Author Topic: Bru'n water and cold steep  (Read 1366 times)

Offline morticaixavier

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Bru'n water and cold steep
« on: March 13, 2014, 03:05:43 PM »
I guess the title says it all.

I've got a stout up next on the schedule and I figured I'd give a try to cold steeping the roasted grains and adding the liqour to the kettle. If I use the 'black balanced' profile in bru'n water it asks for ~200 ppm bicarbonate. I assume that this serves not only to buffer the acidifying effects of the dark malts but also to lend a particular flavor profile in the end. but perhaps I'm wrong. I know for sure that if I put enough chalk or lime in to get that level my pH gets way to high.

so do I just skip the bicarbonate recommendation? do I add it to the kettle? I guess I could add both the steeping liqour and the bicarbonate to the sparge water.

Any advice?
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Offline denny

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 03:18:11 PM »
If you're going to add the steeping liquid to the kettle, why do you have to account for dark grains at all?  I'd guess the bicarb is to adjust pH becasue of the assumed dark malt on the mash.  When I do what you're doing, I simply pull the dark grains from the recipe, and use the water recommendations based on that.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2014, 03:48:28 PM »
If you're going to add the steeping liquid to the kettle, why do you have to account for dark grains at all?  I'd guess the bicarb is to adjust pH becasue of the assumed dark malt on the mash.  When I do what you're doing, I simply pull the dark grains from the recipe, and use the water recommendations based on that.

that's more or less what I'm thinking I was not sure however if there were other flavor contributions from the high bicarb levels I'd be missing. probably over thinking it.
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Offline denny

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2014, 04:08:37 PM »
If you're going to add the steeping liquid to the kettle, why do you have to account for dark grains at all?  I'd guess the bicarb is to adjust pH becasue of the assumed dark malt on the mash.  When I do what you're doing, I simply pull the dark grains from the recipe, and use the water recommendations based on that.

that's more or less what I'm thinking I was not sure however if there were other flavor contributions from the high bicarb levels I'd be missing. probably over thinking it.

I think you are...ya know how to find out?  DO IT and see what happens.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 04:08:50 PM »
won't the kettle pH and final beer pH be low if he doesn't do something to offset the lowering effect of the steeped liquid being added to kettle?  (assuming that it does - i don't know for sure).

just trying to play devil's advocate - I have zero experience doing this as i just mash my roasted grains.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 04:12:13 PM »
If you're going to add the steeping liquid to the kettle, why do you have to account for dark grains at all?  I'd guess the bicarb is to adjust pH becasue of the assumed dark malt on the mash.  When I do what you're doing, I simply pull the dark grains from the recipe, and use the water recommendations based on that.

that's more or less what I'm thinking I was not sure however if there were other flavor contributions from the high bicarb levels I'd be missing. probably over thinking it.

I think you are...ya know how to find out?  DO IT and see what happens.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2014, 04:32:56 PM »
If you have the purchased version of Br'un, there is a check box that helps with the calculation.


Yes, the dark steep addition into the kettle will lower the pH there. I have done both ways and for me it really comes down to astringency and grainy roasty flavors from the roast. The cold steep tastes smoother. I have not had bad results from the cold steep and the pH drop seems nominal. This also allows me to add far less pickling lime or baking soda (I use RO) in the mash, if required at all.


When using Br'un to match a profile, I tend to ignore the bicarbonate if I can achieve a reasonable mash pH and the flavor ions I desire.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 04:38:27 PM »
won't the kettle pH and final beer pH be low if he doesn't do something to offset the lowering effect of the steeped liquid being added to kettle?  (assuming that it does - i don't know for sure).

just trying to play devil's advocate - I have zero experience doing this as i just mash my roasted grains.

...will also depend on the chemistry of the water out of his tap. I do think that the final beer pH is a factor in the taste of the beer. There's a window of opportunity to reach that will result in better overall taste IMO. As you and many of us know, that will depend on variables including water chemistry, grain bill, etc..
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 05:40:41 PM »
If you have the purchased version of Br'un, there is a check box that helps with the calculation.


Yes, the dark steep addition into the kettle will lower the pH there. I have done both ways and for me it really comes down to astringency and grainy roasty flavors from the roast. The cold steep tastes smoother. I have not had bad results from the cold steep and the pH drop seems nominal. This also allows me to add far less pickling lime or baking soda (I use RO) in the mash, if required at all.


When using Br'un to match a profile, I tend to ignore the bicarbonate if I can achieve a reasonable mash pH and the flavor ions I desire.

ahh yes, the paid version ::) one of these days I swear I will get that.

I also use RO so I don't usually have to mess with lime or baking soda assuming I'm not using dark malts.
won't the kettle pH and final beer pH be low if he doesn't do something to offset the lowering effect of the steeped liquid being added to kettle?  (assuming that it does - i don't know for sure).

just trying to play devil's advocate - I have zero experience doing this as i just mash my roasted grains.

...will also depend on the chemistry of the water out of his tap. I do think that the final beer pH is a factor in the taste of the beer. There's a window of opportunity to reach that will result in better overall taste IMO. As you and many of us know, that will depend on variables including water chemistry, grain bill, etc..

as I said, I use RO but I was also thinking about that 5.5 pH recomendation for dark beers. is that a mash pH recomendation or a kettle pH?

anyway...


I think you are...ya know how to find out?  DO IT and see what happens.

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2014, 05:46:56 PM »
5.5 mash pH for me and dark beers.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 09:17:24 PM »
5.5 mash pH for me and dark beers.

yep.  once I started targeting 5.4-5.5 my stouts and porters finally dialed in.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 11:37:35 PM »
5.5 mash pH for me and dark beers.

yep.  once I started targeting 5.4-5.5 my stouts and porters finally dialed in.

right, but is that a good pH to have in the mash because it's not too high and it makes for a higher kettle and finished beer pH or because mashing at that pH makes for better flavor?
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Offline blatz

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 11:41:36 PM »
Not sure I follow.  The malt flavor was much better and the roast bite not intrusive when I went from targetingn 5.2 to 5.4-5.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2014, 11:45:58 PM »
5.5 mash pH for me and dark beers.

yep.  once I started targeting 5.4-5.5 my stouts and porters finally dialed in.

right, but is that a good pH to have in the mash because it's not too high and it makes for a higher kettle and finished beer pH or because mashing at that pH makes for better flavor?

IMO a better flavor. A dark roasty beer (to me) is just a better beer at ~ 5.4 to (especially)5.5 pH.  I feel that the roasted malt flavor in the beer gets more harsh and acrid as you go down from there in pH. Truthfully, I don't measure finished beer pH  - I feel that if I hit my target to the letter using Bru'nWater (and verify by measuring pH), that the finished beer pH will be as it should be. I used to cold steep, but I now mash all the malt, but aim for 5.5, and really am liking the results.
Jon H.

Offline blatz

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Re: Bru'n water and cold steep
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 12:05:43 AM »

yep.  once I started targeting 5.4-5.5 my I used to cold steep, but I now mash all the malt, but aim for 5.5, and really am liking the results.

Agreed - I occasionally add carafa III just before sparge if it's just for coloring, if I remember to, but otherwise I gave up cold steeping once I tested just raising the pH.
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