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Old 07-30-2008, 06:37 PM   #1
vthokie98
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Default 1st AG - Advice

I'm hoping to brew Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde saturday for my first AG. I have a few questions if you have a few minutest to give some advice.

1. Should I up the base grains and expect to get a lower efficiency than 70% the recipe calls for?

2. I'm expecting i'm not going to be able to get both centennial AND cascade hops from my lhbs...can i substitute any hop in the general AA% to get the taste as close as possible or are there specific hops I should look for as a substitute?

3. If I have a choice of a good substitute for leaf hops and pellet hops does it really make a difference if I choose either one? Do i need to adjust quantity for leaf as opposed to pellet hops?

4. I'm looking to get 5.2 ph stabilizer at my lhbs. I don't know my water makeup and from what i've read i don't see any negatives for using it. Do you dump it in the mash after dough in or in the strike water before dough in? Does it matter when you add it?

I just finished my flyguy 10 gal mash tun conversion (Thanks Flyguy!) and can't wait to jump into AG brewing...any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mike

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Old 07-30-2008, 06:49 PM   #2
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2. I'm expecting i'm not going to be able to get both centennial AND cascade hops from my lhbs...can i substitute any hop in the general AA% to get the taste as close as possible or are there specific hops I should look for as a substitute?
Centennial is citrusy and piney. Cascades are citrusy with strong grapefruit flavor. Ahtanum, Amarillo, and Summit are also citrusy with varying degrees of grapefruit/tangerine flavor and aroma. I'm not a fan of piney hops so I don't use Centennial myself. Maybe others can suggest a suitable replacement "piney" hop if you want that effect.

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4. I'm looking to get 5.2 ph stabilizer at my lhbs. I don't know my water makeup and from what i've read i don't see any negatives for using it. Do you dump it in the mash after dough in or in the strike water before dough in? Does it matter when you add it?
Stir it into the strike water before doughing in. It'll turn your water cloudy... don't worry. Get some pH strips at your LHBS. After 5 minutes (to allow time for gelatanization) take a pH measurement. You want to be close to 5.2. 5.4 is fine. If your water is exceptionally hard with a lot of buffering power like mine, you may need to add gypsum or halite with the 5.2 to get the pH down to 5.2. 5.2 stabilizer is a buffer not a miracle. If your water is good, which it is for most people, the 5.2 alone will do the trick and it will really help you get good mash efficiency (along with a good crush of your grain).

If you use 5.2 and your grain is properly crushed, you should have no trouble getting 70% efficiency even with a poorly executed batch sparge. It won't hurt to plan for 60-65%, though, if you end up over your OG you can always top off with extra water! OTOH it's hard to go the other way

Best wishes.
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:54 PM   #3
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1. No you should probably be able to get 70% on a light beer like this, even for your first time.

2. Use this to find a good replacement http://byo.com/referenceguide/hops/

Centennial and cascade are good substitutions for each other, and amarillo and columbus are good as well. Both are excellent hops.

3. No and no.

4. Never used it.

Good luck, and have fun!

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick responses...HBT rocks!!!...I've been lurking on here for quite a while and feel like this site has prepared me as much as i guess I can be prepared to go AG...thanks to all and i plan to start another thread to summarize my first AG experience.

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:22 PM   #5
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You might want to have a little DME on hand just in case you need to bump up your OG a little though. I bet you'll be fine without it though.

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:34 PM   #6
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You might want to have a little DME on hand just in case you need to bump up your OG a little though. I bet you'll be fine without it though.
so you take your OG after the boil, how do you add extra dme? and how much should you add for say 0.01 point per 5 gal ?
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:40 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestion...I have extra light DME on my shopping list...

FEARDIZ...of course i haven't done an AG brew but from my readings on this forum I believe the gravity before and after the boil should be the same so if you are low on your gravity before you boil you should add a little DME before you boil to get you to the desired gravity...please correct me if i'm wrong as this is what i plan to do on saturday if i come up short.

Thanks everyone

Mike

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by vthokie98 View Post
Thanks for the suggestion...I have extra light DME on my shopping list...

FEARDIZ...of course i haven't done an AG brew but from my readings on this forum I believe the gravity before and after the boil should be the same so if you are low on your gravity before you boil you should add a little DME before you boil to get you to the desired gravity...please correct me if i'm wrong as this is what i plan to do on saturday if i come up short.

Thanks everyone

Mike
The gravity will go up as you boil. The volume will go down, and the concentration of sugar goes up. Using brewing software you can use the pre-boil gravity to estimate the post-boil gravity, if you know or can estimate your boil-off rate.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:43 PM   #9
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so you take your OG after the boil, how do you add extra dme? and how much should you add for say 0.01 point per 5 gal ?
You would boil it with as little water as possible, cool it, and add it. DME is 44 points per pound per gallon. So, five gallons of water and five pounds of DME will yield 1.044 wort. If you need to raise it by say 5 points, I believe you multiply that by 5 for the number of gallons and then divide by 44 to get the amount to add.

I've also heard people say 1/2 pound will add 4 points which seems to mesh well with my formula.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:54 PM   #10
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You would boil it with as little water as possible, cool it, and add it. DME is 44 points per pound per gallon. So, five gallons of water and five pounds of DME will yield 1.044 wort. If you need to raise it by say 5 points, I believe you multiply that by 5 for the number of gallons and then divide by 44 to get the amount to add.

I've also heard people say 1/2 pound will add 4 points which seems to mesh well with my formula.
boil for 10-15 minutes or so?
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