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rayfound 01-18-2013 04:35 PM

Minimizing Variables
 
Mt First brew day was an extract kit 3 weeks ago. Will bottle soon.

In the 3 weeks:

I've purchased and wired an STC-1000 Temperature control module. (Still need to build some kind of "box" keeping brew warm in the garage, probably a large insulated cardboard box with a 60W lightbulb until I can find a spare fridge.)

I've built a stir plate and acquired a stir bar.

I've finished building my Mash Tun.

Now with that said, I've decided I'm going to make my next batch ALL-GRAIN. I'm fairly comfortable with the process I need for Mashing and Batch-Sparging, though I will need to do some research to figure out how to do the efficiency calcs.


I'm planning on making a Dubbel for my next batch. I'm up for reccommended recipes if anyone has one they like. I like Belgian Strong Darks/Quads as well or better, but I figure the Dubbel will be a little more forgiving given the lower Gravity, and drinkable a little sooner?

My biggest thing, however, is that I want to minimize my variables as I begin all grain. With that in mind:

Water: My starting water is R.O. from the machine at the store. TDS testing on it I did a long time ago (not for brewing) showed it was essentially free of Dissolved Solids(was less than 25ppm TDS). Is it safe to assume that I am starting from scratch for mineral additions? I would like to come up with a "Standard" water profile to use for a while, until I get variables in other areas dialed in. Favorite online calculators?


Mash Temp/Strike Water: There are quite a few calculators out there - Is one the best? I will be mashing for higher attenuation on my dubbel - anything I need to know?


HLT: I don't have a HLT, so my Brew-kettle will have to stand in - any problems using my bottling bucket to collect runnings? Will be batch sparging.


Yeast: I plan on Doing a starter of about 1L on the stir-plate per the MrMalty calculator. Should I be adding Yeast Nutrient to here, or the boil, or not needed at all?


Pilsner Malt/DMS: Most Dubbels use a lot of Pilsner Malt as the base malt. I have read/heard things about this malt having more DMS that needs to be driven off in a boil. Should I plan on a 90 minute boil? (I am on a Gas Stovetop - so my boil isn't as vigorous as a turkey-fryer or what have you)


Fermentation: I am planning to try to do a "ramp-up" style fermentation with my STC-1000. Anything I should know? I don't have a cooling system yet, so it is sort of a heat-only temp control for the moment. My garage stays below 60 this time of the year, so I am thinking I could use the light-bulb in a box? Will put a paper bag or something over the carboy to prevent light.




Thanks Brewers.

slowbie 01-18-2013 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rayfound (Post 4799453)
Water: My starting water is R.O. from the machine at the store. TDS testing on it I did a long time ago (not for brewing) showed it was essentially free of Dissolved Solids(was less than 25ppm TDS). Is it safe to assume that I am starting from scratch for mineral additions? I would like to come up with a "Standard" water profile to use for a while, until I get variables in other areas dialed in. Favorite online calculators?

The point of RO water is to minimize minerals, so assume you're starting from scratch. I've been fortunate enough to live places with great water, so I don't do much with water profiles, so no more help for you there.

Quote:

Mash Temp/Strike Water: There are quite a few calculators out there - Is one the best? I will be mashing for higher attenuation on my dubbel - anything I need to know?
Most of the calculators are pretty much the same. I use the Green Bay Rackers calculators for most of my calculations. For higher attenuation, mash lower. I'd suggest ~150. You can go lower, but this way if you miss your temps either way by a few degrees you'll be okay.

Quote:

HLT: I don't have a HLT, so my Brew-kettle will have to stand in - any problems using my bottling bucket to collect runnings? Will be batch sparging.
I do the same. You'll be fine.

Quote:

Yeast: I plan on Doing a starter of about 1L on the stir-plate per the MrMalty calculator. Should I be adding Yeast Nutrient to here, or the boil, or not needed at all?
Wort naturally has enough nutrients for yeast to ferment all but the highest gravity beers. And even then it's usually better to add them after fermentation starts. You'll be fine for this beer, but once you get around to your quad you may want to look into it.

Quote:

Pilsner Malt/DMS: Most Dubbels use a lot of Pilsner Malt as the base malt. I have read/heard things about this malt having more DMS that needs to be driven off in a boil. Should I plan on a 90 minute boil? (I am on a Gas Stovetop - so my boil isn't as vigorous as a turkey-fryer or what have you)
You might get away with 60, but I always go 90 with Pilsner.

Quote:

Fermentation: I am planning to try to do a "ramp-up" style fermentation with my STC-1000. Anything I should know? I don't have a cooling system yet, so it is sort of a heat-only temp control for the moment. My garage stays below 60 this time of the year, so I am thinking I could use the light-bulb in a box? Will put a paper bag or something over the carboy to prevent light.
I've never done heat temp control (not much need in the south), but a lot of others have done similar. You may want to insulate your box somehow. Protecting the carboy from light is a great idea. A lot of folks just put a black T-shirt on it.

PJoyce85 01-19-2013 07:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rayfound

Pilsner Malt/DMS: Most Dubbels use a lot of Pilsner Malt as the base malt. I have read/heard things about this malt having more DMS that needs to be driven off in a boil. Should I plan on a 90 minute boil? (I am on a Gas Stovetop - so my boil isn't as vigorous as a turkey-fryer or what have you)

Pilsner malt contains a higher amount of S-methyl methionine (SSM) which is a precursor to DMS. SSM's half life at high temps is approximately 75 minutes, at which point it will begin converting to DMS and volitizing off the boil. Depending on how much pilsner you use, it might be worth the extra 30 minutes to do it anyways. 90 minutes won't hurt anything, but if you go shorter and have a higher amount of SSM/DMS, that might cause problems in the finished product.

Also, when using higher amounts of Pilsner malt, keep an eye on your pH in the mash. Pilsner malt will not lower the pH as much as darker malts do. This higher pH can possibly hinder enzymatic activity and cause a lower efficiency.

rayfound 01-19-2013 08:07 PM

Thanks... wort chilling now. 90 minute boil. Mash pH was between 5.0-5.5.

I think everything is looking good so far.


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