Updates coming soon …. just wait!

Relax, don't worry, have a home brew. - Charlie Papazian

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Taproom Tacker Signs

Available soon … Manty Malters Taproom Tackers!
Signs are on 0.020″ thick aluminum

$17 for either style (Discount price for members)
Contact president@mantymalters.org for details

15-1/2″ Round

Malters Circle

12″ x 17-1/2″ Rectangle

Malters Square

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4 Hour Boil! Or, how to make a 10% Beer with a lower amount of grains.

Pre-Boil Color Sample
Color Check – 1 Hour in
2 Hours
3 Hours in!
Color sample after 4 hours
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Mash and Sparge Temperature and Milling

Milling and the crush of your grain

Why do we mill the grain? You want to remove the husk and break the kernel up enough to extract all the sugar by breaking up (the endosperm) into just pieces.  Breaking up the grain not pulverize it. The finer you grind or crush the grain, the better the efficiency and extraction of sugars. The finer you crush the grain, the more “flour” you will get. Then mixing the flour and water will result in making a sticky dough and eventually “glue” that you won’t be able to lauter through.

Click here to see the info:

The grain husks act as a filter to keep the whole mash and lauter flowing and moving.  You want the husks to be left as a whole because finely shredded husks will result in an astringent off flavors and risk of tannins.

So getting a good crush is key. Produce little flour, break the kernels up, and don’t shred the husks.


  • Always mill outside to keep the dust down – Away from fermenting beer
  • Mill right before you brew to minimize oxidation
  • Use rice hulls when you are unsure of your crush, especially using wheat and rye
  • Purchase the best homebrew grain mill you can afford
  • A hopper always you to mill more grain at once, if not you’re whole grain bill
  • Set your mill roller gap to proper desired gap.
    Which from 0.5mm (0.019”) to 1mm (0.039”) with 0.75mm (0.030”) being an average.
  • Check your crush and adjust the gap as needed…Don’t wait until you’ve finished and it’s too late

Mash and Sparge Temperatures

A single step infusion mash is the most common mash technique used which is the conversions step. The main reason for mashing is the conversion step. Typically done at between 146F[63C] and 156F[69C], this conversion breaks down the complex sugars in the grains into shorter chains of sugar that the yeast can eat on during fermentation.

The temperature of your conversion step determines what percentage of the complex sugars are broken down into simpler sugars. This is from the enzymes active in the mash that break down complex sugars into simpler ones.

The two main enzymes active during the mash are the alpha and beta amylase. Alpha amylase are most active in the 154-167 F range. Which creates longer sugar chains that are less fermentable, resulting in more body in your beer. Beta amylase are most active between 130-150 F which cut off single maltose sugar units that are more fermentable. This results in a more complete fermentation, higher attenuation, a cleaner beer and a thinner body.

A multi step mash is the used to be the standard in brewing. The reason behind multi-step mashes was to develop enzymes to help in the conversion of starches. Before malting and kilning was improved most malts were described as “undermodified”. They had relatively low enzyme content as a result, and required additional steps to help enhance the enzymes.

Typically rests during the multi step mashing.

  • Phytase (86-126 F) – Lowers the pH of the mash.
  • Debranching (95-112 F) – Helps with solubility of starches
  • Beta Glucanese (95-113 F) – Breaks down the gummy heavy starches, which can help improve stability and extraction, particularly for mashes high in proteins and adjuncts such as wheat.
  • Pepidase (113-131 F) – Produces free amino nitrogen, which can aid in fermentation.
  • Beta Amylase (131-150 F) – Produces maltose, the main sugar fermented in beer.
  • Alpha Amylase (154-162 F) – Produces a variety of sugars, including maltose and also some unfermentable sugars. Mashing at the higher end of this range produces more unfermentables and therefore more body in the finished beer.

Sparging is the rinsing of the grain bed to extract as much of the sugars from the grain as possible without extracting tannins from the grain husks. Typically, 1.5 times as much water is used for sparging as for mashing. Your sparge water should be heated so that your grain bed remains at 168–170 during lautering whether you’re doing a fly-sparge or batch sparge.

To reach or maintain the 168 to 170 F sparge quicker you can add the additional step of a mash out before the start of the sparge. Performing a mash out step, while not required, will aid in the lautering because the sugary solution is less viscous at higher temperatures. And will also likely increase your extract efficiency. But keeping in mind not to exceed 170F is the most important.

Then you have BIAB. Which uses a full volume mash and does not require a sparge. With a thorough crush BIAB efficiency can be quite high, especially for lower gravity worts. Some BIAB brewers sparge by dunking their grain bag in another vessel, or by sprinkling sparge water on and through the bag as it is suspended over the kettle. Or perform a mash out and temperature increase to aid with draining of the grain bag once removed from the wort.

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Sour Beer Brewing

Notes from 2017 meeting topic …

Click here to see the info:

Sour Brewing for Us Home Brewers
There are various ways and techniques to process sour brew at home. Each method have pros and cons, do’s and don’ts and varying outcomes. The best part is there is no one way better than the other.

Sour Mashing
Sour mashing is a process that is typically regarded as the lesser of the different methods due to it’s lack of ability to control the outcome and to measure the progress throughout. But yet it is a way to produce a sour beer none the less.

Sour mashing starts out just as any other all grain mash would but is allowed to keep warm for several days after the introduction of a lactic acid producing bacteria, typically lactobacillus. The inoculation can come from various sources
such as; a pure pitch of a commercial culture of lactobacillus, a small amount of un-mashed base grain (the husks of grains have one or more wild strains of lactobacillus on them) or alternative sources of lactic acid producing bacteria.

After a certain level of souring and pH drop is achieved, the mash is then sparged as normal, followed up by the boil, chilling of the wort and then cold side “clean” fermentation takes place. A benefit of this method is that that lactobacillus, and any other wild or non-wild bacteria that was in the mash, will be killed off in the boil and only “clean” beer will go into your fermentation and serving equipment.

Steps Are:

  • Mash either a single infusion, step infusion, turbid mash or decoction mash – Whatever your recipe calls for, or what you are familiar with.
  • After saccharification rest is completed perform a mash out, raise mash temp to 168°, to stop enzymatic activity.
  • Next pre-acidify your mash. Drop the mash pH to 4.5 by adding lactic acid or phosphoric acid. You can also add acidulated malt AFTER the saccharification rest but the amount of total weight vs total gist weight is too high.
  • Cool the mash to around 110° to 120° and add your source of lactic acid produce bacteria.
  • Seal and removing oxygen from the vessel is the best practice. If you have a way to flush with CO2 this is ideal, but impractical at the home brewer level. The most important thing is to seal the vessel off and not allow oxygen into the vessel during the process. This needs to be an anaerobic process, absent of oxygen, during the souring.
  • Keep the vessel and mash above 100° if possible. Checking the pH during the process every 12 to 24 hours.
  • Typical desired pH levels are: 3.6 for a tartness of a Berliner Weisse or Gose, 3.3 would be a strong younger lambic style and even lower to your liking. Typically the 3.6 to 3.0 level is where you will fall. Be mindful though that Saccharomyces yeast strains will have difficulty with pH levels below 3.4. And mixed culture strain or Brettanomyces pitch for primary fermentation maybe need for your lower pH beers. Brettanomyces can ferment way below a pH of 3.0.
  • Once the desired pH level is achieve that you want, heat the mash to 170° and then sparge as normal.
  • Then follow your recipe for a standard boil, hop additions, chill and pitch your saccharomyces yeast or brettanomyces for a standard alcohol fermentation.

This process is obviously for all-grain brewers but the next processes can be used for extract brewers. I have not tried
the process of sour mashing nor will I probably try either.

Kettle Souring
Then there is kettle souring, This is another process where lactic acid producing bacteria, again typically lactobacillus, is used to inoculate the runnings of a typical mash and sparge procedure or even an extract brew. It is also kept warm for several days to allow the bacteria to lower the pH in the kettle and then gives you the choice to either boil or not boil the wort.

The “no boil method” will keep the lactic acid bacteria alive through fermentation and will survive in the final product.

The “boil method” will kill the bacteria before fermentation and will be a “clean” beer going into your fermentation and serving equipment, just like in sour mashing. I have done both methods and both have the benefits.

Steps Are:

  • If you go with the “boil method” A good practice to do is before pre acidifying your wort is to bring the wort to at least 180°, or even a low boil, for 2 to 3 minutes to kill off any unwanted wild bacteria. Basically pasteurize the runnings. For you extract brewers you need to steep your specialty grains, dissolve your DME and/or LME and bring to 180° to thoroughly mix the extracts and kill off any unwanteds.
  • If you are going the “no boil method” follow your recipe for boil but keep you hop additions low, like >10 IBU, or lower, to none at all. The higher IBU, alpha acid and hop oils will inhibit the lactobacillus and will not sour and
  • lower the pH during fermentation.
  • Chill the wort, for either method, to below 120° then pre-acidify your wort. Drop the pH of your wort to 4.5 by adding lactic acid or phosphoric acid before pitching your source of lactobacillus to the kettle. Again a pure pitch of a commercial culture of lactobacillus, a small amount of un-mashed base grain or alternative sources of lactic acid producing bacteria.
  • Seal and removing oxygen from the kettle is the best practice. If you have a way to flush with CO2 this is ideal. You can bubble CO2 into and through the wort for several minutes to scrub the oxygen from the wort pre-say. The idea is to omit the O2 to maintain an anaerobic condition.
  • Just like with sour mashing, keep the kettle and wort above 100° if possible. Checking the pH during the souring process every 12 to 24 hours. The ideal temperate range is typically between 90° and 120° and takes between 5 to 7 days to reach the desired power pH levels.
  • Now with the “no boil method”, where the bacteria is not killed off, cool the wort to the proper fermentation temperature and pitch lager or ale saccharomyces yeast or brettanomyces for a standard alcohol fermentation.
  • The “boil method”, where the bacteria is killed off, you would now follow your recipe and boil as normal, chill and pitch your saccharomyces yeast or brettanomyces for a standard alcohol fermentation.
  • You can dose the wort with a hefty amount of oxygen prior to aid with alcohol fermentation, the lactobacillus bacteria at this point would not be negatively affected by introduction of O2. The use of yeast nutrient, Go-Ferm, FermAid-K is wise too.

Traditional Souring: Spontaneous Fermentation, Mixed Fermentation, Dregs, Coolships and Soleras
There are other traditional and non-traditional brewing techniques that deal with sour beer brewing. I will just touch on a few. And these are often used in different combinations as well. That can create interesting results.

  • Spontaneous Fermentation: Is the use the yeast and bacteria from naturally in the air, on fruit, the surroundings
  • for examples. The inoculation of these microbes traditional occurs in a coolship.
    • Coolship: A coolship is a fermentation vessel that is used in traditional lambic production. It’s a wide and swallow, open top vessel where the hot wort is cooled and exposed to the air over night.
  • Mixed Fermentation: This is a beer that contains more than just saccharomyces yeast to ferment it. Or lack of Saccharomyces. Use of Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. There are numerous species or strains of each to pick from.
  • Dregs: The use of commercial bottle’s last 1/2″ sediment is the “Bottle Dregs” that is typically discarded by most. The microbes left in the beer are built up in a starter. These microbes are typically stronger and more aggressive from commercial breweries. Some breweries pasteurize their beers to stop this from happening or use champagne or wine yeast to bottle condition killing the original microbes in suspension in the beer.
  • Solera: A sour beer solera is process of taking about a third of the beer out for packaging out of a single large fermenter every 6-12 months. Then is replaced with new beer or wort. The beer will continue to develop and change over time but can be steered by changing the recipe. The blending of new and old provides everlasting sour beer, similar to sourdough beard and it’s mother dough.

Microbes and Alternative Sources of Lactic Acid Producing Bacteria

  • Saccharomyces: Typically it’s called “Sacch” – Considered a yeast, is actually a genus of fungus. Different species are used to ferment beer, wine, sake, and an agent in bread.
  • Lactobacillus: Typically it’s called “Lacto” – A lactic acid bacteria. There are over 100 species and many found in your gastrointestinal track. Used to ferment cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.
  • Brettanomyces: Typically it’s called “Brett” – Is a yeast usually thought as a spoilage yeast and is unwelcome to most breweries and wineries. It can breakdown dextrins (chains of too long for Sacch to ferment) and can add a wide range of complexity beers. From pineapple, apple, and pear; to horse blanket, farmhouse and funk.
  • Pediococcus: Typically it’s called “Pedio” – Is a lactic acid bacteria that often takes several months to really get working. Note; never use pedio without the use of brett. Brett is needed to clean up the mess pedio causes. Strains can cause your beer to become “sick” and “ropey” but generally goes away and the brett is there to help.
  • Alternative Sources: There are many sources for lactic acid bacteria, typically various strains of lacto. Sources include; yogurt, unmashed grains, Kefir (Ke-feer), sauerkraut, probiotics and dietary supplements.

Various Sources
http://www.themadfermentationist.com/ and the book American Sour Beers

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Not Beer Related But “Homebrewed”? – Cider!!

Ok ok ok …. Yes cider!

I just made a cider (along with others) and we got to say a big thank you to fellow Manty Malter Scott Kohlmann for, once again, providing cider to the club via his uncle! And if you’ve ever processed apples for apple sauce, pie filling or juice … you know how much of a pain it is to process apples.

Click here to see how to do it:

Let’s start with the numbers. YEAH MATH!

  • Approx 16 lbs of apple = 1 gallon
  • 1 Bushel of apples is 48 lbs
  • Thats 80 lbs of apples for 5 gallons
  • So … for 5 gallons of cider you’ll need 2 bushels of apples or 96 lbs
    (I know the math … but your yields will vary on your press and pressings)
  • Then … if you go bigger yet to smaller:
    • 110 apples per milk crate
    • 27 milk crates per bin
    • 3,000 apples per bin
    • 24,000 apples per truck load
    • 60 gallons of juice per bin
    • 50 apples per gallon
    • 10 apples per 750ml bottle
    • 2 apples per glass

So … press your own, order a special blend from the various orchards on our area or store bought cider WITHOUT preservatives. You’ll need apples!


Orchards in the area (Yes there are TONS here are some):

Now store bought cider (or from an orchard…) here what’s to look for and keep in mind.

  • It can be pasteurized – that’s not a problem
  • Cold pasteurized preferred or UV light treated. Heat pasteurized will lead to pectic haze
  • If it is unpasteurized from an orchard and or hand pressed … all the better BUT read below about sulfates. And do not HEAT pasteurize.
  • Musselman’s brand is good. Old Orchard is another is Mott’s
    Look for 100% juice NOT concentrate.
    • Just make sure there it does not have any preservatives. NONE – ZERO
    • NO potassium sorbate NO potassium benzoate
      It will NEVER ferment
    • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) … is so-so. Most will have this or …
    • Citric Acid (Vitamin C) … which is ok too.
  • Don’t cheap out and get JuiceyJuice … it’s concentrate sugar flavored apple water


To SUFLITE or not to SULFITE …
That is the question!
(Disclaimer down below)

For those of you using fresh cider you’ll need kill bacteria and to control wild yeast naturally in the apples. Crush one campden tablet (potassium or sodium metabisulfite) for every gallon of cider. The same campden tablets you use in your brewing water for beer to remove chlorine and chloramine. Now this will not kill all bacteria or wild bugs in the must BUT will knock it down and keep to big bad ones at bay. Let it sit at least 24 hours and should be as good as it’s going to get.

Now the ** D i s c l a i m e r **

Some people are touchy with sulfites / have a sensitivity to them. They are in LOTS of packaged and prepared foods. They can trigger asthma attack, hives, rashes and cramping. If you know for sure you or someone has this issues with a sulfite sensitivity … you’ll know! Then don’t use sulfites then. So skip the campden tablets and let the wild yeast go and do it’s thing!

Now one thing you’ll hear … and is NOT true. Let me make this absolutely clear …

Sulfites do NOT cause headaches! Nor do tannins!

All alcoholic beverages dilate blood vessels in the brain and cause a headaches. Along with dehydration .. Histamines and tyramine in wines can contribute to the headaches .. but it’s the alcohol that’s causing that headache.

Now that we’re through all that … time for a recipe!

  • 12 to 16 lbs of apples or 1 gal of of cider (Gravity 1.046 or 11.5 Brix/Plato )
  • 1 lb of sugar
    (Less or more … you decide)
  • 1-½ tsp Acid Blend
  • ½ tsp Pectic Enzyme
  • ¼ tsp Tannin
  • 1 tsp Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 Crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 pkg Dry Wine Yeast
    I like D-47 71B for some extra flavor or EC-1118 for a neutral flavor
    US-05, S-04 or “cider” yeasts …
    Try them all!

With a pound of sugar per gallon you’ll have a gravity around 1.085 to 1.090 (20.5 to 22 Brix/Plato)

What I like to do (since you can also add but not take out) is the cut the: sugar, the acid blend and the tannin in half. Add the sugar to your desired original gravity before pitching your yeast. After fermentation gauge do you need more acid tartness? Do you need more tannin bite? Is it super hazy?

What I do is take about 2 quarts of the must and combine all the ingredient addition and slower heat it all together. Now do not heat the entire batch, do not boil the mixture just heat enough to dissolve the sugar … no hotter then 160°F

Like brewing … sanitation, sanitation, sanitation! Keep it clean people! And fermentation temp control … “Slow and low, that is the tempo..”

During fermentation you’ll notice a very distinct smell … that’s the sulfur. Not like beer fermentation by any means. Smell that airlock you’ll know what I’m taking about.

Now you can follow a staggered nutrient plan like with meads. But fructose sugars in the apple must the yeast can chew through pretty easily. But if you do see a stuck or slow fermentation by all means add a slow amount of nutrients.
Follow this link for more info: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/how-to-brew/improve-mead-staggered-nutrient-additions/

Now … bottling, kegging, backsweeten, still or sparkling.
Cider typically will not hold carbonation or have a head foamed like beer. Thus most ciders are served still. Your cider will finish bone dry … 1.000 or lower.
If you like to dry .. “Bob’s your uncle!” and you’re ready to go! Or time to add sugar back …

So the low down for backsweeting … Potassium sorbate.
Do NOT add sugar and bottle or you’ll have kaboom! Bottle bombs are no joke.


Now up top … I said NO potassium sorbate. Now you can use potassium sorbate after fermenation is done. The will not kill the yeast but will stop the yeast from converting anymore sugars.

  • 1/2 teaspoon of potassium sorbate per gallon 
    Wait 24 hours after it is stirred in to halt the yeast
  • Add honey, sugar or apple juice concentrate (Use NOW you can use concentrate!)
    Dose in a know amount on the side to the gravity or taste you prefer and then scale up to your batch size. Or add to the entire batch in small amounts, thoroughly stir and then test
  • And bottle without risk of bottle bombs … BUT the cider will be still. But safe.
  • Now if you keg … force carbonate to a mid to high level of CO2. Bottle from the keg for “sparkling” cider or serve from keg.

Cider is super easy and don’t over think it … it’s dump and stir if you want it to be … or make it as complex as you want. Try malolactic fermentation, try a fruited cider, try an ice cider, try a cyser (mead with cider), try a Graf (cider-beer hybrid) … So many things to explore.

So it has to be said.

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Not Beer Related But “Homebrewed”? – Hot Sauce!!

Well here’s a new post not really homebrew beer related but…
… “Homebrewed” none the less.

Going cover how to make “Homebrewed Hot Sauce”
So making hot sauce … first question is “Why?” And the answer is “Because you can!”

What I’m going to show is a simple habanero hot sauce.

Click here to see how to do it:

First, Get some pepper…

Frozen Peppers or …
Or fresh picked peppers


  • 1-1/2 cup Carrots – Diced ~About 3 full size (Yes … carrots you read it right!)
  • 1 large Onion – Diced – About ~1-1/2 cup
  • 5 or 6 Habanero Peppers – Cut, deveined and de-seeded
  • 10 Thai Chile (Or Cayenne) – Cut, deveined and de-seeded
  • 8 cloves of garlic – Diced
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar – White or Apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice – Optional
  • 3/4 cup Sugar – White or brown
  • 1 teaspoon Salt – Kosher or canning 
  • 1/4 cup Water – Add more or less as you want

Cut and devein and deseed peppers. Wear gloves … it’s no joke, the burn is real!
Gather all your ingredients. Prep, chop and whatnot before you start .. you’re thank me later!
Heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add olive oil. Add carrots and sauté about 5 minutes until start to brown and caramelize. Add onion and garlic and sauté an additional 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
Transfer mixture to a food processor along with habanero peppers and water.
Process until smooth. Add or remove water as desired to achieve your desired consistency. Add vinegar and lime juice and pulse to combine.
Transfer sauce mixture back to sauté pan and simmer on low heat about 5 minutes.
Sieve option #1 …
Sieve option #2 … Or option #3 no sieve.

I chose to sieve with Option #1
Press against the sieve with the pestle or with the back of a spoon.
Making pressing the sauce through the sieve to your liking.
Thick or thin … you can decide that.
Pour into a clean and sanitized bottle and is refrigerator stable. Or cool and serve immediately.
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Join the Manty Malters at Stillmank Brewing Company on June 4th….

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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

Click here to see entire post:

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

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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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