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Newbie BIAB Newcastle clone help

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Nick&Worty

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Hello, folks! New homebrewer and member here looking for a sanity check, and any guidance or advice I can get. I just finished up and tapped my first brew, a German wheat from an extract kit. Worked out really well, and already planning my next project! I want to expand to BIAB, and am planning to make this Newcastle clone:


I ordered all of the ingredients exactly as listed.

The recipe isn't specific to BIAB, and as this is my first go at it I have a few questions:

  • The recipe is for a 10 gal batch, and I will be making a 5 gallon batch. I'm assuming I can just cut it straight in half, correct?
  • Because this looks to me like a standard all grain recipe, should I reduce the base malt at all (-.5LB)?
  • Is it better to use RO or distilled water for something like this?
  • Using this calculator, I'm coming up with a strike volume of 7.2 gallons. Does that seem about right?
  • I bought a Hullwrecker from NB. The roller gap goes from .025 to .1 What would you use for these grains (.04)?
  • Is it better to mill the different types of grains together or individually?
  • When is the best time to add the Irish Moss?

FWIW I'm not going to do two different batches at different OGs and combine like the recipe mentions. After some reading and research I'm convinced that's a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Keeping it simple and single-batching it.

Thanks to the community for all the info I've found so far searching forums. I'm sure I'll come up with some more questions, but this is a good start.

Thanks!
-Nick
 
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jdudek

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Welcome to this wonderfult hobby!

here's an attempt to answer your questions in order:

You can cut all the ingredients in half, except the yeast. Pitch the whole pack. In many cases, recipes don't actually go into how many yeast cells are needed for the target OG, how viable the yeast is based on its production date etc... in this case, for 5G with a farily low OG, if you pitch a reasonably fresh pouch of yeast, you'll be fine.

don't reduce the base malt differently than other grains. What's important is the proportions of different malts to each other. You want the same recipe, keep the proportions the same

I'm no expert on brown ales, but in general, if you use RO or distilled water, you need to treat your water with some salts. This has no simple answer, you need to use some water treatement software like bru'n'water or the stuff that's packaged in beer smith or other brewing software. Given that this is a darker ale, and your second attempt, I'd save water chemestry for another day and use tap water. Assuming you are on city water, i'd use a campden tablet (from your local brewing store) to treat for chloramine. If you're really motivated with your RO water, have a look at EZ water calculator

7.2 gallons for a full volume mash seems in the ball park for a 5G full volume mash. I usually end up somewhere between 7 and 7.5. You can ball park this pretty easily: target volume into fermenter + boil off + grain absorbtion = ~ how much water you need. Like in most areas of brewing, there's a lot of details to unpack here, depending on your level of interest in brewing science... water has different volumes at different temperatures, grain have a certain amount of moisture (~4%) which sounds like not much but will make a small difference in your target gravities/efficiency. Nothing you really need to worry about but do keep in mind that if you don't hit the numbers perfectly, there's a lot more to unpack behind the scenes. You can delve into that if you wish. The beer will be good regardless if you follow basic proper technique

Crush is a whole other topic once again. You'll get very good and fast conversion if you crush extra fine (0.02-0.03). You'll need a very good fine mesh bag for this. (like the ones sold by Wilserbrewer). I'd say you can just play it safe and crush somewhere between 0.04 and 0.05. I would also not trust the gauge on the mill. I've checked mine with feeler gauges and the numbers are way off.

Mill together. I am actually not sure about the need to mill torrified wheat. May want to research that one a bit more.

I never used irish moss, i think it's 15 minutes before the end of the boil. I use whirlfloc tablets, which is basically the same concept as irish moss. I think i throw it in 5 minutes before the end.


the 2 sparges are basically a batch sparge technique. Yes you can skip that and mash full volume. You may get a small efficiency hit, but it's nothing that will ruin your beer. I don't sparge and many biabers don't either.

Finally, the only way to really get more precisinon when dealing with all grain recipes is to plug things into brewing software. It's by no means necessary at this stage, but it's fun :). Keep in mind that there's a good chance this beer will not taste like a Newcastle, but it will in all likelyhood be a tasty brown ale.

good luck!
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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Thanks Jakub! Really appreciate the response and info. A tasty brown ale is all I need! I was wondering whether I would need to add any minerals in there. I'll look into that further. The yeast is liquid, so that should be easy enough. Hopefully the ice packs hang in there and it survives shipping in September!

I'll post pics when this one finishes up. Thanks again!

-Nick
 

AJinJacksonville

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Greetings Nick. Great advice from @jdudek. love browns, love Newcastle, and love experimenting with a brown base I've worked on a few brew sessions. I don't add any clarifying agents, since it's going to be dark and non-transparent by design. Won't hurt to add it...I don't even add anything to my IPAs and they end up pretty clear.

In regards to using liquid yeast...do you plan on making a yeast starter? If not, it is an added skill you may want to consider in the future.

For water, I use tap water with Campden tablets. I've used store bought spring water before in place of tap...didn't notice a different in taste (good or bad).

Nottingham yeast has really grown on me for browns...a nice, classical finish to it. Also, I've added anything from vanilla beans, jalapeno to toasted coconut shavings to the brown base recipe...and all taste fantastic. Assuming you like the end result, it'll be a good one to play with down the road with various additions. Hope it turns out great!
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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Thanks AJ! I have one of these on my kitchen sink


It's supposed to filter chlorine while also still leaving in minerals. I'm thinking that should leave me where I want to be, but please let me know if you think otherwise. Thanks for the info on the yeast! I bought double what I needed, and was planning on just following the pitching directions, but I may make a starter out of the 2nd one. I have experience creating and maintaining sourdough starter, so I'm betting it's a similar idea. Will read up on it. There's a whole chapter on it in Palmer's book IIRC that I can review. Also thanks for the suggestion with Nottingham. Will check it out!
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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@AJinJacksonville after some reading on starters I definitely need to make that a part of nearly every brew the way I see it. I did not realize that (within reason) the more yeast the better, and what a significant difference it would make in fermentation quality. I ordered a magnetic stirrer, a 2L Pyrex erlenmeyer flask, and some DME for it.

Question: While learning about yeast farming, I ran across some advice saying that I can leave about an inch of wort in the primary fermenter when primary finishes, swish/mix it around a bit, divide it into jars, freeze it (for years if I want), and use each of those jars to regrow that yeast for up to 7 generations. Does that sound right?
 

AJinJacksonville

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You'll find that to be a quite a realm of multiple opinions. Some say, to be on the safe side, limit the generations to no more than three, but someone will always report success on a tenth generation. If you search this forum, you'll find all kinds of threads with DIY info, links to outside DIY videos, etc. If you freeze it, then you'll have to add glycerin (or something like that), and it's more of a scientific study in yeast propagation. Way past my level of expertise. That said, I've harvested/washed before with some success, but I am no expert.

You'll find several on here that routinely pour a new batch of wort onto a fresh batch of yeast from the previous brew...usually same day as transferring out of the fermenter. They just add it right onto the yeast cake from the previous brew...but you'll want it to be a similar style (IPA, brown, etc.), and it is not the best suggestion for high gravity beers.
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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It’s Brown Ale Day! Just started mash in. Made a starter out of one of the yeast packets. Will post more as we go! :)
1BA8E3C4-DC16-441E-93D2-BF318BA0EF89.jpeg
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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She looks good! OG came in right on target at 1.043. Pitched an unopened packet of yeast, and a starter. Might have been just a tad overkill on yeast, but whatever. Wanted to be sure.
D66588DD-77E1-40F5-8E97-F7E73156171E.jpeg
 
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Nick&Worty

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Being as this is only my 2nd brew, and my first was an extract kit with dry yeast, is it normal with liquid yeast and yeast starter to have that much settled yeast at the bottom right after pitching? Granted, I did throw a starter slurry in there, but with the German wheat I made last time, I didn’t get that much appearing crashed at the bottom this fast. It’s only been a couple of hours and I already have bubbles, so I think it’s probably good, just noticed the difference.
B1D66A4B-C80B-4C74-9C6C-3F005C5C23FF.jpeg
 
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Nick&Worty

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NM, definitely good to go! Not even 12 hrs later and fermenting like she means it! Nice little krausen already formed and blow off tube is bubbling about 3 times per second. Now to start thinking about cider.. mua ha ha ha ha!
 
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Nick&Worty

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Today is 1wk. Transferred from primary w blow off to secondary w airlock. Looks great to me. OG was 1.043. Target FG is 1.01. Today we sit at 1.014. Is that about right for halfway through fermentation time?
25F6D5F5-A22D-439E-B745-E8E6A2632D55.jpeg
A8E91B58-FDB8-42B4-87D0-D72D24ED0DF8.jpeg
 
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jdudek

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Looks good! Gravity looks good too at this stage.

in the future you can avoid the transfer to secondary. With some exceptions, it is unnecessary and only exposes your beer to more oxygen.
 
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Nick&Worty

Nick&Worty

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She is cleaning up nicely. Tomorrow is 14 days, but I still see the occasional bubble go through the airlock. Was planning on kegging and crashing tomorrow, but wondering if I should give it a couple more days.
FDCF6AC2-E3C6-4313-B0A6-4A4E7FB9090C.jpeg
 

McKnuckle

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At 14 days, it's more than done. Bubbles at this stage are just CO2 coming out of solution and into the headspace, then finding their way to the airlock. Actual fermentation is long since complete.

And since you're kegging, you don't even need to be bothered with having it be ABSOLUTELY done. That's more of a concern for bottling.
 
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