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The Home Brew Thread

Ozexpat

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I am drinking my fourth all-grain brew and I must say it is my first brew that tastes like proper beer, I mean it resembles a beer style :) "English Porter". It has the body, it has the right amount of hops, not the colour though. I guess the Carafa grains should be in the mash for a bit longer. I think I am happy :)

A friend of mine who introduced me to home brewing, gave me a nice tip. He suggested that I should cool down the wort much more after boiling, I mean I only cooled it down to 24-25C, he said it was waaay to high, that is where the off-flavours came from. He said I should cool it down as low as possible for the yeast to kick off.
Good work.

Most Ale yeasts work best between 18-21 deg C. Lower and the ferment is sluggish, above that and you can get "off" flavours.

If you want a darker colour without adding harsh coffee bitterness try Carafa Special III. Black as a very black thing but with only a hint of burnt toffee and coffee. Either mash it normally in with the usual grains or seperately steep it in warm water then add the resultant liquid to the boil.

 

blackholesun

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Cheers Terry.

For this brew I used an all-grain kit from a homebrewing shop in Poland. I am sticking to ready AG kits for a couple of brews more.

This one was:

3.6 kg pale ale from Weyermann

0.3 kg Caraaroma

0.1 kg Carafa Type I.

plus Challenger, Fuggles and S-04.

I do want to try a Fuller's London Porter clone some time in the future (from G.Wheeler's book). I will also experiment with the Carafa Type III malt for sure, English style porters are one of my favourites.

By the way, out of four brews I have done to date (20 litres each), two bottles went bad. I guess there must have been some uninvited guests inside the bottles, the beer was foaming like crazy.

 

Ozexpat

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Cheers Terry.For this brew I used an all-grain kit from a homebrewing shop in Poland. I am sticking to ready AG kits for a couple of brews more.

This one was:

3.6 kg pale ale from Weyermann

0.3 kg Caraaroma

0.1 kg Carafa Type I.

plus Challenger, Fuggles and S-04.

I do want to try a Fuller's London Porter clone some time in the future (from G.Wheeler's book). I will also experiment with the Carafa Type III malt for sure, English style porters are one of my favourites.

By the way, out of four brews I have done to date (20 litres each), two bottles went bad. I guess there must have been some uninvited guests inside the bottles, the beer was foaming like crazy.
That sounds fairly typical of infection. If it's only a couple then don't worry too much. Just spend a little more time sanatising next time.

 

Chumpy

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Good luck - stick within c. 40 pints monthly of e.g. £7.50 for 40 pints Wilkinsons Newkie + 69p bag sugar guidelines ...

 

Bluemessiah

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Currently working my way through a barrel of Woodfordes Admirals Reserve (dark and fruity) and a barrel of St. Peters IPA (dry and hoppy)

Cheers! -it's making my xmas manflu feel better anyway... :pint:

 

Ozexpat

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Managed to polish off 2 x 40 pint barrels of pale and dark ales (what with visitors an' all ;-) ) over the last 10 days.

I bottled another batch in early December (36 pints) but I tasted one last week and it tasted like shit. By the acidic sharpness, I can only think it's an infection (yes, it happens). I will try another in a couple of days and see. Not happy :(

 

Chumpy

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Well done.

Still preferring £7.50 Wilkinsons 'Newke' + 50p kilo of Farm Foods sugar 40-50 pints (as I dilute it monthly) ...

I understand how visitors imbibe ...

 

blackholesun

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My first brew with liquid yeast is in the fermenter. I did a starter beforehand but the yeast seem to be a bit sluggish. 1.053 down to 1.018 in two weeks. Great aroma and taste from the sample taken to test the FG. Will keep on secondary for a week or two more to be on the safe side.

 

Ozexpat

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My first brew with liquid yeast is in the fermenter. I did a starter beforehand but the yeast seem to be a bit sluggish. 1.053 down to 1.018 in two weeks. Great aroma and taste from the sample taken to test the FG. Will keep on secondary for a week or two more to be on the safe side.
What temp are you fermenting at ?

 

blackholesun

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First week @ 19c, then moved to a 20c room. The yeast is a new brand from Poland so not Wyeast or Whitelabs and from what I heard this particular one does not ferment very low.

 

Ozexpat

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After 2 weeks at that temp, I would sanitise a stirrer and rouse the yeast. I would normally advocate patience but intervention won't hurt here. Do you have any info on the predicted attenuation ?

 

blackholesun

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I have been rousing the yeast by rocking the fermenter. The first gravity reading after one week showed 1.028 so there was definitely action during the second week. I will take another reading today and if there is no change compared to yesterday, will move it to the secondary.

I spoke to local homebrewers who used this strain and they had very similar attenuation and generally slowish action. The attenuation of 73-80% as quoted by the manufacturer is rather on the optimistic side.

Anyway, I have been attending meetings of the local homebrewers group and it really motivated me to get back to brewing. Two fermenters full and I am planning two next brewing sessions over the next days :)

What I will be trying to do is some basic water treatment. I brewed pale ales and they were all slightly astringent, except the last one for which I boiled water the day before. This time, in addition to boiling water I will also try adding a bit gypsum or 250g acid malt. My fourth brew was a porter and it was my best beer - possibly because of the acidity of the dark roasted malts.

I know it would be all easier with a water report from my local water company but their report is half page long and basically says nothing useful to a homebrewer. So, time to experiment :)

 

Ozexpat

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Contact Murphy & Sons LINK.

They are a brewing related lab and will do water analysis for you for £22. Your average supply isn't the same as the regional water reports for various reasons. I got mine done (I sent off a sample in a 200ml soft drink bottle). It was returned with a simplified report and a list of style related treatments (specifics amounts of CRS, AMS etc).

They are really good to deal with and, even in Poland, I would think they could arrange something for you.

 
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blackholesun

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This is excellent. Many thanks, I will certainly use this service. I checked the website and it is enough to send 20-30 ml.

I also came across a water lab test service in Poland but from what I remember it came out more expensive :)

 

Ozexpat

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This is excellent. Many thanks, I will certainly use this service. I checked the website and it is enough to send 20-30 ml.I also came across a water lab test service in Poland but from what I remember it came out more expensive :)
No worries. It's a pleasure.

 

Chumpy

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Good luck - we are still doing Newkie from Aldi 40 (47 pints way I make it) tin monthly. We have been lucky with water-sugar-steriliser-equipment-method etc so far. Just decanted Feb barrel/cleaned thing/put up March barrel/made April's batch.

We long since learned not to use our hydrometer etc, but just to hope for best. (always - as suggested - been lucky so far). Enough faff as it is, when 'cider' still can be bought for 4 pints for £1.99/made for less - 'beer' in tins for 50p or less for about a pint. My home-brew is about 20-25p a pint, and we only resurrected the simplified cheap process we have been doing for 20 years when the Government should have raised prices of cheap alcohol from supermarkets etc. ...

 

blackholesun

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Just an update on my recent effort with liquid yeasts, I moved the batch to the secondary for another two weeks. 1.012 after secondary. Now in bottles. Checked one 0.33l bottle after a week just to see if there is no infection. Quite nice. Had it not been for a bit of astringency, I would say great improvement on dried yeasts. Water sample sent to Murphys. Waiting for the report.

I will definitely switch to liquid yeasts when I deal with water treatment.

Btw I harvested the yeast from that brew, but from secondary. Actually I also harvested after primary, but did not do it properly, then watched some youtube videos, harvested from the secondary, washed it, had some very nice creamy yeast in the jar. I did not pitch it directly, made a starter. This brew is supposed to be a Worthington White Shield clone.

 

Ozexpat

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Just an update on my recent effort with liquid yeasts, I moved the batch to the secondary for another two weeks. 1.012 after secondary. Now in bottles. Checked one 0.33l bottle after a week just to see if there is no infection. Quite nice. Had it not been for a bit of astringency, I would say great improvement on dried yeasts. Water sample sent to Murphys. Waiting for the report. I will definitely switch to liquid yeasts when I deal with water treatment.

Btw I harvested the yeast from that brew, but from secondary. Actually I also harvested after primary, but did not do it properly, then watched some youtube videos, harvested from the secondary, washed it, had some very nice creamy yeast in the jar. I did not pitch it directly, made a starter. This brew is supposed to be a Worthington White Shield clone.
Hi Chris. It sounds like you've got a good handle on the yeast thing. I have never harvested from secondary as I don't bother with secondaries at all. I have never seen any benefit only downsides (a greater risk from infection) except when brewing a lager. If you are happy to put in the extra sanatising work and are happy with the results, then it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Good luck with it :^

 

blackholesun

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Cheers Terry, I hope everything will be fine, the starter did not smell funny. I made a starter because I only had 40 ml of clean yeast from the secondary. As for the infection, at this point of my brewing 'career' I am more afraid of top harvesting. Anyway I used the yeast from secondary, as I am not planning on reusing that yeast anymore. The yeast from primary was mixed with a lot of trub and hops so that would require more washing I guess. The secondary vessel was a good idea for this brew, because the yeast flocculates poorly and the clarity of the beer really improved during secondary. Too bad I forgot about that poor flocculation when I racked the beer from secondary to mix it with priming sugar... and racked some yeast from the bottom too... oh well :)

I also have a London Porter clone in my FV and since I ferment it with S04, I will keep it for three weeks without moving to secondary and then bottle (first checking the gravity). I did experiment with moving some brews to secondary and keeping some in the primary, and honestly there was not much difference.

 

Ozexpat

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Cheers Terry, I hope everything will be fine, the starter did not smell funny. I made a starter because I only had 40 ml of clean yeast from the secondary. As for the infection, at this point of my brewing 'career' I am more afraid of top harvesting. Anyway I used the yeast from secondary, as I am not planning on reusing that yeast anymore. The yeast from primary was mixed with a lot of trub and hops so that would require more washing I guess. The secondary vessel was a good idea for this brew, because the yeast flocculates poorly and the clarity of the beer really improved during secondary. Too bad I forgot about that poor flocculation when I racked the beer from secondary to mix it with priming sugar... and racked some yeast from the bottom too... oh well :) I also have a London Porter clone in my FV and since I ferment it with S04, I will keep it for three weeks without moving to secondary and then bottle (first checking the gravity). I did experiment with moving some brews to secondary and keeping some in the primary, and honestly there was not much difference.
Something to bear in mind, don't recycle your yeast too many times. It will mutate during each brew. Some recommendations state that 3 is the maximum while others say more. I reuse a yeast 3 times then use a new one. For me, this works and I feel better about it. For the record, I don't wash the "cake". I've found no issues so far.

BTW the infection that I had with a couple of brews, by deep cleaning all my equipment and by a process of elimination, I managed to trace it back to my bottling. I have been using a shortcut by, once I drunk the contents, rinsing the bottle then spraying with StarSan and sealing until required. I then empty the StarSan and place on a bottle tree before refilling. My mistake was to lose track of how many times I had "recycled" the bottles. Too many time apparently :roll: I now put a mark on each bottle and will recycle only 3 times between washing.

It doesn't matter how long you are brewing, there is always something to learn.

 

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