Author Topic: First brew with new setup! That means issues.  (Read 3556 times)

Offline tripwood

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First brew with new setup! That means issues.
« on: May 17, 2014, 09:58:20 PM »
Hello everyone,

I just had my first brew with my new setup. I do all-grain and I am equiped with a well loved 5 gallon mash-tun I was given, a 7 gallon brewing kettle and a passion for brewing. I brewed before with friends but I wanted to be able to brew whenever I wanted solo.

I had some issues.

I used Beersmith to calculate how much water I would need (14,5L for mashing in and 13L for sparging) and I ended up with 5L less then expected (15L). I am guessing this is because of evaporation and I would need more sparging to make up for it, right? Can I add cool sterile water to my fermenter to make up the volume? When is the better time for this? I am going to transfer to secondary in a week to dry-hop so would that be a good time? I heard the water has to be de-oxygenated beforehand, how do I do that?

The gravity was also much less then expected (got 1,031 instead of 1,056) but I expected that is because the grain wasn't properly milled. My GF did it previously at a friend's house using a mill that was not perfect for malt. I was wondering if I can add some honey to my fermenter to kick up the alcohol a little. I was thinking of 500ml of honey. When should I add it?

Phew that was a lot of questions. But I'm not worried, I'm sure my red IPA will turn out good with all the good hops I put in. I love to brew, I have much to learn. :)

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: First brew with new setup! That means issues.
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2014, 08:35:51 AM »
If the batch is already lower on OG at 1.031, you may not want to add additional water solely for the sake of reaching 20L. 

If you're going to add honey, I'd recommend sooner than later, so the yeast can attack it while they are fresh and actively eating.  Another option would be to prepare 4L of a high-gravity wort (using LME or DME) and adding that to the batch. 

If the wort/boil was hopped to IPA levels, expecting a 1.056 OG, then that level of hops in a 1.031 wort may be quite bitter.  You may want to sneak a sterile sample to taste for that. 

And I would recommend adopting the habit of transferring beers when they are certainly ready to transfer, rather than using a firm schedule like "in a week" especially this time since you may be adding honey. 

Looking ahead to next time, you may want to review the water math inputs in BSmith.  You started with 27.5L this time and came up short.   If you want to finish with 22L in the fermentor (to have 20L post fermentation), then you'd need at least 26L in the boil, assuming 4L of boil-off.  But you may have boiled off more than 4L this time.  Plus, you have to allow for any amounts that gets trapped in the MLT or boiler, and grain absorption, etc.  BSmith helps with all that, but it's garbage-in, garbage-out if the inputs that described your equipment or process are not quite accurate. 

Each brew, take some notes on what actually happens and try to improve the settings you feed to BSmith.  Good luck.


Offline durrettd

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Re: First brew with new setup! That means issues.
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2014, 12:13:57 PM »
Go to the "All Grain/Advanced" section of this forum and read the "Equipment Profile Setup ..." thread pinned to the top.

Offline tripwood

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Re: First brew with new setup! That means issues.
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 06:22:29 PM »
Go to the "All Grain/Advanced" section of this forum and read the "Equipment Profile Setup ..." thread pinned to the top.

Just did that, thanks. I'll work on making it more accurate with every new brew.

If the batch is already lower on OG at 1.031, you may not want to add additional water solely for the sake of reaching 20L. 

If you're going to add honey, I'd recommend sooner than later, so the yeast can attack it while they are fresh and actively eating.  Another option would be to prepare 4L of a high-gravity wort (using LME or DME) and adding that to the batch. 

If the wort/boil was hopped to IPA levels, expecting a 1.056 OG, then that level of hops in a 1.031 wort may be quite bitter.  You may want to sneak a sterile sample to taste for that. 

And I would recommend adopting the habit of transferring beers when they are certainly ready to transfer, rather than using a firm schedule like "in a week" especially this time since you may be adding honey. 

Looking ahead to next time, you may want to review the water math inputs in BSmith.  You started with 27.5L this time and came up short.   If you want to finish with 22L in the fermentor (to have 20L post fermentation), then you'd need at least 26L in the boil, assuming 4L of boil-off.  But you may have boiled off more than 4L this time.  Plus, you have to allow for any amounts that gets trapped in the MLT or boiler, and grain absorption, etc.  BSmith helps with all that, but it's garbage-in, garbage-out if the inputs that described your equipment or process are not quite accurate. 

Each brew, take some notes on what actually happens and try to improve the settings you feed to BSmith.  Good luck.

Thanks for the info, it's some good stuff. I just added the honey today. How do you know for sure that it's time to rack usually? I also wanted to know if I could add de-aerated sterile water at bottling time, I'm afraid it might be too bitter otherwise.