Author Topic: Aspiring brewer, new to forum  (Read 1801 times)

Offline Robert

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2018, 02:08:38 AM »
From what I have learned about water so far, and I admit it isn't a whole lot, my local water supply might be better suited to some of the darker ales, stouts, porters etc. My water is fairly hard and alkaline. If I were to brew a pils, for example, I imagine I would have to use another source, either purchased or treated with an RO unit. From what I have been reading, my water may, or may not be fine as far as mash extraction efficiency without modifications to chemistry. Seems the only way to determine that is to try. I'm somewhat comforted by the fact a renowned local brewery, Russian River, uses my city water. What they do to it after it comes from the pipe, if anything, I have no idea.

Your water looks excellent! I can't seem to attach a link, but go to this and check it out. https://srcity.org/DocumentCenter/View/15807

Oh. I did attach a link. Duh. :-)

Charlie

Agree with Charlie, easy water!  You may need to add some calcium in pale beers, but everything else is moderate enough you can just adjust it for style if you so choose.  You can brew most anything with that water (and a little help from Bru'n Water if you like.)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2018, 02:26:19 AM »
From what I have learned about water so far, and I admit it isn't a whole lot, my local water supply might be better suited to some of the darker ales, stouts, porters etc. My water is fairly hard and alkaline. If I were to brew a pils, for example, I imagine I would have to use another source, either purchased or treated with an RO unit. From what I have been reading, my water may, or may not be fine as far as mash extraction efficiency without modifications to chemistry. Seems the only way to determine that is to try. I'm somewhat comforted by the fact a renowned local brewery, Russian River, uses my city water. What they do to it after it comes from the pipe, if anything, I have no idea.

 I still don't know what particular mashing method I'll go with. BIAB appears simpler with fewer vessels to dance with, but for doing a full up 5 gallon brew means handling and moving a fairly large kettle with a considerable weight in hot water/wort unless you are set up with pumps which adds to the complexity. A chiller looks to be a pretty simple piece of gear to make, and I have some large galvie tubs to hold ice water.

E-mail Russian River asking for advice on how to use the water for your homebrew. You just might get a reply from Vinnie. He has been very homebrewer friendly.
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Offline TANSTAAFB

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2018, 02:35:52 AM »


One thing I'm curious about, is what beers are "easier" for a novice to brew, and what beers might be better left to a brewer with some seasoning under his belt? For the near future, I won't be kegging, but will bottle my liquid treasure when the time comes. Anyhow, glad to be here and I look forward to learning from you folks

I would go with an ale at first. Lagers require a fermentation chamber capable of 50 F or so, and take a huge amount of time to finish. You can run an ale in two weeks on your kitchen counter as long as you like it cool in the house.


"Brewing beer is a lot like fighting The Hydra: You can't take it on all on at once. Attack the most threatening head first, and then the next one, and the next one. And pretty soon The Hydra doesn't have so many heads."

Charlie

I agree that I'd brew an ale first. I disagree that a lager takes 50° temps and a long time. Check out the linked thread, I've had great luck with 34/70 and ale temps.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/index.php?threads/592169/

Love the quote!

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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2018, 02:38:53 AM »
Pick what you think will give you the best chance for success, and just GO FOR IT! It's not a manned moon launch. Keep good notes.

Offline riceral

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2018, 03:09:29 AM »
Stouts and porters are good beers to start with.  The inevitable mistakes are less apparent in beers with lots of flavor to hide behind. 

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I would agree. Stouts and porters. With St. Patrick's Day coming up, maybe a nice dry stout.

Ralph R.

Offline BananaSlug

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2018, 02:52:44 PM »

 It's winter here, but we have also been unseasonably warm and dry with temps in the mid-80's last week. Temp control may be an issue for my residence, and I *may* have to make a fermentation chamber from an old fridge to keep anything like consistent temps. I don't have central air in my home, and during the warm weather temps can and will swing 20 degrees in a 24 hour period.


One thing I'm curious about, is what beers are "easier" for a novice to brew, and what beers might be better left to a brewer with some seasoning under his belt? For the near future, I won't be kegging, but will bottle my liquid treasure when the time comes. Anyhow, glad to be here and I look forward to learning from you folks

I would go with an ale at first. Lagers require a fermentation chamber capable of 50 F or so, and take a huge amount of time to finish. You can run an ale in two weeks on your kitchen counter as long as you like it cool in the house.

Brewing beer is a huge topic. So huge that it's hard to wrap your head around the whole thing right at first. I recommend that you just jump in. Water? Yeah, it's important, but so is experience.  And so is fermentation temperature (but it's winter now, so no problem). Liquid yeast? It's something you want to do, but again, just jump in. You might not make an award winning beer right out the gate, but I bet you dollars to donuts that it will be something that you enjoy drinking. That was my experience. My first all-grain batch and I was hooked!

"Brewing beer is a lot like fighting The Hydra: You can't take it on all on at once. Attack the most threatening head first, and then the next one, and the next one. And pretty soon The Hydra doesn't have so many heads."

Charlie

Offline BananaSlug

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2018, 03:01:42 PM »
 Ok, great to hear. I'll jump in and see what happens. I reckon that as far as mashing PH goes, I just need to do it, and test and see what adjustments I should make in the future? Do I have that right? I'll shoot line to RR and see what info they can provide. Thanks!



E-mail Russian River asking for advice on how to use the water for your homebrew. You just might get a reply from Vinnie. He has been very homebrewer friendly.

Offline BananaSlug

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2018, 04:57:35 PM »
It might be money well spent to get the Ward's brewing water test panel done. Our water varies a fair amount depending upon rainfall, and we went from the wettest year on record last year to potentially heading back into drought conditions this year if things don't turn around PDQ. Also, significant portions of the city's water system were damaged in October during the fires, leading to some water contamination issues and I suspect that water treatment was, and perhaps still is, being modified accordingly.

Offline Robert

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2018, 05:04:16 PM »
It might be money well spent to get the Ward's brewing water test panel done. Our water varies a fair amount depending upon rainfall, and we went from the wettest year on record last year to potentially heading back into drought conditions this year if things don't turn around PDQ. Also, significant portions of the city's water system were damaged in October during the fires, leading to some water contamination issues and I suspect that water treatment was, and perhaps still is, being modified accordingly.
All water supplies will vary seasonally and even more frequently than that, perhaps.  Cheaper than continually sending out to Ward to keep up, you can start with any water report that gives you a general picture (Santa Rosa, Ward, whatever) and identify key parameters you want to be sure of at each brew.  You can check these yourself with test kits available at an aquarium store.  That's what I used to do.  Eventually you may find easier, as I have, to start with RO water and build your own mineral profile. This is in fact what many breweries do.
Rob Stein
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Offline BananaSlug

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2018, 06:02:32 PM »
 RO is simpler, but good RO units ain't cheap either. What sort of setup is commonly used by home brewers?

It might be money well spent to get the Ward's brewing water test panel done. Our water varies a fair amount depending upon rainfall, and we went from the wettest year on record last year to potentially heading back into drought conditions this year if things don't turn around PDQ. Also, significant portions of the city's water system were damaged in October during the fires, leading to some water contamination issues and I suspect that water treatment was, and perhaps still is, being modified accordingly.
All water supplies will vary seasonally and even more frequently than that, perhaps.  Cheaper than continually sending out to Ward to keep up, you can start with any water report that gives you a general picture (Santa Rosa, Ward, whatever) and identify key parameters you want to be sure of at each brew.  You can check these yourself with test kits available at an aquarium store.  That's what I used to do.  Eventually you may find easier, as I have, to start with RO water and build your own mineral profile. This is in fact what many breweries do.

Offline Robert

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2018, 06:10:28 PM »
RO is simpler, but good RO units ain't cheap either. What sort of setup is commonly used by home brewers?

It might be money well spent to get the Ward's brewing water test panel done. Our water varies a fair amount depending upon rainfall, and we went from the wettest year on record last year to potentially heading back into drought conditions this year if things don't turn around PDQ. Also, significant portions of the city's water system were damaged in October during the fires, leading to some water contamination issues and I suspect that water treatment was, and perhaps still is, being modified accordingly.
All water supplies will vary seasonally and even more frequently than that, perhaps.  Cheaper than continually sending out to Ward to keep up, you can start with any water report that gives you a general picture (Santa Rosa, Ward, whatever) and identify key parameters you want to be sure of at each brew.  You can check these yourself with test kits available at an aquarium store.  That's what I used to do.  Eventually you may find easier, as I have, to start with RO water and build your own mineral profile. This is in fact what many breweries do.

I got this, and it works great. 

APEC Portable Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System, Installation-Free, fits most STANDARD FAUCET (RO-CTOP) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IB14XDU?ref=yo_pop_ma_swf

I can run 10 gal in just over 2 1/2 hours, and all I use it for is brewing water.  You can also buy RO, you just have to decide how long it will take for the unit to pay for itself.  I brew enough it made sense, and my experience so far shows you don't need to go way more expensive.  (I'm going from 250-300ppm TDS down to 5-7ppm, which is the level they say they have at the market selling it for $0.89/gal.)
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2018, 06:20:19 PM »
Hey! I'm certainly a water cheerleader, but let's not forget that a novice brewer has other things to worry about. Unless your water is really unsuited, I wouldn't worry too much about water at this stage.

I'm sure there is a homebrew shop and club in Santa Rosa and accepting some basic advice from them should set you on the path toward to successful brew. I started out in Tallahassee and my homebrew shop owner set me on the right path by recommending that I brew a brown beer for my initial batch. That happened to be well-suited to the local water. That success kept me from throwing in the towel prematurely. I'm still in awe that I can make beer.

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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #42 on: February 11, 2018, 07:15:18 PM »
Maybe it was said already, but if you are using chlorinated tap water, use Campden tablets to remove chlorine.  That is a simple step that will greatly improve things.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline BananaSlug

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #43 on: February 11, 2018, 10:20:27 PM »
 Yeah, thanks for that. My thought was to initially brew a beer that suits my water with little to no modification, and go from there. I'll be asking around locally.

Hey! I'm certainly a water cheerleader, but let's not forget that a novice brewer has other things to worry about. Unless your water is really unsuited, I wouldn't worry too much about water at this stage.

I'm sure there is a homebrew shop and club in Santa Rosa and accepting some basic advice from them should set you on the path toward to successful brew. I started out in Tallahassee and my homebrew shop owner set me on the right path by recommending that I brew a brown beer for my initial batch. That happened to be well-suited to the local water. That success kept me from throwing in the towel prematurely. I'm still in awe that I can make beer.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Aspiring brewer, new to forum
« Reply #44 on: February 11, 2018, 10:55:06 PM »
Not a bad plan. Run what you brung.


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