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Messages - mabrungard

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Ingredients / Re: Grain for color in a Saison?
« on: August 15, 2013, 12:20:54 PM »
I just finished cleaning up after brewing a Saison this morning.  I used the Weyermann 20L Dark Munich at 14% of the grist to move the color to a little over 6 SRM.  That is just within the style's color range.  All the rest of the grist is 2L or 3L grains. 

Why the desire to increase the color?  All the commercial examples I've seen probably weren't over 8 or 9 SRM.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: August 13, 2013, 05:30:17 PM »
I will be using this yeast for a Saison this week and I'm concerned with fusel production.  I agree that an elevated fermentation temp is required to produce the esters and phenols that are characteristic of the yeast, but I've had far too many beers in judging that display fusel alcohols...much to the dismay of my head the next morning.  Many of those beers were not Belgians and the yeasts probably aren't suited to high temp.  But can this yeast be relied upon to avoid fusel production if fermented at 78 to 80 F? 

I'm going to have to heat my fermentation chamber to achieve that elevated temp, so its no problem to moderate the temp a bit. 

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Low Fermentation Temperature for Hefeweizen
« on: August 10, 2013, 07:17:01 AM »
I brewed a Hefe with the WY 3068 a few months ago.  On advice from Jamil via Harold Gulbranson, a 62F fermentation temperature was used.  The ferment was still quite strong and the flavor was nice and crisp.  If anything, my clubmates commented that the beer did not have as much banana as they expected.  Since I am firmly in the clove camp, I was quite happy with the result.  I felt there was enough banana esters in the beer to accurately place it in style.  I felt the main detractor was a too low level of vanilla and complexity.  I didn't decoct and didn't add any Aromatic or Melanoidin malt to the grist.  Its apparent that a small percentage is needed when fermenting at this low temp.

Beer Recipes / Re: 60 schilling
« on: August 09, 2013, 08:16:58 AM »

I suppose you could mix up some DME or LME with enough water to prevent it from instantly scorching and then caramelize that. if you used the MO extract might work pretty well

That is perfect!  If you need to caramelize some wort, start with an extract that is partially rehydrated.  Since the real time is spent dehydrating the initial wort so that it can be heated to caramelization temperature, starting with a concentrated wort takes that step out of your way.  Caramelization would only take a few minutes if you start with concentrated wort. 


Equipment and Software / Re: Pump disconnects
« on: August 06, 2013, 01:11:43 PM »
I too put the female fittings on the hoses with the male fittings on the equipment. 

Beer Recipes / Re: 60 schilling
« on: August 05, 2013, 04:14:52 PM »
Caramelization is dependent upon the temperature of the sugars reaching their conversion temperature. According to Wikipedia, maltose requires over 350F to caramelize.   During a typical boil, obviously the temperature of the system is pretty much at the boiling point temperature.  However with a more vigorous boil, there could be teeny points within each of those steam bubbles that might reach a temperature well beyond the boiling point.  But that is just for a moment and its effect has to be minor.

However as wort is concentrated, the specific heat value goes down and the boiling point temperature goes up.   That 350F temperature criterion will come within reach with concentration.  It quickly becomes possible to caramelize an entire mass of a sugar solution instead of a few molecules per steam bubble when you concentrate the wort.   

Ingredients / Re: Distilled v. RO water
« on: August 04, 2013, 07:01:27 PM »
5.3 to 5.4 should be fine for an IPA.  But if the hops aren't coming through for you in a beer that you've brewed a couple of times, try bumping the mash pH by a tenth to see if the expression is improved.  I wouldn't go above 5.5 under any condition in a pale style.

Ingredients / Re: Distilled v. RO water
« on: August 04, 2013, 08:29:20 AM »
Ah, yes.  As I suspected, the mash and kettle pH are probably a little lower than desirable due to the lack of alkalinity. That extra tenth or two of pH depression can make the difference in the hop expression.  As we all know, hops have alpha and beta ACIDS in them.  Because of the acid dissociation effect (pKa), the greater the difference in pH between the reactants, the more likely they are to dissociate and react.  In the case of wort, if it is more acidic, its less likely to react (extract) those alpha acids.  That is the likely reason behind the muted hop expression and bittering.   

Since Steve has the supporter's version of Bru'n Water, he has the ability to use baking soda effectively to provide alkalinity in the mash and assess the total sodium it delivers to the overall wort.  As I've preached, alkalinity is not added to sparging water since elevated alkalinity is one of the factors that increases tannin extraction during sparging.  Therefore when using baking soda, the concentration in the final wort is diluted when the low alkalinity sparging water is added into the system.  The supporter's version includes that  calculation and it predicts what the overall concentration of Mg, Na, SO4, and Cl are in the final wort due to these unequal mash and sparging concentrations.  (The Ca and HCO3 concentrations are only calculated for the mashing water since there are a variety of reactions that alter their concentrations for the final wort.)

Baking soda is readily available and soluble and suitable for brewing usage.  In the mash, you can boost the alkalinity by about 100 ppm as CaCO3 while only adding 40 ppm sodium.  Depending on the dilution from sparging, the net Na concentration in the kettle is likely to be much less than that.  Since there are virtually no beers that need more than 150 ppm alkalinity for their mash, its pretty easy to see that the penalty from adding baking soda to the mash could be quite modest. 

Say you needed that 150 ppm alkalinity and had to add baking soda that increased the mash's Na content to 60 ppm.  With sparging dilution, that could easily be half of that in the kettle.  Not too bad.

Brewers are far too dismissive of adding sodium to their wort.  Fears of saltiness and harshness abound.  I can assure you that modest sodium levels in wort are BENEFICIAL to beer flavor.  If you review the large list of water profiles in Bru'n Water, you may notice that the Na level in many desirable brewing waters are in the 40 to 50 ppm range.  In my opinion, allowing (or even promoting) that much sodium in brewing water is OK.  During our research for the Water book, Palmer did a set of taste tests with a finished beer.  Even when the Na level was at 100 ppm, he felt the flavor was improved in some cases.  As I recall, AJ, Colin, and I did finally recommend that a more modest limit for Na be included in the book.  My reasoning was that we needed to keep the Na level more moderate since it can create antagonistic flavor effects with sulfate and chloride.  Bru'n Water users will note that I have included sodium in many of the color or style based profiles.  In general, Na is at 25 ppm or less.  I do find that it aids beer flavor.  Anyone who salts their watermelon or tomatoes will know that sweetening effect of moderate table salt. 

So, don't be afraid of sodium and be sure to become a Bru'n Water supporter (shameless plug) if you want to use baking soda in your brewing practice.

Ingredients / Re: Distilled v. RO water
« on: August 03, 2013, 05:00:31 PM »
How are you adding the alkalinity needed in that Pale Ale profile?  Remember that due to the large amount of hardness being added to the water, some alkalinity is necessary to keep the mash pH from dropping too low.  Creating too low a wort pH will reduce the hop expression and bittering. 

Assuming that the RO water was actually at the low mineralization it's supposed to have, moving to distilled water shouldn't really make much difference.  Both have very low or zero mineralization.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: first principles question on starters
« on: August 03, 2013, 01:35:58 PM »
The primary difference is that in a starter culture, you are aiming for an aerobic environment.  That condition promotes yeast growth and formation of an adequate sterol reserve in the yeast so that they can continue to bud and reproduce well in the anaerobic (or at least far less aerobic) environment in the fermenter. 

The objective of a starter is yeast growth and in the fermenter it is alcohol production and adequate yeast longevity and vigor.

Equipment and Software / Re: Pump disconnects
« on: August 03, 2013, 10:51:00 AM »
Whoa, those aluminum cam locks are a lot less expensive than the stainless.

Edit:  Millstone, I've heard that aluminum doesn't play well w/ hard cleaners, such as PBW, Oxiclean and Starsan.  Not sure if this is true or not, but have you had any issues using these cleaners with your aluminum cam locks?

Jeremy, you make a good point about aluminum and cleaners.  However, I rarely use cleaners in my hot-side equipment.  But I do use StarSan when prepping the system to chill wort.  I could imagine that the Al cam locks would eventually suffer more than the SST version.  Strong acids and caustics are rough on Al. 

I should echo a comment made previously.  I too, do not use cam lock connections on my suction side circuits.  I only use barbs and hose clamps since I'm fearful of tiny air leaks that might drive me crazy.  So far, I've been able to tighten up a hose clamp if I have a suction air leak, but there is little that I would be able to do if a cam lock coupling had a suction leak.  That is the one area that I gave up quick connects. 

Ingredients / Re: Best salt addition to boost back carbonates?
« on: August 02, 2013, 04:04:20 PM »
Given the acidity of the wort, any basic buffer should work, even chalk.  A tougher calculation is determining how much to add to avoid overdosing.

Its too bad you've already added the sodium to that Gose. Sodium chloride is best added to the beer after fermentation and should not be in the wort or beer at high concentration to avoid upsetting the fermentation.   

Equipment and Software / Re: Pump disconnects
« on: August 02, 2013, 02:31:52 PM »
I've been very happy with SST camlocks.  Mine came from Proflow Dynamics or Bargain Fittings. 

I use 1/2" barb fittings.  ID on the male barb fittings is kind of small and I thought they would restrict flow too much.  But I did what any good engineer would do and calculated the headlosses due to the small ID.  It turned out that it wasn't a big deal.  By the way, this is with a March 809HS pump. 

Beer Recipes / Re: Mild Brown Ale
« on: July 31, 2013, 09:54:37 AM »
I'm a big fan of Milds and its a standard house brew for me. 

As mentioned, 1.048 is kind of big for a Mild.  However, I can tell you that you don't want to go too small either.  I typically shoot for the upper end of the range for the style: 1.038.  That is a good medium on keeping it small while providing enough malt for flavor. 

I tried a popular recipe posted on HomebrewTalk, Reapers Mild, but I found it far too crystally-sweet and underattenuated.  With 20% crystal malt in that recipe, its too much.  That is a fault I also find with Rogue beers...they use too much crystal malt.  I prefer to keep the crystal malt at less than 10%.  I really like the 75L Simpsons crystal.  One thing that I did appreciate that this recipe brought to my attention was pale chocolate malt.  This is truly a superb malt for adding color and a restrained roast character to a beer.  Around 3% is good in a Mild.

I find another asset in a Mild is to brew with mild malt as the base.  It is a little darker than a pale malt.  In some respects, its a version of light munich malt.  I like the Pauls Mild malt, but you may not be able to find it.  As workable substitute, I suggest pale malt with a decent charge of munich malt to serve as the base malt component in the beer, say a third of the base malt bill. 

The 19 IBU bittering would probably be quite low in a 1.048 beer, but that is the level I aim for in my 1.038 beer.  I like EKG for all hopping, but the Warrior should be relatively flavorless when used at 60 min.  For yeast, I recommend a low attenuating yeast.  I really like Wyeast 1338, but they dropped it from regular production.  The Chico yeast may be a bit too attenuative and may eat up too much of the sweetness that you want to retain in the final product.  The single step, 154F mash temp should be good for reducing attenuation a bit.

Mild should be a great introductory beer to the Budmillors crowd. 

Equipment and Software / Re: Brun' Water Profile?
« on: July 27, 2013, 06:18:11 AM »
You must have been reading my mind and holding that packet of Belle Saison yeast we received at the Philly conference. 

In my opinion, there isn't a definitive profile for what a saison is brewed with.  However, you can get an idea of what might work well by studying the locations of the various Belgian profiles included in Bru'n Water.  Given the location of Brasserie Dupont in Hainaut, I'm inclined to lean toward that profile as an indicator.  In the case of brewing a pale beer like a saison, the water would have to be pre-boiled in order to reduce the alkalinity to a reasonable value.  Bru'n Water assumes a very modest ending bicarbonate content of 80 ppm.  However I think that with proper procedure, a brewer could have actually got the bicarbonate down to 60 ppm without much problem.  Therefore, I recalculated the calcium content for the reduced bicarb.  The revised Henegouwen/Hainaut (boiled) profile is shown below.

Ca  30 ppm
Mg  17
Na  15
SO4  65
Cl  41
HCO3  60

Of particular note is that there is a modest amount of sulfate in the water.  This conforms to my findings that sulfate does help dry the finish of a beer and a saison must have a dry finish.  Don't listen to Dr. Chloride and eschew sulfate whenever noble hops are used in brewing.  Modest sulfate content is your road to saison success.

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