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Kory Kullander

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Hi there,

My name is Kory, and everything ive been looking up has directed me to this forum... so first off, let me thank you all for contributing as its grown my knowledge of what im doing from a 0 to a 1.2/10 already! But... im looking for a bit more of a personal touch to my super beginner-ness.

Basically, im a huge lover of craft beers and especially lagers, so thought i'd turn my hand to it (perhaps naively?)

looking stuff up, i feel like ive been hit with alot of jargon that i just dont get.

I'm looking at brewing my first batch of lager, have a spare fridge that ive rigged up to be externally temp controlled, and bought a few bits and bobs, like an airlock and hydrometer.

what im looking for from you lovely folk, is a bit of clarification, and perhaps some nudges in the right direction due to your personal experience.

im brewing a 32litre batch (or 5 gallon if thats better, just please say whether that imperial or US gallon)

So i got 11g of Mangrove Jacks M76. Is this enough? (question 1)

not sure whether to use dextrose or LME, or to be honest... how much of either! (question 2)

when it comes to making the mash or wort, what am i doing? found little info for the beginner, or perhaps im just being dense? any amounts/methods/timescales would be a great help! (question 3)

and timescales for each stage? (question 4)

Sorry theres so much in this post, but ive literally been chasing my tail and getting more and more overwhelmed by reading a million different posts with differing opinions on all aspects it seems like theres nothing but variables and choices in my head, rather than a fixed plan!

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and i thank anyone in advance that even manages to read this far into the post!
 

Jag75

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Hey there and welcome to the forum . You have come to the right place. There is a ton of experienced brewers on here who will help . This place has indeed helped me along the way. First thing I would say is that you are on the right track for temp control . Controlling your fermentation is right up there with cleanliness and sanitation. Next comes patience .

If I were you since you've never brewed before I would choose something a little less involved to get your feet wet . When you Lager there are steps . When your beer is about 75 % done you start uping your temp a few degrees until you get to 66F . This is for diacetyl rest . You rest for a few days then slowly come back down in temp until you package .

Most people start with extract kits and I highly suggest looking for one of those . Something like a simple ale . You can purchase the ingredients separately to save money . Most places have the instructions so you can see what the ingredients are .

Stay away from secondaries like the instructions say . It just increases your chances of oxidation which you dont want. I really dont want to bombard you with a bunch of stuff so I suggest reading through the forum and use the search to find specific info . There are hundreds of great threads in here. Look online for yeast and priming calculators. Always check with your hydrometer to make sure beer is completely fermented out before you bottle . You dont want bottle bombs . Have fun and good luck with your first brew!
 
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Kory Kullander

Kory Kullander

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Hi Jag,

Thank you! As i said in my OP, i noticed everywhere was pointing to here for info, so i assume you guys know what you're talking about!

when you say about something a little less involved, are you saying perhaps i shouldnt do lager? or just perhaps go with my best guess and improve in future batches?

I did get an ale brewers starting kit for my birthday... but i took the 3L jug and a few measly ingredients as inspiration to think bigger! (and potentially much more tasty!)

looking around, alot of brewers seem to say that temperature regulation is the key, which is why i set up what i have, but its the other steps im having a bit of difficulty getting my head around.

what do you brew? would be good to get an idea of what most people do and for what reasons :)

thank you so much for your reply!
 

Jag75

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What does your set up consist of for brewing? I dont know where your located but I started out with kits from Brewersbest. Easy kits that are good tasting . You can check out the recipe section for extracts to give you some ideas. Kits are good for starting because it comes with instructions and they are basic. Simply boil water add LME and DME. Some use steeping grains . They even come with yeast and hops , depending on the kit. If you really want to do a Lager then go for it . You have temp control which will be very important for lagers and Ales .

I brew all kinds of stuff . Lagers , Ales and a couple sours . I pretty much brew all grain.
 

Amadeo38

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Hi there,

My name is Kory, and everything ive been looking up has directed me to this forum... so first off, let me thank you all for contributing as its grown my knowledge of what im doing from a 0 to a 1.2/10 already! But... im looking for a bit more of a personal touch to my super beginner-ness.

Basically, im a huge lover of craft beers and especially lagers, so thought i'd turn my hand to it (perhaps naively?)

looking stuff up, i feel like ive been hit with alot of jargon that i just dont get.

I'm looking at brewing my first batch of lager, have a spare fridge that ive rigged up to be externally temp controlled, and bought a few bits and bobs, like an airlock and hydrometer.

what im looking for from you lovely folk, is a bit of clarification, and perhaps some nudges in the right direction due to your personal experience.

im brewing a 32litre batch (or 5 gallon if thats better, just please say whether that imperial or US gallon)

So i got 11g of Mangrove Jacks M76. Is this enough? (question 1)

not sure whether to use dextrose or LME, or to be honest... how much of either! (question 2)

when it comes to making the mash or wort, what am i doing? found little info for the beginner, or perhaps im just being dense? any amounts/methods/timescales would be a great help! (question 3)

and timescales for each stage? (question 4)

Sorry theres so much in this post, but ive literally been chasing my tail and getting more and more overwhelmed by reading a million different posts with differing opinions on all aspects it seems like theres nothing but variables and choices in my head, rather than a fixed plan!

Any help would be greatly appreciated, and i thank anyone in advance that even manages to read this far into the post!
Welcome to HBT. Most people will just recommend you read through John Palmers book, “How to Brew.” His website is linked in the above post, and you can probably find a used edition online for a very reasonable price. Worth its weight in gold for the beginner. However, while you wait for that to arrive, I’ll take a stab at your questions.

1.) a satchet of dry yeast like that is often enough for most standard gravity beers (meaning they’re not high ABV). The exception, some might say, is for lager which many people often overpitch yeast (two packets) just to be safe.

2.) dextrose (corn sugar) vs. LME - depends on what you’re using it for. Both can be used to increase the gravity of the beer before fermentation, and both can be dissolved in boiling water then cooled to carbonate a finished beer at the bottling stage. If you meant DME vs. LME, most would recommend starting your first beer as an extract batch with DME. LME may soak up some volume of beer, but otherwise they’re quite similar other than DME being easier to handle.

3.) making the mash/wort - this will depend on the method of brewing you choose. Many start with extract recipes, which usually entails some steeping grains. This means you’ll get some crushed specialty grains (typically crystal or roasted malts) that you place in a muslin bag and steep in a few gallons of water at a specified temperature for a specified time (been years since I brewed extract so I won’t guess at these numbers as I’ll probably mis-remember). After that, you’ll bring it to a boil, add your first hop addition (most recipes call for a small “bittering” addition for 60 minutes), then various other additions ultimately ending with your DME liquid at the end of the boil. I always ignored instructions to add DME any time before 5 minutes left I’m the boil because it doesn’t need longer boiling than that and longer boiling of DME will just make the beer darker. You’ll then cool the wort as fast as possible, and from here on out, everything that touches the wort should be cleaned with an odorless/residue-free cleanser and then soaked/coated in sanitizer (most use Star San and you don’t wipe/rinse it off). Once the wort is at the specified temperature range for the yeast you’ve chosen, you can pitch it. I typically let my wort come to temp in my fermentation chamber by taping the temp probe to the side of the fermentor and insulating the outside of the probe with foam or a sponge.

4) time frames from here will depend on the yeast type and temperature. Your preferred brew (Lager) is one that will take some patience and is usually reserved for later when you’ve got experience. They don’t allow much room for flaws in your process, as they’re light and delicate beers that depend on finicky yeasts. I’d start with an extract pale ale that will let you get the hang of things and hide any flaws behind tons of hops.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions here, and also try to find a local homebrew shop (LHBS) as they’ll often be a great resource for questions and helpful more immediately when you have a beer “emergency.”
 

seatazzz

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I will +1 to the above, going to howtobrew.com. Jon Palmer doesn't bombard you with a lot of hard-to-understand information for beginners; it's easy to read, and takes you through all the steps quite well. The online version is a bit out of date, but you can buy the actual book (revised editions) at most booksellers or Amazon. You'll get a better understanding of the process, including things that can (and for most of us in the beginning) WILL go wrong. Patience is the key here. Read, read, read! And do some googling; there may be a brew club in your area that you can contact; one of the members there might let you sit in on a brewday to get a better understanding of what you need. And we here at HBT are always ready to answer questions. Good luck!
 

Saunassa

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Even though extract brewing kits are more expensive then separate ingredients they usually have easy to follow directions, all the ingredients and some include the bottling sugar and caps. Having directions that you can follow step by step really does help. Disregard the secondary in most instructions though.
Palmer's book referenced above is a good read and great reference material.
Brewing TV, Basic Brewing TV and others are good sources.
I learn better with both hard print and visually. Steve's brew shop had a good video on 15 minute pale ale and I am not promoting their kit but the video is not too long, dry, is well made and one of many out there to watch and describes why you do things.They also do a partial mash cream ale video too.
 
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Zambezi Special

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I started of with a small all grain kit and the beer that I produced was very drinkable. I made plenty mistakes, but it is certainly doable to go to all grain from the start.
I would just advise you to do a smaller batch, 10-15 litres or so. It's easier to work with and you'll learn a lot. Then increase for the next batch if you want.
 

davidabcd

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The conversion here would be 5 gallons = 19 liters.

"How to Brew" gets a +1.

Kits tend to be different in the UK and there are some good recommendations on the UK sister site, Home Brew Forum.

There's no big reason not to start with a lager if you're up for it though an ale may be a little bit easier your first time brewing.

In the beginning, two things to focus on: 1. Have a step-by-step list on brew day for everything you're going to do from start to finish. 2. Know what to sanitize and how to do it.
 

NGD

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Brewing terminology: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/terms/h

+1 on How to Brew by Palmer. Get 4th ed. If you can. Its well worth the money.

11g Mangrove Jack M76 should be good as long as you keep temps within range for the yeast. Otherwise expect off flavors. Personally I would add another packet just to be safe. Lagering is all about low and slow. Low temps and slow, controlled fermentation.

DME or LME, its really up to you.

Try an easy recipe first. A few extract lager recipes are posted in this thread https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/need-authentic-german-lager-recipe.427396/

Good luck and have fun
 

kevy

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+1 on how to brew.com
John palmers booms are really useful as well
This forum is huge in learning also. A lot of knowledge on here

Do a google search and see if there are any local home brew supply stores in your area. Anyone there would set you up with a good base of knowledge and be able to immediately answer your questions
 
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Kory Kullander

Kory Kullander

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Hello again guys!

Thank you all for your help and the useful links, have been a real lifesaver!

update;

i used the M76 coupled with a pilsner kit (basically just swapping the yeast) because the pilsner one was a room temp brew, and wanted to dive straight in using my second-hand, jury-rigged refrigerator setup.

all seemed to go quite well, im into week 3 now, and have a been testing it with a hydrometer every 2-3 days to keep a track on it, which is where the problem arises...

I tested the batch on the 11th nov, a week ago, and was looking at a specific gravity of 1.1, so i thought it was getting close to the bottling stage.

However, ive retested today, and now im getting readings of 1.12, and im unsure why it would have gone up?

Any ideas what has gone wrong? anything i can do to help curb it, or perhaps precautions in the future?

I have followed strict sterilization procedures, nothing went near the batch without being sorted, including hands (gloves). but if my problem points to contamination, any ideas how it would have been contaminated?

Thank you so much for your time, and i await all of your replies!
 

balrog

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hopefully you mean 1.012.
It did not go up.
One possibility is that yeast make alcohol and CO2, in solution, so there's some CO2 dissolved in there and when you take a sample you might get teeny little bubbles on the hydrometer that will float it higher (bigger number) than wihtout bubbles attached. So pour the sample back and forth between containers several times, let it sit to degas, and twirl the hydrometer to dislodge any bubbles adhering to it.
 
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Kory Kullander

Kory Kullander

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Hey there,

i agree they are close, but ive got pictures so you can see it does appear to have changed? ill be testing it again in a bit so ill post what it came out at.

20191111_175622.jpg 20191118_195955.jpg
 
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