Author Topic: Newbie here! Can someone help me with my first recipe - Pliny the Step Child?  (Read 28050 times)

Offline electrotype

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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 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

Offline brewfun

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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.

Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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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 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!


Offline brewfun

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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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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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!


Offline brewfun

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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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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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?


Offline brewfun

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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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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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 :



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?

« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 03:59:36 AM by electrotype »

Offline brewfun

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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.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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Thanks a lot brewfun for the quick reply.

If my first batch of beer is somewhat drinkable, I'll drink one to your health!

Offline brewfun

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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)

Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline electrotype

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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!

Offline ihikeut

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I,m on vacation for the weekend, away from the whiskey but I will toast both of you when I get home.

Offline electrotype

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Thanks ihikeut!