BeerSmithÖ Home Brewing Forum

BeerSmith Software => BeerSmith 2 Questions => Topic started by: electrotype on November 18, 2013, 07:10:20 PM

Title: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 18, 2013, 07:10:20 PM
Hi!

I'm new to both homebrewing and to BeerSmith!

I want to start all grain and I will start with a recipe that may be a little bit complex for a beginner! ;) But hey! I prefere to start with a beer that I have good chance to enjoy, even if it's also possible that I fail it! I'll learn...

Since I'm a big DIPA/Hops fan, I'm going to try the Pliny the Step Child (http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/172160/pliny-the-step-child) recipe, which has good reviews. In fact, I'll have to change it a little bit because there are steps I can't do. For example, I will Batch Sparge, not Fly Sparge. Also, I will bottle the beer since I have no Keg system. But I'll try to follow all the steps otherwise, with the same ingredients.

My first question :

I'll try to do a 5 gallons (US) "batch size" brewing. So, in BeerSmith (that I still don't know very well), I created my equipment profile : a 5 gallons equipement and a +/- 14 gallons mash tun.

When I import the "Pliny the Step Child" recipe in BeerSmith , I see that it is for a 6.5 gallons "batch size" and for an "Pot and Cooler (10 gallons)" equipment. The Boil Time is "90 minutes" and one of the ingredient is a "Colombus (Tomahawk)" hop that has to be boiled for 90 minutes (so from the start).

The first thing I do is to change the equipment of the recipe for my own. This is the first step to do, right?

As soon as I change the equipment, the displayed Batch Size is now 5 gallons and the boil time is down to "60 minutes". It makes sense, I guess!
But the "Colombus (Tomahawk)" hop is still marked as to be boiled for 90 minutes! And this gives me a red error in the "Timer" tab, since the hop boil time is longer than the total boil time of 60 minutes! Is this normal? Do I have to correct the ingredients list by myself when I change the equipment?

Thanks in advance! More questions to come, this is only the first one I'm afraid! ;D
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 19, 2013, 07:09:55 PM
Congratulations on jumping in on such an ambitious beer. That's an advanced recipe and even Russian River didn't come up with it until they had a lot of experience with their equipment.

I would urge you to review all of the setup and feature videos on BeerSmith. They're both on their website and YouTube. That will go a long way towards success.

But the "Colombus (Tomahawk)" hop is still marked as to be boiled for 90 minutes! And this gives me a red error in the "Timer" tab, since the hop boil time is longer than the total boil time of 60 minutes! Is this normal? Do I have to correct the ingredients list by myself when I change the equipment?

The scaling function will adjust ingredient amounts to your system but you have to adjust your boil time. There is no sense in having a 60 minute boil for a clone beer that asks for 90. The gravities and hopping are made for 90 minute; 60 just won't fully match it.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 19, 2013, 07:54:09 PM
brewfun, thanks for the reply!

I know this recipe may not be the easiest one for a beginner and help is appreciated!  :D

The scaling function will adjust ingredient amounts to your system but you have to adjust your boil time. There is no sense in having a 60 minute boil for a clone beer that asks for 90. The gravities and hopping are made for 90 minute; 60 just won't fully match it.

But why does BeerSmith change the boil time to 60 then, when it scales the recipe?

Is there something else that I have to manually tweak once the scaling is done??

My second question, unrelated to the first one, is about the Corn Sugar :

When I look at the "Timer" tab (always for the Pliny the Step Child (http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/172160/pliny-the-step-child) recipe), it says that, for a 6.5 gallons batch, 1 lbs 5.0 oz of sugar should be added to the Wort at 0 min. Is that common practice to add so much sugar at boiling time? (By the way, the amount of sugar is not changed either, when I scale the recipe!  :( ). Malt sugar is not enough for the fermentation?

And since I do not have a kegging system, I will have to add priming sugar when I'll bottle the beer! Should I then use more sugar, or should I use some of that +/- 1 lbs 5.0 oz at boil time and some for priming?

Thanks in advance!

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 20, 2013, 01:11:14 PM
But why does BeerSmith change the boil time to 60 then, when it scales the recipe?

because the equipment profile you're scaling to is set for a 60 minute boil, by default. Change that to 90 in the profile, in order to fix it.

Q2: Sugar used in a recipe for fermentation serves an entirely different purpose than bottling sugar. It's added at the end of the boil because it only needs to dissolve, nothing more. No, you won't reserve any for bottling. That's a separate ingredient item.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 20, 2013, 02:36:25 PM
because the equipment profile you're scaling to is set for a 60 minute boil, by default. Change that to 90 in the profile, in order to fix it.
Ok got it, thanks. I'm not sure why the boil time has to be set in the equipment profile though!

Q2: Sugar used in a recipe for fermentation serves an entirely different purpose than bottling sugar. It's added at the end of the boil because it only needs to dissolve, nothing more. No, you won't reserve any for bottling. That's a separate ingredient item.
All right, so I'll add more sugar when it's time to bottle.

Another BeerSmith question, related to scaling :

I created a new equipement profile, with 90 minutes boil time, with "Calculate Boil Vol Automatically" checked  and with a Batch volume of 5.00 gallons in the "Fermenter" section. The Boil Volume of the "Boiler" section then automatically becomes "6.79 gallons". So this is the initial amount of water I'll use for the mashing process I guess... Fine.
But the thing I don't understand is in the "Design" view of the recipe once the new equipment is selected : the "Batch Size" at the top of the section is "5 gallons", which is fine (this is the amount of beer I target at the end of the process) but what is that "Measure Batch Size" at the bottom? It is set to 7.25 gallons... Why? Where does this amount come from and what is this field exactly?  Should I change it to "5 gallons", manually?

Thanks again!

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 21, 2013, 03:37:10 AM
I created a new equipement profile, with 90 minutes boil time, with "Calculate Boil Vol Automatically" checked  and with a Batch volume of 5.00 gallons in the "Fermenter" section. The Boil Volume of the "Boiler" section then automatically becomes "6.79 gallons". So this is the initial amount of water I'll use for the mashing process I guess... Fine.
You'll need to have enough water for grain absorption, too. Use the Vols tab to see the total calculation.
But the thing I don't understand is in the "Design" view of the recipe once the new equipment is selected : the "Batch Size" at the top of the section is "5 gallons", which is fine (this is the amount of beer I target at the end of the process) but what is that "Measure Batch Size" at the bottom? It is set to 7.25 gallons... Why? Where does this amount come from and what is this field exactly?  Should I change it to "5 gallons", manually?
It means just what it says. When the beer is in the fermenter, you enter the actual amount yielded.

Here's the thing: you haven't brewed anything yet, so you don't actually know what your equipment will or won't do. You're also starting with a beer that will reduce the amount yielded because of the huge amount of hops. So, even when you're done, you'll still be in the dark about what the "normal" settings for your equipment should be.

At the very least, start with 5 gallons of water (carefully measured), bring it to a boil for 15 minutes. How much you boil off, times four, is your hourly boil off rate for BeerSmith.

You also need to figure out if you'll have unrecoverable water in the kettle and the mashtun. These figures need to go into BeerSmith because they will add to the total volume needed.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 22, 2013, 06:15:18 AM
brewfun, thanks again for those informations!

I have another question related to the sugar. You said :

Q2: Sugar used in a recipe for fermentation serves an entirely different purpose than bottling sugar. It's added at the end of the boil because it only needs to dissolve, nothing more.

But in BeerSmith, in the Timer section, it is clearly specified to add the sugar at the beginning of the boil.
Does it make sense to boil this sugar for 90 minutes?
Or do you think the author of the recipe simply forgot to check "Add after boil" for this ingredient?

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 22, 2013, 07:49:28 AM
The kettle sugar doesn't have to boil for 90 minutes. Yet, it shouldn't be added "after the boil" unless you're just going to remember that it goes in while hot, before you start chilling.

The work around is to double click the sugar, change the Type to "extract" in the drop down menu. Then you can change the "late extract boil time" to 10 minutes. Then change the Type back to "Sugar" and save. The boil time will be preserved but BeerSmith will still treat the sugar as 100% fermentable.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 03:56:27 AM
brewfun, thanks again! I now feel I'm ready to brew! In fact, I'll do it today (sunday).  :D

I have a few more questions but I'll brew even if I do not have answers. But if someone read this and can help me today, it would be appreciated!

1. I use an electric stove and it can take +/- 1 hour to boil a big amount of water. It will take some time for the wart (from the mash tun) to reach boiling point.
    If the recipe says the wort has to be boiled for 90 minutes, that means from the moment it start boiling right? The time it takes to reach boiling point doesn't count, is that correct?

2. The recipe asks for hops at the very beginning of the boil (90 minutes). Should I add them when the wort starts boiling only or as soon as it's on the stove?

3. The recipe also asks for hops for 0 min, at the very end of the boil. Does this mean those hops will be in the wort only during the cooling process? Because I would filter the wart when racking to the primary fermenter, right? AND the recipe asks for dry hoping at 0 days, which means (I guess) in the fermenter from the beginning. So those "0min" boiling hops will only be in the wort during the cooling process.. Can someone confirm?

4. I have a kettle with a thermometer, like this :

(http://i.imgur.com/Uxicznz.jpg)

I plan on cooling the wort by putting the kettle in my bath, full of cold water and ice. Is it ok for the thermometer to be immersed in water? Is it bad for it?

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 24, 2013, 05:09:58 AM
Q1: You're correct that the time to come to a boil is not counted. BTW, Most stoves don't have enough power to boil 5 gallons vigorously. You'll probably want to invest in a turkey fryer (aka fish fryer) and a propane tank. Something that is at least 50,000 btu.

Q2: You can add the hops while it's coming to a boil. This is called First Wort Hopping (FWH). For most brewers, the boil begins right after the first break (a lot of foam).

Q3: Yes. But, after you move the kettle into the ice bath, give it a good stir to whirlpool the hops and trub. This will make it much easier to rack clear wort into the fermenter. Be careful not to slosh it around too much as you lift it out of the ice bath.

Q4: It isn't a great idea to immerse the thermometer. Water getting inside of it can rust the metals that move the dial, making it inaccurate.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 05:22:04 AM
Thanks a lot brewfun for the quick reply.

If my first batch of beer is somewhat drinkable, I'll drink one to your health!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 24, 2013, 06:22:28 AM
A tradition at my brewery with a new recipe or a new brewer is to take a bit of the cool wort and add some whiskey and toast the health of the beer!

That tradition came to me by way of my longtime friend Annie, who is the current Homebrewer of the Year. She learned of it from Pilsner Urquell, when she won a national Pilsner contest.  8)

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 06:30:39 AM
Damn, I do not have whiskey! But I'll do it with some vodka!

Water is on the stove and the grain is ready!

Thanks again for the tips brewfun!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: ihikeut on November 24, 2013, 07:03:26 AM
I,m on vacation for the weekend, away from the whiskey but I will toast both of you when I get home.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 07:10:22 AM
Thanks ihikeut!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 08:30:22 AM
Cheers!  ;)

(http://i.imgur.com/uA0EXzw.jpg)
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 24, 2013, 09:17:45 AM
And a tradition is passed ion to the new generation!

Cheers!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 10:24:13 AM
I wasn't sure about the tradition, should the wort be drinked before or after the boil? In case of doubt, do both!  ;)

Wow, this one is a lot stronger!!!

(http://i.imgur.com/ebyFxvH.jpg)
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 11:42:28 AM
Here are some pictures :

http://imgur.com/a/V5OXI
http://imgur.com/a/hGxEI
http://imgur.com/a/haHfW
http://imgur.com/a/t19U5

Now I can't wait to see bubbles! I hope I didn't do something too wrong!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 24, 2013, 12:13:21 PM
Thanks, I enjoyed the pictures!

It was the hop saturated wort I expected to see. For the most part, it seemed to go as planned, good job!  There were a couple of things I saw that might be fodder for later discussion. But, for now, let's just see how it goes!

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 12:20:01 PM
I'm always open to suggestions, of course!!

I'll update this thread until the end of the brewing.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 24, 2013, 02:27:37 PM
To feel safer when leaving home for the day : http://imgur.com/a/0Gblb
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 04:16:11 AM
Thanks RiverBrewer!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: ghwren on November 25, 2013, 06:33:02 AM
Research "Hot Scotchy."
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 10:46:38 AM
Research "Hot Scotchy."
Interesting, thanks!

~~~


Bad news : I screwed up!

One tiny detail, but an important one I guess.

There were no bubbles coming out of the air lock, after 12 hours. I know it can take more time than that, but I started to ask myself if I did something wrong. One of my friend asked where I took the "60┬░" as the pitching yeast temperature. I tell him in the recipe itself (http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/172160/pliny-the-step-child). He asked celsius or fahrenheit?

DAMN!!

I just realized that since I use metric units, BeerSmith converted all the recipe properly, but didn't convert the notes of course!

So, yes I pitched at 60┬░ celcius, which is 140┬░ fahrenheit! I guess my yeast didn't really like this hot bath!  ;)

I guess I may now pitch a new yeat bottle but I can only get one tomorrow night. Since I first pitched sunday at 12h30, can that still work? Or is my wort dead?

Anyway, I still have enough ingredients to brew the same recipe again. I'll do it next sunday. In fact, I'll do the same recipe until I get a good beer from it!!

Any suggestion is welcome for my second attempt. Thanks for the help!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 25, 2013, 10:49:58 AM
Although the 160F is in the "danger zone" for bacteria growth, it was under an airlock the entire time.  You're probably alright.  If you had a bacteria infection, you'd most likely be seeing activity in the airlock.  Pitch your new yeast and it should be fine.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 10:52:44 AM
Although the 160F is in the "danger zone" for bacteria growth, it was under an airlock the entire time.  You're probably alright.  If you had a bacteria infection, you'd most likely be seeing activity in the airlock.  Pitch your new yeast and it should be fine.
Even tomorrow night? It's not too late?

What bad can happen if I was waiting 10 more days before pitching new yeast, for example? If everything is well sealed and no infection occures, can the wort become "bad" anyway?
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 25, 2013, 10:56:42 AM
It's sugar water.  If the bacteria doesn't take over, it's still sugar water.  Bacteria is what will make it go bad.  If it doesn't you're good.  When you pitch your yeast, if there is no scum on the top of the wort surface, you're probably good.

Make sure you aerate well, before pitching new yeast!!!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 25, 2013, 10:59:31 AM
+1 to Scott's advice. Get something in there, soon. You're ok because it self pasteurized and as long as you don't open up the fermenter, you're ok. If you have opened the fermenter, don't do it again!  ;) ...until you have new yeast, of course.

If you were to have to wait 10 days, you'd want to move it to a very cold refrigerator. Like 1 to 2C.

Before you brew a new batch, see how this one turns out.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 11:20:26 AM
Ok, I'll get new yeast tonight! But It won't be the same exactly.

I pitched a liquide bottle of California Ale (White Labs #WLP001), like the recipe asked (no starter though...). But the only place open tonight do not have White Labs yeast. But the owner told me there is a similar dry one (I don't remember the name).

So yes, I'm going to pitch two packs of dry yeast tonight!

Also : how would you aerate the wort first, now that it's in the bucket? And without risking infection?

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 25, 2013, 11:48:57 AM
Likely, it's Fermentis Safale SO5. Get four packets.

After you pitch them directly into the wort, aerate by rocking and shaking the bucket for a while.

This is a triage suggestion. Normally, you would want to rehydrate yeast, but I think buying more yeast and skipping that step is pragmatic.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 02:10:46 PM
Maybe I'm currently brewing the best Lambic ever?  ;)

Thanks for the help guys, I'll let you know how it turns out.

If I'm back home and there are bubbles, is it a sure sign that there is an infection? Is it possible that the yeast survived the hot wort?

When you pitch your yeast, if there is no scum on the top of the wort surface, you're probably good.

What should I look for? Does scum look like this (http://i.imgur.com/eNKtX.jpg) (this is not mine, it's a random picture)?

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 25, 2013, 04:54:51 PM
I'm pretty sure it's game over... I took a look into the bucket before shaking and pitching the 4 packs (you were right brewfun, they are Fermentis Safale SO5). Looks like there has been activity, sadly.

I still pitched for fun, to see what will happen.

The good news is that it smells absolutely fantastic! I'm sure I'll love that beer when I'll got it right!

(http://i.imgur.com/tk7KHBo.jpg)
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: RiverBrewer on November 25, 2013, 06:21:05 PM
It just looks like hop particulates and your face to me.

Maybe you got your miracle!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 25, 2013, 08:50:34 PM
It looks like beer to me!!!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 26, 2013, 01:21:17 AM
It's 3AM, I woke up and decided to take a look : BUBBLES!!!

What a great sound to hear! The end of the night will be full of good hoppy dreams! :)

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 11:09:19 AM
Hello guys!

Some updates :

Video of my bubbles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SjPpB2xBYA) (I know it's not very interesting for any homebrewer with experience, but those are MY bubbles, so they are the nicest ever! ;) )

Bubbles have now slowed considerably.

Sunday, I'll rack to a secondary fermenter. The recipe says to rack after 4 days but in my case it will be +/- 6.

I'm racking to a secondary fermenter for two reasons : the recipe does so and I'm gonna brew another batch and will need my primary fermenter for this new batch.

My plan for this new brew is to do the exact same recipe but this time by leaving it in the primary fermenter, no secondary, to see if there is any difference between both beers.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 29, 2013, 12:14:57 PM
My advice would to not be in a hurry to rack to a secondary.  IMHO, You should never rack into a secondary based on a recipes suggestion or based on you needing a fermentor for your next batch of brew.

Some of my most annoying headaches were caused by racking to early.  I consider racking to the secondary only after my gravity has fallen at least 75% of what I think it's going to fall.  For example, if my starting gravity is 1.070 and I think it's going to go down to 1.010 eventually, I'll only consider racking once it has dropped to 1.025.  The math is 1.070 - 1.010 = .060 total drop in gravity.  75% of .060 = .045 drop.  1.070 - the anticipated .045 drop = 1.025.

If you rack early, the yeast might be greatly affected by this racking and slow down or even stop.  Leave them on the yeast cake until the beer tells you that it's ready to rack!

If you want to brew another beer, get another bucket fermentor.  They're inexpensive and you can never have too many of them.

I don't follow specific recipe instructions from others very often on primary, secondary, etc.  I rely on what is best for that particular beer.  You'll find that many brewers always use a secondary and they always follow the exact same primary/secondary/whatever timing, such as one week primary then two week secondary and then bottle.  Most of the time you'll make great beer following this set procedure.  Every once in a while though, you'll be racking too early and slowing or sticking your fermentation. 

You may be good on going from primary to secondary with this type of schedule, but you might be bottling too early, because the secondary wasn't long enough.  This might lead to beer that is fermented out and carbonates well, but hasn't really cleared well enough and is hazy or yeasty tasting.  It might also lead to a beer that isn't fully fermented out and you end up with bottle bombs.

Listening to your beer and what it is telling you is the key.  Become a "yeast whisperer"!  Have patience and you won't be disappointed.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 12:39:04 PM
Scott, thanks for the help!

I read a lot about secondary fermentation and I know that now a lot of people prefere to only use the primary fermenter, no secondary. I have no problem with that. Furthermore, I like cloudly beers, so even if racking to a secondary fermenter helps clearing the beer (I know some say it doesn't!), I don't care!

But I'm trying to follow the recipe as much as I can. And, above all, I want to see by myself if racking to a secondary fermenter really makes any difference or not! So yeah, I'll rack this batch. But when? I thought the "4 days" of the recipe was a little bit too short so I thaugh maybe 6 days would be ok.

I know the only real way of knowing if the fermentation is over is to check the gravity over 2-3 days and if it doesn't change, the fermentation is mainly over. But is it really important to wait for the fermentation to be over before racking to a seconday fermenter? Why? Since there will be an airlock on the secondary, I don't see why a fermentation still going on would be a problem?

Also, for my target gravity, I have to admit this is something I didn't really look into for this first brewing. My readings (very approximative) are :

- Before the boil : 1.055
- After the wort has been boiled and cooled : 1.041

But I do not know what final gravity I am targetting exactly! This is one of the reasons I'm following a recipe for this first batch : I do not understand everything well, yet!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 29, 2013, 12:53:52 PM
I don't see your recipe in the thread anyplace, so I'm going to be just guessing at this.

I'm not sure what yeast you used, so I'm making assumptions based on US-05 yeast or similar.  Using 05 yeast and starting with a very fementable wort with a starting gravity of 1.041, you'll probably finish at about 1.008 (give or take a little bit).  This is a drop of .033 points.  I'd rack to the secondary when your gravity is in the 1.016 range.  Basically .008 from finishing.

Then leave it in the secondary until you have steady gravity readings for 3 consecutive days.  With the 05 yeast, you might already be down to 1.016.  I've found 05 to work fairly quickly through my wort.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 01:00:48 PM
Thanks for those info Scott. So I'll first take my gravity reading sunday and then I'll decide then what I do!

This is my recipe : http://beersmithrecipes.com/viewrecipe/172160/pliny-the-step-child Check the "Notes" section for the reference to the "4 days"!

And yes, the yeast is Fermentis Safale SO5.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 29, 2013, 01:41:55 PM
Wow.  Your predicted starting gravity in the recipe is 1.078.  You were at 1.041.  I'm thinking you didn't get full conversion of the starches to sugars during your mash.  You should have had a lot higher starting gravity.  I have some questions.

How well were you able to hold your mash at 152F for the one hour of mashing?
   Did you overshoot the temperature and get it up into the 160F+ range?
   Did you undershoot it?
At what temperature did you take your gravity reading after the wort was coooled?
Did you crush your grains or did the supplier crush the grains?

If your gravity was really at 1.041, this will taste nothing like what you sampled.  It will probably be sweeter tasting.  With all of the IBU's in this recipe, it may end up being a quite tasty beer.  It just probably won't be anything like what you sampled.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 29, 2013, 03:11:26 PM
- Before the boil : 1.055
- After the wort has been boiled and cooled : 1.041


Wait! What?
Did you top up the fermenter with water, after the boil? Gravity should go UP with boil time.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 03:31:25 PM
I shouldn't have written my readings here because I'm not 100% sure of them.

I remember that I read the gravity after the boil, but I didn't write it down immediately. When I wrote it, I wasn't sure of it anymore.

I'm quite sure about the 1.055 pre-boil gravity though!

So yeah sorry about that, next time I'll have more specific informations to provide about gravity! I'll learn!

Did you top up the fermenter with water, after the boil?

No, I don't!

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 03:38:19 PM
How well were you able to hold your mash at 152F for the one hour of mashing?
   Did you overshoot the temperature and get it up into the 160F+ range?
   Did you undershoot it?
I realized too late that I didn't have a thermometre for the mash tun! So I used 160F water hoping it would go down to 152F with the cold grain. The mash tun was pre-warmed.

At what temperature did you take your gravity reading after the wort was coooled?
60F (I though this was the pitching temperature, see previous posts)

Did you crush your grains or did the supplier crush the grains?
Supplier crushed it.

If your gravity was really at 1.041, this will taste nothing like what you sampled.  It will probably be sweeter tasting.  With all of the IBU's in this recipe, it may end up being a quite tasty beer.  It just probably won't be anything like what you sampled.

As long as it's drinkable and that I learn, I'll be happy!

Thanks for your help.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 29, 2013, 04:06:09 PM
In the original recipe you posted, the original brewer reported 1.057 preboil gravity. Postboil, he reported 1.079 OG.

His preboil gravity is very close to yours. If your boil off rate was similar, then you're in that ballpark. Maybe 1.067 to 1.075. Quite respectable for your first time.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 29, 2013, 04:19:39 PM
In the original recipe you posted, the original brewer reported 1.057 preboil gravity. Postboil, he reported 1.079 OG.

His preboil gravity is very close to yours. If your boil off rate was similar, then you're in that ballpark. Maybe 1.067 to 1.075. Quite respectable for your first time.

Based on brewfuns calculations, I think you're in the ballpark as well.  I'd rack to the secondary at about 1.030 gravity, give or take a little bit.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 29, 2013, 04:22:32 PM
Based on brewfuns calculations, I think you're in the ballpark as well.  I'd rack to the secondary at about 1.030 gravity, give or take a little bit.
Nice, I'll take the gravity tomorrow. Thanks.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Slurk on November 30, 2013, 04:53:26 AM
I enjoyed all the pictures. Welcome to a fantastic hobby and welcome to the BS-forum.

Scott Ickes/Brewfun, you guys are amazing with your support!!!
+1
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 30, 2013, 06:11:09 AM
I enjoyed all the pictures. Welcome to a fantastic hobby and welcome to the BS-forum.

Scott Ickes/Brewfun, you guys are amazing with your support!!!
+1


Thanks Slurk! Indeed Brewfun and Scott Ickes help a lot!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on November 30, 2013, 07:45:29 AM
There is something I don't understand...

http://imgur.com/a/J0H0f

(first picture is with plain water)

I took my gravity reading two times.

The first time, directly in the bucket. It read 1.108! (See the picture in the bucket)

I took it again, this time using a sample. Now it read +/- 1.005.

I guess 1.005 is the correct reading! But why didn't the reading in the bucket work properly? Maybe because it was touching the yeast cake?

Anyway, if my true reading is 1.005 (as it seems), do you think it's ok to rack to a secondary tomorrow?

By the way, I tasted the beer and it's already not that bad!

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on November 30, 2013, 09:10:05 AM
Bubbles. See the bubbles around the hydrometer stem?

There is a minor amount of carbonation left in a fermented beer. That probably floated it. You get rid of them by spinning the hydrometer a few times to degas the sample.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on November 30, 2013, 10:13:05 AM

Anyway, if my true reading is 1.005 (as it seems), do you think it's ok to rack to a secondary tomorrow?

By the way, I tasted the beer and it's already not that bad!

Yup.  You can definitely rack it.  I'd also let the temperature rise to 72-74F in the secondary for 3-4 days to let the yeast clean up the stuff they made (fusels, off flavors, diecetyl, etc.) in the primary.  Then bring the temp down to the mid sixties for a while before bottling.

I agree with brewfun on the hydrometer reading.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 10:07:50 AM
So it is now racked! And dry hopped!

http://imgur.com/a/qmAFc

I realize that I losted a lot of liquid though! I was targetting 4 gallons but I think I may have 3 or so.

Also the rubber cork doesn't stay in place on the glass carboy, it's too slippery. I'll try to push it more when it will be dryer.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on December 01, 2013, 11:49:39 AM
Yep! Hoppy beers are lossy beers!

You can console yourself that it's only a gallon. With my DIPA I can lose 4 kegs worth to the kettle and another three to dry hopping. That's in addition to the two I lose to just yeast on every batch.

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on December 01, 2013, 12:42:39 PM
So it is now racked! And dry hopped!

http://imgur.com/a/qmAFc

I realize that I losted a lot of liquid though! I was targetting 4 gallons but I think I may have 3 or so.

Also the rubber cork doesn't stay in place on the glass carboy, it's too slippery. I'll try to push it more when it will be dryer.

A gallon of beer lost is a small price to pay for liquid gold.  If it tastes great, you'll make it again, but you won't be disappointed when you lose a gallon, since you'll be aware of it ahead of time.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 12:45:30 PM
Yup.  Perfectly normal.  My PtE recipe is set to a 6.5 gallon "batch" size for just this reason.  1 gallon larger than my standard 5.5 gallon brew.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 12:50:23 PM
Thanks guys, I hope it will be a tasty 3 gallons!

I'm starting my second batch now... Hopefully I'll do less mistakes!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on December 01, 2013, 12:54:15 PM
What are you making for your second batch?
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 12:58:26 PM
What are you making for your second batch?

Exact same recipe, but this one will stay in the primary fermenter. I want to see by myself if it makes any difference.

Also, I prefere to work with buckets I think. So if I can avoid carboys, I'll be happy.

I'll like to find transparent buckets though!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: Scott Ickes on December 01, 2013, 01:00:34 PM
My fault.  I forgot that you were making the same beer again.

Clear plastic fermenting buckets.  Now there is an idea that might be profitable!
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 01:04:19 PM
Thanks guys, I hope it will be a tasty 3 gallons!

I'm starting my second batch now... Hopefully I'll do less mistakes!

My advice?

Make exactly the same recipe again.  Don't change anything, except the mistakes.  Repeat until you can make the same beer multiple times in a row.  Of course, you have to temper this with some reason....drinking 60 gallons of DIPA, in a row can be a challenge!  But, the closer you get to this goal, the better you will be as a brewer. 

Its quite amazing what simply repeatedly brewing the same recipe, over-and-over can teach you about consistency and process control.  Besides, if you do it every week or two (multiple times a month) you will quickly get the process duration down to a much smaller number. 


Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: brewfun on December 01, 2013, 01:10:39 PM
+1 to Tom's advice. I couldn't have said it better.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 01:12:28 PM
tom_hampton, I agree with you 100% and that's why I'm brewing the same recipe. But in addition to trying to correct my mistakes, I'll change 1-2 parameters each time, to see the effects. Next recipe I'll probably try to change one hop. Except maybe if I really dislike the first batches or it's not what I was expecting at all!

And don't worry for me for the drinking part, this is not the part that stresses me the most!  ;)
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 01:45:22 PM
tom_hampton, I agree with you 100% and that's why I'm brewing the same recipe. But in addition to trying to correct my mistakes, I'll change 1-2 parameters each time, to see the effects. Next recipe I'll probably try to change one hop. Except maybe if I really dislike the first batches or it's not what I was expecting at all!

And don't worry for me for the drinking part, this is not the part that stresses me the most!  ;)

In an ideal world the BOLD above is not a good idea.  Until you can make the same beer the same way multiple times in a row, you don't know what effect your brewing is having and what effect the CHANGE is having.  Until your brewing is consistent you will just muddy the results and minimize the learning value. 

When I said exact, I meant exact.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 01:51:37 PM
When I said exact, I meant exact.

I understand, but I want to keep a part of fun in it! Brewing the exact same recipe without changing anything is less fun, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 01:59:02 PM
understand, but I want to keep a part of fun in it! Brewing the exact same recipe without changing anything is less fun, in my opinion.

Fair enough.  Compromise then.  Try it twice, exactly the same.  See how close you get.  At least until you stop making any obvious mistakes.  See how they compare.  You may find yourself intrigued with "why" they aren't the same.  Particularly, when you THINK you've done it identically.  Then you get to ask yourself: "What's different?"  Its not as boring as you might think. 

My approach has always been the above, whenever I start making a totally new style (english brown ales, american DIPA, german ales, belgians) I follow this method.  Its the ONLY way to really master the basic techniques that really drive a style.  New yeast, new ferm-temp ranges and profiles, new ingredients like candi-sugar, new hopping methods, new mashing technques like decoction...these all take time to learn and understand how to repeat.  The first time is almost always a thrash as you learn the importance of the course steps...just the basic "how".  The next time, is simply "oh that was better" followed by a "ok, I need to manage this too" some new measurement, etc.  Then it refines from there. 

After quite a number of years in brewing..I can generally get there in 4 brews or so.  The 5th is usually "identical" to the 4th.  At THAT point, I'm ready to make a tweak.  NOT BEFORE.  But, my first time through this method, it was probably 10 brews?  Uggh.  Lots and Lots of english porter that year.  The last batch sat in a carboy for a year...because I simply lost interest. 

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 02:06:44 PM
Well, the only change I'll make with this one is to not use a secondary fermenter. Anyway, I only have one carboy so I do not have any choice...

But I realize that my mash temperature was probably off in the first batch! As I said, I didn't have a themometer so I went to 160F hoping it would be ok with the cold grain. But now I do have a termometer, and I had to add extra hot water in the mash to bring it to 153F.

But I'm not 100% sure how much hot water I added to the mash now (I guess I should have mesured it)! Should I add less sparge water then? Or Isn't it very important?

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 03:21:39 PM
I think it may not be my lucky day!  :(

The thermometer I bought doesn't seem to work properly.

But I think it was working when I checked the mash temperature (I hope).

This is the themometer with its probe in the boiling wort... 242F? Yeah, of course...

(http://i.imgur.com/cHkIPuC.jpg)
Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 03:39:13 PM
Well, the only change I'll make with this one is to not use a secondary fermenter. Anyway, I only have one carboy so I do not have any choice...

But I realize that my mash temperature was probably off in the first batch! As I said, I didn't have a themometer so I went to 160F hoping it would be ok with the cold grain. But now I do have a termometer, and I had to add extra hot water in the mash to bring it to 153F.

But I'm not 100% sure how much hot water I added to the mash now (I guess I should have mesured it)! Should I add less sparge water then? Or Isn't it very important?


That's fine.  A secondary has no value on a beer like this.  At best, it does nothing.  At worst it slows down the yeasts ability to clean up some of its intermediate byproducts (diacetyl, etc), or introduces an infection (wild yeast or bacteria) which then produces an off flavor after several weeks or months.


Yes, its all important. 

Mash water to grain ratio matters (a little)
Mash temperature matters (lots).
Mash water to Sparge water ratio matters (some)
Sparge temperature matters (a little).
Sparge METHOD matters (lots)
Extract efficiency matters (lots...but not in the way many people think)
etc....

Then there is the boil....the chill....the ferment (which is where real beer flavors are made)....

That is really my point.  When you can manage to control all of the things that matter and make the same beer twice...then you will have DONE something. 

To answer your question more specifically: you need to use an equipment profile setup for your equipment, and a mash profile setup for your recipe.  You need to select a sparging method: batch or fly.  Then BS2.2 will give you a set of instructions that will include water volumes and temperatures.  Your job is to do it EXACTLY as BS2.2 tells you to.  You need to record everything that you do, including all ACTUAL measurements that BS2.2 tells you.  Sometimes its not the same. 

You need to record your results: gravities, volumes, temperatures.  At every step (mash, sparge, pre-boil, post-boil).  Always record the temperature of the sample as it is ACTUALLY measured.  Apply the correction factor later.  If you batch sparge, record everything for the runnings from every batch. 

When you try and repeat you are going to find that these numbers vary wildly from one brew session to the next.  Then you will have to figure out why. 

Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: tom_hampton on December 01, 2013, 03:53:33 PM
I think it may not be my lucky day!  :(

The thermometer I bought doesn't seem to work properly.

But I think it was working when I checked the mash temperature (I hope).

This is the themometer with its probe in the boiling wort... 242F? Yeah, of course...


Oh, bummer.  This is what I use:

http://bit.ly/1eNgK4l

There are other options, but it is accurate, its water proof, and it reads very fast (1-2 seconds). 


Title: Re: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?
Post by: electrotype on December 01, 2013, 07:03:26 PM
Thanks for those informations tom_hampton! I think I'll have to invest in a better thermometer, indeed!

Cheers everybody!

(http://i.imgur.com/UTXhciG.jpg)