CCHBS News for November 2004
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- November Recipe Specials
- Partial-mash Brewing Class Sunday November 7th!
- Farmhouse Ales Book Coming Soon
- Five Star pH Stabilizer and More!
- Spotlight on Theory- The Importance of Water pH
November Recipe Specials
In January, Pacific Gravity will feature a new
BJCP style: Irish Red Ale. Our Kilkenney
Red Ale is a fine example of this style, so we're putting it on
special to encourage folks to try it for $22. Our second featured beer
is Angeles Alt. This
style is a Pacific Gravity favorite, for good reason. Try it for $22
in November. It may seem like Yellow
Brick Road Wheat Beer has been on special all summer, but the weather
is cool enough to make an American Wheat Beer, using one of the American
ale yeasts - $22, Last, but not least, King
Kong Porter is an old favorite. This Robust Porter is an award winning
recipe, now on sale for only $30.
Partial-mash Brewing Class Sunday November 7th!
Teach a Friend to Homebrew day is this weekend, so we're celebrating
it by conducting a class for you extract brewers who would like to do
a little more. You don't need more equipment to mash a few pounds of
grain, and it gives you much more control over the ingredients used
in your recipes. We'll be focusing on an approach you can use on the
stove top, so there's no reason why everyone can't take advantage of
this class. Noon Sunday, Nov. 7th.
Farmhouse Ales Book Coming Soon
If you've seen ads for the new book "Farmhouse Ales" in Zymurgy
or Brew Your Own,
don't worry we've got it on order. We're also planning on matching the
pre-order price offered to AHA members, but only for this initial order.
So get your copy soon!
Five Star Chemicals pH Stabilizer and More!
We've decided to try some of the Five Star Chemicals product line.
The most exciting is their 5.2 pH Stabilizer (if you don't know why
pH is important, see below). This blend of food grade phospates locks
mash (or steep) pH at 5.2 - the ideal range for beer. We're also stocking
two other Five Start products: IoStar, a new, more convenient packaging
for iodophor; and Powdered Brewery Wash, an alkaline-based alternative
to Straight-A, and only requires a single rinsing.
Spotlight on Theory - The Importance of Water pH
The pH of water is a shorthand way for indicating it's relative acidity.
The value is scaled from 0 (maximum acidity) to 14 (maximum alkalinity).
7 is neutral. Adding grain to the water will lower the pH, hopefully
into ideal pH range for a beer mash: 5.2-5.4. Even if you're not mashing,
the pH of your water will still affect the flavor and clarity of your
Historically, the single most important factor in determining the kind
of beer brewed in a certain area has been the pH level of the local
water. How does this affect you? Well, if you're content with brewing
amber-colored ales, it doesn't. But if you'd like to brew light golden
beers that are clear, it does. And if you like to brew dark Stouts or
Porters that aren't astringent it does. It doesn't matter if you brew
all-grain or with extract, the pH levels of your brewing water has an
effect on the beer you brew. Which only makes sense, since water is
the biggest ingredient in beer.
The traditional approach to pH adjustment was to adjust the beer to
suit the water. The high pH water of London was great for Porters because
the dark grains used in Porter would lower pH to just the right level.
But when Pale Ale became all the rage, Burton's low pH water made it
the brewing capital of England. Europe was no different. Lagers were
first brewed in Munich, but they were dark because their high pH (high
carbonate) water made it nearly impossible to make a beer that was both
light and clear (Helles came along later). Once the lager yeast found
its way to Bohemia though, the low pH of the water there made it possible
to brew those light-colored, clear beers. In Los Angeles, the pH of
our water is slightly to moderately high, depending on the season. While
this is great for anything in the middle of the beer color range, it
means that we have to make adjustments for anything at the t op or bottom
of the color range.
Adjustments can be made in several ways. Some people add Lactic acid
to lower pH. Others use naturally occuring minerals to try to approximate
the water originally used to brew the style in question. Diluting our
local water with distilled water is still another approach. The easiest
approach yet may be to use the 5.2 pH Stabilizer from Five Star Chemicals.
Reports from those who've tried it have been favorable, so I know I'm
looking forward to giving it a try.