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Messages - redzim

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All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 15, 2011, 11:33:38 AM »
All semantics about "caramelization" aside (it seems obvious to me that a direct-fired kettle has a lot more capacity for darkening or even scorching/burning the wort than does a jacketed steam kettle - if this is not technically "caramelization", then fine...)

What do you BoPils experts think of this water recipe:
add 10ppm Gypsum and 140ppm CaCl2 to distilled water which will give me 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Ca, with zero Mg and Na. Should still hit pH 5.4 or so, with 1% or 2% acidulated malt in there.


All Grain Brewing / Re: fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 14, 2011, 04:01:27 PM »
Thanks for all the input. I guess I'll try the following water: add 10ppm Gypsum and 140ppm CaCl2 to distilled water which will give me 40ppm Ca, 5ppm sulfates, and 68ppm Ca, with zero Mg and Na. Should still hit pH 5.4 or so, with 1% or 2% acidulated malt in there. What does that sound like, Martin?

And it also sounds like I need to try a step or decoction mash.  I just did my first step mash with a Wit last week and it did not go super smoothly but I need to do it again I guess.  Any good articles or links on step mashing for beginners would be appreciated.

Thanks also for the tips on adding Munich or something to add color; I was just following Jamil's recipe....

Martin, regarding kettle caramelization: I boil in a round-bottom 30gal stainless jacked steam kettle, so my caramelization is zero (basically impossible to burn anything in there because it is heated by low pressure (12psi) steam.) And because the surface area is so huge (about 30" in diameter at the top) I lose a lot to evaporation, even with a gentle boil as you describe....  anyone else have experience with the sort of kettle? It is definitely different geometry than your standard cylindrical brew kettle or keggle.


All Grain Brewing / fix my Bohemian Pilsner
« on: August 13, 2011, 12:17:42 AM »
I am having trouble brewing a Bo Pils that tastes anything like a Pilsner Urquell. 

My darker lagers (Vienna Lagers, Oktoberfests, Schwarzbiers) have worked well, & taste close to what they should, and have placed (and won)  in some local contests. Even my most recent Helles (brewed to Kai’s Edel Hell recipe) was very nice and quite close to Hacker-Pschorr Munich Gold in a side-by-side tasting.

So I think my process is good for lagers in general, but obviously I’m missing something, because I can’t get a nice crisp Urquell-ish beer.  Urquell has way better hop aroma, flavor and bitterness. It just tastes like it has more “pop and zing”. Mine is a nice smooth lager but lacks the bite of the Urquell. Mine actually tastes pretty close to a canned Heineken, oddly enough.   Mine is also a lighter pale yellow compared to Urquell’s rich gold.  My buddies all love it (reminds them of Heineken, I guess ) but it disappoints me.

Here is my 10 gallon recipe: (scaled from Jamil’s book)

18.80 lbs Best Malz Pils
1.15 lbs Weyermann CaraPils
0.20 lbs Acidulated Malt (this is 1% of the total grain bill)

Single infusion mash at 155F for 90mins.  For mash and sparge, I used 100% distilled water with additions of gypsum, Epsom salts, and CaCl2 to get the following profile: 58ppm Ca, 8ppm Mg, 0ppm Na, 89ppm SO4, 63ppm Cl, RA of -47.

My mash pH was 5.2 to 5.3 (I was still figuring out my new Milwaukee meter but I am confident this is a decent reading). Collected 16gals to boil down to 11gals.

Did a 60min boil with Saaz additions at 60min (2.20oz), 30min (3.00oz), 10min (1.50oz) and flameout (1.50oz).  60min addition was 5.5% AA, the rest were 4.0% AA.  Hops were all pellets, tossed loose into the boil.

Used a huge immersion chiller to get all 11 gals of wort below 100F in 3.5mins. So I’m confident I shut down pretty much all DMS/SMM stuff (not sure I have all the acronyms correct) and captured that late hop flavor and aroma.  Entire batch chilled to 48F in 11mins.  OG of 1.059.  Possibly I boiled it down a little too hard here, 1.055 was what I was shooting for.

Pitched 22 grams of dry S-189 yeast into each 5 gal fermenter at 48F.  Fermentation was active within 28hrs (good airlock activity). Fermented at 48F-50F for 23 days. Then raised temp to 65F for 48hrs (a maturation or diacetyl rest), then crash cooled at 34F for 48hrs, then racked into kegs, and lagered under 10psi CO2 for 5wks, at 34F.   FG of 1.014.

One possible thing is that I was travelling between day 10 and day 23 of fermentation, and there was no visible airlock activity  when I got back, so it’s possible that the yeast was done prior to that, and that the maturation rest didn’t really do anything if the yeast was done…

Any obvious flaws in this thing?  Or subtle hints for next time?

Thanks (and sorry for the long post)

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 10, 2011, 11:45:11 AM »
Thanks Hubie.   I also don't have BCS in front of me right now but after a quick read of that BYO article, the recipe seems very close, if not identical, to the BCS recipe.  The background info in the article definitely fills in some gaps. 

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 07:02:32 PM »
 I like some spiciness, Hoegaarden is one of my fave hot weather beers, but I don't want to get it up into the Franziskaner-type super-fruity-clovey regions.

Wit yeast don't make clove flavors so you can easily ferment at 70-72 F to get a nice spice character. 

Nice to know...

Typically Belgian wits require a more complicated mash schedule due to the unmalted wheat and pilsener.

I will be using flaked wheat (and some flaked oats), not raw unmalted wheat, but I'll follow this mash schedule anyways.

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 05:30:46 PM »

I fermented pretty cool, and didn't do a ferulic acid rest.  I think I have plenty of spiciness, I wouldn't go with the warmer temp regime unless you really like the spicy character.

Just thought I'd inspire you to look forward to your result.

Oh I'm inspired all right!  What do you mean by pretty cool.... 60? 64?   I like some spiciness, Hoegaarden is one of my fave hot weather beers, but I don't want to get it up into the Franziskaner-type super-fruity-clovey regions.

And I am assuming that this is a "quick" beer, maybe 6-9 days in primary, crash the yeast out, and keg it, set-and-forget at 12psi for maybe 2 weeks, and then drink it?  At least that's what I'm hoping, so I can still drink it this summer.

All Grain Brewing / Re: first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 02:34:51 PM »
Thanks. What lag time do you see with 1st gen (dry packets) of the T-58? 

All Grain Brewing / first Witbier
« on: August 09, 2011, 12:17:09 PM »

Planning my first witbier tomorrow (all grain). Going to use Jamil's BCS recipe, at least as a starting point.  2 questions though:

1) fermentation temp.  he says to start at 68F and then slowly ramp to 72F for the last third of fermentation.  now I'm generally of the opinion that the ale ferm temps in BCS are a little high (for lagers he's good) ... often he specs 65-68 and I prefer to use 60 or 62 for APAs, ambers, IPAs, etc. But in this case, using T-58 dry belgian yeast, should I go with this high temp to get the esters going? or should I still shoot lower, maybe 64 or 65?  i've never used T-58 before so any help would be nice

2) mashing. most of Jamil's recipes just call for a single infusion mash which i'm comfortable with.  but for this belgian he says hold at 122F for 15 mins, then ramp up to 154F over 15min, then hold until "conversion is complete".  can I just do this by starting my mash (in a cooler chest of course) at 122F, and have it thick, like 1.25qts/lbs, and then after 15mins start adding boiling water a couple quarts at a time until I hit 154? I figure that will get me to about 2.0qts/lbs when I'm done.  and then how long should I hold at 154?   I do most single infusion mashes for 90mins and get 85% to 90% efficiency. so should I hold at 154F for 60mins, to get my 90min total?

thanks in advance

Equipment and Software / Re: Milwaukee pH meter issues
« on: July 29, 2011, 01:05:23 PM »
OK so you basically ignore the hourglass, and swirl a little until the reading stabilizes?   I'll try that....

Equipment and Software / Milwaukee pH meter issues
« on: July 26, 2011, 02:29:55 PM »
Anyone with a Milwaukee MW102 or similar, have you experienced the following, which I have on the 4 or 5 mashes I've used this meter for(bought it in the spring):

I calibrate it with 7.01 and 4.01 solutions, Hanna brand (recommended to me by a Milwaukee tech on the phone) then test my sample at around 75F. The little hourglass shows on the screen for a minute or two, then disappears. I take my reading (in the case of an Oktoberfest this morning, 5.25.)  However as I stand and watch the meter, the pH climbs to 5.49 over 2 or 3 minutes, then stabilizes.... but this increase from 5.25 to 5.49 was all with the hourglass off. What is my correct reading?  Same thing happened with a Schwarzbier mash a few weeks back; the hourglass went off and the meter read 5.50, but it climbed up to 5.61 before it finally stabilized.

I know this is a bit nit-picky perhaps, because all the numbers are in a good range for the mash (this meter has ATC, but I always cool my samples into the 70s anyways) but I like to know what is going on.  I called Milwaukee and the tech was frankly not very helpful.  He said he thought the reading was valid when the hourglass went away, but  also said some drift in readings is unavoidable.  I am not stirring or shaking the sample, which he said is apparently a no-no, and I store the probe in Hanna storage solution all the time.... 

Any help from blatz, denny, or kai, or anyone else, would be appreciated....


The Pub / strawberry beer from DFH
« on: June 30, 2011, 08:25:58 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, 08:05:16 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, 06:35:34 PM »
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)

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