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Home Brew Questions

Discussion in 'suburban75' started by Voley, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    What was your starting gravity on the turbo cider? And how much sugar did you add (to what quantity of juice?)
  2. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Annoyingly I didnt take a reading to start, but added 800g for 5L....which may have been on the high side thinking about it.
  3. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    Hmm. As an excruciatingly rough calculation, every 100g of sugar will add 0.009 to the gravity of 5L.

    So your 800g will have boosted it by 0.072.

    Some googling tells me that apple juice comes in at around 1.050, so the total starting gravity will have been in the order of 1.122.

    Which means, if your cider is at 1.055 now, that your ABV will be around 8.8%, but quite sweet :)

    That doesn't seem high enough for the alcohol content alone to have stopped fermentation, though - if you're using wine yeast, you should have got to way above that before the alcohol concentration killed the yeast. But there is a confounding factor, in that the proportion of alcohol also affects the hydrometer reading: the apparent gravity will drop as the alcohol concentration increases. But my maths (and brewing theory) isn't quite good enough to figure that out in detail!

    So, in summary - it may be that the sugar concentration was just too high, but it could well be something else. Thinking about it, when I've brewed high gravity stuff, I've usually added sugars throughout the process - it is possible that the really quite high sugar concentration (I calculate that if it all fermented out, you'd be at about 14%!) upset or stressed the yeast at the start.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  4. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    I blatantly need to be more scientific about it next time. Tbf I've started that a bit more with beer which is more upsetting if it goes wrong in terms of cost of ingredients.

    I've just checked it again and the extra yeast must have done something very quietly as ita down to 1015.

    It's not entirely unpleasant, provided you use something like White Lighting as a benchmark. :hmm:
  5. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    Turbo cider is unlikely to be much better than Quite Frightening. Commercial apple juice is a fairly pale imitation of the complex flavours and attributes of proper cider apple juice, and most "nice" ciders are fermented using naturally occurring yeasts, which offer a more complex flavour profile than you'll get with wine yeast.

    I tended to regard making turbo cider as a cheap and easy way of getting an alcoholic drink, rather than the beginning of a taste revolution :)
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  6. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Do you think I could cut it down with apple juice and bottle and still get secondary fermentation?

    I wasnt expecting any awards I guess... It's more something to have fun make whilst I waited for the other stuff to be ready.
  7. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    You (probably) could. But you're going to need to calculate quite carefully how much apple juice to add so that your bottles don't explode.

    For cider, you probably want between 1 and 2 atmospheres of gas pressure in the bottle, which roughly works out at somewhere between about 40 and 60 grammes of pure sugar per 5 litres. Which is (roughly) 0.005 on the gravity, which I'm vaguely assuming would be about half a litre in 5 litres. Do check the gravity before and after to make sure I haven't got it wrong by a factor of 10 - I don't want 10L of exploding cider on my conscience (I did the calculation by assuming that if 5L of juice yields .050, a tenth of that will yield .005, not counting the 10% increase in volume adding a half-litre will provide. Personally, I'd just fling in 60g of sugar and be done with it :)

    FWIW, stuck fermentations are one of the great mysteries of home brewing. I've only had 1 or 2 in 50-100 batches, and both of those restarted with the addition of fresh yeast, but I don't know if that was the solution or if they'd have restarted spontaneously...

    ETA: 60g feels like quite a lot. I usually prime my 23 litre batches (but this is ale) with about 80-100g, but that's because I don't want it too lively. Take this advice with a pinch of sugar salt.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  8. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Literally over the moon

    going to be starting some Kolsch for the summer. Have not brewed for a LONG time. Will be fun hopefully
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  9. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Just done up my third batch. Seemed odd that I've not actually sampled any yet and that's 120 pints at various stages. My first batch, an American style pale ale is currently bottle conditioning, so although slightly early, thought I should give one a go. It's clear, tastes quite hoppy and flat. :(


    It's been 10 days in bottles. Obviously going to give it more time, but quite disappointing and also slightly worrying. Bottle conditioning is supposed to take two weeks, so I'd have expected something.
  10. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    About the second brew I did, which I decided to dry-hop, I bottled it and sampled one about 2 weeks later. It tasted grassy, and there was a nasty acetic note that it would be excessively charitable to have called "lambic". In disgust, I shoved the whole lot in boxes at the back of the shed, and decided to wait until I felt like I could throw it all away.

    I then forgot about it. About 6 months later, I discovered them again. Curious, and expecting the whole thing to have turned to mould or vinegar, I opened one. The acetic edge had mellowed into a rather interesting sharpness, the grassiness of the hops had folded into the general flavour, and it turned out to be a really very nice beer indeed. I was never able to reproduce it.

    2 weeks is nothing for bottle-maturing. The beer will condition in that time (though I'm a bit surprised it was flat - did you remember to prime the bottle with sugar?)), but it won't mature. That takes longer.
  11. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    I've heard that many beers improve with age (it you manage to not drink them). I currently collecting small bottles to do a Belgium style strong beer that needs a minimum of 6 months.

    It's the lack of fizz that is worrying. I did prime them (the kit came with a premeasured bag) and I put it into a second barrel, added the sugar and then bottled from that.

    I'm hoping it may be temperature. We're out the winter, so the heating is rarely on and my kitchen hovers around 16 degrees, so it may be just be they aren't warm enough.

    Anyway my waist line needs a break from beer for a bit (and other good living) so I may shove them under the bed and forget about them for a while. Second batch is going to be ready to bottle soon. I'll be building a collection at this rate.
  12. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    There seems to be a few on here moving on from beer kits so I just wanted to post my partial mash brew in the bag method. I'm making a pale ale with American hops here but the method can be adapted to brew pretty much any beer.
    This method requires a bare minimum of special equipment and you may have some or all of it lying around your kitchen anyway.

    15 litre pan with a false bottom. I use a perforated flan dish but a plate or a bowl will do, it's just there to keep the bag from burning on the bottom of the pan.


    Add the grain bag and a thermometer and 8 litres of water. I have a combi boiler so I just add water from the hot tap.


    Bring the temperature up to 70c.

    Add the grain. This is 2Kg of Golden Promise but any base malt will do. There is also 500g of Crystal malt in here.


    Stir it to get rid of any dough balls and mash for 90mins. Check the mash every 20mins or so, give it a stir and check the temperature. If it has fallen under 60c, turn the stove on and heat it back up to 65c.


    Once the mash is done, transfer the grain bag to a 15 litre bucket for sparge.


    Add 4 litres hot water and 1.5 litres boiling water from the (kitchen) kettle, give the grain a good stir to rinse off the sugars.


    Drain the water from the grain.


    And add the sparge water to the 15 litre pan.


    Bring the wort to the boil. As it gets hot, it'll foam up like a bastard.


    You need to wait for the hot break when most of the foam folds back into the wort and it comes to a rolling boil.


    Attached Files:

  13. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    Excellent guide, better then a lot I've a seen. Maybe explain what spare is and how many pints you're aiming for?

    I'm still working out my next steps. All Grain seems a fair way, not just in kit, but also the time commitment, but looking at doing some using extracts, but choosing the hops and grain, but also maybe partial mash.

    Rather hoping my first batch has carbonated now. It's had another week and I'm desperate to try it. Got 40 more to bottle up tomorrow and another 40 still Fermenting away. :)
  14. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    Boil time is 60mins in total. The first lot of hops are boiled for the full 60mins, the second lot are boiled only for the final 15mins.

    First hop addition. This is 20g Chinook and 20g Simcoe.


    Second hop addition. This is 15g Chinook and 15g Simcoe.


    After the boil, add 1Kg spray malt.


    This is horrible stuff that clumps up as soon as it comes into contact with any moisture. Stir to dissolve.


    Put the whole pan in a sink of cold water to cool.


    Transfer to the FV.


    Make up to 23 litres with cold water.


    Pitch yeast and ferment in exactly the same way as a beer kit.
  15. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    Sparging is just rinsing the sugars from the grain. This recipe is for 23 litres.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  16. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    The recipe:

    2Kg Golden Promise
    500g Crystal
    Mash @ 65c for 90mins

    20g Chinook/20g Simcoe @ 60mins
    15g Chinook/15g Simcoe @ 15mins

    1Kg DME at flame out, made up to 23L

    Safale US05

    OG: 1042
    Expected FG: 1004

    If you want a stronger beer, add 500g sugar at the same time as the DME.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  17. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    I'll certainly be having a go at that when I've used up the last few beer kits.

    Do you notice much of a difference between DME and LME? I've used liquid up to now as it was quite cheap, adding 1.5kg and 500g of Brewing sugar to my kit.
  18. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    I'm not too keen on LME, I think, although I'm not certain, that it's responsible for that homebrew off taste you get in kits.
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  19. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    I'll certainly be trying some DME next order. Was doing some googling last night though and it certainly seems easier to get decent discounts buying in bulk for liquid then dried.
  20. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    One thing to remember about DME is that you can't save half a packet for later. The second it gets exposed to moisture it turns into a sticky lump. If you buy in bulk, 5*1Kg is much more useful than 1*5Kg
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  21. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    I've got a Burco boiler (and retrofitted thermocouple/PID controller) for which this would make an elegant, pipework-free way of moving over to full mash. Thank you!
  22. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    At some point homebrew is going to save me money although that day seems a long way of at the moment. :D

    Partially as I'd like 120 odd pints I've got to ready so I stop buying beer. I guess at least I'm collecting bottles.

    I can also see more purchases coming up. Ingredients despite having another two kits yet to go on, a big stock pot and possibly some kind of temperature control. I also need to give serious thought to elegant storage, so as to not test my other half's patience to far...
  23. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    The bloke in the homebrew shop really recommends those electric mash tuns, I'm considering one myself. If you're going full volume/full mash, leave out the DME and use 4Kg to 5Kg of base malt in the mash instead.
    existentialist likes this.
  24. existentialist

    existentialist Spartacus? No, never heard of him.

    I always had some sort of pipedream of building stackable crates out of old pallet wood. Never came to anything, mind...
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  25. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    If anyone wants an absolute piss simple extract recipe, try this.
    This is not my recipe but I have tried making it. It wipes the floor with any beer kit.

  26. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    How much sugar did you add to the bottles? Did you use plastic bottles or glass?
  27. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    That's a nice colour but it looks to me to need a bit longer. Has it been in the fridge? Is that a chill haze or hasn't it finished clearing yet?
    UnderAnOpenSky likes this.
  28. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    It was a Youngs kit, so had everything, including a little bag of priming sugar. It's in glass bottles, was in the freezer for long enough to make it cold. So hoping it's ready tomorrow, but I'll pick some of the way home just in case!
  29. kwaimaisabai

    kwaimaisabai Well-Known Member

    And here's one I prepared earlier...

    2017-05-01 11.52.58.jpg
  30. UnderAnOpenSky

    UnderAnOpenSky baseline neural therapy

    I have carbonation! Slightly unfair testing as I've been in a pub paying top rates for craft beer, but it's passable. I'll take that for the first batch.

    Last edited: May 1, 2017

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