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Messages - MDixon

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Slowed down my sparge,and got a boost
« on: December 11, 2009, 05:25:14 AM »
In the "made you look" category, I checked and my unit can be outfitted for commercial use to go to 185F. Of course it has some kind of limit for home use which caused it to top out at 140F.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Slowed down my sparge,and got a boost
« on: December 10, 2009, 06:46:55 AM »
I personally prefer to heat cold (filtered) tap water to ensure getting water that I want to drink when it's been turned into beer - I don't like the idea of drinking hot water out of the water heater.

Instant hot water heater. Basically a ring heats the water as it flows. It's not like a tank of water waiting to be used.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Slowed down my sparge,and got a boost
« on: December 09, 2009, 01:03:57 PM »
You need to take a look at Kai Troester's groundbreaking work on "cold sparging".  He basically found that a lower sparge temp doesn't bot affect efficiency.

A retired homebrewer I know had the idea that if one mashed out and then sparged they could use water from their hot water heater. Of course that would certainly increase the viscosity somewhat being 135F or so as opposed to 170F. I long dreamed of using an instant hot water heater for the sparge, but the temps out of range. Since I now have one at home I may have to jack up the temp on that puppy to 140F and give it a whirl. If nothing else I might devise a method to fill the sparge kettle with 140F water. Going from 140F to 170F is a snap!

All Grain Brewing / Re: "Belgian" spice flavor wierdness
« on: December 09, 2009, 06:22:02 AM »
I vote hops or the yeast was something other than 1056.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« on: December 09, 2009, 06:20:35 AM »
Everything I've read and heard says that's the case,  my gut says on a micro level that reaction is occurring and improving the flavor of my beer.

Don't listen to the gut Fred, those things lie...  :D

It's Maillard Reactions which cause browning and that magical browning derives a myriad of aroma and flavor components AND color components such as melanoidins. Of course not all MR are magical, but most that happen in the brew kettle are!

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« on: December 08, 2009, 03:12:45 PM »
But when you are boiling only a gallon, the water will evaporate and then the caramelization begins at about 320F (not at 212F). Heck I can't even get my regular wort to boil at 212 (at a mile high it boils around 203F  ;) ).

As soon as you go above 212F (at sea level) the water is gone  ;)

Caramelization of the sugars begins at 230F for fructose and a standard grist wort is about 9.5% glucose & fructose so some wort sugars would begin to caramelize at 230F, but the majority above 300F.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Storing Grain?
« on: December 08, 2009, 07:20:23 AM »

do you think the pressure of vacuum sealing will be enough to prevent hatching?

I don't know if bugs need air to hatch, but it stands to reason that they would. Certainly their hatching is temp dependent, but I believe several conditions have to be right for them to come out. If one ever does have a hatching, they are some pretty ugly black bugs which emerge. My guess is insect larvae do not survive the malting process and are somehow introduced/cross-contaminated after the malt is kilned.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« on: December 08, 2009, 06:53:12 AM »
My money's on 212°F.  ;D

I'll take that action!

Thanks for posting the temps blues. I researched this long ago when Randy Mosher pointed it out to me. All we see in the boil is darkening which can lead to caramel flavors, but it is not caramelization, it is maillard reactions until the water is gone.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Kettle Caramelization for a Wee Heavy
« on: December 07, 2009, 06:10:37 PM »
Let's be somewhat clear, until you boil off the water the temp is not high enough to caramelize the sugars. So darkening occurs (maillard reactions), but not caramelization...

I like to boil my first runnings down to soft ball candy stage...

All Grain Brewing / Re: Slowed down my sparge,and got a boost
« on: December 07, 2009, 08:07:13 AM »
Maybe one of you two can put something up on this here interweb thingy that can help new people not be intimidated by the whole "you must keep an inch of water on top of the grain bed wile not allowing the drain to channel" Sure that sentence makes sense to people that have brew a few all-grain batches, but when you have never done a mash it seems complicated and confusing :D

It's been up since 2002 - see Setup and Mashing Techniques off my page  ;)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Storing Grain?
« on: December 07, 2009, 08:03:46 AM »

Where are you getting your grain?! I've never seen any bugs or larvae in mine. Is it really that common?

Yes it is that common. Pretty much all grain has bug larvae in it. The question is whether or not the conditions will cause them to hatch. It's rare that they will hatch, but when they do you certainly know it. I knew one brewery that got in sacks and within a few days they all went buggy. I believe they returned them to the maltster. In the old texts it talks about opening the doors where the malt is stored during the winter to control pests.

All Grain Brewing / Re: RA over SRM simulation
« on: December 06, 2009, 10:52:48 AM »
Your residual alkalinity is just ~60 ppm which is still ok for light beers. Do you have a mash pH reading for an all pilsner malt mash?

I'll assume this was headed my way. The answer is no. I have never performed an all Pilsner malt. I did perform an all pale malt a couple of times back in the day (read as 8+ years ago) and the pH was 5.4 IIRC (might be able to find the post somewhere in the RCB archives, but it didn't pop up this morning). Ever since then I've never worried about the pH of the mash since it fell into line with a 100% pale malt grist. I've known others in our club who check it every time, but never adjust, so I figure why bother.  ;)

Beer Travel / Re: Where to go in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Cologne?
« on: December 05, 2009, 05:37:39 AM »
You might find this useful for Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp.

Of course in Bruges you need to hit up the normal suspects:
De Garre
Brugs Beertje

If you want to have a spooky good time, take a train into Ghent and go to Velootje. Keep in mind he only opens when he wants to.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Slowed down my sparge,and got a boost
« on: December 05, 2009, 05:26:58 AM »
Bo - 50 to 58 IS pretty significant. Of course consistency matters more than efficiency, but let's say that 12 gallon batch was 22 lb of grain for your normal 1.050. That would be ~75% efficiency. Move it up to 1.058 and you now are ~87%. I'd call a 12% increase substantial!

I've never found a really long sparge to be useful. My MO is kinda a batch sparge saddled onto a fly. After mashout and vorlauf I runoff the tun till I see the grainbed, then I slow the flow slightly and start fly sparging. Generally I add water at mashout and probably remove 1/3 of the boil volume with the initial draining of the tun.

stout - I haven't made a really big beer in quite some time but my notes show a 70% efficiency on a 1.125 Scottish 140/- and 65%+ on a 1.102 Bigfoot Clone. You may want to crush finer, 44% and 55% sound really low.
FWIW - I got 64% on a no-sparge (single draining of the tun) 1.054 ESB.

All Grain Brewing / Re: RA over SRM simulation
« on: December 04, 2009, 04:08:11 PM »
Sorry but you're using the nomograph incorrectly. Once you determine your RA you draw a line vertically from that point through the color band. Your RA corresponds to a beer color of about 6-10 SRM.

Don't be sorry  ;)

Good point. I didn't make the diagram and so it never dawned on me what you just pointed out. The problem is our water easily makes 2 SRM brews so the RA still falls apart, but not as dramatically as I had been led to believe.

Someone asked what our water profile was. That is a good question. The last time I used any data was 2-3 years ago and another member provided the info. I thought someone posted some recent results, lemme see what I can dig up.

Here's some data:

For the city water (most of us) it looks like for 2009 avg:
pH = 8.4
Total Alkalinity, mg/l as CaCO3 = 30.4
Total Hardness, mg/l as CaCO3 = 28
Iron, mg/l = 0.03
Manganese, mg/l = 0.01
Chloride, mg/l = 12.4
Nitrate, mg/l as N = 0.10
Ammonia, mg/l as N = 0.39

Here is a well sample from our area:
Na = 20
K = 2
Ca = 28
Mg = 3
Total Hardness, CaCO3 = 83
Nitrate = 0.8
Sulfate = 3
Chloride = 6
Carbonate = <1
Bicarbonate = 101
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 = 83

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