Citra Brew planned and looking problem solve

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Alw94, Apr 24, 2019.

Help Support The Homebrew Forum UK by donating:

  1. Apr 24, 2019 #1

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi

    I've been brewing all grain for a year and have 7 brews under my belt. It's fair to say its been hit and miss with a couple coming out pretty poor. So, at the weekend I am planning for a Oakham's Citra-like brew using this thread as a guide on hops, mash etc.

    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/citra-recipe.35277/

    There have been a couple of problems I've found in some of my brews, namely lack of volume extracted, mash temps, how much volume to batch sparge with and gravity readings. I'd say that even when the brews have gone ok, I'm still a little underwhelmed, I mean they're ok and even good but not great. Maybe I expect too much. Note, I've usually gone with recipes from Greg Hughes book, mainly the hoppier ones.

    So, these have been my issues...

    I regularly get less than the anticipated 23 ltrs. 20 ltrs is more like it, maybe 21ltrs. Now, I may add more hops but this still seems less than expected. I had been using a bazooka but have given up on it due to the clogging occurring with the hops. I've been using hop-bags recently.

    When batch sparging, how much sparge water should I use? Split into the batches into 2 or 3? And how much at each time?

    I've noticed that when taken the gravity readings that at the 20ltr mark, it's down to 1.008. Does this seem too early to get that reading? Also I haven't been adjusting for temperature changes (I've only just picked up that that's a thing).

    I'd appreciate any help, clarification and tips on how to improve the next brew. I'll admit to being a compete novice and that even though I've done a few AG brews and Kits my understanding is still basic. Some handy pointers on what to look out for on this one would be a help.
     
  2. Apr 24, 2019 #2

    Clint

    Clint

    Clint

    Hammered.....

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2016
    Messages:
    6,415
    Likes Received:
    2,910
    Location:
    North Wales
    The volume anomaly can usually be solved by taking accurate measurement and/or noting after every brew what you get ..
    Your grain bill + mash volume - grain absorption + sparge - your boil off - your kettle loss = fv volume....or there abouts!! All are different...it's specific to your system. I've been ag for a year or so and had a few niggles...realising your kettle loss,if you like to leave your boil break material behind,is 3+ litres is very useful!! Also vessel markings are sometimes inaccurate...do your own...1 litre of water weighs 1 kg...
     
    GerritT, pvt_ak and Sadfield like this.
  3. Apr 25, 2019 #3

    steve denholm

    steve denholm

    steve denholm

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    39
    I use whole leaf hops they don't block the bazooka on my kettle and actually seem to help filter some of the gunk (and they look the real deal :) )
     
  4. Apr 25, 2019 #4

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    Sounds like you're working on adjusting few things at once. I've not been brewing long but I've managed to do quite a few brews and had chance to iron out most of my issues. A big step along the way was coming up with a dependable base recipe for a pale ale (my favourite drink and sounds like it's yours too). I've brewed using the following recipe about six times now and it allows me to play with volumes/hops/other additions so that I get a load of really nice beer (23L batch size) whilst experimenting and refining my technique.

    Fermentables:
    4kg Pale Malt
    250g Vienna Malt
    250g Malted Wheat
    This has been my base but I've played around a little with the amounts of each. Using this technique, I was also able to buy in bulk (25kg sack of Pale) and save a bit of money. I'm tempted to try Maris Otter next, just to see which I prefer.

    Yeast:
    US-05 or Mangrove Jack M44 west coast yeast or similar. Again, this is one of the variables which you may wish to play with. I've only used these so far but I'm tempted to try something different to see if I can notice the difference.

    Other stuff:
    I add a Campden Tablet to my mash water (eliminates any chlorine); a half of whirlfloc tablet with 10 mins of boil to go (makes the wort clearer); and a teaspoon of yeast nutrient at the same time.

    Hops:
    This is where you can really have some fun.
    I always use Magnum (about 10g but again, you can play) as a bittering hop at the start of the boil (it's cheap and does a good job). After that, it's entirely up to you. I've done an all Citra brew which was really good although I used a lot more than is in your recipe - I did 30g at 10 mins, 30g at 5 mins and 30g at flame out for a 20min hop stand, left fermenting for about 10 days then added 100g dry hop for the last 3 - 4 days. I did a 'white wine' themed brew using El Dorado, Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc hops (again, in quite large volumes) and that came out really lovely but very different to the Citra.

    My biggest issue has been with pitching the yeast and I've learnt not to rush this. I cool my wort but then leave it in the FV without yeast until the temp is stable at my target fermenting temperature (19C). I then pitch the yeast which I usually rehydrate for about 15mins using about 100ml of cooled, pre-boiled water.

    I also use the Grainfather recipe creator to play with the recipe - helps give a guide to predicted volumes/ABV etc. and I find it a lot easier to use than the majority of s/w:
    https://brew.grainfather.com/
     
    pvt_ak likes this.
  5. Apr 25, 2019 #5

    Sadfield

    Sadfield

    Sadfield

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2016
    Messages:
    2,136
    Likes Received:
    1,083
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    Clint likes this.
  6. Apr 25, 2019 #6

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hello All, many thanks for the replies.

    Volume - so basically, I should probably be adding an extra 3 ltrs worth between the mash & sparge. I've been obviously using the GH recipes and suggested amounts from the there. So, should I increase the amount going into the mash or increase the sparge amounts? Should the batch sparge be split into 2 lots?

    I'm going to give the bazooka another try. I've tried pellets and whole hops and have stuck with whole hops for the last couple of brews. What's clear is that I'm leaving more in the urn that I thought I'd have to.

    Harbey - That's interesting. I have tried different beers but mainly stuck the Pale ales. Your approach makes sense. I am probably guilty of trying to run before I crawl. I definitely need to improve on my technique.

    Thanks for the guide Sadfield. I'll try and have a proper look before Saturday's brewday.
     
    steve denholm likes this.
  7. Apr 26, 2019 #7

    SteveH

    SteveH

    SteveH

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2018
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Hampshire
    I had similar issues to start with, all the recipes I followed underestimated the losses I experienced doing small-batch BIAB.

    As already mentioned keeping careful notes helped, and I just ignored the final volume, instead increasing the sparge quantity until I hit the expected OG, keeps it simpler and you can worry about efficiency/volume later. You could adjust the mash quantity too I guess, if you have capacity in your mash-tun or kettle (I didn't so just sparged more), or add top-up water during or after the boil.

    I also found getting some software (Beersmith mobile in my case) helped - it's initially a bit complex, but there are some good tutorials on youtube, and after a few brews you can dial in your equipment profile, then it's much easier to further adjust things in a predictable way, e.g the malt quantity or top-up water, so you hit the desired volume as well as gravity.
     
  8. Apr 26, 2019 #8

    bobukbrewer

    bobukbrewer

    bobukbrewer

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    NULL
    10 gm of summit for 60 minutes, 20 gm citra for 20 mins, 30 for 10 mins and 50 for 5 mins. Leave 30 minutes then strain, cool, pitch yeast. Bottle after 5 days, drink after a further 7 days, whilst the hops are still nice and fresh to taste. Works for me.
     
  9. Apr 26, 2019 #9

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    I do plan on getting software but that for after this brew. Again, its all about getting that little bit more serious on the understanding of the process.
    Can you explain what you mean by hitting the expected OG? Apologies. I should be doing my own research on this but it'd be handy to have it explained so I can put into practice for tomorrow.
    On the volume, I've checked trough Sadfield's link and that has given me a total of the water I'll need and i'll go for two sparge batches.
    On the hops, I did buy some Northern Brewer to use but now I'm thinking of using some magnum as Harbey recommended. I have some in the freezer, so it makes sense to use some of it up. Citra will also be at amounts recommended.
    I am looking forward to it. I bottled my single hop Nelson Sauvin last night and I was pleased at how it turned out, the only slight issue was the simcoe I dry hopped with had pretty much sat on top, so I'm not sure how much that would've added to it. Early days I know but it did taste ok. Gravity hit pretty much spot on to what recipe stated.
     
  10. Apr 29, 2019 #10

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Ok, so, brewed the citra copy on Sunday. All-in-all, a relatively straight-forward brew with no mis-haps. A relief, let me tell you. The recipe was a mix of instruction from Greg Hughes book and Harbey's ingredients list. Below are my notes. Please have a look, offer criticism (constructive, preferably) and if you feel I've missed anything, let me know.

    Firstly, to counter lower than expected volumes previously, I increased the amount of water for the initial mash and batch sparging.

    Heated about 20ltrs to 77c with campden tablet. Pre-heated mash tun. Added 14ltrs (slightly more than I intended to) 4kg maris otter pale ale, 250g carapils and 250g of crisp pale wheat malt. Found there was a slight dough-balling going on but wasn't too bad. Temp in mash tun was 65c. Covered and left for an hour.
    Lautered and first runnings ended with 9.5 ltrs - gravity reading of 1.054.
    Added another 10ltrs to mash, circulated and left for 20mins,
    Second runnings added 11.5 ltrs, 21ltrs in total.
    Added 8ltrs for final sparge and left for 20mins. When taking this running, gravity was 1.008. Now, previously, I'd stop runnings at this stage to avoid tannings. A recent lesson taught me to adjust for temperature, so, actually, this will actually be around 1.020-ish. Therefore, I kept runnings unti, I reached 28.5 ltrs.

    Started rolling boil and added 10g magnum wholehops. 60 min boil. 10 mins from end, added 30g of citra whole hops. 5 mins from end, another 30g of citra and at turn-off, another 30g of citra. Left for 20 mins.
    Started chiller and cooled to 20c. Added rehydrated Nottingham yeast. Plan to ferment at 20c for 10 days and dry-hop. Likely quite a large amount of citra - 100g as per Harbey's recipe.. Final gravity 1.048.

    I say there were no mis-haps, but I did find that the manifold had come away slightly. I did notice that the lauter had more grain than normal so this wasn't a surprise. Cleared pretty quickly and didn't seem to cause a problem. I tasted the sample and it tasted decent but smelled great.
     
  11. Apr 29, 2019 #11

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    Sounds great to me. Has it started breathing yet? And do you plan to dry hop?

    Edit... Sorry, just noticed your dry hop plans. Sounds great.
     
  12. Apr 29, 2019 #12

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Harbey, well, I think it's started but as it's in a room to the side, I haven't been around to hear it. And, yes, the plan it to go by your recipe with 100g of citra hops. I just opened it and it still smells great.

    One thing I meant to say was that even though 28 litres went into the boiler I only got 21ltrs out. 8ltrs lost? Surely, that's a lot, right?
     
  13. Apr 30, 2019 #13

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    That sounds like a fair bit to lose, but I guess 3L boild off followed by 4L lost to break material and hops isn't impossible. You're also gonna lose a couple of litres to trub in the FV. I wouldn't worry too much at this stage tho. Concentrate on getting a good beer first. You could always try using pellets as they don't soak up as much as whole hops. Now be patient and keep that lid on the FV for 10 days at least.
     
  14. Apr 30, 2019 #14

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well that's what I'm thinking Harvey, the end result is what is key and I'd be chuffed to get a great tasting hoppy beer. The losses must just be what it is. I did consider if it was on too much of a boil instead of just a rolling boil but the I did turn it down a bit. Would that have made too much difference though? I'm surprised that so much is lost on the break?!

    She's bubbling away nicely though and when I go and see her we have a nice little chat. So, yes, as no one has said that what's occurred with the gravity reading is going to have an at hers affect, I'll go with the 100g cotta as dry hop. Something to look forward to!
     
  15. May 8, 2019 #15

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    Hey, hey, hey... It's dry hop time! If my diary is correct you should be about ready to throw a load more hops on there. Fermentation should be done so dry hops and then bottle on Sunday. Hope it goes well!
     
  16. May 9, 2019 #16

    GerritT

    GerritT

    GerritT

    Landlord. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    2,036
    Likes Received:
    656
    My watermanagement for 16 liters bottled: start at 12 liters, mash, sparge, fill up to 17 liters, boil, filter, fill up to 17 liters, transfer to fv, fill up to 17 liters, bottle, lose 1 liter during bottling. Works for me, everything I use is graduated.
     
  17. May 9, 2019 #17

    SteveH

    SteveH

    SteveH

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2018
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Sorry I missed this previously - I just mean hitting the expected gravity as stated in the recipe, as opposed to hitting a specific volume into the fermenter.

    My first few brews I ended up with less volume than planned, and a higher gravity than the recipe, so each brew I added a bit more water during the sparge until I achieved the gravity expected according to the recipe.

    For me this worked better than trying to chase a specific volume, it generally was a bit less that the recipe, but that's just a reflection on my process being slightly less efficient.

    Since I've got the hang of some software, it's easier to dial in your particular equipment profile, then it becomes less of a trial/error process :)
     
  18. May 10, 2019 #18

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    Again, thanks for the help.

    Yes, hops went in yesterday. 100g Citra in hop bag. Tried to weigh it down by putting a sterilized glass in too but it's still floating. Hopefully, it won't make much difference anyway. Gravity reading was 1.012, so bang on right? Tasted the sample and I'm thinking its all good so far. Bottling Monday.

    Planning another brew in 2 weeks and likely going with an IPA I've brewed before that I'm hoping to improve on. I'll ensure to come back to the volumes before then.

    Cheers!
     
  19. May 10, 2019 #19

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Harbey

    Regular.

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    Scarborough UK
    Sounds good. Just make sure that gravity hasn't moved before you bottle.
     
  20. May 13, 2019 #20

    Alw94

    Alw94

    Alw94

    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2019
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    3
    So, planned to bottle tonight and yesterday, soaked all bottles in an oxyclean overnight. This morning, I drained the water and added more water and left it to sit until started to clean then tonight. Found quite a lot of residue on both the inside and outside of the bottles. Started to clean them until realised it wasn't going to take a long time. Googled a solution.

    Found that the oxyclean is a known issue in hard water area like mine. I've now soaked then again in star-san and will try to clean tomorrow. If they don't come up very well, then I should have enough of others to bottle with instead. What an a**e!

    Is there any other suggestions for cleaning the residue? PBW was mentioned but I don't think my local homebrew stocks it, so would need to order online.
     
    GerritT likes this.

Share This Page