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Q&A: Homebrewing


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Your IBUs will vary very much depending on when you added all the extract. If you boiled at a low gravity for most of the 60 minutes, then added the LME in the 15 minutes you'll get a much better hop utilization than if you added it all at the beginning. The denser your boil is, the harder it is for the hops to bitter the beer. Late extract addition lets your hops bitter the less dense wort, then you bump up the density at the end.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Your IBUs will vary very much depending on when you added all the extract.  If you boiled at a low gravity for most of the 60 minutes, then added the LME in the 15 minutes you'll get a much better hop utilization than if you added it all at the beginning.  The denser your boil is, the harder it is for the hops to bitter the beer.  Late extract addition lets your hops bitter the less dense wort, then you bump up the density at the end.

I added the extract in the beginning.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Okay I can't seem to post pictures just now, I have never tried it on Egullet and can't really find any information on how to do it...

But until they will let me give you my pictures, here's a status update...

My first batch was bottled Sunday night. I was suprised at how smooth of an operation it was, but as Alton Brown says, Organization will set you free...The whole thing, including sanitation and clean up, took about 45 minutes. This was using Grolsch bottles, which I found wonderful as I could cap the bottle I had just filled with one hand while filling the next bottle with the other...

I made the next day my brew day and got started on the Red Ale (5G batch) Monday night. Having read everything I can find about brewing, I felt much more involved in the process using the steeped grain than just the straight extract. Here is my exact recipe...(special thanks to recipator for calculating the conversions for me...once I got the recipe put in right :blink: )

3.5G Boil

12.5 oz American Crystal Malt 60L

12.5 oz Caravienne

12.5 oz Melanoidin Malt

Steeped at ~162 for 35 minutes

5.05# Light DME

1.8 oz Styrian Goldings (plug) @ 4.2% 60 minutes

1.2 oz Styrian Goldings (plug) 10 minutes

.35 oz Kent Goldings UK (whole leaf) @ 6.5% 10 minutes

1.55 oz Kent Goldings UK Flameout

White Labs 004 Irish Ale Yeast

I played around with the yeast a bit...once my steeping was done I added a bit of priming sugar to the wort, cooled it down, and got the yeast started while the boil was taking place. In an ideal world I would have started it before, but I brewed the same day as my trip to the brewshop, and didn't seem to have much trouble as I was getting 5 second bubbles 12 hours later. Again, I have some pictures of this, but apparently you can't see them yet....

And just to prove my impatience, I decided to crack open my first ever homebrew tonight. Yeah, I know it's only been in the bottle for four days, but I just couldn't wait any longer. As expected it had very little carbonation, but the taste was very nice...I have pictures of this too, captured the little bit of head that it gave off and everything.

Planning on racking the red ale to secondary due to it's extreme cloudiness, wondering if I need a full two weeks in the secondary after krausen subsides or if it only needs two weeks in fermentation total...I would love to be able to haul some of this brew up to deer camp November 15th...

Edited by terapinchef (log)
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DON'T rack to secondary until it is finished in primary. 10-14 days. Messing with the yeast while they're in the middle of their job is a bad practice. Let them finish and let things settle. Secondary is all about letting things settle even more. Secondary is most effective if it is cold.

Everything else sounds good. :biggrin:

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Just wanted to update on my first brew...

Man is that some strong beer! :laugh: I just recently

got my hydrometer so I have no way (that I know of) to figure

out exactly how strong...except for drinking a few of them :rolleyes:

and it seems to be quite potent. I tasted it side by side with a Bass...

I know this is like comparing your sons little league team to the Tigers but it's still a really tasty brew. It seems to be quite hoppy in comparison to the commercial brew but I haven't looked up the Bass recipie or anything to see what exactly goes on there....

and I do have a question that may be a matter of opinion.

My above mentioned Red Ale seems to be V E R Y cloudy and dark. I really kind of want to let is sit (even considering dry hopping and a secondary fermention period) and clarify. I also kind of want to be able to open a bottle on November 15th for all of my friends, displaying my new home brewing abilities, because I have a feeling from my initial tastings that I am really going to like this beer. The schedule allows me the potential for a full 2 week fermentation and a 11 day bottle conditioning...but I wonder if this is enough. I know several people have been following Chris' wonderful guide, and I know that many of you have been (like me) too impatient to wait the recommended time. What does everyone think is my best course of action? Should I wait and take a few of my precious (small) batch of Brew #1 with me, or take advantage of my highly anticipated (5G) batch of (young) Old Number 2 with me?

...waiting patiently....

Ed

<Primary>- Rich Red Golding (Old Number #2)

<Secondary> :-( Nothing

<In the bottle> Strong Pale Ale (#1)

<In the planning>Holiday Porter or possibly Holiday English Brown, haven't decided)

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So here's my first attempt at an all-grain recipe, let me know what you think...

(adapted from a homebrewing for dummies recipe :sad: )

7.5# Marris Otter

1.25# 60L Crystal

6oz Chocolate Malt

1 oz Fuggles (60min)

1/2 oz Fuggles (30min)

1 oz Kent Goldings (5 min)

1# Dark Brown Sugar

4 oz Dextrin powder

1t Irish Moss (10 min)

1 oz sliced fresh ginger root (10 min)

1T whole allspice (10 min)

1 cinnamon stick (10 min)

3 green cardamom pods (10 min)

1 orange rind (realistically, probably from a navel orange) (10 min)

Single infusion mash, (90 min at 156, sparge at 170)

Any feedback on the recipe in general, especially spices and their quantities (and the method of their infusion into the wort) would be greatly appreciated.

I also did some math on my first two recipes:

My Strong Pale Ale, given that I made 3 gallons from the two gallon recipe, yielded me 23 - 16oz bottles at a cost of about $0.60/bottle (That would be $0.45 per 12oz bottle if I had gone that route.)

Estimated cost of my Rich Red Ale (or Old #2 as I've taken to calling it) before it is bottled is about $1.20/16oz bottle or $0.90/12oz bottle. This one is only an estimate because I have not bottled it yet and therefor don't know my final yield. Thought this might be of interest to some who have not begun to brew yet. And also those of us who really don't like math.

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If you plan on mashing at 156, then you have no need of the dextrin powder. I'd up the malt, though, as all of those spices are going to want a stronger malt background than you're providing. I'd say 9 lbs would be the lowest you should be thinking. Strongly spiced ales don't really work well at lower gravities.

Try for a temple or valencia orange, and do use a peeler to separate the zest from the pith. You only want the zest.

As to the math on the beers- Really? The red should be cheaper, as the malt extract in the golden is much more expensive than the grains in the red, and the red uses less malt extract if I remember right. I know the market for homebrew stuff is really wacky right now, with both a malt and a hops shortage and prices spiking through the roof, but the relative costs should remain the same, I'd thought. Hmmm.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Well, here's the story. I checked my math (everything is kosher) and forgot to mention that for my red ale I did make a 5 gallon batch, which shouldn't effect the cost/bottle, and used liquid yeast (White Labs) and substituted Styrian Goldings for the Cascades. So that may have tweaked things out a little bit, but I costed out your recipe straight from the website, assuming a full yield of 256 oz (2G), and came up with a price of $1.05/16oz bottle.

The red was less malt extract, but only a pound, and there was the addition of another ounce of hops and 3 different grains. Here's about what I've been paying:

Grains were 1.49/lb, 1.99/lb, and 2.49/lb. Malt Extract is about 12.99 for a 3 lb. bag, and hops are anywhere from 1.79-2.49/ounce.

--------------------------------------------------------------

So what exactly is the dextrin powder for? It was also recommended that the amount of spices be cut in half, then more added later if needed.

Thanks for the feedback Chris.

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Dextrins are long-chain sugar molecules... they're the kind of sugar yeast can't eat, so they get left behind in your beer after the yeast are done. They're responsible for the body and mouthfeel of your beer. You can influence how many of them are formed when you mash grain by selecting temperatures that favor or disfavor dextrin formation. "Mashing high", around 155F -160F, promotes dextrin formation, while "mashing low" promotes short chain sugar which is full fermentable. A beer consisting of only fermented short chain sugars would be very thin bodied and wouldn't be quite right. Dextrin powder is a tool for fixing a beer that tastes too thin.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so I'm starting the first course batch (my 'soft-opening' beer was a kit brown ale, pretty tasty, although a bit light in body). Due to some unfortunate circumstances at the brew store (their main supplier of hops grain yeast etc.. went bankrupt) I had to make a number of substitutions. This is the recipe I used

2.4 kg liquid pale malt extract

1 kg light dry malt

1 packet Danstar windsor yeast

2 oz cascade hops

.5 oz coriander seed

3 gallon boil for a 5 gallon batch

The volume thing screwed me up because in Canada we use imperial gallons :wacko: Why can't we all go metric? Anywho, wish me luck!

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I just plugged your recipe into the calculator, and it is going to come out about 80% as strong and 56% as bitter as the recipe I gave. It will be a different beer. It might be a nice beer, but it won't be the same. The coriander is likely to step forward and make it very citrus-y, particularly in combination with the Cascade hops.

You'll have to let us know how it turned out.

There does appear to be a instability in the Canadian market for homebrew stuff lately... Glad you managed to find come Cascade hops, actually... given the industry-wide shortage, they're very tough to get, and are now priced accordingly.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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I tried plugging everything into the recipe calculator before hand and noticed about the same thing, but I just forged ahead anyways, figuring it would at the very least be drinkable :smile:. It's happily fermenting away now, and smells like it will turn out nicely. I'll be sure to post the results in a few weeks.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Terapin, mallet: How are things progressing? I'm interested to hear how things turned out.

I'm in the middle of a comparative brew project, trying to assess the contributions of various Belgian brewing sugars on different recipes. Following this link to the Burgundian Babble Belt will take you to the discussion of the recipe so far, which might prove valuable to folks interested in the considerations that go into recipe formulation.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Things are progressing well, thanks for asking! I bottled my version of the first course brew last week, and I couldn't help but sample one of the bottles today (great success, although I think I would prefer a touch more hops to round it out, ). I'm hoping to get started on the second brew later this week. I'm bringing some bottles with me for Christmas, we'll see what the family thinks!

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Sorry I've been neglecting the homebrewing section of Egullet, I have been posting most of my brewing progress on homebrewtalk.com. Lots of information to be found there, let me tell you. So after crafting the Pale Ale (lesson one) and the Red Ale (lesson 2) here's my status update:

Pale Ale: Only being a 3 gallon batch, this one didn't last very long, but everyone who tasted it loved it. Not very complex, and not very expensive means that it will most certainly be made again, if only as an introduction to someone new to the obsession...I mean hobby.

Red Ale: Came out pretty good, drinking one right now. Seems to be a bit light on the alcohol but flavor is very good, and the body is very nice...

Since then:

I had built my MLT from a cooler while I was making my Red, so the third batch I did was all grain. I found it to be a bit of a pain and holy cow did it take me forever. I think I was still cleaning up two days later. I made a holiday Brown, taken from a recipe in, I think, homebrewing for dummies, and changed it into a holiday brew myself. This beer has not yet aged enough to drink, but I think that the Malto-Dextrin was very unnecessary as the two times that I have tasted it seems to be very viscous. The spices have almost mellowed out enough to drink.

After that I continued on the all grain path and threw together a quick pale ale to celebrate the ending of my girlfriends intensive paper-writing semester at school. Hence No More Papers Pale Ale was born. This session went much smoother and much quicker than the first all-grain session. Can't really tell you how it is because it is still in the secondary, but the one tasting that we did it seems to have come out with a very earthy flavor, almost like a hayloft. Will update after the bottle conditioning (it will be ready to drink in about 12 days.)

Just yesterday I brewed my first recipe that I built myself. Using the guidelines in The Homebrewers Bible I formulated a Robust Porter. I know that it's still to early to tell, but holy cow does it taste good already. Can't wait for this one to be done.

Here's my equipment updates.

My New Brew Kettle

14109-PB290013.JPG

My Brewery in Action (Getting ready to sparge)

14109-PC040021.JPG

No More Papers Pale Ale

14109-PB290015.JPG

Thanks for all of your assistance, and you'll be hearing from me from time to time, I have officially become addicted!

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Ok, here is the recipe pretty much as I brewed it on Sunday. BTW, I love this recipe calculator Chris. It really helped me 'get' how a recipe is built and manipulated! I'll definitly use it again. Looking at the recipe though, my main worry is the IBU. Seems to me like I needed to boil more hops in there. We'll see.

Strong English Winter Ale

Size 5 gallons

Boil 3 gallons

color 34 HCU (~17 SRM)

bitterness 15.2 IBU

OG 1.072, FG 1.022

Alcohol  6.5% v/v (5.1% w/w)

Grain:

3 lb. 0 oz. American 2-row

1.5 lb. 0 oz. American crystal 40L

0.5 lb. 0 oz. Dextrine malt (Cara-Pils)

0.75 lb Belgian Biscuit

Mash:

68% efficiency

Boil:

SG 1.120, 3 Gallons

6 lb. 0 oz. Amber LIQUID malt extract

Hops:

1 oz. Kent Goldings (FWH)

1 oz. Kent Goldings (5% AA, 60 min.)

1 oz. Kent Goldings (5% AA, 20 min. + 1tsp Irish Moss)

1 oz. Kent Goldings (5% AA, FO)

            + star anise/orange zest/cloves

1 oz. Kent Goldings (DH)

Yeast:

White Labs English Ale

terapinchef, I love your setup! especially the creative use of the phone book LOL.

My Winter Ale came out great as well. It is perfect for sipping, mildly roasty and a touch sweet. I do think it also is stronger than what I've brewed before (could be all in my head though) since it is supposed to be a STRONG ale. Only downside is that I think it needs a bit more carbonation...not much, but a bit more would be good.

Here is a shot of a recent glass

gallery_5404_94_815349.jpg

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Finally the first course beer is ready to drink (well, it's been 12 days, but close enough :biggrin: ). It's pretty amazing how much the brew has changed character since I sampled one 5 days ago. There was an almost overwhelming heaviness which has disappeared (probably as a result of the yeast chewing up the bottling sugar), leaving a well balanced and really tasty beer in its stead. No doubt it will continue to improve.

gallery_27988_3686_35642.jpg

Oddly, when I put one in the fridge it seems to cloud up (I don't think it's due to disturbing the sediment).

gallery_27988_3686_25531.jpg

The second course beer was a bit of a gongshow ingredient-wise. The people at the brew store were completely useless and I was basically left to fend for myself. To give you an idea, I asked what the approximate L numbers were (for all of the 3 malts they had) and the guy had never heard of an L number! No-one could tell be for certain whether the bag labelled 'chocolate malt' was roasted more or less than the 'roasted barley' or what the %aa on any of the hops meant etc.. I was left feeling that homebrew stores have degenerated into 'make wine kits stores', but I don't know to what extent that is a general trend.

In any case, after buying 1kg each of chocolate and crystal malt (which I later discovered was wayyy too much chocolate malt) I ended up with this recipe.

35.7oz Crystal malt

2oz Chocolate malt

53.5oz Light Dry Malt Extract

60oz Light Malt Extract

.5oz Cascade + 1.5 oz Northern Brewer (60min)

1.5oz Cascade +0.5 oz Northern Brewer (10min)

1oz Cascade + 1oz Northern Brewer (aroma)

Danstar Windsor Yeast

3 gallon boil

6 gallon final volume

It will obviously be different than the 2nd course beer, but all the basic techniques were still there. One question though: when you crack the malt grains are you supposed to really grind them up or just lightly break them? I sort of went in between but didn't really know what was optimal.

All this cost me about $50, is this roughly what you folks are paying in the US?

Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Well, Mallet, you're certainly going to get the idea behind the second brew... which was that adding lots of crystal malt to a recipe will pump up the body and sweetness of the beer. Even if you're not using the ones I called for, you should certainly get the effect.

Do try to keep a bottle or two of batch 1 around, as part of the learning experience is blending batch 1 (with no crystal malts in it) with batch 2 in different proportions to get an idea of what adding various amounts of crystal malt does to beer. Batch 2 was designed to max out the reasonable amount of cara-type grains that go into a beer.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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It will obviously be different than the 2nd course beer, but all the basic techniques were still there. One question though: when you crack the malt grains are you supposed to really grind them up or just lightly break them? I sort of went in between but didn't really know what was optimal.

All this cost me about $50, is this roughly what you folks are paying in the US?

When you crush, you don't want to end up with flour... you want the hulls broken, and beyond that, it is not terribly vital how much further you crush the grain, so long as what you make can be strained out of your wort by the grain containment technique you use.

As to cost, things have gone nuts lately. Back when I designed the course, dry malt extract was going at about $3/lb, and hops were $1/oz or so for most. Today dry malt is closer to $5/lb and hops are scarce and more like $3/oz when available. Worldwide commodity shortages are taking their toll right now.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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All this cost me about $50, is this roughly what you folks are paying in the US?

Is that 1 or 2 batches?

At the store I work at, the average for 5 gallons of extract/specialty grains/yeast/hops is about $30 US. Generally goes up for higher gravity beers, not as much with hoppier type beers.

Edited by theisenm85 (log)
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Hey theisenm-- welcome to the thread.  You work for a LHBS?  You've still got good hop inventory?

Yep, I'm with the guys at morebeer.com. We did get some of the "sacred hops" (cascade/willamette) in. Don't know how much of it is gonna be available to purchase individually, but we should have a good stock of stuff for kits and whatnot.

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Very cool! B3 is a great shop, and hosts a great message board itself.

So you've landed some of the 2007 American harvest, it seems. How is availability of English now? My Kent Goldings supplies are dwindling, and replacing them seems unlikely at best right now. Is it harvest timing, or is it just unavailability this year?

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Really? Website says you're out. Just like every other homebrew shop on the web...

Just checked hopsdirect.com, and they at least had US Goldings for $2/oz shipped... which I just decided to order, as some Goldings are better than no goldings.

Edited by cdh (log)

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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