IBU contribution of kettle hops after flameout

As usual I keep hops in the kettle after flameout; but I wanted to give myself a better feeling about how much bitterness they would contribute.

Yesterday I turned the heat off and proceed to start draining/chilling directly. It took about 10 mins, and during that time the temperature dropped from 100C to 90C. If my math is correct (see the python code below), then the hops would have a 35% (relative) utilization. The BeerSmith default is 50% so I’m glad I did this analysis to help my future recips.

Please feel free to use or modify this code. If anyone notices any mistakes or has suggestions, please let me know 🙂

Randy Mosher’s “Mastering Homebrew” is excellent!

There are two reasons why this book is so excellent. One is his ability to illustrate ideas visually – have a look his “recipe” to see what I mean http://randymosher.com/uploads/images/contentimages/bookart/mhb-assr1.jpg

And second, his emphasis on taste and flavor, and portrayal of homebrewing as a creative and artistic pursuit.

I own a “few” books on the topic, and this is easily my favorite.

Using the delayed start to heat the sparge water and hit strike temp

After using the GrainFather for a little while I realized that I instead of wasting a lot of time waiting for things to heat up (ramp-times) I could use hot water (50C) instead of cold (10C). This got me thinking: what if I could use a delayed start so that I could have heated sparge water and also hit my strike temperature?

So after a bit of algebra, and some simplifying assumptions, you end up with the following formula:
vol_warm = vol_target * (temp_target – temp_cool) / (temp_warm – temp_cool)

Let’s try a simple example – we want 3.7G of 67C water for mash:
Warm: 3.7*(67-23)/(95-23) ~= 2.25, Cool: 3.7 – 2.25 = 1.45

And how about 3.5G of 76C water for sparge
Warm: 3.5*(76-23)/(95-23) ~= 2.55, Cool: 3.5 – 2.55 = 0.95

So now we can figure out that we need 2.25 + 2.55 = 4.8 Gallons of 95C water when we start out, and 2.4 Gallons of 23C water for “diluting”.

The night before, 4.8G of cold water to the GF and set the delayed start. At the same time collect 2.4G of cold water that will warm up to room temp … might as well treat both with meta-bite and hook up the chiller while we’re at it. Now at the start of brewing I just need to pump some of the hot water (sterilizing the chiller) into a new container/bucket and combine with the some of the room temp water, then add the remaining room temp water to the GF, and off we go! The right amount of sparge water and mash water at the desired temperatures.

I will definitly being trying this on my next batch

Follow-up (Oct-15): this actually worked, but I should have made more hot water; I didn’t anticipate the normal cooling off an un- insulated container … and it’s always nice to have some boiled water kicking around during brew day https://photos.app.goo.gl/pUYL2IKpyFEYjd7o2 

Grainfather bought me some time

When I first started brewing (with extract) brew days were about 3 hours, and I was only “active” for about one hour. Pretty easy 🙂 When I switched to all-grain (no-sparge) brew day became nearly 5.5 hours and about 1.5 active hours. I loved the new beers but longed for the simplicity of extract brewing.

This is when I started to notice some of the automated systems. And for me, the Grainfather was the perfect fit. The length of brew day remains pretty much the same, but because of the automation I’m only active for about an hour and there are some long breaks where I can trust the system to maintain temperatures.

I haven’t yet taken advantage to the “delayed start” feature, which would allow me to schedule when the strike water should be heated. In theory I could heat all of my water, pump some of it into a separate vessel (to be used later for sparging) and then get started with mashing … this would shorten brew day to about 4 hours. The only downside is that I need to schedule a start time 🙂

If you’re interested here are some further details / breakdown of the timing of things https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JJBYsOIo5wXXeCrtQU-kQXKJWPo6kBfnRBOvrqk4XfQ/edit?usp=sharing


34/70 fermentations at room temp = delicious

So, this isn’t a new idea – Chalie Papazian brings it up multiple times in his book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition: Fully Revised and Updated, and Brülosphy has at least a half a dozen different posts about using SafLager 34/70 (http://www.fermentis.com/brewing/homebrewing/product-range/) at different temperatures. But when you first try it, it feels like you’ve unlocked some sort of crazy secret – I made a great tasting “lager” without any temperature control!

My first attempt at this was with a Blonde “Ale”. I decided to give 34/70 a try at ambient room temperature just to see what I ended up with. And the result was excellent. Instead of an ale pretending to be a lager, I had actually made something that was a lager. I haven’t done a side by side comparison like Brülosphy has http://brulosophy.com/2016/04/18/fermentation-temperature-pt-5-lager-yeast-saflager-3470-exbeeriment-results/ , but I can say that the end result was a good tasting beer. Did it pick up some “off” flavours? Nothing that was unpleasant 🙂 Which would you prefer – an ale pretending to be a lager, or a lager that was a little fruitier than normal?

For my lastest Blonde Ale I used US-05, and it’s a good tasting beer, but each time I taste it I keep wishing I’d used 34/70. I made the switch because the last batch spiked to 28C during fermentation (summer is approaching) so I figured I’d switch to something with a higher temperature tolerance. But nex time I’m going back to 34/70 and I’ll ferment under pressure in the storage area (19C).

Incidently the recipe was as basic as it gets: 2-row with a small dose of caramalt, about 1/2 oz Magnum during the boil, and a late addition of about an ounce of “noble” hops. I know that I’ll forever be tweaking this, but the constant will be 34/70.