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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Looking for info on magnesium additions.
« on: June 11, 2014, 07:21:20 PM »
As Steve mentioned, there is no need to add Mg unless you are adding a lot of sulfate. For most profiles, that means that Epsom salt is not required. When targeting a pale profile, then you definitely want to add the Epsom salt so that you provide a portion of the sulfate without too much calcium. There are no benefits from creating very high calcium level in brewing water and there is some evidence that it may actually be detrimental. The Epsom salt is desirable then.

Ingredients / Re: Brown Malt
« on: June 09, 2014, 02:34:04 PM »
Perhaps they got a bad bag?


I agree. However, the fact that that special Founders brown porter that I had about 6 months ago at a tasting event suggests that it may be more than just a bag. That Founders porter has the same smokey character as my beer does. It was good...just unexpected.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
« on: June 08, 2014, 02:37:19 PM »
I never get anything that resembles smoke from it. I firmly beleive that is an old wives tale that isn't allowed to die. Based on about 9 months and 30 or so batches at varying temps and grist bills. If someone is getting a hint of smoke from 1728 I'm convinced its due to trying to find it too hard.

Jim, I was inclined to call it a bigfoot myth. But I have experienced it ONCE. One of my good friends brewed a 60 and it definitely threw a very light smokey phenol and he had no use of smoked grain in the grist. It was a lovely compliment to that beer. He has since tried several times to replicate that yeast-derived smokiness with NO success. I don't know how to coax that yeast into producing that phenol, but I do know it's capable.

I'll welcome anyone's guidance on what conditions help that yeast to throw that phenol.

A recent thread on the probrewers forum points out that using nitrogen to purge vessels is much cheaper than CO2.

But who has a tank of nitrogen?

Tuning your own perceptions with other judges is the most valuable aspect of judging results. Sit down with your beer and read the notes and sip. See if you can pick up any of those perceptions expressed by the judges.

Tuning your perceptions to be able to pick up those nuances and then figuring out how to alter your brewing to make the beer better is a huge skill to have. Gordon Strong is an incredible judge and has amazing ability to put great beer in a bottle. Although he won his Ninkasis with his Meads, he still earned points with a few beers and put himself above the rest. Having the ability to spot deficiencies and have the ability to blend them into the background is a huge asset. I feel this is a very important skill for a sucessful brewer.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Who coined the term flameout?
« on: June 01, 2014, 04:59:58 PM »
I have to wonder about using the term knock out for a term indicating the end of a boil. To me, knock out is when you knock the plug out of the tun and start the run off. Flame out is very descriptive, although I now need to use the term 'power off'.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Happy Accident
« on: May 30, 2014, 01:33:12 PM »
What if the water is acid-treated to bring its pH down to an appropriately low, yeast washing pH?

All Grain Brewing / Re: Mash ph
« on: May 29, 2014, 04:49:59 PM »
Yes, you found out the hard way.

This problem can be summarized by considering that a quantity of malt has a quantity of 'acidity' and it has the ability to neutralize a quantity of alkalinity. The balance of quantity of acidity to the quantity of alkalinity is what drives pH.

Malt has a unit acidity that can be expressed in terms of acidity per kilogram of malt. Since you probably include only a certain amount of grain to reach a desired wort gravity, you can see that you just multiply that acidity per kilogram unit acidity by the total mass of the grist and you end up with a quantity of acidity.

In the case of water, alkalinity is expressed in units of mg/Liter or ppm. To figure out the quantity of alkalinity, you need to multiply that mg/L alkalinity value by the numbers of liters of water in your mash. As you will immediately recognize, the more water you add to a fixed quantity of malt means that you will end up with a larger quantity of alkalinity. That larger quantity of alkalinity ends up overwhelming the fixed amount of acidity and the pH rises. So in this case, the extra thin mash made the pH worse than it would have been with a thicker mash. In fact, a brewer MIGHT be able to achieve a better (lower) pH if they mash thicker.

At a pH of 6.1, the wort probably was impacted by tannins and silicates that were extracted from the grain and into the wort. That is not desirable.

In most cases, even when using low alkalinity water like RO or distilled water, a brewer HAS TO add some form of extra acid to pale grists in order to keep the mash pH low. For example, regular 2-row pale malt mashed with distilled water will produce a mash pH of about 5.7 to 5.8.  That is too high for brewing. That external acid is a necessary fact of brewing. Get used to and familiar with using the various forms of acidification to reduce pH into desirable ranges. I suggest that anyone interested in understanding these factors more thoroughly, please visit the Water Knowledge page of the Bru'n Water website. 

Live and Learn!

Ingredients / Re: Your favorite Hops that are rarely mentioned...
« on: May 25, 2014, 07:07:20 PM »
+2 regarding Brewers Gold! Very nice hop with fruity black currant notes.

Beer Travel / Re: Any recommendations for Brussels/Bruges?
« on: May 22, 2014, 03:26:44 PM »
"F'in Brugge!"  Great movie.

Extract/Partial Mash Brewing / Re: Low mash pH
« on: May 18, 2014, 04:21:17 AM »
I've found that low mash pH does increase the fermentability and reduces the body of beer. Overly low mash pH can be detrimental to beer quality and perception.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Lowering ph level
« on: May 16, 2014, 05:44:07 AM »
Don't plan on relying on only calcium additions to get your mash pH where you want it. You could end up with a minerally taste. An appropriate addition of an acid is much more effective and is less likely to degrade the beer flavor. In addition, you still have to concern yourself with reducing alkalinity of your sparging water. If your tap water alkalinity is high, calcium additions are far less effective than acidification.

Acid: It's your friend! (OK, its dangerous and can bite you. Do learn to handle and use it properly!)

Ingredients / Re: Brown Malt
« on: May 13, 2014, 02:01:36 PM »
According to my LHBS' website, it was Crisp Brown Malt.

Ingredients / Re: Brown Malt
« on: May 13, 2014, 11:48:01 AM »
I used brown malt in a brown porter and had a definite smoke flavor in the beer. I've also had a special porter from Founders that had a similar smokiness. I'm a little leery of brown malt at this point.

Storage and calibration are critical to the performance of pH meters. I just posted a summary of my recommendations for storage and calibration on Bru'n Water's Facebook page. Visit there to pick up some guidance.

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