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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: water for Dortmunder
« on: March 10, 2012, 06:22:17 PM »
The Dortmund profile is one that I cannot confirm.  The city no longer gets its water locally and I dont' have a way of finding that local profile on line.  The city now gets its water from another valley located away from the city since its much better water. 

The Dortmund profile included in Bru'n Water is rock hard and highly mineralized.  In retrospect, that is probably the reason the city went to the expense of finding a new water source.  The local water was not that great to drink or clean with and its tough to treat since most of the hardness is permanent. 

The thing about the profile included in Bru'n Water is that since its rock hard, the resulting RA is actually quite low.  It should produce a good mash pH with a light colored beer grist, but the minerally character is likely to come through in the flavor.  I think that profile is likely to be reasonably accurate.


Ingredients / Re: Hop age questions?
« on: March 10, 2012, 06:12:20 PM »
I have to agree with the limited needed to age-prorate your hops.  I too keep my hops sealed in their metallized mylar bags in the freezer.  I do have a heat-sealing unit too, but its not a vacuum type. 

I noticed no drop off in performance in the hops for at least 3 years.  I did move my hops from Florida to Indy and the bittering performance did drop off markedly as a result of the non-frozen transport. 

I'd have to say that storage in oxygen barrier packaging in the freezer is far better a condition than modeled with any of the aging equations assume.  It appears to me that you can disregard aging for a few years under that storage condition.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Sanitizer question
« on: March 09, 2012, 07:07:08 AM »
This is the one case where softened water from a typical home softener is useful.  That water is nearly free of any calcium and it will not cloud when StarSan is added.  I mixed up a batch and put a glassful on my workbench, open.  It eventually dried up, but it never clouded.  RO water is excellent for StarSan use also since it has very low calcium.

Ingredients / Re: How's my water? [Oatmeal Stout]
« on: March 08, 2012, 06:53:30 AM »
You can't really depend on the theoretical alkalinity provided by chalk.  To reach that alkalinity, chalk has to be dissolved with carbonic acid.  That's kind of a pain.  Pickling Lime is a very strong alkalinity producer and it will get the job done.  The problem with the lime is that it is very strong and requires careful dosing and measurement.  You have to have an accurate scale that reads into the tenths of grams.  One way around that is to measure out 1 gram of pickling lime and mix that with 100 mL of water.  Then you can add the lime dose more accurately by measuring out a liquid volume.  For instance, 10 mL of solution provides 0.1 gram of lime. 

It does look like a little more alkalinity is needed in that mash water to keep the pH from falling too low.  A room temp mash pH of 5.2 is on the low side of the range.  I find that moving to 5.4 produces a better beer. 

The check box on the Water Adjustment sheet is intended to be used in cases like this, where chalk and lime are used to add alkalinity to the mash.  But since sparge water has to have low alkalinity, you don't add the chalk or lime to the sparge water.  In order to keep the overall calcium content of the wort at a level similar to the mash water, doses of gypsum and calcium chloride are calculated to provide that same calcium concentration in the sparge water.  If the mash water calcium concentration is at the lower limit (ie. 40 to 50 ppm), then you should click the box to keep the calcium up in the overall wort.  If the calcium concentration is already high in the water, then there is no need to raise the calcium concentration up in the sparge water.  Don't bother with the box in that case. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Bru'n Water
« on: March 07, 2012, 12:44:06 PM »
pH should be referenced only to room-temperature.  Don't worry if the pH temperature adjustment factor is 0.2 to 0.35, it doesn't matter if you just measure at room temp and adjust your mash according to that measurement. 

Measuring the mash pH at the mash temperature is really hard on the pH probe, so trying to ascertain the 'true' mash pH is not a good idea.  That is the biggest reason to standardize on using a room-temperature pH measurement.

Always aim for a room temperature pH as your standard!  All the recommendations for pH range in Bru'n Water are based on room temperature measurement.

Equipment and Software / Re: Stainless steel vs aluminum kettle?
« on: March 07, 2012, 08:28:36 AM »

Martin, I don't agree with this.  If you look at the Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient the conductivity of the metal is the lowest resistance in the circuit.  If you heat with fire, the gas to metal has the highest resistance, the liquid is the next highest.  If you run the numbers, there is negligable time difference.  I actualy ran a test for 2 pats I had that were the same size and geometry. One was SS and the other was AL.  The SS kettle got to a boil faster!  I expected the AL to be a little faster.  I think it was due to more bubbles in the AL acting as insulators (rougher finish) and more loss of heat through the side walls in the AL.

Aluminum will spread the heat better so you avoid hot spots. 

Thanks for the info, Jeff.  I'm always interested in learning more from someone that knows better!

I'm assuming that I should still be quite concerned with heat loss through the Al kettle walls.  Last night during testing, I had water boiling at the normal 212F and did a surface temp check with an IR thermometer and it read about 110 to 120 F.  I'd say that insulation will be a desirable thing for that electrically heated kettle.  Does anyone know if the aluminum-foil backed plastic bubble sheet insulation is heat resistant enough to handle 200F+  ??  I don't have the manufacturer's information on the remnant of the insulation roll that I have to check for this info.   I was thinking that a couple of wraps of that bubble sheet with a velcrow seam would make it easy to install and remove as needed for use and cleaning.

Equipment and Software / Re: Stainless steel vs aluminum kettle?
« on: March 06, 2012, 08:09:20 AM »
There is another important factor in the selection of material type for kettles and that is heat transfer coefficient. 

Depending on how you are heating your wort and kettle, that should be an important factor.  I formerly heated my kettle on a gas burner.  An aluminum kettle has a far better coefficient of heat transfer than stainless steel.  That means that you will heat your wort quicker in a aluminum kettle. 

I just converted to an all electric brewery with my aluminum kettle now pierced with an electric water heater element.  Now that high coefficient of heat transfer is working against me by transferring more of the heat that I'm putting into the wort, out of the kettle.  I'll be insulating the exterior walls of the kettle to help reduce that loss. 

To summarize: use aluminum if you are heating on an external heat source like a burner and use stainless if you are heating the wort internally with an electric element. 

The other arguments regarding corrosion and durability are inconsequential in my opinion.  Both metals provide excellent service in wort contact and brewery usage.  Aluminum is excellent in brewery use as long as the metal gauge is thick enough.  My industrial pot certainly is!

Ingredients / Re: The Perle
« on: March 05, 2012, 05:56:12 PM »
Perle is my go to hop for my SNPA clone.  It is the bittering hop and it melds very well with Cascade.  I just ordered a lb of Perle pellets to keep me brewing!

Since you're dry hopping and will be opening the vessel anyhow, that will create the potential for oxygen contact.  I would add the gypsum at that time if you are sure that your starting water is already low in sulfate.  If you are just adding gypsum because some recipe said to, then it may not be a good idea.  You need to know what your water is first.

I have a 809 HS pump.  What does the high flow impeller do for the performance of that pump?  I seem to recall the shut-off head of that HS model is on the order of 12 feet.  Is there a pump curve for that impellor?  What is different about the impeller and when should a brewer consider its use?


If you have the 809-HS inline version then right now it will do 6gpm and a max of 12.1 feet.
upgrading to the 815 inpeller will increase the max gpm to 7 and raise the head to 18 feet
it also helps a bit more in keeping the prime and passing bubbles easier due to  the impeller being larger and taking up more space. The standard inpeller has a dia. of 1.687" and the 815 is 2.156 and has a stronger magnet.

How do we go about ordering parts for March pumps?

Equipment and Software / Re: Cheap IR thermometer
« on: March 02, 2012, 06:13:23 AM »
I've had a similar IR thermometer from Harbor Freight for years.  I use it primarily to check tire temperatures when I take my bike to the track.  I have no idea how accurate it is.  I consider it a relative or comparitive measure for the most part.  I also recognize that its measuring only the surface temperature and that may not be indicative of the true internal temperature of what I'm measuring. 

I've used it to check temperatures in our kitchen oven and found that the measured temps were higher than the temp indicated on the control panel.  The problem is that I don't really know which is correct.  The cooking results suggest that the IR thermometer is more correct than the control panel. 

I don't know if these instruments have a place in the brewery, but they do give you some indication of temperature.

I've found that honey does little in a beer other than adding points.  Its far too fermentable and the flavor and aroma are too volatile to survive to packaging and serving.  I recommend Honey Malt if you want a perception of honey-like flavor and aroma in a finished beer. 

The same thing can be said of Meads.  If you heat the must too long or too high, the opportunity for any honey flavor or aroma diminishes.

Equipment and Software / Bru'n Water Knowledge
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:15:09 AM »
I've just enhanced the Bru'n Water site to include a nicer and more informative web-based version of the Water Knowledge that has always been included in the Bru'n Water software.  Now you can easily view some of the most comprehensive brewing water knowledge on the web without having to download Bru'n Water.

The link in my signature line gets you to Bru'n Water and the link to the Water Knowledge page. 


Great info!  It also points out that a Thermopen should be accurate to 300+ degrees when calibrated in a 'proper' ice bath.  Other thermometers may not have that sort of accuracy span.  And that invites the potential for trouble even if you perform your ice bath calibration check properly. 

An important thing to note: In food service, their main concern is in the proper maintenance and storage of perishible food stuffs at near freezing temperatures.  That makes it completely appropriate to calibrate most thermometers with an ice bath.  The target temperatures that the Users are aiming for are typically only 10 or 20 degrees F away from that freezing point. 

Unfortunately in brewing usage, our target temperatures are well over 100 F away from that freezing point.  Its great to see that Thermopen acknowledges that their product will maintain measurement accuracy over the temperature span we are interested in brewing.  For any other thermometer, you would be wise to calibrate to a NIST-certified thermometer in the typical mashing temperature range to assure your working thermometer is reading correctly.  The freezing point and boiling point calibration still doesn't work for you if you don't have a Thermopen. 

I have a 809 HS pump.  What does the high flow impeller do for the performance of that pump?  I seem to recall the shut-off head of that HS model is on the order of 12 feet.  Is there a pump curve for that impellor?  What is different about the impeller and when should a brewer consider its use?


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