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Old 11-02-2011, 06:07 AM   #1
ChadChaney
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Default Water/Dry Hopping/Misc. Questions

A few quick facts about my brewing process before I start. I brew extract batches with a mini-mash in 5 gallon batches and have really good results, almost always hit my gravity (both OG and FG), good color, flavor and aroma. Had some issues with an off aroma/taste, but found and fixed the issue. Here are my questions;

1. I use 1 gallon jugs of store bought Spring water to brew with, someone who was helping me get started told me it was best to use because it has some mineral content but is nice and clean. I would like to get my per batch cost down so I can brew more, can I use my tap water? I have a water softener installed in the house so it would be soft water I guess, and I can use this, should I boil it all first? I want to make great beer, not average, and if this is going to affect in a negative way, I will stick with the Spring water.

2. I have a IIPA in primary right now, 14 days, the gravity was just a tad off of the finished FG about 5 days ago at last reading and I want to move it over to dry hop. I still have a bubble in the airlock every 1.5 minutes or so, but I am guessing it is about the right FG. i really do not want to take another gravity reading from the primary as it is a pain and I do not want to waste any more if I do not have too, think I am safe? I usually would not hesitate to take another reading, but this batch was expensive and I already am down some due to last gravity reading and use of whole hops that i did not account for with topoff water.

3. What is the best method for dryhopping? I will going from 6.5 gallon carboy to a bucket and using about 3 oz of pellets. Should I use a muslin bag or just float them? If I do use a bag, do I just let them sit on top, or do I weight them down, and do I sanitize the bag?

4. One last question, I usually keg in cornys, but this batch I want to bottle, do you guys/gals use DME or corn sugar when bottling? What is the benefit/downside of each?


Thanks for the help!

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:37 AM   #2
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A few quick facts about my brewing process before I start. I brew extract batches with a mini-mash in 5 gallon batches and have really good results, almost always hit my gravity (both OG and FG), good color, flavor and aroma. Had some issues with an off aroma/taste, but found and fixed the issue. Here are my questions;

1. I use 1 gallon jugs of store bought Spring water to brew with, someone who was helping me get started told me it was best to use because it has some mineral content but is nice and clean. I would like to get my per batch cost down so I can brew more, can I use my tap water? I have a water softener installed in the house so it would be soft water I guess, and I can use this, should I boil it all first? I want to make great beer, not average, and if this is going to affect in a negative way, I will stick with the Spring water.

2. I have a IIPA in primary right now, 14 days, the gravity was just a tad off of the finished FG about 5 days ago at last reading and I want to move it over to dry hop. I still have a bubble in the airlock every 1.5 minutes or so, but I am guessing it is about the right FG. i really do not want to take another gravity reading from the primary as it is a pain and I do not want to waste any more if I do not have too, think I am safe? I usually would not hesitate to take another reading, but this batch was expensive and I already am down some due to last gravity reading and use of whole hops that i did not account for with topoff water.

3. What is the best method for dryhopping? I will going from 6.5 gallon carboy to a bucket and using about 3 oz of pellets. Should I use a muslin bag or just float them? If I do use a bag, do I just let them sit on top, or do I weight them down, and do I sanitize the bag?

4. One last question, I usually keg in cornys, but this batch I want to bottle, do you guys/gals use DME or corn sugar when bottling? What is the benefit/downside of each?


Thanks for the help!
1. If your water softener uses sodium -- which is bad for your health anyway -- don't use it for your beer. Sodium is bad for yeast too. I persoanlly use the reverse osmosis water you can get from vending machines ($0.25 per gallon) and add my own minerals.

2. You're probably fine to rack and dry hop, but what are you worried about? It only takes about 4 oz of beer to get a hydrometer sample -- and you can drink the sample! No batch could possibly be that expensive

3. People go many ways on this. I use pellets and just dump them in. They float for the most part but after a week or two they saturate and sink. Bags work well too, they certainly keep the hops "contained" when you rack the beer to bottle/keg. Weighing them down will ensure you get complete contact between the hops and the beer from day one. Your call.

4. Neither. I use table sugar. It's cheaper and more available than either. 2/3 of a cup gives perfect carbonation for American-style ales -- note this is a different volume than you would use for dextrose or DME. Table sugar works as well as any other simple sugar. Just simmer it in 1/2 cup of water for 5 minutes and add it to your bottling bucket.


Any more questions?
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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We don't need a water softener,so we have used tap water for the partial boil. Then top off with spring water. If we're at the time of year when the water tastes good,all tap it is. A bit cheaper that way.
Never dry hop till you have a stable FG. You want most of the yeast settled,so the hop oils don't cling to as many of them & sink to the bottom. I use hop socks to keep it clean,but I let'em float as I would tea bags in sun tea. I want the bagged hops as far from the yeast as I can get'em. But your choice.
I've primed with dextrose (corn sugar),sucrose (table sugar),& Demerara (raw cane sugar). I like the dextrose the most,as it seems to work more readily. But Demerara in amber's,browns,EB/ESB,& the like. It adds some small amount of color,& has a nice light brown sugar laced with honey flavor.
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ChadChaney View Post
A few quick facts about my brewing process before I start. I brew extract batches with a mini-mash in 5 gallon batches and have really good results, almost always hit my gravity (both OG and FG), good color, flavor and aroma. Had some issues with an off aroma/taste, but found and fixed the issue. Here are my questions;

1. I use 1 gallon jugs of store bought Spring water to brew with, someone who was helping me get started told me it was best to use because it has some mineral content but is nice and clean. I would like to get my per batch cost down so I can brew more, can I use my tap water? I have a water softener installed in the house so it would be soft water I guess, and I can use this, should I boil it all first? I want to make great beer, not average, and if this is going to affect in a negative way, I will stick with the Spring water.

No, don't use water out of the softener! But your tap water may be fine, if you know what's in it. Chlorine boils off, but chloramines don't so you may need to find out which you have. One crushed campden tablet can treat 20 gallons of water for chlorine/chloramines, but you should also know the content of your water. Highly alkaline water, with lots of bicarbonate, isn't great for brewing. I use a mix of reverse osmosis water from the "water machine" at the store at $1.78 for 4 gallons, and my tap water.

2. I have a IIPA in primary right now, 14 days, the gravity was just a tad off of the finished FG about 5 days ago at last reading and I want to move it over to dry hop. I still have a bubble in the airlock every 1.5 minutes or so, but I am guessing it is about the right FG. i really do not want to take another gravity reading from the primary as it is a pain and I do not want to waste any more if I do not have too, think I am safe? I usually would not hesitate to take another reading, but this batch was expensive and I already am down some due to last gravity reading and use of whole hops that i did not account for with topoff water.

Yeah, you can dryhop now if you want. But remember that you only want to dryhop right before packaging- so I'd only dryhop 10 days before bottling. I'd wait it out, until the beer is clear and about ready to bottle, and THEN dryhop it and bottle a week later.

3. What is the best method for dryhopping? I will going from 6.5 gallon carboy to a bucket and using about 3 oz of pellets. Should I use a muslin bag or just float them? If I do use a bag, do I just let them sit on top, or do I weight them down, and do I sanitize the bag?

I don't use a bag. You can if you want. Don't weigh it down, as the hops will still become saturated. Use more than one bag with 3 ounces of pellets, though! You don't want them packed in there, you want them very loose. You can boil the bag(s) or sanitize with star-san.

4. One last question, I usually keg in cornys, but this batch I want to bottle, do you guys/gals use DME or corn sugar when bottling? What is the benefit/downside of each?

It doesn't matter a bit. Table sugar, corn sugar, DME, honey, etc. They all will come out the same in the end, as it's a very tiny bit of the profile. Use what you have. Keep in mind that you need about 1.5 cups of DME for priming 5 gallons, while only about 4 ounces of table sugar, so make sure you adjust for whichever you use.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-02-2011, 03:42 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention that I never use more than 1oz of hops per sack. Not to mention boil or sanitize'em 1st. Good catch,yooper.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice, I will stick to the bottled spring water, I can spare the roughly 5 dollars per batch. Racked over today and added 1 oz of Falconers flight and 1 oz of Amarillo in separate bags. FG was right on target at 1.012, pretty clear and the taste was great, my wife tasted the hydrometer and said "Ew, bitter and tastes like hops", perfect, lol. She can't be totally perfect right?.. Plan on bottling this batch in seven days, can't wait! Also have a little half gallon batch that I made with all Warrior leaf, about 14% ABV, and Pilsen DME, some left over ingredients, was going to dry hop, but really want to taste just the Warrior, should be interesting.

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Old 11-02-2011, 08:05 PM   #7
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Love me some warrior. Especially for bittering.

Well done and congrats on a fine IPA on the way!

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