Very simple brewer..

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Cammanron

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I've been brewing for a couple of years now, and I'm brewing all grain BIAB. I started with Mr. Beer after my wife got me a kit one year, (I suspect plenty of brewers started out that way).
I switched because I suspected that the LME was giving all my beers the same taste with very little difference regardless of the style.
So I upgraded to BIAB and upgraded some of my equipment.... I got an induction plate, a big SS pot, bottling wand, hop bag, auto siphon and a Hellfire burner. I had a hydrometer and scale from before. I still use the MB fementer kegs and bottles, as they serve the purpose perfectly fine.
I have brewed many different recipes and made my own and never have they turned out poorly... only one am I not too impressed with (the latest that tastes strange and I'm not too sure why-perhaps it was the first time I used liquid yeast?). My results are very good and I attribute that to proper sanitizing and being overly cautious with it.
You can say I'm lazy.... that's ok, I sorta am... 😃
 

hotbeer

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There is a lot to be said for keeping it simple... and inexpensive.

I don't see myself wanting to do more than 2 gallon batches at a time. Nor do I ever see kegging in my future. And dry yeast comes in so many different types now and can be direct pitched with no aeration. So the effort to mess with liquid yeast just seems a little behind the times.

I too am lazy in many regards. Or at least I don't like what to me is un-necessary complication.
 

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+2 for "Lazy."
the latest that tastes strange and I'm not too sure why-perhaps it was the first time I used liquid yeast
Would need a best effort to describe "strange." The range of solutions (if there's an actual issue) is too large without some more detail.
I have a Hellfire also. It has earned the name and is like a rocket engine.
 
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Cammanron

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+2 for "Lazy."

Would need a best effort to describe "strange." The range of solutions (if there's an actual issue) is too large without some more detail.
I have a Hellfire also. It has earned the name and is like a rocket engine.
Strange as in... I dunno.... i would guess MAYBE it is SOME-what bandaid would taste like???? but I used bottled spring water, so chlorination would not be the cause, could it? It's a first impress6 taste, but doesn't linger at all....
 

davidabcd

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That is a thing. How do you clean your gear? That's the only question I can think of. Make sure you know what's in the products you use. Not too much to worry about but keep an eye on your process.
Without looking, I don't remember if anything else causes "bandaid" flavor.
good that it is a fleeting taste.
 

Upstate12866

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Laziness is the mother of efficiency, and it's doubly valuable in hobbies where gear is sold as the solution to every problem. Who has the space and $$ for a microbrewery anyway. Stay lazy my friends
 

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Strange as in... I dunno.... i would guess MAYBE it is SOME-what bandaid would taste like???? but I used bottled spring water, so chlorination would not be the cause, could it? It's a first impress6 taste, but doesn't linger at all....
What kind of sanitizer are you using?
 
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Cammanron

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OK, that rules out sanitizer. Properly diluted Starsan doesn't affect flavor.
I'm just chalking it up to a combination of things..., First time ever using liquid (WL English ale yeast), too much roasted barley, slow to start and sluggish fermentation ...
 
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Cammanron

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Yeah, I direct pitched... perhaps THAT was partly it...
But, no matter, that was something that originally wasn't part of my post... I'm not worried.... my post is more about being a "simple" brewer...
 

TestTickle

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Yeah, I direct pitched... perhaps THAT was partly it...
But, no matter, that was something that originally wasn't part of my post... I'm not worried.... my post is more about being a "simple" brewer...
Oh, I get it, but hey, it's a natural reaction for home brewers to want to chime in and try to offer help...even when it's unsolicited, lol.

As for your original post, I'm a pretty simple BIAB brewer myself.
 
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Cammanron

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Oh, I get it, but hey, it's a natural reaction for home brewers to want to chime in and try to offer help...even when it's unsolicited, lol.

As for your original post, I'm a pretty simple BIAB brewer myself.
It's all good...
RAHAHB
 

hotbeer

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Some seem to want to associate the band-aid off taste to poor sanitation. However I don't think that is anything but a red herring.

Band aid flavors come from phenols if I remember correctly, not infection from poor sanitation. Phenols can come from more than a few sources at various stages in the brewing process.
 
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Cammanron

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Some seem to want to associate the band-aid off taste to poor sanitation. However I don't think that is anything but a red herring.

Band aid flavors come from phenols if I remember correctly, not infection from poor sanitation. Phenols can come from more than a few sources at various stages in the brewing process.
Makes some sense.... I just don't know if the flavour I'm getting is necessarily "bandaid".. it's just strange...not sour, not moldy, not bitter, just not a taste that I'm familiar with. I've already put it behind me and I will be sure not to do the same combination of things next time around.

If anything it may be phenols from a very sluggish start to fermentation...

Oh well
 

bwible

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I wouldn’t be so quick to blame liquid yeast, even if it is the first time you ever used it. Unless you’re using a Belgian strain or something odd. These companies like Wyeast and White Labs produce a quality product.

Band aid is usually as mentioned chlorine in your water or yes, an infection.

 

McMullan

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I've collected quite a lot of home brew paraphernalia over the years. It's definitely complicated my brewing process. It's a lot of fun to invent or make stuff too, even if it takes a day to set up and clean. If I were honest, I'd say keeping things simple is the easiest and cheapest way to make very nice home brew. To be brutally honest, I'd say if you're pitching nice fresh yeast and you've got fermentation temperature under control, you can make just as nice beer with fresh extract kits 😬 Obviously, it's not as much fun as all-grain and spending all day setting up shiny kit then cleaning it all; but, then again, if you're lazy, you'll have better things to do with your day. It really is an eye-opener what you an achieve with a kit and minimal effort.

Poor sanitary practices tend to manifest over time regardless. Corny kegs are notorious, especially those that have deep weld seams inside, near the base. Of course, the beer's great when first kegged.
 
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VikeMan

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To be brutally honest, I'd say if you're pitching nice fresh yeast and you've got fermentation temperature under control, you can make just as nice beer with fresh extract kits
I'll be brutally honest too. One can make good beers with extract, but "on average," not as good as properly executed all grain, for a number of reasons.

Look at the recipes of the winners emerging from competitions. There are comparatively very few extract beers taking medals, particularly in larger competitions. I've analyzed a lot of NHC results. Most years, there are no extract beers at all that medal. I do realize that the top NHC beer in 2021 was an extract beer, and there was much hoopla about that. But the fact that that was so noteworthy highlights the fact that it is so unusual.

Note that I used the words "on average." I'll reiterate that one can make good, even great (occasionally) beers with extract. But if the goal is to make the best beers possible, it's a handicap.

That said, since this is a beginner's forum thread, I wholeheartedly encourage new brewers to cut their teeth on extract kits. Its a good way to learn some of the basics without drinking from a fire hose.
 
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Cammanron

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I wouldn’t be so quick to blame liquid yeast, even if it is the first time you ever used it. Unless you’re using a Belgian strain or something odd. These companies like Wyeast and White Labs produce a quality product.

Band aid is usually as mentioned chlorine in your water or yes, an infection.

Although that is possible, I was very diligent with my starsan, and let it sit for quite a long time and swirled and shook up my fermenter many times as well...
Since it was the first time using roasted barley, I think that may be the cause. I read here Using Roasted Barley: Tips from the Pros - Brew Your Own , that too much roasted barley can affect the mash pH and I don't do anything to adjust for pH imbalance...
Again, I like to keep things simple and of several dozen brews, this was the only one that didn't go as expected

RDWAHAHB 🍻
 

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You didn't mention anything about fermentation temperature control. For me, fermentation temperature control has made the single biggest improvement in my beer. Said differently, fermentation temperature that was too high or low could have potentially stressed the yeast enough to produce an off-flavor.
 

VikeMan

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You didn't mention anything about fermentation temperature control. For me, fermentation temperature control has made the single biggest improvement in my beer. Said differently, fermentation temperature that was too high or low could have potentially stressed the yeast enough to produce an off-flavor.
But, if the off flavor is truly phenolic (as it sounds like it is), this wouldn't be the case, because WLP002 is not a POF+ (Phenolic Off Flavor) strain.
 

McMullan

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I'll be brutally honest too. One can make good beers with extract, but "on average," not as good as properly executed all grain, for a number of reasons.

Look at the recipes of the winners emerging from competitions. There are comparatively very few extract beers taking medals, particularly in larger competitions. I've analyzed a lot of NHC results. Most years, there are no extract beers at all that medal. I do realize that the top NHC beer in 2021 was an extract beer, and there was much hoopla about that. But the fact that that was so noteworthy highlights the fact that it is so unusual.

Note that I used the words "on average." I'll reiterate that one can make good, even great (occasionally) beers with extract. But if the goal is to make the best beers possible, it's a handicap.

That said, since this is a beginner's forum thread, I wholeheartedly encourage new brewers to cut their teeth on extract kits. Its a good way to learn some of the basics without drinking from a fire hose.
But how many actually execute all-grain procedures properly, to get the 'best' beer? Is the 'best' beer really worth the huge extra investment in effort? Are competition entries biased by all-grain entrants? I actually agree with you generally here, but I don't think it's as straightforward as it might look on the surface. There are definitely better extract brewers than some all-grain brewers. All-grain isn't a free ticket to ride. I get the impression issues, like creeping off flavours, for example, are likely down to ignoring good practice. Cutting corners, being lazy and convincing yourself 'it works for me' have a much higher chance of 'something weird' happening. I think if an all-grain brewer is having issues he or she should go out and buy decent extract kit to reality check all-grain 'prowess'. If the extract beer lacks that 'something weird' I'd stick with extract, unless the effort to accept there's only one way to skin a cat to get skinned cat x is something that can be mustered. 'Different folks different strokes' reads like a clinical outcome, to me.
 

McMullan

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Although that is possible, I was very diligent with my starsan, and let it sit for quite a long time and swirled and shook up my fermenter many times as well...
Since it was the first time using roasted barley, I think that may be the cause. I read here Using Roasted Barley: Tips from the Pros - Brew Your Own , that too much roasted barley can affect the mash pH and I don't do anything to adjust for pH imbalance...
Again, I like to keep things simple and of several dozen brews, this was the only one that didn't go as expected

RDWAHAHB 🍻
I happily use starsan, but I don't rely on it completely. It's not necessarily effective at killing wild yeast. It's good practice to mix things up and not let unwanted bugs gain any headway. Bleach and iodine solutions should be used occasionally, imho.
 

GrowleyMonster

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I've been brewing for a couple of years now, and I'm brewing all grain BIAB. I started with Mr. Beer after my wife got me a kit one year, (I suspect plenty of brewers started out that way).
I switched because I suspected that the LME was giving all my beers the same taste with very little difference regardless of the style.
So I upgraded to BIAB and upgraded some of my equipment.... I got an induction plate, a big SS pot, bottling wand, hop bag, auto siphon and a Hellfire burner. I had a hydrometer and scale from before. I still use the MB fementer kegs and bottles, as they serve the purpose perfectly fine.
I have brewed many different recipes and made my own and never have they turned out poorly... only one am I not too impressed with (the latest that tastes strange and I'm not too sure why-perhaps it was the first time I used liquid yeast?). My results are very good and I attribute that to proper sanitizing and being overly cautious with it.
You can say I'm lazy.... that's ok, I sorta am... 😃
I sorta am, too. However, my early batches with kits and my LME-only batches were a lot less work than my current BIAB setup. If I was REALLY lazy I would still be doing extract. In fact if I was SUPER DUPER lazy I would just have my beer delivered with the groceries, already in bottles. But I appreciate the lower cost of my BIAB beer, and the more multidimensional aspect of method and final product. Lucky for me, I like stout and porter type brews more than lagers, and room temp fermented ales are a lot less work than lagers, and a lot less touchy. My brews are low hop, high grav without a lot of expensive ingredients. Lately I have been mostly saving yeast and I only buy a pack of dry once in a while just for a backup plan. It is a lot easier to sprinkle a packet than to harvest (I don't wash... I don't think it helps enough for me to bother) yeast and then make a starter the day before brew day. Except my first brews made with my own yeast were simply pouring new wort on top of the leavings of the batch just transferred to keg. Now THAT is lazy yeast "pitching". These days I just save a scoop in a zip lock, and when I want to use it I inoculate a one quart starter with it the day before. A little more work, but I save a few bucks on yeast every batch.

I started with a 5 gallon Northern Brewer kit, with the Block Party Amber Ale recipe. It was LME, with a bag of steeping grains. Bucket fermenter. I think my first upgrade was a Big Mouth Bubbler fermenter with spigot. MUCH easier to use, and I could observe my fermentation better. Way easier to sample. No worries with getting a stubborn lid off, or getting a good seal. I already had a crawfish boiling setup so I had burner, propane tank, etc and so getting a SS brew kettle was enough to get me doing nice big boils, which cleared the way for 5 gallon BIAB batches. I bought a Corona corn mill for busting up barley malt, and that wasn't expensive. I found some reasonably priced kegs, and bought a new top freezer refrigerator to turn into a kegerator. My mugs and glasses and hops live in the freezer. Below I have room for two corny kegs, CO2, and my small collection of yeasts. I figure now, about 3 years in, I have probably broke even on expenses vs buying beer at the store. I seldom share and seldom drink more than one glass a day. A keg lasts me about a month. A batch makes a keg, more or less, and any overage gets put in bottles. Apart from the fridge, my most expensive purchase was probably my Tilt hydrometer. I kinda like it and I don't regret buying it, in spite of its limitations. It is still more convenient than taking a SG sample all the time. It is great for monitoring temperature, too.

So I have a lot of reasons to like BIAB but being lazy isn't one of the big ones. However, traditional grain brewing to me seems more work and bother for not a lot of improvement in the beer, and no reduction in cost. If it wasn't for BIAB I might still be brewing with extract.

I thought about growing my own hops, and I still might. Apparently there are a few homebrewers growing their own Cascade hops in my area, though it is supposedly too far south. But managing trellisses, ensuring afternoon shade, and all that, looks like a bother. If I was brewing heavily hopped IPAs, I would maybe go for it to save money, but I typically use and ounce of hops in a 5 gallon batch, so I buy by the pound and freeze in one ounce ziplocks.

My next big thing will be no-chill brewing. I have a food grade 5 gallon jug that should work great for that. With winter approaching, it should work pretty good, and save on the water bill. Maybe a bit less work than rigging the immersion coil chiller and cleaning it when I am done.
 

VikeMan

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So, in your opinion, what would those reasons be?
Off the top...

- Freshness. Nature designed barley hulls to protect the contents. Staling of extract (including oxidative reactions) begins as soon as it's made. When people talk about making sure to get fresh extract, what they really mean (knowingly or not) is to get the freshest extract possible, i.e. less stale.

- Color. Example: Try to make a 2 SRM German Pilsner with extract. You might get somewhat close with DME. Maybe. LME? No way.

- Limited/Non Availability of extracts made from specific malt types. Limits the styles that can be brewed without having to compromise or having to do mini-mashes, which kind of defeats the purpose (simplicity) of extract brewing.

- No control of wort fermentabilty with extract, i.e. the mash parameters (mash length and temperature) were decided by someone else. And in many cases, they included ~5% carapils in that mash, for our "convenience."

- Water. In some (many?) cases, we don't know what's in a particular extract manufacturer's water, limiting ability to tweak to desired profiles. I know some folks have looked into this aspect, and I admit I haven't kept up, so maybe this is less of a problem nowadays.
 
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Cammanron

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I get the impression issues, like creeping off flavours, for example, are likely down to ignoring good practice. Cutting corners, being lazy and convincing yourself 'it works for me' have a much higher chance of 'something weird' happening. I think if an all-grain brewer is having issues he or she should go out and buy decent extract kit to reality check all-grain 'prowess'.
I never said anything about cutting corners.... just not into doing extra steps that aren't necessary when doing a BIAB.
What people are forgetting about my original post, is that I said I brewed dozens of batches of various styles, without problem.
 

McMullan

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I never said anything about cutting corners.... just not into doing extra steps that aren't necessary when doing a BIAB.
What people are forgetting about my original post, is that I said I brewed dozens of batches of various styles, without problem.
Sorry, I should have been more clear, I was referring to issues posted generally when things change after initial success. Seriously, though, grab an extract kit and see if the problem persists. It might narrow possibilities down quite a bit. Reading your post again, first time using liquid yeast stands out. Always make a starter with a new pack of liquid/wet yeast. It takes minimal effort to prep a starter, in reality. I'd compare it to making a very simple lunch.

Edit: Sorry, I'm in the middle of a CIP run. Right, stressed yeast, including under pitched yeast, can throw all kinds of 'off' flavours that are difficult to explain.
 
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One can make good beers with extract, but "on average," not as good as properly executed all grain, for a number of reasons.
So, in your opinion, what would those reasons be?
Off the top...
Off the top ...

- Freshness. Nature designed barley hulls to protect the contents. Staling of extract (including oxidative reactions) begins as soon as it's made. When people talk about making sure to get fresh extract, what they really mean (knowingly or not) is to get the freshest extract possible, i.e. less stale.
Agreed that staling of extract (and malted grains) begins as soon as the ingredient is made.

Can we also agree that, as brewers, we should evaluate the freshness of ingredients we use so that we make the beer we're interested in?

- Color. Example: Try to make a 2 SRM German Pilsner with extract. You might get somewhat close with DME. Maybe. LME? No way.
In competition brewing, German Pilsner (BJCP 2015 2A) has an SRM range of 2-5. With fresh DME/LME, SRM 3 or 4 may be the lower limit. But that's still with competition guidelines for the style.

Beer color is "starting SRM" + SRM additions due to boil + SRM additions during fermentation + SRM additions due to transfers + SRM additions after packaging.

Please don't blame the ingredient ("extract") for darkening due to improper storage, improper wort/beer transfer, or improper beer packaging techniques.

- Limited/Non Availability of extracts made from specific malt types. Limits the styles that can be brewed without having to compromise or having to do mini-mashes, which kind of defeats the purpose (simplicity) of extract brewing.
Sometimes limits create focus. Instead of "fussing" over Maris Otter vs Golden Promise, consider focusing on the best beer possible using light DME.

- No control of wort fermentabilty with extract, i.e. the mash parameters (mash length and temperature) were decided by someone else. And in many cases, they included ~5% carapils in that mash, for our "convenience."
While one has no control over the initial fermentability of an individual ingredient (DME/LME, malts, sugars), there are other ingredients that can be added to the fermenter to adjust the fermentability of the wort. Within the context of "simple brewing", sugar is often used to adjust fermentability.

With regard to "5% carapils", do you have links to product information sheets that show this?

- Water. In some (many?) cases, we don't know what's in a particular extract manufacturer's water, limiting ability to tweak to desired profiles. I know some folks have looked into this aspect, and I admit I haven't kept up, so maybe this is less of a problem nowadays.
It's a "season to taste" approach (no need for a spreadsheet). Adjustments are also brand (Muntons vs Briess vs ...) specific.
 

VikeMan

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Can we also agree that, as brewers, we should evaluate the freshness of ingredients we use so that we make the beer we're interested in?
Definitely. But starting with extract puts us at a disadvantage in this regard. No extract will be as fresh as the one we can make on brewday.

In competition brewing, German Pilsner (BJCP 2015 2A) has an SRM range of 2-5. With fresh DME/LME, SRM 3 or 4 may be the lower limit. But that's still with competition guidelines for the style.
But if I want to make the lightest possible Pilsner, it's not going to happen with extract. If I have to settle for "within competition guidelines," that's a compromise.

Beer color is "starting SRM" + SRM additions due to boil + SRM additions during fermentation + SRM additions due to transfers + SRM additions after packaging.

Please don't blame the ingredient ("extract") for darkening due to improper storage, improper wort/beer transfer, or improper beer packaging techniques.
I won't blame extract for improper handling or improper use. But I do blame it for starting off darker than a wort I can make with an all grain mash.

Sometimes limits create focus. Instead of "fussing" over Maris Otter vs Golden Promise, consider focusing on the best beer possible using light DME.
You say focus. I say compromise.

While one has no control over the initial fermentability of an individual ingredient (DME/LME, malts, sugars), there are other ingredients that can be added to the fermenter to adjust the fermentability of the wort. Within the context of "simple brewing", sugar is often used to adjust fermentability.
I guess. But other things, like proteins, are also affected by mash parameters. Adding sugars (or maltodextrin, or whatever) won't affect that. For example, I've adopted a glycoprotein rest for foam positive proteins. I guess I should have mentioned proteins before.

With regard to "5% carapils", do you have links to product information sheets that show this?
I can't remember which manufacturer(s) were doing 5%. It's been a long time. But I just looked up Briess, and they are doing 1%.

It's a "season to taste" approach (no need for a spreadsheet). Adjustments are also brand (Muntons vs Briess vs ...) specific.
Fair enough.
 

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OP stated "Iv'e made dozens of beers then this off flavor". CLEAN YOUR VALVES! The bottling wand spring and valve seat will get a gunk buildup. also crap gets behind the nylon washer on ball valves,that's why the butterfly valve is so popular. Also the one on the bucket comes apart. If you see any brown gunk on any of these you have found your issue.
 
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the top NHC beer in 2021 was an extract beer, and there was much hoopla about that
There are a number of things in that recipe (link) that are different than a "typical" extract based recipe:
  • starter using dry yeast (34/70)
  • 60 min boil with first hop addition "@ 45"
  • four additional items for clarity & yeast health
  • soft (low mineral content) municipal water with additional CaCl
  • a detailed fermentation and packaging plan
... so some hoopla awareness of the recipe seems appropriate; and perhaps worthy of more discussion in appropriate sections of HomeBrewTalk.
 
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