eScop Triple

So. It’s been a while since we posted anything. It’s not that we haven’t been brewing, it’s just that we’ve been busy with other issues. On this occasion, I will be documenting some beers I promised. As a little big … Continue reading

E.S.B (Batch#7 Double batch)

This E.S.B is a remake of the of the first recipe we made. The original intention of this batch, was to make it for a wedding. We had given out some of our beer and ESB was the one that was liked the most. So, we decided to make a double batch. By this point we had two pots, the electric one we made and the normal pot+inductive stove one.

For all intents and purposes the process was the same, we just had one batch running in the bathroom, and another in the kitchen. The reason for this is the electricity breaker limit of 10A. Since the bathroom has a separate 16A breaker for the washing machine, this was the only option. I’ll go through the recipe as usual since it wasn’t exactly the same as our first beer and then I’ll elaborate a bit on the process differences.

Batch size

2 x 19L

Grain

  • 4.20 Kg Pale malt (Finnish Viking Malt 5 EBC)
  • 220 gr Carapils/Dextrine
  • 220 gr Caramel/Crystal 60L

Hops

  • 30 gr Fuggles (90 mins)
  • 20 gr Willamette (90 mins)
  • 15 gr Cascade (90 mins)
  • 14 gr Willamette (10 mins)
  • 28 gr East Kent Goldings (2 mins)

Dry hopping

  • None

Yeast

  • WYeast #1084

Mashing

Since we a pre-final version of our “automated” system (again, more on this later), we decided to try a step mash. Here are the steps:

  • 15 min at 52°C protein rest
  • 45 min at 67°C saccharification rest

Boiling

90 min, normal boil.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier (Not in original recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient (Not in original recipe)
  • 2 Litre yeast starter/ split in two, half for each batch

Fermenting

  • 2 weeks
  • Temperature 21-22°C (Higher than ideal, but worked fine)

Since it was easier to mash with our electric pot, both batches were mashed in the same pot, but boiled separately. In order to make both batches taste as much the same as possible they were blended together half and half on different fermenters. Pre-boiled, pre-cooled water was added to make both batches 19-20L. Measured gravities were as follows:

Batch#1: Pre-boil: 1.046

Batch#2: Pre-boil: 1.054

Only one batch measured: OG: 1.050, FG: 1.010

For some reason after fermentation one batch came out cloudier than the other, perhaps the difference in the boil had something to do with it as the electric pot boils better than the one on the inductive stove. Other than that, taste came out pretty much the same on both batches. Unfortunately, the wedding was cancelled and we still have some left. Considering this batch was brewed in June, the beers have lasted quite a bit.

Lessons learned

This batch was interesting due to the amount brewed and the differences in them. While the flavour of the beer was mostly the same on both batches some difference could be tasted. I attribute this to the different geometry of the fermenters, as I’ve read that this might affect fermentation. But who knows. It might have been a good idea to blend the batches post fermentation, and not just pre-fermentation. Either way the beer came out well. Not my favourite, but everyone else liked it, so that’s good enough for me 🙂

l8rs!

/R

Hefeweizen Oberdorfer Clone (Batch#6)

This is Anni’s baby, she’s a big fan of Hefeweizens. I’m ok with them, but I’m not particularly fond of the style. This recipe was obtained from the BYO (Brew Your Own) recipe book, it’s clone of the Oberdorfer Hefeweizen with a twist. We added some coriander to the recipe and we also included a mash-out to ease up the sparge. So, here’s the recipe.

Grain

  • 3.0 Kg Wheat malt (Finnish)
  • 2.4 Kg Pale malt (Finnish)
  • 450 gr Pilsner malt

Hops

  • 26 gr Tettnanger (60 min boil) Pellet (Replacement for Hallertauer)
  • 14 gr Cascade (2 min boil) Pellet (Replacement for Hallertauer)

Dry hopping

  • None

Yeast

  • WLP300 Hefeweizen yeast

Mashing

Since we a pre-final version of our “automated” system (again, more on this later), we decided to try a step mash. Here are the steps:

  • 15 min at 50°C protein rest
  • 45 min at 67°C saccharification rest
  • 15 min at 75°C mash out

Boiling

90 min, normal boil. No hot break as no hops were added for the first 30 min.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier (Not in original recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient (Not in original recipe)
  • 1.2 Litre yeast starter
  • 22 gr Crushed coriander seed(5 min boil) (Not in original recipe)

Fermenting

  • Planned for 2 weeks
  • Temperature 21-22°C (Higher than suggested, but we can’t do anything about it since the weather is getting warmer)

Another change in this recipe was that we were told Finnish wheat malt caused bad efficiency so we changed the recipe a bit and added more malts. The original OG of the recipe was meant to be 1.052, with the added malts it was supposed to be 1.066, even with this, the pre-boil gravity was 1.051 (instead of 1.055) and the OG was 1.061 which was higher than the original recipe, but lower than the estimated value with changed recipe. This beer will most likely be medium high in ABV, estimated around 6.5% if we get a good attenuation.

Lessons learned

The most interesting thing about this batch was testing the step mash. We had a PT100 temperature transmitter in the mash connected to an on/off control, so the heating element was self-regulating itself this way. The step temperatures were reached faster than I expected them to. Overall it seems to have worked pretty well, and we had a decent efficiency considering what we heard about the efficiency problem with wheat malts. Let’s see how it turns out, we’ll keep ya posted!

l8rs!

/R

Mash Apocalypse #1 (Batch #5)

This beer was our first “own recipe”. This is to say it wasn’t exactly designed or anything, it was, in a way, improvised. The name comes from the fact that this beer was made with all our left over malts. We didn’t plan anything,we just added EVERYTHING we had left. The only design came in the hops and the yeast. Here’s the recipe. Batch size was 19L.

Grain

  • 680 gr Maris Otter
  • 770 gr Pale malt (Finnish)
  • 820 gr Halcyon pale ale
  • 30 gr Melanoiden malt
  • 30 gr Wheat malt
  • 80 gr Munich malt type 1
  • 100 gr chocolate malt
  • 20 gr Crystal malt (75L)

Hops

  • 14 gr Nugget (60 min boil) Pellet
  • 14 gr Cascade (30 min boil) Pellet
  • 14 gr Willamette (15 min boil) Pellet
  • 22 gr East Kent Goldings (10 min boil) (Flower)

Dry hopping

  • None considered yet

Yeast

  • Safale S05 American Ale (Dry Yeast)

Mashing

The recipe specifies a 60 min mash at 68°C-69°C.

Boiling

60 min, normal boil. 10 min hot break boil before adding first hops.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient
  • Yeast rehydrated in a cup of pre-boiled/cooled water

Fermenting

  • Planned for 2 weeks

Pre-boil gravity was 1.035 which is roughly were the it was estimated. OG was around 1.040. This beer will most likely be quite low in ABV given the low amount of base malts, estimated ABV is around 3.7 and 4.0%.

Lessons learned

It was quite interesting to use dry yeast again. The yeast package suggested to just sprinkle it on the wort, but reading some forums I decided to re-hydrate it. I used pre-boiled water and StarSan to clean and disinfect the necessary cups and spoon for stirring. We had some trouble with the fermentation because it took a bit longer than usual to start. More than 15 hrs to start and around 24 hrs to become really active. I think that the problem in this case was that since our thermometer decided to stop working we overcooled the wort. While this is not a problem for the yeast, it probably took it a while to get to optimal temperature and start fermentation effectively. Next time we’ll try just sprinkling it, just to see the difference in reactions times.

Another interesting issue was the hopping. I’ve been reading on beer design, and while I’m not quite proficient yet I understood the process better. I decided to use Nugget for long boil bittering because of its high alpha acid content. The other hops were chosen based on low/medium alpha acid and aroma potential. The amount was decided based on previous recipe experience. Not much to do but wait and see how it turns out!

l8rs!

/R

American Pale Ale (Batch #4)

Since we have quite a backlog of posts waiting this will be a fruitful writing day. This post relates the beer we made last Saturday. The recipe is an altered version of the APA that Palmer has in his book. The original recipe name is: “Lady Libery Ale”, some malts were changed, but otherwise the recipe is the same. Ingredients and process below. Batch size is 19L.

Grain

  • 3.2 kg Halcyon Pale Ale (Fawcett) Original recipe calls for “British Pale Malt”
  • 227 gr Crystal 60L (Actually 55L Finnish Crystal malt)
  • 227 gr Amber malt (Fawcett)
  • 227 gr Munich malt (Type 1) (Weyermann)

Hops

  • 14 gr Northern brewer (60 min boil)
  • 14 gr Cascade (30 min boil)
  • 28 gr Cascade (15 min boil)

Dry hopping

  • 14 gr Cascade

Yeast

  • WLP060 American Ale Blend (Original Recipe called for WLP001 California Ale) Changed due to lack of availability

Mashing

The recipe specifies a 60 min mash at 68°C but we did it for a bit longer since I forgot to hear up the sparge water.

Boiling

60 min, normal boil. 10 min hot break boil before adding first hops.

Unusual/special ingredients 

  • 1 teaspoon of dry irish moss as a clarifier
  • 1/2 teaspoon WLP yeast nutrient
  • 1.2 litre yeast starter made with spray malt at roughly 1.040 gravity. 2/3 of the yeast were used, 1/3 was saved.

Fermenting

  • No specification but will be done for about 2 weeks
  • Secondary is still up in the air, it might be that we dry hop in secondary 15 litres and bottle the remaining 4-5 liters.

And that’s the recipe! this recipe was done with our new equipment (on which I will post later on, and in detail). The overall experience was good, no major problems, except with the shitty thermometer we have which has become completely unreliable. Other than that we got the aim OG which was around 1.044-45.

Lessons learned

No lessons per say… just realised the advantages of making a starter. This beer didn’t really require it since the gravity was below 1.050, but we made it anyways. I have got to say, its the strongest, fastest, most active fermentation we’ve had so far. It started in less than 12 hours and has been going on for almost 3 days. This kinda makes me think starters should always be made… but let’s see, it’s not always feasible to do so due to timing and general availability.

The wort chiller

We were planning on writing about the priming and bottling of our E.S.B, but we’ve been a bit busy and we haven’t downloaded the photos from Anni’s camera. This will be an intermediate post on wort chilling.

As both Anni and I mentioned in our last posts we didn’t really chill our beer after boil and prior to fermentation. We just used a cold water bath and cooled it over the evening. This last week however, we made our own wort chiller!

Both John Palmer and Marty Nachel explain how to make your own chillers in their books. The process is quite simple, the problem, at least from my perspective was finding the correct materials in Finland. However, thanks to our friend (and fellow homebrewer) Topi, we knew where to get the main component necessary. Before going on to source of material and end result I’ll explain a bit of the idea behind the wort chiller.

The idea behind the wort chiller is basically that of a heat exchanger. You have a looping coil of metal tubing through which you pump cold water. This cold water goes through the loop of metal tubing and cools the liquid its immersed in while getting hot. This water is then poured out of the loop while more cold water is pumped from the input. Think of a slinky made with tube and you’ll kind of get the idea. Ideally, the tube used should be minimum 3/8 inches in diameter(roughly 9mm) according to Palmer. While it doesn’t have to be made out of copper, copper is a bit more maleable than other metals so its easier to work with just using your hands and doesn’t require special equipment.

Now, going onto the results and how to achieve them. What we want to get to is something like whats shown below:

Wort Chiller

Wort Chiller

As you can see from the image above the input of the chiller starts at the top, then coils all the way to the bottom and then goes back up straight from the bottom to the exit. In order to bend the tubing I used a small pot as a reference. I didn’t want it to be too small and I didn’t want it to be too big, so I chose a pot that made a nice inner circumference in comparison to our mashing pot. Since the pot I used was quite short in height I could only wrap so much tubing nicely. The rest was a mixture manual bending and pot reference bending, that’s why the bottom part of the chiller above doesn’t look as nice. For the small bends I used a mug as support for the bending, I added some electrical tape to add some friction. I used this because if I had just used my hands I might have bent to narrowly and might have closed up the tube by accident.

As for the material used, here is the list:

  • 10m long 8mm diameter copper tubing (Polttoaineputki in Finnish), found from Biltema.
  • 10mm diameter plastic hose found from K-Rauta
  • 8-16mm clamps (Letkukiristin in Finnish) found from Biltema or K-Rauta

That’s all you need for the wort chiller, but you might also want to look into how to plug the hose to your faucet. For this I found two parts that were needed. I don’t know how they’re called in English, but they’re basically quick adapters that fit the faucet, I found the ones I needed from K-Rauta.

Notice that the diameter for the faucet connector might be different depending on the size of your faucet. So make sure you take it off and measure the diameter before you buy anything. Similarly, the hose connector was bought with the 10mm hose in mind, so you might want to buy that according to your needs.

Lastly, you might have noticed that the diameter of the copper tubing we used is only 8mm, contrary to the minimum suggested diameter from Palmer. This was merely a practical decision, it was the cheapest and easiest option available to us. In our experience it doesn’t really matter for small batches (<30 litres). We just used ours today and it worked like a charm! we cooled 20L of wort in about 30 min!

We’ll write another post soonish about our second batch of beer, and about the bottling experience with the first one. Stay tuned!

l8rs!

/R

What you need to brew

Making beer requires a bit more equipment than what you find in the average kitchen. As with any hobby, you can pretty much spend endless amounts of money on gear, but you can also get by with relatively inexpensive things.

What we have is somewhat of a compromise between the cheapest possible and easiness of brewing. We wanted a reasonable batch size, which we decided is around 20 litres. We went for the brew in a bag (BIAB) method, which saved us from having different pots for mashing, sparging and boiling. We also decided not to invest in a chiller at this stage and just see what happens.

So I’ll just go over what we have in approximately the order you need them in the process of brewing. Hopefully this is useful for those who are thinking about starting to brew their own beer.

Mashing:

  • A big pot, ours is 25 litres. We ordered it from German Amazon.
  • A brew bag. We got ours from Lappo.
  • Something to mix the mash with. We got a really big spoon from Brewcat.
  • Bringing the water to mashing temperature would have been possible with our kitchen stove, but we would not have been able to boil the wort with it, so we bought an inductive plate which we used for this step as well. Ours was this one. We chose it because it was the cheapest we could find.
  • For mashing we insulated the pot with an old camping mat and a sleeping bag. It worked surprisingly well. These we had already, but you can buy inexpensive ones at any supermarket.

Sparging:

Some sources say, you don’t need to sparge/rinse with BIAB, but we sparged through the bag anyway. For this you need an other pot to boil the sparging water in.

  • We bought a 10 litre pot for this. This was from the local department store, and it cost about 40 euros. We’ll use this for other things, like cooking and making cheese, so it was worth buying one. You can also use couple of smaller ones, or what ever you have available.
  • We used an oven grill to help, so we could lift the bag on top of the brew pot to put the water through. This we already had in the house.
  • A measuring jug was used to pour the water on the malts. This was also from the supermarket.

2014-02-01 16.14.36

Measuring:

You’ll be measuring things at several different stages during the process. I collected all measuring related equipment here under the same category instead of mentioning them at different stages. I hope this makes sense to you as well.

  • You’ll need to be able to measure the gravity of your wort to know if it has the right amount of sugars to get the alcohol percentage you’re aiming for. For this you need a hydrometer and test tube/jar. We already had a hydrometer. We bought the jar for it from Lappo.
  • Thermometer for mashing, boiling and chilling. We got a digital one from Brewcat. You can probably survive with a simpler one, or you can invest in a fancier one, which ever is your priority.
  • The downsides of getting a cheap one are, that the response time is a bit slow and the thermometer is not water proof.
  • Kitchen scale for weighing malts and hops. We already had one, it’s just a simple inexpensive one from the supermarket.
  • We also had a couple of measuring jugs, these were simple plastic ones from the supermarket. (We have 1 and 2 litre ones.)

Boiling:

  • Everything needed for this step was actually already used during the mashing.
  • As a reminder, you’ll need a big pot, something to heat it up with and a spoon or ladle to mix it with.
  • We also used mesh bags for hops, but this not necessary. They don’t cost much though, and make your life easier, so I would recommend getting some.

Chilling:

  • We pretty much skipped this step, so no insight on this yet.
  • We used our plastic laundry basket as a cold water bath for the pot. This wasn’t very efficient though, but from what we’ve heard, other homebrewers have managed to make good enough beer without a chiller. So while it is best to chill your wort, I don’t think it’s the first thing you need to worry about.
  • Well probably be attempting to make some kind of DIY chiller, and we’ll report back on it, when we’ve tried it out.

Fermenting:

  • You’ll need a bucket or a carboy to ferment the beer in. We already had a 30 litre fermenting bucket at home, so we just used that.
  • The fermenting beer will need some head space, so you can ferment approximately 25 litres in this size bucket.
  • Also a waterlock (to keep the air out, but allowing the carbon dioxide to go out) is needed. These don’t cost much, so we recommend getting a 3 piece one, because those are easier to clean.
  • After the wort has been chilled you need to be very careful with hygiene. So you need something to sanitise everything that touches the chilled wort, including the fermenter. We used Star San for this. It was also ordered from Brewcat.

Bottling:

  • We haven’t bottled the beer yet, so this is just based on what we’ve heard.
  • You need clean bottles. Preferably brown. Ask your friends or your local pub. Or drink a lot of beer, which ever you prefer.
  • You need caps and a capper. Any homebrew supply store will sell these. We already had some from Roberto’s previous brewing experiments.
  • The bottles also need to be cleaned and sanitised. You need a bottle brush, some washing up liquid and the same sanitiser that was used earlier.

I believe this is pretty much everything. I might have forgotten something. If that’s the case, please comment, and I’ll fix the post. Of course you can spend a lot more money on better equipment, but we’ve proven, that beer can be made with these. In my opinion it’s important just to get started, you can always invest more on your hobby later. Of course, if money is not an issue for you, just go ahead and splurge.

Happy brewing!

Anni