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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Adding oats during the boil?
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:15:55 AM »
He's just adding beta glucans to the wort.  I don't think that is the best way to add them to the wort.  Its better to mash it and leave the grain in the tun and avoid any possibility of tannin extraction.

All Grain Brewing / Re: PH question
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:13:15 AM »
Narvin, everything you mention regarding your observations suggests that your water actually has more alkalinity than you are inputing in whatever program you're using.  Have you confirmed the alkalinity value you use?

All Grain Brewing / Re: PH question
« on: April 22, 2012, 11:09:14 AM »
I'm not surprised by the results mentioned above.  With very good control on the water quality and ingredients, you could find that the actual pH is more typically a tenth or two higher than the prediction based on my observations.

With additional mash pH observations from me and my beta team, the pH prediction algorthym has been updated for the next version.  But that prediction only moves the pH up by about a tenth in most cases.  I purposely want users to predict a slightly lower pH than actual than have it higher.  I find that this is a safer result for most users. 

Don't expect that a program can nail the pH prediction every time since there are too many variables that can skew the results.  If the water quality varies or if the malt acidity varies, the prediction is likely to differ.  Getting within a couple of tenths is pretty good.  I think the next version will help get the predictions closer, but that won't alter the fact that ingredient variability could screw it up.


Equipment and Software / Re: Irish Moss Mill
« on: April 21, 2012, 05:11:51 PM »
More surface area and better release of the carageenan.

Equipment and Software / Irish Moss Mill
« on: April 21, 2012, 09:07:53 AM »
I just saw a post on another site regarding Irish Moss.  That person used a pepper mill to grind the IM finer.  That seems like a great idea and I'll be following suit.  Right now, I just keep my IM in a little plastic baggie and dole it into a shot glass for rehydration.  I figure that I can get a cheap pepper or salt mill at a store and keep my IM in there and dole it out in a finer grind in the future.

Equipment and Software / Re: My letter to SWMBO
« on: April 18, 2012, 07:54:03 AM »
Quite explanatory and diplomatic!   I wouldn't have bothered to ask about the insulation purchase, but that's me.  Just do it.

I think Warner's writings are still applicable to large degree.  His German Wheat book is one of my favorites. 

For a Hefe, a Ferulic mash rest is imperative to give you a chance at good clove character.  A single infusion mash isn't going to give your beer this.  I also think its imperative that either infusions or decoctions be used to step the mash temperature up quickly to the sacharification range.  Trying to ramp the mash temp up with RIMS, HERMS, or direct heat is going to leave the mash in the head-killing range (130F's) for too long.

I don't really buy the need to extend the boil time as long as he suggests.  This is a wheat beer and coagulating extra proteins doesn't seem like a worthwhile goal. 

Equipment and Software / Re: More refractometer woes
« on: April 11, 2012, 11:58:51 AM »
I suspect the rise you are seeing is due to water evaporating from the hot sample.  I haven't tested that hypothesis, but I cool my sample in a covered cup before measuring.
Shouldn't be the case with the cover plate closed. But could be.

Equipment and Software / Re: More refractometer woes
« on: April 10, 2012, 05:03:06 AM »
I second the wort cooling issue.  Even though many refractometers have 'ATC', it doesn't seem to work when the temperature is above 100F. 

I grab my sample of hot wort with a plastic micro dropper.  I'm sure the wort temperature is still way over 100F when I put two drops on the window.  I'm careful to avoid trapping any air bubbles when placing the drops or when closing the cover plate.  I notice that my readings rise as the wort cools further on the window.  I typically see the measurement rise 2 or 3 tenths of a Brix as it cools.

Nope, not even a Gose is crafted with that high a sodium level.  In talking with some successful pro Gose brewers, they take the sodium level as high as 300 ppm.  But that is through a post-fermentation dosing of salt.  You probably would not want to take sodium above a couple hundred ppm for a good ferment.  The osmotic stress would adversely affect the yeast unless most of the other ions are low.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerate Starter?
« on: April 07, 2012, 10:44:35 AM »
The problem with a shot of Oxygen in a starter is that unlike beer, we are looking to KEEP the starter aerobic throughout the yeast's growth stage to develop a high level of sterols in the yeast.  The stoichiometric mass of oxygen to completely oxidize a sugar is about 94% of the sugar's mass.  Fortunately yeast can't fully oxidize sugars, so the oxygen demand is less than the stoichiometric value.  So that might mean to oxidize 1 gram of sugar, we might need to supply maybe 0.7 grams of oxygen.  I think we all know that oxygen is not very dense and that it takes a large volume of gaseous oxygen to provide that 0.7 grams. 

So moving a bunch of air through the headspace over a starter wort is a better way to keep a consistent oxygen supply to the wort through the yeast growth phase.  Since air is only about 21% oxygen, that means that roughly 5 times the volume of air will be needed to provide the volume of oxygen needed.  But air is cheap.  And since yeast cannot instantly utilize oxygen, a long-term delivery of a low dose better matches the yeast utilization rate. 

This does not change the fact that oxygenation is best for wort when making beer.  But for a starter and its differing oxygen requirement, continuous aeration with air is more suitable.

I agree with that comment that Nate made: if the yeast are healthy and pitched at high rate, there may not be a need for wort oxygenation when making beer.  For most of us that probably underpitch, a shot of O2 is good insurance!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Dry Lagers
« on: April 06, 2012, 11:38:15 AM »
There are several ways to create the perception of dryness.  Creating a highly attenuable wort is one way.  Another is to have elevated sulfate content that creates a perception of dryness.  Another is to oversparge or improperly sparge and infuse a slight amount of tannin in the wort. 

All of these causes can can be created by the water used for brewing.  Of course, you should also recognize that water may also not be the cause.  It is wise to know what your water is and understand if there are things that can be done with the water to avoid creating this result again.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerate Starter?
« on: April 06, 2012, 09:46:48 AM »
But now I wonder, would it not be better even than a stir plate to get an aquarium pump and a sterile filter and just continously bubble air through the starter?

It sure wouldn't hurt, but be careful with the rate and way the air is bubbled.  I struggled with this for years.  Even though I use a 6L Erhlenmyer, I was occassionally creating 'bubble-overs' if I bubbled air through the wort.  Its much worse if an air stone is used since the bubbles are much finer and frothy.  I use the same low gravity wort made from DME for all my starters.  I found that the tendency to bubble-over is a function of the yeast strain.  Hefeweizen yeasts were particularly bad for me. 

That is how I came to my current recommendation to just flood the headspace above the wort with filtered air and let the stir bar do the rest of the oxygen transfer.  No bubbling this way.  If a stirrer is not used, then I suppose that bubbling the filtered air through the wort is the way to go.  Just be sure to use a vessel that is way bigger than the amount of wort so that bubble-overs don't make it out of the vessel.  By the way, those bubbles carry a huge amount of yeast, so loosing that foam is not good for your final yeast count. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerate Starter?
« on: April 06, 2012, 05:35:22 AM »
Unless you are pumping filtered air into the starter vessel while its on the stir plate, you aren't getting a good aeration of the wort during its growth phase.  Stirring is very good for improving the transfer of gases from the atmosphere above the wort, into the wort.  But if the atmosphere above the wort is depleted of oxygen, all the stirring in the world won't make any difference.  During active fermentation, that atmosphere will have little oxygen and a high percentage of CO2.  If an Erhlenmyer flask is used as the starter vessel, the avenue for gas transfer is restricted.  To keep contaminants out, we typically have some sort of barrier (foil, foam) over the flask mouth.  That is an impediment to gas transfer and diffusion.  An active flow of filtered air into the flask alleviates this deficiency.  There is no need to bubble the air through the wort, just exchange the atmosphere.


Equipment and Software / Re: How to use a pH meter
« on: April 04, 2012, 12:03:31 PM »
Can you store them with the probe immersed in distilled water?

No.  The probe is filled with a ion-saturated (typically potassium) solution or gel.  Its important to keep that solution saturated with that ion.  The glass probe is actually permeable.  Immersing the probe in a solution with very low ionic strength creates an osmotic pressure that draws those ions out of the probe and into the exterior solution.  You end up depleting the ion solution inside the probe.  pH probe storage solutions are typically high in the particular ion and when the probe is immersed in that solution, then there is not the osmotic stress drawing ions out of the probe.  The probe solution stays saturated.

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