Author Topic: Hi from Maryland  (Read 4305 times)

Offline Beer Volcano

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Hi from Maryland
« on: November 22, 2017, 11:50:36 AM »
Hello,

Since this Intro Forum is here, I might as well intro. My handle is based on the Pastafarian description of heaven, which I'm sure is accurate. I live in Maryland, right on the line with DC. I've been brewing off and on for about 12 years, but didn't get heavy into it at first, brewing a batch every once and a while, like 1 or 2 per year, then with a stretch of nothing. But then about 6 years ago, someone got me some official starter brewing equipment and since then I've been brewing at an accelerating rate. First starting with extract batches, then partial mash, and for the past 4 years or so have been doing exclusively all-grain (unless the recipe calls for sugar or honey or something).

I never even thought about entering competitions, but my girlfriend suggested it and so in March of this year I entered a beer and won a medal the first time out! It was for second place in the strong ale category. That woke me up and made me realize that maybe I should be brewing more often! Well, the next beer I entered into a contest, a Dunkelweizen, got nothing even though I thought it was damned good and tasted as good as any that you could import from Germany (I thought so). Oh well, I think it depends a lot on the style. 

For all that time I never had kegging stuff as I wanted to keep things as cheap as possible. Everything was bottle conditioned. But lately I've said to hell with the expense and just started accumulating brewing stuff. I now have a fancy pH meter and just now have all the stuff for kegging. I now also have a corker and big thick Belgian bottles for doing highly carbonated beers. I would also shy away from water preparation, either using all filtered tap water (Potomac source that's fairly hard, but has a roughly 1:1 sulfate:chloride ratio) or some mixture of tap and RO water. Right as I'm ramping it up, someone goes and gets me Beersmith for my birthday. How did I ever live without this? Instead of doing everything by hand or looking for sketchy online calculators, it's all right there. So, now I'm ready to brew just about any beer possible.

So, I'm glad there's a forum associated with the software. I'll definitely be here with questions and comments. Cheers!

Offline Ck27

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Re: Hi from Maryland
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 12:41:45 PM »
Hello,

Since this Intro Forum is here, I might as well intro. My handle is based on the Pastafarian description of heaven, which I'm sure is accurate. I live in Maryland, right on the line with DC. I've been brewing off and on for about 12 years, but didn't get heavy into it at first, brewing a batch every once and a while, like 1 or 2 per year, then with a stretch of nothing. But then about 6 years ago, someone got me some official starter brewing equipment and since then I've been brewing at an accelerating rate. First starting with extract batches, then partial mash, and for the past 4 years or so have been doing exclusively all-grain (unless the recipe calls for sugar or honey or something).

I never even thought about entering competitions, but my girlfriend suggested it and so in March of this year I entered a beer and won a medal the first time out! It was for second place in the strong ale category. That woke me up and made me realize that maybe I should be brewing more often! Well, the next beer I entered into a contest, a Dunkelweizen, got nothing even though I thought it was damned good and tasted as good as any that you could import from Germany (I thought so). Oh well, I think it depends a lot on the style. 

For all that time I never had kegging stuff as I wanted to keep things as cheap as possible. Everything was bottle conditioned. But lately I've said to hell with the expense and just started accumulating brewing stuff. I now have a fancy pH meter and just now have all the stuff for kegging. I now also have a corker and big thick Belgian bottles for doing highly carbonated beers. I would also shy away from water preparation, either using all filtered tap water (Potomac source that's fairly hard, but has a roughly 1:1 sulfate:chloride ratio) or some mixture of tap and RO water. Right as I'm ramping it up, someone goes and gets me Beersmith for my birthday. How did I ever live without this? Instead of doing everything by hand or looking for sketchy online calculators, it's all right there. So, now I'm ready to brew just about any beer possible.

So, I'm glad there's a forum associated with the software. I'll definitely be here with questions and comments. Cheers!

:) I don't modify my water, I just use my well water which has a profile almost identical to Burton water. So I brew a lot of English Style beers. I just work with what I have.

Offline GigaFemto

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Re: Hi from Maryland
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 03:24:38 PM »
Welcome! BeerSmith is great, but water modification is one of its weak points. The acid suggestions are too high by a factor of 2 or so. If you really want to get into water modification, get the Bru'n Water spreadsheet. There is a free version or a version that you can get for making a donation of $10 or so. It is a little intimidating the first time, but gets easy after a while. My water is extremely soft so I end up adding at least some calcium to every batch, and often some other things also.
--GF

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/


Offline Beer Volcano

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Re: Hi from Maryland
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 03:57:59 PM »
:) I don't modify my water, I just use my well water which has a profile almost identical to Burton water. So I brew a lot of English Style beers. I just work with what I have.

I thought our tap water was hard, but damn, that Burton water we made is so hard it's slippery. The beer is still in primary (racking tomorrow), so I don't know what it's like until then, but I've had a few English bitters and liked them so I hope it turns out like those.

Did you do a water analysis of your well water yourself or did you send it off?

Offline Beer Volcano

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Re: Hi from Maryland
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 04:01:58 PM »
Welcome! BeerSmith is great, but water modification is one of its weak points. The acid suggestions are too high by a factor of 2 or so. If you really want to get into water modification, get the Bru'n Water spreadsheet. There is a free version or a version that you can get for making a donation of $10 or so. It is a little intimidating the first time, but gets easy after a while. My water is extremely soft so I end up adding at least some calcium to every batch, and often some other things also.
--GF

https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Thanks! I was aware of it and have it, but it's hard for me to use. The layout is too busy. Maybe it would be ok after trying some more. Anyway, I made up my own (much simpler) spreadsheet that just converts g of salts added to X gallons to ppm or mg/L. I guess I need to worry about pH too, but that would require more time to enter into Excel.

You're lucky to have very soft water coming out of the tap. We have to go buy RO water and modify it if we need softer water.

Offline Ck27

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Re: Hi from Maryland
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2017, 09:20:47 PM »
:) I don't modify my water, I just use my well water which has a profile almost identical to Burton water. So I brew a lot of English Style beers. I just work with what I have.

I thought our tap water was hard, but damn, that Burton water we made is so hard it's slippery. The beer is still in primary (racking tomorrow), so I don't know what it's like until then, but I've had a few English bitters and liked them so I hope it turns out like those.

Did you do a water analysis of your well water yourself or did you send it off?

I sent it to a lab

 

modification