New brewer: help needed

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Fingolin

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After a failed attempt without adequate research, I am going to brew a Simcoe Smash and would like your opinion in the process, as well as recipe. I tried to be as detailed as possible so that any potential errors in my understanding stand out. The bottling is however still missing.

Thanks in advance.

Recipe: Smash Simcoe IPA | American IPA All Grain Beer Recipe | Brewer's Friend
  1. Initial Water Profile
    1. Calcium: 0.7 mg/L
    2. Magnesium: 1.1 mg/L
    3. Sodium: 5.8 mg/L
    4. Chloride: 9.3 mg/L
    5. Sulfate: 1.1 mg/L
    6. Bicarbonate: 2.6 mg/L
  2. Final Water Profile
    1. Calcium: 139.9 mg/L
    2. Magnesium: 9.3 mg/L
    3. Sodium: 5.8 mg/L
    4. Chloride: 57.3 mg/L
    5. Sulfate: 301.8 mg/L
    6. Mash pH: 5.3
  3. Water treatment
    1. Add water (13.3L) to mash tun/boil kettle (a 34L pot)
    2. With a graduated pipette, add 3 mL of a Calcium Chloride 33% solution (as an equivalent to 1 mL of anhydrous Calcium Chloride) to the water
    3. Add 6.4g of Gypsum to the water
    4. Add 1.1g of Epsom Salt to the water
    5. Heat water to 69ºC, stirring to dissolve everything
  4. Mashing - Direct fire, open pot, BIAB
    1. Turn the heat to minimum (adjusting afterwards as needed)
    2. Add open mash bag to the top of the pot
    3. Mash-in slowly, add 2.2 kg to the pot while stirring to prevent clumping
      1. Grain quantity assuming 60% efficiency (anything between 50% and 70% may yield an acceptable ABV)
    4. Allow the mash to rest for 90 minutes at 67ºC (65ºC measured at the top, the bottom should be hotter), stir every 5 minutes
      1. 62.7ºC to 67ºC - less body, more fermentable sugar
      2. 67ºC - 70ºC - more body, less fermentable sugar
    5. Heat water to 76ºC for 15 minutes (74ºC measured at the top, the bottom should be hotter)
    6. Remove mash bag with grain from the wort
      1. Close the bag and let the top cool off on the side of the pot
      2. Raise the bag and let it drip
      3. When there is no more dripping, remove to second pot and squeeze the bag lightly (specially with darker malts)
      4. Add mash runnings from the second pot to the wort
    7. Take a 100 mL sample with a pipette, let the temperature drop to 20ºC and measure pre boil gravity with an hydrometer
  5. Boiling (hop quantity assuming a 90% util. due to muslin bags and 31.5% AA loss as they were harvested in 2020 and stored in the dark at 5ºC) - expected pre-boiling volume ~11.8L
    1. Add 12g of hops to the wort inside a muslin hop bag
    2. Allow wort to boil 60 minutes (100ºC - measured at the top), stir every 5 minutes
      1. After 45 minutes of boiling, add 18g of hops in a muslin hop bag and
      2. 0.2 of Compac CG tablet (no bag) and
      3. Insert the immersion wort chiller (turned off) to sterilize
      4. After 60 minutes of boiling, add 18g of hops in a muslin hop bag (sanitized with Starsan - just the bag)
  6. Fermentation - expected fermenting chilled volume 7L
    1. Chill wort with immersion wort chiller connected to tap (one hose) and to sink (second hose) until wort temperature reaches 20ºC
    2. Remove hop bags
    3. Sanitize the following with Starsan
      1. Measuring container
      2. Fermenting bucket (including spigot and lid)
      3. Airlock
      4. Yeast package
      5. Scissors to open yeast package
    4. Transfer 100 mL of wort to the measuring container
    5. Transfer the 100 mL sample to a pipette and measure the original gravity with an hydrometer
    6. Transfer the remaining wort to the fermenting bucket with an airlock
    7. Aerate by shaking
    8. Pitch yeast dry (1 package of Lalbrew Nottingham not rehydrated) and allow to ferment at an ambient temperature of 14ºC-15ºC
    9. Starting on day 3:
      1. Take a 100 mL sample to a pipette, through the spigot
      2. Let the temperature increase close to 20ºC and measure specific gravity with an hydrometer
      3. Sanitize the spigot with Starsan
    10. When the specific gravity reaches 1.02 (80% of the way from the original gravity to the final gravity), quickly open the lid and add a sanitized hop bag with 42g of hops
    11. After 6 days of dry hopping and a specific gravity reading within a few points of the target final gravity (1.011), bottle
 
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hotbeer

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First time brewing or second or third attempt?

I don't know about your recipe, but your attention to details are great. Just don't expect any of that to all come off exactly as you have it planned out. There will be procedures you didn't quite think out and other things that you just need to build skills with.

So when things start go out of control and snowball on you, then just keep calm, finish it up as best as you can and realize it'll still be beer.
 

Rish

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For item 11, I'd suggest taking a gravity reading at 6 days of dry hopping, then again 2 days later. If they're the same, you can bottle. I wouldn't necessarily rely on how close you are to projected FG. You could also taste your sample and decide if you want to pull the hops (if you're using a bag) or leave them longer. Happy brewing!
 

marc1

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Looks like you've researched a lot!

I would recommend not heating during your mash. You can insulate your kettle with blankets/sleeping bags (take it off the hot burner first!) or heat your oven a bit, then turn it off and put the mash pot in the warmed but off oven to help keep it warm.

For the grain bag, you want to have a bag that fits the entire inside of the pot, you want plenty of room without dead space around it.

Also, squeezing the grain bag isn't an issue, but a lot of people don't find it necessary, preferring a drip dry as being easier.

For hops, I prefer to put them in without bags. If you use bags, make sure that they aren't tight - hops, especially pellets, will expand a lot in the wort.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
 

IslandLizard

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After a failed attempt without adequate research
Can you elaborate on that failed attempt? What or where did it go wrong? Don't want to make the same mistake again.

I'd be very careful directly heating a mash. Especially in a bag. Risk of scorching!

There's no need for a mashout step.
At the end of the mash, pull the bag, let drip out. Then the best thing is to dunk the bag in some water in a bucket (on the side) to sparge (rinse) the grain. Then add that wort from the sparge to your kettle.
Subtract the volume you'll use for sparging from your original mash water volume. Say, 1/3 of your total volume.
 
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Fingolin

Fingolin

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Thank you all for your input! How does the recipe look in terms of quantities/logic (it was written do account for lower hop utilization and brewing efficiency)?

I would recommend not heating during your mash. You can insulate your kettle with blankets/sleeping bags (take it off the hot burner first!) or heat your oven a bit, then turn it off and put the mash pot in the warmed but off oven to help keep it warm.

I'd be very careful directly heating a mash. Especially in a bag. Risk of scorching!

The space I have to brew is open so the mash will lose temperature fast. I don't have blankets/sleeping bags to use in there. Hence why I am heating the mash but with minimum heat.

Can you elaborate on that failed attempt? What or where did it go wrong? Don't want to make the same mistake again.

A lot of silly mistakes in the mashing / boiling because I had no idea of what I was doing. Hence why I did a bit more of research now, to get at least the basics about the process.
 
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IslandLizard

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Most of your process, as you described in awesome detail, is solid and will produce good wort and beer in the end.

I'll be commenting on individual, smaller parts of your process, where I think you need to pay special attention or make revisions.

The space I have to brew is open so the mash will lose temperature fast. I don't have blankets/sleeping bags to use in there. Hence why I am heating the mash but with minimum heat.
Most of us brew (or have brewed) outside at some point, in the open air, in whatever weather is thrown upon us when we decided to brew that batch. Ranging from sweltering hot to sub-zero blizzards, and anything in between, as well as in sudden storms, in pouring rain, or even complete darkness. Propane is great, it keeps the brewers and spectators warm!
But the mash temp is in a narrow, critical temperature window, and we must do our best to keep it in there.

Therefore, when ambient temps or conditions are adverse, we need to insulate that kettle while the mash does its thing. Even indoors, we do that. We use a converted beverage cooler or an insulated kettle/pot. You can put the kettle (if not too large) inside a warm but turned off oven to keep temps more constant.

Stirring the mash when in a bag can be a bit cumbersome already, the mash paddle (or whatever you use to stir) tends to grab the bag, especially at the bottom.

When mashing in a kettle, applying direct heat to the kettle bottom, that's where scorching will occur. The bottom needs to be scraped while heating, to prevent that, while the hotter mash needs to be brought toward the top section of the kettle, mixing with the cooler mash. Otherwise you risk scorching and overheating part of the mash, denaturing the enzymes doing the starch to sugar conversion for you. Beta-amylase especially starts denaturing quickly above 158°F/70°C.
 
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