HOMEBREW Digest #4958 Wed 22 February 2006

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  FAN requirements for fermentation (Jeff Renner)
  Re: Water Analysis (Jeff Renner)
  online homebrew shops (Linda Owens)
  more nutrient and fusels (Matt)
  Re: Water Analysis (Calvin Perilloux)
  Thanks ("Rick Weber")
  another water report ("D. Clark")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 09:05:37 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jsrenner at umich.edu> Subject: FAN requirements for fermentation I'm confused. Steve Alexander tangentially wrote: > wine must carries ~100-150ppm of FAN and often > another ~20-40ppm of nitrogen in ions accessible to yeast. That's > not enough for wine fermentation And yet, it occurs! ;-) With no help from added FAN sources. And has for millennia. As a matter of fact, just try to keep grape juice from becoming wine. (A problem which lead to the development of pasteurized grape juice for "unfermented sacramental wine" by a 19th century New Jersey prohibitionist dentist and Methodist communion steward named Welch and which lead to an eponymous company and a whole industry - see http://tinyurl.com/f8k4h). What did you mean, Steve? Jeff - --- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, jsrennerATumichDOTedu "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 ***Please note new address*** Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 09:44:22 -0500 From: Jeff Renner <jsrenner at umich.edu> Subject: Re: Water Analysis Dan Jeska <dan at kzoolf.org> wrote from just up the road in Kalamazoo (one of the great American place names): > I got a sample of my well water tested by Ward Laboratories in > Nebraska, $15 for a household mineral test. ... > > Here's the well water analysis for the brewing water I use. <snip> > Total Alkalinity, CaCO3, 170 mg/L > Conductivity, 0.51 mmho/cm > pH, 7.9 > Total hardness, CaCO3, 9 mg/L > Calcium, Ca, 2 mg/L > Sulfate, SO4-S, 10 mg/L > Sodium, Na, 112 mg/L > Bicarbonate, HCO3, 208 mg/L > Chloride, Cl, 8 mg/L > Nitrate, NO3-N, 7.6 mg/L > Magnesium, Mg, <1 mg/L > Potassium, K, <1 mg/L > Carbonate, CO3, <1 mg/L Dan It is apparent that you supplied ion-exchanged softened water, which isn't really what you want to use for brewing. The evidence is the high bicarbonate and Na+, and low Ca++ and Mg++. The alkalinity and bicarbonate will have been unchanged by the softener. AJ DeLange recently posted about brewing with softened water in response to a (rare) question from Steve Alexander. See the discussion at http://brew.hbd.org/hbd/archive/4946.html. While you can brew with softened water, there isn't much point to it, especially in your case. You could no doubt work backwards and figure what your Ca++ and Mg++ are. Based on the fact that my well water, only 100 miles away, is about 2:1 Ca++ : Mg++, and that you replace one of either ion with two Na+. I would put them in the ballpark of 36 ppm Ca++ and 18 ppm Mg ++. Your original Na+ level is probably quite low unless you have road salt contamination. BTW, your nitrate level is indicative of some contamination, as the natural level would be zero. The EPA maximum is 10 ppm. See our Michigan tax dollars at work at http://www.gem.msu.edu/pubs/msue/ wq19p1.html I believe I'd spring for another $15 and have the unsoftened water tested, and then brew with it. I suspect that you'll need to add some Ca++ to get it over 50 ppm, and either brew with a little dark malt - even medium crystal might be enough, or boil and decant it or dilute with RO water to reduce the residual alkalinity. You can get RO water from Meijer for $0.29/gallon in your own container. Jeff - --- Jeff Renner in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA, jsrennerATumichDOTedu "One never knows, do one?" Fats Waller, American Musician, 1904-1943 ***Please note new address*** Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 09:49:07 -0600 From: Linda Owens <lkowens at uiuc.edu> Subject: online homebrew shops Rick Weber asked about online retailers (ebrew.com morebeer.com and beer-wine.com). I've had good experiences with ebrew.com and morebeer.com. I haven't ordered from beer-wine.com. I've also had good experiences with northernbrewer.com and kennywoodbrew.com Linda Champaign, IL Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 10:23:42 -0800 (PST) From: Matt <baumssl27 at yahoo.com> Subject: more nutrient and fusels Bob Tower writes "My question for Matt or anyone else knowledgeable in such matters is how does a brewer determine the level of amino acids in a given wort? What are acceptable levels?" (First, I am not terribly knowledgable, and merely reported what I read.) I don't know if there is a reasonable way for homebrewers to measure amino acid (or fusel) levels. Personally, I don't really want to anyway. If I make a fusely beer and I used a lot of nutrient, I will probably skip the nutrient on the next batch--but I'm not sure I'll take it much further than that. - -------- I stated my concern that adding nutrients that include FAN to our wort is likely to increase total fusel levels. Steve said "If your only choice is to add a mix of FAN to the fermenter at pitching then I agree" but also noted a bunch of caveats. As much as I don't want the main idea to get lost in a sea of less likely possibilities, some of them are interesting and/or might point to significant exceptions. First, there are many different AAs and many different fusels, so the situation is more complicated than I made it sound. The papers I have seen generally deal with what some authors claim to be the most important (or at least most prevalent) fusel/AA pairs, but it is possible that there are some AAs that are generally scarce in wort, and that these AAs correspond to noxious enough fusels that the nature of the problem is one of scarcity rather than excess. Since I haven't seen any data to support this so I'm still betting that addition of common yeast nutrient blends will be negative for fusels--and it sounds like this is something Steve agrees with as well. (By the way I'm not sure AA/fusel "pairs" is a correct way to describe it, and maybe that's the NEXT level of complexity, which I also think is unlikely to be significant in practice.) Steve: "You should look harder, Matt. There are many papers dating back to the 1960s which clearly show that adding an amino acid to a ferment almost completely halts the synthetic pathway for the corresponding fusel." I was saying I have seen no papers where addition of AAs to an all-malt or all-malt+adjunct test wort led to a decrease in *final fusel levels*. (Usually studies of certain AAs and their corresponding fusels) Are you saying that you have? If so, were the fusels significant? Adding FAN later in the ferment is an interesting idea, especially if one has a decent idea when the initial AAs are all used up. Steve: "If you want to brew a barleywine with 20% adjunct I think you'd be wise to read, and re-read the past two decades of articles on commercial hi-grav (15-16P) brewing and the tricks developed" Some of these papers are of course the papers I am talking about, including one where FAN addition to an adjunct wort led to a faster (but no more complete) ferment, with higher fusel levels. (Who knows how the two beers tasted.) Anyway, as I said, there has to be a balance. Too little FAN could lead to lots of problems, some of which are worse than excess fusels. Maybe some of those problems (osmotic pressure, etc) can be solved by other means (pitching, aeration) rather than fusel-increasing FAN additions. Matt Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 12:08:37 -0800 (PST) From: Calvin Perilloux <calvinperilloux at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Water Analysis I feel like I'm edging in on A.J Delange's territory here, but let's try another water analysis, this time from Dan Jeska of some unknown location. His significant ions/data from his water are these: Total Alkalinity, CaCO3, 170 mg/L Total hardness, CaCO3, 9 mg/L Calcium, Ca, 2 mg/L Sodium, Na, 112 mg/L Magnesium, Mg, <1 mg/L Bicarbonate, HCO3, 208 mg/L Sulfate, SO4-S, 10 mg/L Chloride, Cl, 8 mg/L Wow, that's low calcium! Dan, your water is almost as close to Pilsen as you could get -- except for the massive amount of baking soda you dropped in! ;-) The carbonate levels are pretty high, but what's really surprising is the high sodium level. This isn't coming out of a water softener, is it?? (Please say no, but it sure looks like it to me.) One thing I can say is that the analysis you posted looks a lot more ion-balanced to me than the previous one that Larry Kress put up (that said, I'm not an ion-balance expert by any means). Oh what to do about the carbonate... I can't tell you anything easy. With so little calcium in there already, even the boil+aerate/cool/decant process would precipitate practically no chalk. You should definitely consider adding calcium salts if you want to brew "hard water beers" like UK Pale Ale; just don't use calcium carbonate! -- and add a wee bit of magnesium as well (e.g. epsom salts), keeping in mind that it is said that lots of sulphate *and* sodium combined are a bad thing, so practice moderation. Dark beers will work lots better with your water than pale ones, and for soft Bohemian Pils water, you're probably best advised to use some hefty dilutions with distilled or RO (Reverse Osmosis) water, adding just a tiny dash of CaCl2 and MgSO4.. For those interested, John Palmer has some good basic info on water chemistry: http://www.howtobrew.com/section3/chapter15-1.html Calvin Perilloux Middletown, Maryland, USA Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 19:47:08 -0600 From: "Rick Weber" <rick.weber05 at gmail.com> Subject: Thanks Thank y'all for your advice on online stores. Morebeer.com is a sight I've been looking at a lot lately and it seems a lot of you have shopped from there with good results. Cheers! Rick - -- "Education: The ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or self confidence." - -- Robert Frost Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 21:04:43 -0500 From: "D. Clark" <clark at capital.net> Subject: another water report Hi list, Okay, I finally got my results back from Ward laboratories. I sent them 2 samples. The first was from my well which I knew was very hard, but also tastes just fine. The second was from a spring that feeds my brother's house. That water also tastes fine but it has always made great coffee, much better than my water. Here are the results: well water ph 7.6 sodium 124 potassium 4 calcium 114 magnesium 17 total hardness CaCO3 356 nitrate NO3-N 4.6 sulfate SO4-S 12 chloride 196 carbonate CO3 less than 1 bicarbonate HCO3 272 total alkalinity CaCO3 223 iron 0.02 total dissolved solids 720 and now the spring water: spring water ph 7.8 sodium 5 potassium less than 1 calcium 45 magnesium 7 total hardness CaCO3 142 nitrate NO3-N 0.7 sulfate SO4-S 5 chloride 1 carbonate CO3 less than 1 bicarbonate HCO3 130 total alkalinity CaCO3 107 iron 0.02 total dissolved solids 174 Mineral numbers are all ppm. It looks like my brother has fairly soft water. If I could get the hardness down a bit, I'll bet his water would make some very nice lagers. Mine on the other hand looks like a trainwreck. Stouts and porters are probably my best bet using it as is. What is my biggest problem here? I'm talking about the water now. Should I use my well water to mash and the spring water to sparge? Should I not use my well water at all? Would a blend of the two be of any advantage to me? Which one would you use? I have always wanted to know what I had in my water, but now that I know, I need some help in dealing with what I have. Any and all comments would be welcome. Thank you. Dave Clark Eagle Bridge, New York Return to table of contents
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