew your next all barley beer, the efficiency will return. I don't know why wheat does this, but I accommodate for the efficiency reduction in the recipe formulation.

Zymurgy / Re: Saison Article in July/Aug 2014 Issue
« on: June 25, 2014, 05:38:20 PM »
Dave, I'm with you on the fact that Belle Saison is a great attenuator and it still leaves a hint of sweetness. My last batch finished at 0.998 after pushing the temperature to 80F. My problem with this yeast is that it is too clean and lacks earthyness that I prefer. With that said, I did perform the primary fermentation period at around 70F and the wort OG was a bit high for a Saison. So I might have altered the character a bit with those components.

Zymurgy / Re: Saison Article in July/Aug 2014 Issue
« on: June 25, 2014, 01:27:00 PM »
I was disappointed that the author didn't include the Belle Saison dry yeast in the mix. In my review of that dry yeast, it is not really a saison yeast. However, it is a nice light yeast with mild character. I think it would be great in a BPA.

Ingredients / Re: Looking for info on magnesium additions.
« on: June 23, 2014, 06:58:26 PM »

I thought, maybe I don't need quite that much calcium, If I add in a tiny bit of Epsom salts and drop my sulfate a bit, I could maintain my balance of chloride and sulfate, drop the calcium to around 40-50 and it would bring my Magnesium up to around 7. Since the acceptable levels of Mg are pretty low, I was afraid of overdoing it, not knowing what the actual Mg contribution would be from my malt. My feeling is, I'm probably OK adding the Epsom salts. What do you think?

There is no problem what so ever with a Mg level that low. A case in point is that almost all southern Bavarian waters have 10 to 20 ppm Mg. I'm doubting that anyone is going to say that beers like Spaten, Paulaner, or Weihenstephaner are terrible tasting beers. So the premise that ANY Mg in brewing water is to be avoided, is clearly false. However, it does rapidly become poor tasting in water when above 40 ppm, so there isn't a lot of latitude in dosing.

The problem I find is that a brewer adds epsom salt to a tap water that already some Mg in it and quickly over runs that upper limit. Be sure you know where your Mg level is before ever considering adding it. 

While I am a fan of tasting ingredients by themselves, be aware that in the case of water minerals, adding a pinch to your mouth probably puts the concentration of those ions in the parts per hundred range. That is a bit higher than the parts per million concentrations that may be desirable in brewing water. Trying to draw a conclusion about epsom salt's contribution from tasting a pinch is not going to be telling. Remember, the difference between a medicine and a poison, is dose.

Minor concentration of Mg in brewing water is OK and it definitely is desirable in hop forward and bittered styles.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Astingency Strategy
« on: June 23, 2014, 09:11:22 AM »
I chased a similar light astringency problem in my beers when I switched to my new system. As you might expect from me, the sparging water was properly acidified and its alkalinity reduced and the sparging water temperature in the HLT was in the 170 to 180F range. Since I run a RIMS, I also perform a mash out step to 168F. Most of my brewing is centered on low to mid gravity beers.

All that information seems typical in most brewing practice that I've seen. However, I did pick up a very light, almost nutty, tannin in the finish of several beers in succession. My friends and clubmates found the beers good, but that tannin note and the slightly excessive drying finish drove me crazy.

As a matter of practice, I had been using a final runnings gravity of 2 brix as my sparging cut off. Suspecting that this was a contributor, I revised my practice to stopping at 3 brix and that did solve the tannin and its astringency in my beers. So as pointed out by others above, I do consider a major contributor to astringency and tannin in beer to be over-sparging. While pH and temperature will wreck your beer if they are way out of line, it appears that over-sparging is a likely culprit when you have those other factors in line.

Ingredients / Re: How to best use jalapenos
« on: June 22, 2014, 09:21:38 AM »
Wait a second, the best use of jalapenos is to use them fresh or pickled on your favorite Mexican food.  ;)

So would it be best to input what I actually measure into Bru'n Water instead of the reported value as I had done in the past?

pH has only a small effect on the sparge acidification calculation. Check it out, vary the pH input and you should see only a small variation in the amount of acid added.

It is possible that some tap waters have low pH. That is most likely for sources that have very little alkalinity in their water. With that said, tap water pH has very little to do with subsequent brewing water chemistry. The most important factors are the actual ionic content and the critical ions that affect mashing pH: Ca, Mg, and HCO3. If those ion concentrations accurately represent what is in the water, then a brewing chemistry program has a decent chance of predicting pH for the user.

In the case of a difference between a Ward report and tap water, tap water is more likely to contain more dissolved CO2 since it was under pressure in the distribution piping system. If you leave a sample out and its pH rises over several hours, it is a likely sign that the water has excess CO2. If the pH falls over time, then its a sign that the water has little alkalinity and little dissolved CO2.

I guess it is possible that Ward vacuum degasses the samples they receive, but I don't know. I don't recall if degassing is a required protocol for testing. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: PH too low
« on: June 22, 2014, 07:03:35 AM »
Whats crazy is i started adjusting my Mash PH to see if it made a difference on my finial beer PH. What's even more crazy it that a buddy of mine is testing quite a few commercial examples of IPA and They are all at or above 4.5 to 4.7!

I'm confused. Are you trying to equate mash pH to a subsequent beer pH?

While mash pH does have an influence in the final beer pH, the heavy lifter is yeast. The yeast strain and its fermentation conditions including nutrient content, degree of attenuation, number of cell divisions, etc, have a much stronger effect than the starting pH of the wort. Bumping wort pH up or down a tenth or two is likely to change the beer pH by hundreths.

The importance of mashing and wort pH is in the multitude of effects it has on things like tannin and silicate extraction, color extraction, enzyme activity and wort fermentability, hop utilization and bittering perception, etc. So mash and wort pH are important, but certainly NOT a big factor in final beer pH.

To the OP: Yes, there is a learning curve to Bru'n Water, just like there is to brewing water chemistry. There is a reason brewers remain mystified when using a simple program: they didn't take the time to understand what that program is telling them to do. Bru'n Water is for the brewer that wants to learn what they are doing and why.

The good thing is that using a simple program is more likely to help a brewer make their beer better than it was before. That is a definite plus. A brewer is making a step in the right direction when they decide they want to do something to their brewing water. There are NO water sources that can make ALL beer styles well. Some form of water treatment is a requirement if you want to make it possible to brew a wide variety of styles. Anyone who thinks their water needs no treatment, has their head in the sand. You can do better with just a few simple adjustments. (OK, that last statement is out the door if your tap water is a train wreck!)

The OP's result with the pH strips is typical. A few tenths low and then you have to apply a correction factor. It didn't look like the program prediction was that far off and I'm betting that the beer will be better than it has been in the past. The good thing is that the OP now has a tool that will helps dial in the taste and character wanted in the beer. Sure, the prediction may be a little off. You will just have to adjust your target a bit and brew it again. If that beer is better than the last, then you know the adjustment was in the right direction.

Its all about making beer that meets your expectations. As mentioned above, you don't have to overthink water adjustments. Use a tool that makes sense to you and gives you a reasonable way to figure out how much of a mineral or acid to add without going overboard. Brew it, taste it, decide if the adjustment was too much or too little and keep that in mind for the next batch.

Events / Re: 2014 NHC Grand Rapids Review
« on: June 15, 2014, 12:11:43 PM »
MI law states that brewers or distributors can't pour beer at an event like this, so that is why very few MI brewers were around. Still some room for improvement.

Oh, that explains it. I was pretty ticked that there was no brewery representation at the Pro counters. I wanted to rub elbows with the folks that actually knew something about the beers. The brewers would have been great, but at a minimum I would have appreciated a knowledgible Brewery Rep or something like that. Sorry we got shot down by another stupid state law. They seem to be everywhere.

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