HOMEBREW Digest #4926 Mon 02 January 2006

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  Dry yeast starter (David Edge)
  Water Analysis ("A.J deLange")
  Advanced yeast ranching ("Bill Kunka")
  Update re: Stuck fermentation vs. incomplete conversion ("Ian Watson")
  Re: Water Analysis and a Water Profile Question ("Martin Brungard")
  Re: Water Analyses ("Martin Brungard")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 08:45:45 +0000 From: David Edge <david.j.edge at ntlworld.com> Subject: Dry yeast starter One more data point. I noticed that the instructions on US56 say pitch straight into the wort (or rather sprinkle). This I did and fermentation proceeded apace. I have always rehydrated in the past, but it seems this step is (now) unnecessary. David Edge Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 13:23:55 +0000 From: "A.J deLange" <ajdel at cox.net> Subject: Water Analysis Stuart's water analysis is typical. Hardness is specified as the total only but the individual calcium and magnesium concentrations from which the hardnesses can be calculated are also there. Calcium hardness is 50 times the ionic concentration divided by 20 or 130 and magnesium hardness is 50 times the concentration divided by 12.15 i.e. 33 for a total of 166 which is close to, but not exactly equal to the total reported. This is typical and may be caused by roundoff error, separate tests, averaging of data or other causes. Using the calculated data gives a residual alkalinity of 88 which is high enough that some action will be required for many if not most beers. The simplest action is to incorporate some dark malts which you would want to do anyway for flavor. As sulfate and chloride are both so low you may also want to add the calcium salts of these anions. The extra calcium will lower mash pH while chloride will round the beer and sulfate intensify the hops. Using malt only should make this beer suitable for many ales and most lagers. Adding salts will add the Buton styles ales to the group and decarbonation (by heating) should allow you to do light lagers as well. Now the interesting thing about this water report is that a water chemist usually totals up all his anions and all his cations when he is finished. The numbers should be equal and so this is a simple quality control check on the analysis. The fact that this lab tells you that the analysis is unballanced by 0.7 mEq/L is like advertising that they do a lousy job! The other sample is indeed very soft and should indeed be suitable for light lagers or anything else where you want very soft water. A.J. Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 11:19:39 -0500 From: "Bill Kunka" <wkunka at vianet.ca> Subject: Advanced yeast ranching Hello all and Happy New Year! My question is do many (or any) of you out there use a magnetic stirring plate to boost cell counts in your starters? Also do any of you spend the time to count your pitching rates with a microscope and hemacytometer? If you do do this could you tell me where you purchased the hemacytometer? Thank-you B Kunka Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 19:12:57 -0500 From: "Ian Watson" <realtor at niagara.com> Subject: Update re: Stuck fermentation vs. incomplete conversion Hi again Thank you to all for the insightfull posts. Here is the info I should have included in the original post: The mash temp according to the temperature probe in the mashtun was 66 C or 150.8 F. The original SG was 1.048. and it is still hovering around the 1.018 mark. I took a sample and did another iodine test. Initially, there was no change, but after the sample sat for a few minutes, there appeared some wisps of mauve. The fermentation temp was normal. I think we might have mashed at too high a temperature, despite what the temperature probe said. I say this because before we mashed, as I was adding the liquor to the mashtun, the temperature on the meter said 70 C (158 F) but the probe in the mashtun said 60 C (140 F). So as we were adding in the crushed malts, we turned on the steam jackets to raise the "low" temperature, which I think was actually the right temperature, and therefore we mashed too high, if I am making sense. That would explain the "normal" OG and also the present SG. Let me know if my logic is correct. Thanks Ian Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 18:08:58 -0900 From: "Martin Brungard" <mabrungard at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Water Analysis and a Water Profile Question Stuart Lay asked what his water is best suited to brew. He mentioned that he commonly brews amber, red, and brown beers. Reviewing the water parameters that he included, the water is moderately hard with moderate alkalinity. The residual alkalinity (RA) works out to 88, which is just slightly high for pale beers. But the RA is well suited for the beers that Stuart mentioned he brews. No mash acidification for alkalinity reduction would be needed for those beers. His water could still make good pale beers if the water is further hardened with calcium to reduce the RA value. For black beers, Stuart may need to increase the mash water alkalinity with chalk or sodium bicarb in order to avoid lowering the mash pH too much. A good thing for his water is that the flavor ion concentrations are low, so he can add flavor ions as needed to suit his beer style. With respect to the alternate spring water source, its an extremely soft and low alkalinity water. I have to assume that the aquifer that the spring is located in is composed of igneous rock. That would explain the low mineralization. That water would be a good starting point for brewing water as long as it didn't have too much iron or manganese. If it tastes good, its good to brew with. This water would be well suited to pale beers, especially pilsners. Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 18:24:42 -0900 From: "Martin Brungard" <mabrungard at hotmail.com> Subject: Re: Water Analyses AJ had a number of good points regarding water testing in his recent post. I can reiterate the need for doing your own testing when your water company draws its water supply from a variety of sources. There are many companies that have substantial variation in water quality at times. Performing your own testing would be the only way you're going to know what your brewing with. I do have to caution readers on the use of test strips for hardness and alkalinity testing. I find that the reading that you obtain from those strips is too coarse for brewing use. The difference in reading steps that the strips show can be far greater than the actual variation in the water source quality. In other words, you wouldn't be able to see the difference with the strips. If your water company does have variable water quality, then you're better off buying the more analytical test kits from Hach or Lamotte. The Boiler Water quality kits are a good selection for a brewer's use. They include hardness and alkalinity testing capability. You're talking about a $100 +/- investment, but it will help you become a more consistent brewer when your water isn't. Martin Brungard Tallahassee, FL Return to table of contents
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