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Old 02-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #1
Bitty
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Default Building a kit for a new brewer

I've sampled a few kits from the LHBS over the years, and I've been consistently surprised that people continue using them given the results. The instructions give horrible advice, and still insist that One-Step sterilizes your gear. A couple of my neighbors have expressed interest in getting started and I want to see them really enjoy their first batch. I put together a recipe and instructions this week and did a test run yesterday. It's bubbling away now, and it smells great. Before I give it to them as a pre-assembled kit, could you guys give me some feedback on the recipe and instructions? I'm trying to make it as simple as possible while using more solid methods than the LHBS recommends. I followed this to the letter and found it to be really straightforward, but I tend to enjoy making things more complicated than they need to be.

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Stovetop American Pale Ale, 5.5 gallon batch
6.5 lb Extra Light DME
12 oz Crystal 20
12 oz Crystal 40
.75 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 60
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 30
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 15
1 oz Cascade pellets (6.4%) @ 0
Safale US-05
2/3 cup corn sugar

Put the grains in the muslin bag, tie the end closed and place in a pot with 2.5 gallons filtered or bottled water. Heat the water to 170F, remove the grains, let them drain into the pot and discard. Continue heating to boiling.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 2.5 lb of the malt extract until dissolved, making sure none is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Put back on the heat and bring the wort back to a boil. Watch carefully and temporarily remove the pot from the heat if it looks like it's going to boil over. When the foam subsides, add .75 ounce of the hops and continue boiling for 30 minutes.

Add 1 ounce of the hops and continue boiling for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the remainder of the malt extract. Stir until dissolved, making sure none is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Put back on the heat and return to a boil, watching for boilover. Add 1 ounce of hops and continue boiling for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 ounce of hops. Place the lid on the pot and place in a sink filled with ice water. The goal is to bring the wort to below 100F as quickly as possible. Change the water in the sink as needed.

Sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with the wort once it's cooled. This includes the fermenter, lid, airlock, etc.

Add about 2 gallons of cold filtered or bottled water to the fermenting bucket. Pour the cooled wort in from as high up as you can manage, leaving as much of the thick sludge in the pot as possible. This will aerate the wort, which is beneficial for the yeast at this stage. Top off to 5.5 gallons with filtered or bottled water. Check the temperature with a sanitized thermometer. The goal is to reach around 70F.

Sprinkle the yeast onto 1/2 cup of 80F water and let stand for 15 minutes. Gently stir the slurry until it's creamy and smooth. Pour the mixture into the cooled wort.

Put the lid on the fermenter and seal it. Fill the airlock to the fill line and put it in the hole in the lid. Place the fermenter in a cool, dark place for 14-21 days, until the beer falls clear. Keep an eye on it for the first several days to be sure it doesn't foam over and clog the airlock. A blowoff tube may be needed.

Sanitize all siphoning and bottling equipment, including bottles and caps.

Stir 2/3 cup of corn sugar into 1 cup of filtered or bottled water and bring to a boil. Pour the mixture into the bottling bucket.

Check the bottling bucket's valve to be sure it's closed. Siphon the beer into the bottling bucket, being careful to avoid any splashing. Stir gently to ensure the priming solution is mixed in well.

Attach the filling wand to the valve and fill each bottle to the top. The volume of the filling tube will give you the correct head space. If there is less than a full bottle at the end, DO NOT cap that bottle. Instead, enjoy the contents while you are capping the rest.

Leave the bottles at room temperature for 2 weeks, then chill.

To serve, pour into a clean glass, being careful to leave the layer of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

-----------------

I'm going to instruct them to use Star San for sanitizing.

Thanks for any comments.

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Old 02-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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First off I wouldn't let the grain steep get up to 170F,that's where tannin leaching starts. 165F would be a better maximum temp. You also left out the 60 minute addition. And use the cold water 1st to take some initial heat off the BK. Then drain the sink,fill empty space around BK with ice to the top of the sink. Then top that off with cold water. Use a floating thermometer to check temps of the cooling wort. Chill down to 65-70F for better initial ferment temps. I now chill mine down to 60-62F,then top off in fermenter.
I also pour the chilled wort & top off water through a fine mesh strainer sitting on top of my plastic FV's. I get good aeration this way,with 3-5 inches of foam. Not to mention hops,etc get strained out,leaving less trup in the FV at bottling time. And don't forget the OG sample before pitching!
I usually take a hydrometer teast at the 2 week mark to see how close I am to FG. I also recommend using a priming calculator to give them an accurate priming sugar amount,always mesured by weight.
And bottled beers,even at 70F to carb/condition,will take 3 weeks on average to carbonate. But I've found that 4-5 weeks for conditioning of the flavors & aromas. Beers always carb about 2 weeks ahead of conditioning.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:53 AM   #3
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I'm a noob, but I could do it with those instructions. I would check you temps and times one more time and make sure that the amounts and abreviations are correct and your off. Looks like a fun get started batch with all of the hop additions. It wil be good practice for tyiming and keeping notes too. Good luck and let us all know how your protoge's work out. They should do well with your help.
Bob

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Old 02-27-2012, 02:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitty View Post
Watch carefully and temporarily remove the pot from the heat if it looks like it's going to boil over.
Thanks for any comments.
Excellent write up...only exception I take is instructing a noob to try and move a pot in the midst of a boilover, and doesn't know what the warning signs are, this happens very fast to a noob ....rather I would prefer to tell them to have a spray bottle, or a cool glass of water to stifle the boilover. Or perhaps tell them to reduce the heat a tad when approaching boil as well. A first boilover for a noob is a panic situation, and trying to move the kettle would be dangerous IMO. Perhaps a bold warning about boilover would be worthwhile...nothing like a full powered boilover on wifeys stove to quench the fun in the homebrewing hobby.
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Old 02-28-2012, 08:27 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to be revising it and posting a PDF of the final based on your recommendations.

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Old 02-29-2012, 12:06 AM   #6
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3 weeks at 70 F for bottle carbing and conditioning, or you'll be getting even more "my beer is flat" threads.

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Old 03-12-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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Okay, I finally got off my butt and finished this up. The PDF ended up being too big to attach directly, so it's at the link below. Feel free to use, copy, hand out, whatever. All I ask is you give me some feedback on both the recipe and instructions so it can be improved down the road.

http://www.mediafire.com/?z6d2237i3ou6n6n

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Old 03-15-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Looks good. I'd like to add the following as a noob myself. Everyone is different as to how much effort & money they want to put into something new that they don't know whether they'll enjoy or not. Here are two possible suggestions.

Invite interested friends to join you for a brew & bottling day, let them participate & help. Might line it up so you have one batch ready to bottle & one ready to brew all on the same day. Try not to overwhelm them with too much information and technique. Give them a 6 pack to take with them to keep them enthused.

Another suggestion is to go with an all extract for a first brew, yeah it's like baking a Sara Lee pie and calling yourself a pastry chef but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for starting with Mr. Beer. When you first start looking into home brewing stuff and see all the tower set ups, and the fancy rigs, it's very intimidating in more than one aspect.

I'd introduce a new home brewer with some IPA HME, Safale US 05 yeast, fermentation bucket/vessel with spigot, air lock, Star-San, PET (soda) bottles. My LHBS carries smaller 2-3 gallon pails, it would be easy to put together a cheap starter kit and folks would still have room in their fridges for their groceries.

The one thing you fail to mention on the recipe is fermentation temperature control. Not everyone is blessed with a 64 degree cellar in their homes. In FL, 75-80 is the normal indoor temperature. Putting a small pail or Mr. Beer keg in a cooler and swapping ice packs everyday makes for good fermentation temperature control, and a compact SWMBO friendly setup. Leaving something unmonitored in a warm home could spell disaster in more than one way.

Keep up the good work.

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Old 03-16-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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Some LHBS's do better than others in writing of the instructions, some are more geared to the beginner. Once you brew enough, even the ones which are not so well written you know what to do with them.

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Old 03-16-2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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Im also a noob. (3rd batch just bottled yesterday)
I like the instructions a lot and i also really liked what CS223 had to say about a brew party!
I think i just might do that with2 or 3 good bros that have expressed interest and i think i will use your recipe!
Thanks for the fun thread!

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