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Messages - dmtaylor

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All Grain Brewing / Re: Question about batch sparge timing
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:04:37 PM »
Of all the variables, crush is Numero Uno.  Time and temperature are the most forgiving and barely make a difference at all with respect to efficiency -- they each impact fermentability/attenuation far more than mash efficiency.  If you have efficiency concerns, start with the crush, then go to water and mash pH, and save the marginal effects of time and temperature for last.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Question about batch sparge timing
« on: July 22, 2015, 09:42:05 AM »
As a scientist (chemical engineer), here's how I think about it in layman's terms:

After the mash is done and you start the runnings, the sugars are already dissolved in the sweet wort (a scientist should think: "this is an aqueous solution").  The sugars both inside and outside of the grain materials are all dissolved and ready to flow.  There are no sugar crystals sitting around in the grain bed undissolved!

It might help to start with this visualization: Take a glass of water, add a couple grams of sugar to it, heat it up in the microwave for a minute, and stir to fully dissolve.  You now have a solution of slightly sweet sugar-water.  If you then pour that into a pitcher and add a whole bunch more water to it, diluting it down, how long do you think it takes for the solution to re-equilibrate?  Common sense might dictate, well, it's virtually instantaneous -- right?  True!!

When you add more water to an aqueous solution AND you stir it up well for a minute or two, all those sugars that were already dissolved will almost IMMEDIATELY reach equilibration with the additional water.  Wort is a little "viscous" (i.e., thick & syrupy), but it's really not all THAT viscous to where it would inhibit fast dissolution, like honey or molasses or corn syrup would.  It's just not that thick, never will be.

So, you don't need to waste 10 or 20 minutes or whatever waiting for things to happen.  Conversion is done.  Mash is done.  Sugars are all dissolved, both inside and outside of the grain materials.  They WANT to flow out of there and reach equilibrium.  If you stir things up, just a little bit, you're there.

Now, if you did a really crappy crush of your malts, I can see how waiting would matter.  So, don't do a really crappy job crushing your malts.  Problem solved.

I'm not trying to sound like an ass.  I'm trying to help explain real science in layman's terms, in the hopes that it will open the eyes of some who couldn't quite see it before in the same way.

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« on: July 22, 2015, 08:01:59 AM »
Single addition at 60.  I grow my own Hallertau and always have plenty of that on hand, so that's what I use, although Tettnang, Spalt, Saaz, Mt. Hood, Liberty, Perle, Sterling.... all those should work well with this single hop regimen.  I like the first four.  Haven't tried the others yet.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 22, 2015, 06:29:01 AM »
Oh come on, Dave. Calcium is virtually tasteless, not chalky or metallic.

Here's that expert advice I had been alluding to previously!  :)

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« on: July 22, 2015, 06:25:45 AM »
fermented with WLP029 advanced to the second round of NHC

*dmtaylor Likes this*


All Grain Brewing / Re: Question about batch sparge timing
« on: July 21, 2015, 09:26:08 PM »
There is no need to let it wait and soak for 10 minutes and then drain slowly. All you need to do is add all of your sparge water, stir, open up the valve, vorlauf, and let it flow as fast as you can. The idea of batch sparging is to simply get all of the sugars in suspension and drain them out quickly. Fly sparging is slowly rinsing the grains. You can definitely cut some time off your brew day. Also, why are you doing three runnings?


And I've never done an iodine test.  Don't bother.

And I usually only mash for 40-45 minutes.  And my beer usually turns out great.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Building body into a sour ale
« on: July 21, 2015, 09:23:00 PM »
So then drink it before they eat all the sugar!

Beer Recipes / Re: German Pilsner Recipe/Procedure Advice
« on: July 21, 2015, 09:17:38 PM »
Dude.... German pilsner is great.  I do have a few suggestions:

1) Skip the protein rest.  It doesn't help anything at all and will likely destroy body and head retention.  Not needed with 21st century malts.  Plus skipping it will make your mash schedule way simpler.  Also...

You don't need to do a decoction, but it really wouldn't hurt anything if you wanted to try it.  Just decoct from beta to alpha amylase, from 140 to 148 F or something like that.  Or throw in an acid rest at 100 F and then take that up to 148 F.  You could also decoct to mashout from 148 to 170 F.  But skip the protein rest at 122 F.

2) When gravity hits half of the OG (e.g., 1.060 turns to 1.030), then it's time to start the D rest.  No need for ramp up, just get it in the 60s and keep it there for 3 days.  You can keep the temperature up there even longer, for a week or longer if you want, with no ill effects.  It just helps the yeast finish the job and clean up after themselves, which includes diacetyl, sulfur, acetaldehyde, or other "green beer" characteristics.

3) What's your water going to look like?  For this style, I would recommend jacking up both sulfate and chloride to enhance both bitterness and malt.  If you're not sure how much to use, start with a teaspoon of each and see how you like the result.  Otherwise you can use software to nail the salt additions appropriate for the style.

4) How much yeast you using?  Be sure to pitch a nice big starter.  Maybe 2.5 to 3 quarts or liters would suffice.  I wouldn't use any less than that.  Keep those yeasty beasts happy and you'll be rewarded.

5) Personal opinion: I don't think the late Hallertau additions will do as much for you as people think.  In my experience, Hallertau (and any noble hops) taste better the LONGER they are boiled, not shorter.  Others might not agree with me and that's fine.  If nothing else, consider the idea of using Hallertau and/or Perle for all your bittering, and skip the Magnum, if you want lots of noble hop flavor.  I promise you, the noble hop flavors come through loud and clear even with just a single 60-minute addition and no later "flavor" additions.  In theory this might be due to the lower alpha acid, which would require that you use a higher quantity of the hops to get the IBUs you want... and the noble flavor has no trouble hanging around for the entire boil and fermentation.  You can also think about it this way... for a thousand years, breweries never boiled hops for any less than 30 minutes, and more often it was for hours.  Late hopping is a 20th century concept.  You want to brew a traditional German lager?  Then brew as the Germans do.

My opinions, take them for what they're worth, maybe 3 cents.   ;D

Best of luck to you.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Building body into a sour ale
« on: July 21, 2015, 08:54:46 PM »
You could add 1/4 pound of lactose per 5 gallons just to take the edge off.  You'll just barely be able to tell any difference.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 21, 2015, 07:30:38 AM »
How much calcium has to be in the water before you can actually taste it?

I'll leave that question for the experts.  I'll profess to have only an intermediate knowledge level of water chemistry.  If I had to guess.... I don't know.... 150-200 ppm?  I'm probably way off and/or don't know what the hell I'm talking about.  Please accept my opinions on salts with... grains of salt.  ;)

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 21, 2015, 07:12:07 AM »
That should work!

All Grain Brewing / Re: Water for an Oktoberfest?
« on: July 21, 2015, 06:16:54 AM »
Ratio schmatio.  I don't believe in the ratio thing at all, and here's why:

Calcium tastes like rock or chalk, slightly metallic.

Sulfate tastes bitter to nasty bitter, depending how much is used, and thus enhances hop bitterness.

Chloride tastes like salt and enhances malt flavor just like it enhances flavor in foods.

Pick the characteristics you want, and use it, regardless of ratios.  In other words, if you don't care about bitterness, it's fine to skip the sulfate altogether, and not adhere to some arbitrary 50/50 or 90/10 ratio or whatever.  If you want to enhance malt flavor, use chloride.  If you want to enhance bitterness, use some sulfate.  If you want both, use both.  If you don't care, then don't worry, you'll still make great beer.

In my opinion, chloride is great in every beer style.  Sulfate is a good option mainly in either hoppy styles, or where you purposely want to jack up the minerally character and thus are forced to use something with more calcium in it, maybe even a little magnesium but go easy on that one, it's pretty nasty metallic.

I suppose I should also mention, sulfate and chloride can't be added all by themselves.  They're always attached to either a calcium or magnesium or sodium.  So then you need to pick which one of those you want as well.  For brewing purposes, calcium works great because it lowers mash pH and has a fairly benign or even beneficial flavor characteristic.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Building body into a sour ale
« on: July 20, 2015, 06:04:50 PM »
What is body? If you say viscosity, then I agree that co2 doesnt increase the actual thickness of the beer. If body is a feeling of viscocity in the mouth, then I disagree.

Ask a dozen BJCP'ers, you'll receive a dozen different answers.

To me, body is a feeling of viscosity, usually associated with dextrins and any unfermented sugars.  A heavy body is also the opposite of thinness and a very watery quality.  You can carbonate either one, but I would argue that carbonation affects the body more when there are a lot of dextrins and/or sugars.  When you highly carbonate a dextrinous beer, it makes it feel thinner but also more creamy.  When you highly carbonate a very thin, watery beer (or cider or anything else), I would argue that while it doesn't feel like it has any more or less body, the carbonation can disguise the fact that it's otherwise so thin and watery, and so the carbonation entertains the palate in a different manner than affecting the "body".

Understand those are my opinions and mine alone.  I don't care if anyone disagrees.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Late mash pH adjustment effects?
« on: July 20, 2015, 08:04:23 AM »
Everything will be just fine.  It appears to me you are overthinking this.  If your pH is anywhere from like 5.1 to 5.5, everything will be great.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Building body into a sour ale
« on: July 20, 2015, 07:55:50 AM »
I hate to sound like a jerk but I get more body from less carbonation.  However more carbonation can tickle and excite the palate.  For instance last night I drank a homemade cider that is uncarbonated, and it was just too bland, so I SodaStreamed (carbonated) a few ounces of water and blended it with my cider to tickle the tongue just a wee more.  This doesn't improve the body at all, but does make the flat cider more pleasurable to drink.

You could play with lactose additions, but I'd agree with the others that it's really not appropriate or expected for a sour beer style.

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