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Old 05-01-2008, 03:30 AM   #1
cudaaar
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Default Suggestions on calibrating my new AG system?

Hi all,

I'm hoping to troubleshoot and get some ideas for my next batch. Hopefully this is not too long-winded, but here goes:

I did a Sierra clone in order to calibrate my new method.

My new setup is the basic three converted keg system, two of them have false bottoms to filter with grain/hop beds.

I batch sparged, using typical methods that one reads about. Single infusion at 154F, one hour long. Undershot the strike water temp by about 6F, slowly brought it up, and it held within 1F from then on. I finished at 1.054OG at 5 gallons. Couple things to note:

1) I am in Phoenix, so I used local RO water (unknown chemistry, but tastes good). However, I forgot to add the 5.2 stabilizer that my LHBS recommended. Anyone (esp. from Phoenix) want to comment on that?

2) I found it difficult to control temperatures since it differed drastically at different parts of the HLT. Stirring did not help as much as I expected. I overheated the sparge water, possibly to as much as 190F. Didn't realize it until midway through. I am aware of this being a cause of excessive tannin leaching. Any suggestions on controlling temperatures in these kegs?

3) I could not seem to filter the grain/hops/cold break very well, so a bunch of it went into my carboy. Hopefully I will have a March pump before next brew day so that I can circulate longer. Also, I'll probably use some sort of inline filter next time, or just a hop bag at the end of the hose. Suggestions?

I just transfered to secondary, 25 days in. Fermentation temperature floated between 62-68F, usually at 65F. I used White Labs 001 yeast.

On tasting, there is an unusual quality in the bitterness. I would attribute that to the overly hot sparge water, but I can't say that I actually know the taste of tannins. I might over heat some grains and taste it to see if it is similar. Additionally, there is another flavor, sort of a "dirt" like flavor-- like when you breath in dusty air. Don't know how else to describe it. Strange.

I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-01-2008, 03:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cudaaar
Hi all,

I'm hoping to troubleshoot and get some ideas for my next batch. Hopefully this is not too long-winded, but here goes:

I did a Sierra clone in order to calibrate my new method.

My new setup is the basic three converted keg system, two of them have false bottoms to filter with grain/hop beds.

I batch sparged, using typical methods that one reads about. Single infusion at 154F, one hour long. Undershot the strike water temp by about 6F, slowly brought it up, and it held within 1F from then on. I finished at 1.054OG at 5 gallons. Couple things to note:

1) I am in Phoenix, so I used local RO water (unknown chemistry, but tastes good). However, I forgot to add the 5.2 stabilizer that my LHBS recommended. Anyone (esp. from Phoenix) want to comment on that?

If your efficiency was OK then you didn't need it. I only use it for really pale beers like pilsners or pale lagers

2) I found it difficult to control temperatures since it differed drastically at different parts of the HLT. Stirring did not help as much as I expected. I overheated the sparge water, possibly to as much as 190F. Didn't realize it until midway through. I am aware of this being a cause of excessive tannin leaching. Any suggestions on controlling temperatures in these kegs?

Stir continuously while measiring your temperature

3) I could not seem to filter the grain/hops/cold break very well, so a bunch of it went into my carboy. Hopefully I will have a March pump before next brew day so that I can circulate longer. Also, I'll probably use some sort of inline filter next time, or just a hop bag at the end of the hose. Suggestions?

[B]Stainless braid!

I just transfered to secondary, 25 days in. Fermentation temperature floated between 62-68F, usually at 65F. I used White Labs 001 yeast.

On tasting, there is an unusual quality in the bitterness. I would attribute that to the overly hot sparge water, but I can't say that I actually know the taste of tannins. I might over heat some grains and taste it to see if it is similar. Additionally, there is another flavor, sort of a "dirt" like flavor-- like when you breath in dusty air. Don't know how else to describe it. Strange.

Suck on a tea bag - regular english tea. That puckering, astringent taste is tannins.

I'd appreciate any comments/suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Hope that helps

GT
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Old 05-01-2008, 04:33 AM   #3
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Tannins can taste bitter, but so can't a young beer done with WLP001. I'd say let it sit a bit and if the pucker doesn't go away you leached tannins.

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Old 05-01-2008, 04:59 AM   #4
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Yeah, I thought once about a stainless braid under the false bottom, but it will not fit easily in my case and I prefer simplicity. Anyone know where I can get an inline filter-- I did not see any on morebeer, etc.

I've heard of the common comparisons: tea bag = tannins, canned corn = DMS, artificial butter = diacetyl, etc. But what else is in those products? If I continue to have problems I will just purchase these chemicals in a more pure form from Sigma Aldrich; they are not too expensive and would be nice to have on hand for future troubleshooting.

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Old 05-01-2008, 05:25 AM   #5
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Is this your first brew on this system???
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Old 05-01-2008, 05:43 AM   #6
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Yep, it is my first AG brew. Started with the kettle and burner for full boil extracts, and have been slowly assembling the bits for an AG system. A pump and digital thermometer will be my next two purchases.

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Old 05-01-2008, 11:11 AM   #7
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Welcome to AG.

As for a filter: Paint strainer from Home Depot.
Recirculate 2-4 quarts to get the big quantities out of the pathway, then strain through the painter strainer bag over the receiving side. Dump the grains back in for the sparge, etc.

Now, make your changes and brew this exact beer again. And keep brewing just this one beer until you get everything dialed in.

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Old 05-01-2008, 01:01 PM   #8
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Your second brew will go much better because you learned a lot from this session. When making sparge water lower the flame when getting close to the temperature (constant stir when taking the temperature). Let the temperature go over a few degrees then cut off the flame. The burner has residual heat that will make the temp go higher yet but that is OK. Wait 5 to 8 minutes and see what the temperature reads. Add a very small amount of cold water and stir well while measuring and repeat until you reach the temperature (stirred). It should be stable now at what you want.

Insulation:
If you work when it is a cool day your temperatures will be hard to hold in a stainless pot or keggle so you need to have a wind break or insulation on the pot. Automotive (foil) firewall insulation works good for this. Look at pictures of brew pots on this forum and you will see what others have done to insulate. You can also transfer your sparge water to another cooler used as an HLT for sparging. It will hold the temperature within 1 degree for 1 hour no problem.

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