Brewers of STW

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  • Brewers of STW
  • davidrussell
    Member

    I’ve also used the brewuk forum (www.brewuk.co.uk), although its attached to a store its quite good as a resource.

    davidrussell
    Member

    It’s all quite overwhelming when you start out, so it’s nice to focus on the threads that are following the same process as you

    you got that right 🙂

    Its incredible the equipment, process and sometimes chemistry / art / alchemy thats employed in complex brewing. The good thing is its as complex as you want it to be and once you figure that out as a beginner, its great fun 🙂

    peterfile
    Member

    Arrrggghhh, my first brewing “disaster” last night 🙁

    Had an empty house so decided to brew a centennial blonde which I was going to keg for a mate’s birthday.

    Everything went well and after 30 mins of cooling I went to grab the pot and get it into the fermenter.

    Unfortunately the cold water had caused the copper to shrink enough to allow water to squirt out of a space where it meets the plastic tubing. So when i went to collect my pot it was overflowing with tap water 🙁

    That said, there was a clear separation between the wort and the 4 or 5 inches of tap water on top, so I tried to scoop it out as best as I could.

    I took a gravity reading after it went into the FV and I only missed my target by a couple of points, so I must have got most of the tap water out. So provided it’s not picked up anything that shouldn’t be in there, it might work out after all.

    john_drummer
    Member

    Done that, I feel for you. You could’ve started the boil again…

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    @peterfile, I’ve been playing around with BeerSmith using your equipment profile. Thanks again for sharing it!

    I was just wondering what mash profile you were using with it? I have done a bit of reading and if I understand correctly the Massive Brewery kit uses the Maxi-BIAB method (where the sparge water fills up the pot so by the end you’ve used more total water than the pot could originally hold). I found a few threads about how to program Beer Smith for Maxi-BIAB but I didn’t really understand them to be honest!!

    Sorry to hear about your brewing (near) disaster! Was that using the supplied Massive immersion chiller? Something to be wary of do you think?

    peterfile
    Member

    You could’ve started the boil again…

    Dammit…didn’t even think of that!

    I was just wondering what mash profile you were using with it? I have done a bit of reading and if I understand correctly the Massive Brewery kit uses the Maxi-BIAB method (where the sparge water fills up the pot so by the end you’ve used more total water than the pot could originally hold). I found a few threads about how to program Beer Smith for Maxi-BIAB but I didn’t really understand them to be honest!!

    Sorry, I should have mentioned, I just ignore the water volumes that beersmith produces (it doesn’t have the ability to set up for Maxi BIAB).

    Basically, I fill up my kettle with 9 litres of water, get it up to the strike temp and then mash in that. Then I fill up my FV with about 3-4 litres of hot water straight from my tap (I don’t bother getting it to 80 degrees as suggested by massive brewery, it makes no difference to efficiency). Squeeze the bag from the kettle over the kettle, dunk it in the FV and stir it around for a bit. Squeeze it over the FV and then pour the FV into the kettle so that it’s about an inch or two from the top. That’s it. I’m consistently getting 73% brewhouse efficiency doing it that way.

    Sorry to hear about your brewing (near) disaster! Was that using the supplied Massive immersion chiller? Something to be wary of do you think?

    I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it in future, but I think it was a one off, just unfortunate. I suppose the key is to make sure the water pressure isn’t too high, so no need to turn the tap on full!

    john_drummer
    Member

    I added a couple of extra jubilee clips to my immersion chiller. worked for a while but then it started leaking into the wort again.

    so I got a counterflow plate chiller and now I use that instead.

    Not cheap but there’s NO chance of the tap water coming into contact with the wort, and as an added bonus, it uses a lot less water AND is done in the time it takes to empty the boiler.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Basically, I fill up my kettle with 9 litres of water, get it up to the strike temp and then mash in that. Then I fill up my FV with about 3-4 litres of hot water straight from my tap (I don’t bother getting it to 80 degrees as suggested by massive brewery, it makes no difference to efficiency). Squeeze the bag from the kettle over the kettle, dunk it in the FV and stir it around for a bit. Squeeze it over the FV and then pour the FV into the kettle so that it’s about an inch or two from the top. That’s it. I’m consistently getting 73% brewhouse efficiency doing it that way.

    Awesome, thanks!

    Basically, I fill up my kettle with 9 litres of water, get it up to the strike temp and then mash in that. Then I fill up my FV with about 3-4 litres of hot water straight from my tap (I don’t bother getting it to 80 degrees as suggested by massive brewery, it makes no difference to efficiency). Squeeze the bag from the kettle over the kettle, dunk it in the FV and stir it around for a bit. Squeeze it over the FV and then pour the FV into the kettle so that it’s about an inch or two from the top. That’s it. I’m consistently getting 73% brewhouse efficiency doing it that way.

    Same here. Never really needed to get it to 80. While mashing, I heat up a pan or two of water for the FV. This actually helps me, as using the hotter plate keeps the temperature of the Aga simmering plate a little cooler for the mash. It’s working pretty well like that.

    peterfile
    Member

    so I got a counterflow plate chiller and now I use that instead.

    John, it’s on my shopping list. Although i’ve already got some plans in action for when I move house…

    THIS

    Also, another idea…..

    I’m not sure the logistics would work, but it would be good to set up an STW homebrewers beer swap?

    Everyone could post up the beers they’d be willing to swap and then agree to exchange for one from another STWers list. Then give each other tasting notes! I’d happily give up 2 or 3 bottles from each batch in order to get some tasting notes and try some other people’s recipes.

    You could get 3 or 4 bottles sent for about a fiver via collect+ I think.

    Right, STW – Pimp my brew

    A quick audit shows that I have the following
    Crystal, crushed crystal and chocolate
    Target and Goldings hops
    Various yeasts to cover pretty much anything from stout to a light ‘farm beer’

    What shall I go for this weekend? (MassiveBrewery stylee)

    allthepies
    Member

    Well you’ll need a base malt e.g. pale malt also.

    bokonon
    Member

    Crystal and chocolate with target and goldings says traditional bitter to me – you could do anything from a mild through to a best or beyond depending on home much you put in.

    Premier Icon trout
    Subscriber

    Assuming you have some base malt then you are close to a Newcastle brown clone
    By brother brewed this last week

    Newkie Brown
    Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) (8 C)Type: All Grain
    Batch Size: 23.00 l
    Boil Size: 25.81 l
    Boil Time: 60 min
    End of Boil Vol: 23.92 l
    Final Bottling Vol: 23.00 l
    Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage
    Date: 19 Feb 2014
    Brewer: Troutie
    Asst Brewer:
    Equipment: Trouts equipment
    Efficiency: 72.00 %
    Est Mash Efficiency: 72.0 %
    Taste Rating: 30.0

    Taste Notes:

    Ingredients Amt Name Type # %/IBU
    5.11 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC) Grain 1 96.6 %
    0.07 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC) Grain 2 1.4 %
    0.07 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC) Grain 3 1.4 %
    0.04 kg Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC) Grain 4 0.7 %
    23.00 g Target [11.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 26.1 IBUs
    14.00 g Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 15.0 min Hop 6 3.6 IBUs
    1.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml] Yeast 7 –

    Gravity, Alcohol Content and Color
    Est Original Gravity: 1.052 SG
    Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG
    Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.4 %
    Bitterness: 29.7 IBUs
    Est Color: 27.1 EBC Measured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG
    Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
    Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 %
    Calories: 427.1 kcal/l
    Mash Profile
    Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
    Sparge Water: 17.31 l
    Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C
    Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE
    Total Grain Weight: 5.29 kg
    Grain Temperature: 22.2 C
    Tun Temperature: 22.2 C
    Mash PH: 5.20 Mash Steps Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
    Mash In Add 13.80 l of water at 74.2 C 65.6 C 75 min

    Sparge: Fly sparge with 17.31 l water at 75.6 C
    Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).

    Carbonation and Storage
    Carbonation Type: Bottle
    Pressure/Weight: 135.29 g
    Keg/Bottling Temperature: 21.1 C
    Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage
    Volumes of CO2: 2.3
    Carbonation Used: Bottle with 135.29 g Corn Sugar
    Age for: 30.00 days
    Storage Temperature: 18.3 C
    Notes

    Created with BeerSmith

    albino
    Member

    I’m another Massive Brewery convert and did my first all grain brew yesterday after previously dabbling in a few extract kits from brewuk. I wonder if any of you experienced brewers have suggestions for a couple of issues I encountered/am encountering…
    #1 24 hours on and I’ve got no visible sign of fermentation. The room is a bit cool at 15c
    #2 When I got the strike temp to 72 And added the grain, it dropped the temp of the water to 65c but the temp inside the grain bags was only 62 – even after stirring (I copied his brew day video). I wasn’t sure what to do, so I just carried on. Will this cause any problems? OF seemed okay at 1044.
    Cheers

    Premier Icon trout
    Subscriber

    Temp could do with upping to around 18 / 20 c
    yes normal to see no signs of action in the first 24 hours

    Your mash should be ok and may even have more fermentable sugars seeing as you mashed low .

    OK guys, got my Massive Brewery kit – going to attempt my first ever homebrew tonight.

    Send me beer-mojo…. and a link to that instruction video?

    albino
    Member

    Thanks for the info Trout.. Will up the temp when I return home.
    Link for the video is here guitarhero:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7CjJ9KNhlU

    Good luck and don’t let the colander drop in the wort like I did!

    john_drummer
    Member

    remember – keep the recipe simple until you’ve done a few

    albino
    Member

    @Peterfile (or anyone)- Any suggestions for going about something like the Two-Hearted IPA with the Massivebrew kit. I’ve used your set-up on Beersmith (Thanks!) to scale the recipe down, but do you have any advice on when to add the speciality grains as I’ve only brewed using the single malt/hop standard recipe that came with the kit. Cheers!

    john_drummer
    Member

    I’ve always put all my grains in the mash together; the longer you leave them out, the less of the fermentables & flavours you get. granted I haver a 32L boiler rather than the Massivebrew kit, but the principle’s the same

    Hops on the other hand, are a different matter, as I’m sure you know

    albino
    Member

    Thanks John – Yep, for the hops side of things sorted, (more or less. Plenty of experimentation to be done yet!) It’s just the speciality malt side of things I need to get my head around. Going to try and pick up a few bits this afternoon . Excited to try something new!

    I had my first go with the Massive Brewery kit on Sunday.
    Some kind of reaction is happening anyway – got brown foam on top of the beer right now.

    john_drummer
    Member

    sounds good ygh. my latest batch (St Austell Proper Job clone) is about ready to bottle…

    now to think what to brew for my next batch.

    peterfile
    Member

    albino, post up your scaled recipe if you like and I can have a quick look at mine to check it has scaled correctly.

    john – do you know your way around a water report? I’ve had mine from Scottish Water and have tried putting the figures through a few calculators, however i’m not 100% sure that i am doing it properly, it’s a foreign language to me.

    john_drummer
    Member

    haven’t a clue I’m afraid 🙁
    I think there’s a section in the Graham Wheeler book on this though

    all I know is that the water I use makes nice beer without any additives other than a campden tablet.

    I do a regular demo brewday at my LHBS and both the owner & I are both of the opinion “Start with no treatment, if it works don’t mess”

    Premier Icon trout
    Subscriber

    Ditto what JD said though I do add a spoon of Gypsum to the mash and the boil as we do have very soft water here .

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    I’m going to brew proper job this weekend! Real nice pint and it’s on in my local… What could be better!!

    jamiea
    Member

    With water treatment I did the standard 1/2 a Campden tablet to de-chlorinate the brewing liquor and a spoonful of Gypsum in the mash for ages until I was comfortable with the whole brewing process. Then I looked into water treatment and found the water company’s report didn’t have the required data. I then used Graham Wheeler’s online calculator, I simply use an alkalinity test kit and plug the figure into the calculator. We’ve got really hard water and I get a figure around 280CaCO3. The calculator works out how much carbonate reducing solution to use and the amount of salts / minerals to add to the brewing liquor.

    It really improved my beers, but I’d say not as much as being able to control fermentation temperature in a fridge with a 60W tube heater.

    EDIT: One of these days I’ll get a proper report done by Murphys.

    Cheers,
    Jamie

    albino
    Member

    @Peterfile (@anyone)- Here’s the scaled-down version I’ve got on Beersmith. How does it look? (I’ve got a large bag for all the grain, so have used your improved efficiency calculation).

    If it’s just a case of adding all the grain for the full length of the mash, then that makes life easier for ongoing experimentation. Did you use the same yeast for yours? I’ve only ever used Safale05 (dry)- never done a yeast starter before.
    Cheers

    peterfile
    Member

    Ah, I’m not so good with lbs and oz! (you can change beersmith to metric if you prefer).

    What’s the total grain bill (it’s just out of sight on the bottom right of that screen shot).

    To do it the way I did use the massive brewery kit (which gives the 73% efficiency):

    get about 9 litres of water up to 74 degrees

    stir in all your grains (I use one bag rather than two, so if you’re using two your efficiency will prob be a bit lower)

    leave for 60 mins (I put it in to my oven at 60 degrees so no temp loss!)

    at end of mash, fill up the FV with about 4 litres of hot water from the tap (provided you’re on a combi boiler and not pulling from a tank)

    squeeze bag over kettle

    put bag in FV and stir about a bit, leave for 5-10 mins

    squeeze bag over FV

    pour FV contents into kettle

    boil kettle and follow hop additions

    put cooler in slowly about 5 mins from end of boil

    at end of boil, hook up to tap and run cooler for about 30 mins

    sanitise FV and any equipment that might touch wort

    pull out hop bags and place them inside sieve

    pour cooled wort over hop bags and into FV

    pour in yeast

    leave for about 7-10 days and then dry hop according to schedule (I just throw in whole hops to the primary FV 🙂

    As for a yeast starter, you don’t need to bother when using those WYeast packs on a batch of this size, there’s plenty of healthy yeast. Smack the pack a few hours before you brew and it will be ready to just pour in when you’re done.

    john_drummer
    Member

    put cooler in slowly about 5 mins from end of boil

    I’d give it 15 to be honest, to be sure it’s sterilised. also, run some cold water through it before you add it to the boiler to check for leaks. no point boiling for an hour to reduce the wort volume if you’re just going to top it up again 😉

    for yeast I tend to use either Safale US05 (or occasionally Mangrove Jack’s US West Coast) for really pale beers, Safale S04 for dark beers, and Danstar Nottingham yeast for Stouts & Porters. If I did lagers I’d use Safale’s Saflager yeast.

    apart from the Nottingham, the yeasts just sprinkle directly onto the chilled wort; Nottingham needs rehydrating in 100ml of tepid water – instructions on the pack. About half the price of the smack-packs.

    peterfile
    Member

    I’d give it 15 to be honest, to be sure it’s sterilised. also, run some cold water through it before you add it to the boiler to check for leaks. no point boiling for an hour to reduce the wort volume if you’re just going to top it up again

    haha touché! That particular batch seems to have turned out OK. will be bottling at the weekend so fingers crossed!

    Aye, I tend to sanitize the cooler before it goes in. It has a tendency to kill my boil, so I rarely risk sticking it in that far in advance any more.

    About half the price of the smack-packs.

    I normally use Safale for all of my brews, however after doing a bit of research, the common consensus seems to be that the Denny’s yeast is “needed” for that 2 hearted IPA. I’ve just started drinking my second batch of it, used Safale the second time, and the difference is pronounced. I can only put that down to the yeast, since nothing else was different this time.

    they are expensive mind you!

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Does it matter if the boil stops for a couple of mins?

    (serious question, I don’t know…)

    allthepies
    Member

    Clobber wrote:

    Does it matter if the boil stops for a couple of mins?
    (serious question, I don’t know…)

    Nope

    john_drummer
    Member

    haha touché! That particular batch seems to have turned out OK. will be bottling at the weekend so fingers crossed!

    I wasn’t having a go, I’ve done it myself. twice 😳

    Aye, I tend to sanitize the cooler before it goes in. It has a tendency to kill my boil, so I rarely risk sticking it in that far in advance any more.

    but if you give it a 15 minute boil, you don’t need to sanitise it…

    albino
    Member

    THanks for the tips everyone and thanks for the comprehensive instructions Peterfile – That looks fairly do-able. Here’s the bigger picture picture from Beersmith. I’ve changed to metric and the total grain weight seems to be okay.

    I’ve got another of noob question too, if anyone feels like helping on a Friday evening. I bottled my first batch today but have only ended up with about 7 litres of beer. It seems like I’ve managed to “lose” quite a bit – I’m just trying to figure out how.

    I followed the volumes from the Massive recipe and figure that I lost some through Gravity readings and a bit of spillage. I also didn’t fill the kettle right to the top, (maybe an inch lower) as I was a bit wary of any boil-over. Even taking this into account, it doesn’t seem to account for a missing 3 litres!! Any ideas. I presume I’ve made an error somewhere, I’d just like to figure it out before the next brew on Monday! (OG was 1.044 FG 1.011)

    Thanks again to all for all the informative posts on here…Keep it up 🙂
    Only problem now is which one of these to have tonight…

    peterfile
    Member

    I’ve got another of noob question too, if anyone feels like helping on a Friday evening. I bottled my first batch today but have only ended up with about 7 litres of beer. It seems like I’ve managed to “lose” quite a bit – I’m just trying to figure out how.

    7 litres is about right for the massive brewery kit in my experience. I tend to end up with 8-9 litres in the FV, but then you lose some to trub and shrinkage. Getting 14 bottles is about the limit with this kit for me.

    You’ll notice on your screenshot that the “batch size” is 8.5l. That’s the amount you put into the fermenter, so you’ve only “lost” 1.5l.

    Your grain bill looks fine to me though. If you’re using two bags (i.e. the ones that came with the massive brewery kit), you can expect a wee bit of a drop in efficiency, which means a lower ABV. However, this is a fairly big beer, so it’s not that much of a problem. If I’m honest, I’d prefer it a little weaker, although I know it’s not technically in keeping with the style.

    albino
    Member

    Great! At least I know I’m getting things sorted now! The taste I had from the final Gravity reading showed signs of promise so I’m pretty happy at the moment.
    I’m looking forward to experimenting bit-by-bit now. Once I’m more confident I’d be up for your beer exchange idea too.

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