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Brew-tality

Progressing

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Hi everybody. I'm on my first batch right now, the WCPA. My question is, if I want to progress as a home brewer, what would the next step be? I was thinking about maybe batch priming next time instead of bottle priming like it shows in the kits instructions. No mad scientist stuff, just a new technique to try so I can move forward. Also, what benefit does cold crashing have on the beer? does it improve it in any way, or is doing this just a matter of preferance?

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The premise of cold crashing is that a lot of the particulates will fall to the bottom, resulting in a clearer beer at bottling.

Batch priming is a preference. I always batch prime, but there are some vets (like Tabasco and others) that swear by bottle priming.

Once you have a few under your belt, some small steps would be using hops, then using grains in a steep. Also, you can experiment with different yeasts. After that, the sky is the limit...

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Sounds like you know what you want to try next, Progress at will. Cold crashing is a matter of preference it is said to produce a clearer beer and a compact trub, I just did it for the first time on my last batch and saw a significant difference so I'll add that to by process.

You may want to look into Some steeping grains to add to your extract as well maybe different yeast styles and profiles.

Yeah what swenocha said.

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What they said. You definetly end up with less bottle trub when you cold crash.

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I cold crash sometimes but usually to bye some time before bottling, it is a worthwile step to do. Steeping Grains is a very good step to do, sounds like a giant step but it is really quite easy and very worthwhile on the end results.

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cool, thanks for the input guys. Of course i just wanna make sure I did everything right on this first brew to begin with. could you give some info on the process of steeping grains? I'll probably do the hops boil first, but any extra info is appreciated.

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Brew-tality wrote:

cool, thanks for the input guys. Of course i just wanna make sure I did everything right on this first brew to begin with. could you give some info on the process of steeping grains? I'll probably do the hops boil first, but any extra info is appreciated.

Steeping grains is a very easy process that will add more body and head retention to your beer. It can add flavor, too, depending on which specialty grain you use, but you have to know what you want to get out of it, and which recipes to add it to for flavor.

For more body and head retention, use CaraPils. Half a pound will do for an LBK-sized batch. Some LHBSs will crush the grains for you, or if you order online, you can opt for crushed grains. Otherwise you'll have to do it yourself, and that can be a little tricky. Some guys just use a rolling pin, so I suppose that would work. They should be crushed and not ground to flour consistency. Fairly coarse, in other words.

Put the crushed grains in a hop sack and tie it off. Be sure to leave some room, because the grains will absorb water and expand. Heat six cups of water to around 165 degrees, take it off the heat, and put the grain sack in. You can swirl it around a little to make sure the water is flowing completely through the grains. Then cover the pot and let it sit for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the grain sack and let it drain into the pot. Then use that grain liquor to mix your extracts as per the recipe.

That's really all there is to it, but it will make a noticable difference in your beer. If you can make a pot of tea, you can do a grain steep.

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Thanks for the info FD! Now, expanding on that, how would you step grains and do hop boil? Would you steep grains with 6p cups, boil hops with some UME in a separate 4 cups then combine them afterwards?

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awesome, thanks FedoraDave. I never thought I'd be so into something like this, but its got its hooks in me now. this pace is like an encyclopedia of brew knowledge, haha. Thanks again everyone...

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allenc85 wrote:

Thanks for the info FD! Now, expanding on that, how would you step grains and do hop boil? Would you steep grains with 6p cups, boil hops with some UME in a separate 4 cups then combine them afterwards?

Well, I suppose you could do that, but you would more likely complete your steep, remove the grains from your resulting grain tea, add your UME and start that boiling to use it for your hop boil.

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Thanks, that way makes sense, I just didn't know if the grain tea could be boiled for extended periods of time. Like I just recently read to only add a little of the UME for the hop boil to prevent from messing with it's flavor/color profile.

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allenc85 wrote:

Thanks, that way makes sense, I just didn't know if the grain tea could be boiled for extended periods of time. Like I just recently read to only add a little of the UME for the hop boil to prevent from messing with it's flavor/color profile.

You might have read that from me, as I recently posted it in another thread. Just to expand on that thought, for clarity's sake:

I suggested that the original poster in that thread use only some of the UME because he was boiling a small amount of water. If you tried boiling a whole can of UME in only 4-6 cups of water, you'd run a risk of scorching and carmelizing the extract, thus giving it a 'burnt' taste and darkening your finished beer.

Boiling all the UME is perfectly acceptable, as long as you use enough water (I'd suggest at least a gallon), and add the UME while the water is not boiling, with decent mixing motion, so that it doesn't settle at the bottom of the pot and get burnt. It's also worth noting that the longer you boil extract, the darker it will likely become.

There are other valid reasons to NOT boil all the UME for the full duration of a hop boil. One is the color issue. Another is: if you're boiling all the UME in less than your full volume of water (2.125 gal), the gravity of your boiling wort is potentially higher than the final gravity at the start of fermentation. Optimal hop utilization takes place at a gravity that's LOWER than most people's FG (optimum might be around 1.030, I think?). So, to get the most from your hop boil, you're better off starting with only some of the UME -- probably 1/4 can or so, and then adding the rest near the end of the boil (5-10 minutes to go).

Last rule of thumb worth mentioning here: do not boil HME, as it will mess up the hop profile that has already been boiled into the extract. (The lone exception being if you want to do a hop boil for a recipe with no UME -- in that case you could add a spoonful of HME up front.)

Apologies if this is heading off the topic of this thread!

Back on topic, +1 to those who recommend steeping grains. Lots of bang for the buck there.

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i dont EVER cold crash. not enought room in the main fridge to do it so i dont.

as far as the next step goes, i think it verys from person to person. after, my second batch, i went to batch priming. yes there is more to wash, but with the consistant carb i get, ill never bottle prime again.

try different recipes, different yeasts, and things like that. However, if you do brew the mr beer recipes, i suggest that you brew them straight up first. get a base line for what you are making. then go all mad scientest on it.

also i suggest a brew log, aka note book or i use computer printout of a brew log and use it for "EVERY" batch. if i want to i can brew a good recipe again, or if i made a mistake i can figure out what i did wrong easier.

anyway, good luck and happy brewing :)

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FD, is this example right for making a 2 gallon batch in the lbk? also, If I wanted to do the hop boil after steeping grains, I would have to add the malt extracts first, correct?

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Brew-tality wrote:

FD, is this example right for making a 2 gallon batch in the lbk? also, If I wanted to do the hop boil after steeping grains, I would have to add the malt extracts first, correct?

I was assuming you were using the LBK, so my example was for that size batch.

If you're going to do a hop boil after steeping grains, your process would depend on what type of extract you were going to use.

You have to know that you shouldn't boil any Hopped Malt Extract. It will change the flavor profile, and goodness knows what the resulting beer will be. So you'll be using either Dry Malt Extract or Liquid Malt Extract (a category which includes Mr. Beer UME).

After removing the grain, bring the grain liquor to a boil. If you're using DME, add it gradually as the liquid heats up, stirring constantly with a whisk, because it will clump up. Be aware that as it reaches the boiling point, you'll be likely to get a hot break, which can result in a foam-over. Watch it like a hawk, and cut the heat immediately if it starts to get crazy. Bring it to a boil and add the hops.

If you're using LME, bring the grain liquor to a boil first, take the pot off the heat, and add a small amount of the extract. Mix well, to make sure nothing has settled on the bottom. You don't want it scorching. When it's mixed well, bring it to a boil and add your hops. Add the rest of the LME at flame-out, after removing the hop sacks. Mix well, as you do with the Mr. Beer recipes.

That's pretty much it.

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Brew-tality, Just chiming in to say:

1. "Welcome"
2. I'm loving this thread.
3. Check this link (started by Fedora Dave)about Recipe Collaboration: http://community.mrbeer.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=124&func=view&catid=12&id=213256

"Sign up" by posting on that thread, and then you will be matched with a more experienced brewer to develop a recipe of some kind. Although I've brewed somewhere between 40 and 50 gallons, I'm still very much a newbie when it comes to steeping grains, BIAB, etc.

:charlie:

Tin Man

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thanks tin man. yea i saw the thread about the collaboration. i was considering "signing up" for it, still might. I've learned alot just from these message boards, this place is an endless resource for the home brewer. Plus everyones been really awesome about answering questions and helping us new guys out. Thanks again to everyone.

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Thanks. I'm contemplating some grain on my next batch, and was a tad intimidated, but you made it seem easy.

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