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Everything Homebrew!

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posted on Apr, 18 2012 @ 08:21 PM

I brought my brew water up to 180 F, added my honey and 2 quarts of Apple Juice. ($1.99) Added the Lime and Lemon concentrate. (Something about ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, for tartness.) Temperature re-established at 160 F.

I kept it at 160 for 30 minutes. From what I read online, there was now supposed to be a scum that forms, that you have to skim off. I waited, and waited, and after 20 minutes I decided no scum was going to form. When we harvest our honey, it's raw, but we filter it out to 1000 mesh. I think since I am using finely filtered honey, the scum that was supposed to appear is actually particulates that is in the other guy's raw honey, and that they don't filter theirs as much. Just my theory, but something to note.

Now, onto the brewer's second best friend, the humble Hydrometer. Cost, $4.95. A must have, IMO, but I've read stories of brewers doing hundreds of batches, and say, "I still haven't bought a hydrometer yet". They are fragile, as I broke mine once, borrowed a friend's and broke his five minutes later. They need to be kept in the same tube that you do your readings from, their storage case.

Without getting into boring technical stuff, water has a hydrometer reading of 1. That is what they are calibrated with. When you make a wort or must, you are adding sugars to water, and the specific gravity (henceforth known as SG) goes up. Feel free to google how they work. All I need to know is the number that it tells me.

Hydrometers are calibrated to 60 F. Well, the 160 F must I have needs to cool. I added a couple trays of ice cubes, and added in a 1/2 pound more of honey to compensate. That dropped the temp down another ten degrees. Usually, at this point, you add a chiller, and cool it quickly to 75 F, the optimal temp for pitching yeast. I let it cool slowly, and waited.

My yeast culture by now had bubbled up into my fermentation lock, straining themselves to get into my must. I told them they needed to wait a bit more. Finally, the optimal temp of 75 F was reached, and I drained a bit into my hydrometer.

Wondering what kind of reading I would get, I was pleasantly surprised. The hydrometer says 1.062. That is a very good starting number. That is my original gravity (henceforth known as OG). It's also very magical.

The higher the OG, the better. It means you've had a good conversion rate if you are brewing beer (wort), and in this case, it means I have a lot of fermentable sugars in my must (mead/wine). The more sugar, the more the yeast have to eat, and the more alcohol they will make. The formula for calculating ABV is (OG-FG) * 131 = ABV %. Yeah, it's rough, and off sometimes by 10-15%, but it does give you a ballpark figure. There are other formulas out there, and I used to use the complicated one, but that's the one I use to estimate with. I don't have a FG reading yet, but after a week, I'll get another reading, re-rack (perhaps, there's nothing as far as sediments go, so I'm leaning no), and wait another week for another reading. As time goes on, the number will go down, and down, until it levels out for three consecutive readings. It's two weeks for ales, a month for lagers, and a month or more for meads. I'm trying to rush this batch, so I fed my yeast a steroid mix of sugar, and got them kickstarted. It should be done in 3 weeks, as it's only a three gallon batch. I also added a bit "more" honey after the OG reading, then took another. I had 1.066, a bit higher to start.

I'm estimating an FG of 1.015. Plugging in the formula, (1.066-1.015) * 131 = .051 * 131 = 6.681 ABV %

I won't know until it's done. 6.6 % ABV is a little low for a mead, but plenty good for me for a first try. My beers come out to around 4.5%, and they are tasty, so a change of pace is welcome. It'll range from 5.9 % to 6.6 %, after estimating a few different figures.

So I got a gravity reading, added a bit more honey, and boosted my OG reading to 1.066, and since my thermometer read 75 F, I opened my spastic yeast culture, and pitched it into my fermentation bucket, stirring it evenly. I added the lid, rinsed and re-sanitized the fermentation lock, and sealed it up. Lack of outside contaminates is vital to homebrewing.

I woke up this morning, and after a few sips of coffee, remembered to check my fermentation pail. It was happily bubbling away. I smiled.

I'll be providing updates with gravity readings.

edit on 4/18/12 by Druid42 because: added to between vital and home

posted on Apr, 19 2012 @ 05:39 AM
Since this thread is really delving into the whole brewing experience, I thought I would put out a little nugget of knowledge that may be perceived negatively (hopefully not). But please keep in mind, this is what makes beer, beer. The alcohol in beer is basically yeast poop. The yeast consumes the fermentables and releases the waste in the form of alcohol. The flavor of the brew is mainly dependent on the wort, however the alcohol content is dependent on the amount of fermentables and the type of yeast used to ferment the brew.

The yeast is the factor that determines what kind of beer you have as well. Ale brews will have a yeast that sits on the top of the fermenting brew while Lager brews will have a heavy yeast, meaning the yeast will sink to the bottom of the fermenting brew.


posted on Apr, 19 2012 @ 05:56 AM
I've been considering growing my own hops and starting on the homebrew path. Almost had a row with OH over hops the other night. He claimed they aren't hardy, I reasoned there must be some that are. We are only in the Midlands anyway and never really suffer any extreme weather.

posted on Apr, 19 2012 @ 07:28 AM
reply to post by Suspiria

They grow fine here, my brewing friend has 6th generation hops growing along the fence, however, they are Cascades and Continentals. I tried some Hallertaurs, once, and they never really did anything, being ate by the weedeater on accident, and having a wet spring. There are some that are more acclimated. Don't pick hops that like it dry, if you live in a wet clime.

I would think you'd be able to grow them. They are viney and hardy.

posted on Apr, 19 2012 @ 07:31 AM
reply to post by DerbyCityLights

Any additions are welcome. Yup, already knew about the yeast poop. It's also in bread, too, just not as in great quantities. Amazing critters. Not gross at all.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:13 AM
reply to post by jerryznv

Of course not. In general.

I have seen stupid people touch the hot handles of a pot without any protection and regret it.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 08:42 AM
at first i thought this was a home brew ham radio thread.

still relevant to my interests though. :-)


posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 04:33 PM
I homebrew now myself, because it's too expensive to buy beer here. I don't have any fancy glass carboys yet ro nothing, so it's just single-stage brewing in a big plastic bucket for me so far. A blonde beer is the best I have brewed so far.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 05:33 PM
reply to post by TKDRL

Do you do extracts or mashes? I also have minimal equipment, but you don't need all kinds of fancy equipment to homebrew.

My friend has a nifty digital thermometer, very handy, but not required. I borrow it when we brew together, but otherwise use an "analog" model.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:03 PM
I'm heading to the homebrew store tomorrow to pick up ingredients for my next batch. This one is going to be an Imperial IPA that is heavy on the hops. This is what I'm thinking right now.

2.00 lb Light Dry Extract
6.50 lb Light Liquid Extract
1.00 lb Crystal Malt 20L
1.00 lb Pale 2-Row

Hops & Other
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (60 Minutes)
2.25 oz Magnum (60 Minutes)
1.50 oz Centennial (Aroma)
2.00 oz Centennial (Dry Hop)

White Labs WLP#001 California Ale

The only problem I'm having with this is the ABV is a little low for an Imperial IPA so I'm thinking of adding a pound of corn sugar and upping the amount of Magnum hops up to 2.50 oz to account for the drop in IBUs from the corn sugar. Should this achieve my goal without really affecting the taste? Also, I've never used corn sugar as a fermentable. Do I simply add it into the grain bag with my specialty grains or do I add it directly into the wort?

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:15 PM
reply to post by Druid42

I usually get kits at the dollar store. Once I get set up a bit better, I am gonna start making it totally from scratch, if I decide I even want to drink at that point lol. Been too broke to even brew for a few weeks, I might just decide to not drink at all anymore, who knows.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by Xcalibur254

Put your sugar in the wort. You may want to try adding more malt though for higher end ABV.

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 07:47 PM
reply to post by Xcalibur254

The only problem I'm having with this is the ABV is a little low for an Imperial IPA so I'm thinking of adding a pound of corn sugar and upping the amount of Magnum hops up to 2.50 oz to account for the drop in IBUs from the corn sugar. Should this achieve my goal without really affecting the taste? Also, I've never used corn sugar as a fermentable. Do I simply add it into the grain bag with my specialty grains or do I add it directly into the wort?

For the style you are trying to meet, your OG comes out a bit low (1.075-1.090 for the style, and you weigh in at 1.073 for your recipe with your fermentable list), so yes, you should boost it a bit. You can safely add the extra pound of corn syrup, it will boost your OG to 1.080, if you add it to the wort right before you add your hops.

As far as increasing your hop level, do not do that. Your recipe as it stood was low on fermentables, but high on the IBU scale. You actually weighed in at 115 IBU's before the corn syrup addition, and if you add the pound of corn syrup, you'll weigh in at 108 IBU's, which checks in above the style. Normal for that style in IBU's is 60-100. Twill be hoppy, above by a bit for the style.

But, from your OP on the other thread, you LIKE dogheads. I enjoy them periodically. It makes you smack your lips. For your taste, I'd recommend adding the corn syrup before your hop schedule, and leaving all the rest of your additions alone. You obviously know what you want, so try it.

(Disclaimer: I am no genius, I have an app for my android phone, called BrewR, that you can get from the Store for free. I simply had to plug in the fermentables and hop schedule to glean those numbers. I actually started a new recipe called "Xcal's IPA" to work out the numbers. I may brew it someday. Beer recipes are infinite!)

I'm almost set on my Jalapeno IPA for homebrew day on May 5th. Maybe I should post it....

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 07:00 PM
So now that I've bought everything I need for this batch numbers have changed a bit. The Magnum and Centennial hops I got have a lower AA than originally estimated. As a result even with using 2.5 oz of Magnum I'm getting an estimated IBU of 108. My ABV is also coming in slightly lower. Original estimates placed it at 7.9 if I used the corn sugar, using actual numbers I'm getting an estimate of 7.7. Depending on the weather I'll either be starting this tomorrow or Friday. I'll be sure to update with an actual OG reading once it's all done.

posted on Apr, 21 2012 @ 11:03 PM
reply to post by Xcalibur254

Sounds good.

I got a gravity reading on my Cyser, been 5 days, and it read 1.042. The OG was 1.066 so my calcs put it at 2.88%. I sampled what was in the hydrometer tube. Not bad. Tastes like a pineapple something. A little nip.

Fermentation is still moderate.

It'll be interesting to see what yours works out to be.

posted on Apr, 27 2012 @ 03:28 PM
After issues with a broken autosiphon the Imperial IPA is now in primary fermentation. Even with the pound of corn sugar the OG still came out a little below expected for the style at 1.072. Although the estimated ABV still puts it in range for and Imperial IPA so we'll see how things turn out.

posted on Apr, 27 2012 @ 04:26 PM
Starting an extra hoppy chocolate oatmeal stout tomorrow. Will update with pics and hopefully be able to show off my homade wort chiller that I put together today

posted on Apr, 27 2012 @ 04:46 PM
reply to post by Xcalibur254

You'll find it to be palatable, I'm sure. Post up an FG for us when it finishes, I'm curious to see how it does.

ETA: I've been doing gravity readings every few days on my Cyser, just because I'm in uncharted waters. It's now down to 1.020, roughly 6.02% ABV. Still fermenting, still got a while to go.

Taste wise? I've never had mead before, so now I must find a bottle locally. (Found a meadery in Colorado that will ship to my state. ) It smells strong. It tastes smooth, semi-sweet with definite honey overtones, and finishes with a sharp cider flavor. Reminds me of something like an apple flavored Four Loko, without all the sickening sweetness. Can't wait to see what it settles down to. So far, I'm satisfied.

edit on 4/27/12 by Druid42 because: added ETA.

posted on Apr, 27 2012 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by DerbyCityLights

Got a recipe to share? I'm fond of Oatmeal Stouts, very creamy and smooth. Never made one myself, but my brew buddy has made several.

posted on Apr, 27 2012 @ 05:45 PM
reply to post by Druid42

I'm not sure about where you live but around here you can generally find Carroll's Mead in most grocery stores. You can also find Chaucer's at most specialty stores. If you have the choice definitely go with Chaucer's.

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