Author Topic: Starting need some help  (Read 3920 times)

Offline madchef77

  • BeerSmith Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 29
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Starting need some help
« on: February 14, 2012, 02:47:50 PM »
Hello everyone.  I just started brewing beer and I love it. I want to get more into it and get down to my first AG beer.  But first I have a few questions to ask all of you. I'm going to be talking about a 5 gallon batch.

1.  we all know that malts/barleys have sugar.  my question is, is how much sugar per batch is needed from the malts to make the fermentation work correctly (in a 5 gallon batch ect...) how much is too small and how much is too much?

2.  when adding sugar like honey do I need to take that into account when measuring out the sugar in my wort?

3.  what is the amount of grains per 5 gallons of wort?

4.  one last thing.  Is there somewhere where I can find the amount of sugar that will be extracted from the grains in order to achieve the best fermentation lvl?

Thanks for all your help and happy brewing.
Amber Ale - on tap
Red Ipa - on tap
Black Ipa - on tap
Chocolate Oatmeal Milk Stout - fermenting
Pumpkin Ale - fermenting

Offline jomebrew

  • Global Moderator
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1045
    • Jomebrew
Re: Starting need some help
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 10:47:16 AM »
I hope you are reading some of the fine books out there on brewing.  I prefer John Palmer's How to Brew to start with. 

You are asking questions that are pretty typical of folks coming in with little or no research and have not used the software and have yet to read the documentation.

Here are some basic answers.

1. Malted barley does not have sugar.  They have starch that is enzymatically converted to fermentable and non-fermenatable sugars.   Fermentation requires yeast and sugar of some sort.  Fermentation will work correctly with 1 yeast cell and a couple molecules of sugar.   There is no "too small" amount of sugar.  It all depends on what you want to make and how you want it to taste.  Personally, I prefer my beers to be at least %3.5 ABV which would be around a 1.040 starting gravity.  that is about 8 lbs grain on my system.

2. Honey is Basically 100% fermentable.  1lb honey in a 5 gallon batch yields around 1.007 specific gravity or 7 gravity points or 1.79 Plato.

3. The amount of grains depends on the gravity you are seeking to achieve based on your system.  You can start with 1 single grain but I think you will be unhappy with that.  Find a style of beer you like.  Find a recipe to match that style.  It will tell how how much grain you need to achieve that kind of taste and % alcohol.

4. The common terms for what can be potentially extracted is PPG or Points per Pound Per Gallon or Grain Yield.  Here are a couple links or  But you asked what will be extracted.  That depends on the efficiency of your process compared to the maximum potential.  Your grain bill potential might be 50 points but your process only converts 50% of that and therefore you end up with 25 gravity points.  You will need to double your grain bill to achieve your desired gravity.

The Beersmith software answers all these questions already.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 09:30:46 AM by jomebrew »

Offline ArtCox

  • BeerSmith Master Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 69
  • Beer is proof, God Loves Us..
    • Goodhead Brewery
Re: Starting need some help
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 11:40:05 AM »
My suggestion would be find a local Home Brew Club.
If your just getting started, do a few extract kits w/specialty grains first.
Visit a Home Brew Shop, those guys and gals that work there are home brewers too, ask if you can assist with an all grain session and take good notes.
and like Jomebrew said.. READ Everything you can get your hands on about brewing.
Get on some of the Brew Forums. Northern Brewer, MidWest Supply have their own forums.   

Offline Slurk

  • Slurk
  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 370
  • Life is too short!
    • SLURK BEER  By Foeyn Minibryggeri
Re: Starting need some help
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 05:30:26 AM »
Agree with Artcox and jomebrew! I would like to add one thing: just find your standard first (extract kit for eks.) and start experimenting with changing only one ingredient/parameter at the time and compare. You learn a lott!
Happy brewing!
Ad Fundum!

Ready to drink: Slurk Fjellbrygg, Slurk Foeyn Ale, Slurk Agurk (Cucumber Wit), Slurk Belgian Blonde, Slurk Eng (Raspberry Wit), Slurk Hav (Seaweed Wit)
Aging: Slurk Whirled White Wheat (Wit)
Next brew: Slurk Hav

Offline MikeinRH

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 195
Re: Starting need some help
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 06:22:53 PM »
Get John Palmer's Book, "How to Brew". I've read and re-read that book a hundred times. Every time I pick it up I learn something new. I agree with everything the others have said. Have no fear! The only goof ups I've had are because I failed to sanitize properly. Get to know and love Starsan.