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Topics - jjflash

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Equipment and Software / Milwaukee pH meter drift issues
« on: November 15, 2015, 12:51:51 PM »
I have use this Milwaukee MW102 pH meter for the last three or more years.
I immerse the pH probe and temp probe into the solution, wait for the hour-glass symbol to stop blinking, take the pH reading.
I have noticed if I leave the probe in the solution, the reading will drift upward in all solutions I test.
Checked my water pH last night, initial pH 6.6, hour later 7.2
Checked my sparge pH this AM, initial pH 5.7, hour later 6.2
The electrode probe was change out early this year.
Meter is calibrated before every brew session.
Not sure what to think about this.
Is first reading correct, or is last reading correct? 

Equipment and Software / Any US source for peracetic acid?
« on: October 31, 2015, 08:21:56 AM »
Has anyone found a US source for small quantities of peracetic acid, about one liter size or so?
It is available to commercial breweries in 4.5 gallon size ($$).
I have found it in several non US homebrew shops easily.


All Grain Brewing / Ca & Mg in Brewing Water article questions
« on: March 17, 2015, 09:11:58 PM »
Just got done rereading Martin Brungard's "Ca & Mg in Brewing Water" article in the new Zymurgy. 
Correct me if I am wrong in my interpretation of the article.

Calcium levels of 40-50ppm is optimal for enzymatic conversion in the mash.
Magnesium is of minimal importance in the mash.
Malted barley generally contains enough calcium for the mash.

Calcium is of minimal importance for yeast growth.
Magnesium levels of about 42.5ppm is optimal for yeast growth.

Maintaining a Mg:Ca ratio of > 1.8 improves yeast growth and fermentation.

My brewing water has Ca 42ppm and Mg 18ppm.
So there is really no need to add additional Ca as I have been doing in the form of CaCl2.
I can in Mason jars starter wort, these starters would benefit from Mg additions up to about 40ppm.
My Mg:Ca ratio is 1:2.3 so that is spot on for fermentation.
Should my take home message be no additions of Ca to the mash, but add Mg to my canned starters?
I would try this but would appreciate confirmation before the attempt.

Thanks Martin for Brun Water, use it all the time!


I am so tired of going to my local homebrew shop and finding the yeast I want, only to discover its been sitting in the refrigerator for three months plus.  So I then order online from the big mail order retailers, only to find it is two months plus since the production date.  I feel cheated buying yeast at $7 / pack when its viability is 50% or less.  When making big beers that means using multiple packs and multi-step propagation.  Then there is the yeast vitality issue when its been poorly handled, (got too warm sitting in a box somewhere).  Surely there must be some retailer out there that will sell me fresh yeast packs made last week.  I remember when the Chi Company use to sell Wyeast shipped directly from the factory.  Would love to find that kind of deal again.

I have been using this great yeast calculator located at for the past couple years.  Went there today and it is gone!  This was the best yeast calculator I ever found, easy multistep volume additions for making really big starters.  I feel lost without it.  Anyone know where it has gone to?

Just got done reading the Brewers Publication "Water" hoping to enlighten me on this question.  Couldn't extract the answer.  Mash salts I well understand.  Calcium 50 - 100ppm, perhaps 85ppm is best target for most my beers using my hard water pH 7.8.  Acidify the sparge to <5.8.  Any benefit to adding sparge salts or kettle salts?  Perhaps only if you use RO water or have really soft water?  I have the impression, in my beers, either sparge salts or kettle salts just make the beer taste minerally.  Don't think it adds any flavor benefit to my hard water. So mash salts only for the hard water brewer?  RO / soft water then add kettle salts?  Is this the conventional wisdom to date?

All Grain Brewing / anyone add zinc sulfate / zinc chloride to wort?
« on: August 17, 2013, 10:21:07 AM »
Just read the latest BYO issue and Chris White has an article entitled "Brewer's Yeast & Brett Fermentation Flavors". Great article and a good issue.  Quoting from the article: "Many breweries make it a practice of adding food grade zinc sulfate, zinc chloride, or Servomyces (dead yeast loaded with zinc) to their wort at knock out in order to prevent acetaldehyde off-flavors."  I have tried Servomyces ($$) before to improve fermentation and wasn't impressed it made much of a difference to my beers.  Production breweries are trying to get these beers to tap quickly, so makes sense in that scenario rather than leaving the beer of the yeast cake to clean up acetaldehyde.  Little zinc is suppose to be good for general yeast health. Trying to figure if this addition benefits homebrewers in any way.     

Been using this Blickmann Therminator for a couple years now.  I run 5 gallons of PBW at 140+ degrees then 5 gallons rinse water via pump to clean, then back flush till clear.  I thought all this time I was giving this plate chiller a really good cleaning out. Finished brewing last week and cleaned the plate chiller as usual.  Unplugged the unit and set it in the sink to drain. Everyday this week I have run the back flush hose and I am getting quite a bit of grain bits/whole cone hop debris.  I think I must have never, really cleaned this chiller out completely!

I am trying to come up with a good way to totally clean this plate chiller out spotless.  I have heard of brewers putting these in the oven and literally baking the thing.  Seems to me this would only burn the debris to the plates.  Thought about using caustic.....

Anyone got a great, sure fire, total clean method for plate chillers like mine that must be encrusted with barnacles of brew kettle debris? 

All Grain Brewing / observation of dissolved oxygen loss in wort
« on: April 28, 2013, 06:50:30 PM »
Just finished brewing today and have an interesting observation to share/discuss.

Brewed an Imperial Stout OG 1.094. I use an in-line oxygen system into a 7.5 gallon glass carboy with a Hach luminescent dissolved oxygen meter in the carboy.  Wort is at 65 degrees.  I use the standard 1ppm/degree Plato oxygen per the "Handbook of Brewing", Priest and Stewart.  I have been running this identical oxygen set up for about 2 years now.  I run the wort into the carboy and adjusted the oxygen flow to hit my desired number, then immediately pull the Hach LDO out of the carboy.  Today for the first time I decided to leave the LDO in the carboy and take a few readings over the next couple hours. Initial reading upon filling the carboy 20+ppm O2. Did not pitch the yeast.  Over the next hour the oxygen saturation is down to 5.2!  No yeast, carboy sitting at 65 degrees in the refrigerator.  I was blown away how quickly the oxygen came out of solution. Pitched the yeast and thirty minutes later oxygen saturation of zero!

Appears to me that my in line oxygen set up is near worthless as most all the oxygen came quickly out of solution in the carboy. I always thought an in line oxygen system was the most efficient method.  I now suspect any other delivery system would suffer this same problem. Perhaps a better way is to rack to the carboy and run a very slow, continuous oxygen flow via airstone into the carboy for the first 24 hours?

All Grain Brewing / calcium carry over to kettle question
« on: March 04, 2013, 08:00:59 PM »
The numbers I find quoted are 25% - 35% calcium carry over from mash tun to kettle.
I have assumed the spread may perhaps be related to some brewers using calcium additions to sparge water -> maybe.
I have also seen quoted that probrewers like to use 2/3 calcium in the mash and 1/3 calcium in the kettle.
How much all this is true I don't know but these numers seem to come up most frequently in my research.

So I have been shooting for 100ppm calcium using both calcium chloride and calcium sulfate at various ratios depending if it's a malt forward beer or a hop forward beer.
Mash tun 100ppm calcium
Sparge water 100ppm calcium
That means my kettle carry over is down to 25 - 35 ppm calcium.
Seems to me I would top off my kettle with 65 - 75ppm calcium to hit the 100 ppm mark.
That's a 57:43 ratio vs recommended 67:33 ratio - but close enough I believe.

Is this a reasonable conclusion?

Ingredients / Belgian Champagne Beer (Deus) spice recommendations
« on: December 15, 2012, 11:25:37 AM »
I am finally going to make a Deus clone using Drew Beechums / Maltose Falcons recipe and directions.  The Deus spice recommendations are lavender, cinnamon, allspice and ginger in the bottling sugar solution.  However, he makes no quantity suggestions for each of these spices.  Anyone done this recipe and have suggestions on the amount of each spice to use?

I am suprised I can't find a small, cheap, good quality glycol chiller out there.
Was thinking of running glycol chiller in my Therminator instead of tap water with required ice bath pre-chiller to hit appropriate temperature. Tired of the pre-chiller mess and water hoses.
I have no great desire to build one from a refrigerated air conditioner/ice chest.

Ingredients / Pumpkin powder?
« on: November 02, 2012, 10:18:17 PM »
I just stumbled onto this pumpkin powder.

I am thinking about trying this in the mash for my next pumpkin beer.
Anyone try this?
Any thoughts?
Perhaps save this till the end of the mash, sprinkle on top, then sparge?
Consistency of flour so might need rice hull addition....

Wood/Casks / How can I humidify a barrel closet?
« on: April 02, 2012, 04:00:16 PM »
So I finally figured out my barrels need to be at 60 degrees and 60% humidity.
See my prior post for this info.
I stack my barrels in a commercial refrigerator so temperature control is no problem.
Now I have been trying to figure out how to hold the humidity at 60%.
There are many ways to do this with spending big bucks.
I first looked at wine barrel humidifiers - $1000 plus. No good.
I then stumbled onto these cigar closet humidifiers.
This $150 Le Veil DCH-55 has a remote digital control panel.
Suppose to work up to 55 cubic foot closet.
Only holds 1/2 gallon of water in gel base.
Not sure this is enough without daily refill.
I live in the desert southwest, can you say dry?
Any thoughts / suggestions?

Going Pro / mash filtration technology systems?
« on: March 02, 2012, 05:25:13 PM »
Is there any other manufacturer of craft brewer mash filtration technology systems besides Meura and their Monsville system? I know the Alaskan Brewing Company is now using this system. Perhaps one or two other craft brewers in the USA. Of couse the really big brewers on their really big systems, but I am not interested in that massive scale.

I also heard a rumor that Paul Farnsworth is down south somewhere building a full custom mash filtration system - for some big name brewer I would venture a guess.  Rumor? Gossip? Straight out lie? Any insider info on this?

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