Help with first brew - Calculating the basics

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New_to_Brew

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Hi all,

I joined last year and was looking Oo do my first brew by January but life has gotten in the way. Anyway, I ordered the totally tropical ipa recipe kit from malt Miller and its coming up to the yeast expiring so I want to get brewing, I'm working from home now (coronavirus) so have time on my hands.

The kit is directly set up to work with tee equipment I have, I have a 20litre stock pot, 20 litre fermenting vessel and a 25 litre mash run. Please could someone help me calculate how much grain and water I need? Sorry if I seem dense, I've had a look at calculaters online and they confuse the s*** out of me,

Any and all help will really help me out, I learn from practical experience so once I get it once I won't ask again,

Cheers,
Tom
 
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Tom, have you tried brewers friend or brew father - really easy to use.


You just need to decided how much fermenting volume you want to have, with fermenter of 20L I guess no more than 18L of liquid
 

PhilBrew

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Hi Tom

... I learn from practical experience so once I get it once I won't ask again ...
... in that case why not just brew the kit you have (with some practical guesstimates) and see what you get out ... but take lots of measurements as you go along so you'll know more, for next time wink...

That all-grain kit you have comes with 4.8 kg of grain in it so you could just use 2.5 lts/kg of water, so 12 lts, in your mash tun, to mash that into (use an online calculator to get your strike temp, so your mash will settle to your mash temp) ... then, you'd take a batch sparging approach (to learn about mash-tun losses) and drain all the wort from your mash-tun into your boiler and measure the volume you get out (the difference between the 12 lts you put in and the 6-7 lts you get out is down to being soaked up in the grain and any deadspace in the bottom of the tun (if you put some water into the empty tun and drain it through the tap (if there is one) and measure whatever water is left in the tun afterwards, then you can get an estimate of the deadpsace) ... then you'd work out how much more wort you could (safely) boil in your boiler (if you got 6 lts out and you think you'd feel comfortable boiling with 19 lts in, say, then you'd be looking to get 13 lts more wort out of your tun (you could even add a couple more, you'll only use as much as you can fit in you boiler)) ... however much that is divide it my two and heat that much water up to around 80C (when you add it to the mash it'll even out in the mid-70s (and do what is technically known as a "mash-out")) and add that to the grain in your tun, give it a good stir, let it soak in and settle for 10-15 minutes, then drain the wort out of the mash-tun into your boiler again ... set your boiler to start heating up to boil ... then add the other half of the amount you calculated into the mash-tun, just like last time, stir, settle and drain again, but this time drain it into another container (your FV maybe) and once you've drained it add as much as you feel safe adding to your boiler (remember you'll need to leave a bit of room at the top so it doesn't boil over) ... once it comes up to boil measure how much room is at the top of your boiler and proceed with adding the hops according to the instructions in the recipe ... as the boil progresses, if enough liquid boils off to fit more wort in you could heat some more up (that you got out of the mash-tun earlier) separately on the stove and add it into the boil, if you want, but keep a record of how much you add and don't add any with less than around 30 mins left to boil ... at the end of boil measure how much room there is at the top of the boiler, the difference between that and what there was at the start of boil, calculated as a volume (plus any wort you added during the boil) is how much liquid your boiler evaporates off during a boil of that length ... cool your wort and transfer to a cleaned and sterilised FV (measure how much you get into you FV (the difference from end of boil and then is because of losses to trub and deadspace), if you wanted to you could take a gravity reading at that stage and if the gravity is higher than you want you could use a liquor-back or dilution calculator to dilute the gravity down to an OG you're happy with. Pitch your yeast and you've done your first all-grain brew


All the measurement you've taken can then be used to feed into the various calculators as assumptions for losses in your brewery athumb..

Cheers, PhilB
 

New_to_Brew

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Ok thank you that makes sense to a degree, I got thrown off by all the different measurements in the recipe calculators. I guess I'm just going to have Oo bite the bullet and just do it

I would've followed the recipe but that's for a larger brew and it was calculating the difference etc which threw me off, I think I'm over thinking it all. I don't think it's dry yeast as it says to keep refrigerated, it's white labs WLP001 if that helps?

Thanks guys, means a lot
 
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Some great advice there from @PhilBrew, and a very generous step by step set of instructions.

Download the Brewers friend application, it's easy to use and takes the worry out of working out grain and water quantities.
 

PhilBrew

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I would've followed the recipe but that's for a larger brew and it was calculating the difference etc which threw me off, I think I'm over thinking it all.
... you're not the first new brewer to over think in such ways, and you won't be the last ... but the important thing to recognise is how, until you have your process/method all "sorted" ... there's really no way to brew that kit precisely to recipe (that's not unique to new brewers either, I bought a new boiler a little while ago, and still not got back to a stable state where I can brew and reliably get the planned volume of wort out of it at the end of a brewday :?: )

But, then again, you'll almost certainly make beer, and probably really quite good beer, too wink... ... so have a go, enjoy the experience, and don't worry too much about getting it "right" (or "wrong") ... there's a chance, since that kit is to make 23 lts, but your boiler is only 20 lts, that you might end up making a smaller amount of stronger beer (perhaps around only 16-17 lts of wort at 10 or more points of gravity higher than intended with the kit). Which is why I mentioned the idea of diluting the wort (liquor-back) before pitching your yeast, that'll help you get the kit back closer to how the recipe intended athumb..

Enjoy your first brewday
Cheers, PhilB
 
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I would've followed the recipe but that's for a larger brew and it was calculating the difference etc which threw me off, I think I'm over thinking it all.

To a first approximation which isn't perfect but close enough, you can scale it according to the volume. So if you do half the volume, use half the ingredients.

I don't think it's dry yeast as it says to keep refrigerated, it's white labs WLP001 if that helps?

White Labs and Wyeast both do liquid yeast, which unless you're prepared to get into making starters has a fairly strict 6 month lifetime, possible less, if you want to use a full pouch in 5 US gallons (19 litres). However you can get away with a bit over the BB date if you're using a full pouch in less than 19 litres.

WLP001 is very similar to Fermentis US-05, a dry yeast - if you wanted to say do half the kit with the WLP001 and then get some US-05 for the otherhalf at a later date, that would work. Or something like the bog-standard ale yeast from Wilko would work and save some postage (as long as you don't have a problem with this kind of thing).
 

An Ankoù

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Hi Tom,
If it's a recipe kit, then all the weighing out and calculation have already been done. You just have to brew it according to the instructions provided (I presume there are instructions).
 

New_to_Brew

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... you're not the first new brewer to over think in such ways, and you won't be the last ... but the important thing to recognise is how, until you have your process/method all "sorted" ... there's really no way to brew that kit precisely to recipe (that's not unique to new brewers either, I bought a new boiler a little while ago, and still not got back to a stable state where I can brew and reliably get the planned volume of wort out of it at the end of a brewday :?: )

But, then again, you'll almost certainly make beer, and probably really quite good beer, too wink... ... so have a go, enjoy the experience, and don't worry too much about getting it "right" (or "wrong") ... there's a chance, since that kit is to make 23 lts, but your boiler is only 20 lts, that you might end up making a smaller amount of stronger beer (perhaps around only 16-17 lts of wort at 10 or more points of gravity higher than intended with the kit). Which is why I mentioned the idea of diluting the wort (liquor-back) before pitching your yeast, that'll help you get the kit back closer to how the recipe intended athumb..

Enjoy your first brewday
Cheers, PhilB
Hi Phil,

Just wanted to say, if your still on here, I finally brewed it! it made 15 litres in total so you were very close! I didn't dilute back either as it was about 2am on a workday by the time it cooled to pitching temp and my brain was frazzled 😅

Tried a bottle prematurely a few days ago and it was very tasty but definitely a bit strong! A bit late but thanks for the advice everyone
 

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