Process Improvements

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Nosybear, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Thought I'd share the next process improvements with you for comment:

    - Adding an activated charcoal filter (removable) to my water supply. Now that I have water in my basement and don't have to go to the outside hose bib for it, I'm getting an in-line filter, the kind RV owners use to filter the water going into their system. Our water is not excessively chlorinated but there are (1-2) ppm chloramine and 20-200 ppm chlorine. Explains the occasional faint hint of chlorophenols I get, not every time, but sometimes. I'm controlling for variance now - the process is consistent enough I get good results every time.

    - Acidifying sparge water to control occasional, slight astringency and cloudiness in my beers. Our water is normally about 7.8 pH but control of the process, where possible, makes for consistent beer. I'll acidify to 5.4-5.6, using the mash water calculator as my guide, again as control of variance in the water supply.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I do the carbon filtering and my starting ph is the same although you should do a batch and measure the ph of that mash before changing it because mine gets lowered to 5.3 on it own just from the grain, the only thing I change is the sparge water ph.

    I do know that here the water changes 2 or 3 times a year so I would have to test throughout the year to say that that is 100% correct, Ive only tested once or twice

    also Ive learned that changing the sparge water ph is only necessary if its actually soaked into the grain, if its just rinsing the grain , changing the ph is not even needed
     
  3. The Brew Mentor

    The Brew Mentor Well-Known Member

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    Look at your filter, most don't remove chloramines.
    Potassium Metabisulphate will get rid of those.
    When brewing small batches, it's easy to deal with water. When you brew larger batches, not so much.
    I use our city water, which starts out good, and treat it with KMS to remove the chlorine. Then adjust it from there.
    Good luck,
    Brian
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    oh I use the Potassium Campden Tablets (KMS) too just to be sure, forgot to mention that
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I've been testing some of the improvements over the last two nights: Brewed a very light smoked wheat beer (Grodziskie), lightly soured with lacto prior to the boil - no place for flaws to hide! I didn't have my filter so the improvements:

    - Treating all the mash liquor with calcium chloride.
    - Acidifying the sparge liquor.

    Lessons learned:

    - Don't trust the calculator when acidifying, particularly when you're doing a mash-out and batch sparge! Next time I'll add acid bit by bit and monitor the pH until I get below 5.4 for the sparge.
    - A sour starter works wonderfully to get a good lactobacillus culture going while killing off all the other bugs.

    Still out:

    - How much did acidifying the mash-out and sparge liquor reduce tannin extraction? May not be possible to determine given the smoked wheat malt.
    - How tart did 22 hours of souring using a lacto starter at 104° make the beer?
    - How much did the CaCl2 improve the mash (may never know)?

    I changed two things this batch but since they should produce independent results, I can evaluate the changes individually and see if either worked. Cheers!
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    getting the ph correct and all the chloramine and chlorine out will not just correct the taste but enable you to make the same beer twice without flaws, recoding exactly what you do with the correct equipment and ingredients and doing it over and over the same way like I know you do is how to become a better brewer :D
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Update on the calculator: Correcting for operator error, it worked to -0.1 ml of lactic acid calculating the sparge this weekend. The beer is very good, smoke and tartness go well together. It's one data point but I"d say the test went well.
     

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