Getting some brews on…

I haven’t managed to get wort into the brew kettle (or Braumeister, if we’re going to pedantic about it) for ages, and that sort of bone-idleness just has to stop. Period.

So I’ve got two VERY exciting recipes worked out.  The ingredients have now all been ordered from Rob at The Malt Miller ( http://themaltmiller.co.uk ) as of last night at 10pm and he’s just mailed me to say that the order is already dispatched and winging it’s way to me, so I’ll get it tomorrow in the morning. first thing.

That’s why I now always order my ingredients from him.

Anyway:

Brew Number 1: Cascadian Dark Ale

This time it’ll be properly dark US IPA style, thanks to some Carafa II (dehusked, roast malt) along with a dose of Munich – to really accent the malt baseline.  200gms of Chinook and Cascade split between the boil and for KEG-HOPPING will really push the needle hops-wise.

Brew Number 2: A Thornbridge Kipling Clone

I love Thornbridge beers, I really do and Kipling’s punchiness of new-world Nelson Sauvin hops is especially close to my heart.  I shamelessly found and stole the recipe from a post on JBK by tfxm who apparently used to work at Thornbridge: http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=38455

Full recipes will follow with the brew day reports…I need to do them soon as Christmas is-a-coming.  God preserve us all.

BrewUK

BrewUKA bit like your local brewery, you should always hold your favourite home-brew suppliers dear.

As you probably know I tend to get my malt and hops locally (from Rob the malt miller as he’s local and has cut me a few favours on occasion)

But, for all my exciting sundries: kegs, pipes, buckets and all that jazz (and Wyeast!) I tend to go to Greg at BrewUK.  His prices are hard to beat and his range is pretty much unsurpassed.

The biggest draw to the BrewUK online presence, however, is the BrewUK forum…  I must admit that I wouldn’t be half the home-brewer I am today if it wasn’t for Saracen, Hamish and co.  They and the rest of the the community were the folks that set me off down the wort-splattered path of all-grain brewing.

I haven’t posted to the forum for ages, but feel I ought to if only to say “Hi” and also to ‘fess up to buying a Braumeister…will they ever forgive me?

So here’s the tip(s):  If you want some decent gear (including a *huge* range of extract/all-grain kits) go to the BrewUK store; however, if you need help, advice, or just a shoulder to cry on when you experience your fifteenth boil-over, you can’t go far wrong than join the BrewUK forum.

http://www.brewuk.co.uk/

UPDATE:

I have just logged on and said “Hi” – let’s hope there’s some Braumeister users on there.  I could do with some good recipe tips!

Water treatment for Home Brewing

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One particular area that causes much heartache for the budding all-grain brewer is water treatment;  just having the right starting water profile can gain you a few points of gravity in your wort, or simply make the beer more truer to style.

If you are interested in brewing to style, you might like to check out the Beer Judge Certification Program’s style guide – available in many exciting formats.  I have the PDF on my kindle, which is desperately sad…or so my wife says:

http://www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.php

For adjusting my water (or liquor if you want to sound vaguely geeky about it), I tend to use Carbonate Reducing Solution (CRS) and Dry Liquor Salts (DLS).  CRS and DLS are available from all good home brew shops; CRS helps to reduce the hardness in your water, and DLS helps to add the minerals needed to adjust it to style.

If you want a quick overview on how it all works you should take a look at the Brupaks website as they have quite a nice explanation, it’s a bit of a head scratcher to start with, but it makes sense after some reading:

http://www.brupaks.com/water%20treatment.htm

Before you start with that you’ll need to test your water to see how hard it is, and for that I recommend the API aquarium kit below, it was only a tenner from the local garden centre…I reckon it’s better than getting a water report from the water company as you’ll be testing the water that comes out of your tap and not learning about the state of the water in your general area:

http://www.apifishcare.com/products/product.aspx?productid=74

Once I’d got my results I found it to be a bit of a faff to get pen and paper out and then work out what I needed to add to the water and the mash by referring to the Brupaks website alone.

I took a lot of inspiration – and half-inched, modded and re-jigged some of the formulas – from the Brau Kaiser website, here:

http://www.braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=At_home_water_testing

Braukaiser have some legendary spreadsheets, which are great for the hardcore brewer/beer scientist.  Kudos to them. Visit and learn…

I decided to get together a smaller, easier to use, spreadsheet that would to make things quicker and simpler.  All you need to do is to enter in the results of your water test, and then select the style of beer you want to make.

I now use it every time I brew and it saves me a ton of time:

My spreadsheet is linked here, so feel free to have a look, check it out and see what you think.  It’s pretty simple and straightforward so have a play, download it and give it a whirl (you might have to select “Download”):

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3_xMi8545e8QWkwTGNNaGMzNXc/edit?usp=sharing

(Tedious legal bit: I take no responsibility for you either poisoning yourself while adjusting your brewing water or getting your computer all riddled with viruses after you download this.  It was clean when I put it up there, but once these things are out in the wild who knows what can happen to them…a bit like cats I guess.)