Calibrating brewing equipment

Hypothesis As per my previous post about reviewing my red ale recipe, the question arose as to whether I was measuring my volumes correctly in the fermenter and kettle. I decided to test this and calibrate the markings on same. Method I filled an IKEA 1L jug up to the 1L graduation and poured it into both the kettle and fermenter until each was full. After each 1L was added, a new graduation line was drawn on the side of the vessel using permanent marker. Results The difference between the sticker on the vessel was pronounced – accounting for a 2L difference in measured volume. I brewed another batch of the same recipe and obtained a batch size of 22L – 5L more than the previous batch. Conclusion These markings are more accurate than the previous ones. This should allow me to follow recipes more accurately. Obviously, accuracy could be improved – I didn’t allow for the temperature of the water affecting the volume and the IKEA jug is probably not the most accurate of measuring tools – but I’m happy with this improvement for now.

Reviewing my red ale recipe

Observation I’ve done two batches of the red ale (which I wrote up one run-through of) and I’m pretty happy with the flavour, but one thing that has vexed me is the quantity. I ended up with about 17L of beer at the end of the last batch, where I was expecting something closer to 25L.  Hypothesis I think that if I play with the Brewer’s Friend website, I can increase the final yield without altering the flavour too much.  Method I entered the ingredients used in the last batch into Brewer’s Friend, as shown below. HOME BREW RECIPE:Title: Niall’s Take on Ruabeoir v1Author: Designing Great Beers Brew Method: ExtractStyle Name: Irish Red AleBoil Time: 60 minBatch Size: 21.25 liters (ending kettle volume)Boil Size: 25 litersBoil Gravity: 1.038Efficiency: 35% (steeping grains only) STATS:Original Gravity: 1.044Final Gravity: 1.013ABV (standard): 4.16%IBU (tinseth): 23.34SRM (daniels): 14.02 FERMENTABLES:3 kg – Liquid Malt Extract – Maris Otter (87.7%) STEEPING GRAINS:0.16 kg – American – Caramel / Crystal 40L (4.7%)0.16 kg – American – Caramel / Crystal 120L (4.7%)0.1 kg – German – De-Husked Caraf I (2.9%) HOPS:35 g – East Kent Goldings, Type: Leaf/Whole, AA: 5.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 23.34 YEAST:White Labs – Irish Ale…
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Brewing an Irish Red Ale – Bottling Day

After two weeks in the fermenter, it was time to bottle the Irish Red Ale. My checklist is below. Bottling Workflow: Wash the following with standard detergent Bottling bucket Siphon tube Filling tube Bottlecaps Spigot Paddle Thermometer 500ml bottles (31) Wash the following using VWP Filling tube Siphon tube Bottlecaps Spigot Paddle Trial jar (tall pint glass in this case) Hydrometer Thermometer Bottling bucket 500ml bottles (31) Assemble bottling bucket Attach tubing to fermenter spigot Have waste bucket to hand to catch waste from tap [Brewer’s Friend brewing calculator states that 19L of beer at 20 degrees requires 105.5g of Table Sugar to bring dissolved CO2 to 2.25 volumes.] Measure 105g of Table Sugar and boil in 400ml of water Add to bottling bucket and allow to cool Remove airlock from fermenter Draw off beer sample for hydrometer reading into sanitised trial jar Measure temperature of sample [16 degrees C] Take hydrometer reading [1.012] Add sample to bottling bucket to avoid waste Add remainder of beer from fermenter via siphon – avoid agitation Seal bottling bucket and attach filling stick to spigot Rinse all bottles with water to remove VWP For each bottle: Fill to top using filling stick Cap…
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Brewing an Irish Red Ale – Brew day

The ingredients from my ingredient shopping arrived really quickly – I placed the order on Thursday at 17:30 and they arrived on Saturday. Impressive work from The Homebrew Company! I put together the workflow below and printed it out so I’d have something to follow along with on brew day. It really helped pinpoint things to focus on and times when I’d be able to prepare the next step while waiting for target temperatures. I had a setback in preparing for brew day, however, as I managed to drop my hydrometer and sample tube – the only two glass pieces of brewing paraphenalia! Needless to say, both of them shattered. Thankfully, I was able to borrow a hydrometer off my friend Diarmaid. I used a tall pint glass as a sample tube, but ended up having a lot of wasted liquid while doing so, I’ll have to be conservative about checking my specific gravity until I source a new one. I tweaked the recipe slightly according to the style guidance from Brewer’s Friend, which should hopefully compensate for my extra dark barley. Other than that, the brew went off without a hitch! Looking forward to the taste test already! Brew Workflow:…
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Brewing an Irish Red Ale – Ingredient Shopping

Brewing beer is a hobby of mine. I haven’t done very many beers so far, but I find it very satisfying and rewarding. I’ve done a few kit brews with dry malt extract and one extract brew so far. I haven’t had any input into the ingredients I brew with before now – time for a change! I picked a recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, by Jamil Zainasheff & John J. Palmer, for an Irish Red Ale (It’s called Ruabeoir in their book, which smacks of putting “red beer” into Google Translate, but I digress…). Having never followed a beer recipe before, I struggled a bit parsing the ingredient list. The °L notation in the recipe after some of the grains was particularly confusing. A quick search of the index informed me that this is “degrees Lovibond”, a scale for measuring the colour of the beer. In the EU, EBC (European Brewing Convention) is used instead, which is 1.97 times the °L value. I did all of my shopping on The Homebrew Company‘s website – they have a big selection and I’ve ordered from them before when doing my extract brew. The grain bill called for an English pale malt extract,…
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