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Old 10-04-2012, 11:26 PM   #1
Flaviking
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Default Jumping in with both feet

So... ive got a couple of extract kits under my belt and they have all turned out pretty well. So I am thinking it is time to step up to all grain, but being the impatient SOB that I am.. Im going right into designing my own recipe and not even bothering with a kit first... I know.. probably a bad Idea.. but I got into this with the idea that I could make my own beer, that no one else has done before, even if it is just a slight variation of a tried and true...

So here is my first stab at a recipe.. Please let me know what ou think.. If I am way off base and this will suck, or if I am at least on the right track.

A Ginger Bread beer for the holidays that the SWMBO wants.

Grain
7lbs Marris Otter
1lb Crystal Malt - 120L
12 oz Biscuit Malt ( I read a little goes a long way)

Hops

1 oz Northern Brewer at 60 minutes
.50 oz East Kent Goldings at 30 minutes

Spices (5 minutes left of boil)

.25 tsp Allspice
.25 tsp Nutmeg
.50 tsp Ground Ginger
1 Cinnamon Stick
4 oz of molasses at flame out

Well,

Thats it.. Let me know what you think, please.

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Old 10-05-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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I think you are on the right track. I personally would use more of your base malt -- what OG are you shooting for? Also, I'm curious as to why you are using so much dark crystal? Not saying it is wrong, just curious. Lastly, you might want to consider adding your spices in the secondary, rather than in the boil. You don't want to boil off any of the aroma.

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:01 PM   #3
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I'd probably add the molasses to secondary too. Boil a little water and add the molasses to that to dissolve then dump it in. I'm not a big fan of the flavor molasses leaves after it's been fermented. It takes like sucking on an old penny to me. In secondary it doesn't seem to have the same harshness.

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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This looks like a tasty start to a holiday recipe. Is this for a 5 gallon batch? If so, then I agree, add more base malt. It's looking like 3.5% abv the way it is.

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Old 10-05-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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Knowing what I know about cinnamon sticks (hard to sanitize), i'd probably use powdered cinnamon at 1/8th of a teaspoon. I would also concur on upping your base malt by a few pounds. Being your first AG brew, you're likely going to miss your mark on OG until you gain some mashing experience. Figure on overshooting your base malt by 10% or so, and even if you do hit your efficiency mark, no big whoop. The 120L crystal malt is going to impart a lot of mud red color, caramel and slightly rum-raisin sweetness without the molasses. The biscuit malt will add a little bready complexity to the beer. I might also skip the molasses as I also taste that dry penny flavor when I drink molasses brewed beers. You might substitute in some special B malt or some honey malt for that sweet character you're looking for.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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Congrats! Last year I jumped in as well after one partial mash kit. It can be very time consuming at first checking and altering and wondering about your recipes. Good thing there's forums like this to help get some confirmation. When you can't decide on your recipe start running experiments, I like to brew half batches with a small change to the grain bill or hop schedule. I figure that way you learn twice as fast and you can compare the results side by side

Are you using a program to predict your OG and other details? I kind of wonder if that's a lot of crystal 120 to be using but depends on what you're shooting for. I used about 4% C120 and it really brought up a rich red color. Still sitting in secondary so I can't comment on flavor yet but the hydro samples weren't too sweet. Did you end up with so much C120 to acheive a certain SRM? If so you could always replace some of the 120 with a very small amount of something super dark like carafa which gets you the color without so much of the unfermentables.

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Old 10-06-2012, 09:53 PM   #7
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Wow.. thanks for all the responses guys!

To answer some of your questions:

Hersher: My thought on using som much of the crystal malt was that I wanted this beer to have a nice deep red color being Christmas and all... I originally thought about using carared, if one is better than the other I'm ok with using either but after reading aiptasia's comment about the flavor.. I'm thinking it will taste amazing!! And I will definitley consider adding the spices into the secondary after fermentation.

Cadillacandy: Thanks for the warning.. I am actually thinking now about removing molasses from the recipe all together. Seems like the crystal malt will achieve what I am looking for without the penny side effect (sounds nasty by the way)

Odin Brews: I am using beersmith2 to calculate my recipe, I made some adjustments based on your suggestions. Here they are:

9lbs 8 oz Marris Otter
8 oz Crystal Malt - 120L
8 oz Special B Malt
4 oz Biscuit Malt

Hops

1 oz Northern Brewer at 60 minutes
.50 oz East Kent Goldings at 30 minutes

Spices (added to secondary after fermentation)

.25 tsp Allspice
.25 tsp Nutmeg
.50 tsp Ground Ginger
.125 tsp of cinnamon

I am going to do a single infusion, batch sparge

Beer smith is telling me to Mash in with 3.35 gallons of water at a temp of 164 and let that steep for 60 minutes.

Then batch sparge with 5 gallons @ 168. I'm looking to end up with about 5.5 gallons of wort at a pre boil gravity of about 1.051 (I know I have too much water for this, Just figured I would fill up my kettle until its 5.5 gallons) .. that should boil off about a half gallon and leave me with 5 gallons after a 60 minute boil, right? For some reason I'm just not trusting thse BeerSmith numbers. Any more help would be awesome.

Thanks in advance for your time.

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Old 10-06-2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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Boil off rates are different and depend on a whole slew of factors. If you're looking for 5 gallons after fermentation, I would aim higher on the preboil, like maybe 6.5-7 even to account for boil off, losses to transfer after boil, and losses in transferring to bottling or keg. I always find that I end up with a lot more trub and sediment than I think I'm going to. There are a lot more places for losses in all grain.

I think the recipe looks good otherwise, C-120 gives a lot of interesting colors and 'dark' complexity. Sound like that's what you're looking for.

Good luck and be patient, think everything through and just take your time with the first batch.

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Old 10-08-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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Ive found beersmith's water volumes to do pretty well. Though I always set my own pre boil volume rather than the calculated. I agree about 6.5 pre boil volume, and you'll lose some water to the mash tun which the grains will absorb, beersmith will estimate that too, I lose about 1 liter/kg, whatever that's worth in gal/lb.

One mistake I made from the start was with the sparge. You might already know this or you might be in my boat, in case you're like me;

I sparged in water at 168 F for quite a few batches. Then I realized that the grain bed is actually something like 145 after I finish lautering, so my sparge temps were approximately same as my mash temp. I ended with very fermentable worts and really low f.g. Solution was to sparge with water around 184 and then this would settle out to a nice sparge at 168. The second batch sparge (if you use one) doesn't have to be so high in temp as the grain bed following sparge 1 is higher already. Beersmith has a tool you can use 'mash adjust' to try to estimate what temp to add to the grain bed to get your desired sparge temp.

Anyway, thought Id throw that out there as it took me a while to figure out. Now I measure all my grain bed/sparge temps and Im slowly dialing in what I need to get it right on everytime.

Cheers

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Old 10-08-2012, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillacandy View Post
I'd probably add the molasses to secondary too. Boil a little water and add the molasses to that to dissolve then dump it in. I'm not a big fan of the flavor molasses leaves after it's been fermented. It takes like sucking on an old penny to me. In secondary it doesn't seem to have the same harshness.
This comment doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Whether you add molasses (a fermentable) in secondary or in the kettle, the yeast are going to ferment it. I'm not sure why fermenting it in secondary should give a different character than fermenting it in primary, but make no mistake: adding it at either stage will still result in fermenting it. That said, it's kind of academic if the molasses gets dropped from the recipe!

Also: on the recipe, sounds like you're backing WAY off on the biscuit malt - any particular reason why? Down to 4oz, you're not going to get a whole lot of anything out of it. Over the summer I brewed up a blueberry muffin ale, using biscuit to try to get a distinct bready note in the base beer. I planned for 10% biscuit in the grist, and the guy at my LHBS talked me down to 9%, and the bready note was slightly more subdued than I was looking for. You're looking at like 2.3% of your grist being biscuit - there might be a hint of something in there in your finished beer, but not much more than that. I like the addition of the special b though - that one can definitely add a cool character!
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