From the HBD Archive
From: "Dr. John" <>
Subject: Re: HBD 920
Date: 1992-07-10 18:19:37 GMT

Greetings all,
In #920 Craig Vandeventer asks about the need for adjusting the pH of sparge
Craig, this has, as I recall, been previously discussed on the digest, and
is also covered in some of the homebrewing books, Miller in particular. The
basic reason for adjusting the pH of your sparge water is to avoid extracting
tannins from the malt husks, especially as you near the end of the sparge and
the pH of the naturally rises. With a significant portion of dark roasted
malt in the grist this probably won't be a problem, but is definitely a
concern with paler beers. The tannins, if extracted, will impart some rather
harsh and astringent notes to your beer.

Also in #920, Phil Calvin DoD #242, asks a load of questions. Among them
are: What is a cold break? Hot break?
This is something akin to beating a dead horse, given the extended
discussion that went on not too long ago. Be that as it may, the short
answers are that hot break is the proteins which become insoluble during the
wort boil, the ones which make up the trub in the bottom of your kettle, and
cold break is the proteins that become insoluble during wort chilling, the
ones which end up in the bottom of your fermenter (assuming that you didn't
run the hot break through the chiller). Since this we've been around the
block on this one several times recently, if anyone wants to pick nits on my
simple descriptions please do so via private e-mail.

And lastly, also in #920, Bryan Gros asks about mashing specialty malts, and
about working with the various types of oats out there.
Bryan, I think that if you ask two homebrewers about whether or not you
should mash specialty malts you will probably get at least three opinions.
For what its worth, my opinion is that if you are doing at least a partial
mash already, you should include the specialty malts in the mash. Some of
these malts may still contain some starch, which the mash should convert.
Even when that isn't the case, I think that the end result is a better
marriage of malt flavors if the whole bill of goods is mashed together. For
extract brews, with no mashing involved, you probably should just R,DW,HAH.
As to the oats, Quaker oats (at least their oatmeal) are simply rolled oats
with a brand name. I don't think that steel cut oats have been rolled, and
don't know what the hell milled oats are. Any rolled oats, branded or
generic, can be added directly to your mash as their starch has already been
gelatinized by the rolling process. With the steel cut oats you should
probably cook them first to gelatinize the starch and make it amenable to
enzymatic conversion in the mash kettle. Since the starch in the rolled oats
has already been gelatinized, they would be the best choice, unless for some
strange reason you want to extend the amount of time it takes you to
accomplish your mash.

Ooogy wawa,
Dr. John

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