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We last left off by adapting a known recipe to our brewing system. Recipe setup can be done at anytime, but I see a lot of benefits for completing this stage of the process a week or more ahead of time. I think we have all had those impromptu brewdays that ended up having many types of, shall I say 'organized chaos?' No, maybe there is no organization, its was just chaos. Proper recipe setup can alleviate many of those issues. It also gives you time to purchase any additional ingredients you need that you don't already have on-hand.
Pre-Brewday Setup
I went to the homebrew store two days prior to my planned brewday. I had made a shopping list so I wouldn't forget anything, or make too many impulse buys. The key items I needed to pick up for this beer was the yeast and some distilled water. I picked up a bunch of other items at the homebrew store including a case of fresh bottles for another beer, which I almost ended up leaving without! I actually picked up the distilled water for the following day during my weekly grocery store run.
I decided to take my local municipal tap water and cut it in half with distilled water for the Bohemian Pilsener recipe. I didn't plan on any other salt additions for water treatment. Instead, I used some acidulated malt in the mash to lower my estimated pH. I will admit I am not a water adjusting guru, and I don't own any pH equipment. I make a few mild adjustments based on this brewing water spreadsheet and I try to take detailed notes. I have had pretty good success with certain salt additions for certain styles and shoot for something that has worked in the past. For lighter lagers I have used the half-distilled technique previously and those beers have come out very tasty, so I am sticking with what I know*.

Yeast Starter

Shortly after returning from the brew store I created a 2.5L wort starter to be able to propagate a larger amount of yeast for this lager. I like to buy 3lb bags of light DME and pre-weigh 100g, and 200g amounts into ziplock bags to speed up the time, and mess, involved with making starters. I also leave a little of the DME in its original 3lb pack. This bit which has not been pre-measured came into use when I made the 2.5L starter, which required 250g, or topping-off one of my 200g bags. I boiled the starter wort in my 3L Karter Flask and then let it cool. A few hours later, I pitched my vial of WLP800 Pilsner Lager yeast and turned on my stir plate.

Brewday Setup
The morning of brewday I made sure I had my coffee because bad things happen when I don't get my dose of caffeine. I then drew my strike water. I don't currently have any volume measurement devices in my kettle. Instead, I make use of one of my three-gallon better bottles which has accurate markings at all half gallon increments, as well as quarter gallon increments between two and three gallons.

For this batch I drew 4 gallons of strike water from the kitchen sink - two separate 2 gallon fills in the better bottle. I then carried the water downstairs to my brewpot where it was mixed with of a campden tablet that had been pulverised to powder. I think the common and effective practice is to do this ahead of time, which allows the campden tablet to actually do something, but I do it right before I start to heat up the strike water. So, as I write this, I realize it probably isn't doing anything other than making me feel warm and fuzzy inside. It also keeps me from thinking about the phenolic kolsch I brewed up in 2011. My excuse was chlorine (or is it chloramine? See, not a water guru*) because clearly nothing else I did could have resulted in that off-flavor . I then flipped on my induction burner to heat up the strike water.
As my water was heating up, I grabbed my 55lb digital scale and my grain bucket to start measuring my grains. I placed the bucket on my scale and calibrated it to 0.00. I then started to scoop my Weyerman Bohemian Pilsner malt into the bucket. Hitting 9 lbs and 12 oz right on the nose I carefully began to scoop the Carapils malt. Being lazy, I didn't' use a separate container for this grain addition so I had to be precise. In hindsight, I should have weighed this first. It wasn't problem however, as I methodically sprinkled the last few grains into the top of the bucket to hit my total grain weight of 10 lbs 8 oz. Lastly, I added my 4.5 ounce of acid malt, and moved the ingredients into my bathroom a few feet away.

I mill my grain in the bathroom with the fan on. It probably doesn't do much more than get grain dust all over the place, but it at least makes me think that the area by my fermentation chamber is filled with less lactic dust! I use a barley crusher and can usually always mill in one fill thanks to my personal favorite DIY creation, the hopper extension.

After milling my grain, I make sure my CPVC manifold is tightly connected and that the ball-valve on the mash is in the OFF POSITION. Hot water on the floor is not how I want to start my mash! I did a quick temperature check on my strike water and see that I still had another few degrees to go. I had just enough time to setup my propane burner and plastic folding table outside.
This is takes us to the end of my brewday setup procedures. My methods may not be perfect, but they are pretty efficient with a setup time of right under twenty five minutes. Please share your brewday setup tips and tricks in the comments below!
* If you would like to start learning about water for all grain brews more in-depth, head over to the water primer thread, or pick up a copy of John Palmer's Water.


Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2012
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Nice brew day details.
Since I brew Gluten Free grain my day is 8hrs long from start to finish.
The day before I fill my 23Liter carbot with water that has 3tsp Ascorbic acid and 1/8 tsp sodiummetabisulphite added to remove chlorine.
Then the brew day, after coffee(seems to be a theme here LOL) I grind all grain that two weeks before I have malted and roasted myself for the type of recipe I'm using in a coffee mill until its course flour.
Get the water needed to 40cel for a thick mash then raise the temp to 50cel for another 30mins then to 70cel to gelatinize the starch.
I then add the enzyme into the mash and hold temp at 65cel for 90mins.
Once this is done it the the mash tun and fly sparge until the gravity is 1.010 when I stop collecting wort and boil.
Whew...that was hard work. LOL


Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2014
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Nice write up!
I just have one question regarding Campden tabs. I use them as well but was under the impression that the tablet removes chlorine/chloramines from water almost instantaneously. I believe I read that on several different posts on these forums. Is that not the case?


Awesomeness Award Winnner
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Apr 20, 2010
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Damascus, MD
@hanuswalrus you are correct and forced me to do some further research. The resident water specialist on the forum states the reaction is instantaneous. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/campden-tablets-sulfites-brewing-water-361073/


Homebrewer, author & air gun collector
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Feb 19, 2011
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I use the Barley Crusher grain mill on a blue Lowe's bucket, which it fits tighter than the orange Home Depot one. I don't get any dust outside the bucket. But the bottom of the baseplate is caked with it, as is the inside of the bucket to a lesser extent. Never got any dust in the environment?