newbie needs help

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newbie needs help

Postby newbie » Mon Mar 31, 2003 7:37 pm

hey folks
i ma new at this and have a couple of quick questions for now.
what is Mash Efficiency? and
What is Attenuation?
How do I know which hops to use?
i just finished a extract amber ale, I used Target 8.4 beginning, Mt. Hood 5.1 30 minutes and Cascade 6.3 5 minutes.
Now after reading a couple of posts this seems way too bitter i am just trying to figure all this out. I'm not lost , just confused with all the choices and info
thanks
David
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Relax...

Postby Gravity Thrills » Mon Mar 31, 2003 8:42 pm

That's the first and last rule of the hobby, David.

If you are doing extract brews, don't worry about mash efficiency - the extraction of fermentable sugars has already been done for you.

Also, if you are doing extract brews and not a full wort boil (i.e., you are only boiling part of your final wort volume on teh stove top and making up teh rest of the volume by adding water after boiling), the beer may not be as bitter as you think. Hop utilization decreases in a partial wort boil. Best thing to do is to plug your recipe into the recipe calculator here on the BT site under the appropriate style and see if your hopping rates are in line with the style. If not, you can always drink your mistakes and do it better the next time out :-)

Attenuation is a messure of how completely your fermentable sugars are eaten up and fermented by your yeast. Some yeasts have more complete chemistry sets than others and are thus highly attenuative, while others leave some residual sweetness because they can't chew through the more complex types of sugars.

Hops are meant to be experimented with, but most brewing books and many websites give information as to whether a specific variety is traditionally used for bittering or finishing, and what types of beers it is found in.

Welcome to the Homebrew Nation - where art and science meet (and have a few beers!)

Jim
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Have Fun

Postby fitz » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:45 am

This hobby is all about having fun.
Since you are new, the hop usage may suit your likes, or it may not. Some guys like really hoppy India Pale Ales, Some like very mild English bitters, and anything in between. It sounds like you may have the beginnings of a good American Pale Ale, or maybe not, but like they say, you can always drink your mistakes. Try to look at some of the other recipes, or use the calculator on this site though, it will at least get you into the ballpark of what you want. Then you can experiment to make your beer suit your taste. There is no sense making your own mistakes, if you can learn from ours.
Enjoy.
fitz
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newbie

Postby newbie » Tue Apr 01, 2003 3:51 am

Thanks Jim,
I do full 5 gal boils and i almost understand the bittering, flavoring and aromatic hops. on to the next questions.
when i pitch my yeast in 85-90 degree water, let it sit and stir then add to my wort which was about 85 degrees does this warmer temp effect my yeast? This morning it had cooled to 65 for the ale fermenting temps, will this severe drop in temp harm my yeast? That is a 20 degree drop in 15 hours.
And how hard a boil do i use? is it a light roll, a medium bubbly boil or a hard boil? i have been getting the wort to a light roll in the brew pot.
how much sanitizer i have been using one step but am thinking about idophor as a sanitizer. Any tips on sanitizing?
I know some of these questions seem elementary to most of you but i am still in "school" on this stuff.
Thanks again!!!!
David
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 12:39 pm

newbie

Postby newbie » Tue Apr 01, 2003 4:09 am

Thanks fitz,
This was an amber extract (6lbs) fermented with nottingham dry yeast. i did use the calculator. punched in amber and experimental. The OG is within 1 of the calculator mine started at 1.050.
I'm just concerned as my first batch was sour and nasty, thank goodness it was only a gallon. that is what got all this started. now I've got everything to do a full 5 gallons. My first 5 gal batch finished way to high. it was a dark wheat started at 1.050 and finished at 1.020 that has me worried as i do not want winey beer. so now a question about the amout of yeast. How much? everyone says one packet, but there are 15 gram packets and 7 gram packets. in the last brew (dark wheat) i used muntons dry ale 7 gram packet. is that why it finished so high?
In this brew i used nottingham 15 gram packet. i'm sure this is enough yeast.
thanks for your help!!!!
David
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 12:39 pm

Yeasts are far different

Postby fitz » Tue Apr 01, 2003 4:33 am

Yeast range widely and wildly in their ability to procreate, and ferment. If you use a 7 gr pack, use to or use a starter. The more yeast you get to your beer for fermenting the quicker, and cleaner your beer will taste. Another possibility of the high gravity is the darker beer, dark beer has more unfermentables, and thus heavier. As far as winey taste stay away from corn sugar. If you want to add corn, use flaked corn. It ferments better without the cider taste.
fitz
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newbie

Postby newbie » Tue Apr 01, 2003 5:34 am

I am only using corn sugar for priming/bottling. We will just have to live with the first batch. it smells good and tastes good uncarbonated so just two weeks to go for the first real tasting.
thanks!!
David
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some last questions

Postby newbie » Wed Apr 02, 2003 3:58 am

Thanks Jim, this was posted earlier but was overlooked
I do full 5 gal boils and i almost understand the bittering, flavoring and aromatic hops. on to the next questions.
when i pitch my yeast in 85-90 degree water, let it sit and stir then add to my wort which was about 85 degrees does this warmer temp effect my yeast? This morning it had cooled to 65 for the ale fermenting temps, will this severe drop in temp harm my yeast? That is a 20 degree drop in 15 hours.
And how hard a boil do i use? is it a light roll, a medium bubbly boil or a hard boil? i have been getting the wort to a light roll in the brew pot.
How much idophor sanitizer per gallon. I have been using one step but am thinking about idophor as a sanitizer. Any tips on sanitizing? My area is cleaned and bleached 1 day before I brew. What are the problem areas I need to look for.
I know some of these questions seem elementary to most of you but i am still in "school" on this stuff.
Thanks again!!!!
David
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Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 12:39 pm

couple answers

Postby fitz » Wed Apr 02, 2003 4:31 am

I wouldn't pitch your yeast so soon.
let the wort cool a little before pitching. Pitch between 70-75 don't cool your fermenter too quickly, or you could get a stuck fermentation. The warmer temps will get your yeasts to multiply quicker, but it will also produce more off flavors.
I generally use a light to medium boil the harder the boil, the more chances you have for a boilover, and the darker the beer will probably be. Low volume, and high heat are two causes of wort darkening.
I use one stepfor sanitation. I'm a little lazy when it comes to bottle cleaning so I do it in a dishwasher with one step(presoak), and canning salt as a rinse(Wash cycle)
Make sure everything is beer clean, but don't worry yourself sick over it. After-all for centuries they thought beer was made out of water barley, and hops. The yeast was natural occuring in the air. We have to have better tasting beer now then they did then, but some belgian beers are still brewed this way.
Have fun, and don't sweat the small stuff.
fitz
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boils and yeast

Postby Gravity Thrills » Wed Apr 02, 2003 6:02 am

You have to gagueyou boil to your system. as Fits says, you risk boilover and dark wort with an extreme rolling boil. But, not enough and you won't extract enough hop bitterness or get a good hot break. I like to start with a massive rolling boil until I get a good break, and then once the break has fallen back in I turn the heat down to a moderate roll and add my first hop additions. I try to gague the last hour of my boil so that I lose 1.5 gallons of an initial 8 gallon volume, leaving 6.5 gallons at the end.

You should pitch at ~ 80F and use two packets of dry yeast if using the 7g packets (or use a starter). You cannot over aerate at this stage, and I usually suspect under-aeration as the leading cause of poor attenuation in rookie brewers, not yeast performance. I don't think a 10-20 degree temp drop over 15 hours is very taxing on the yeast, as long as in the end you are not going lower than the given strains optimal range. 65F sounds about perfect for most ale strains.

Cheers,
Jim
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thanks to you all

Postby newbie » Thu Apr 03, 2003 6:19 am

Just wanted to say thanks for the help and information. it ssems as though i am doing it all right maybe not perfect but good enough to make beer. My first batch was a dark wheat but i only used 1 7g packet of yeast (Advice at my brew store) It finished kinda high 1.020 but I'm sure it will be palatable, maybe a little too sweet for my tastes. The second batch is working now and seems to be going well. This is the third day in the fermenter. how do you know when to rack to secondary? is there a tell-tell sign?
Thanks for all your help!!!!!sincerely!!!
David C
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When to Rack

Postby BillyBock » Thu Apr 03, 2003 1:31 pm

Some people count airlock bubbles per minute. When things have slowed, or stopped all together, you might get a bubble every 15 seconds or so. This is from the CO2 in the beer outgassing and coming out of the airlock. So that'd be a good time to rack.

If you're using a carboy, you can gauge it visually by watching the krausen, the foam on top during fermentation. If you watch it, you'll notice it build up from nothing, reach a peak, and then recede. Where it reaches a peak it'll leave a line of 'scum' (in case you missed the fireworks). When you see the surface of the beer more or less calm, maybe with island patches of CO2 on the surface, that's when you rack.

The third and probably easiest option, just wait a week and then rack regardless :-)

BTW your choice of extract may have caused your high final gravity--not all are created equal. Some are more fermentable than others.

Hope this helps.

v/r
Bill
"Lite beer is for people that like to pee alot."
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Main thing

Postby fitz » Fri Apr 04, 2003 5:21 am

The main thing you must make sure when you have a high final gravity, is that the beer is done fermenting before bottling. Check a couple days to see if the hydrometer stays constant. and if it does, then you can bottle. I have had freinds tell me that they bottled their beer, and then the bottles exploded. Darker beers will have higher final gravities, and some extracts won't be as fermentable as others. When using all extract brews I usually add amylase enzyme to my wort at yeast pitching time to help convert the non fermentable to fermentable since I did not have control of this through the mashing process.
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