Author Topic: New to the show  (Read 935 times)

Offline Chasin_Taco_Trucks

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: New to the show
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2022, 11:15:58 am »
1. Don’t believe "If the water tastes good, you can brew with it." At a minimum, remove chlorine or chloramine depending on your source water.  It’s hard to make a good beer with chlorinated water.

2. Use the freshest ingredients you can get. Hops at home brew stores rarely list harvest year. Yeast has an expiration date. Use a homebrew shop that rotates it’s malt extract stock. When the time comes, grain can be bought by lot number and stored in an airtight container.

3. Control fermentation temps as best you can. Hot fermentation affects the flavor of beer. Rarely in a good way.

4. Keep beer cold and drink it fresh. Hot beer stales fast. Stale beer sux.

5.  It’s just home brewed beer. Not brain surgery. Make what you like how you like it. You can get as technical or superficial as you need to to enjoy yourself.

I’m using RO water right now. I haven’t worked up to water chemistry yet but have been looking into it.

I’m using Northern Brewer kits right now and they are pretty simple so I like that as a beginner. Do you have any recommendations on the best places to order quality ingredients from?

I just got my fermentation chamber setup. Used an old mini fridge I had and put in an Inkbird controller with a seedling heat mat and spare computer fan.

Offline Megary

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 792
Re: New to the show
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2022, 11:19:20 am »
Welcome!  I'm pretty new to brewing, myself. :-)

I started out with extract but it didn't take me long to try out BIAB (brew in a bag), which is a pretty easy way to get started with all-grain.  I've had some great results with BIAB so far.  I'm starting to see some limits to it, but it depends on how advanced you want to get.

There's a ton of great posts here and I've been learning a lot, myself.

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


I was going to try BIAB next! I’ve got an 8gal kettle so it shouldn’t be a problem. I get my kits from Northern Brewer and I should be able to do two batches with a 5gal kit I think. Do you do any kind of sparging with BIAB or do you just top off the fermenter? Also are you buying your grains pre milled or doing it yourself? Is there any benifit or downside to either?

I BIAB exclusively.  Batches are 3 gallons into the fermenter, 2.5 gallons packaged.  I use an 8 gallon kettle.  I full volume mash (no top-up needed), and never sparge.
I mill my own grain (on my Kitchen Aid) and will say that for consistency, milling yourself is the way to go.  But it isn't a requirement.  If you have your grain pre-milled, you may want to let whoever is doing it know that you will be brewing in a bag.  Generally, BIAB benefits from a finer grain crush.
The biggest tricks with BIAB are 1) finding the perfect grain crush and 2) getting your volumes correct.  That is, knowing what your losses will be.  Grain absorption, boil off, kettle losses and fermenter losses all have to factored in when determining your batch size.  As a quick example, a pretty standard beer for me will require approximately 5 gallons of mash water.  By the time my losses add up, I have 3 gallons into the fermenter and 2.5 gallons in the keg.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 14, 2022, 11:35:28 am by Megary »

Offline Chasin_Taco_Trucks

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: New to the show
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2022, 11:30:30 am »
Welcome!  I'm pretty new to brewing, myself. :-)

I started out with extract but it didn't take me long to try out BIAB (brew in a bag), which is a pretty easy way to get started with all-grain.  I've had some great results with BIAB so far.  I'm starting to see some limits to it, but it depends on how advanced you want to get.

There's a ton of great posts here and I've been learning a lot, myself.

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


I was going to try BIAB next! I’ve got an 8gal kettle so it shouldn’t be a problem. I get my kits from Northern Brewer and I should be able to do two batches with a 5gal kit I think. Do you do any kind of sparging with BIAB or do you just top off the fermenter? Also are you buying your grains pre milled or doing it yourself? Is there any benifit or downside to either?

I BIAB exclusively.  Batches are 3 gallons into the fermenter, 2.5 gallons packaged.  I use an 8 gallon kettle.  I full volume mash (no top-up needed), and never sparge.
I mill my own grain (on my Kitchen Aid) and will say that for consistency, milling yourself is the way to go.  But it isn't a requirement.  If you have your grain pre-milled, you may want to let whoever is doing it that you will be brewing in a bag.  Generally, BIAB benefits from a finer grain crush.
The biggest tricks with BIAB are 1) finding the perfect grain crush and 2) getting your volumes correct.  That is, knowing what your losses will be.  Grain absorption, boil off, kettle losses and fermenter losses all have to factored in when determining your batch size.  As a quick example, a pretty standard beer for me will require approximately 5 gallons of mash water.  By the time my losses add up, I have 3 gallons into the fermenter and 2.5 gallons in the keg.

Cheers!

I’ve got a 3 gal Fermonster that I’m using. How do you go about calculating your volumes or is it a trial and error thing? I’ve seen people state calculations for gallons per pound of grain, but what are you doing to calculate your losses in the fermenter or is the mash volume more important?

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 25508
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: New to the show
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2022, 11:31:47 am »
I’m new to brewing and looking to learn how to get better.  [...] Does anyone have any tips or tricks they have learned along the way that they wish they had known when they started out?

A book (or two) will set up a solid foundation for what is discussed in forums.  How to Brew, 4e is a common recommendation (and I recommend it as well).  Also, the /r/homebrewing wiki has a list of books with one paragraph reviews.

You also can't verify the accuracy of the info that way. HTB is tried, tested, and respected. There is no better source of info, including my books!

A book is a very good idea. I’ll definitely look into picking one up. I’ve been YouTubing a lot of stuff which has helped but they do not always explain some of the things in detail like I would like.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Megary

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 792
Re: New to the show
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2022, 12:02:18 pm »
Welcome!  I'm pretty new to brewing, myself. :-)

I started out with extract but it didn't take me long to try out BIAB (brew in a bag), which is a pretty easy way to get started with all-grain.  I've had some great results with BIAB so far.  I'm starting to see some limits to it, but it depends on how advanced you want to get.

There's a ton of great posts here and I've been learning a lot, myself.

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


I was going to try BIAB next! I’ve got an 8gal kettle so it shouldn’t be a problem. I get my kits from Northern Brewer and I should be able to do two batches with a 5gal kit I think. Do you do any kind of sparging with BIAB or do you just top off the fermenter? Also are you buying your grains pre milled or doing it yourself? Is there any benifit or downside to either?

I BIAB exclusively.  Batches are 3 gallons into the fermenter, 2.5 gallons packaged.  I use an 8 gallon kettle.  I full volume mash (no top-up needed), and never sparge.
I mill my own grain (on my Kitchen Aid) and will say that for consistency, milling yourself is the way to go.  But it isn't a requirement.  If you have your grain pre-milled, you may want to let whoever is doing it that you will be brewing in a bag.  Generally, BIAB benefits from a finer grain crush.
The biggest tricks with BIAB are 1) finding the perfect grain crush and 2) getting your volumes correct.  That is, knowing what your losses will be.  Grain absorption, boil off, kettle losses and fermenter losses all have to factored in when determining your batch size.  As a quick example, a pretty standard beer for me will require approximately 5 gallons of mash water.  By the time my losses add up, I have 3 gallons into the fermenter and 2.5 gallons in the keg.

Cheers!

I’ve got a 3 gal Fermonster that I’m using. How do you go about calculating your volumes or is it a trial and error thing? I’ve seen people state calculations for gallons per pound of grain, but what are you doing to calculate your losses in the fermenter or is the mash volume more important?

The numbers I have settled on have come from jotting down what happens during every brew.  Eventually, once I got my crush where I wanted, all the numbers kind of fell in line and became easily repeatable.

Here's a recent beer I brewed and how it all adds up:

6.5 # Grain for a 1.047 OG beer

Grain absorption = .11 gallons/lb
Boil Off Rate - .67 gallons/hour
Kettle Loss - .625 gallons
Fermenter Loss - .5 gallon

Count backwards...
2.5 gallons packaged
+ .5 gallon Fermenter Loss (yeast, hops, whatever that gets left in the fermenter)
+ .625 gallon Kettle Loss (gunk that gets left behind in the kettle during transfer to fermenter, a completely fungible number)
+ .67 gallon boil off (assuming a lazy, 1 hour boil)
+ .715 gallon grain absorption
--------------------------------
Total Mash water = 5.01 gallons or 5 gallons for homebrewing purposes.

Grain absorption is going to be greatly influenced by exactly how long and how hard you decide to squeeze the bag after mashing.  I squeeze only enough to hit my "Pre-Boil" volume and stop there.  My "Pre-Boil" volume is ALWAYS 4.3 gallons (2.5 + .5 + .625 + .67).
Which leads to another point if you are using a standard kettle: Try and find a reliable way to measure your kettle volumes.  There are a lot of ways to do this, but I ended up filling my kettle to different levels and measuring with a stainless steel ruler.  So as an example, my typical strike volume of 5 gallons in my kettle = 7-1/4" on the ruler.  My "Pre-Boil" volume (the volume to which I squeeze the bag) of 4.3 gallons = 6-1/4". 

Hope this helps.  Good luck.

Offline BrewBama

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 5209
New to the show
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2022, 12:29:12 pm »

I’m using RO water right now. I haven’t worked up to water chemistry yet but have been looking into it.

I’m using Northern Brewer kits right now and they are pretty simple so I like that as a beginner. Do you have any recommendations on the best places to order quality ingredients from?

I just got my fermentation chamber setup. Used an old mini fridge I had and put in an Inkbird controller with a seedling heat mat and spare computer fan.

Northern Brewer is a high volume dealer so extract, grain, yeast should be fresh. I would look into Yakima Valley Hops, Yakima Chief Hops, Hop Heaven, etc for current harvest year hops.

I saw after I posted that you said you use RO water.  Water chemistry is a topic for a later time. I’ll just say keep it simple. It can get out of hand.

Your ferm chamber sounds awesome.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2022, 12:40:47 pm by BrewBama »

Offline HighVoltageMan!

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
Re: New to the show
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2022, 12:40:07 pm »
Stick to dry yeast until you have firm footing in brewing. It will produce consistent results and is very forgiving. As you gain more confidence, you can try liquid yeast if you choose and dive into starters, pitch rate, aeration, etc. But for now, dry yeast is your ticket to getting good beer.

My last batch was an Ale and the next one will be also so I picked up some US-05. I’ve heard liquid yeast can have some benefits over dry but if not used in a certain time frame it’s not as effective. Is that correct?
The main benefit of liquid is variety. Not all yeast strains do well when dehydrated, so there are a lot more liquid strains available than dry. But there are a lot of excellent dry yeast to choose from.

The biggest advantages to dry yeast are excellent viability (the amount of yeast still alive) compared to liquid and ability to ferment well in a low oxygen wort. Most new brewers don't aerate their wort, but it doesn't matter much with dry yeast because the yeast doesn't need to synthesize the sterols and lipids needed for reproduction. One less thing to worry about when you first get started brewing.

The main disadvantage to liquid is the viability drops with age/time and it needs to be refrigerated. Dry yeast can survive much better at elevated temperatures and in warmer climates, survives shipping much better.

Offline Skeeter686

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: New to the show
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2022, 03:08:31 pm »



A book is a very good idea. I’ll definitely look into picking one up. I’ve been YouTubing a lot of stuff which has helped but they do not always explain some of the things in detail like I would like.

How to Brew is excellent but can be very dense and technical.  I started with Papzian's Complete Joy of Home Brewing, which I thought was great for a beginner.  Just mentioning this because CJoHB may be easier for some folks who might feel overwhelmed by jumping straight into Palmer's books.

Also, I think you asked about purchasing milled grains.  If you're starting off with kits (I did and they're really handy!) then buying them milled is fine because you'll use them quickly.  If you get into building your own recipes or buying grain in bulk, then you may want to consider milling it yourself.

I've been having a blast with this hobby (I love cooking, science and beer... it's perfect for me!) but I didn't want to over-invest at first, in case I decided I didn't like brewing.  Figure out what you actually need.  There's not only expense involved, but this stuff can start taking up a lot of space, too.

Thus far, I haven't produced an undrinkable beer, and quite a few have turned out quite good.  Like other folks have said, have fun with it!  "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 25508
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: New to the show
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2022, 03:10:26 pm »



A book is a very good idea. I’ll definitely look into picking one up. I’ve been YouTubing a lot of stuff which has helped but they do not always explain some of the things in detail like I would like.

How to Brew is excellent but can be very dense and technical.  I started with Papzian's Complete Joy of Home Brewing, which I thought was great for a beginner.  Just mentioning this because CJoHB may be easier for some folks who might feel overwhelmed by jumping straight into Palmer's books.

Also, I think you asked about purchasing milled grains.  If you're starting off with kits (I did and they're really handy!) then buying them milled is fine because you'll use them quickly.  If you get into building your own recipes or buying grain in bulk, then you may want to consider milling it yourself.

I've been having a blast with this hobby (I love cooking, science and beer... it's perfect for me!) but I didn't want to over-invest at first, in case I decided I didn't like brewing.  Figure out what you actually need.  There's not only expense involved, but this stuff can start taking up a lot of space, too.

Thus far, I haven't produced an undrinkable beer, and quite a few have turned out quite good.  Like other folks have said, have fun with it!  "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk

Just to let you know, pre milled grains can good for a couple years of properly stored.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline Skeeter686

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: New to the show
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2022, 03:14:08 pm »


Just to let you know, pre milled grains can good for a couple years of properly stored.

Thanks! I didn't know they'd last that long.

I keep mine in buckets (with gamma seal lids) in the basement.  Temperature doesn't get above mid-60s in summer.

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 25508
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: New to the show
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2022, 03:20:54 pm »


Just to let you know, pre milled grains can good for a couple years of properly stored.

Thanks! I didn't know they'd last that long.

I keep mine in buckets (with gamma seal lids) in the basement.  Temperature doesn't get above mid-60s in summer.

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk

Sounds good.  Kept cool and dry they'll last quite a while.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 4418
Re: New to the show
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2022, 03:43:13 pm »
Just a point of order - as a beginning brewer, you might just want to brew a bunch of batches and have little concern about the storage of the ingredients (within your packaging limits, of course)!

Cheers and welcome to the hobby and this forum; there are a lot of pretty experienced brewers here who will answer questions honestly and helpfully (is that a word?)  Brew On!
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline Chasin_Taco_Trucks

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: New to the show
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2022, 04:37:48 pm »



A book is a very good idea. I’ll definitely look into picking one up. I’ve been YouTubing a lot of stuff which has helped but they do not always explain some of the things in detail like I would like.

How to Brew is excellent but can be very dense and technical.  I started with Papzian's Complete Joy of Home Brewing, which I thought was great for a beginner.  Just mentioning this because CJoHB may be easier for some folks who might feel overwhelmed by jumping straight into Palmer's books.

Also, I think you asked about purchasing milled grains.  If you're starting off with kits (I did and they're really handy!) then buying them milled is fine because you'll use them quickly.  If you get into building your own recipes or buying grain in bulk, then you may want to consider milling it yourself.

I've been having a blast with this hobby (I love cooking, science and beer... it's perfect for me!) but I didn't want to over-invest at first, in case I decided I didn't like brewing.  Figure out what you actually need.  There's not only expense involved, but this stuff can start taking up a lot of space, too.

Thus far, I haven't produced an undrinkable beer, and quite a few have turned out quite good.  Like other folks have said, have fun with it!  "Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew"

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk

On the topic of ingredients lmao
I’ve been on BeerSmith a lot today. I’m going to be doing the Northern Brewer Sierra Madre Pale Ale this weekend.
It only comes in 1 gal or 5 gal kits so I have 3 of the 1 gal. I put everything into BeerSmith and I think I have everything for the ingredients correct as far as the grains, hops and LME. But BeerSmith is showing an OG of 1.048 when the kit is saying it should be 1.052. There is a chance I messed something up along the way. BUT…I have .5# of light DME left over from another kit. When I add this in, it brings my OG to 1.054. Is using both LME and DME a bad idea? It’s showing me the following with using both. (Granted I truthfully have no idea what most of this means when it comes to final product)
OG: 1.054
Est FG: 1.013
Est ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 9.0
SRM: 7.6
Bitter ratio: 0.167

I planned on throwing everything in that came with the kits but BeerSmith is saying to use .17oz on the first 2 hop additions instead of the .37oz of each that I have.
Not sure exactly what to do.

Offline Skeeter686

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: New to the show
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2022, 05:22:39 pm »


On the topic of ingredients lmao
I’ve been on BeerSmith a lot today. I’m going to be doing the Northern Brewer Sierra Madre Pale Ale this weekend.
It only comes in 1 gal or 5 gal kits so I have 3 of the 1 gal. I put everything into BeerSmith and I think I have everything for the ingredients correct as far as the grains, hops and LME. But BeerSmith is showing an OG of 1.048 when the kit is saying it should be 1.052. There is a chance I messed something up along the way. BUT…I have .5# of light DME left over from another kit. When I add this in, it brings my OG to 1.054. Is using both LME and DME a bad idea? It’s showing me the following with using both. (Granted I truthfully have no idea what most of this means when it comes to final product)
OG: 1.054
Est FG: 1.013
Est ABV: 5.4%
IBUs: 9.0
SRM: 7.6
Bitter ratio: 0.167

I planned on throwing everything in that came with the kits but BeerSmith is saying to use .17oz on the first 2 hop additions instead of the .37oz of each that I have.
Not sure exactly what to do.

OG is dependent upon how much you reduce the wort during boil.  BeerSmith may be estimating OG based on a different boil off rate or time than the kit.

I've been trying to get more consistent with my brewing and a refractometer is helpful for taking measurements during the boil so that you can see if you're on target for OG.  That's one item that I wish I'd bought sooner.

I doubt that the DME would hurt the flavor, but you might hit OG without it. 

Sent from my SM-T870 using Tapatalk


Offline MNWayne

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 388
Re: New to the show
« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2022, 11:15:42 am »
Remember the mantra. "Relax, don't worry..."  Just make the kit as it comes from the factory, it'll turn out fine.  Personally, I'm not a fan of software, I know a lot of folks like getting uber-technical about numbers and efficiencies, and that's cool (for them), but you can make great beer without software.  I often don't even check OG on repeat batches. I do watch FG to determine when a batch finishes.  I'm sure people will disagree with me, but a few points either way is not a big deal.
Far better to dare mighty things....