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It is not my intention to be another Home Brew "Parrot" Blog therefore I wont be writing a daily post. If that is what you are looking for, you will need to go else where. My goal is to bring you information in a simple easy to understand manner without regurgitating the same old information over and over.
When I find content valuable I will write about it. If it is useful then use it, if you disagree, Comment on it.

Latest Blog:


“All Grain Brewing Efficiency”

Poor efficiency in all grain brewing can tend drive us as home brewers to go to great lengths to get better efficiency numbers. In an effort to make better beer I also have endeavored to raise my efficiency. As I travel down the path to better efficiency, I have found that there are key steps that I now take as a general rule to making better beer.

Milling/Grain Crush

The most common problem we as home brewers encounter is the milling process or grain crush. Most of us don’t have our own barley mill so we are relegated to using the one at the local HB store, which may or may not be serviced very often and sees daily wear and tear. This can be remedied usually by asking the HB store to run the grains through the mill more than once. The other option is to purchase your own barley mill. This does incur an extra investment in equipment and should be evaluated by each brewer. I personally own a “Barley Crusher” and have been happy with its performance.

PH/Acid Rest

The PH of the Mash and Sparge can also make a difference in your efficiency. Most of today’s grains are well modified and doesn’t need a protein rest. However the acidity or alkalinity of the water you use could impact your efficiency. The optimal PH for most beer is 5.2 – 5.4. This can be accomplished by the addition of an acid rest before you start the sacrification rest, or by the addition of buffers (usually Gypsum and or Calcium chloride). An alternative that I use is called Buffer 5.2. Made by Five Star Chemicals. http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/brew/fivetwo.pdf. You should note that this maters most on lighter beers, darker beers usually are not as affected by the PH. I however use the 5.2 in all my beers dark and light respectively.

Mash Out

The Mash Out performs two functions; the first is to bring the temp of the grist up to sparge temperatures., and the second function is that the warmer the liquid is, the easier it is to extract the sugars out of the spent grains. Think of hot and cold tea, it is easier to liquefy sugar in hot tea than it is in cold tea. It can still be done, but it takes a lot longer.

Number of Batch Sparge Rounds

Splitting the number of batch sparge rounds into multiple rounds helps to flush the sugars with clean water. Usually two equal rounds of are adequate. This means that there will be three running’s. The first running is the wort. The second running is the first batch sparge. And the last running is the second batch sparge. Most home brewers use batch sparge over Fly sparge because it is easier. I will have a topic about this at a later date.

Size of Grain Bill

Grain bill size as it relates to raising your efficiency is actually quite simple. The larger the grain bill, the more water it will take to rinse. If you have the capacity to add an extra gallon in your boil volume, you can boil the wort for 2 hours instead of 1 which should add about 1.15 gallons to your sparge water. Which should help the efficiency with large grain bills.

If you have any questions or would like more information please feel free to comment and I will help in any way I can.

Cheers

Preston

“Help”

On a couple forums that I frequent, I go through the “new to brewing” forums and read posts about people asking the same old questions over without researching answers. You see things like: people transferring their beer from the Primary Fermenter to the Secondary Fermenter without taking a Hydrometer reading. Or asking when is my beer ready to drink. Or their post reads something like: “Help my beer is to sweet”, “I didn’t take an OG but it is at 1.0xx now”, or the myriad of other’s out there.

There are all kinds of people out there. Some are methodical, some are in a hurry, which one are you? As an example: I was in a local HB store and overheard a gentleman talking to the clerk about the beer he was making. It turns out that his wife purchased a beer kit from the Internet. He did not read the instructions (Threw them away), and he mixed water, priming sugar, and his extract together and put it in the bucket without the lid. After that he siphoned it into the bottles and well had flat beer! After overhearing what the clerk told him (I’m standing in for my father), I had to speak up. Just trying to help you know. I explained the basics of brewing and why you would want to boil, along with the priming sugar. I could tell it went in one ear and out the other. He did not want to wait the required time for the beer to mature, or even for carbonation. I handed him a couple of the standards that (IMHO) all new brewers should read. He immediately put them down and stated that he did not have time to read them. I’m sure you can guess what happened when I told him that brewing beer may not be for him.

Back to the topic, I freely give any knowledge to anyone willing to learn and don’t mind answering the questions that frequently arise on the forums. Most of the people who post those messages that have been answered on more than one occasion are usually in a hurry. Maybe not to the extreme that I ran into, but they are new to the brewing hobby and ware wanting to get started. Nothing wrong with a little enthusiasm right? I was new to brewing at one time and people were patient, and understanding when I had dumb questions. Therefore I will try to be the same, and hopefully you will be also.

Cheers

Preston