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Old 10-13-2009, 09:32 PM   #1
Lateralus
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Default First Time Solo AG... Need Help With APA Recipe

So I'm doing my first solo all-grain brew sometime soon (maybe this weekend). I've done one before with a friend and it was fairly straightforward, although the final beer isn't as good as I hoped. I'm going for something better this time.

I want to make an American-style pale ale - a nice coppery color, some caramelly sweetness up front leading to a dry finish with a bit of citrusy hoppiness. Something along the lines of Flying Dog's Pale Ale, perhaps. I heard they use just two-row and crystal 120, is that correct?

What I have sketched out so far:

10 lbs American two-row (Rahr)
12 oz crystal 120 (Briess)
4 oz crystal 20 (Briess)
3 oz carapils (Briess)

0.25oz simcoe @ 90
0.5oz amarillo @ 30
0.75 oz simcoe @ 10
0.5oz amarillo @ 5

American Ale 1056

What do you think of this?

I heard that if I'm using a pound of crystal malt already then I don't need to add carapils, is that true? And the purpose of carapils is to improve head retention and stability? What is meant by stability?

Anyone have any particular opinions of the malting companies? I work at my LHBS so I get a discount and I know all about the stuff we sell, but not much side-by-side as far as flavor and other characteristics. Would I notice a difference between maltsters with my two-row? We carry organic two-row from Briess, but our regular two-row is Rahr.

I used the calculator at byo and it gave me an SRM of 17 and 41 IBUs. Are those numbers realistic? 41 seems awfully high with only a quarter-ounce of simcoe at the start of the boil. Originally I had the simcoe split 50/50 but the IBUs were way high. I want 35-40 IBUs. Is that a good IBU for this style? I went a fairly prominent, but not intense, hop character. I'm thinking along the lines of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

What are the pros and cons of a 90 minute boil versus 60 minutes? My buddy who helped me brew my last batch is a professional brewer and he said to go for 90. I know pros aren't immune to error, but if it's worth it to go 90, I will.

What are the advantages of a thinner mash? The calculator assumed a default of 1.25 quarts per pound of grain, so it calls for 3.5 gallons. On my last batch we used quite a lot more than that (I think almost six gallons actually for 11lbs of grain). Is that too much? I think I read something about some homebrewers getting better results with 1.5 quarts per gallon. I'm mashing in my brew kettle (I know, ghetto-fied setup but worked fine last time) so the volume shouldn't be an issue, up to a point.

We didn't use any irish moss or other kettle coagulants in my last batch, but I want to for this one. At what point in the boil do I add that?

How useful is yeast nutrient? Is it worthwhile? At what point do I use it? I got a suggestion to use it in the last 10 minutes of the boil, is that OK? I'm talking about the vials of Wyeast yeast nutrient with the blue top.

I'm probably going to be asking a few more questions in this thread, but this is enough for now. Thanks in advance for anyone who offers any advice, suggestions, opinions, etc.

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
So I'm doing my first solo all-grain brew sometime soon (maybe this weekend). I've done one before with a friend and it was fairly straightforward, although the final beer isn't as good as I hoped. I'm going for something better this time.

I want to make an American-style pale ale - a nice coppery color, some caramelly sweetness up front leading to a dry finish with a bit of citrusy hoppiness. Something along the lines of Flying Dog's Pale Ale, perhaps. I heard they use just two-row and crystal 120, is that correct?

What I have sketched out so far:

10 lbs American two-row (Rahr)
12 oz crystal 120 (Briess)
4 oz crystal 20 (Briess)
3 oz carapils (Briess)

0.25oz simcoe @ 90
0.5oz amarillo @ 30
0.75 oz simcoe @ 10
0.5oz amarillo @ 5

American Ale 1056

What do you think of this?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
I heard that if I'm using a pound of crystal malt already then I don't need to add carapils, is that true? And the purpose of carapils is to improve head retention and stability? What is meant by stability?
Foam stabilty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
What are the pros and cons of a 90 minute boil versus 60 minutes? My buddy who helped me brew my last batch is a professional brewer and he said to go for 90. I know pros aren't immune to error, but if it's worth it to go 90, I will.
90 minute boil will help to reduce more DMS from very pale malts, you could do a 60 minute boil with 2-row, but with pilsener malts you definitely want a longer boil to rid the wort of as much DMS as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
What are the advantages of a thinner mash? The calculator assumed a default of 1.25 quarts per pound of grain, so it calls for 3.5 gallons. On my last batch we used quite a lot more than that (I think almost six gallons actually for 11lbs of grain). Is that too much? I think I read something about some homebrewers getting better results with 1.5 quarts per gallon. I'm mashing in my brew kettle (I know, ghetto-fied setup but worked fine last time) so the volume shouldn't be an issue, up to a point.
I can't speak to the advantage/disadvantage of thinner/thicker mashes, but if you're milling your own grain I would stick with 1.25 qt/lb, if you are getting your grain milled then you may want to adjust mash thickness to increase efficiency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
We didn't use any irish moss or other kettle coagulants in my last batch, but I want to for this one. At what point in the boil do I add that?
10-15 minutes before the end of the boil, I add Irish Moss when I put my chiller in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
How useful is yeast nutrient? Is it worthwhile? At what point do I use it? I got a suggestion to use it in the last 10 minutes of the boil, is that OK? I'm talking about the vials of Wyeast yeast nutrient with the blue top.
10 minutes is fine, I always use some sort of yeast nutrient, IMO anything that will promote a healthier fermentation is worth using
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Last edited by Schnitzengiggle; 10-13-2009 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:12 PM   #3
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Lots of good questions. I'll answer what I can.

Kilning produces dextrin, an unfermentable carbohydrate that improves head retention. Crystal malts are kilned and with a sufficient amount of that you won't need any carapils. You want a nice solid foamy head that lingers for a bit. Stability I would assume means it's not collapsing in on itself, there are million terms you could use for this. Your recipe is going to have enough crystal malts for decent retention.

I don't really know that you could tell a difference between two malting companies. Just as long as the malt is within the correct SRM and is fresh you should be fine.

17 SRM seems a bit high for a nice colored APA. In fact that's outside of the BJCP guidelines for an APA and would probably be dark enough to get you docked for color. Consider replacing the crystal 120 with crystal 60 to cut your SRM way down. It needs to be between 5-14. Sierra Nevada uses crystal 60 I believe.

Simcoe is a high alpha acid hop. You could get upwards of 14 percent out of it. If it's that high a half oz is going to yield somewhere around 27 IBU alone. 41 IBU sounds totally reasonable.

I usually boil for 60 minutes. Boiling gets rid of DMS which causes off flavors. It also concentrates the wort and can to a small point allow greater utilization of hop alpha acids. If you boil for 60 and the beer tastes great then boil for 60. If you have DMS flavors boil it for 90 next time. Just remember to compensate for your IBUs and boiiloff. Either way is probably fine.

I've mashed at 1.25 and 1.5 about equally both ways. One advantage to the higher volume is that you have to heat up less sparge water. You also have a thinner mash which can be nice to prevent stuck sparges. If you have a high gravity brew going and the grain bill is huge you could step it back to 1.25 if you are running out of room in your mash tun. I use pretty much 1.5 exclusively now. It's sorta up to you.

Use irish moss at 15 mins left in the boil.

You shouldn't need any yeast nutrient. Wyeast smack pack and White Labs vials are ready to go w/o any nutrient. Maybe if it's a super high gravity beer and you wanna get the yeast ramped up. Really though I never use it except when making a starter I boil it into the starter.

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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Also you could consider using Magnum hops instead of Simcoe. I have fallen in love w/magnum after cloning some Sierra Nevada brews.

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Old 10-16-2009, 03:22 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm still thinking about how I want to do things.

I think I'll stick with my hop choices, although I might change the schedule. I've been reading good things about late-addition hopping, and about using more than one type of hops in each addition. I think I'll mix my ounce each of Simcoe and Amarillo and add them steadily as the boil continues.

How much sparge water should I use? At what temperature should the sparge water be? I'm probably going to use 4.5 gallons of mash water. I want a 5 or 5.5 gallon final batch size, after boil. No lid on kettle or lid halfway on.

How does this look for a schedule? The sparge water amount and the pitch temperature I'm not sure about so I just guessed. Am I missing any steps? What should I consider changing, adding or removing?


sanitize all equipment
heat mash water 4.5 gal 162°
strike temp 162°
add grains
mash temp 152° 60 min
heat sparge water 170°
vorlauf
sparge
run off to kettle
boil +60 min
mix 1 oz amarillo + 1 oz simcoe
add 0.5oz hops @ +40 min
add 0.5 oz hops @ +20 min
add 0.5 oz hops @ +10 min
add 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient @ +10 min
add 0.5 oz hops @ +5 min
flameout @ 0 min
heat yeast water
chill wort 75°
cool yeast water
hydrate yeast 20 min
pitch Safale US-05 yeast @ ~75°
14 days primary ferment @ 70°
rack to bottling bucket
add 2/3 cup white cane sugar
bottle
21 days @ 70°
consume

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Old 10-16-2009, 03:56 AM   #6
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I think that all looks pretty good for the most part. Recipe wise I would drop the Carapils or the 20. They are both Crystal Malts so I would go with one or the other. I would personally stick with carapils, you will get plenty of Caramel type flavors from the 120.

For process, I do a double batch sparge and heat my first round of sparge water to 185*, sometimes 190* depending on the grain bed temp. I also like to mash at 1.5qts/lb, I feel it actually helps my overall efficiency since it leaves me with a greater amount of sparge water, and it's a plenty thin mash. For fermentation a 3-4 week primary is ideal, even after the main fermentation is complete the yeast has plenty of work to do cleaning up various "things" in the beer, and helps with clearing the beer. There's my two cents worth, hope it helps.

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Old 10-17-2009, 02:46 AM   #7
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I just did my first two all-grain batches. Been brewing off and on since the late 70s, but finally realized I couldn't get close to updating those award-winning hophead microbrews I love without updating my practices.

Alot of good responses here, but I'll add a few things:
1. Look at the mashing examples pointed to in the stickies at the top of the all-grain section.
2. Use whirlfloc instead of irish moss. Works every time. Irish moss - sometimes.
3. Download and try one of the software program demos, ESPECIALLY if you are trying to craft your own recipe! The software section has a lot of good info on these. I've been testing out Beersmith. That or one of the other main ones will answer all your calculation dreams, give you a schedule that'll help calibrate your mash/sparge/boil system so you can get consistent, and anything else you need in terms of brewing. It's even a great learning tool!
4. Think about your fermentation temperatures. Probably one of the most important and most overlooked thing. Doing ales at 64 vs. 75 can make a huge difference, for example.
5. Consider doing a recipe from the recipe database for your first all grain. You'll get more help here doing a tried and true. I designed my first recipe, and, while OK, I think my second, from the recipes/pale ale section, is going to come out even better.
6. Use the search! In 2 all-grain brews I am so far up the learning curve I'm almost dialed in. I probably eliminated 95% of the problems I didn't know I'd have.
7. RDWHAHB

Good luck,
Rich

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Old 10-20-2009, 07:27 PM   #8
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I read this here:

Quote:
One thing I didn't see mentioned is that the lighter the Crystal/Caramel malt the more it will aid head retention. IME/IMO, the darker ones hardly at all.
Is this true? I was thinking of adding some Victory, maybe 4-8oz, and scratching the Crystal 20 and the Carapils and upping the 120 and 2-row a little. Maybe 6-6.5% ABV instead of 5.3%. But I won't delete the Carapils if the 120 won't cut it for body and/or head retention.

Deciding on a recipe is tough. I'm continuously finding ingredients and methods to improve and refine it. Fairly sure I'm brewing this Friday.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:58 PM   #9
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I'd probably swap the amounts on the 20L/120L so that you only have 4oz of 120 to get closer to the correct color for an APA.

Figure a boil off of 1.5 gallons so you need to start with 7gallon preboil. With 11 pounds of malt and 4.5 gallons strike, your first runnings will be about 3 gallons. So, you'll sparge with 4 gallons at about 185 assuming a batch sparge. You may add it all at once or break it into two equal batches. Your choice. You can also opt to add 1/2 gallons of sparge before the first runnings, then sparge with 3.5 once. Either way, you'll get your 7 gallons.

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Old 10-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #10
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I agree with Bobby, 12 oz of C120 is alot for 5 gallons of a pale ale. The color alone from that might be out of style.

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