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clayroc 11-16-2010 06:57 AM

Please review and give feedback
 
Hi everyone, just wanted to get some feedback on my first brew. I know there is much to learn from processes to terminology. Below is my recipe and process for my brew, which I have also posted on my blog, along with the other things I made yesterday. Please give me feedback, if I am "saying" things wrong, doing things wrong etc. I would greatly appreciate learning from everyone :) Thanks all

Everything was cleaned and sterilized before starting.

Clay's Spiced Beer #1

9L boiled and cooled tap water in bucket (tested my cooling coil I made, works great. from boil to cool in about 17 min)

Wort

7L Water
1 can Coopers Wheat/Barley Malt Extract
3 apple cinnamon tea bags
2 Bengal spice chia tea bags
6 cups of Corn Sugar (added after boiling)

Boiled for 20 min (didn't see Hot break that I could tell)
Removed 1L wort for test Braggot, then added Corn Sugar)
Let it simmer until satisfied its dissolved completely

Attempted Cold break, cooled in about 10 min.
not sure if it happened but got it cool fast

Added Wort to water in bucket and aerated with whisk.

started Nottingham dried yeast according to given instructions and added 8/10 of a package to brew (thermometer was uncalibrated, turns out everything was up to 30F to cold not to sure )

Measurement at start

1.030

Frodo 11-16-2010 07:39 AM

FYI it will be much easier for us (at least me and I assume others, though admittedly I can be dumb) to help you if you give weights of ingredients rather than volumes. For instance I've never used Coopers extract so I had to look up what a can of Coopers extract weighs, and am now only assuming it's a 3.3 lb can??? That's what the googles indicate... Weights are easier to translate as far as recipes go... That said, I'm not sure you're actually making "beer" given the amount of corn sugar, nearly 40% if I'm calculating correctly. I frankly have no idea what your finished product will taste like; perhaps you're onto something! However, if you want to experience making beer, my suggestion is to stick with malt extract, hops, yeast, and water. Once you've figured out how to use those four ingredients IMHO then you'll have a good base at which to start incorporating other things like spices and other sugars into beer. The same goes for braggot... I'd personally try out a simple mead first, figure out how that works, then with my expertise in mead and beer I'd try to make a blend of the two (hence braggot). There are A LOT of variables to try to figure out making beer alone, not to mention mead.

If you want critique on terminology, most brewers on here will probably identify your cooling coil as an immersion chiller, or "IC" if you like acronyms, I reckon.

Justibone 11-16-2010 11:11 AM

I am curious about tea bags in the beer. I would think that would add tannins...

Also, your OG seems pretty low to have put 3.3 lbs of extract as well as 6 cups of dextrose into just a bit more than 2 gallons of water. Did you stir your wort properly? Sometimes the sugars settle to the bottom.

Also, there was no mention of hops. If the Cooper's is pre-hopped, that's fine, but better beer is made when you can adjust your own hops.

I think that this is technically beer, not corn beer... but not by much. ;)

Are you sure this is a real recipe?

clayroc 11-16-2010 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Justibone (Post 2408701)
Are you sure this is a real recipe?

No, I am not sure at all to be honest, it was from enewsletter my wife got. She put the condition on me starting this hobby, that I had to follow this basic recipe before trying a bunch of other stuff. I snuck in the experiments with the mead and braggot just because I can't help it, and I have lots of honey from my grandparents farm. Here is a link to the recipe, I followed, well mostly followed. I did learn a few things on this board about hot and cold breaks and what not.

http://eartheasy.com/eat_homebrew.htm

I did stir the wort and stirred it after I siphoned it from my pot to the bucket, actually I believe that's when I whisked it to aerate.

Frodo, thanks for the info.

although I am not sure how you get 40% corn sugar? do you mean in total or compared to malt?

I will have to pick up a scale when I get a chance if that helps, sorry about the Malt, threw the can out right away, and didn't think to note the weight.

Either way to be honest I am not sure I am making "BEER" either. It has some of the base traits, of beer but I had a hard time tracking down the extract, with only two options when I found some and they didn't have any hops.

I don't know anything about tanins, are they bad?

I will tell you though, it sure smelled good, and I regret not tasting it before pitching the yeast (I hope I used that term correctly)

Homercidal 11-16-2010 06:07 PM

My critique:

A lot of corn sugar. I would have used light extract instead. It still might not cause any issues, based on the rest of the recipe, you will know in a few weeks when you try it. It certainly wont' keep the beer from being beer.

Tea bags? Say it isn't so!! I've heard of herb, or spiced, beer, but tea is notorious for giving tannins, which provide the dry, astringent, mouth pucker, quality that is in tea. I think the tea bags were a shortcut for adding the spices that were in them. I'd try just finding the spices next time, and leave the tea in China! it might still be fine. You can do a lot of things and still come up with a very good beer.

Hot break is going to come with a vigorous boil. If you didn't get it to boil hard, then you might not see it.

The recipe is slightly different than normal but still very much beer. You'll have to tell us how it turns out.

The thing that most concerns me is the statement that your wife is stipulating your hobby be based on the outcome of this unusual recipe. Cross your fingers!

Ingredients can be hard to find in Canada from what I hear. Extract is common and not that expensive here. I would keep looking. I am pretty sure you will get help from Canadian members on this site on how to find ingredients. Perhaps going AG is the better option? It's cheaper and I KNOW that Canada has grain producers...

Frodo 11-16-2010 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409590)

That clears things up quite a bit. Looks like the intent is an easy process that doesn't cost much. Be careful though, beermaking will become an obsession... just remember in a couple months to remind your wife she's the one who showed you the enewsletter to begin with.


Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409590)
although I am not sure how you get 40% corn sugar? do you mean in total or compared to malt?)

I mean the corn sugar accounts for 40% of the total sugar input. Generally if you use a simple sugar that will ferment completely you don't want to use too much of it (probably less than 10-15%; none is preferable though), because it may lend a cidery flavor to the beer, make the beer really watery, and make it very dry with a lot of "hot" alcohol taste. Adding simple sugar is also 1) a cheap way to increase alcohol content, and 2) a way to thin and dry a really high gravity beer (like barley wine, or belgium and french strong ales) that will have quite a bit of unfermentable sugars from the malts.


Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409590)
I will have to pick up a scale when I get a chance if that helps, sorry about the Malt, threw the can out right away, and didn't think to note the weight.

No problem. It's all a learning process. I wouldn't have tried helping out if it was that much of an issue; just wanted to let you know how it would make it easier to try to give advice in the future.


Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409590)
I don't know anything about tanins, are they bad?

They'll give an astringent (harsh bitter) taste, but it's not something to worry about when you're first starting out. Tannins get leached out of vegetative matter; for instance they're what cause small streams with a lot of leaves in them to have that rusty brown color. In your case any astringentness from tannins would be balanced by the lack of bittering hops, and the spices would also cover it up.


Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409590)
I will tell you though, it sure smelled good, and I regret not tasting it before pitching the yeast (I hope I used that term correctly)

Cheers! :mug:

If you haven't already, you can read to your hearts content about homebrew here: http://www.howtobrew.com/

clayroc 11-16-2010 06:31 PM

I checked out the Tea's ingredients and there are no actual "teas" in them just spices so I should be off the hook for tannin's. It was not Bengal spice chia is just Bengal spice.

And I will clarify, she didn't say anything about this brew being successful, she just knows I have a habit of going over the top before I know what I am doing, that's all. so she insisted I try the labeled "easy beer" recipe before getting more complicated (and expensive). So far so good

Homercidal 11-16-2010 07:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clayroc (Post 2409688)
I checked out the Tea's ingredients and there are no actual "teas" in them just spices so I should be off the hook for tannin's. It was not Bengal spice chia is just Bengal spice.

And I will clarify, she didn't say anything about this brew being successful, she just knows I have a habit of going over the top before I know what I am doing, that's all. so she insisted I try the labeled "easy beer" recipe before getting more complicated (and expensive). So far so good

Ah! That is all good to hear! Cheers and I can't wait to see how this turns out :mug:

starrfish 11-16-2010 07:08 PM

I would have added the corn sugar to boil to sanitize... but shouldn't be a problem. I too would have swapped light or extra light dry malt extract for that much corn sugar.

clayroc 11-16-2010 09:28 PM

I am scheming on how to start another to in about 10 days to distract me from trying to bottle it to soon. It seems to be the curse of the first brew, you put all the time and effort into it and then have to wait as long as you possibly can. My hope is that I can hold out for at least 2 weeks before bottling and then have it for Yule :) I think the spices will be very festive.

And Revvy you seem to be very respected here, I would love to hear your thoughts :)


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