Brewers of STW

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  • Brewers of STW
  • albino
    Member

    Thanks for multiple responses again!
    Right – Definitely going to go full on clean – no fairy. I To be honest the head retention on all the beers has been really good but the off-tastes are very dominant. I can’t believe this is something that I could have overlooked and could be the possible cause of the off flavours. I assumed that a normal wash followed by starsan would be okay :oops:I’ll kick myself up the arse if this was where I was at fault.

    For the yeast, I have just been sprinkling in but I’ll give it a go using the prep you’ve suggested too thejesmonddingo

    Thanks for the renewed hope!

    Well, taking a second go at bottling/carbonated my batch worked out well. Brew #1 was a success. It was the one that came with the Massive Brewery kit.
    Me and my pals enjoyed a few bottles while staying down nea Dalbeattie on a three day biking trip.

    Got a couple of days off, so might see about going up to the home brew store and getting ingredients for another batch

    peterfile
    Member

    That’s great news YGH 🙂

    I’ve just ordered a load of ingredients for another few batches.

    Really going to try and up my game a bit over the coming months.

    Just picked up a 19l pot for £21 so that I can do away with needing a dunk sparge, and to allow me to get a full 10l in the FV.

    I’ve also just started picking up parts for a very very cool brew fridge. Have a look at BrewPi. Will allow me to really control fermentation temps and schedules, which I think is the only part of my process which I can’t control at the moment and is arguably the most important! It will also satisfy my Raspberry Pi addiction 🙂

    Premier Icon mugsys_m8
    Subscriber

    Following on from my posts srting at Page 1. I’ve got the MB kit sitting at home. I am however severla thousand miles away and will be for another week or so.

    So, all this cleaning and sanitising. Is this stuff that is not in the MB kit I presume?

    Haha, mega geeky.

    I’ve got the ingredients for the Sierra Nevada recipe on the first page of this thread.
    They didn’t have the exact hops mentioned but the guys at the brew store gave me some others that are supposedly good alternatives:
    Centennial, Perle and Colombus.

    Now I guess I need to do a bunch of conversions to make the recipe work for the Massive Brewery kit – unless any of you guys have it already worked out and written down?

    peterfile
    Member

    If you look back a few pages you’ll see a link to my equipment profile for beersmith.

    My scaled recipe came out like this (this is for 8.5l @ 73% efficiency):

    4 lbs 4.1 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
    10.1 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (66.0 SRM)
    2.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
    0.7 oz English Carastan (35.0 SRM)
    0.2 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.5%] – Boil 60 min
    0.2 oz Challenger [7.5%] – Boil 30 min
    0.43 tbsp Irish Moss (Boil 10 min)
    0.4 oz Cascade [5.5%] – Boil 10 min
    0.43 tbsp Wyeast Beer Nutrient Blend (Boil 10 min)
    0.9 oz Cascade [5.5%] – Steep 2 min
    0 pkgs Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)

    So, all this cleaning and sanitising. Is this stuff that is not in the MB kit I presume?

    if it’s not you can simply use cheap thin bleach, watered down. Just be sure to really rinse well. then rinse again, and one more time for luck

    Chlorine + Yeast = Phenols, which really does not taste nice. think “I’ll have a pint of germolene please”

    Well, got my second brew done – the Sierra Nevada. Fermenting away in the cupboard now.

    I think I’ll pick up a second fermentation vessel so I can have two batches on the go, maybe do one every couple of weeks. That would mean I’d have some beer for drinking while others are brewing.

    I might start stashing a couple of bottles from each batch away for 6 months or so and see how they taste then.

    peterfile
    Member

    Good work! Addictive isn’t it? 🙂 it gets better with every batch (in terms of quality, enjoyment and smoothness of process)

    Definitely get a couple of spare FVs. They are only £5, and it means that if you find yourself with a couple of opportunities to brew you can use them, rather than letting a free FV dictate when you can brew.

    The Sierra Nevada clone is great. But, although it will make for a useful learning experience, I wouldn’t expect a hoppy IPA to taste great after 6 months. regular hoppy beers like IPAs tend to be their best as soon as they are ready (for me, that tends to be around 2-4 weeks after bottling). They will gradually lose that hoppy flavour and aroma after a while (although will still be great for a couple of months or more). It won’t be bad, but just a shadow of its former self!

    I’ve made a few purchases and process changes to really up the standard of my beer:

    Picked up a wine cooler and I’m in the process of rigging it all up through a temperature controller to allow me to fine tune fermentation temps.

    Bought a 20 litre pot so I can dispense with the dunk sparge and to allow me to brew 10-12 litre batches. First brew in the new pot, with no sparge, gave me 70% efficiency and much less faff/mess. No boil over with this pot either! It was only £20.

    Chemipro Oxy – I was going through PBW cleaner way too quickly and it’s not cheap. Bought 1kg of chemipro oxi for £9 and it’s great! Fizzes away and leaves the kit absolutely sparkling.

    Yeast starters – i’ve started noticing a few subtle off flavours in my bigger beers, which I suspect are caused by under pitching/stressed yeast. I’ve been mostly using dry yeast packets until now, but going to try some liquid yeast starters and really pay attention to hitting the correct pitch rates for beers that need extra work. Because of the small batch sizes, I think the WY smack packs will be about perfect for 10l of big beer, without the need for a separate starter. Saves faffing about with proper starters for now.

    Also, I fixed my chiller (it was leaking around the area where the plastic tubing attaches) with some self fusing silicone tape, which seems to have worked perfectly. Definitely something for anyone with the massive brewery kit to watch out for.

    Anyone fiddled with their water, ahem, brewing liquor? Friend of mine brewing with same mains water as me has sent off a sample (to brewlabs I think) and it’s come back as being almost totally unsuitable for brewing! Very little calcium iirc. So he’s going to treat it with various salts. Tbh I have had pretty good results with my tap water, is it fiddling for fiddling’s sake? Is it worth going for bottled water?

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Bob, I’m interested in water fiddling, struggling to get time to look into it though…. any advice gratefully received..

    peterfile
    Member

    Friend of mine brewing with same mains water as me has sent off a sample (to brewlabs I think) and it’s come back as being almost totally unsuitable for brewing! Very little calcium iirc

    I’ve managed to get a hold of my full water report from Scottish Water and popped the figures into a water additions calculator. It’s not the most simple thing in the world, but suggested that my water would benefit from a bit of gypsum. Tried it on the latest batch, will update on whether it makes much difference!

    Interested in the brewlabs testing though….

    EDIT: just spotted that Murphy Homebrew offer lab testing and recommendations for £18. Seems like a bargain if it will offer an improvement in the beer! Just ordered it. Seems to get great reviews on jimsbeerkit etc.

    I’m not sure I’ll be getting into the water balancing, I’ve only got small capacity (10L) so I’m just trying different recipes and having a bit of fun in the process. My mate brews a lot more, and is more interested in repeatability so I guess it makes sense for him. I’m not 100% sure it was Brewlabs that did the test, I’ll ask.

    The test wasn’t cheap (I ‘helped’ with the cost in the form of a few bottles, you could split it if anyone brews in your area) but you do get their recommendations for addition of minerals for various beer styles, yeasts etc.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure I’ll be getting into the water balancing, I’ve only got small capacity (10L) so I’m just trying different recipes and having a bit of fun in the process.

    I did some reading online and the consensus seems to be it’s very important if you want to make great beer. A good analogy I found is that it’s like seasoning when cooking; getting it right will make a good meal taste amazing but it won’t rescue a bad one!

    I found my local water report and it basically said the water as-is was unsuitable for brewing any beer. So for my latest beer I used supermarket bottled water (with the mineral content listed on the side) and added the salts, etc to make it suitable for a porter. (I did also buy some CRS with which in theory I could treat my tap water but as I’m also only making 10L that’s only about £3 worth of bottled water from the supermarket).

    Got to say it’s smelling and tasting awesome in the FV, definitely my best effort so far. Will probably bottle some time over Easter.

    Managed to get very acceptable efficiency as well thanks to more reading around & some tips earlier in this thread! (this is using the Massive kit)

    Premier Icon Clobber
    Subscriber

    Let us know how you get on with Murphy’s water test report please Peterfile

    Liquor additions are not my strong point.
    I know you need alot of calcium pretty much throughout the process to make everything work.
    Water Hardness CACO3 , and PH and important . Also the quality of the water you are supplied with matters. yes , it may meet all EU requirements but that does not make it great for brewing.
    The big brweries around Burton on Trent are there because the water is perfect for brewing with , needing little or no additions.

    We add acid to lower our start PH from 7.9 to nearer 6.0, then add Murphys DWB to the Grist which contains calcium chloride and gypsum and some magnesium iirc. 4lb to 20BBLs. for our water.

    We also use different treatments for Milds and Stouts

    Since starting to brew again, I’ve wanted to make ‘farm beer’ of the type my grandfather used to serve up to his farmhands at harvest time. Light, thirst quenching stuff.

    Just opened a bottle of a recent batch and I’ve cracked it!

    Maris Otter and crushed crystal with Goldings. It’s lovely! Might make it a little bit hoppier next time, but otherwise it’s bang on! Happy, happy, happy.

    Premier Icon trout
    Subscriber

    Poundshop for this cleaner

    £1 for 625 grams works just the same as the dearer stuff ace for soaking the fermenting vessels and removing the muck stuck to the sides .

    allthepies
    Member

    The oxi is nice and cheap but make sure you rinse well when done, the poundshop stuff (as above) I’ve bought recently has a perfume additive. You don’t want any of that hanging around in a brew 🙂

    hi all, long time off the thread and great to see its still going strong!

    I’m still assembling kit to brew using the MB style – I have a stock pot and a very well fitted bag and have some copper to make a wort chiller, but after my last effort i’m scared to try it!

    I did notice your comment though PF – where did you get the pot?

    Bought a 20 litre pot so I can dispense with the dunk sparge and to allow me to brew 10-12 litre batches. First brew in the new pot, with no sparge, gave me 70% efficiency and much less faff/mess. No boil over with this pot either! It was only £20.

    EDIT – i was also going to ask how your stove handles heatin a bigger volume of water, did it cope ok?

    Cheers

    David

    peterfile
    Member

    I got this one david 19 litre for £21.99

    My stove is utterly useless, however by using the same techniques as before (spreading across two elements and using a camp kettle to reduce the surface area of the liquid) it was absolutely fine.

    I would definitely recommend a larger pot over the 11 litre MB one. You can get a full 10 litres into the FV without a dunk sparge, or if you use the same technique as the MB kit you could get about 16/17 litres!

    for me, the benefits are less mess, no sparge and greater volume. There are no downsides as far as I can tell. The pot size only feels a little bit bigger than the 11 litre (I actually though i’d bought the wrong size until I measure the capacity!)

    My stove is utterly useless

    Try brewing on an Aga! Even worse!

    Hey, thanks for the quick reply. That looks like the people i got the 11 litre pot from, I wonder if they’d accept returns after 3 months 🙂

    By doing away with the dunk sparge are you doing away with sparging altogether then and just relying on the grain giving up its goodness in a slightly larger volume of water?

    Cheers

    Try brewing on an Aga! Even worse!

    i can imagine – my folks have one and it varies from screaming hot to almost out overnight (old school coke fuelled one)

    I have actually been looking at 5 burner hobs with the wok burner element before i’ve even brewed a batch 🙂

    peterfile
    Member

    Try brewing on an Aga! Even worse!

    #firstworldproblemsflashy 🙂

    By doing away with the dunk sparge are you doing away with sparging altogether then and just relying on the grain giving up its goodness in a slightly larger volume of water?

    Yup. I got 70% (only a 2% drop) first attempt. Given that the cost of grain at our level is pretty cheap, I’m not even going to bother employing any techniques which might increase efficiency any higher, it’s just not worth the extra effort to save 20p on grain for me right now, got too many other areas I want to improve! 70% suits me fine for the moment.

    The Chair
    Member

    Peterfile I’m another after some of your sage advice 😀
    I’m planning on graduating from kits to AG and already have an FV, so don’t fancy the Massive kit. Do you find your 19 litre pot large enough? And what bag do you use? I was thinking of this one:
    Bag
    Mostly though, I’m desperate to try that SNPA recipe, and wondered what quantities you used for your 19L pot, did you just scale them all linearly?
    I’m also struggling to find Cara-Pils/Dextrine, what did you use? (same for the english carastan tbh)
    Any advice would be massively appreciated

    The Chair
    Member

    ahh, thankyou kidly atp, that’ll do!

    Bottlng tip for you, folks – if using the Lakeland bottle capper, Morland’s bottles work best.

    Conveniently, they have also been a three for a fiver deal, including the rather lovely Old Crafty Hen.

    Don’t recommend clear bottles for beer unless you can store in a dark place. Beer bottles should be brown

    No light in my beer/wine store!

    That’s alright then 🙂

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    I have a similar bottle capper to the Lakeland one and it handles everything fine except the type used by Wychwood (which is a shame as I like their beer.)

    +1 for brown bottles though. I guess they’re only used for marketing purpose (making light coloured beers more distinctive/appealing). I wouldn’t buy a beer in a clear bottle personally – clearly the shops don’t store them in a light-free environment.

    Managed 2 brews and 1 bottling over Easter. The one I bottled (a porter) was the first brew I’d given “the works” in terms of liquor treatment and I have to say it lasted amazing out of the fermenter so I have really high hopes for that one!

    Premier Icon trout
    Subscriber

    Interesting article using an induction hob for the boil
    induction hob brewing

    allthepies
    Member

    Brewing a Schwarzbier today. Mash is underway.

    pomona
    Member

    john_drummer – Member
    Don’t recommend clear bottles for beer unless you can store in a dark place. Beer bottles should be brown

    Almost agree but not quite. I always use one clear bottle and one PET bottle per batch. The clear one so I can see how it’s looking and the PET so I can give it a squeeze and check for carbonation.

    Clear glass + sunlight can lead to sunstruck flavours which are not good. There is a hop called Tetnang which helps to delay the effect in beers and Lagers. It can make beers go ‘skunky’ and i will leave this to your imagination.
    Clear is usefull though for clarity checks and PET bottles ace for a simple carbonation check . Buy a bottle of fizzy water , then compare your secondary fermentation to the volumes of dissolved CO2 by squeezing the bottles to see how much deflectin you have .
    Personally for an ale I wouldnt want alot of CO2 in there , maybe 1 vol , but for a Lager of Blonde maybe 2 vols.

    Its very easy to rig a pressure guage up in the screw top of a PET to see exactly whats going on , useful if forcing secondary fermentation.

    peterfile
    Member

    I’m planning on graduating from kits to AG and already have an FV, so don’t fancy the Massive kit. Do you find your 19 litre pot large enough? And what bag do you use? I was thinking of this one:
    Bag
    Mostly though, I’m desperate to try that SNPA recipe, and wondered what quantities you used for your 19L pot, did you just scale them all linearly?
    I’m also struggling to find Cara-Pils/Dextrine, what did you use? (same for the english carastan tbh)
    Any advice would be massively appreciated

    Sorry, missed this, just back from holiday.

    The 19 litre pot i plenty large enough for me to fill my 10l fermenter to the top. In fact, if you did a dunk sparge, you could get about 17 litres into a fermenter!

    I use 2 bags, for no reason other than I bought a Young’s mash bag and then realised it has a coarse mesh at the bottom, so also bought a large nylon straining bag with a really tight mesh. I stick the nylon bag inside the young’s one, since the Young’s seems to be really strong and I feel better squeezing it 🙂

    As for the SNPA recipe, you can just adjust the grain weight simply, but I use beersmith for hop adjustments, since it seems to apply a bit of jiggery pokery to keep the bitterness and aroma the same as the original recipe. That said, the difference is small so it probably isn’t noticeable.

    So… actually drank a Sierra Nevada for the first time in a couple of years. Think my clone is gonna be spot on!
    Today: bottling day… next week – quaffing day!

    Have kept a second bottle aside for back to back tasting.

    Had a bottle of Brewdog’s Jackhammer the other day along with Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA. Think I might try something like that next.

    Jamz
    Member

    Apologies for the random interruption, STW seems like as good a place as any to pose my question!

    My knowledge of brewing is (regrettably) rather limited. However, I have an interest in fermentation and I have been wondering why it is that beer is predominantly made with hops as oppose to any other herb/plant. I think I’m right in saying that the role of the hops is to impart a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt. If this is the case, why are other bitter plants not more widely used?

    so, having never brewed with my 11 l Massive Brewery style stock pot I got on ebay, i’ve taken the plunge and got a 19l pot to remove the need to sparge 🙂

    i have had a seamstress run me up a bag for the 11l pot which was a pretty neat fit, so i think i’ll just buy a bag as in the scheme of things its a lot less hassle. Anyone had any experience with this?

    MrSmith
    Member

    Anyone got one of these: http://www.brewbot.io

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Subscriber

    Don’t think they are in production yet. A mate of mine, who owns a coffee roasting co, has one of those WilliamsWarn brewing machines. I wanted to hate it but with a bit of cunning you can make an epic beer in it but effectively making your Wort and then transferring it in for the rest of the process. Even the two can option with a bit of nifty dry hopping made something that people wouldn’t recognise as a Craft beer you would buy and drink through your designer moustache. Like all true fiddlers they have now got a bit of upgradeitis and are getting a 250litre brew centre built for them !

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    Jamz – Member

    Apologies for the random interruption, STW seems like as good a place as any to pose my question!

    My knowledge of brewing is (regrettably) rather limited. However, I have an interest in fermentation and I have been wondering why it is that beer is predominantly made with hops as oppose to any other herb/plant. I think I’m right in saying that the role of the hops is to impart a bitterness that balances the sweetness of the malt. If this is the case, why are other bitter plants not more widely used? Interesting question Jamz – I don’t know the answer. Let’s face it though, if there’s one thing on planet earth that ain’t broke, it’s beer 🙂

    One possible reason is that hops impart a flavour and bitterness without tasting ‘herbal’, by and large. A herbal sort of beer, thinking about typical herbs that are used to flavour food, would not be very palatable IMO. It seems that hops are brilliantly compatible with the malt body of ale.
    However, beer is older than God, so I am sure it has all been tried at some point in time, maybe with good results.

    mattrgee
    Member

    I’ve just started a Festival Razorback IPA having had great success with the Suffolk Strong Ale and the Father Hooks bitter. With our house being very cold, even in summer, I’ve set up a water bath with an aquarium heater in the bottom to keep the FV warm. It’s working very well, a constant 22 degress.

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