Club News, Recipes, and Beer Information

This page is where you will find posts on upcoming club events, as well as interesting beer or brewing news. Manty Malter Members can post to this page and are encouraged to post their favorite recipes here as well to share with the homebrewing community.

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Join the Manty Malters at Stillmank Brewing Company on June 4th….

On June 4th, the Manty Malters homebrew club in Manitowoc will be visiting Stillmank brewing company in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Some members will be brewing, some will just be there to hang out and talk brewing. The tap room opens and 2pm. If you have any questions about homebrewing, the club, or just want to hang out. Everyone is more than welcome. Hope to see you all there!

Please Note: This is NOT a club only event and is open to the public.

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Some interesting excerpts from the Book Water: A comprehensive guide for Brewers- by Jason Johnson

As many of you know, I have been reading the book Water a Comprehensive Guide for Brewers and it is a book that has completely changed the way I look at water as a brewing ingredient. You know that we have been told that from the start to not worry so much about our water, you will make good beer as long as the water tastes fine and is free of contaminants (like chlorine). But after reading this book my feelings on this have completely changed. While all of us have brewed some great beers while ignoring water, or arbitrarily adding water salts and hoping for the best, I have to say that I feel a bit mislead by the importance of water in the brewing process. It’s more than just a medium to dissolve sugar or to heat up to a specific temperature to start enzymatic activity in our mash. The underplaying of water in the homebrew community is actually sad. Now, again I’m not saying that a person cannot make great beer without adjusting your water, but understanding your water profile and the effect of malt and water on the mash, and acidity helps greatly in figuring out why maybe your stouts and porters turn out so great but you don’t have the best success with getting that hoppy zip on a Bohemian Pilsner, or why your pale ales seem to lack the hop character you were shooting for, even though Beersmith shows you should basically have a hop bomb. I would like to share 3 excerpts from the book with you. Also, if you can’t tell, I think this is a book that anyone who is serious about brewing should at least read or borrow. Granted, some of it is just equations and so forth, but you can skim over the equations and still pick up the explanations of why it’s important to understand how these ratios of ions affect your beer.

This excerpt came from Chapter 6 on Controlling Alkalinity (this part is especially important for fly spargers). “Many brewers acidify their sparge water and/or mash water. At the beginning of the sparge, the mash pH should be at the target and the buggering conditions within the mash should be at full strength. As the sparging water rinses the bed, the sugars and buffers are rinsed away and the pH sifts towards the pH of the sparging water. IF the sparging water is alkaline, the mash pH will rise, and the extraction of tannins, silicates, and ash from the malt husks is more likely as it approaches a pH of 5.8. These compounds can ruin the taste of an otherwise well-brewed beer. The easy solution is to stop sparging when the pH hits 5.8, or when the specific gravity falls below 1.008, and top up the kettle with hot liquor alone. This will only cause a small drop in efficiency while preventing significant off-flavors in the beer.

However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. The better solution is to acidify the sparge water to a pH in the mash target range, which should effectively prevent the pH of the mash from rising above 5.8; although as discussed in chapter 5 the DI of pH of the base malts may pull it higher. The rise in mash pH at the end of the sparge is more common to lower-gravity paler styles where the buffering systems in the mash are weaker and/or more dilute. It can also occur in low-gravity darker styles where the melanoidin concentration (a buffer) is actually low despite the high color wort.”

This excerpt is from Chapter 7 on Adjusting water for Style. While it suggests buying a pH meter even though a good one can cost hundreds of dollars, I have decided to buy a cheaper model with good user reviews and consider it replaceable after 2 years of use. This segment lays it out in a very frank way and provides a good perspective on alkalinity and pH in regards to brewing. “How to Brew Seriously Good Beer, Step 1- Buy a pH Meter. We have not spent the first two thirds of the book defining pH, describing factors that affect pH, and discussing methods for adjusting mash pH, just to it all aside and say “Don’t worry about the mash pH, it will be close enough.” That’s the kind of thing you tell beginners. “Don’t worry, everyone falls down at first; just have fun!” You are not a beginner. If you are serious about brewing good beer, then you need to be serious about measuring your results and reaching your goals. To be able to visualize a goal, plan a course of action, and consistently achieve the goal is the mark of an expert.”

 

The last excerpt I thought was just pretty cool. It’s a brewer’s play on the Declaration of Independence declaring the brewer’s independence from the Reinheitsgebot in order to use brewing salts and acids to adjust water, which as we know any additions that are not malt, water, hops, or yeast are forbidden on the Reinheitsgebot. It was an entertaining read.

The Declaration of Non-Adherence (from Water: A comprehensive guide for Brewers by John Palmer and Collin Kaminski)

When in the course of brewing events, it becomes necessary for the brewers to dissolve the chemical bonds which have connected them with alkaline water, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of saccharification and fermentation entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of the Reinheitsgebot requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mashes are not created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable properties, that among these are grist, pH, and the eventual pursuit of hoppiness.

That to secure these rights, the brewing practices are instituted among men, deriving their parameters from the consent of the learned.

That whenever any form of ingredient or practice becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the brewer to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new practices, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing their powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to optimize their pH and yield. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that brewing long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shown, that brewers are more disposed to suffer, while yields are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of high pH and low yield, pursuing invariably the same beer evinces a recipe of utter mediocrity, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such practices, and to provide new guidelines for their future prosperity.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these brewers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former adherence to Reinheitsgebot. The history of wholly malt, hops, water, and yeast is a history of repeated misses and transgressions, all while having in direct object the sustainment of absolute providence within this system. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • That the preferred mash pH is in the range of 5.2 to 5.6.
  • That the de-ionized water pH of base malts typically ranges from 5.6 to 6.0, depending on many factors such as variety, malting environment, and season.
  • That alkalinity due to carbonate, bicarbonate, and carbonic acid will act to raise the mash pH away from its (normal) de-ionized water value.
  • That in the absence of high levels of calcium, magnesium, weakly acidic buffers in colored specialty malts, or the waste products of lactobacillus bacteria, the mash pH will not lower itself to the target value. W

We, variously, the members of the brewing community, appealing to the common sense of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, so solemnly publish and declare, that these brewers are, and of right ought to be, free and independent thinkers; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the Reinheitsbegot, and that all contributions between them and their water supply, are and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent brewers, they have full power to add acid, reduce alkalinity, change the grain bill, establish the desired pH, and to do all other acts and things which seem like the right thing to do. And for the support of this declaration, which a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence notwithstanding, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor, be they as they may.

If after all of this you are interested in buying the book (I highly recommend it, and it’s only $13 on Amazon), You can click here to be taken to Amazon to buy it.

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Manitowoc Water Report: Jason Johnson

I sent off a water sample to Ward Labs for Manitowoc’s water. This is the same test as what I did for the Kossuth Artesian Well just north of Manitowoc on Hwy Q. With this data you can more accurately know what beer styles will work best with the current water profile and what water adjustments to make for other styles (if necessary). If you remember from the basic water presentation I did last year, this is a troubleshooting and fine tuning aspect of brewing. There is no reason to stress about your water as long as the water tastes good and is free of chlorine. If you don’t want to worry about water, you don’t have to. But water chemistry can affect hop perception in beer as well as affect your mash. So for those who want that data, here it is. Granted it will change slightly year after year, but this will get you solidly in the ballpark. Also, if anyone wants to, it would be nice to gather other water sources from the local area for other brewers. So if you are willing, the tests are affordable and you get your results in a week. If you do get a test, email me the data and I will post it to the website. The cost for the basic test is only $16.50 at Ward Labs. Here are the Manitowoc water results, below that I will provide links to brewing water spreadsheets. The most essential numbers applicable to brewing are in bold.

Manitowoc Water Report 2013

pH: 7.0
Total Dissolved Solids: 156
Electrical Conductivity, mmho/cm: 0.26
Cations/Anions, me/L: 2.6/2.5

Sodium, Na: 9
Potassium, K: 2
Calcium, Ca: 18
Magnesium, Mg: 15
Total Hardness: 108
Nitrate, NO3-N: 0.4
*Sulfate as SO4-S : 8 
*Sulfate as SO4: 24
Chloride, Cl: 15
Carbonate, Co3: <1
Bicarbonate, HC03: 91
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 75
*=
Some water spreadsheets are looking for Sulfate as either SO4-S or SO4. I provided both numbers. To get the SO4 number you multiply the SO4-S by 3.

Water Spreadsheet Resources: (Bru’n Water, Brukaiser Water Spreadsheet, EZ Water Calculator, Of course you can always use Beersmith’s water tool as well but the spreadsheets provide more detail)
Water Education: (Brukaiser Water, How to Brew’s Chapter on Water, Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers)

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Building a counterflow Chiller -Jason Johnson

I know Brian built his last night, and I just built mine today. Anyway, I documented the process I did with some pointers from Brian according to his experience last night. If you are interested in building one too, I put the instructions up on my website. Here is the link. http://barleypopmaker.info/2012/10/10/brewing-project-build-a-counterflow-chiller-no-solder-method/ I do not have soldering equipment and didn’t buy any, I purchased the copper bond epoxy, Brian soldered his. But other than that our process was very similar. Below are both versions.

Brian’s Soldered Counterflow Chiller

Jason’s Solderless Version.

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Free Beer Recipe Formulation Software. -Jason Johnson

This post would benefit anyone who comes to this page who does not have Beersmith, and perhaps either doesn’t want to pay for brewing software or cannot afford it. I tested and reviewed some brewing software called BrewTarget. It was a very decent program and you can use it on Windows, Mac, or Linux systems. Best of all it is open source and free. In short, the program’s interface is not as nice as Beersmith, but it gets the job done and I got numbers very close in tested recipes compared to beersmith. The ingredient database is up to date and includes the new varieties of hops, grains, and even seasonal yeast strains, like the platinum series strains from White Labs. There is not an inventory feature, that some brewers find handy. It does have brewing timers included, as well the ability to scale recipes and import/export beer xml files. While I personally think Beersmith is the better program, has a much better mash tool and templates, and offers more advanced features; Brewtarget is the best free brewing software I have seen. Dave Taylor may disagree (Seeing as how he is a strangebrew fan), but I stand by my word.  If you want to check out the software for yourself, you can find the download here, as well as some screenshots and a video. If you want to check out my rambling and gushing Blog post, you can do so here.

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Kossuth Artesian Well – posted by Jason Johnson

Just an FYI, I sent the water from Kossuth Artesian Well on HWY Q just north of 310 to Ward Labs for analysis and thought I’d share the results. If anyone wants to do Manitowoc, Two Rivers, or other water sources. The cost is only $16.50 and you get the results in about 2 days after they get your sample. I have been brewing with this water for the past few batches and I really like it. I have to add that they have all been pale ales, and I learned that because of the sulfate level, the bitterness is more subdued, which is what I like. I love the hop flavor and aroma, and the bitterness is softer. That is the affect this water has on the beer’s profile. As a matter of fact, one of the beers I brewed with this water took 2 awards 1st in American IPA’s and 3rd in American Pale Ales.

pH: 7.1
Total Dissolved Solids: 398
Electrical Conductivity: .66
Cations/Anions: 8.3/7.8

Sodium, Na: 10
Potassium, K: 1
Calcium, Ca: 87
Magnesium, Mg: 42
Total Hardness: 393
Nitrate, NO3-N: 0.6
Sulfate as SO4-S: 27
Sulfate as SO4: 81
Chloride, Cl: 19
Carbonate, Co3: <1
Bicarbonate, HC03: 340
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3: 278

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