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Messages - dmtaylor

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All Grain Brewing / Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:32:44 AM »
1 ounce in 5 gallons is quite smoky.  2 ounces is very smoky.  More than that is absurd, tastes like friggin electrical fire and ashtray.  In the past I'd been known to sneak 0.25-0.50 oz in a Scottish ale to make its presence known without being obvious.  However, I know this is "wrong" and I don't do it anymore.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Sarfale US-05
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:29:58 AM »
I like it.  High attenuator, about 80-82% average with all-grain beers (I can't speak to extract beer).

All Grain Brewing / Re: APA malt bill advice
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:19:28 AM »
Crap, I didn’t mean for this to turn into a carapils debate.  Just wanted to see what people like for an APA malt bill.

Apologies.  Keep it simple.  APA is a simple beer.  I like American pale malt and a bit o' crystal, hops of your choice... and that's what you've got.  So brew it, and enjoy it.

All Grain Brewing / Re: APA malt bill advice
« on: April 04, 2018, 08:36:17 PM »
True, effects of everything depend on the amount.  I would keep it to a couple percent or so. But a flavor as subtle as carapils, in even larger amounts, probably wouldn't be distinguishable in the OP's APA (which may have been what you were getting at?)

Yeah, in my own obtuse way.  I'd either get it up to 5% or lose it, myself.

Or maybe try 50%.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Experiment tying some threads together
« on: April 04, 2018, 11:21:59 AM »
I usually get a very slight haze in all my beers.  I usually add a lot of calcium and my water source has a lot too.  I always carry over all my cold break into the fermenter.  I have never used Brewtan B.  I have used gelatin a few times with great success.  I don't know if any of this is helpful to you but there you have it regardless.  Cheers.

All Grain Brewing / Re: APA malt bill advice
« on: April 03, 2018, 08:14:30 PM »
Ask yourself why the carapils is on there.

You're funny.   ;D

Carapils is pretty worthless IMO.  It doesn't do what people think it does.  It's essentially equivalent to base malt.

Maybe add 2.5% biscuit or Victory malt instead.  That would be tasty.

You could even bump up the Crystal to 8% or something like that, and it wouldn't be overly sweet.

It will be delicious no matter what you do to it.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Getting the mash to 170 degrees
« on: April 03, 2018, 08:05:52 PM »
I can't seem to get a 155 degree mash (16 lbs. grain, 4.25 gals. water) to 170 degrees without adding a huge amount of water to mash out.  I added 2.5 gals. at 195 degrees and only got to 166 degrees.  I'm pushing the limits of my 11 gallon mash/lauter tun.  What am I doing wrong?

I've never gotten to 170 F either.  I typically use 190 F water or thereabouts, which only brings temperature to roughly 160-ish.  I think we should be using boiling water to get there.

If you're going to immediately runoff then bring up to a boil, then the mashout doesn't matter anyway.  Mashout is really only useful if/when we need to delay the boil for several hours or days later, which is rare.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Batch sparge volume and temp trouble
« on: April 03, 2018, 11:32:31 AM »
15 pounds of grain at 1.5 water to grain ratio + deadspace + grain absorption from the software gives me 26 quarts of strike water.

Sparge volume is correct.  It's the strike volume that's too high.  You should account for grain absorption but NOT deadspace in the strike calculation.  If you want a ratio of 1.5 qt/lb, I'd strike with just 22.5 qts for your 15 lb grain.  If you strike with 26 qts, you're a gallon high.

FYI -- my batch sparge water is usually about 190 F.  It doesn't hurt anything to go above 170 F because once it's all blended together, it will only hit about 160-165 F anyway.  Probably could/should use boiling water actually if a mashout is desired.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Bottling a Dark Strong
« on: April 02, 2018, 11:54:58 PM »
Plenty of yeast.  No worries.

All Grain Brewing / Re: pH?
« on: April 01, 2018, 11:39:42 AM »
My honest informed opinion:  If your beer tastes good, then don't go down the rabbit hole cuz it truly ain't worth it.  Seriously.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Commercial bottles
« on: March 31, 2018, 03:56:00 PM »
I was thinking about using 12 oz commercial beer bottles with standard caps for bottling my beer, are they safe to use?

After using commercial beer bottles more than 4000 times, I can definitely say: YES, they're fine.

Here's a couple more:

Carapils is worthless.  It doesn't do what anyone says it does.

There is no magic about corn sugar for priming either.  Use table sugar.  You already have some in your kitchen cupboard, it's cheap and it's effective.  (Keggers need not respond to this either, thanks.)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adjusting hop alpha acids
« on: March 29, 2018, 12:55:50 PM »
I've always read (someone confirm or correct this?) that we humans just can't distinguish a difference of +/- 5 IBU.  Therefore,  the upshot of this should be, keep your hops in the freezer, and for years you can just act like the alpha on the label is real. Tell Beersmith to RDWHAHB.

I've heard the detectability notches are anywhere from 2-5 IBUs apart.  Personally I believe the notches spread every 3 IBUs... but I haven't done lab analysis or blind tastings to prove this either.  Numbers like 2-3 IBUs have been thrown around in more recent years.  4-5 IBUs are the "older" numbers, if that means anything (heh... thinking back on homebrewers in 1993!).

But you're right.  A loss of a fraction of a percent of alpha over a year or two is not going to make a huge difference, assuming we store the hops cold and well sealed.  Conversely, if not stored well, then all bets are off.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adjusting hop alpha acids
« on: March 29, 2018, 10:44:45 AM »
Dave, two things:

(1) I don't think you _can_ really ignore beta.  It oxidizes to soluble form at essentially the same rate that alpha is lost, so it offsets alpha loss to a significant degree.  (This explains how landrace varieties were selected: they exhibit near 1:1 alpha:beta and so had _apparently_ better storage stability.)

(2) Why are we still awake and on this forum, man?

Yup and yup, I agree and I agree.

The IBU totally ignores alpha, so why shouldn't we.

I was up till 11pm and now here I am up for work at 5:44am.  Icky.  But at least I don't have to work tomorrow.  :)

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Adjusting hop alpha acids
« on: March 29, 2018, 04:12:31 AM »
Okay......... I've spent a couple more hours pondering the ancient Garetz article.

My thoughts:

The Garetz-Nickerson formulae are indeed based on Arrhenius as I mentioned previously, but they claim that degradation reaction rate doubles for every 15 C, not every 10 C as many other reactions do and that I mentioned before.  Okay.  I can accept that.

The data and equations were finalized in about 1993.  I believe hop harvest and storage technology has come a little ways since 1993.  As such, I propose that the Storage Factor SF from Table IV might be as low as 0.25, or for fun let's say it is 0.33, i.e., a little bit better than the 0.5 minimum possible back in 1993.

Digging a little deeper and pulling up some old Nickerson references, it appears both alpha and beta acid losses are accounted for here, not just alpha.  So, part of the loss I think is beta.  But for conservatism, we can ignore beta and assume it's all alpha that is lost.  Alright.

Now for average hops' sake, I won't assume every hop is as bad as Cascade for storability per Table I (Cascade was said to be determined to lose 50% alpha and beta at 68 F over 180 days).  Let's go with an average joe hop that loses an assumed 33% alpha (ignoring beta) after 180 days.  This is what Garetz calls "%Lost".

From %Lost, go to Table II (which I verified accurate), and you get a rate constant k of 0.00222 for 33% lost for average-joe hop.

Now, storage temperature..... I know I have my freezer set at exactly 5 F.  Others might have their hops stored in the refrigerator at say 35 F.  Let's see how that computes..... For 5 F, Table III (also verified accurate) says the Temperature Factor TF is 0.198.  And at 35 F, TF would be about 0.430.  Hmm.  Let's see what effect that has....

Pumping all the numbers into the bastardized Arrhenius equation, let's say for average-joe hop of initial 6.4% alpha, stored at 5 F or 35 F for 180 days, the maths look like this:

future alpha = 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.198*0.33*180) = 6.24% alpha (5 F) or
future alpha = 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.430*0.33*180) = 6.05% alpha (35 F)

So, whether stored in the fridge or in the freezer, I figure we've lost at most 0.35% alpha for average-joe hop after 6 months.

This all assumes a vacuum or nitrogen sealed pack, which I think most of us are doing these days.  If not, it would be beneficial.

The same hop back in 1993 might see a loss more towards... 6.4/exp(0.00222*0.430*0.5*180) = 5.87% alpha

which I'm saying would be due to hop growers back in the old days not doing as good a job of packaging hops early after harvest, and the less stellar packaging materials and methods compared to today.

What does all this mean?

To me it means that the freezer is still better than the fridge, but in either case, let's keep that oxygen out of there if we can, m-kay?  I haven't run a lot more numbers but you can see that if you are storing your hops as well as humanly possible, you're really NOT going to lose much alpha at all over time, and they'll keep for YEARS in either the fridge (pretty good) or freezer (awesome).

And there now you have the results of my geekiness to ponder for your enjoyment.  :)

EDIT: And I still don't know exactly what makes different hop varieties SO very different on Table I.  I don't really believe the variance can be so much, from 15% loss with one hop to 50% for another.  I'll bet those percentages are good to about a half a sig fig --  they seem pretty rough -- but I don't have the source data to know that for a fact either.

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