Author Topic: First post  (Read 882 times)

Offline banjo-guy

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First post
« on: August 13, 2014, 12:59:43 AM »
Hi everyone. This is my first post on this board. I've been lurking and reading for a few months. I've been brewing for 1 1/2  years. I started with a few Mr Beer batches and moved through steeping, partial mash to all grain.

I'm frustrated that my beer is not better. I was hoping going AG  would get me to a higher level but I'm still not where I want to be. I'm enjoying the learning process.

Thanks for the education that I received from this board already.

Offline erockrph

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Re: First post
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 01:17:25 AM »
Welcome! Don't get frustrated, your beer will continue to get better. Take good notes, and ask questions here. We all want to help you make better beer.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: First post
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 01:20:12 AM »
Welcome and all that.

Tell us more details.  For example pick a recent batch that's not there yet. Describe your recipe, equipment, process, temp control method, etc. Then try hard to really describe what you think is wrong. What's missing and what's there that shouldn't be.

Offline banjo-guy

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Re: First post
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 01:47:51 AM »
I BIAB  2.5 gallon batches on my electric stove. I have Blichman burner,a 9 gallon kettle with valve and a stainless immersion chiller. I ferment in Mr Beer kegs and a Speidel 12 L. For fermentation I have a Mini fridge with temp. control. I use the Blichman when brewing 4-5 gallon batches. I use Beersmith.
I recently purchased a grain mill and stir plate.
I haven't tackled water additions but I sent my water to Ward Labs and have the report.

I feel like my beer has been good but when I look at all of the really good craft beer that I can find easily in NYC I know that I'm no where near the quality of the pros. I want to get close to that level but I know that I haven't been brewing long enough to equal the guys who live and breath to brew.

I think I'm going to concentrate on one recipe and brew it repeatedly so that I can nail one brew down.
I recently made a Java - Chocolate Stout ... inspired but not cloning Founders Breakfast Stout. That's one that I really love.

My LHBS said that that Long Island water is good for stouts without adjusting the water profile.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 02:09:05 AM by banjo-guy »

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: First post
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 02:04:09 AM »
Welcome!

First questions that might help:

Are you treating your water to get rid of chlorine?  Add 1/8 Campden tablet to your mash and sparge water before mixing with the grains.

How much yeast are you using?  If using dry yeast, you're fine.  If using liquid yeasts, you need to make a yeast starter.

Do you rack to secondary after X number of days?  Don't.  Keep it in primary.  For the vast majority of beer styles, there is zero advantage to racking and it can hurt way more than it might help.

Obviously we don't have a ton of details on your process yet, but those few things might help you out, maybe.

Cheers!
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline banjo-guy

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Re: First post
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 02:23:42 AM »
Welcome!

First questions that might help:

Are you treating your water to get rid of chlorine?  Add 1/8 Campden tablet to your mash and sparge water before mixing with the grains.

How much yeast are you using?  If using dry yeast, you're fine.  If using liquid yeasts, you need to make a yeast starter.

Do you rack to secondary after X number of days?  Don't.  Keep it in primary.  For the vast majority of beer styles, there is zero advantage to racking and it can hurt way more than it might help.

Obviously we don't have a ton of details on your process yet, but those few things might help you out, maybe.

Cheers!

Thanks for the questions.
I filter my water through a Brita water filter.
I have used rehydrated dry yeast but have started to use liquid. I used a starter for my Java  Stout but it is still conditioning.
I don't secondary.
I use a Refractometer and/ or hydrometer to check on fermentation.
I've been keeping my fermentation temperature at 65... Raising it to 68 near the end of fermentation.

I'm being very critical of my brews. I find that the flavors are muted and don't seem very present.
I recently bought an IPA extract kit just to have an easy brew day. I'm going to use distilled water. I want to take water out of equation.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: First post
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 02:30:52 AM »
Cool. Try this on the IPA kit with RO water... grab some colorpHast strips and check your ph. That will get you learning how to use them. Then on your next biab grab some lactic and you'll be ready to adjust.

Offline erockrph

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Re: First post
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 03:02:25 AM »

I'm being very critical of my brews. I find that the flavors are muted and don't seem very present.
I recently bought an IPA extract kit just to have an easy brew day. I'm going to use distilled water. I want to take water out of equation.

This sounds like a water issue to me, especially if you're brewing darker styles and/or IPA's. Using distilled water isn't going to solve your problem on its own - you still need to treat it. Check out Brun'water. It's definitely a bit of a steep learning curve, but understanding your brewing water will make the next step towards getting pro-level beer.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: First post
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 02:49:43 PM »

I'm being very critical of my brews. I find that the flavors are muted and don't seem very present.
I recently bought an IPA extract kit just to have an easy brew day. I'm going to use distilled water. I want to take water out of equation.

This sounds like a water issue to me, especially if you're brewing darker styles and/or IPA's. Using distilled water isn't going to solve your problem on its own - you still need to treat it. Check out Brun'water. It's definitely a bit of a steep learning curve, but understanding your brewing water will make the next step towards getting pro-level beer.

+1 to looking at your water.

(welcome by the way) It sounds like you're doing things pretty right and the muted character you describe could well be due to your water. on the other hand, it's possible you have reverse ugly baby syndrome. This is where your beer will always lack a certain luster for you compared to other beers. Do you have a place to get feedback from knowledgable folks? a homebrew club can be invaluable in getting accurate assessments of your beer and a second set of tastebuds to zero in on any real flaws.

also remember the ancient Persian weavers who would always leave a signle intentional flaw in every piece of work, so as not to insult god with a perfect product  ;)
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce

Offline banjo-guy

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Re: First post
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 04:48:59 PM »
I've been reading about adjusting my water and have spent a little time with the water software.
I'm not sure where to start with it. I've got the water report so at least I Know what I'm working with.

I love your comment about the Persian Rug :).
God will not be insulted my beer!

Offline duboman

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Re: First post
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2014, 05:14:22 PM »
If using Bru'n water Martin has a great water primer in the intro and the book 'Water' by the brewer'a association is a great resource as well, albeit quite technical

If you list your water report someone will definitely chime in with some basic suggestions!
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: First post
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 05:58:21 PM »

I'm being very critical of my brews. I find that the flavors are muted and don't seem very present.
I recently bought an IPA extract kit just to have an easy brew day. I'm going to use distilled water. I want to take water out of equation.

This sounds like a water issue to me, especially if you're brewing darker styles and/or IPA's. Using distilled water isn't going to solve your problem on its own - you still need to treat it. Check out Brun'water. It's definitely a bit of a steep learning curve, but understanding your brewing water will make the next step towards getting pro-level beer.

+1
Jon H.

Offline banjo-guy

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Re: First post
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 07:10:35 PM »
PH                                                     6.3
Total Dissolved Solids( TDS )Est. ppm     213
Electrical Conductivity mmho/cm           0.35
Cations/ Anions  me/L                        2.6/2.6

                                                        ppm
                                                     ----------
Sodium, NA                                          26

Potassium, K                                        28

Calcium, Ca                                          9

Magnesium,Mg                                      4

Total Hardness ,CaCo3                           39

Nitrate, NO3-N                                     2.5 ( safe )

Sulfate SO4-S                                        9

Chloride, Cl                                          47

Carbonate, CO3                                  < 1.0

Bicarbonate, HCO3                               33

Total Alkalinity, CaCo3                          27

Total Phosphorus, P                             0.72

Total Iron , Fe                                    0.04

Here is my report. ( copied from Ward Labs )
How does is it look?







« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 07:13:03 PM by banjo-guy »

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: First post
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 07:20:59 PM »
good. you've got good water there for a lot of styles with minor adjustments.

now, google bru'n water and download the spreadsheet. Enter your numbers in there and read up on the water knowledge tab.

pick a recipe you like, put it in and do your best and ask back for critique.

keep it simple when you start focus on getting your mash pH where you want it to be and getting your chloride and sulfate levels where you want them to start.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce