Brewers of STW
DMS is not such a big problem with UK 2 row malts, it’s more American 6-row and pale European Pilsner malts, so you might not need to worry depending what you’re using. For some reason that I can’t explain I don’t like boiling off half my wort, I know I can just replace the water but it just seems so inefficient somehow. I’ve only really used Maris Otter though, so maybe I’ve just been lucky!
There was a comment earlier about overpitching, apparently the 11g packets are sometimes considered to be almost underpitched for a ~20l brew so I used 1/2 a packet in 5l. The primary seemed to work really well as far as I could tell, but the secondary took over a month (I was expecting ~2 weeks). I don’t know whether it was over attenuated or if I’d stressed the yeast somehow, I’m going to try again this weekend, and be a bit more careful.
An interesting experiment in pitching rates here: http://sciencebrewer.com/2012/03/02/pitching-rate-experiment-part-deux-results/Posted 3 years agoWillHMember
Cheers for the advice re finings in secondary – that’s actually ringing a bell, and I’m sure I’ve got some isinglass somewhere. I’ll have to go through my records to see whether it was from my early beers or maybe the wines I made prior to that.
Will do some research on gelatin vs isinglass.Posted 3 years ago
a starter for ten then 😉
gelatin comes from pigs’ trotters; isinglass comes from fish
so both no good for strict vegetarians
the isinglass I use is marketed as “Vinclear” and the instructions refer to “the wine” but it works fine (no pun intended!) for me in beer tooPosted 3 years agopomonaMember
crash chilling prior to kegging
If you’re kegging it then you have co2 available?
This is my usual process and I get crystal clear ales from it.
Cold crash down as cool as you can go. Blossom some gelatine a little cooled boiled water. Purge seconadary with c02 to prevent infection then add you gelatine water and rack the beer onto it. Hold it at the low temp for 48 hours then keg.Posted 3 years ago
so, opened may latest bottled brew after 11 days in the bottle and… meh.
it tastes a lot like the others tbh. a bit sour almost, like there is no hop aroma, just quite bitter. not undrinkable, but its not getting better. wife remarked on the smell of yeast so clearly i’m dragging a lot into the bottle and my pouring wasn’t the best. plenty of fizz with a generous half teaspoon of sugar- almost too much i think as it was lager fizzy, but at least i know a level half teaspoon is enough.
got quite a dunt off it so i think the ABV is up there, but i wont relish drinking the rest in a hurry. i think i’ll leave this batch for a few months and retry.
anyway, any homebrewers in the central belt of scotland? i could do with a distinguished palate to critique my brew and help decipher what the various flavours are, because after 5 brews that all tasted pretty much the same i can’t tell whats gone wrong in the process 🙁Posted 3 years ago
hard to put my finger on it j_d, definitely not a germoline / chemical smell and not obviously vinegary either. its more organic than chemically taste. aroma from the beer is almost always not as bad as the taste. head retention isn’t great on the beer either. it just tastes a bit bitter, but its a fairly consistent taste that i’ve got from all my brews.
cleaning wise i use vwp, lukewarm water and a triple rinse. sani wise i use starsan, 1.6ml / litre or 8ml for 5l measured using a small syringe so near as dammit accurate, unless my dilution ratio is off.Posted 3 years ago
Remember that for bottle conditioning you’re effectively starting a second fermentation when you add that sugar, so after 11 days, whilst is might be carbed up, its unlikely the yeast will have finished up what they need to do to clear up the beer.
With few execeptions, the last bottle in my batch is normally the best one.
In my first half a dozen batches I had off flavours galore, so drinking anything in the first couple of MONTHS normally meant I was picking up those off flavours. Fine tuning in processes has removed pretty much all of those, but I’ll still occasionally open a bottle at two weeks and think “bollocks” only for it to turn out great after another month in the bottle.
Where abouts are you David? I’m in Glasgow, more than happy to meet up and share a few. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but have just very recently been through the same stage youre at now so might be able to help. All 6 beers I entered into the national homebrew comp all came within 2 points of each other, so at least I appear to be consistent if nothing else! 🙂
Another thing to consider is your water. My dark beers tended to fare much better than my pales, which were lifeless and a bit meh. For £18 I got a full water analysis along with water addition recommendations for different styles. Its really tramsformed my pale ales.
Also, I definitely agree with the more hops suggestion. Try not having any hop additions until the last 20 mins, then start adding around 100g for 10l (which will give you IPA level IBUs). No puckering bitterness, just loads of hop flavour and aroma. Kernel stylePosted 3 years ago
i was wondering about a brew with no bittering hops to see if its a bitter flavour from boiling them, so might just go daft with hops on one brew. the frustrating thing is the lead time to find out its not as good as you hoped 🙁
j_d any links to the beer line cleaner? i dont know if its relevant but the last few times i’ve used my youngs autosyphon it seems to have introduced bubbles in the syphon (god knows how as its submerged) just wondering if that might be an issue as the beer tastes different between racking to bottling fv and after its carbonated in the bottle (which i’d expect to a degree)
lots of things to tweak. i am near the williams bros brewery and know someone who works for them so half inclined to send a bottle their way and ask for their opinion on what the off flavour is. i’m certainly not going to be stealing their market share any time soon:)Posted 3 years ago
hey pf- would be good to meet actually, could even combine it with a bike ride if you fancy it. can’t make a brew but can still chuck a leg over 2 wheels 🙂
its a fair point on beer age, because the stash is kept in the house now i dont think any brew has lasted >1 month really, so it might be too young still. there is a bit of sediment in the bottles but not tons of it. i’m sure i will crack it but i was hoping this brew would have been a bit of a eureka moment, not a urea moment 🙂Posted 3 years ago
I always have the issue with my pales David, they taste incredible in the bottling bucket, only to have lost that once carbed up, only for it to turn into a wee cracker a while later. Give it another month and then reevaluate.
Oxygenation is an issue, but you shouldn’t be picking it up at 11 days.
Honestly, when I read your posts I feel like it was me writing them a year ago. Gradually every part of your process improves, bit by bit, subtly. Before you know it, your beer has gone from “this is drinkable, but I don’t like it” to “this is pretty darn good!”
Lots of small improvements and changes and practice and it will get there.
I was never truly happy with any of my beers until fairly recently, but I’ve currently got 6 different styles bottled up which are just random recipes off the internet and I’m happy with how all of them have turned out. I couldn’t tell you one major thing Im doing differently now that’s led to that, but I could probably list 100 small things I do differently!
David, if you’ve drank all your batches within a month then Im not surprised you’ve not been happy with them! Seriously, give them time to sort out all the off flavours. I bottle up half a dozen 200ml bottles with every batch. I don’t touch anything for 2 to 3 weeks and then sample a 200ml every week or two until I’m happy it’s ready.
I’d say I start drinking IPAs from 6 weeks in the bottle, porters 8-12 weeks, stouts at 8-12 weeks.
Get a pipeline going and you won’t even notice the time passing!Posted 3 years ago
basically a capful or two per gallon of lukewarm water. Let anything that’s going to touch the beer after the boil sit in it for 10-15 minutes, then rinse well as normal. That includes your bottles and caps, siphon tubing, little bottler, spoon for priming sugar etc
Also, don’t forget the campden tablet per every 5 gallons of brewing liquor.
finally, +1 for giving the beer time to mature. Mine usually take 2-3 weeks to carbonate & only then do I move them somewhere cool and leave for at least another 3 weeks. Longer = better
for siphoning I keep it simple: one of these: http://www.morleyhomebrewcentre.com/ucommerce/equipment/bottling-aids/youngs-simple-syphon/c-23/c-231/p-1913 plus one of these to replace the little tap thing: http://www.morleyhomebrewcentre.com/ucommerce/equipment/bottling-aids/automatic-bottling-stick/c-23/c-231/p-1909Posted 3 years agolukedwrSubscriber
I work for a brewery in Hampshire (Bowman Ales), and I currently have several hundred empty 500ml brown bottles that I’m about to throw away. They have our labels on them and need washing, but they are undamaged. They came from a batch of beer that had quality issues.
I just wondered if anyone wants any of them. I can possibly deliver them in Hampshire/Southampton/ Portsmouth/Chichester/Swinley/ QECP/ Fleet/Andover. (Obviously you don’t have to take all of them, I can do them by the (malt) sackful!
Either reply on here or to luke.d999 AT gmail.comPosted 3 years agozilog6128Subscriber
Any brew will be ready to drink after 3 weeks. Probably not at it’s best though.
This was one of the first beers I made purely because of the speed (and the simplicity of the recipe!). It’s a wit (like Hoegaarden) and they tend to be best drunk fresh. It was really good after about 10 days fermenting and then 10 in the bottle. http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=38303&sid=cf236497d5a1bdf055d8aa83ed0d7f8fPosted 3 years ago
Any brew will be ready to drink after 3 weeks
I suppose so
to be honest mine take 10-14 days just to get through primary fermentation & the bottling bucket, and they need another 2 weeks on top of that for in-bottle carbonation. I guess you could keg it & squirt some CO2 in to force carbonate, that way I guess it could be ready in 3 weeks. but as you say, it wouldn’t be at its best. I’d certainly move the keg to the party location ASAP to allow it time to settlePosted 3 years ago
So after years of wanting to brew I’ve done a days brew course at a local brewery, love the mash stage and now my days work is fermenting downstairs, I must admit I’m a bit nervous about the next stage, siphoning and bottling, would be a shame to go and cock this stage up. Any tips greatly appreciated whilst I read through this thorough post. Cheers
Anyone experimented with adding fruit peel, wondering how pomelo peel would work, I’m getting ahead of myself.Posted 3 years ago
Hey, good luck with the first brew! I discovered the root cause of my siphon working badly at the weekend. I’d put a nylon filter bag over the end of the siphon at the FV and it was causing the siphon mechanism to suck in air around the seal, instead of sucking in the wort. Once i ditched the filter bag it worked like a charm. sadly i’d stirred up the wort a good bit by this time so it was pretty cloudy by the time i got it into the bottling bucket. There was a small amount of splashing too when it started. I took the opportunity to use one of the c02 capsules i got for pressurising my barrel to purge the secondary FV and let it sit for a good few hours to settle.
so, my top tips would be:
1. take your time. i used to think any exposure to oxygen was bad, but its not bad enough to warrant you rushing and making a hash of it 🙂
2. make sure your bottles are spotless – clean throroughly, rinse well and look through them at a bright light – any remaining gunk will be easy to spot.
3. buy a little bottler, a bottle sanitiser and a good bottle capper. the expense is worth it!
good luck!Posted 3 years agosingletrackmindMember
Yes, Done it with the remains of pressed oranged froma juice factory.
Blanched them with hot water to pastuerize and kill off wild yeasts , then left in a CT for a week after primary . Used approx 100gm/gall iirc.
Leaving it an eaxtra day wont make a jot of difference imo , probably be better , just remember to do 3-4 pet pop bottles and leave them in the airing cupboard . will let you know aboyt conditioning levels quicker and if you need to warm or cold hold your bottlesPosted 3 years ago
The Wit beer I made needed orange peel.
I got some (from Curacao oranges) from the home brew store. Came as hard little dark things, not like orange peel at all.
Dunno if it’s going to be ready in time for my party though. Not quite ready to bottle yet and it’s two weeks on Saturday. Hopefully I can bottle at the weekend. Got 6 SGs to drop by thenPosted 3 years agozilog6128Subscriber
I’m due to bottle Sunday, would it hurt if I left a day or two? Fermentation has slowed down a lot so I think it’s ready.
I have had a lazy couple of months brewing-wise i.e. have done nothing! Finally got around to doing my Christmas brew yesterday (a nice porter that I’ve done before but with a Christmas pudding in the FV!).
I also bottled the beer which had been in primary for 2 months. I was pretty apprehensive as I’d heard when the yeasties run out of sugar they basically cannibalise each other and the resulting by-products do not taste nice. However I’ve also heard that with small-scale brewing (I only do 10L at a time) you can get away with more for some reason (e.g. virtually impossible to over pitch).
Anyway the beer (a Belgian blonde) tasted amazing straight out of the FV, probably one of my best so far – really smooth flavour already and no off-flavours that you sometimes get in a “young” beer. It made me think that regarding conditioning the beer, maybe time on the greater volume of yeast in the FV is worth more than time in the bottle. Thoughts?Posted 3 years ago
Since increasing the size of your stockpot have you increased the volume of water that you mash with to a nearer full volume BIAB?
The main reason I increased the size of stockpot was so that I could do a full volume BIAB, and also to ensure I was getting a full 10l into the fermenter. I now don’t need to dunk sparge or top up the boil volume, I’m still hitting 70% efficiency and I’ve obviously got one less step to do 🙂
I’ve been putting together some drawings for a recirculating mash BIAB set up. But getting all the parts I need is coming in at around £500 (including chiller etc). After a chat with NZCol today, he’s put me on to a prebuilt unit that’s designed almost exactly the same way, but obviously avoids the need for me to faff about with metalwork and electricity (which I was half looking forward, but half dreading). Even better, it costs the same as my proposed DIY build!
I’m still brewing every two weeks (which is actually slow down since I’ve now got limited space in my fermentation fridge), but reckon I must have brewed more than 30 batches now.
Latest has been a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout which I added 100% Madagascan black cacao to the boil, then soaked some cacao nibs in dark rum and added them to secondary. I’ve just bottled it and will leave for a few months before getting stuck in.
I thought a while back that some of my pales were being limited by the quality of the hops I was picking up. The state of the hops on opening the packets was so hit or miss. So after a few chats with guys from a local homebrew club I was put on to a US company called Nikobrew that nitrogen flushes their hops at packaging and have a reputation for selling some of the best hops in the US.
I bought 1.5kg of mixed (expensive variety) hops in little 50g packs (which is perfect!) for £70 including shipping to the UK. So that’s £4.60 per 100g including shipping…which is cheaper than what I currently pick up hops for here! I just finished a brew with them on Wednesday and I honestly cannot emphasise enough how incredible they smelled. “Dank” would be a good word to use. Really really looking forward to tasting the finished product.
I’ve also started buying milled to order grain from Malt Miller. Which again, surprisingly, works out cheaper than the run of the mill (sorry) pre-packed stuff.
Other developments have been the purchase of a PH meter (which hasn’t arrived yet), since I’ve done so much work around water chemistry that it seems odd to be blindly accepting the calculations as being correct. The little PH strips I’ve been using are absolutely rubbish 🙂
I entered half a dozen random beers I had lying around into the UKNHBC to see if the judges would pick up any off flavours that I wasn’t. Surprisingly, all the beers did pretty well (within the “very good” category) and the majority of marks I lost was down to being out of style (eg using Australian hops in American Pales etc) rather than for flavour/aroma/body/off flavours etc. So pretty encouraging all round.
Next up is trying to find a 20-25 litre fermenter that will fit my fermentation fridge so that I can brew a larger volume without having to change the FF. Once I find the fermenter, I can start building a draught beer set up…which means I can drop bottling the beer!Posted 3 years agoClobberSubscriber
Ha! We seem to be heading down the same path, albeit I’m somewhat behind you…
I was looking at building a braumeister style thing but the grainfather (I assume you’re talking about) seems to fit the bill. Although I do wonder how long the 2kW element will take to heat the water.
I really want to go 60L brew length though so I may end up with my design yet…
I brewed this http://www.insidebeer.com/articles/20100527 at the weekend, hopefully it’ll turn out alright, was an amazing colour.
Think I might try the full volume BIAB if you’re hitting 70% with it, seems like it’s not worth doing anymore faff if it’s working for you and you’re hitting your volumes into fermentor.
Great tip on Nikobrew, thanks for that. Also if you tell Rob the Maltmiller that the grain is for BIAB he does a slightly different crush for you. I think there is a notes thing during checkout.
Very well done on your results at the beer marking, I need to sort a few things out prior to attempting that, like water treatment and temp control on the fermenting cupboard.
We should do a recipe share, are you using beer engine?
EDIT: Perhaps we can do a joint order to Nikobrew at some point if it saves costsPosted 3 years ago
We do indeed seem to be heading in the same direction clobber! Yeah, it was the Grainfather that Col was telling me about. He’s got one arriving imminently from NZ.
Part of me wants to do the DIY build because it’s good experience, but the other part says just spend the same amount and buy a proper one! Re the 2kw element…probably wouldn’t be too much of a job to drill a hole and stick in another 2kw element to use when bringing up to temp? Would need to plug it into a different ring main though.
That imperial stout looks nice. I brewed a RIS last year, but at that time a few of my processes were a bit loose and I oxygenated the wort when bottling, which meant that the beer turned a bit grim before it had the chance to fully mature.
I’m keen to keep brew length fairly short at the moment, simply because it means I get to brew more often. Honestly, even if I had to throw away all my beer once it was ready, I’d still brew as a hobby! The fact that I get a case of “free” beer at the end is just a major bonus.
Cheers for the tip on malt miller. I honestly can’t recommend Nikobrew enough. I’ll let you know what the taste verdict is in a few weeks, but based on aroma alone they are in a different league to the stuff I’ve been getting a hold of.
I’d definitely recommend picking up a 19l pot and doing a full volume mash, it’s just so much easier, quicker and cleaner. Also, whilst the mash is almost at the top of the pot, it means that you’ve got loads of headroom for the boil (rather than the massive brewery inch, which is prone to boil over).
I use beersmith, but most of my recipes are now on paper records, since I find it easier to take detailed notes during the brew and to reference back to. I could scan some of them in and email over.
Have you seen the Synek? Very tempted by one of these. You fill up 8 pint (I think) bags with your beer and they keep for yonks. Then, whenever you fancy a particular beer, you drop that bag into the unit and dispense as normal. Seems like a nice and small kegerator unit. Just keep the filled bags in a cool place/fridge until you need them. Apparently the beer lasts 30 days even once you’ve poured the first pint.
EDIT: Perhaps we can do a joint order to Nikobrew at some point if it saves costs
Definitely up for that…although I’ve currently got enough for somewhere between 15-25 brews so might not be for a while! Although, I’ll probably be bored of Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Galaxy by then, so maybe we could do a swap of a few.Posted 3 years ago
EDIT: Perhaps we can do a joint order to Nikobrew at some point if it saves costs
Definitely up for that…although I’ve currently got enough for somewhere between 15-25 brews so might not be for a while! Although, I’ll probably be bored of Citra, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Galaxy by then, so maybe we could do a swap of a few.
i’d be up for a hops group buy too. I’ve been getting my hops from Brewuk and they seemed fine, but i’m not experienced enough to know if they are great.
i’ve just ordered a custom BIAB bag as i was sick of the one i had not quite fitting properly, and i think i’ll ask for the water treatment for Christmas, 2015 with be the rise of Potters brewery!
Incidentally what do you call your brewhouse? I called mine Potters because the magic happens in the cupboard under the stairs. More like David blaine at the moment to be fair – stuff hangs around in there and doesn’t do much for a couple of weeks and it smells a bit funny when you let it out 😉Posted 3 years ago
Just looking at Nikobrew’s site, they have a flat rate of $25 on international shipping up to 3.5-4 lbs. Probably wouldn’t save much doing a group buy and will increase risk since it’s uninsured (I’d rather 1.5kg of hops went missing than 4.5kg!). Plus we’d also have the time/cost/hassle of splitting and posting on the hops to the others once they arrived in the UK.
I’ve not got a name for mine david, but quite like the sound of the Whistling Nostril 😉
Brewuk’s hops are decent, but just wait until you open a pack of Nikobrew’s stuff! I sat smelling the empty pack throughout the boil last week hahah!Posted 3 years ago
The guy I did my day brew course with has just opened an online brew shop, not bought anything yet but I will in due course. I’m going to try my bottle conditioned pale ale at the weekend, feeling strangely nervous.
peterfile – thanks for all the useful info, this thread is my second favourite on STW, first is the Tripster ATR 😀Posted 3 years ago
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