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Old 02-06-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
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Default My Third Beer- Approaching a more scientific process

Ok, this and my okra mead video are me giving back to the HBT community and leaving myself wide open to being poked fun at. A dear friend of mine has been out of work for a bit, and is getting stir crazy. So, I invited him over to make a batch of beer and kvetch and eat pizza. This is his first brewing experience. Note that this brew, like the two that came before it, was an all grain brew.

This time, I figured out how to get the damn hydrometer to get a reading (sigh... I wasnt putting enough of a sample in the jar). More on that in a minute.

Firstly, I sanitized everything religiously. There are a couple times I think I might have not been 100% efficient in my sanitation (restirring with the same spoon after it has been on the counter... during a full boil) but for the most part I think we were pretty dilligent. I know I used more starsan than I thought I would.

The beer is a simple stout. Unfortunately the grains used I failed to record, as the gentleman at the not-so-L HBS worked with me to get a mixture together out of the book "Classic Styles" and gave it to me in one shrink wrapped bag. Also, being an idiot, I lost the instructions he kindly copied for me. So I did what I thought was the next best thing. I used the instructions from a trusted kit:

http://brooklynbrewshop.com/directio...structions.pdf

and modified the hop schedule to 2/3 Kent Goldings at 60 and 1/3 at 5 minutes. So far so good. The color of the wort is... stout. I have drank enough stout to know that this wort looks and smells like stout.

After the sparge I took a hydrometer reading. Not sure why I did that, but I did. I think it read 1.044, but there is always the chance I misread. As I have said in the past, this is the first time I have brewed anything and taken a hydro reading. With JAOM, since the mixture isnt homogeneous, it seems like folly to take an OG. I sure as hell wasnt about to take a reading on the okra mead.

Post boil I took another reading. 1.055. Does this sound about right? Also, I noticed that I have more wort than 1 gallon somehow (perhaps because I squeezed the cheesecloth for every bit of worty goodness?, perhaps because I didnt boil at a high enough temperature) I saved the extra wort in a jar just in case anything can be done with it. Its currently sitting at room temperature.

After pitching my yeast at 70 degrees (Notty) I woke up to the blowoff tube making tons of starsan bubbles.

Ok... feel free to constructively rip me a new one. Just know that I am only on my third lifetime gallon of beer, and I jumped in with both feet into AG.

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:30 PM   #2
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Creamy,
Sounds like you are progressing nicely and I am sure your recipe is going to turn out fine given the details you laid out. I can however give you a few tips to help with the one gallon batches.

1. Don't squeeze the grain bag, ever. Sparging will get you all of the fermentable sugars off the grain without squeezing. When you squeeze a grain bag you are getting all of the tannins and harse grain flavors that are not desirable. You only want the sugars.

2. The gravity reading only really needs to be taken post boil before yeast pitching and after fermentation has visually commenced. This is the most basic approach.

3. Don't worry, relax, have a homebrew

Happy Brewing Friend.

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:31 PM   #3
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Sounds like you managed to salvage a brew day from a few minor whoopsies! yeah, it's always nice to know what went in to your grain bill so you can reproduce it, or modify it to get a flavor that more suits what you were going for. Plus it's always nice to see how different grains contribute to the different flavors.

Also with the directions that was a pretty good idea looking up some instructions for something similar. Me, I probably would have just tossed stuff in and crossed my fingers back when I was first getting started.

Not sanitizing your stir spoon while the wort is boiling isn't a big problem as anything is going to die in that boil. I try to always keep my spoon in a bucket of sanitizer even when it's probably not needed just to make it a good habit so I don't have to worry about it. But the hot side of things is a lot more forgiving than once you chill everything down.

As for 1.055, that's a respectable starting gravity indeed for your beer. Your fermentation is bubbling along, so I'm pretty sure you're going to have some tasty beer!

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:43 PM   #4
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Creamy,
Sounds like you are progressing nicely and I am sure your recipe is going to turn out fine given the details you laid out. I can however give you a few tips to help with the one gallon batches.

1. Don't squeeze the grain bag, ever. Sparging will get you all of the fermentable sugars off the grain without squeezing. When you squeeze a grain bag you are getting all of the tannins and harse grain flavors that are not desirable. You only want the sugars.

2. The gravity reading only really needs to be taken post boil before yeast pitching and after fermentation has visually commenced. This is the most basic approach.

3. Don't worry, relax, have a homebrew

Happy Brewing Friend.
+1

On that note however, I usually take a pre-boil gravity reading just to make sure I'm where I thought I would be. But that's not a necessary step. Just gives me a warm and fuzzy
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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Likes all around. Thanks folks!

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YES, WE HAVE TRIED OTHER YEASTS! USE BREAD YEAST FOR JAOM!

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:56 PM   #6
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2. The gravity reading only really needs to be taken post boil before yeast pitching and after fermentation has visually commenced. This is the most basic approach.


Happy Brewing Friend.
So if I read this right, you would suggest I take one tonight?
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:07 PM   #7
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You should wait until the beer is done actively fermenting to take a gravity reading. If the FG is within the acceptable yeast attenuation range then leave it for a couple more days and the bottle it or secondary it. You could take another reading before you do this to see if it has changed at all, but sine your doing 1 gallon batches (did i read that correctly?) that's probably not all that necessary (since every time you take a reading you are losing beer, not a huge issue with 5 gal but more so with 1).

I noticed you said that you didn't think you kept everything sanitary enough the 1st time you brewed. Everything needs to be sanitary once the boil stops. You don't need to keep things too sanitary until you turn the flame off. I perceived that you were sanitizing you spoon before you stuck it into the boiling wort which is un-necessary. If you stick it in there after you flameout then it is necessary.

As for that jarred wort, did you sanitize the jar before you put it in there? If you did and you put it into the refrigerator then you could use it to make yeast starters or something like that. If you left it sitting out I would dump it as it may have gotten a bug or something like that.

It's hard to predict how much boil off you will get until you have your process down so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:16 PM   #8
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You should wait until the beer is done actively fermenting to take a gravity reading. If the FG is within the acceptable yeast attenuation range then leave it for a couple more days and the bottle it or secondary it. You could take another reading before you do this to see if it has changed at all, but sine your doing 1 gallon batches (did i read that correctly?) that's probably not all that necessary (since every time you take a reading you are losing beer, not a huge issue with 5 gal but more so with 1).

I noticed you said that you didn't think you kept everything sanitary enough the 1st time you brewed. Everything needs to be sanitary once the boil stops. You don't need to keep things too sanitary until you turn the flame off. I perceived that you were sanitizing you spoon before you stuck it into the boiling wort which is un-necessary. If you stick it in there after you flameout then it is necessary.

As for that jarred wort, did you sanitize the jar before you put it in there? If you did and you put it into the refrigerator then you could use it to make yeast starters or something like that. If you left it sitting out I would dump it as it may have gotten a bug or something like that.

It's hard to predict how much boil off you will get until you have your process down so I wouldn't worry too much about that.
My original plan was to take an FG just before priming, and pouring my sample into the priming bucket when I was done...
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YES, WE HAVE TRIED OTHER YEASTS! USE BREAD YEAST FOR JAOM!

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by The_Cleveland_Brew_Shop View Post
Creamy,
Sounds like you are progressing nicely and I am sure your recipe is going to turn out fine given the details you laid out. I can however give you a few tips to help with the one gallon batches.

1. Don't squeeze the grain bag, ever. Sparging will get you all of the fermentable sugars off the grain without squeezing. When you squeeze a grain bag you are getting all of the tannins and harse grain flavors that are not desirable. You only want the sugars.

2. The gravity reading only really needs to be taken post boil before yeast pitching and after fermentation has visually commenced. This is the most basic approach.

3. Don't worry, relax, have a homebrew

Happy Brewing Friend.
1) This is a controverial topic. Many BIAB brewers suggest squeezing as much as you can. Others eschew it. You also shouldn't expect sparging to get all of the fermentables out of the grain. Sparging rinses most of the fermentables away from the grain, but you will always have some sugars that don't make it into the wort. Your best approach is to establish your brewhouse efficiency and try to improve it. It will never be 100%.

2) Taking gravity readings after sparging allow for early correction of any loss of efficiency from mashing. If your gravity is too low, you can boil off more water or add extract. If your gravity it too high, you can water it down. By the time you've chilled the wort, your window of opportunity to fix these things narrows dramatically.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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oh, and it makes sense that pre-boil my gravity was lower than post-boil right? Denser sugars in the wort after evaporation etc.

Just making sure my hydro readings are consistant with reality.

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YES, WE HAVE TRIED OTHER YEASTS! USE BREAD YEAST FOR JAOM!

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