Another New Boy

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SaxonBrew
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Another New Boy

Post by SaxonBrew » Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:54 am

Good morning all. I have just started homebrewing and and am about to embark on my first kit.
There's lots of reading to do, and despite my best efforts I'm sure my first brew won't turn out 100%. My reading so far indicates that maintaining temperature, sterilisation, and keeping oxygen out of the brewing vessel are the most important things to be aware of. However as I live in East Anglia where we have the amongst hardest water in the UK, I am a bit concerned as to whether I should boil all the water that I add to my brew to remove the hardness?
Could somebody please advise on the water concerns and also so let me know if I have grasped the bare essentials correctly.
Many thanks in advance
Cheers
Nigel

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Re: Another New Boy

Post by guypettigrew » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:10 am

Hello Nigel, and welcome. Making your own beer is huge fun, and there's always more to learn.

Yes, temperature and sanitation are vital. Most brewers will say that controlling the fermentation temperature significantly improved the quality of their beer. Not always easy to do, though, unless you have a room at the right temperature or, even better, a fermentation 'fridge.

As you're making a kit beer (a brilliant way to start off) your water composition isn't critical. If you were using grains and boiling the hops then it would be a different matter, but the makers of the kit have already done all the clever water treatment stuff!

Which kit are you planning on starting with?

Guy

SaxonBrew
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by SaxonBrew » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:37 am

Guy

Good morning and thank you for your welcome and the advice. I am starting with a Festival New Zealand lager kit which I am going to make in my shiny new Fermzilla all rounder. I purchased the Fermzilla so as to future proof the move to grains at some time in the future. Also have heat pad and Inky temp controller, so have been doing experiments with water just to see how the temperature control goes.

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Jim
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:43 am

Welcome Nigel. :)

Very hard water can be a challenge to brew with, but it is possible and there are people on here who know how. Boiling will help, but there are quicker and more economical ways to do it with acid treatment. Try to get hold of a water analysis to get a rough idea of what you're dealing with first.
"People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it's served up." GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

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SaxonBrew
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by SaxonBrew » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:45 pm

Jim

Hi. But for my Festival beer kit, as Guy suggests, I should be ok? Or should I boil for that?
The info for my postcode on hardness Jan 2020 is as follows:

470 mg/l :Calcium Carbonate
188 mg/l :Calcium
32.712 °C :Degrees Clark
47 °F :Degrees French
26.696 °dH :Degrees German
4.7 mmol/l :Millimoles

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Jim
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by Jim » Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:25 am

SaxonBrew wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:45 pm
Jim

Hi. But for my Festival beer kit, as Guy suggests, I should be ok? Or should I boil for that?
The info for my postcode on hardness Jan 2020 is as follows:

470 mg/l :Calcium Carbonate
188 mg/l :Calcium
32.712 °C :Degrees Clark
47 °F :Degrees French
26.696 °dH :Degrees German
4.7 mmol/l :Millimoles
Sorry, my mistake - I missed that you were using a kit; it'll be fine.
"People often claim to hunger for truth, but seldom like the taste when it's served up." GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

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Re: Another New Boy

Post by f00b4r » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:55 am

Welcome and good luck with the first brew.

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orlando
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by orlando » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:26 am

Welcome Nigel. Where are you in EA? There are a number of home brew clubs in EA you could join that would help in all aspects of brewing.
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Sad Old Red (Flanders Red Ale for barrel ageing project)
Conditioning: Hunter (Tally Ho Clone) till December,
Drinking: Agent Orange (English Wheat Beer), Southwold Again (V3), Pilgrim, From Russia With Love (RIS), He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother (Wee Heavy)

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Re: Another New Boy

Post by ElthamBrewer » Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:42 pm

Welcome Nigel.

For kits you really don't have to worry about too much, it really should be a case of check your sanitation and just add water. My first 5 brews were all done using a Cooper's kit and plastic fermenter, 1 week fermentation in the corner of a spare bedroom, then into PET bottles and 2 weeks conditioning. The problem I found was the first brews were just nice enough to make me want to make more and learn more, and there the slippery slope begins.

For next steps, the learning process I went along was 1) Buy a copy of Palmer's how to brew, and realize most of it is too advanced and not applicable if you just do kits, 2) Figure out a fermentation that went above 24 degrees C and had a 10 degree temperature range over 24 hours wasn't good, so get a fridge for fermentation, 3) Realise bottling is a pain so get into plastic kegs, 4) Realise I wanted a bit more control than the kits allowed so went all-grain, and 5) Figure out water is important, both because hardness affects taste and minerals affect mash pH, 6) Finally read Palmer again and realise I now have the context to understand what he's writing about.

So you can see why for kits water is not the first place to start. As to your specific question on boiling it, it takes too long and costs too much to boil 20 ~ 30 litres, so most people use CRS/AMS or buy bottled sprint water, but I wouldn't go there until until you have temperature and sanitation well under control as Guy suggests.

Hope the brew works out well!

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Re: Another New Boy

Post by MashBag » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:51 am

SaxonBrew wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 7:54 am
However as I live in East Anglia where we have the amongst hardest water in the UK, I am a bit concerned as to whether I should boil all the water that I add to my brew to remove the hardness?
Could somebody please advise on the water concerns and also so let me know if I have grasped the bare essentials correctly.
Many thanks in advance
Cheers
Nigel
I am in East Anglia. Untreated it makes brilliant IPA.

You have enough to get your head round ignore the water.

.. And while I am here...
Think "eat off it" clean don't fixate on sterile.

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MashBag
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by MashBag » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:57 am

Just have a go. You are reading well ahead.
Make some beer.
It will be great.
It will make you grin.
You will learn loads.
And then you have a place from which to start tinkering with advanced stuff that you may decide is irrelevant.
Humans have been making beer for millenia without stainless steel, bleach or pH analysis.

Crack-on you need beer!

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MashBag
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by MashBag » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:00 am

If you want a good "how to" book. The esteemed Grahem Wheeler wrote it.

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Re: Another New Boy

Post by Cobnut » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:19 am

I can also recommend James Morton’s “Brew” as a great beginner book. He covers kits, pimping kits and BIAB all grain in a very accessible fashion. It’s the book that got me started on AG.
Fermenting: nowt!
Conditioning: Partigyled IDSP & PP, Single hopped APA, Banks's 1953 Mild
Drinking: (extract) Single hop pale ale, Belgian Blond, London Porter, Thai spiced Saison, SMASH Keeping Ale (Chevallier, First Gold, Voss Kveik), 'Ol 'Enry Brut IPA, Dunkelweizen, Sussex Bitter, DogBolter clone, Hazy IPA
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SaxonBrew
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by SaxonBrew » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:49 pm

Gents
Thank you for the advice, which I will take on board.
I live in Grundisburgh near Woodbridge, Suffolk.
@Orlando are you able to point me at a home brew club somewhere close please?
@Mashbag I would like to get to producing NEIPA, so the water sounds promising!

Cheers

SaxonBrew
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Re: Another New Boy

Post by SaxonBrew » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:02 pm

@MashBag Re the Graham Wheeler book [ I have the James Morton Brew] which one are you suggesting please?

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