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Messages - redzim

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The Pub / strawberry beer from DFH
« on: June 30, 2011, 01:25:58 PM »

My apologies if this was already posted (I didn't see it anywhere today...)  

The animated GIFs are the coolest part... not sure I would like the beer but I'd sure like to try it....

EDIT: wondering what hops they use (if any) .... Sam doesn't mention it

Equipment and Software / Re: Finally bought a ph meter
« on: May 05, 2011, 01:05:16 PM »
Also just bought the Milwaukee MW102 and also got confirmation on the phone from a Milwaukee tech to NOT STORE PROBE IN DISTILLED WATER. He was pretty clear about it. He mentioned something about ions leaching from the probe into the distilled water and shortening the life of the probe. IMHO why risk ruining a $100 instrument when you can buy a couple years' worth of storage solution for $10. The Milwaukee tech guy told me that the Hanna brand calibration buffers and storage solution are fully compatible with Milwaukee meters, so that's what I bought.

All Grain Brewing / help me fix this water
« on: March 23, 2011, 11:35:34 AM »
A brewer friend in SW Pennsylvania got his Ward Labs report and came to me for help. He's been doing all-grain for a year with this water and complains of his pale beers being underwhelming. (I have not tasted any.) Being a neophyte brewing water chemist myself, I thought I would crowd-source some advice.

Here's the water (call it A): 97ppm Na, 5ppm Ca, 0ppm K, 0ppm Mg, 2ppm SO4-S, 35ppm Cl, 12ppm CO3, 181ppm HCO3, 169ppm Total Alkalinity as CaCO3. pH 8.6. 

He can get water from a second well a mile away (call it B) with a similar profile: 72ppm Na, 11ppm Ca, 2ppm K, 3ppm Mg, 1ppm SO4-S, 29ppm Cl, 9ppm CO3, 163ppm HCO3, 149ppm Total Alkalinity as CaCO3. pH 8.4.

This is so unlike my own water I'm not sure what to do with it, although at first glance the Na looks like a potential problem.  Any suggestions for him?  Dilution with RO or distilled, then a lot of additions based on Martin and Kai's spreadsheets would be how I would think to attack this, for pale beers.  Is there any beer style that this water is good for?



The bottom line here is to forget the acid malt in your case.  Its unneeded.  Recalculate the results with the acid malt deleted and brew it up.  Report back here with your mash pH results.  I'm expecting that both programs should be close to right.


Thanks Martin,

OK, so why does Kaiser recommend using acid malt here and also here   Am I mis-interpreting his instructions as to what it means to "build my own water..."   for example his Pilsner water has no akalinity and an RA of -47 but he still suggests adding Sauermalz... you are saying that is wrong???

Looks like I have a lot of brewing to do, to really understand this all. Not a bad thing, right?


Did you see Martin's recent note about the different levels of acid in the two brands of acid malt?

I did.... aren't both Kai's sheet and Martin's sheet are assuming the 3% acid malt? ...which is what I'm using (Weyermann)

Perhaps Martin Brungard and/or Kai are able to weigh in on this....

I've been using Kai's water sheet for my last couple beers (German Pils, Helles, a Maibock coming up next week) and with all the recent chatter on this board about Bru'n Water, thought I'd check it out as well.   And I'm having trouble getting the predicted pH to match up. As a test, I used Kai's "Pilsner Water" recipe which calls for 100ppm Gypsum, 85ppm Epsom, and 130ppm CaCl2 added into distilled water, and a grist of 98% Pils and 2% Acidulated. Both worksheets match up at this point, telling me to add the same amounts of the right salts, giving RA of -47, etc etc.

But it is in the next step that things go south. I loaded my basic pils parameters into both sheets: 17.64lbs pils malt, 0.36lbs acidulated, mash at 2qts/lbs (9 gallons strike water) and collect a total of 16 gals pre-boil, which is boiled to 11 gallons.   And somehow Kai's sheet is giving me predicted pH of 5.36 (which would be nice), and Martin's is saying 4.9, which is too low.   

Can anyone confirm something similar? Or are these sheets always going to differ in how they calculate pH from the SRM? Or am I doing something wrong?  I believe I have zeroed out all things like lactic acid additions in Martin's sheet but maybe I missed something.   Kai or Martin, I can email my working copies of your sheets to you if you want to check them out.

thanks, Red

Beer Recipes / Re: Edel Hell
« on: February 26, 2011, 09:28:56 AM »
I was able to brew this yesterday, during a surprise ice storm.  For some reason I got 93% efficiency into the kettle (I usually get high 80s and had adjusted Kai's recipe for that) so I ended up with OG of 1.058, a little higher than I would have liked but I'm sure it will work out.

About the hops: my Magnums are 10% AA right now, so I did 0.80oz in my 16gal (preboil) volume, rather than 0.43oz of 14% that Kai's recipe (scaled to my batch size) called for. This is a little hoppier than Kai's original, but still less than Jamil's Helles from BCS (last time I brewed that, I used 2.50oz of 4% Hallertauer as bittering in the same size batch).

I left the two later additions as Kai spec'ed - 0.43oz each, however I did not have Hallertau Tradition on hand, so I used regular Hallertau instead.

I'm looking forward to tasting this in about 2 months.


Yeast and Fermentation / technical details on a starter for 10gal lager
« on: February 19, 2011, 06:38:37 AM »
Happy Weekend All,

Need some advice from people who make starters for 10-12gal lagers.  I am well-informed on the basic practices of making starters, but my experience is limited to 5gal batches. Mostly I would do 1 Activator pack in a 3L or 4L starter on a stirplate, with good results. 

Lately I've been brewing some 10gal lagers using dry yeast, but want to try some liquid yeast strains too, in an effort to come closer to the lagers I'm trying to clone.

But it seems a little daunting: for a 11 gals of a 1.060 lager, using my stirplate, Mr Malty calls for a 6 liter starter using 3 Activator packs, or 4 liters using 4 packs, or 10 liters using 2 packs.... what do you guys usually do??? I have a 5L flask.. do you guys buy 4 activator packs (pretty pricey!) and make a 5L starter? or do you go with a 3 gallon carboy and make a 10L starter with 2 packs? or what... maybe two just separate starters, the same way I did it before?

Or what is the two-stage stepped-up starter I've heard about? Is that an option, and if so, what does it involve?


1)      Convoluted Counterflow Chiller, bought new in Sept 2008. Used regularly until April 2010, carefully cleaned with PBW after every use, in very good shape. Original price $155.00 from MoreBeer. Asking around $80-$100. (This item is now $189 from MoreBeer)

2)      March Pump 809HS with switched power cord, bought new Jan 2009. Used regularly until April 2010, carefully cleaned with PBW after every use, in good shape. Original price $140.99 from Northern Brewer. Asking around $80-$100.

3)      25ft Stainless Steel Immersion Chiller, 3/8” diameter, bought new Sept 2009, never used. Original price $53.95 from Midwest. Asking $20-$30.

I will pay ground shipping to continental USA. You can also pick them up if you are in the Hudson Valley area of New York. If anyone is interested PM me or post in this thread. Payment options are flexible and can be discussed.
I switched to a monster immersion chiller (50ft x ½”) with a pond pump pumping 33F water through it and get much better chill performance. After sitting on these items for almost year, it’s time to move them on.


All Grain Brewing / Re: when to check pH of mash
« on: January 27, 2011, 09:05:45 AM »
thanks everyone. seems like we've reached a consensus!  (kinda rare for the forum, I know....  ;)  )

I know you're making a joke but, in fact, one thing that seems to set this forum apart from lots of the other homebrew forums is that fact that consensus is often reached.  And the tone here just seems more civil even when consensus isn't reached.

+1 and amen to that

All Grain Brewing / Re: when to check pH of mash
« on: January 27, 2011, 06:59:00 AM »
thanks everyone. seems like we've reached a consensus!  (kinda rare for the forum, I know....  ;)  )

All Grain Brewing / when to check pH of mash
« on: January 26, 2011, 11:40:27 AM »
So I'm about to brew my first beer with modified water (75% distilled, 25% my own super-alkaline well water, and a bunch of salts, and also some acidulated malt). 

How soon after dough-in should I test the pH to see if I'm hitting what Kaiser's water spreadsheet says I should be hitting?  1 min? 5 min? 30 min?   Does it matter? 

I've checked my mash pH before, usually within 5mins of dough-in, but now I'll be mixing in salts and I'm wondering how long it takes for the pH to stabilize.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Pilsner brewing
« on: January 17, 2011, 02:26:39 PM »

You would modify all the water in this way.


I'm a little confused... I would add gypsum at 0.4g / gal to the mash tun when mashing in, that much I understand.  but then when batch sparging, would I again add 0.4g gypsum for every gallon of sparge water I use, and add that gypsum to my mash tun as well?  in other places I've seen people say they add those salts directly to the boil.... please advise.


All Grain Brewing / Re: Pilsner brewing
« on: January 16, 2011, 09:17:09 AM »
OK so for German Pils, mix my water 50/50 with distilled, at 0.5g gypsum per gallon, and mash and sparge with that water (or rather add that amount of gypsum to the mash.....)   Alternatively mash with my water with added gypsum, and sparge with distilled would be the same?? 

How would the additions change for a Bohemian Pils?

And I will certainly try a 3wk primary at 50F, I'm willing to wait for an improved product.....


All Grain Brewing / Re: Pilsner brewing
« on: January 14, 2011, 12:04:11 PM »
Last summer my Pilsner attempts were consistently too “sweet” and “bready”.  I might also be tasting diacetyl, but I did do diacetyl rests on these beers, and anyways I don’t really know what diacetyl really tastes like, when it comes down to it….  (is there some commercial beer that has diacetyl issues…. I’d buy some just to learn what it tastes like !)  I’ve narrowed it down to 3 things to improve on, and would love some suggestions… 

Start doing a fast ferment test for your lagers. The test itself won't fix anything but it gives you one vital piece of information -> the fermentability of your wort. If your beer seems too sweet, chances are that there are too many residual fermentable sugars left. I know from experience that getting the yeast to ferment those last sugars can take a while but you won't get a crisp tasting beer if the yeast doesn't go all the way.

 I actually did do your FFT procedure on some of my lagers last summer… definitely did it on a Helles that worked out nicely…   so I am confident that I am fermenting my beers all the way out
1)   Malt. I brewed both JZ’s “Myburger” (1.054 to 1.009) and BoPils (1.057 to 1.014) recipes last year with Crisp Euro Pils as the base malt, because that is what I can get cheap from my local brewpub.   Would paying almost twice as much for something like Weyermann make a huge difference?

I like Weyermann a lot,m but many of my recent beers have been brewed with Best Malz Pilsner and they are fine too. I don't have any direct comparison though.

2)   Yeast.

Is key. I have little experience with dry yeast. Judging by the name, 34/70 is the German brewing yeast. However, when I used the s34/70 strain the results were too sulfury for my taste. I have good success with WLP830, which I think is the W34/70 strain that is so widely used in German brewing. You'll need a large amount of healthy and young yeast. Anything not healthy enough and you'll have problems getting those last fermentable sugars (Maltotriose in most cases) fermented. In its last step I raise my yeast with constant aeration and try to brew within 2-3 days of the last propagation step being complete.

You want to be able to ferment the beer at 46-50 F. How long does your primary fermentation take now?

my Bo Pils was pitched at 50F, and stayed in primary at 50F for 11 days, then I raised temp quickly to 60F, left it for 48 hrs, then transferred to glass carboys and lagered at 33F for 5wks, then kegged and started drinking it after 10 days in the keg.

3)   Water. This is the  one I don’t really want to deal with, but will if I have to. I’ve never modded my water, and get good ales, stouts, as well as good amber and dark lagers. So I guess I may be on to something, I just don’t know how to fix it.  Here’s my water profile: pH 7.4.  Na 14ppm, K 1ppm, Ca 54ppm, Mg 9ppm, Total Hardness  173ppm, Chloride 25ppm, Carbonates <1ppm, Bicarbonates 166ppm, Total Alkalinity 136ppm.  From my limited research it seems this is not good Pilsner water… what can I do to fix it?

That water needs fixing when using mostly pilsner malt. I'd start with a 50/50 dilution with reverse osmosis or distilled water and  3% acid malt to the grist. Also add about 0.4g gypsum to each gallon of water and use a mash thickness of 2 qt/lb.

There are ways to reduce the bicarbonate in your water even further. One of them is to use all RO water and add salts and another one is to treat the water with slaked lime. But that may take you too far at this point.
Getting a Pilsner or Helles that matches up with German beers is one of the driving forces in my brewing. I can tell you it is not easy at all, but maybe those tips will get you a big step closer. In particular the fermentation is key. There don't seem to be enough differences between step mashing (145 to 160F for example) over a single infusion mash that you should not worry about that at this point.


I guess I still don’t know what the problems will be if I brew pils with my water, or to put it another way, do you think my water is the primary culprit in making the beer taste this way? (I still have a few bottles of the BoPils and the Helles from last summer, I can send them to you if you want to taste them) 

I think what I’m going to try is to switch to Weyermann or Best Malz, add the acidulated malt to the grain bill, mix 50/50 distilled water with my water and treat with gypsum, then see what I get… I’ll still stick with a dry yeast (I’ll try 34/70 instead of S-189 though)

So to that, I have a few more questions:

1.   When using 3% acidulated malt, does this replace an equal amount of the pils malt? Or is it in addition to the full amount of pils malt….

2.   Do I modify all my water with gypsum (mash and sparge) or just the water that will be used for mashing?  And do I add the gypsum to the water, or to the mash… (I already  mash at 2.0 qts/lbs)

3.   On some of these online water calculators, it seems like if I add the gypsum you recommend to a mix of 50/50 distilled water and my water, it bumps the sulfates up a lot too, is this a problem?

4.   Side question:  will this water also work for a Bitburger-style German Pils??

5.   And a final side issue: any hints on the diacetyl question… what beer (or what food product) tastes like diacetyl?


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