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Old 12-07-2012, 11:54 PM   #11
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I thought calcium carbonate was a common mash addition for low alkalinity in the water when brewing dark, acidic beers? Ack! When should it be used, in the boil? But that wouldn't help with mash pH...

What to use in mash to raise alkalinity then?
You shouldn't use it at all- it's almost impossible to dissolve without extraneous measures. Some using baking soda, but it has a flavor impact, so pickling lime is one of the better choices. Of course, most people never need alkali added to a mash. Check out the brew science forum for water primers, and water information- that's a great place to pose this question!
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:42 AM   #12
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I thought calcium carbonate was a common mash addition for low alkalinity in the water when brewing dark, acidic beers? Ack! When should it be used, in the boil? But that wouldn't help with mash pH...

What to use in mash to raise alkalinity then?
After some research

"Another substance that can be used to increase the alkalinity of the brewing water and thus raise the mash pH is calcium hydroxide (pickling lime, slaked lime, CaOH). It dissolves in water more readily than chalk and doesn't show the limits that undissolved chalk has while it also adds calcium to the mash. The only drawback is that it is a caustic substance and needs to be handled with care. It is best added to the mash after dough-in."

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index...ash_pH_control

http://hbd.org/discus/messages/50162...tml?1297363947

http://www.homebrewersassociation.or...69110#msg69110
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:16 AM   #13
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Do you know what the alkalinity in your water is? If you tested the mash ph and it was "fine" then your probably looking at the wrong issue. Your recipe is using pilsner malt. Not exactly a huge mouthfeel base grain. Maybe a pound of carapils would make it more chewy or perhaps using pale malt instead?

Water boils at about 212*F. that would be a good time to check your thermometer.

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:36 AM   #14
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Do you know what the alkalinity in your water is? If you tested the mash ph and it was "fine" then your probably looking at the wrong issue. Your recipe is using pilsner malt. Not exactly a huge mouthfeel base grain. Maybe a pound of carapils would make it more chewy or perhaps using pale malt instead?

Water boils at about 212*F. that would be a good time to check your thermometer.
I didn't mean to imply that it hadn't been tested lately. I went with an icebath last time. Boiling water can be an inaccurate test because of that water's hardness and atmospheric variables.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/thermotest.html
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:35 PM   #15
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I think it could be in the yeast. 1 Mil cells per liter per degree Plato for ales and 1.5 for lagers. I would take your yeast (better to over pitch than under pitch) and add it to a sterile flask with wort to let it get to high Kreuzen. This could be done the night before you brew, then pitch that into your freshly brewed wort, I think you would get a superior product.

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:02 PM   #16
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I have a very watery porter (I followed the Bee Cave robust porter recipe), OG of 1.062, FG of 1.020 and I suspect I know why it tastes like I'm drinking plain water. I used some Pacman slurry from a RIS I brewed a few weeks earlier and may have overpitched, since I just eyeballed how much slurry. I fermented in my garage at 60 degrees to perhaps compensate for the too much yeast, and after pitching it blew off in a matter of hours. I brought into the house at 70 degrees on day 4 and swirled the carboy to try and rouse the yeast to get the FG down but I was too late. I am somewhat surprised that it doesn't taste very sweet even with a FG of 1.020.

Anyways, based on what I've read, I'm thinking the lack of flavor may be connected to the overpitching.

It's still somewhat young (5 weeks) and has only been in the keg for a week so I am hopeful that it might pick up some body and flavor in the next few weeks.

I've been AG brewing for a year, and recently started using RO water and following the primer sticky on the Brew Science page, but I'm not sure I like the results. I had my St. Louis water tested and the results came back poor which is why I bought the RO filter. But I may end up going back to the tap water since my last couple of brews seem to be average.

And last, there is a possibility my thermometer is out of wack, so I think I may bite the bullet and invest in a new one to check. As if I haven't spent enough on brewing equipment...

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Old 12-08-2012, 03:18 PM   #17
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Aside from the water, temperature, yeast and timing issues, which I have solved over the years by using RO water, good temp. control, familiar yeasts along with some calcium chloride and gypsum, taste is a complex issue. And to each his own.

A really good steak can be unseasoned and if cooked correctly wind up being fantastic.
Add some salt, cracked pepper, worchestershire sauce, garlic, a dab of butter at the finish
or any number of other adjuncts and you have a different animal.

Adding grains of different styles along with a few other things like Maltodexrin and the like will tend to fill in any "holes" in the flavor profile of your beer/ale.

A SMASH is a SMASH and fits nicely in many people's taste range. But the more complex (AS LONG AS YOIU DON'T GO NUTS) your recipe is, the less chance you have of flavor "holes".

I've used this analogy before:

A band like the Ramones makes fantastic music but it is a garage band.
Add horns and a half dozen other musicians to the mix and there usually (if well orchestrated) will be a wall of music that fills your senses to the max.

Ramones = Great. Just like many SMASH beers.
Bigger band = Great. Just like many beers with a more complex flavor profile.

OMO

bosco

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Old 12-08-2012, 06:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by tomhen View Post
I think it could be in the yeast. 1 Mil cells per liter per degree Plato for ales and 1.5 for lagers. I would take your yeast (better to over pitch than under pitch) and add it to a sterile flask with wort to let it get to high Kreuzen. This could be done the night before you brew, then pitch that into your freshly brewed wort, I think you would get a superior product.
I'm definitely going to switch to starters and recently purchased Zamil's Yeast Book to do some further research and because I genuinely just like to purchase brewing books haha.

My understanding with overpitching, like a brewer who pitches onto a full yeast slurry of a 5 gallon batch, is that attenuation might go too high. As opposed to underpitching, which can create extra esters, but also may attenuate less.

After reading everyone's responses I think I am going to invest in my own mill and see if I can use a coarser grind to get the product I'm looking for. I also believe that some further inquiry into the water quality and possibly into malo dextrin will be my next steps.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:36 PM   #19
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Alright, wow - this got hijacked a touch...a lack of details from my end can do that to a discussion though I suppose My intent was to avoid some of the specifics so we can have a more general discussion about mouthfeel/body and carbonation, as well as potential keg conditioning of a carbonated and cooled keg.

Two things before I throw the recipe up though - I had plenty of yeast and fermentation went smoothly (no blow overs, etc.), and someone above wrote they can ice bath cool their beer in 30 minutes?!? That is impressive by any law of thermodynamics!

Seems you must feed the internet beasts though, so here are the batch details!

Batch Size: 5.1 US gallons (Final, after cooling contraction)
OG: 1.062
FG: about 1.008
Boil time: 70 minutes

Grain Bill
10 lbs Pale 2-row (85.11%)
1 lb Crystal 40 (8.51%)
16 oz Chocolate Malt (2.13%)

Boil/Hops
2 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) at 15min
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) at 15min
1 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) at flameout
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) at flameout
1 oz Columbus (14.60 AA) for dryhop
1 oz Nugget (12.20 AA) for dryhop

Yeast: Safale US-05 - prepped in a flask the night before, 1 liter starter. Mix plate.

Mash: 60 minute mash at 154 degrees F
Mash Out: 166
Fly Sparge w/ 178 for about 30-40 min.
Fermentation: 1 week at 68 degrees F
Secondary: 10 days at 68, w/ hop addition
Cold crashed to 40, kegged, carbed to 2.4 volumes at serving temp (48).

So back to the question - what is the correlation between carbonation and mouthfeel, specifically in relation to this beer lets say.

Secondly - once you have cold crashed and kegged, I am raising the temp up slightly to serving temp. Will mouthfeel / body change over time while sitting at this temp, and can you condition a keg at cooled temperatures? Most info I have read about keg conditioning is that it is performed at cellar temps or maybe slightly higher (55 - 60) with regards to ales.

Thanks all! And it looks like a CaCO3 discussion is needed somewhere else!

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Old 12-09-2012, 02:03 PM   #20
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This looks like a nice simple recipe, and your brewing methods look great. I'd have you brew at my brewery any time. I'm assuming you hit your gravity? I sparge at 170 but I don't think that will effect mouthfeel. I would add up to 7% dextrin malt next time to add mouthfeel. I do that with my IPA and it has gotten a bronze at GABF for ESB (long story). As for your process it is spot on.
Cheers,
Tom

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