First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Get advice on making beer from raw ingredients (malt, hops, water and yeast)
Captain Beaufort
Sober
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:08 pm

First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by Captain Beaufort » Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:12 pm

Hi all!

I’m underway with my first home AG Brew and have several questions forming. I thought to write up my experience so far in case others have some opinion and tips to chime in with. Previously I’ve done a brew day at Brockley brewery in London learning All Grain method with a 3V system – mash tun cooler & brew kettle. I recently decided to give AG a go at home and have bought a 30 Litre Klarstein Mash Kettle 5 piece kit.

I bought the Mosaic IPA AG recipe pack from BrewUK to get me started. Claiming to make 23 Litres of Wort with an OG of 1.055.

Although I’ve never used an all in one system before I was pretty impressed with how easy the Klarstein is to operate. My main gripe is that it has no internal measurement markings, so I very carefully filled to 23 litres (amount of strike water needed) and marked and then to 27 litres (amount of wort to brew) and marked. I will plan to mark these more permanently at some point before my next brew day.

The unit heated fairly quickly to temperature and was very easy to use for the mash. I manually cycled the wort through the grain with a 5 litre jug as the unit I bought doesn’t have a pump. After draining the wort I sparged a further 4 litres through the grain and topped up to 27 litres as per the recipe. The brew was straight forward, getting up to temperature and hopping the Cascade in a muslin bag for the duration. I plumbed the wort chiller to my garden hose to cool as much as possible though that still took a good 30 mins or so. Anyway, up to now all going well, mashed, sparged, boiled, cooled.

Problem 1 :
I drained the kettle into the fermenter taking a sample about halfway. My OG reading was 1.060 (may have been 1.062, I found it hard to read exactly) – eitherway, a bit higher than anticipated. The volume of wort I collected was around 17.5 litres (according to the markings on the fermentation bucket). This explains the higher OG if I’ve boiled off too much in the brew. Should I have kept a closer eye on how much was boiling off? Perhaps I had too vigorous rolling boil? I was aiming for 105 degrees to keep it bubbling throughout.

I’d bought some WhiteLabs California Ale Yeast WLP001 with the kit. I think with a highish OG I should have used more than one pack or made a starter but I only had this and have never propagated yeast before. I assumed 1 pack was enough for the kit I bought it with.
I got a bit worried about the higher OG and used an online calculator to work out how to correct it. I boiled 1.8 Litres of water, cooled to 22 degrees and added that to the wort. I see this as a potential breach to the fermenter adding stuff after sealing it but I was as careful as possible. I will be honest and say I added this 12 hours after fermentation starting which I know could be an error.

Problem 2:
I didn’t soften the fall of the wort into the fermenter so there was a fair ‘head’ to the wort on the bucket. I thought getting some oxygen in pre-ferment was a good thing but underestimated the amount of head it would make. I’ve since read online that you want to limit the amount of oxygen in the wort? Maybe this doesn’t matter? Next time I might use some silicon tubing to do it gently.
There’s a fair yeast cake (4 inches) residue tideline on the bucket after the bubbles have fallen. Will I have lost yeast in this deposit? Should I leave it or is there a benefit to trying to get that back in the wort?

Problem 3:
I’m fermenting in my garage which is semi-insulated so I bought a heat pad to keep it at least 20 degrees C. I also wrapped an old sleeping bag around the fermenter which I think was a mistake and/or overkill. 2 days into the ferment I checked the thermometer on the bucket, it was right at the top (32 degrees) I instantly turned off the heat pad and removed the sleeping bag. Wondering if I’ve done some damage here?
Would the fermentation of the wort have generated it’s own heat? Surely the heat pad wouldn’t have heated up that high? Should I get a temperature controller to regulate the heat pad for future brews? I’m struggling to work out why it was so warm.

I’ve not seen / heard much co2 leaving the airlock since the temperature has returned to 18-20 degrees C. Maybe its OK, I’m planning to dry hop today (day 4) so hopefully get a good whiff of C02 to reassure me when I open the lid.

Any advice / tips on how to resolve some of my bodges or just improve things for the next time would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance! :D

Top Cat
Steady Drinker
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by Top Cat » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:11 pm

Hi Captain.
You’ve certainly thrown yourself into the deep end!
Basically your at the bottom of a learning curve that you can quickly navigate up.
You will probably get a lot of help with this post, I will throw my five penneth in.
Problem 1
I will leave to the guys with similar kit.
Problem 2
You don’t have a problem, the more oxygen you can introduce BEFORE fermentation the better, that’s the way I do it, don’t worry about the head on top, it will die down. No oxygen during or after fermentation.
Problem 3
The problem with heat pads they are a bit primitive and hard/impossible to adjust, and getting to 32c for 2 days you have probably reached complete fermentation or harmed the yeast. You may find the resultant beer may have suffered too. Temperature control during fermentation is important to quality beer, make yourself a fermentation fridge if possible you won’t regret it!

Hope this helps, as I’ve said others will probably give you more in depth advice, I’ve tried to keep it simple. Good luck with the brewing, it is a hugely satisfying hobby.

f00b4r
Site Admin
Posts: 1070
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:54 pm
Location: Berlin

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by f00b4r » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:17 pm

A couple of quick thoughts:

Use a stainless steel ruler or make a “dip stick” with markings to know how much liquid is in the Klarstein.

Boil off is dependant on both equipment (including any power variables) and weather conditions, you can just account for this with experience when calculating the amount of water needed. It is fine to top up during the boil, at the end or even with bottled water in the fermenter at the end. NB 100C water has around a 4% greater volume than room, so make sure you account for that too.

Sorry but don’t have time now to respond to the rest but others will likely do so (or I will try tomorrow).

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:06 am

Hi captain.

Welcome aboard.

Problem 3.
This is similar to how I ferment.
Easy fix - get an inkbird 308. Sorted.

If you later decide you need a fermentation fridge (I never have in years) you can use the inkbird on that.
Last edited by MashBag on Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:09 am

Water level :

A. You will get used to it.
B. It does not matter. Top up the fermenter & you have the opportunity to adjust the temp before you pitch.

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:13 am

I’ve not seen / heard much co2 leaving the airlock since the temperature has returned to 18-20 degrees C. Maybe its OK, I’m planning to dry hop today (day 4) so hopefully get a good whiff of C02 to reassure me when I open the lid.
It's OK. Probably done. If it peaked.

Taste it. Taste is a brilliant tool.
Hydrometers are too

Airlocks are not. And you might find you retire them along the way.

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:20 am

The klarstein is an excellent machine. Although I don't have one, I have few friends with.

In that range I don't think you could have bought better.

Well done. I think you have made your first beer....and despite the steep learning curve and the moments along the way, it will be fine!

Are you bottling?

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:01 am

Just remembered I wrote this for them.....

Hmm. Can we not upload PDF's ?

Captain Beaufort
Sober
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:08 pm

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by Captain Beaufort » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:27 am

Wow, thanks all for the swift responses. Really appreciate it!

I'll get an inkbird to start with. I might be able to get hold of an old fridge soon for free as my office is having a clear out due to downsizing. If I have space I'll look at making it a fermentation fridge. I'm really having to hold back from constantly checking on the beer now, I guess it's first timers excitement!

I'm planning to bottle into 500ml bottles. I only have one bucket at the moment which I am fermenting in, but was considering decanting the beer back into the klarstein to use as a bottling bucket. Assuming this won't be detrimental to the beer moving it between vessels?

I've seen people siphon into a bottling bucket to bottle using a spigot? My fermenter has a spigot on so I could just bottle straight from that via a bottling wand.

User avatar
Cobnut
Hollow Legs
Posts: 357
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:23 pm
Location: Ipswich
Contact:

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by Cobnut » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:29 am

MashBag wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:01 am
Hmm. Can we not upload PDF's ?
One of the admins can probably do this for you. Ask nicely :wink:
Fermenting: nowt!
Conditioning: Partigyled IDSP & PP, Single hopped APA
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, Make American Stout Great Again, Dunkelweizen, Sussex Bitter, DogBolter clone, Hazy IPA
Planning: Mild Ale, 1750 Porter

Top Cat
Steady Drinker
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:59 pm

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by Top Cat » Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:04 am

Captain Beaufort wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:27 am
Wow, thanks all for the swift responses. Really appreciate it!

I'll get an inkbird to start with. I might be able to get hold of an old fridge soon for free as my office is having a clear out due to downsizing. If I have space I'll look at making it a fermentation fridge. I'm really having to hold back from constantly checking on the beer now, I guess it's first timers excitement!

I'm planning to bottle into 500ml bottles. I only have one bucket at the moment which I am fermenting in, but was considering decanting the beer back into the klarstein to use as a bottling bucket. Assuming this won't be detrimental to the beer moving it between vessels?

I've seen people siphon into a bottling bucket to bottle using a spigot? My fermenter has a spigot on so I could just bottle straight from that via a bottling wand.
That’s the way I put some of my brew into bottles, I’ve got a hozelock tap and use a bottling wand with a hozelock quick fitting adapted to the end, very simple and effective.

Regarding the fridge, that’s all you need, an old one linked up to an inkbird 308, and a heat tube. One of the benefits is you can chill your beer to become clearer before bottling or kegging.

Regarding your water loss after boiling, the instructions of 27 litres of water to make 23 litres of beer, is at best ambitious. You will probably lose around 1 litre per kilogram of grain through absorption alone, then there’s evaporation, hop absorption and boiler dead space to consider. Normally a couple of brews with trial and error sorts this problem.
For instance, to get 25 litres of fermentable wort, I need to start with 36 litres of water.
Hope this helps.

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:44 pm

Top Cat wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:04 am

Regarding the fridge, that’s all you need, an old one linked up to an inkbird 308, and a heat tube. One of the benefits is you can chill your beer to become clearer before bottling or kegging.
Absolutely. Completely forgot about that bit.
I ferment outside in a heated bag, and then rack and chill in a fridge.

guypettigrew
Even further under the Table
Posts: 2119
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:10 pm
Location: Christchurch, Dorset

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by guypettigrew » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:24 pm

"A heated bag"? Tell us more!

Guy

User avatar
MashBag
Piss Artist
Posts: 162
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 am

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by MashBag » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:08 am

I brew outside & got bored with lugging wort & beer back in the house. So needed a flexible fermentation solution.

I have made two insulated fermentation bags.
One that fits over the BM and any fermenter.
The second fits over a 3 crates of beer for secondary.

Both have pockets for the inkbird. Both keep a steady 20c. Tested down to 2c ambient.

perchlorus
Sober
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:45 pm

Re: First time home brew - AG Mosaic IPA

Post by perchlorus » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:44 am

Hi Captain,

To address a couple questions that I'm not sure were answered, and share my Klarstein experience:

Yes, fermentation will generate heat so ideally your ambient temp will be at least a couple degrees lower than you want the fermentation at. I ferment in a bucket in a room kept at 17-18C to get 20-21C fermenter temp with ~20l, but that'll change based on fermenting vessel material, shape, size, wort, and yeast. Just have to work it out for your specific setup.

Also you probably shouldn't worry about scraping any dried cake (tideline?) off the sides of your fermenter, that should just be yeast detritus and proteins and could give you some nasty flavours, from what I hear. There will be plenty of yeast in the wort unless you really underpitched. I drain the Klarstein from about 90 cm down to my fermenter on the floor, and that's quite a beautiful frothy waterfall.

I brew with the 25l Klarstein, and it's been great. I use a 2 l measuring cup to get my water volume pretty close at most steps (it really doesn't take too long to measure out 10-15 l from the garden hose or purified water jug with that).

I find I generally get pretty close to my OG goals when I account for 1l/kg of grain absorption and 3l/hr of boil off. Those two things will change a bit with malts and ambient temperature + humidity, respectively, but should be a good starting point. Most of the boil is spent at the 1500 W setting as 3000 causes geyser-like bubbles, and depending on how cold it is outside I'll leave the lid partially on during the boil to help hold some heat in. But keep it angled to the side so the condensates don't run back into the wort.

I also plan for 0.5 litre of trub left in after the boil; I pour as much as possible without getting too much grody stuff in my fermenter. There is probably 1 l of volume under the spigot level if you don't tip the Klarstein at all when draining. To clear I fine with irish moss during the boil then after cooling with immersion chiller I givver a good ol' whirlpool and let things settle for about 20 minutes before draining to the fermenter.

Because the Klarstein heats so fast on the 3000 W setting I also heat my sparge water with that before I mash, and pour it into a cooler until I'm ready to sparge. I use the grainfather sparge/mash volume equation and it has worked well for me to get near volume and gravity targets:

((FV + TL) - MV) + (GM * 0.80) = SV

Where FV is cold fermenter volume goal in litres,
TL is water/wort loss from boil and trub in litres,
MV is mash water volume (I use 2.7l / kg grain),
GM is grain bill mass in kg,
and SV is sparge volume in litres.

So for trub loss on a 90 minute boil I plan for 5 l (4.5 l of boil off loss and .5 left in boiler).

I also squeeze out my hop bag, which probably holds at least .5 l of water. But some folks say that might give some bitter flavours or increase oxidation risk, though it hasn't made any unpleasant brews for me!

As you do, I recirculate several times using a pitcher during the mash and mash out; helps to keep the temperature even. I generally set the temp 1 degree above my ideal mash temp as it won't start heating until it's dropped three degrees below setpoint. My Klarstein also is wrapped in a thin bit of insulation like that used behind wall radiators, though I'm not sure how much difference that actually makes.

Hopefully some of that is useful; please let me know if you have any questions.

Edit: changed "ready to mash" to "ready to sparge" and 0.8 to 0.80 because emojis

Post Reply