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Old 02-13-2013, 12:18 PM   #21
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You have about half again as much dark stuff in there as the recipe in the monograph so you can expect the pH to be lower - perhaps 5.4 but you should still be OK. That is, of course, given that your black malt/barley aren't unusually acidic. Your pH meter will tell you that. It is always a good idea to do a test mash before brewing a recipe using dark grains for the first time.

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Old 02-13-2013, 01:09 PM   #22
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You have about half again as much dark stuff in there as the recipe in the monograph so you can expect the pH to be lower - perhaps 5.4 but you should still be OK. That is, of course, given that your black malt/barley aren't unusually acidic. Your pH meter will tell you that. It is always a good idea to do a test mash before brewing a recipe using dark grains for the first time.
Yea I played around with it a little by taking out some of the roast/black barley out but I start loosing that nice rich black color. Would you suggest just taking out or lowering the chocolate? How much of a difference would scrapping the 12oz. really make? If I lower the roast/black malts but lock in a good water profile and pH is spot on, could that make up for taking out some grain by contributing to color and taste? Or just leave what I got, go with a pH of 5.4 and see what happens?
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:01 PM   #23
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It's hard to say because I didn't use materials identical to those you have in hand. Taking out some of the black stuff will obviously raise pH and reduce color but it's hard to predict. In lab experiments I found 10% roast barley gave me mash pH of about 5.55 and 30% 5.19 so shifting around a few percent shouldn't make that much difference. WRT color I have found that 10% roast barley gives me colors that varied from 64 to over 80 for different batches. That's plenty 'black' as far as I'm concerned.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:08 PM   #24
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It's hard to say because I didn't use materials identical to those you have in hand. Taking out some of the black stuff will obviously raise pH and reduce color but it's hard to predict. In lab experiments I found 10% roast barley gave me mash pH of about 5.55 and 30% 5.19 so shifting around a few percent shouldn't make that much difference. WRT color I have found that 10% roast barley gives me colors that varied from 64 to over 80 for different batches. That's plenty 'black' as far as I'm concerned.
Sounds good. I think I may just brew a batch this weekend and see how it goes. I will shoot for pH 5.4. Another thing I wanted mention was that after reading about your thoughts on "chalk" I did not use any of that in the water profile, I used real small amounts of pickling lime, gypsum, ca chl, Epsom.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:37 PM   #25
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It's hard to say because I didn't use materials identical to those you have in hand. Taking out some of the black stuff will obviously raise pH and reduce color but it's hard to predict. In lab experiments I found 10% roast barley gave me mash pH of about 5.55 and 30% 5.19 so shifting around a few percent shouldn't make that much difference. WRT color I have found that 10% roast barley gives me colors that varied from 64 to over 80 for different batches. That's plenty 'black' as far as I'm concerned.
I thought there was a visual threshold that is a lot higher than that anyhow. I don't remember it off hand and and my googlefoo is weak today.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:45 PM   #26
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All in all...I am still not understanding if you take for instance Bru'n Water "Black Balanced" and fall within all the "Target Water Adjustments" by using the different salts why that is not considered to be perfect for brewing the style you are wanting to brew using 100% RO water. This is of course done only if you don't care about what the Hardness, Alkalinity, RA, and Ratio turns out to be after you plug the numbers in. I would think that as long as you get within reason of what the targets suggest and your pH is spot on then go for it...but now there is talk about keeping Alkalinity around 50-80...its impossible to get that low and keep your Bicarbonates in check along with pH wanting to be in the 5.5 range. Unless I am completely missing something. Again, if I play around with the numbers this is what I get if I stay within the guidelines of the Target profile. It comes out to be close to the London profile on the charts..and I get 5.5 for pH but on the other hand...Alkalinity is well above 50-80...my head is going to explode...

Ca - 65
Mag - 9
Sodium - 8
Sulfate - 47
Chloride - 35
Bicarbonate - 142

Hardness - 197
Alkalinity - 118
RA - 66
Ratio - 1.35
pH - 5.5
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:03 PM   #27
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I thought there was a visual threshold that is a lot higher than that anyhow. I don't remember it off hand and and my googlefoo is weak today.
There is no such thing as black beer. It always lets a little light through. Black beers, such as stouts, are actually red as you can demonstrate to yourself by shining a flashlight through some. If you have to get down to 1/2" in the bottom of the glass before you see any light coming through then you have a pretty dark beer.

What looks black in a glass depends on several things such as the size of the glass, the nature of the light, whether it is backlight and so on. Generally speaking I guess I'd call anything more deeply colored than 30 SRM or so black.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:11 PM   #28
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There is no such thing as black beer. It always lets a little light through. Black beers, such as stouts, are actually red as you can demonstrate to yourself by shining a flashlight through some. If you have to get down to 1/2" in the bottom of the glass before you see any light coming through then you have a pretty dark beer.

What looks black in a glass depends on several things such as the size of the glass, the nature of the light, whether it is backlight and so on. Generally speaking I guess I'd call anything more deeply colored than 30 SRM or so black.
30 is the number my memory had queued up but I didn't want to throw it out there since I couldn't find a reference. Everyone is allowed to have their own criteria but throwing in more black barley just to drive the color lower probably isn't worth the flavor shift at some point.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:20 PM   #29
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I would think that as long as you get within reason of what the targets suggest and your pH is spot on then go for it...but now there is talk about keeping Alkalinity around 50-80...its impossible to get that low and keep your Bicarbonates in check along with pH wanting to be in the 5.5 range. Unless I am completely missing something.
It is entirely possible to hit pH 5.5 with no alkalinity whatsoever. I do it every time I brew lighter beers. It is also quite possible to hit pH 5.5 with alkalinity of 80 in a stout with 10% roast barley. I do it every time I brew stout. I think you are putting too much faith in spreadsheets and calculators. They provide valuable guidance for someone wishing to brew a particular style of beer for the first time but they are based on a model as to how Maris Otter behaves and have assumed characteristics for roast barley built in and etc. If you use a roast barley that has twice the acidity of the roast barley that the model builder used then you will get a very different result than what the spreadsheet tells you. This is why you ask around for hard data. I'm giving you hard data. But if you brew using a roast barley that is half as acidic as the one I use you are going to get a different result from the one I got. So you have to make your best guess and brew. Then you have really good data: your own and you can use that to guide you in the future.

All you have to do to brew a decent Irish stout from RO water is add a tsp of calcium chloride to each 5 gal or if you want some hop punch, half a tsp of calcium chloride and half a tsp. of calcium sulfate. You should, of course, check mash pH and if it comes out at 5.1 add some bicarbonate next time. But it isn't likely to come out at 5.1. But if it come out at 5.4 you can stop obsessing on alkalinity and concentrate on the amounts of calcium chloride and gypsum because it is quite probable that you will find some schedule for those other than half a tsp of each that gives you a beer you like better.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:22 PM   #30
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It is entirely possible to hit pH 5.5 with no alkalinity whatsoever. I do it every time I brew lighter beers. It is also quite possible to hit pH 5.5 with alkalinity of 80 in a stout with 10% roast barley. I do it every time I brew stout. I think you are putting too much faith in spreadsheets and calculators. They provide valuable guidance for someone wishing to brew a particular style of beer for the first time but they are based on a model as to how Maris Otter behaves and have assumed characteristics for roast barley built in and etc. If you use a roast barley that has twice the acidity of the roast barley that the model builder used then you will get a very different result than what the spreadsheet tells you. This is why you ask around for hard data. I'm giving you hard data. But if you brew using a roast barley that is half as acidic as the one I use you are going to get a different result from the one I got. So you have to make your best guess and brew. Then you have really good data: your own and you can use that to guide you in the future.

All you have to do to brew a decent Irish stout from RO water is add a tsp of calcium chloride to each 5 gal or if you want some hop punch, half a tsp of calcium chloride and half a tsp. of calcium sulfate. You should, of course, check mash pH and if it comes out at 5.1 add some bicarbonate next time. But it isn't likely to come out at 5.1. But if it come out at 5.4 you can stop obsessing on alkalinity and concentrate on the amounts of calcium chloride and gypsum because it is quite probable that you will find some schedule for those other than half a tsp of each that gives you a beer you like better.
I tried using that method of just adding a tsp of either and it seemed even with the right pH the beer tasted great out of the fermentor but when carbonated it lacked in taste, it was a bit dull/watered down and maybe even a little minerally. I thought maybe by playing around with pH and different salts it would help aid in this problem. I will try that last water profile with roughly 80 alkalinity and 40 RA and see how that turns out. Thanks again for all the support. I appreciate it more than you know.
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