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Old 07-09-2013, 11:42 PM   #21
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I didn't see if there were answers to some of these, so if I"m repeating, please forgive me.

#3- why gypsum and CaCl2? If you need it, you need it, but without a water profile that tells if it's needed it may be a bad move. Also, no need to stir the mash. When you mash in, stir like you mean it. Then stir some more. Take the temperature in at least three different places. If the temperature is the same throughout, cover and walk way. If it's different- stir some more. After that, no need to stir the mash again.
#4. I have no idea what that means. All your grains go in together. Stir well. Leave them alone.
#5. Again, the gypsum and CaCl2? Why?
#7. I think you're doing this the hard way. If that's the only way you can sparge, so be it. but it sure sounds cumbersome. There is no need to slowly lift, let drip, etc. Just sparge by pouring draining the runnings and adding the sparge water, or dunk them in a new pot with the sparge water. The way you're explaining sounds difficult, slow, and unnecessary.
#8. A 90 minute boil and 90 minute hops is generally overkill. 90% of the time (or more), 60 minutes is fine.
#10. The end of boil hops and hops stand sounds very cumbersome. I'd streamline that, but you're not harming anything by doing it that way.
#11. Big waste of time, and unnecessary. Either use hops bags, or use some other filtering mechanism. But don't worry about sanitizing a strainer and going fishing for hops. Big waste of time and energy (and wort!)
#12- between the hops stand and "going fishing" that's another big time waster. If you're going to whirlpool and siphon, don't waste time with the hops strainer thing. Just do the whirlpool when the wort is chilled, then siphon off of the hops. Pitch yeast after aerating the wort, not halfway through.
#14. Again, aerate BEFORE pitching.

I'd skip racking to a bright tank ("secondary") since it isn't needed and more chance for screwing around with the beer.

Bottling:
1. Just boil the corn sugar in the water, and dump into the sanitized bottling bucket. No need to cool or mess around with it.
2. Absolutely NOT. Put the priming solution into the bottling bucket. Rack the beer into it. Bottle immediately. No sitting/standing/playing around. Bottle right away, from the bottling bucket. No stirring/splashing/etc. don't wash bottles in the dishwasher. Wash bottles by hand, with a bottle brush and oxiclean. Rinse well. On bottling day, sanitize the bottles. Star-san is the best to use, and you can use it when you're sanitizing the bottling tubing and racking cane and bottling bucket. You can sanitize in the dishwasher if you have a "sanitize" setting, but it's much faster to just use a vinator and bottle tree (less than 10 minutes).
3. (or is it 4?). Don't boil your bottle caps. Ever. Put them in a little bowl of sanitizer, and use them as you go.
3-6- just use a bottling wand and a bottling bucket. It's easy, skips the "secondary" and makes life easier and the beer better.
7. No. Cap immediately.

Brewing is pretty easy, but adding 10-15 extra steps makes it difficult and cumbersome. If there is a reason to do something, that's one thing. But there is a whole lot of "make work" in your steps that not only won't help but may harm the beer. I'd try to read Howtobrew.com and see if you can get an understanding of brewing and bottling before trying again.

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Old 07-10-2013, 09:24 AM   #22
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THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR ADVICE. THIS HAS HELPED TREMENDOUSLY.


kh54s10

Quote:
A swamp cooler is a container large enough to put your fermenter in it with enough water to go at least 1/3 the way up the side. You can rotate plastic bottles of frozen water as often as needed to control the wort temperature. I like to ferment most ales at about 64 degrees F.
This is a good idea. I will do this. Thank you.

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I find that some are carbonated at 2 weeks but all of my brews have tasted better after 3 weeks or longer.
Hmm. I guess I can wait that long. It won't hurt I suppose.

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Even using bru'n water you still have to know your starting point. Do you know your source water profile?
Yes, I looked up my city's water profile and plugged those values into the Bru'n program.

Yooper
Thanks for the detailed advice. There were many repeats but there are two things I wanted to discuss:
Quote:
#14. Again, aerate BEFORE pitching.
Why is this? It seems to me that aerating after pitching would help with yeast distribution in the wort. Is there something bad about that that I'm missing?

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7. No. Cap immediately.
Waiting 10 minutes to cap the bottles is a trick I learned from a nationally renowned homebrew expert from my hometown of San Francisco, the owner of the homebrew shop SF Brewcraft, a guy called "Griz". He says that the small amount of CO2 that's produced from the corn sugar addition in that 10 minutes is enough to purge the headspace of the bottle with CO2, thus creating an oxygen-free bottle when you cap. It's impossible for me to varify if this is true or not (if enough CO2 is produced in that short time), but he's a guy who knows what he's talking about in general so I went with his advice.

And one more question. With the grain bed acting as a filter, what exactly is it filtering? If you don't use it as a filter, such as in my process, are you getting bad flavors or just hazy beer?
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:02 PM   #23
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T

Yooper
Thanks for the detailed advice. There were many repeats but there are two things I wanted to discuss:

Why is this? It seems to me that aerating after pitching would help with yeast distribution in the wort. Is there something bad about that that I'm missing?


Waiting 10 minutes to cap the bottles is a trick I learned from a nationally renowned homebrew expert from my hometown of San Francisco, the owner of the homebrew shop SF Brewcraft, a guy called "Griz". He says that the small amount of CO2 that's produced from the corn sugar addition in that 10 minutes is enough to purge the headspace of the bottle with CO2, thus creating an oxygen-free bottle when you cap. It's impossible for me to varify if this is true or not (if enough CO2 is produced in that short time), but he's a guy who knows what he's talking about in general so I went with his advice.

And one more question. With the grain bed acting as a filter, what exactly is it filtering? If you don't use it as a filter, such as in my process, are you getting bad flavors or just hazy beer?
You don't need to mix up the yeast- they do just fine on their own. You want to pitch the yeast into a well aerated wort, at the proper temperature (generally 65 degrees or so for ales).

I understand what you're saying about the co2, sort of. But if you've already let it sit for an hour, letting it sit to produce co2 before capping is silly. Sure, there may be a little bit of co2 coming out of solution, but you've also given it a venue for oxygen. Just fill with a bottling wand to the top, remove the wand, and set the cap on. You can tighten the caps all at once, but at least set the cap on it. (And of course, no sitting for an hour anyway).

I don't understand the question about the grainbed filter, sorry!
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Old 07-10-2013, 01:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by seanppp
THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR ADVICE.

Why is this? It seems to me that aerating after pitching would help with yeast distribution in the wort. Is there something bad about that that I'm missing?

And one more question. With the grain bed acting as a filter, what exactly is it filtering? If you don't use it as a filter, such as in my process, are you getting bad flavors or just hazy beer?
You're welcome! I think it's cool you are brewing in Italy. Show those Italians what beer is all about!
As for the yeast being pitched before or after aerating, it really doesn't make any difference. Just do it when it fits best on your process. There's no need to "distribute the yeast", but it won't hurt anything.
Your grain bed "filter" is just filtering itself. As the wort runs out of it, it compacts slightly preventing any grain husks from getting into your brew...
Brew on!!
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:13 PM   #25
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Demus: That's right. The beer here is lacking to say the least. I hear there are some good microbreweries cropping up in Italy, but none of them are near me!

yooper and Demus, the question about the grain bed is this: What is the grain bed filter actually filtering? Is it only the whole grains themselves, or are there smaller fines that are getting filtered too? Since my "lauter tun" thing has holes that are too small for the grains to slip by, do I need to worry about laying down an undisturbed filter bed? If not, it'd be a lot easier to not worry about that with my current set up. Just throw the grains in the sparge water pot, mix the hell out of them, and pour them through the "lauter tun" which at the point is acting as a strainer, and then continue on the the boil. You see what I'm saying?

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Old 07-10-2013, 04:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by seanppp View Post
yooper and Demus, the question about the grain bed is this: What is the grain bed filter actually filtering? Is it only the whole grains themselves, or are there smaller fines that are getting filtered too? Since my "lauter tun" thing has holes that are too small for the grains to slip by, do I need to worry about laying down an undisturbed filter bed? If not, it'd be a lot easier to not worry about that with my current set up. Just throw the grains in the sparge water pot, mix the hell out of them, and pour them through the "lauter tun" which at the point is acting as a strainer, and then continue on the the boil. You see what I'm saying?
I really don't understand what you're asking, but the grainbed filters itself- particles of husk and pieces of grain. Some people use bags for all of their grain, while others (like me) use a mash/lauter tun. It doesn't matter- you want the big chunks and particles to be filtered out and mostly clear wort to go to the brew kettle. How you get that is up to the brewer, as there are several techniques to separate the grain from the wort (the actual definition of "lauter").
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #27
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I am asking what exactly is being filtered. Is it only the grains themselves, or is it some sort of smaller part of the grain that might slip by a 1/8" hole? Are the individual grains adsorbing some small particulate, or are we just worried about whole grains getting in the wort? I ask because, like I wrote before, can I just throw the grains in the sparge water pot, mix the hell out of them, wait a few minutes, and then pour them through the "lauter tun" which at this point is acting as a strainer, and then continue on the the boil?

Is there anything small than a barley grain that needs to be filtered kept out of the wort? Or is it only the barley grains themselves that need to be kept out?

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Old 07-11-2013, 04:28 AM   #28
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It's the crushed grain husks that both act as a filter, and are filtered out. If you mix the hell out of it, as you describe you will get some of the finer pieces into your wort because the grain bed has no chance to settle. This COULD lead to off flavors from tannins in the husks. It could also be fine and just settle out with the rest of the yeast and trub. FYI, in a traditional sparge, a few quarts are collected to help settle the grain bed, and returned to the mash. This is called "vorlauf", and it works quite well. When I do it the first quart or so is quite cloudy, with quite a bit of particulate. After that it runs clear into my kettle. I can't say for sure there's a flavor impact, but that's the standard practice...

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Old 07-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #29
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It's the crushed grain husks that both act as a filter, and are filtered out. If you mix the hell out of it, as you describe you will get some of the finer pieces into your wort because the grain bed has no chance to settle. This COULD lead to off flavors from tannins in the husks. It could also be fine and just settle out with the rest of the yeast and trub. FYI, in a traditional sparge, a few quarts are collected to help settle the grain bed, and returned to the mash. This is called "vorlauf", and it works quite well. When I do it the first quart or so is quite cloudy, with quite a bit of particulate. After that it runs clear into my kettle. I can't say for sure there's a flavor impact, but that's the standard practice...
Okay. That explains it pretty well. Thanks. Since I don't do a fly sparge I think I'll use a paint filter when I pour it back in with the mash.
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