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Stout

I brewed up a stout right after work today.  I used EZ Water calculator to calculate mineral additions to RO water I got from the store again.  The predicted mash pH was 5.53 but I assumed 5.33 since the Galaxy Pale Ale reading was .2 lower than what was predicted.  It was pretty accurate, mash pH was 5.34.  Going on a brew marathon and with an American Amber ale tomorrow morning!

Stout (1 gallon)         1.054 expected 22 IBUs
     1.38 lbs 2 row
     .1 lbs flaked wheat
     .12 lbs munich malt 10L
     .04 lbs special B
     .15 lbs roasted barley
     .2 oz Willamette 5.3% AA 60 mins
     .2 tsp Irish moss 15 mins
     S-04 at 66-67F
.5 g CaCl added to mash RO water
1 g CaCl added to sparge RO water

1.77 x 1.6= 2.8 qts 180F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 166.8F and mashed 60 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.2 qts 180F water to boil 68 mins.

mash pH: 5.34

OG:  1.054
FG:

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Well my attempts at water chemistry have failed so far.  I had been trying to get to water profiles mentioned on websites and water calculators without knowing what water I have from the tap and guessing blindly about what to add and pH.  However I have this Milwaukee MW102 pH meter now (http://www.amazon.com/Milwaukee-MW102-PH-Temperature-Meter/dp/B001DTNDME).

I decided to start with the basics: reverse osmosis (RO) water, where minerals are so low that they are near zero.  I was finally able to track down 2 RO water machines near me after a lengthy search.  Eventually I found them through a location search on Glacier’s website (http://glacierwater.com/).  There is one at Family Dollar and a closer one at Kroger, both sell a gallon of RO water for 30 cents.  I used this water and these simple instructions (AJ Delange’s water primer: (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/brewing-water-chemistry-primer-198460/) to brew a Galaxy hopped Pale Ale.  The primer states that you should use RO water as a base then add 5 grams (1 tsp) of calcium chloride (CaCl) per 5 gallons of water with 2% acid malt to reduce pH into a suitable range.  There are variations for other styles too.

In the Galaxy Pale Ale I added .6 gram CaCl to the mash water, 1 gram CaCl to the sparge water, and .6 oz acid malt to the mash.  As you can tell from the ph reading above, I was at the low end of the recommended range at room temperature (5.2-5.6).  Lower ph is good for lighter styles where you want to accentuate crispness through acidity I suppose.  The EZ Water spreadsheet I used to make calculations about my water predicted a ph .2 higher than what I actually got, probably because the RO water had a ph reading of 6.6.

I tasted a sample a few days ago when I added the dry hops, it was the best taste of a beer I have ever made.  I have a stout, american amber, and sam adams boston lager clone coming up that I am all very excited about.

Galaxy Pale Ale ( 1 gallon)  1.056 expected 56 IBUs
     1.65 lbs 2 row
     .09 lbs crystal 60
     .09 lbs munich malt
     .05 oz Warrior 16% AA 60 mins
     .2 oz Amarillo 10% AA 10 mins
     .2 oz Cascade 7.3% 5 mins
     .2 oz Galaxy 15% 5 mins
     S-04 yeast at 66F
     .1 oz Galaxy dry hopped 4-5 days

1.78 x 1.6= 2.8 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 166.8F and mashed 60 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.2 qts 175F water to boil 68 mins.  

Mash ph: 5.21
ph during 2nd batch sparge: 5.26

OG: 1.054
FG:  

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Got within 2” of the top of my mash lauter tun this past saturday.  I brewed up 2 gallons of stout- 1 gallon is fermenting with S04 yeast at 66F and will get espresso addition at bottling time, the other gallon is fermenting with WLP500 Trappist yeast to become a belgian stout.  I pitched the yeast around 730 on saturday and both were blowing out by the morning, the krausen on both have already dropped and they are chugging along.  
I added .2 grams of gypsum, 1.8 grams of calcium chloride and .3 oz of acid malt to this batch.  I originally had 1.1 grams of gypsum which gave me more of a balanced profile but decided to significantly drop it after reading around on the forums that gypsum is for pale ales and ipas, no need to add it to darker beers.  I figure this way Ill see the actual effect of gypsum in low quantities with high levels of CaCl.
I have also been looking into reverse osmosis water filtration systems.  Apparently there are water vending machines that sell reverse osmosis water (it has such low mineral concentrations you can assume all ions are at 0 and use that as a base to build the water (add your minerals) to create a certain profile.  But I have yet to see them in Richmond.  This is the system I was looking at (http://www.aquaticlife.com/products/45409) but seriously doubt Ill get it until I settle somewhere more permanent where I can get a Wards Lab water analysis too.  I like the small size, portability, and low cost.  I just tried my Edmund Fitz porter tonight with first attempt at water correction- pretty sure I didnt do it right but this porter was clear, didnt have the usual homebrew haze (calcium?) and the roast seemed more prevalent.  My wife said it was too sweet for her taste, I thought it was my best dark beer to date but I could see what she was saying. I could tell a HUGE difference in the beer though just from water adjustment.
I picked up some Australian Galaxy hops at the brew store too, bout time for a nice pale ale- maybe Cascade/Galaxy.  I replenished my more standard hops and picked this up for kicks.
Split Stout  (2 gallons)   1.061 at 85%    35 IBUs     3.2 lbs 2 row     .32 lbs roasted barley     .2 lbs chocolate malt     .28 lbs crystal 60L     .2 oz Magnum 14% 60 mins     .2 oz Willamette 5.3% 15 mins     .4 tsp Irish moss 15 mins
4 lbs x 1.3= 5.2 qts 180F water to preheat MLT (not as hot because larger volume and less air space has better heat retention- dont want to wait forever for it to cool to dough in temp).  Doughed in at 166F and mashed 65 mins.  Double batch sparged with 7.6 qts 185F water to boil 75 mins.
OG: 1.060       FG:

Got within 2” of the top of my mash lauter tun this past saturday.  I brewed up 2 gallons of stout- 1 gallon is fermenting with S04 yeast at 66F and will get espresso addition at bottling time, the other gallon is fermenting with WLP500 Trappist yeast to become a belgian stout.  I pitched the yeast around 730 on saturday and both were blowing out by the morning, the krausen on both have already dropped and they are chugging along.  

I added .2 grams of gypsum, 1.8 grams of calcium chloride and .3 oz of acid malt to this batch.  I originally had 1.1 grams of gypsum which gave me more of a balanced profile but decided to significantly drop it after reading around on the forums that gypsum is for pale ales and ipas, no need to add it to darker beers.  I figure this way Ill see the actual effect of gypsum in low quantities with high levels of CaCl.

I have also been looking into reverse osmosis water filtration systems.  Apparently there are water vending machines that sell reverse osmosis water (it has such low mineral concentrations you can assume all ions are at 0 and use that as a base to build the water (add your minerals) to create a certain profile.  But I have yet to see them in Richmond.  This is the system I was looking at (http://www.aquaticlife.com/products/45409) but seriously doubt Ill get it until I settle somewhere more permanent where I can get a Wards Lab water analysis too.  I like the small size, portability, and low cost.  I just tried my Edmund Fitz porter tonight with first attempt at water correction- pretty sure I didnt do it right but this porter was clear, didnt have the usual homebrew haze (calcium?) and the roast seemed more prevalent.  My wife said it was too sweet for her taste, I thought it was my best dark beer to date but I could see what she was saying. I could tell a HUGE difference in the beer though just from water adjustment.

I picked up some Australian Galaxy hops at the brew store too, bout time for a nice pale ale- maybe Cascade/Galaxy.  I replenished my more standard hops and picked this up for kicks.

Split Stout  (2 gallons)   1.061 at 85%    35 IBUs
     3.2 lbs 2 row
     .32 lbs roasted barley
     .2 lbs chocolate malt
     .28 lbs crystal 60L
     .2 oz Magnum 14% 60 mins
     .2 oz Willamette 5.3% 15 mins
     .4 tsp Irish moss 15 mins

4 lbs x 1.3= 5.2 qts 180F water to preheat MLT (not as hot because larger volume and less air space has better heat retention- dont want to wait forever for it to cool to dough in temp).  Doughed in at 166F and mashed 65 mins.  Double batch sparged with 7.6 qts 185F water to boil 75 mins.

OG: 1.060       
FG:

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What a rough day.  Had a panic attack or something at work, heart started racing for no reason.  Must be getting stressed about finding a job and the future.  Have applied to several breweries lately, will see how that goes
Brewed up a redone recipe of a Rye IPA with water adjustments this afternoon.  I used my filtered tap water again to see if I could overcome the bicarbonates to create a great tasting pale beer.  I also tweaked the minerals towards sulfate to accentuate hop bitterness.  Will also dry-hop this version, as the previous 2 did not get dry hopped.
Rye IPA 3  (1 gallon) 1.058 expected  BOILING HARDCORE THIS TIME     1.32 lbs 2 row     .08 lbs munich 10L     .08 lbs crystal 60L     .29 lbs rye malt     .1 lbs flaked wheat     .15 oz Warrior 16% AA 60 mins     .2 oz Chinook 12% AA 15 mins     .2 tsp Irish moss     .1 oz Chinook 5 mins     .15 oz Chinook 0 mins/whirpool     US 05 yeast     .1 oz Chinook dry hop 5 days
OG:  1.057   boiled hard this time so had to top off, at least didnt have too muchFG:  

What a rough day.  Had a panic attack or something at work, heart started racing for no reason.  Must be getting stressed about finding a job and the future.  Have applied to several breweries lately, will see how that goes

Brewed up a redone recipe of a Rye IPA with water adjustments this afternoon.  I used my filtered tap water again to see if I could overcome the bicarbonates to create a great tasting pale beer.  I also tweaked the minerals towards sulfate to accentuate hop bitterness.  Will also dry-hop this version, as the previous 2 did not get dry hopped.

Rye IPA 3  (1 gallon) 1.058 expected  BOILING HARDCORE THIS TIME
     1.32 lbs 2 row
     .08 lbs munich 10L
     .08 lbs crystal 60L
     .29 lbs rye malt
     .1 lbs flaked wheat
     .15 oz Warrior 16% AA 60 mins
     .2 oz Chinook 12% AA 15 mins
     .2 tsp Irish moss
     .1 oz Chinook 5 mins
     .15 oz Chinook 0 mins/whirpool
     US 05 yeast
     .1 oz Chinook dry hop 5 days

OG:  1.057   boiled hard this time so had to top off, at least didnt have too much
FG:  

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I brewed up an old recipe- the CascAPA, version 2.  I bought some distilled water from Kroger for this batch so set all my values of starting water minerals to 0 since distillation strips everything from the water.  Distilled water is ideal for extract brewers since the malting process to produce Dry Malt or Liquid Malt Extract would contain all the minerals in the water used to produce those.  However, all grain brewers need to build these deficiencies back.  The bicarbonates for pale beers should be 0-50 so my water, which has 108 ppm, would be too harsh for these pale beers.  Although Im pretty sure the CaCl and gypsum additions reduce the alkalinity during the process, which is how the Residual Alkalinity can turn negative.  I chose a balanced water profile with slightly more sulfate than chloride to enhance (noticably?) the hops and crispness.

CascAPA 2    (1 gallon)  1.059 expected 
     1.67 lbs 2 row
     .11 lbs flaked wheat
     .045 crystal 60L
     .066 lbs crystal 20L
     .11 oz Centennial 10% AA 60 mins
     .2 oz Cascade 7.3% AA 15 mins
     .2 oz Cascade 1 min
     US 05

1.89 lbs x 1.4= 2.6 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 166.9F to mash 55 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.4 qts 185F water to boil 70 mins.  Again, ended up with too much wort and efficiency suffered.  Wondering if its the season (although dry winter should draw out more moisture) or my stove, have been boiling on the same setting.

OG:  1.052 for 1.05-1.1 gallons   
FG:  

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Finally got a more accurate spreadsheet working for my water adjustments.  This is the EZ Water Calculator- you can input the starting water profile, pounds of malts with their pH lowering potential, and mineral additions and it will estimate a pH for the mash.  Its not as complicated as Bru’n Water (which would be perfect with a Ward Labs test) but hopefully it will help me make better beers.  Unfortunately it doesnt calculate the pH of the starting water, it assumes the distilled water when calculating pH. I brewed up an American Brown Ale on 1/31/14 using the profile pictured above.  Im going to bottle it monday and have a taste then.  
American Brown Ale (1 gallon)  1.063 expected   28 IBUs     1.75 lbs 2 row     .15 lbs crystal 60L     .11 lbs chocolate malt    5.5% of grist     .1 oz Centennial 10% AA 60 mins     .2 tsp Irish moss 15 mins     .1 oz Cascade 7.3% AA 10 mins     .1 oz Willamette 5.3% AA 10 mins     S-04 fermented at 66F
2 lbs x 1.4= 2.8 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 167F and mashed 60 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.2 qts 185F water to boil 68 mins.  Ended up with extra wort which reduced efficiency, didnt boil hard enough.
OG:  1.058FG

Finally got a more accurate spreadsheet working for my water adjustments.  This is the EZ Water Calculator- you can input the starting water profile, pounds of malts with their pH lowering potential, and mineral additions and it will estimate a pH for the mash.  Its not as complicated as Bru’n Water (which would be perfect with a Ward Labs test) but hopefully it will help me make better beers.  Unfortunately it doesnt calculate the pH of the starting water, it assumes the distilled water when calculating pH. I brewed up an American Brown Ale on 1/31/14 using the profile pictured above.  Im going to bottle it monday and have a taste then.  

American Brown Ale (1 gallon)  1.063 expected   28 IBUs
     1.75 lbs 2 row
     .15 lbs crystal 60L
     .11 lbs chocolate malt    5.5% of grist
     .1 oz Centennial 10% AA 60 mins
     .2 tsp Irish moss 15 mins
     .1 oz Cascade 7.3% AA 10 mins
     .1 oz Willamette 5.3% AA 10 mins
     S-04 fermented at 66F

2 lbs x 1.4= 2.8 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 167F and mashed 60 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.2 qts 185F water to boil 68 mins.  Ended up with extra wort which reduced efficiency, didnt boil hard enough.

OG:  1.058
FG

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Hop Growing

Well yesterday I went ahead and pre-ordered Cascade and Chinook hop rhizomes from Midwest supplies.  Ideally I would be settled down before planting them but will hopefully get these started when they arrive in March/April and have a small harvest this year.  Pretty exciting!

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Last Saturday I brewed up an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter clone from HomeBrew Talk:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f67/edmund-fitzgerald-clone-ag-46844/

I had the recipe planned out in my brew log since last year but just now decided to try it out.  I was planning on brewing a Gonzo Imperial Porter recipe but I wanted to try adjusting my water chemistry for the first time and didnt want to go “imperial” in case it didnt work out.  I dont think I planned the right adjustments but will have to see how the final product is.

I used an aquarium test kit that measure GH (general hardness or calcium and magnesium) and KH (carbonate hardness or akalinity).  My test estimated Calcium at 10 ppm and Magnesium at 2.6 ppm and bicarbonate at 108.6 or an alkalinity of 89ppm.  I used the spreadsheet found on this site  http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing) to make water adjustments.

However, when I posted my adjustments to HomeBrew Talk I got this response:  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/help-1st-time-water-adjustments-455705/

I went ahead and made the adjustments so my mash pH was probably too high but will have to see how the final beer comes out.  I thought it would be better to follow the quantitative data from the spreadsheet then mess with things I didnt understand (ha).  I then downloaded EZWater brewing spreadsheet, which then gave me totally different results in terms of water adjustment and estimated pH.  But others seem to be using it with fairly accurate results; I also downloaded Bru’n Water spreadsheet which is super complicated but would be good if you had a complete water analysis from WardLabs.

I think the next thing I buy will be a pH meter since I have no idea what the current pH of my water is and an just assuming it is 7.  This porter and a beer I just brewed have had more vigorous fermentations, Im not sure if that is a direct result of better pH control or probably more likely having the necessary calcium in the water.  This beer also had krausened and dropped after 2 days, which is very quickly.  

To get more refined results I purchased a 600 gram digital scale off Amazon for about $6 that has .1 g resolution- so I can accurately add .4 or .8 grams of minerals brewing my small 1 gallon batches.  

Edmund Fitz Porter  (1 gallon)  1.061 expected at 84%  42 IBUs
     1.7 lbs 2 row
     .05 lbs munich 10L
     .09 lbs crystal 60L
     .085 lbs chocolate malt
     .08 lbs special B
     .045 lbs black patent
     .2 oz Centennial 8.7% AA 60 mins
     .1 oz Willamette 5.3% AA 15 mins
     .1 oz Willamette 5 mins
     S-04 yeast from starter

2 lbs x 1.4= 2.8 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 166.2F and mashed 60 mins (end temp=149F).  Double batch sparged with 5.5 qts 185F water to boil 75 mins.
OG:  1.062
FG:  1.020

2/3/14  Bottled it tonight after work, ran clear (though obviously dark) through the racking tube and airlock activity had slowed.  I think I left it in the fermentation chamber too long at 65F and didnt finish as much as it could have, or I just forgot how bad at tackling sugar S04 is, even from a large starter.  The beer came out much better than I thought but tasted slightly chalky, should NOT have added the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).  It tasted much more roasty than my previous darker beers have and the CaCl really brought out the malt.  I think water chemistry is going to have a huge impact on the quality of my beers.

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Currently I do not have anything fermenting and am missing brewing.  I am applying to a few jobs and getting my resume in order.  I have also started taking an online Chemistry of Brewing class offered by Oklahoma State University.  

The last thing I have been engaged in is research into water chemistry- my beers are ok but never seem to pop with flavor.  I got some pH strips at the brew store (most people have bad reviews for these but I will try them), some calcium chloride, and a GH KH water hardness kit from an online aquarium store:  http://www.amazon.com/API-GH-KH-Test-Kit/dp/B003SNCHMA

I can use this resource provided by Kai to estimate my water hardness and begin to edit my water a bit to hopefully get some better results:
http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing

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60 MINUTE IPA!

Finally got to use the Amarillo hops in this brew from 1/1/14, New Years Day!  I added a divided amount every 5 mins during the boil.  This was based off Yooper’s 60 Min IPA on HomeBrew Talk but I didnt have any Simcoe on hand so mixed Cascade with Citra as a substitute.  It tasted amazing at bottling.  I decided to go with S04 fermented at 65F to get a bit more character in the beer- the low temp keeps esters at bay, most stating that they start getting quite noticeable above 65-66F.  I might stop using US05 except for really clean beers like cream ales and blondes because stouts and porters just come out way too clean.  A lot of the IPA clone recipes in BYO’s 250 Clones (mainly Stone), call for an English yeast.  I really need to buy one of those hop strainer tubes to put around my siphon if I am going to keep dryhopping.  The bit of hops I picked up in the bottling bucket fell out though so hardly any made it into the bottles.

60 Min IPA  (1 gallon)  1.069 expected
     2 lbs 2 row
     .21 lbs munich 10L
     .15 oz Warrior 16% AA continuously hopped from 60-35 mins
     .15 oz Amarillo (10.5%), .15 oz Cascade (7.3%), and .1 oz Citra (13%) continuously hopped from 35-0 mins
     .05 oz Cascade, .05 oz Citra, and .15 oz Amarillo dry hop 5 days
     .2 tsp Irish moss 15 mins
     S-04 fermented at 65F

2.21 x 1.4= 3 qts 185F water to preheat MLT.  Doughed in at 166F and mashed 60 mins.  Double batch sparged with 5.3 qts 185F water to boil 75 mins.
OG:   1.064   (didnt boil hard enough, wort was above 1 gallon mark)
FG:   1.012          6.8% ABV