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Old 02-04-2010, 12:58 AM   #1
JakeWallace
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Default First brew for critiquing - Viking Stout

I'm new to home brewing, after receiving a Mr. beer kit for Christmas. I've been reading everything I could get my hands on, including Tap Into The Art and Science of Brewing by Bamforth, a reference guide put out by Brew Your Own magazine, Home Brew Favorites, and a ton of recipes, and after building a 5 gallon primary fermenter I came up with this recipe using locally available ingredients. I'm going to build a secondary tonight, and I already bought a Cornelius keg with a CO2 tank and regulator to force carbonate it. Let me know what you guys think, or what you would have done differently and why. Thanks.

YEAST:
Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast

HOPS:
1/2 oz. Fuggles Hops 4.8% Bittering @ 50 minutes
1 oz. Kent Goldings Hops 4.9% Flavoring @ 10 minutes
1/2 oz. Fuggles Hops 4.8% Aroma @ heat off

FERMENTABLES:
1 lb. Victory Malt
1/2 lb. Caramel Malt
1 lb. Chocolate Malt
1/2 lb. Black Patent Malt
3/4 lb. Steel Cut Oats - 12 oz.
1 lb. Munton's Plain DME
2 lbs. Carlson Briess Sparkling Amber DME
3.75 lbs. Coopers Stout Extract Syrup
3 oz. Robust Molassis (Unsulphered)

OTHER ADJUNCTS:
6 oz. Lactose
1 tsp. Irish Moss
1/4 lb. Sumatra Whole Bean Coffee
4 oz. Giradehelli 70% Cäcoa
4 tsp. Gypsum

Brita filtered 2 galloins of tap water to a 16 qt. stainless steel pot, heeted to 170°F and treated with gypsum. Put all the grainss into two boil bags and steeped at 155°F for 60 minutes. Removed boil bags and sparged in an 8 qt. pot with pre-boiled, 80° filtered water for 90 minutes while I worked with the extracts in the original 16 qt. pot. I turned the flame to high and stired in the DMEs and the liquid extract, and the molassis and brought to a boil. I added the bittering hops and the chocolate to a nylon mesh boil bag and boiled for 50 minutes before adding the flavoring hops and the Irish moss. I stirred in the lactose and boiled for another 10 minutes, turned off the heat, and added the last of the hops and the coffee beans. After 10 minutes I added 1 1/2 gallons of filtered, pre-boiled water @ 80° and added the water from the 8 qt. pot, transferred it to the 5 gallon fermenter where I topped with filtered cold water and put it out in the snow to cool. The gravity was at 1.070 when I pitched the yeast. The primary fermenter was placed on a tile floor in my garden apartment that has an ambient temperature of 76°. Within 6 hours there was activity in the air lock, and by 12 hours the water in the air lock was bubbling vigorously. At 24 hours, fermentation started to slow, but it's still bubbling about once every 1-2 seconds. I'm planning 5 days in the primary and 2-3 weeks in the secondary before transferring into the keg through a few layers of nylon mesh bags to catch any solids that might make it through to that point.

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Old 02-04-2010, 01:44 AM   #2
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Honestly, I think you have way too much going on here - 3 different types of extract, molasses, coffee, chocolate, lactose, oats. If nothing else, I would have eliminated the amber and stout extracts and used with some light or extra light DME instead and built the color and flavor with the specialty grains and cut out the molasses (I don't think you're going to get anything from it with all the other flavors going on). Personally, I would have simplified even more - probably by removing either the cacoa or the coffee. Also seems like a lot of gypsum to me.

I would also ferment much cooler than 76F - somewhere closer to 65F - you're going to end up with a lot of fruity esters in this - especially when you consider that the beer will raise above the ambient temp during fermentation.


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Old 02-05-2010, 12:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I knew people would say I went way over board with the ingredients, but I wanted to go a little crazy with this one, and either have it fail and get it out of my system at the beginning, or have it turn out okay. I'm the same with cooking and it usually works out.

I didn't want to use gypsum at all, but I knew my tap water has a really high pH, so I planned to use 1-2 tsp just to get it down to 7 or so, but every time I took a pH reading it was still too high to even give me a reading with a basic testing kit. I stopped at 4 tsp, and that's when my chocolate oatmeal stout turned into a chocolate coffee stout. The coffee was a last minute addition to attempt to lower the pH a bit more before it was time to pitch the yeast.

I can't really do anything about the temperature. I usually keep my condo at 79-80, but I turned the heat down to ferment the beer. The fermenter is on the tile floor in the coolest area of my condo. What's the point of living indoors if you can't stay toasty warm in the cold Chicago winters? I usually drink lighter European lagers like Becks, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsche and occasionally Stella Artiou, so I plan to do a lot of lagering in my refrigerator in the Mr. Beer 2 1/2 gallon fermenter, but until then I wanted get some practice in, going through the steps, and I figured a highly experimental stout would be a good lesson in the mechanics of home brewing. And if it turns out to be drinkable, all the better, but if not it's not the end of the world. My main concern right now is figuring out a way to keep the fermenters at a lower temperature, because there's no chance of my thermostat getting set below 77. In the mean time I moved this batch up against my sliding glass door to try and lower the temperature a few degrees.

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Old 02-05-2010, 12:21 AM   #4
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the victory malt and oats really needed to be mashed. s-04 throws nasty esters above about 72. at 76 ambient, your beer was probably fermenting well into the 80s. cooling it down now will do nothing since the yeast makes all the nasty flavors at the very early stages of fermentation. that much gypsum is going to make the beer taste very minerally and it will likely have a sharp, harsh bitterness. now, one or more of a few things will happen. you'll taste the **** beer, and having gotten this out of your system, will follow simple instructions like ferment below 70 and don't go crazy with ingredients. or you'll taste the **** beer and decide brewing just isn't for you. or you'll be so amazed that that dirty liquid you're drinking was made by you, that you'll convince yourself you like it, and post back here that it's the best beer you've ever had.

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Old 02-05-2010, 01:40 AM   #5
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Feel free to get it out of your system.

That being said, with that much going on it's going to be impossible to learn very much from building this recipe. If it turns out good, or it turns out bad, you won't know why.

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Old 02-05-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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Lets put it this way. I occasionally expirament like this myself sometimes. It never turns out superb, but it sure is fun.

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Old 02-05-2010, 12:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeWallace View Post
Thanks for the reply. I knew people would say I went way over board with the ingredients, but I wanted to go a little crazy with this one, and either have it fail and get it out of my system at the beginning, or have it turn out okay. I'm the same with cooking and it usually works out.

I didn't want to use gypsum at all, but I knew my tap water has a really high pH, so I planned to use 1-2 tsp just to get it down to 7 or so, but every time I took a pH reading it was still too high to even give me a reading with a basic testing kit. I stopped at 4 tsp, and that's when my chocolate oatmeal stout turned into a chocolate coffee stout. The coffee was a last minute addition to attempt to lower the pH a bit more before it was time to pitch the yeast.

I can't really do anything about the temperature. I usually keep my condo at 79-80, but I turned the heat down to ferment the beer. The fermenter is on the tile floor in the coolest area of my condo. What's the point of living indoors if you can't stay toasty warm in the cold Chicago winters? I usually drink lighter European lagers like Becks, Pilsner Urquell, Grolsche and occasionally Stella Artiou, so I plan to do a lot of lagering in my refrigerator in the Mr. Beer 2 1/2 gallon fermenter, but until then I wanted get some practice in, going through the steps, and I figured a highly experimental stout would be a good lesson in the mechanics of home brewing. And if it turns out to be drinkable, all the better, but if not it's not the end of the world. My main concern right now is figuring out a way to keep the fermenters at a lower temperature, because there's no chance of my thermostat getting set below 77. In the mean time I moved this batch up against my sliding glass door to try and lower the temperature a few degrees.
You are doing an extract beer, there is no need to even look or care about the pH of your water.

You'll probably get a very estery beer at those temperatures... and speaking of which are you about 90 years old? 80F? Bad circulatory system?
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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I need to worry about having my fermenters warm in the winter because I keep my house at 65 or lower. I can't imagine 76 in my house that's crazy.

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Old 02-06-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z987k View Post
You are doing an extract beer, there is no need to even look or care about the pH of your water.
Thanks, I didn't know that. Other than the amount of certain elements being pulled from the grains, I would have thought that pH had little to do with anything other than having the best possible environment for the yeast to thrive while keeping bacteria, molds and fungi at bay. I would still assume that pH plays an important role in that, and would prefer to keep the pH within a good range for the yeast to thrive while making it as harsh of conditions as possible for other micro-organisms. Or is that not usually an issue that's considered when home brewing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokinghole View Post
I need to worry about having my fermenters warm in the winter because I keep my house at 65 or lower. I can't imagine 76 in my house that's crazy.
65, if you had someone paying you rent you'd be breaking slum lord laws. To me that's crazy. I also breed pythons, so I've had to keep my ambient temps here in the mid 70s, and I guess I got used to it. The snake room is kept at 82-88 depending on the time of year, and I have my coffee in there every morning just for the warmth.To each his own I guess.

I got a large wine chiller that uses a thermal electric chip and heat sink, so I can do my next batch at 65-68, and probably even use it to lager 5 gallon batches, but that will be close. I might have to cut out a square in the back and add a second piezo chip to get that low. I'm glad I found something, because I was worried about it from the beginning, but I didn't know what I could do. The pale ale kit I did was fairly fruity, but my neighbor said he liked it so I gave the last 18 bottles to him.

My secondary is finished, and I just transferred the stout into it. It smells like Guiness, so my fingers are crossed that it will be drinkable, but either way I'm going to start a much simpler batch this weekend and keep it in the wine cooler, so I should be okay from here on out.
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Old 02-06-2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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The extract will sufficiently drop your pH into the normal ranger for beer. It's a concern when all grain brewing for the mash. Too high of a mash pH will reduced efficiency and can extract tannins in the sparge.

BTW, I keep my place 62 in the winter.

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