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Homer2728

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Hoping you can advise me. I am a new member today. I have just made my first batch of homebrew from scratch using Munich malt as a base, added some crystal malt, roasted Barley, pale choc malt and some Fuggle hops. I mashed this at 64-67degrees and transferred into stainless steel pot to boil adding hops beginning and end. Pitched yeast at 23c. The whole batch does not seem to have hardly any alcohol in it. Just wandered if anyone know what I might have done wrong. Many thanks.
 

strange-steve

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What was the FG and why do you think there's hardly any alcohol in it?
 

Homer2728

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What was the FG and why do you think there's hardly any alcohol in it?
hi FG was 1008 but had no bubbles in airlock but was bubbling inside fermentation bucket. Had fast acting yeast which only took two days. It just tastes very weak. I'm also wandering if I put to much water in it. This was my first attempt and I can not think what I find wring . Many thanks
 

foxbat

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Nothing wrong with an FG of 1.008 but without knowing the starting gravity we can't tell you what the alcohol content is so here's some random questions that will give us a clue:

What was the yeast?
How long has it been conditioning? ('green' beer can taste thin)
What were the weights of munich/crystal/roast barley/chocolate malt and I assume they were crushed?
How much water did you mash in and did you top up with any water before the boil?
 

Homer2728

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It was Munich malt and believe it was 6lb. It's been conditioning for 5 days.
The rest 140g of each and yes it was crushed. I mashed it in 14 litres. This is where I think I might of gone wrong because I topped it up to 24 litres. Hop you can help. Many thanks again.
 

Zephyr259

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Well that's interesting, I put your grain bill into a recipe calculator for 24L and it came out as OG 1.032, FG 1.008. I've not entered a yeast so it's just assuming 75% attenuation but at 1.032 a few percent either way won't actually change things.

15L mash was probably a bit thin but won't have caused an issue, you said you topped up to 24L? Was the extra water added before or after boiling and did you sparge/rinse the grains or just drain them then move to the boil? Depending what you did you'll have affected your OG and bitterness.

Sounds like you'll have a nice 3.2% mild on your hands. Also, welcome to the forum. :-)
 

Homer2728

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Well that's interesting, I put your grain bill into a recipe calculator for 24L and it came out as OG 1.032, FG 1.008. I've not entered a yeast so it's just assuming 75% attenuation but at 1.032 a few percent either way won't actually change things.

15L mash was probably a bit thin but won't have caused an issue, you said you topped up to 24L? Was the extra water added before or after boiling and did you sparge/rinse the grains or just drain them then move to the boil? Depending what you did you'll have affected your OG and bitterness.

Sounds like you'll have a nice 3.2% mild on your hands. Also, welcome to the forum. :-)
H
Well that's interesting, I put your grain bill into a recipe calculator for 24L and it came out as OG 1.032, FG 1.008. I've not entered a yeast so it's just assuming 75% attenuation but at 1.032 a few percent either way won't actually change things.

15L mash was probably a bit thin but won't have caused an issue, you said you topped up to 24L? Was the extra water added before or after boiling and did you sparge/rinse the grains or just drain them then move to the boil? Depending what you did you'll have affected your OG and bitterness.

Sounds like you'll have a nice 3.2% mild on your hands. Also, welcome to the forum. :-)
Hi thanks again. so does that mean I needed more grain in there for the 15 litres ?. I added the wort to some water I had started Heating up ready in stainless steel pot. Yes tried my best to rinse the grains in my mash tun. Can't taste any alcohol. Have just bottled some tonight and see what happens.
 

Zephyr259

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Hi thanks again. so does that mean I needed more grain in there for the 15 litres ?. I added the wort to some water I had started Heating up ready in stainless steel pot. Yes tried my best to rinse the grains in my mash tun. Can't taste any alcohol. Have just bottled some tonight and see what happens.
You work out the grains you need based on how much beer you want and at what strength, mash water is worked out from the grains you have, I think 3L/kg is common but I use a Grainfather which has it's own requirements. This is where brewing software is handy/vital, Brewer's Friend is a good site that a lot of people start out with as it's free for 5 recipes (and you can just overwrite them after that).

On the plus side, it sound like your process worked nicely for your first brew, the issue was just that your recipe was weaker than you thought it would be. Out of interest, how much fuggles did you add at the start and end of boil?

Not exactly sure what you mean, but you shouldn't taste alcohol in beer until it's really strong, if you can then chances are it was fermented too hot and you have fusel alcohols which taste bad and give terrible hangovers, these are also more common in strong beers where the yeast had a hard time fermenting the strong wort smoothly.
 

Homer2728

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That's great you have helped alot. Going to make you laugh now. I put a handful in at start of rolling book and about 10 minutes before the end. I used fuggle hops.
I have just ordered some more grains, so will try again. Many thanks
 

Zephyr259

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Yeah, handfuls are good for a laugh. :-) Was that a 100g pack split in half-ish or a truly random handful each time? Good thing is that beer is fairly forgiving, as long as you keep things clean and ferment at a sensible temperature you'll get beer at the end and it'll be good, even if it's not quite what you expected.

Good luck on the next brew, what you trying for this time?
 

Homer2728

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Yeah, handfuls are good for a laugh. :-) Was that a 100g pack split in half-ish or a truly random handful each time? Good thing is that beer is fairly forgiving, as long as you keep things clean and ferment at a sensible temperature you'll get beer at the end and it'll be good, even if it's not quite what you expected.

Good luck on the next brew, what you trying for this time?
yeah it was 100g split. Looking at trying marris otter for base, chocolate malt and carahell caramel malt. I have gone for 5k of marris and 500g of each choc and caramel. What do you think. Don't know what OG or FG to expect as still don't really understand these.
 

strange-steve

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While I admire your gusto in jumping straight into AG and designing your own beer, it might be worthwhile doing a bit of reading up on the basics before your next. The finished beer will thank you for it, plus it makes the whole brewday more enjoyable and relaxing when you know what to do (and why to do it). Of course feel free to ask more specific questions here.
 

Homer2728

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While I admire your gusto in jumping straight into AG and designing your own beer, it might be worthwhile doing a bit of reading up on the basics before your next. The finished beer will thank you for it, plus it makes the whole brewday more enjoyable and relaxing when you know what to do (and why to do it). Of course feel free to ask more specific questions here.
Hi am waiting for a brewing book to be delivered this week aswell.
 

Zephyr259

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What book have you gone for? Maris Otter, crystal and chocolate will let you brew a fair few different things just by altering the ratios.
 

Homer2728

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What book have you gone for? Maris Otter, crystal and chocolate will let you brew a fair few different things just by altering the ratios.
It's called the homebrew handbook. Not quite sure what different things you mean. Sorry I know I sound useless
 

Zephyr259

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Had a quick "look inside" on amazon, seems to cover the basics although his explanation of mashing and sparging reads very confusingly as I'm sure he says to sparge with wort not water. Recipes look ok but he doesn't tell you the alpha acids of the hops nor the target IBUs of the recipe so there's no way to tell how bitter he intends them to be other than using an average value for the hop in the recipe. Also his OG/FG and abv don't match for the Amber ale recipe.

It'll get you started fine enough but the most common / best starter book is generally Home Brew Beer by Greg Hughes, his recipes are great and his intro to brewing section is good too although I didn't need it by the time I got the book as I'd already read John Palmer's How to Brew, that one is available online at Welcome to How to Brew - How to Brew think it's the text from his first edition and he's now onto the 4th but it's still great info, even has a section on building your own recipes which I used to make a porter when I was a newbie.

The different things I was meaning is that you could brew a pale ale, IPA, best bitter/ESB, brown ale, stout from those malts, the pale ones would need maris otter and anything from none to 500g of crystal malt then adding 100-200g of chocolate would give you a brown ale and up to 500g would be porter/stout territory. Hops would vary as well between styles.

What kinda beers were you hoping to brew when you got started? I did 3 kits then 4 small stovetop batches of all grain before I decided to go for it and get my full set-up.
 

Homer2728

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Had a quick "look inside" on amazon, seems to cover the basics although his explanation of mashing and sparging reads very confusingly as I'm sure he says to sparge with wort not water. Recipes look ok but he doesn't tell you the alpha acids of the hops nor the target IBUs of the recipe so there's no way to tell how bitter he intends them to be other than using an average value for the hop in the recipe. Also his OG/FG and abv don't match for the Amber ale recipe.

It'll get you started fine enough but the most common / best starter book is generally Home Brew Beer by Greg Hughes, his recipes are great and his intro to brewing section is good too although I didn't need it by the time I got the book as I'd already read John Palmer's How to Brew, that one is available online at Welcome to How to Brew - How to Brew think it's the text from his first edition and he's now onto the 4th but it's still great info, even has a section on building your own recipes which I used to make a porter when I was a newbie.

The different things I was meaning is that you could brew a pale ale, IPA, best bitter/ESB, brown ale, stout from those malts, the pale ones would need maris otter and anything from none to 500g of crystal malt then adding 100-200g of chocolate would give you a brown ale and up to 500g would be porter/stout territory. Hops would vary as well between styles.

What kinda beers were you hoping to brew when you got started? I did 3 kits then 4 small stovetop batches of all grain before I decided to go for it and get my full set-up.
I like all my dark ales especially porters and stouts. I will have a look for that book aswell. Many thanks again.
 

An Ankoù

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Welcome to the forum Homer2728. I think the replies you've had so far pretty much cover all the points except it's not clear to me how much beer you ended up with. I know you say you topped up to 24 litres, but was that before you boiled it or after?
I work on a general rule of thumb that a malt bill of 4Kg (8.8 Lb) excluding any black coloured malts or grains, if any, will give me an OG of 1050 in 20 litres of boiled wort, which is ready to be fermented. That, in turn, will give me an abv of about 5% depending on the yeast used.
There are other variables which will affect these figures slightly, but not drastically. So your 24 litres batch (if it was 24 litres) would need 4x24/20 Kg or 4.8Kg (10 lb 9 oz) to have an OG of 1050.
Your 3.00Kg malt bill, then, would give you an OG around 1031 and about 3.0% abv if your FG is 1008.
Not far off Zephyr's figures in post #8.
So to cut a long story short, you beer tastes weak because it is weak, but what were you hoping for? It sounds like a lovely mild as Zephyr says, but a poor imperial stout! My advice when designing a recipe would be to start with either the target abv or the target OG, from which you can estimate your total grain bill, and then work back from there.
After all that. I wish my first attempt had been as successful as yours. At least you've made drinkable beer! :hat:
 

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