matt76's Brewdays

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pilgrimhudd

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I've often thought that bramling cross sounds like something you'd find on an autumn day in an English hedgerow. I'll probably be disappointed.

It sounds good though, bet it'll come out ok.

I do think that getting a clear beer at our level has some degree of luck to it!
 

matt76

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So you don't think it has anything to do with ritual sacrifice under a full moon? ashock1
 

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Update: AG#21 "Extra Viking" Baltic Porter

Must not have gotten around to posting this, but I bottled this brew a few weeks ago.

I batch primed with 65g brown sugar and bottled 28 x 330ml bottles with scarcely a drop left in the bottling bucket, giving me 2.5vols CO2.

FG 1.020
ABV = 8.4%
SRM = 42
IBU = 33

Roasty bitterness from the malts like bitter chocolate, raisin notes, and an indulgent thick creamy mouthfeel.

It's now tucked up in a box somewhere to condition until October or November at the earliest. Looking forward to trying it when it's ready but luckily got plenty more beer to drink while I'm waiting :beer1:
 

matt76

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Update: AG#22 GH Cornish Tin Miner's Ale

Bottled this today - FG a couple of points higher than expected at 1.014 but it's been in the FV for three weeks since before i went away on holiday so I'm happy enough it's done.

I need to give a shout out to @MyQul - when i brewed this i chilled with my wort chiller as normal but then following his suggestion left it a few hours while all the crud settled out before syphoning the crystal clear wort to the FV.

End result - no trub in the FV and I collected 3 x 50ml tubes of pretty much pure (I think!) yeast. Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed i don't get chill haze with this batch...

Only negative is my yield was a little bit down - normally I hope to get 20 x 500ml bottles, but I only got 18 and a bit although there looks to be a lot less crud in each. I'd happily use the same approach again, just tweak the recipe and volume a bit to get the desired yield. To be honest this simple change to my process seems like the most significant step forward I've made in a while athumb..

FG = 1.014

2.07vols CO2
45g table sugar boiled in 300ml water for 4mins

Yield = 9.33L (18 x 500ml bottles + 1 x 330ml bottles)
Waste = zero!

Colour = Amber
Aroma = Slight
Taste = Notes of honey flavour but not sweet. Moderate gentle hoppiness and bitterness.

ABV = 4.7%
SRM = 9
IBU = 28
 

MyQul

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Thats the bit I like, collecting lots of near trub free yeast. The trade off, of course, as you mention is chill haze
 

matt76

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Thats the bit I like, collecting lots of near trub free yeast. The trade off, of course, as you mention is chill haze
+1 on the yeast harvesting athumb..

Re. the chill haze, I'm hoping that because I used a wort chiller I (a) got a decent cold break (same as normal) and then (b) left behind most of the cold break material responsible for chill haze (different to normal) - but we'll see in a few weeks... :beer1:
 

MyQul

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+1 on the yeast harvesting athumb..

Re. the chill haze, I'm hoping that because I used a wort chiller I (a) got a decent cold break (same as normal) and then (b) left behind most of the cold break material responsible for chill haze (different to normal) - but we'll see in a few weeks... :beer1:
Ah, I see. You used a chiller. Fingers crossed for no chill haze athumb..
 

matt76

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And in other news.....

rps20190906_230841.jpg


The GH Czech Pilsner I brewed back in January (!!!) seems finally to have dropped clear, all the chill haze has gone clapa

It's very pleasant, tastes clean and refreshing although I'm not sure it has quite the characteristics of the beer I tried in Prague that inspired it.

Nevertheless, I can't complain for something that was one of my first brews (AG#7) and the first lager I brewed - nature was my temperature controller!

Now with any luck my AG#17 Märzen will eventually follow suit.....
 

matt76

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AG#23 Bitsa SCA

Bitsa this, bitsa that - using up assorted leftover malt and also some leftover Simcoe, Citra and Amarillo. Current recipe here but it could change, I've also got some Chinook left and I'm undecided yet what the grains are contributing besides gravity points.....

The plan for brew day (whenever that is!) is to try a full volume BIAB mash for 30 mins followed by 30 mins boil to see if we can simplify and shorten process and reduce clean up.

First things first I need some yeast. I've just harvested loads of WY1318 I could use, or I have enough 1272 in the fridge but for some reason I've a hankering to go back to 1056 - unfortunately I don't have any except in the bottom of full beer bottles.....

One bottle of AG#14 American Wheat beer later, will the dregs be enough to build enough pitchable yeast.....?

I pitched the dregs into 250ml DME starter @ 1.035 and set the stir plate going. No visible change after 1.5 days but having switched the stir plate off for a while, a few hours later I noticed something growing on the surface - wasn't entirely clear at this point if it's yeast, an infection or both!

rps20190909_214352.jpg


I left it overnight and this morning there were enough bubbles on the surface and bits to convince me it was doing something useful:

rps20190910_080142.jpg


Restarting the stir plate it took on that milky hue that tells me yeast are growing:

rps20190910_080206.jpg


I've since topped it up with another 250ml wort, and will probably add another 500-750ml once that's done to step it up again.
 

matt76

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Unfortunately I have no beer to write about but my 1056 yeast starter (wot I started writing about in the post above) is coming along nicely.....

24 hours after I topped up the starter wort from 250ml to 500ml (see previous post above) it had continued to lighten and turn more milky:

rps20190911_201013.jpg


I had taken the remaining starter wort out of the fridge the night before so it could come to room temperature. It smelt fine despite having been kept in the fridge a few days - malty and not "off" - so yesterday morning in went the remaining 740ml, bringing the total up to 1.24L:

rps20190911_201044.jpg


By this morning (another 24 hours later) it had lightened considerably and I noticed a bubbly krausen on top:

rps20190912_081219.jpg


The krausen suggests to me it hasn't completely fermented out yet - I'm quite sure there's more then enough healthy pitchable yeast there now but seeing as I haven't actually got any wort to pitch it into yet I'll leave it a day or two longer before crashing the yeast out in the fridge.

It really is remarkable though that yeast will multiply like this from the tiny (and presumably dormant) amount of yeast/grain/hop trub in the bottom of one of my bottles. ashock1

And to think I was starting to think about ditching it as there was initially no sign of progress for the first day or two! :laugh8:
 
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matt76

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Update: AG#23 Bitsa SCA

Well after all my recent starter building I've actually brewed something more intersting to write about! Honestly I've no idea what style this fits - it's a user upper bitsa this, bitsa that, something like bitter/APA/IPA/or maybe Amber Ale, it seems a bit darker to me than Brewer's Friend predicted. Ah, whatever, it'll hopefully be beer of some sort!

Inspired by "Simple Homebrewing" by Drew Beechum & Denny Conn, I wanted to shorten and simplify my brew day with:
(a) Full volume mash / No sparge
(b) 30min mash
(c) 30min boil

This was planned very much as a fact finding brew - how would quite radical changes to my process affect my numbers and the length of my brew day?

1160g MO
540g lager
300g Munich
200g Belgian biscuit
200g Vienna
200g FB
90g CaraMunich 1

I added half a campden tablet when i heated my water, along with 2g gypsum and 5ml lactic acid (80%) and a good stir.

Full volume mash - that's right baby, no sparging for me!

I heated 14 or 15L water in my new tea urn - the marks on the urn said 15L but I'm not convinced, i think it was actually more like 14L

35min mash at 64degC - after a full on monster bag squeeze I had 13L in the brew kettle (hence why i don't believe i really had 15L to start with!)

30min boil:
4g Citra + 9g Simcoe for 30 mins
10g Simcoe for 10 mins
10g Citra for 5 mins
10g Amarillo at flameout
(About 42 IBU's in total)

BG 1.042
OG 1.047

Pitched Wyeast 1056

I cooled to 20degC with my immersion chiller - but as with my last brew i left it to stand a few hours while the hop trub and gunk settled out. Then i syphoned 9L crystal clear wort to the FV and pitched my yeast starter - the aim of this is to try to get clearer beer and no chill haze by not transferring all this crud and cold break material to the FV.

I also collected 3L of crud - this has settled out overnight and netted me an extra 1L clear wort which I added to the FV today.

So what are the conclusions so far?

Having one big urn to heat all my water in one go is SO easy compared to heating it 2L at a time in 2 x kitchen kettles! As well as being less faff it also seems pretty quick. If this is anything to go by, I really want to go electric for the boil now!

I don't think the water level marks on the urn are very accurate, and nor is the temperature knob - but these are easily dealt with next time, forewarned is forearmed.

My efficiency took a dive - down from typically around 78% (consistent across 20 brew or so) to 66%. That sounds a lot but according to Brewer's Friend it's only about 5 or 6 gravity points.

But for me it's totally a price worth paying - I can compensate next time with a bit more grain, and no sparge / full volume is so much less hassle. That alone probably saved me a bunch of time. Coupled with the shorter mash and boil times i reckon i knocked 90 minutes of my brew day - if only i could say the same about cleaning up afterwards!

One side effect of no sparge is that the wort temp is lower at the start of the boil - but in practice this didn't seem to have a significant impact on the time taken to raise the wort to a rolling boil.

A 30 minute boil means i need to add more bittering hops - but i don't think there's a huge difference between 60 or 30 mins. Also at these volumes I only use a few grams of bittering hops anyway - i have more of a problem with left overs to be honest!

The jury is still out on whether it makes a difference to let the crud settle and then syphon the wort a few hours later. Having already bottled one batch like this it certainly means you get much cleaner yeast if you harvest it - time will tell though if it actually solves my chill haze problem!

In short:
Full volume mash / No sparge - yes!
30 min mash - yes!
30 min boil - yes!

Cheers,

Matt
 

Oneflewover

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I've taken to keeping the wort extracted from the crud at the bottom of the kettle, freezing it, then using it for starters further down the line. Saves on DME.
 

matt76

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I've taken to keeping the wort extracted from the crud at the bottom of the kettle, freezing it, then using it for starters further down the line. Saves on DME.
Oh I see, yes, interesting idea. I take it you just keep the good stuff once it's settled out and discard the wort of the gunk?

Only problem with this - and this is just me - i only got 9L in the FV in the first place so i can't really afford to lose the extra 1L i recovered from the crud. But if i were doing 20L-ish batches then yeah it's a smart idea.
 

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I don't think the water level marks on the urn are very accurate.
Why not measure it? If the inside of your urn is a cylinder then the volume at any point is pi*(r^2)*h.

You can then choose a point on the lip of the urn where it's easy to measure down from and call this the "full" point. Use the formula to calculate this "full" volume. Then on brewday whenever you want to know the volume all you need to do is measure down from the full point to where the liquid is. Use the formula to calculate this "empty" cylinder volume, subtract it from the already known "full" volume and that's how much liquid you've got.

Too much maths on brewday? I thought so too so I simply used Excel to create a lookup table that list heights down from the top and reads across to what the volume is. It prints out to a single side of A4 and looks like this:

 

Oneflewover

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Oh I see, yes, interesting idea. I take it you just keep the good stuff once it's settled out and discard the wort of the gunk?

Only problem with this - and this is just me - i only got 9L in the FV in the first place so i can't really afford to lose the extra 1L i recovered from the crud. But if i were doing 20L-ish batches then yeah it's a smart idea.
Yes I can appreciate that it's important to maximise what goes into the fv in small batch brewing. And yes, only keep good wort that is left below the level of the bazooka once it has settled out again. Depending on SG might need dilution, but don't need to be too fussy about sanitisation as it's going to get boiled again
 

An Ankoù

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It's very pleasant, tastes clean and refreshing although I'm not sure it has quite the characteristics of the beer I tried in Prague that inspired it.
Yeah, this is the real bittch. Not tooo difficult to make good, clear lager, but it's not the same as the stuff from Prague. Can't wait for the colder weather to have another bash. Pretty resigned to having to go the whole hog with triple-decoction. Not especially looking forward to that, but if needs must!

Have heard that the judicious use of melanoidin malts can also give the right taste. Certainly going to try that one, too.
 

matt76

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Yeah, this is the real bittch. Not tooo difficult to make good, clear lager, but it's not the same as the stuff from Prague. Can't wait for the colder weather to have another bash. Pretty resigned to having to go the whole hog with triple-decoction. Not especially looking forward to that, but if needs must!

Have heard that the judicious use of melanoidin malts can also give the right taste. Certainly going to try that one, too.
Weirdly,I fancy having a go at a decision mash - not sure why, just curious i guess or maybe it's a rite of passage thing :laugh8:
 

matt76

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Why not measure it? If the inside of your urn is a cylinder then the volume at any point is pi*(r^2)*h.

You can then choose a point on the lip of the urn where it's easy to measure down from and call this the "full" point. Use the formula to calculate this "full" volume. Then on brewday whenever you want to know the volume all you need to do is measure down from the full point to where the liquid is. Use the formula to calculate this "empty" cylinder volume, subtract it from the already known "full" volume and that's how much liquid you've got.

Too much maths on brewday? I thought so too so I simply used Excel to create a lookup table that list heights down from the top and reads across to what the volume is. It prints out to a single side of A4 and looks like this:

Thanks, yes, don't worry, the maths simple enough even for me. Actually this is almost exactly what I've done already for my brew kettle - except being one of the cool kids i plotted mine on a graph. This is what i meant when i said it's easily sorted in the future athumb..

20190916_202816.jpg
 

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