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Old 10-02-2009, 04:09 PM   #11
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Thanks for doing this Bobby!

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Old 10-02-2009, 04:34 PM   #12
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Bobby,

Nice experiment. I like how you are controlling the mash environment of both mashes.

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Seriously though, I'm baffled. Could it really be sample A's in-range calcium level that boosted 10% efficiency?
I don't know either. My experiments have shown little to no impact of the Ca levels on efficiency if the mash pH is kept constant.

But you have a RA difference of about 50 ppm CaCO3 (3 dH) between the two batches. In my experience that translates to a pH difference of about 0.1. That can make a difference in mash performance if you are already on the fringes of the optimal mash pH range. Your strips would not have picked that up. Do you have first wort gravity numbers. Those would allow us to see the conversion efficiency w/o the blurring effects of lauter efficeincy. If you batch sparged, lauter efficiency was unlikely different between the two batches.

With all your enthusiasm about brewing experiments, you should seriously look into geting a pH meter.

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Old 10-02-2009, 04:58 PM   #13
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Kai, thanks. I'm already scoping them on Ebay and looking for the cheapest one with .1pH resolution and replaceable probe.

Unfortunately I didn't take preboil gravity but I also didn't sparge at all. It was a no sparge that I drained through a colander over a pot. I let both sit in the strainer for the same 5 minutes so I'm relatively sure the same amount of liquid drained out. I should have threw a sample from each mash on my refractometer but I was distracted.

I was a little disappointed with the resolution of my little scale for measuring .1 gram increments. I'm not 100% confident in my additions but I also didn't target any kind of extremes so the taste effect should be discernible.

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Old 10-02-2009, 05:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Kai, thanks. I'm already scoping them on Ebay and looking for the cheapest one with .1pH resolution and replaceable probe.


Go for one with 0.01 precision. 0.1 is a little low. I don’t know about your budget but I’m very happy with my SM101 which you can get for <$80 here (http://www.eseasongear.com/mismsmphmesm1.html). Add the storage, calibration solution and shipping and you can get everything for less than $100. If you don’t like that it doesn’t have ATC, read this: http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php...r_Buying_Guide

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Unfortunately I didn't take preboil gravity but I also didn't sparge at all. It was a no sparge that I drained through a colander over a pot. I let both sit in the strainer for the same 5 minutes so I'm relatively sure the same amount of liquid drained out. I should have threw a sample from each mash on my refractometer but I was distracted.
Given that you did a no-sparge, your efficiency should be indicative of the conversion efficiency and the higher RA water was 16% more efficient than the low RA water.

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I was a little disappointed with the resolution of my little scale for measuring .1 gram increments. I'm not 100% confident in my additions but I also didn't target any kind of extremes so the taste effect should be discernible.
I’m using a scale just like this one and am very pleased with it: http://cgi.ebay.com/100-x-0-01-GRAM-DIGITAL-JEWELRY-SCALE-Carat-0-001-Ounce_W0QQitemZ250504421426QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_D efaultDomain_0?hash=item3a533a2032&_trksid=p3286.c 0.m14

Look around if you can find a better price, I just picked the first link that looked like my scale.


I know, a lot of unsolicited advice in this post, but maybe it helps.

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Old 10-02-2009, 05:37 PM   #15
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Heh, I don't get pissed off when people offer more advice than I asked for (yes, I'm referring to another thread I've stayed out of recently).

My small scale has a capacity of 500grams with .1 gram resolution and I ended up with that one because my previous one wouldn't hold a 16oz plastic cup on the platform. The new one does so that's good for measuring whole hop additions. Ugh...where does it end ;-)

I guess the good news is that in normal batches, the salts additions are closer to the full gram increments.

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Old 10-02-2009, 05:58 PM   #16
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Bobby,

I use afromentioned scale for hops and salts and another 2000g/1g (max/precision) scale for malt. That works well for me. 0.1 g should be sufficienct for salts. When I measure them and am within 0.05 gramm (or even more) of the target, I leave it at that and don't waste time trying to hit it on the spot.

I'm suprised how easy it is to make a scale that precise. Otherwise I don't think you would be able to get them for that cheap.

Kai

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Old 10-02-2009, 09:02 PM   #17
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It is sort of tough to get a single scale that can do gram measurements for salt additions, and can andle hops and grain. The problem with a 500 gram scale is most of the small digital scales are based on load cells, and they are only rated to full accuracy at a certain percentage of full scale value (even though the cheaper ones don't tell you that) So lets say you are measuring 2 grams on a 500 gram scale, you are only exercising the load cell to 0.4% of it's capacity and are getting beyond it's useable sensitivity. Sort of like trying to measure less than a pound on a 200 lb bathroom scale.

I picked up a 50g jewelry scale off the bay pretty cheap that I tested to repeat in the 1-2 gm range with some precision weights at work. I then picked up another 20 gm scale with .001 g readability off the bay from china for pretty cheap as well. It also repeats very well in the 1-2 gm range but starts to become susceptible to air currents at that sensitivity. I definitely would hesitate to reccomend a scale with a full scale value of over 100g for measurements in the 1-2 gm range.

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Old 10-03-2009, 12:46 AM   #18
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I forgot I snapped a few pics:



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Old 10-11-2009, 02:24 AM   #19
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When I have needed to use really small amounts of brewing salts, I (fully) dissolve 10x what I need (they aren't that expensive) in a 100g of water and then just discard 90g of that solution. Hate to justify it to a Lab TA but, its probably close enough.

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Old 10-11-2009, 02:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
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When I have needed to use really small amounts of brewing salts, I (fully) dissolve 10x what I need (they aren't that expensive) in a 100g of water and then just discard 90g of that solution. Hate to justify it to a Lab TA but, its probably close enough.

What you can also make, are concentrated solutions of each salt (e.g 1%). You can then use either your large scale or even a measuring cup to dose them into your brewing water. It's best to start with mixing the brines first and add water until the desired volume is reached. But there are some salts, like chalk, that won't dissolve and you end up with a suspension that you'll have to even out every time you pour it.

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