Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

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Jon474

Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Jon474 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:01 pm

I originally posted this on the HBF but as I was quite active on JBK a few years ago I thought I would share it here, too. Sorry if that means you have seen this twice!

After a gap of...let me count it...six years and seventeen days, I am preparing to brew another batch of beer. I last brewed on 22 May 2011. Much water (and beer) has passed under many bridges since that date. Friends have come and, sadly, gone. Not sure anyone on here will remember me but I used to be quite active on this forum, and on HBF as well.

Anyway, I have gone through two pallets of equipment and buckets and jugs and...brewing stuff. Many things have been thrown away and a few things have been bought.

I have re-opened long-locked archives on my computer. I have rediscovered old books, and bought a few too many new ones. I have audited my home brew kit, repaired and replaced a few components, ordered fresh ingredients, bought three of the new-style sachets of WLP002 yeast...and purchased a new 56L SS brew kettle and a gas burner. I have, quite simply, rediscovered my passion for brewing.

So, tomorrow is a Brew Day! Orange Bucket Brewing (HQ: in my garage) is back up and running. I have spent a week putting things together, taking things apart, trying out configurations and layouts and now I am ready to brew. The HLT is full of water and the timer is set. Alkalinity has been measured and Graham Wheeler's Water Treatment Calculator (still an invaluable tool) has guided me on my mineral salt additions. A Campden tablet has done for the Total Chlorine content of my water. The mash tun is wrapped and the ICC has been cleaned and boiled...it has been stored for a long time.

What to brew? I am still using Beer Engine - I cannot fault its simplicity - although I have done a comprehensive update of the hop database it contains. I also updated my copy of Beersmith. So, how about this? Calling it Ancient and Modern. I am looking to get smooth bitterness with the flavour of honey from the Golding hops matched with fruit from the Mosaic. Aroma is a given!

Batch size: 33L
OG: 1044
IBU: 36

Grain
Pale malt 92.3%
Crystal malt (130) 4.4%
Torrified wheat 3.0%
Roasted barley 0.3%

Hops
Goldings 60 mins 56g
Goldings 20 mins 30g
Mosaic 15 mins 10g
Mosaic 10 mins 10g
Mosaic 5 mins 10g
Mosaic at flame-out 5g

I've taken some pictures and I hope they come out okay.

The set-up...with one of quite a few orange buckets (I get them from B&Q).

Image

Grain bill...

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Hops...

Image

Goldings v Mosaic

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Water treatment:

CRS: 4ml in HLT
1 x campden tablet
Gypsum: 20g in HLT
Calcium chloride: 3g in MT
Epsom salts: 4g in Kettle

Yeast:

Yeast used was WLP002. Starter: grown on 3L of SG 1.040 wort. Mixed 1.5L of post-mash wort at SG 1.062 with 1.2L of water to create a 2L starter at SG 1.042. Pitched 2L. The image is of the first 1L batch stepping up from the Pure-Pitch pack.

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Mash:

Forgot to measure pre-mash grain temperature!

Strike water temperature was 73C. cooling down to 71.4C after a few minutes.

HLT temperature control by me was poor.

Mash temperature: initial reading was 65.6C, second reading showed 66C exactly.

Mash time: 90 minutes. Mash was good, good consistency and no leaks.

Forgot to measure post-mash temperature!

Sparge was poor. Mash out and sparge liquors were below target temperatures of 77C. The grain was poorly stirred. Mash tun over-topped during mash out and batch sparges. Pump developed an airlock that I could not clear. In the end I hand-balled 7 litres into the mash tun!

First runnings: 15L at SG 1.059. Second and third runnings: not a clue. Need a better process.

Ended up with 36 litres at SG 1.036 in the kettle. The experience with the mash has made me order a mash tun and false bottom from Brew Builder.

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Boil:

Boil was good. First time with new SS kettle and 7.5KW gas boiling ring. Funny smell from boiling ring for the first hour as all the paint burned off!

Pre-boil volume 36L. Evaporation and cooling losses were 7L. Evaporation rate higher than I expected but the set-up achieved an effective rolling boil.

ICC worked well. Down to 23C in less than 15 minutes using mains water feed.

Post-boil volume 29L. Trub and hop losses were a further 2.5L. This is too high and I need a better process to whirlpool and to create a cone in the centre of the kettle. Volume into the FV: a very poor 26L.

The SS Brew Master kettle looks good...but I wish I had just bought one from Brew Builder!

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Trub, cold break etc...

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Hop and grain debris...

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Fermentation (so far):

Collected only 26L into the FV at 10.4 Brix. SG 1.042 and pitched the 2L yeast starter.

WLP002 works best between 18.9-20C. It is tolerant of higher temperatures...but not too high! Wrapped the FV in insulation and applied three freezer blocks beneath the lagging.

Readings:
• 9 June
○ 3pm. Temp 22.4C. No gravity reading.
○ 5pm. Temp 22.4C. No gravity reading.
○ 10pm. Temp 19.7C. Ambient temp was 14.1C so removed ice-packs. No gravity reading.
• 10 June
○ 9am. Temp 21.4C. No gravity reading.
○ 2:30pm. Temp 22.3C. No gravity reading. Ice-packs re-applied.
○ 4pm. Temp 20.2C. Gravity 7.8 Brix. SG 1.031.

All in all, I feel I had a good brewing session. Didn't get stressed. Took the inevitable problems in my stride and enjoyed myself. Didn't hit my target volume but that was largely due to new equipment and process issues...and those can be fixed.

Thanks for reading.

Take care
Jon

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Kev888
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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Kev888 » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:37 pm

Well done, Jon. Sound like quite a successful brew day over all.

Glad you enjoyed it too. Sometimes I let little snags annoy me, which really isn't what it is supposed to be about!

Cheers
Kev

Jon474

Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Jon474 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:51 pm

Day 5 update:

Well, you never stop learning in brewing. Or in my case, you forget what you have forgotten. I forgot the "skew" factor!

Over the last 72 hours my refractometer Brix% readings have been:

7.8
6.2
5.8
5.6

...and I cheerfully turned these into SG readings of:

1.031 Feeling happy
1.024 Still happy
1.023 Not happy
1.022 Despairing

...and then I remembered the "skew" factor caused by measuring Brix values of fermenting wort. How could I have been so stupid?

So, corrected readings are:

1.024 Feeling happy
1.014 Feeling very happy
1.011 Over the moon
1.010 In clover

The final SG reading was confirmed by hydrometer when I just could not believe the refractometer reading. I then measured water in both to confirm they were working. Then the light came on!

I think the beer has finished. OG 1.042 down to 1.010. Apparent attenuation 75%, not bad for WLP002.

Leaving it another day or so to warm up for a diacetyl tidy up, and then it's going in a cask.

Brewing happy
Jon

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Kev888 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:17 am

Yeah, there have been several debates on refractometer correction in recent years. A small correction may be needed to account for the type of sugars we measure, and another (after fermentation begins) to correct for the effect of alcohol - though opinions differ on how best to do this. Apparently some people and calculators also get the conversion between the different units (brix/plato/SG) wrong, which muddies the waters further. There is a lot to be said for doing a sanity check with a humble hydrometer.

As it happens I was recently looking at my records for wlp002; it is one of my favourites and I've used this strain quite a lot. I routinely get higher attenuation than whitelabs suggest, which isn't unusual (their figures are just a guide) but the amount was rather more than for other strains. It appears to need mashing really quite warm if you want to curb the attenuation by much, whilst cool mashes can be heading to 78% or more - which makes it very versatile, if a little harder to get consistent.
Kev

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by chefgage » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:51 am

I spent many an hour experimenting with my nice new refractometer. I made many different samples of wort using dme at different gravities. I also took many readings whilst actually brewing and compared them all to hydrometer readings using things like beersmith to get the conversion readings.

The acuracy of the refractometer seemed to be well out. There appeared to be no consistancy at all. I gave up in the end and now only use a hydrometer.

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Kev888 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:03 am

The picture is somewhat muddied by the different personalities/abilities involved and also that the hydrometers used for comparison will actually vary too, but from what people say it seems very likely that the cheap refractometers many of us use vary quite a bit in accuracy between devices.

That said, they should need correction for both the types (as well as the amount) of sugars involved and also/later any alcohol, so of course direct readings should not be accurate in any case. But they should be 'reasonably' consistent and so able to be corrected by a calculated correction factor - the adjusted readings should then correlate reasonably well with gravity; it seems that not all do.

By way of example (though this will differ for different devices) this is how my particular refractometer compares to my particular hydrometer in unfermented wort of different dilutions
Image
You can see the differences are vaguely proportional, so get more noticeable at higher gravities. Were I to repeat this with a different wort (say from a darker or lighter grain bill or possibly different mash temperature) then it would be subtly different again, but in general it is quite repeatable so a correction factor can be applied for pretty good agreement with the hydrometer.

The affects of alcohol mean that a second correction needs to be used once fermentation has begun, although the best way to do this seems to be a mater of some disagreement. Graham Wheeler's Beer Engine is reputed to do it very well, and also doesn't suffer from incorrect conversion between units like some other software and calculators. TBH I don't use my refractometer much with fermented/fermenting wort. It is most convenient for measuring hot wort, and invaluable for taking near real-time measurements during fly sparging so I wouldn't be without it, but for post-fermentation measurement I still use the simple hydrometer.
Kev

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by chefgage » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:28 am

What i found was i ended up with correction factors that differed by quite a bit. I never plotted a graph though, so looking back i could have done more with averages, lines of best fit etc.

I can see from your graph as the sg increases the difference between hyd and refractometer readings increases approx proportionally so how would a correction factor be applied in this case. The correction factor from sample 1 would decrease down to sample 8.

The readings i got were all over the place so a different correction factor would have to be used with each different refractometer reading!!

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Kev888 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:05 pm

Yes there can be some small error, so each of the samples above was measured several times, and the results averaged (after calibrating the thing against clean water). But if you got big differences or variances then it sounds like something isn't right, whether thats to do with the refractometer or your technique I can't say, but they should cluster reasonably repeatedly for a given sample or it would be no use at all.

My refractometer and hydrometer varied reasonably proportionately, so across the typical gravities I measure it could be said the refractometer gave a reading that was about 0.966x the hydrometer reading. But in truth it wasn't that simple as the proportion also changed 'slightly' with gravity too, so over a wider range my correction factor gets less accurate. TBH I couldn't be bothered to calculate this, I just made a line version of the graph and refer to it visually before noting down the corrected figure. If I'd been a bit more careful with the spacing of my dilution rates it would look a bit prettier!
Kev

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by chefgage » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:38 pm

I think there was something definetly wrong with what i doing or the refracrometer was.not very good ( it was a cheap one)

Either way from your plotted graph the correction factor would be different at each wort sample would it not?? As the difference between the two values is changing.
This is pretty much what i was thinking when i was trying to work mine out. In the end i thought i would keep things simple and go back to the hydrometer :mrgreen:

Edit.

Just reread your last post and you have just said the point i was making about the proportions changing.

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by chefgage » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:43 pm

Just to add, sorry Jon474 for jumping on your thread :D
Hope the beer turns out nice.

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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by Kev888 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:26 pm

chefgage wrote:the correction factor would be different at each wort sample would it not?? As the difference between the two values is changing.
Just to be clear (as I'm not 100% sure if I understand you), so sorry of this is obvious: the wort correction factor is not a fixed amount that can be added/subtracted at any gravity, rather it is closer to being a percentage of the reading. So it needs to be a multiplication (or division) factor - which will automatically give you proportionally larger corrections at higher gravities.

It isn't completely perfect in my case, so yes in an ideal world I would still tweak it a tiny bit according to gravity and also the types of sugar in my wort, but it is close enough within my normal range of OGs for my purposes.
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Re: Orange Bucket Brewing - A Brew Day

Post by chefgage » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:55 pm

Sorry.my explanations were a bit rubbish :D

Yes i understand its a percentage correction factor
What i was getting at is if the error difference between the hyd reading and refrac reading is not linear across the graph then a simple correction factor cannot be applied.

Looking at your graph the error difference appears to be pretty much linear so it would work in your case.

With my results i had a.few.wierd readings so that scewed the results so the correction factor did not tally up.

I may have another go at some point :D

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