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Help With Salts For An Ag Choc Stout

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bevdawg

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Hi guys. Just about to make a choc stout with Melbourne water on my Braumeister.

After some basic advice on salt additions to make this tasty as can be. I don't have a PH meter or strips, so just looking for safe ballparks on additions based on the assumption that my tap water is standard for Melbourne etc?
 

seamad

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First up get a pH meter and stripes as really good idea if you are fiddling with salts.
I don't really want to use chalk so I do the dark grains seperately and add at end of boil so they don't lower the mash pH too much. Either cold steep overnight or 20-30 min @ @70 C.
Don't know melbourne water so wont give advice other than that.
cheers
sean
 

bevdawg

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Melb water is around 7ph, so thinking that the ph should not drop too much?
 

manticle

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My current take with dark beers (I'm in Melbourne and making a few stouts and porters currently) is to get all my pale, crystal and toasted malts and add salt additions to get the right amount of calcium .

For me that's around 4 grams of a calcium salt to the mash and another 4 to the kettle or sparge.

I don't add sulphates to dark beer so I just use calcium chloride for stouts (brewing one right now).

I also add about 1mL of phosphoric acid (actually undiluted starsan at the moment which is a bit inaccurate as I don't know what else is in there - I get my ph to where I want, measured with pH strips but I'd like to get some more pure forms of food grade acid and see if there's a difference.)

However the big caveat is that I cold steep my roasted grains overnight and add to the mash 10 minutes before mashout.

As the dark grains will drop pH siginificantly, if you were to add them all in together, you would not be wanting to add as much calcium chloride and therefore your calcium levels might be affected.

Calcium carbonate is the other possibility, as carbonate will raise pH and resist attempts by calcium etc to acidify it.

I'm not a fan of carbonates in beer which is why I go the long way around. You may like them so try both and see what you think.
 

seamad

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Water pH doesnt mean much, grains will effect pH, especially dark ones. If you mash with the dark grains you may need chalk to balance to keep mash pH @ 5.2, I prefer not to as above. Without some form of measuring pH you are just guessing and would probably be better off not adding anything until you can measure your mash pH ( thats just my opinion ).
Manticle sounds like he is working up a definitive guide to salts use, should be a good read.
cheers
sean
 

bevdawg

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OK thanks for the input guys... I don't think I'll get a Ph meter in the next day and I need to get this brew done ASAP as the window of opp is closing on me (house restumping)... My grains are already all mixed and crushed... so maybe my best bet is not adding any salts, as the dark grains will bring the ph down to a good level as is?

Grain Bill is:

2.9 jw pale
0.91 cara 3
0.68 munich
0.45 choc
0.23 roasted barley
 

manticle

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My personal take is don't start messing with water/mash until you can measure how and know why.

Nothing wrong with experimenting to learn the how and why though which seemingly contradicts the above - it doesn't if you go gently and don't expect each beer to be perfect (and combine it with reading).
 

seamad

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Not sure of mel water...... i'd mash all the pale with5g CaCl and steep the carafa3, choc and rb and add to end of boil, get smoother bitterness that way too
cheers
sean
 

bevdawg

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Cheers Manticle.

I was randomly adding in calcium to my earlier beers, then stopped for the last 6 or so, and I think the earlier ones tasted better, so figured I'd start again. But understand what you mean about not messing with it until I know more.

I just ordered a digi ph meter on ebay, so once that arrives, what will I be aiming to measure and achieve for ales, and dark ales/stouts?
 

manticle

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optimum pH is complicated because every enzyme involved has a different optimum pH (and temp and other stuff).

The enzymes most important to making beer are beta and alpha amylase so at typical mash temps, you might be looking at a range of pH 5 - 5.6 with 5.2 - 5.4 being optimum.

At room temp it will be a few 0.degree points higher so 5.4- 5.8 (roughly).

Acid and salt additions will always vary depending on beer recipe, water composition and desired profile so there's no easy addition.

Check this article out for some reasonably thorough simplification of water/mash adjustment when dealing with Melbourne water: http://www.melbournebrewers.org/images/sto...20treatment.pdf

There's so much info out there and there's a lot that seems to contradict. Add to that that brewing science (presumably most accurate) is often directed at making pale lagers, whereas homebrewing sources often miss the main points about the wheres and whyfores (eg replicating supposed water profiles rather than adjusting the mash for th beer being brewed).

I am writing an article at the moment that is at the point of 95% completion and I'm just getting a few knowledgeable perspectives on the overall and the details so hopefully soon I can point you in that direction.
 

bevdawg

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Thanks that article is great! Put's it in laymans terms!

So what I can guage from that article, based on Melbourne water, for a stout, I should be adding around 3.3g of calcium carbonate, and 3g of baking soda? Or do I have that totally wrong?

Also just looked at the product 5.2 ph stabilizer... has anyone used this? Seems like the perfect solution!? Simply add this and not worry about ph readings/levels?

Also I realise I still need the correct balances of salts etc to make a great beer, but this seems to take care of the ph?
 

sponge

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OK thanks for the input guys... I don't think I'll get a Ph meter in the next day and I need to get this brew done ASAP as the window of opp is closing on me (house restumping)... My grains are already all mixed and crushed... so maybe my best bet is not adding any salts, as the dark grains will bring the ph down to a good level as is?

Grain Bill is:

2.9 jw pale
0.91 cara 3
0.68 munich
0.45 choc
0.23 roasted barley
Just having a quick look at the recipe (and assuming those values are kg's), isnt 0.91, 0.45 and 0.23 a huge amount of dark/roasted malts for a beer? (~30%)

Not sure if that was a typo or if those were the actual values.

May be a smidgen OT, but I just thought I'd clear that up :D


Sponge
 

bevdawg

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Hey Sponge. Na that's correct! Going on a recipe from BYO Mag... and looking at some of the other Stout recipes in there many have similar dark/roasted malts... no idea if that's good or bad!
 

drsmurto

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OK thanks for the input guys... I don't think I'll get a Ph meter in the next day and I need to get this brew done ASAP as the window of opp is closing on me (house restumping)... My grains are already all mixed and crushed... so maybe my best bet is not adding any salts, as the dark grains will bring the ph down to a good level as is?

Grain Bill is:

2.9 jw pale
0.91 cara 3
0.68 munich
0.45 choc
0.23 roasted barley
18% caramunich is, in my opinion, way too much in any beer. Given you have the grains already mixed and crushed i would be mashing at 62-63 max to try and get as low an FG as you can to try and balance the cloying residual sweetness. And giving it a good whack of bitterness.

The level of choc and roasted looks fine to me.
 

mje1980

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For a smoother roasty flavour with less harshness, i always add dark malts in the last 15 minutes. Before doing this my dark beers were harshly bitter/astringent. I now make shitloads of dark beers haha. We have softish water here. My .02c and might not help. Manticle is a local, and very knowledgable, so his advice might be more appropriate for you down south.
 

bevdawg

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Hmm, should I do anything to try and compensate for the large amount of caramunich? I don't mind the beer being a bit sweet.

Hops were meant to be:

16gm Magnum @ 60
11gm Cascade @ 5

Should I increase these amounts?
 

drsmurto

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Hmm, should I do anything to try and compensate for the large amount of caramunich? I don't mind the beer being a bit sweet.

Hops were meant to be:

16gm Magnum @ 60
11gm Cascade @ 5

Should I increase these amounts?
What IBU and OG are you aiming for?
 

sponge

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I'd be looking at upping the IBU's to 35-40 to accomodate the cara although will most probably still be fairly sweet. Better to go for a BU:GU of around 0.6-0.7 as opposed to <0.5 as it is at the moment.

Also, try mashing fairly low as DrS pointed out to keep it as dry as possible, as there'll be a fair bit of residual sweetness.

And as mark suggested, try adding the roasted grains at the end of the mash, or even cold steeping them overnight and adding to the final 15min of the boil to try and give a less harsh bitterness as you're probably after from a choc stout.

Either way, let us know how it all goes, as im sure it'll be delicious none the less


Sponge
 

bevdawg

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I was thinking about mashing in at 52c, rest for 20 min, the up to a mash at 64c, mash out at 78c, and a 90min boil. Any suggestions for the mash schedule?
 

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