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My First Two Brew Days.
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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:01 pm    Post subject: My First Two Brew Days. Reply with quote


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Well, I have completed my first two brews on my new system (Kal clone) also my first brews ever

1, Blonde Ale, 2, IPA (both Kals recipes) and I am very happy with the results of the Blonde Ale, (haven’t tried IPA yet) although the brew days were not without drama..

Blonde Ale, 10-July
• Planned efficiency = 80% actual efficiency = 90% (according to BTP)
• SG 1058, FG 1010. I calculated about 6%, (planned 5.2%)
• PH of mash was 4.33, and I did not know how to up it to 5.4, so just left it
• I had a leak coming out of the in-line fan. Since read on forum to drill a drain hole and seal electric housing.
• Had to leave quite a bit of wort in the boil kettle, when the flow stopped, and I had not read the technique required to prevent this.

Electric IPA, 11-Sept.
• Planned efficiency = 90% actual efficiency = 78% (according to BTP)
• SG 1054, FG 1010. I calculated about 5.8%, (planned 6.5%) so opposing results compared to Blonde Ale
• Mash PH was 4.7. again, not sure how to raise PH (how will this affect the beer?)
• Bought the Hop Stopper 2.0, so got all the wort out of the boil kettle this time

Both brews were packaged to Corny kegs after around 14 days of fermentation and stored in keezer under co2. Hope IPA will be ready to drink in a week or two.

Lessons learned: need to be more accurate with my finished ABV, and am thinking this is linked to the efficiency figure I plug into the Beer Tools Pro software.

Comments, tips very welcome
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on your first two brews!

I'm assuming when you say efficiency you mean mash (conversion) efficiency. Some questions that relate to this:

(1) What is your mill gap setting? Was it the same both times?
(2) What were your pre-boil gravities? How long did you boil for? How much volume did you lose in each case?
(3) How long did you sparge for?
(4) How are you measuring SG?
(5) How are you measuring FG?
(6) How are you measuring pH? (What equipment, at what time, what temp, etc)

Cheers!

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the pH:

(1) What is your starting water profile?
(2) Did you adjust the water to the recommended values per the water adjustment guide?: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/water-adjustment
If yes, were you able to hit the targets?

Kal

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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kal, thanks for the super-fast response. Here are my answers:

I am assuming it means mash efficiency. I use Beer Tool Pro for recipe development and there is a data field to enter the efficiency of the system. I am sure I read somewhere that when using the electric brewery for the first time, assume an efficiency between 75% to 85% So I went in the middle and plugged in 80%

1, Gap setting of 0.045” on Monster Mill MM2. I have double checked the gap with a feeler gauge. Same gap for both brews
2, Unfortunately, I did not check neither the pre-boil gravity or how much liquid was lost to the boil (operator error) I boiled for 90min for Blonde Ale and 60mins for the IPA as per recipe.
3, Fly sparge for 90 mins.
4 & 5, I am using a Hydrometer (very cheap basic one for now) I made sure temp was around 20 deg C
6, I use a Hanna 98128, it is brand new. I check the PH levels following your step by step brew day

Cheers
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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Regarding the pH:

(1) What is your starting water profile?
(2) Did you adjust the water to the recommended values per the water adjustment guide?: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/water-adjustment
If yes, were you able to hit the targets?

Kal


Kal,

Will get back to you tonight on the water profiles. Do not have the info with me

Cheers
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

codex wrote:
I am assuming it means mash efficiency. I use Beer Tool Pro for recipe development and there is a data field to enter the efficiency of the system. I am sure I read somewhere that when using the electric brewery for the first time, assume an efficiency between 75% to 85% So I went in the middle and plugged in 80%

Ok - yup. If you're using the field in BTP, it's mash efficiency.

Quote:
1, Gap setting of 0.045” on Monster Mill MM2. I have double checked the gap with a feeler gauge. Same gap for both brews

Sounds fine. Was more concerned if it changed between brews.

Quote:
2, Unfortunately, I did not check neither the pre-boil gravity or how much liquid was lost to the boil (operator error) I boiled for 90min for Blonde Ale and 60mins for the IPA as per recipe.

Did you put a 60 and 90 boil time into BTP? If you had the default 60 min in there but boiled for 90 (per the Blonde Ale), the gravity will come out much higher than you thought it would since you boiled off more water. So it's normal that the mash efficiency would read high.

Quote:
3, Fly sparge for 90 mins.

That's good. 60-120 mins is good, and important to do it more or less the same duration each time for consistency.

Quote:
4 & 5, I am using a Hydrometer (very cheap basic one for now) I made sure temp was around 20 deg C

Is the hydrometer calibrated for use at 20'C? Most are not. See: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=7

Quote:
6, I use a Hanna 98128, it is brand new. I check the PH levels following your step by step brew day

Sounds like it was done correctly. pH seems oddly low however. Brewers rarely have to increase mash pH, odds are something else is off somewhere. I wouldn't worry about it for now.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note that it's the large difference (78 to 90) mash efficiency between the two batches I want to focus on. The actual value isn't really important. It's more important that it be consistent so that you can brew beers like you expect to. As you gain experience on the setup and take better control of the various variables, your mash efficiency will creep up.

Kal

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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kal,

Below is my local water report. I used the EZ water calculator, and was not far off hitting all the targets



WATER QUALITY REPORT 01/JAN/17 TO 31/AUG/17
MINERAL MIN MAX MEAN UNIT
Calcium (Ca) 20.00 24.00 22.00 mg/l
Magnesium (Mg) 2.50 3.00 2.70 mg/l
Sodium (Na) 4.10 6.30 4.78 mg/l
Chloride Cl) 6.50 10.00 7.76 mg/l
Sulphate (SO4) 36.00 56.00 44.00 mg/l
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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just checked back on the Beer Tools recipe's. I had both boil times down as 90 mins. When it should have been 60 min for the IPA. Could this be the reason for the difference in efficiency's

Cheers
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

codex wrote:
Hi Kal,

Below is my local water report. I used the EZ water calculator, and was not far off hitting all the targets



WATER QUALITY REPORT 01/JAN/17 TO 31/AUG/17
MINERAL MIN MAX MEAN UNIT
Calcium (Ca) 20.00 24.00 22.00 mg/l
Magnesium (Mg) 2.50 3.00 2.70 mg/l
Sodium (Na) 4.10 6.30 4.78 mg/l
Chloride Cl) 6.50 10.00 7.76 mg/l
Sulphate (SO4) 36.00 56.00 44.00 mg/l

Your water is fairly soft (low in minerals) so that's good as you can brew just about anything. I was curious about the water profile as I had assumed you had not done any adjustments at all given that it was your first couple of brews. If you used EZwater per my WATER ADJUSTMENT STEP BY STEP guide and hit the numbers correctly, I'm stumped as to why your measured pH was so low. It's rare for anything (especially those 2 beers) to go that low.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

codex wrote:
Just checked back on the Beer Tools recipe's. I had both boil times down as 90 mins. When it should have been 60 min for the IPA. Could this be the reason for the difference in efficiency's

Cheers

If you had 90 mins in the calculations and only boiled 60, then your measured gravity would be a lot lower than what you thought it would be. You can try it yourself in the software. Change the IPA one from 90 to 60 (the actual boil time) and you'll notice that your efficiency will jump up (and your SG will go down).

This is most likely the reason for the difference in efficiency between your 2 batches.

Kal

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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
codex wrote:
Hi Kal,

Below is my local water report. I used the EZ water calculator, and was not far off hitting all the targets



WATER QUALITY REPORT 01/JAN/17 TO 31/AUG/17
MINERAL MIN MAX MEAN UNIT
Calcium (Ca) 20.00 24.00 22.00 mg/l
Magnesium (Mg) 2.50 3.00 2.70 mg/l
Sodium (Na) 4.10 6.30 4.78 mg/l
Chloride Cl) 6.50 10.00 7.76 mg/l
Sulphate (SO4) 36.00 56.00 44.00 mg/l

Your water is fairly soft (low in minerals) so that's good as you can brew just about anything. I was curious about the water profile as I had assumed you had not done any adjustments at all given that it was your first couple of brews. If you used EZwater per my WATER ADJUSTMENT STEP BY STEP guide and hit the numbers correctly, I'm stumped as to why your measured pH was so low. It's rare for anything (especially those 2 beers) to go that low.

Kal


Well I won't worry about it for now. I am planning a Munich Helles for my 3rd batch in a couple of weeks. Will see what the PH readings are then

Thanks for the advice

Cheers
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck with the next brew!

Kal

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Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
codex wrote:
Just checked back on the Beer Tools recipe's. I had both boil times down as 90 mins. When it should have been 60 min for the IPA. Could this be the reason for the difference in efficiency's

Cheers

If you had 90 mins in the calculations and only boiled 60, then your measured gravity would be a lot lower than what you thought it would be. You can try it yourself in the software. Change the IPA one from 90 to 60 (the actual boil time) and you'll notice that your efficiency will jump up (and your SG will go down).

This is most likely the reason for the difference in efficiency between your 2 batches.

Kal


Thanks for being able to get to the bottom of the issue. Will have to be more careful inputting the data in BTP.

Looking forward to brewing a Munich Helles next. What do you think I should enter for the mash efficiency in the software, now we know it was an incorrect boil time which caused the difference with my first 2 brews.

Cheers
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably something closer to the first beer (90%) where you do not think you make any mistakes in the software. That said, I would enter the correct values into the software for the second beer (change the boil time from 90 to 60) and see where your efficiency comes up to match that. Assuming that beer was done more or less the same way, it should also come up to close to the same efficiency as the first beer. If it's different, you can take an average of the two.

Note that mash efficiency will start to go down on higher gravity beers on any setup as you're sparging more grain with less water and end up leaving some sugars behind. Where this happens (at what gravity) depends on the setup. I don't notice it on mine until 8-9% ABV so you won't have any issues with the Helles (which is around 5% if I remember correctly).

Good luck!

Kal

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JMD887



Joined: 31 Jan 2018
Posts: 101
Location: Akron, Ohio

Drinking: Electric IPA, TOF IPA

Working on: Irish Red Ale


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

codex wrote:

6, I use a Hanna 98128, it is brand new. I check the PH levels following your step by step brew day

Cheers


I use the same ones and the first time I used it my mash PH was also low. Despite the addition on calcium carbonate. I reached out to Marshal from Brulosophy- he recommended completing a 2 point calibration prior to every use- since than I have not had any issues except equipment failure (needed to replace my prob).

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah! That's a good point JMD887. The pH meter needs to be calibrated before use, at least before the very first use (I don't calibrate before every single use myself). Was this done codex? Instructions are included from the manufacturer.

More info here on pH meter calibration: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=5

Kal

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JMD887



Joined: 31 Jan 2018
Posts: 101
Location: Akron, Ohio

Drinking: Electric IPA, TOF IPA

Working on: Irish Red Ale


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Ah! That's a good point JMD887. The pH meter needs to be calibrated before use, at least before the very first use (I don't calibrate before every single use myself). Was this done codex? Instructions are included from the manufacturer.

More info here on pH meter calibration: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/parts-list-using?page=5

Kal


Yep- Also, I don't recommend buying stock in Hannah's calibration solutions- the bottle claims they are only good for 30 days once opened. opps.

Kal- How often do you wind up having to replace your pH meter prob?

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10151
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JMD887 wrote:
Yep- Also, I don't recommend buying stock in Hannah's calibration solutions- the bottle claims they are only good for 30 days once opened. opps.

That's most likely a CYA type move. I can't imagine they drift that much. They just don't want people sticking probes directly in there and then complaining after a few weeks that things seem off. Sure, it's always going to be the most accurate to use fresh but frankly in brewing getting absolutely precise pH measurements isn't as critical as some would lead to believe (my 2 cents). To be clear, I highly recommend someone new to brewing us a pH meter if they want to make the best beer possible and use it correctly. What you'll find is that over time you'll start to understand exactly how the grist behaves in your water such that you'll probably find yourself using the meter less and less as you repeat recipes. OF course, if your doing kettle souring or other things where pH is very important measure often / measure a lot

Quote:
Kal- How often do you wind up having to replace your pH meter prob?

I bought my first in 2009 and (funny enough that you ask) on my last brew day it's finally starting to drift around and not stabilize correctly. Need to order a new one. List of reputable sellers here:

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/Hanna-Phep-5-pH-meter-replacement-electrode-part-number-HI-73127

It's important to buy from a seller who doesn't sit on these as otherwise they dry out / become useless very fast.

I may also consider a different unit, this one here: https://amzn.to/2Dg5mU0

More research needed.

Kal

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codex



Joined: 04 Nov 2016
Posts: 45
Location: Co Durham, UK


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks JMD887 for that suggestion. In fact, I did not calibrate the PH meter before use. I was that keen to get a brew going and presumed they would be already calibrated from the factory.

Another lesson learned. I will certainly calibrate before my next brew (Munich Helles) will let you know the results

Cheers
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