What is the propper way to read a recipe?

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by bobofet, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    I am new to brewing, actually I was looking into making my first batch of beer and learning everything I can. I would like to make something I have found on here but the instructions left fermentation times were not given and I was wondering if this is recipe is something that is out of the reach of a total newbie. I was filling in the blanks and have thought it may go like this:

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/231528/mr-peanut-butter-ale

    steep the grains for 40 minutes at 155F
    bring the water just below a boil and add pb2 for 10 minutes
    cut the flame. add the fermentables
    cool to 90 degrees and transfer to carboy and add hops
    sprinkle in a yeast pack that does not require a starter for ease of first time brewing
    transfer to a second carboy after a week and remove hopps
    check the specific gravity after 2 weeks, once it is the same for 3 days in a row it is time to bottle.

    if there was a thread that had a bunch of tips on how to fill in the blanks for recipes that seem to leave some things to the intuition of the brewer i would love a point in the right direction.
    and did my overview sound correct?

    I am not going to brew any simple beers because I would rather go buy a case of light beer. When I buy a craft beer I want something somewhat complex and those normally cost around $3 each. but if I can brew a 5 gallon batch of chocolate cherry stout for $60 then i am paying like 1/3 the price.
    It would be nice to start with a 1 gallon batch though because if I sour my first batch i wouldnt loose as much money in materials.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Interesting procedure - mind sharing where you got it?

    Recipes are really only half the story when it comes to home brewing and given the overwhelming impact of sanitation, pitch rate and fermentation temperature control, are often almost interesting. I realize you don't want to do simple beers but when you're learning, they're your best teacher. Let me put this bluntly: Procedure is much more important than recipe to the outcome of your beer. So brew a few batches of simple beer, one gallon batches are fine, to make sure your sanitation is dialed in and you can manage the fermentation. Then move on to this kind of beer.

    And if you don't choose to do this, your recipe is fine. I like the idea of starting with gallon batches.
     
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  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious what you mean by “simple beer.” Are you referring to the number of ingredients? A SMaSH beer has only a Single Malt and a Single Hop. I make a couple of those that I’d drink over a drinking a light beer as you say. If you’d like a challenge, try brewing a light beer. I believe that would be more complex than you’d think. I’d rather drink my homebrew than any commercially available beer, craft beer or otherwise.
     
  4. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    I wouldn't brew that as your first beer, I see that allot in new brewers they want complex beers now and don't want to do the work to be a good brewer first, not an insult it just happens, start with something simple
     
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  5. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    there is a little left out in that recipie as well like yeast strain. my guess is US05. it looks pretty straight forward is that add peanut butter in recipie notes? just brew a straight forward beer as stated above first and get more complex from there.
     
  6. KC

    KC Active Member

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    • Is there an actual boil step in here somewhere?
    • The recipe adds hops pre-boil (first wort), but the directions have them post-boil (dry hop). There is a huge difference between the two.
    • PB2 leaves a small mount of oil floating on top. Transfer (rack) from the bottom and don't carry over any of the surface sheen. PB2 is usually added at secondary.
    As others are pointing out, nobody gets it perfect the first time. You'll have about a dozen things you'll want to do differently the second time around. Are you willing to experiment with pricier ingredients and risk it being undrinkable? It's fine if you do. Lots of new homebrewers shoot for the moon and sometimes it turns out fine.
     
  7. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

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    It would seem weird to only add the hops post boil. Usually they are added at various times in the boil, earlier in the boil for bitterness, later for flavor\aroma. You can add dry hops after the boil, but I would think they would clash with peanut butter flavor.
    For a first batch I would recommend a beer kit from a well known home brew shop. You know how it is supposed to taste and it will come with directions to get it there. If something goes wrong you can more easily figure out exactly what it was to fix it the next time.
     
  8. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    Thanks guys for all your helpful insight, I have looked over the kits all put together andmay just brew one of those first but I do want to eventually start brewing beers with listed recipes here. When thaat time comes the things you all have pointed out will be very helpful.

    The procedure I just somewhat copied what I have seen in full walkthrough tutorials. There was no given boil time on the hops and it said first wort so I thought that meant to not boil them but rather to add them to the first carboy. What I mean by simple beer is just something that is a good beer but not mixing many ingredients. For instance I dont care much for a milk stout, but a chocolate milk stout is something I like a lot. A plain porter I have never cared for, but a vanilla java porter is delicious. If someone buys me an ale I will drink it, but its not my first choice. I am very confident in my ability to sterilize, my biggest worry is actually using a yeast that isnt just a sprinkle in kind (i believe freeze dried). And no in is not just peanut butter. PB2 is a peanut butter extract, I believe it is a powder.
     
  9. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    nothing wrong with dried yeast and for bigginer its probably a smarter move. look around on this site or ask for recipies of a given style and im sure well be throwing them at you. good luck:)
     
  10. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    • This message is awaiting moderator approval, and is invisible to normal visitors.
    What wold help me the most is if someone could post a recipe and then elaborate A bit on the procedure. especially when to rack to secondary carboy. Someone mentioned that my procedure could work, but I mainly got the a feeling of "it probably wont turn out how you are expecting"
    Its not just to recipe I linked to, Its nearly everyone I read didnt give exact steeping times or fermentation times.
    I have learned from reading that it is a good practice to add half malt extract at the end rather than all in the beginning, Do any of you have objections to this?


    When taking a sample for Specific Gravity is there a preferred way to avoid contamination?

    And mostly is there a good online resource or physical book to study that will teach me these things?
     
  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    how to brew by mr John Palmer.

    best practice id say is get your cleaning and sanitation down pat its that simple keep your cold side crazy clean get OCD on it make it your number one rule to not skimp on fermentation side of brewing( as in cleaning fermentation equipment and utensils even prep area:eek:. ​

    the more and more i brew the more im realising im a small part in the beer making process as in (im getting philosophical here) im 1 organism we are a conglomorate of them and i want another multiple billion organisms to do what i want (turn wort into beer) so this one organism better do all he/she can to make them multiple billion yeast cells happy or this one organism will be dissapointed with infected beer.

    see how recipie can take 2nd place even process i dosnt matter if you dont get the essentials right.

    good luck
     
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  12. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    Here's a good link https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2012...rew-recipe-hop-schedule-grain-bill-terms.html

    If it were me, I'd steep for about 30 mins or so. Basically start when the water is hot enough, and keep it in there as you're ramping the temp up to boil.

    You're right about adding half the extract at the last 10 or 15 mins of the boil.

    Fermentation tales as long as it takes, depending on yeast count, temperature, types of sugars in the wort, etc. I don't really take gravity readings, but I leave it for at least a week or 2 on primary. Then usually I'll transfer into secondary for another week or so. Some people use a secondary, some don't. I think my sanitation is good enough to avoid the risk of infection, and I think it helps to clear my beers (I don't really use any finings).

    I'll second Palmer's book, an older edition is online free, but he just came out with a new edition. I'd also suggest Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher, but that's a bit of a history lesson and recipe formulation too.

    If you have a homebrew store or someone who brews near you, I'd suggest watching them brew. My local store holds classes for extract and all grain brewing every few weeks. I can read a book all day, but I didn't really understand it until I saw it in action.

    Good luck!
     
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  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Palmer's book is online as well. Trialben is right. In order of importance to your beer, these are the main factors to its flavor:
    1. Sanitation
    2. Temperature control during fermentation
    3. Yeast health, including how much you pitch
    4. Keeping a good boil going, and,
    5. The recipe.
    New brewers tend to obsess on #5 when there are four things more important than the recipe itself. And as he mentions, the key to great beer is managing its microbiology. I recently stumbled on some articles about simple lab tests that you can do to tell you where your beer is going wrong. I learned that I have a minor problem getting wort from the kettle to the fermentor - the sample I took from the kettle was stable in a test tube (sealed, sterile, of course) after 36 hours when the one I took from the fermentor was fizzing. Brewing is learning. Watch someone brew to get the basics down, or watch videos (that's how I got started). Read good books on brewing and realize there's lots of junk out there about the Only True Way to Brew. And have fun with it.
     
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  14. MFTIC

    MFTIC Active Member

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    Very interesting!
     
  15. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    Nosybear, I really took to heart your advice on the 5 most important things to brewing good beer. I got a mini fridge for fermenting and I felt between first batch and second that helped tons with the off flavor. I think one more thing I would add to your list is the temp of the wort when you pitch the yeast, I have become more patient for waiting for the wort to cool down to near target fermentation temp, I was actually told 4 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than you want to ferment at, but sometimes I use all the ice from my two icemakers and dont want to make a trip to go buy a few pounds. When I made a Belgian witbeir I pitched at 79 degrees even though my target temp was 69 for the first week of fermentation. That beer was great though because the yeast plays a big factor in the taste for that style. I got beersmith 2 and I can enter into it my yeast production date and get really good numbers out of it for how much to pitch.

    The one thing I am not 100% sure on is #4. the boil. Do you think a strong rolling boil is best or do you think as long as its roling its good? with my electric stove boiling 4 gallons I can have a massive rolling boil if the stove is on full, or I can have what seems to be a good decent rolling boil if i back it off just a touch, and if i back it off a touch more it will barely boil.
     
  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Decent rolling boil should be about right. It's as much about circulating the hops as anything else when the wort is boiling.
     
  17. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    Will i limit the hops ability to work if I use pellets in a grain sock tied to the handles of the pot?
     
  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Likely a bit. Will it matter? No.
     
  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I do that for every batch...never had any problems. Make sure the hops are down in the boiling wort and there's plenty of room in the hop bag. I move it around from time to time just to swish the wort through it. Use a clean spring clamp to hold it to the pot handle. It gets too hot to try untying to get additions into the bag.
     
  20. bobofet

    bobofet New Member

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    The spring clamp is a good idea. I normally but a sack for each hop addition, they are like 64 cents and i figured that it was worth it to not have to worry about straining hop materiel through my useless funnel screen. The first time i used that thing it got so clogged i had to soak my arm in star san and reach through the funnel and remove the plugged screen. beer turned out great, i probably never needed to strain that batch.
     

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