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Messages - mabrungard

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: whole campden tablet
« on: May 27, 2015, 09:06:58 PM »
You don't need to cut them. I suggest that you crush the tablet and they divide the remains as recommended for your water volume. However, having a little extra added to the water shouldn't be a big deal since the boil will destroy the sulfites. 

Alcohol can have a perception of sweetness. Those are both higher alcohol beers, is it possible that this is the source of the sweet perceptions?

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Vegetarian meal at the banquet
« on: May 26, 2015, 06:35:17 PM »
I've been pleased with the banquet selections in the past. We will have a new chef this year. I'm looking forward to it. Full meatitarian here!

Ingredients / Re: BrunWater lactic acid additions
« on: May 26, 2015, 04:56:09 PM »

I find this hard to believe in my case. I do a no sparge with a a HERMS. I add my acid to room temp mash water, and minerals with the grain. Stir with a large whisk and start the recirc.

And I should have included that discussion that moving the liquid with recirculation is much more effective at homogenizing than is moving the solids by mixing, since I brew with RIMS. You caught me there. I do add some additions in the tun since I can reliably count on the recirculation to mix it all up.

Chalk solubility is largely driven by pH and ionic concentration. In most potable water, chalk has a saturation limit of around 50 ppm if I remember correctly. Many groundwater sources can have much higher concentration due to dissolved CO2 in that water that increases the solubility of chalk. This fact is one reason why increasing atmospheric CO2 is killing ocean reefs. The higher percentage of CO2 is making the water more acidic via carbonic acid and that is dissolving the reef exoskeletons.

PS: Unless you are going to the extreme of dissolving chalk with CO2 (as mentioned above), don't use chalk in brewing. It does not dissolve in the mash to the degree desired and any chalk that carries over into the kettle will increase the kettle wort pH and that might not be what you want there.

Ingredients / Re: BrunWater lactic acid additions
« on: May 26, 2015, 01:07:03 PM »
The response of mash pH is fairly linear, especially when you are only moving the pH a tenth or so. You should be able to alter the acid addition quantity in the program and see how much the pH changes. Consider that difference in acid quantity per tenth of pH as your guide if you do find the mash significantly off.

Another caution: Do mix all your minerals and acids with the mashing water BEFORE adding the grain. This is the ONLY way to assure that the constituents are completely distributed in the mash. If you add the minerals and/or acids to the mash and try to mix them in, it is very difficult to produce a uniform distribution. Matt C did a study of that and found significant variation in pH and temperature in his study when that was attempted. I've heard from many brewers that insist on adding these amendments after the grains have been added and then they complain that the program caused them to overdose the mash with acid. What is more likely: they had those amendments well-mixed into only the upper layers of the mash and little in the bottom. REPEAT: Add all minerals and acids to the water and mix them up thoroughly before adding the grains.

Equipment and Software / Re: Preferred Gap Setting?
« on: May 24, 2015, 07:17:43 PM »
I adjust based on crush quality, not gap measurement.

Well, I'd say crush quality and still having the ability to drain the tun in a reasonable amount of time. Another thing that Denny reminds me of, is the speed at which the rollers are spun. If you spin fast, you might have to increase the gap a bit and vice versa. Another variable is if you condition the malt prior to milling.  All of these factors suggest that there isn't a preferred gap. However, there is the gap that works for you.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: State of home-brewing
« on: May 23, 2015, 02:15:50 PM »
From my post on the AHA Governing Committee, I get to see the information on activity in the homebrewing trade. While growth has slowed according to that data, business and therefore participation has continued to grow. We haven't seen a decline in sales at homebrew shops, as an aggregate.

I'm hoping that your LHBS is actively reviewing their retailing operations and assessing what they could be doing differently to cultivate and grow their local customer base. Loosing a LHBS can be an injury to the local homebrewing community, but if there is real demand that can be an opportunity for another entrepreneur that knows how to bring customers back and develop new ones.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Attempt at a Gose
« on: May 22, 2015, 01:45:25 PM »
Agree! The flavor profile is even more interesting when you use the 'handful of grain' method of innoculating a starter to produce a sour. Then you are getting a wide variety of organisms that are finally dominated by lactobacillus. Just remember that this starter must be propagated under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions or there is a good possibility that your starter will grow 'funky' organisms that you may not prefer in your beer.

I find that using the lacto starters from either Wyeast or White can be somewhat one-dimensional, so the handful of grain method is my preference.

By the way, if you create this starter, you can verify that you have produced a predominantly lactic culture by smelling and tasting the starter. It should be pleasantly tart and smooth. Be aware that the culture can go through some nasty smelling periods, but let it go and eventually the lactic bacteria will win and the starter should turn tart and smooth. Keep the air-lock on the starter until you can smell the right aroma.  PS: you also have to perform your mash or wort souring in an anaerobic condition or you will get too much funky, non-lactic character in the beer.     

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: First Attempt at a Gose
« on: May 21, 2015, 03:44:09 PM »
Remember, these are organisms that can die too. The reason they are a big problem in pro breweries is that their equipment is harder to take apart and effectively decontaminate. For most of our equipment, we can soak it in a variety of sanitizers or we can invoke the boil option. With respect to the problem of plastics and tubing, the boil option is pretty effective.

You don't need to worry about the mash tun since it is always infected with something. You sanitize the resulting wort for all your beers in the kettle, so even if there was something infectious in the tun, you would knock it out.

By the way, I kettle soured my wort batch and then boiled it. Then it went into the fermenter for a normal yeast ferment. The resulting beer was infected only with the typical yeast that most beer is.

Commercial Beer Reviews / Re: Busch Copper Lager
« on: May 21, 2015, 03:32:32 PM »
As Paul Gatza has stated to his BA members: The biggest challenge facing the craft industry is poor quality beers.

There are a lot of crap craft beers out there. Finding that diamond in the rough is great, but you sure have to down a lot of coal dust to get there.

As you will notice with many of the European beers that we hold dear, they only make a few beer styles or maybe one, but they focus on honing and refining that limited slate to high quality. We need more of that focus here in the craft beer industry too. 

I have to assume that your temperatures are only a few degrees off and a small quantity of water is added. Since you are using RO water that has little alkalinity, its effect on pH should be minor. However, there could be a slight increase in the mash pH since you are diluting the acid content. The same thing occurs when mashing with a thick versus thin grist ratio.

Of course, you would be diluting the ionic content that you were targeting with the original mineral additions, but if the cool water addition is small in comparison to the total mashing water volume, then the effect will also be small.

It doesn't sound like this is a serious concern. I do agree with the others that recommend using ice cubes since there is greater temperature reduction per unit of added water.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Making it smooth
« on: May 14, 2015, 07:14:13 PM »
Guinness creates their Guinness Flavor Extract (GFE) that is apparently just roast barley steeped in their very low alkalinity water. That should produce a liquor that has a pH nearing 4.5. That's low for a typical wort, but not 'sour'. I do not know if they actually sour the GFE. They combine that GFE with the regular wort composed of raw and malted pale barleys. That combination of substantial roast content, low pH, and regular wort help produce that sharp, roast flavor. That flavor and its moderation by the huge body imparted by the raw barley beta-glucans and raw barley flavor are what create that smooth Guinness flavor, IMHO.

I feel that you can get reasonably close to the Guinness dry stout result by adding the roast barley as a late mashing addition. However, as many pro-brewers and multi-Ninkasi winner Gordon Strong can attest, having the ability to Blend the beer components, gives you much more opportunity to fine tune the final product to taste and uniformity. I think that is why Guinness uses the GFE. Another reason is that their other breweries around the world may not have had access to low alkalinity brewing water and they could easily export the GFE to the other breweries for blending on site.

Guinness dry stout brewing is an interesting study, but I have to admit that I prefer other stouts and porters with smoother roast character.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brunwater target mash pH vs room temp pH
« on: May 14, 2015, 12:12:51 AM »
Now look what you've started??

Events / Re: NHC forum meetup
« on: May 13, 2015, 12:26:37 PM »
Yes! There will be homebrew. Its just that we are seeing another case of alcohol law dumb-assery. We can't mix the two classes of beer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Brunwater target mash pH vs room temp pH
« on: May 13, 2015, 12:23:58 PM »
Another way to think of it is, pH is just a number and your beer came out tasting like 'this'. If the beer was too harsh or tannic, you know you need to adjust your processes to produce a lower number. If the beer was too crisp or tart, you know you need to boost the number.

Its a reference standard that helps you 'tune' your beer.

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