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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Brew Day From Hell
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
cdeme123
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Default Brew Day From Hell

I have been brewing for about 9 years now and have never had so many things go wrong on one day.

I'll try to be brief. I am brewing a pilot batch of American Amber I hope enter in my first ever competition. I was brewing in my garage and it was really hot out yesterday (90 degrees plus). I measured temps and calculated my strike temp to get to 158 to be 178. This is a partial mash BTW.

I mashed in and checked my temps. Uh oh...184!? Ok, don't panic, I quickly got about a 1/2 quart RO water and put a little in. Oh no...151. How can that be? I didn't add that much. Ok, I'll add a little hot water...153. I have to stop now before I dilute this mash any further. It's a partial mash after all, I'll just lose some mash efficiency which I can make up with some extract.

When I go to mash out, my temp is now reading 145. What the...? I heat some H2O to boiling and mash out after confirming conversion. I stop the fly sparge at 1.010 leaving about a gallon of wort in the tun.

Ok, I go to the brew kettle and get my gravity and volumes straightened out and and I'm back on track. I fire up my burner and go inside for a quick bite. I came back out and watch the pot so I don't have a boil over. After about 20 minutes there is still no boil. This in only about 4 gallons and I have a big burner. It should be roaring by now. "Now that I think about it, this burner is usually much louder at full open." I killed the burner and adjusted the air intake and blew out the burner with some compressed air. Fired it back up and THERE IT IS!. Got a great boil going in a couple minutes.

Nearing the end of the boil I went to get a gravity reading. I decided too many things were going wrong today to I decided to use both the refractometer and hydrometer just to be sure they agree. In getting some hot wort from the kettle, some spewed out and burned my hand. COMMON DANG IT!

Ok, my gravity and volume appear to be what they should be. I start cooling with my immersion chiller. After it stopped steaming it seemed like I was getting close. I put my thermometer in and it was 80 degrees. "Ok, a little further." I was thinking. I checked it again about 5 minutes later and...81. "Huh. Maybe I was in a cold spot before." I removed the chiller and put the small kettle in an ice bath while I aerated it. Checked it again and...134. AH! My thermometer is messed up. Changed the batteries and still no dice.

I finished off the day and cleaned up everything. I threw out my defective thermometer and today I am looking in to putting thermometers and sites on all my tuns and kettles.

The beer is fermenting although I won't be able to go to competition with this because I have no idea how to replicate the recipe if, for some miraculous reason, I actually win this thing.

There it is. My worst brew day ever. At least I didn't spill the whole batch of wort after cooling it. That would have taken the cake.

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:04 PM   #2
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All-in-all that doesnt seem like a terrible brewday. No finger-ectomy, no 2nd degree burns, no boil-over, I would count that as a win! BTW. I have yet to find a good digital thermometer that has lasted more than a year. (for $20, that is)

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Old 06-11-2012, 10:13 PM   #3
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sounds like a job for thermapen.

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Old 06-12-2012, 03:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastoak View Post
sounds like a job for thermapen.
seriously. the thermapen can solve all of your problems minus the burnt hand.
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:50 PM   #5
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Ok, picked up some new equipment this week including a thermometer. It is really nice knowing that my readings are accurate. Brewed another batch yesterday (don't tell my boss, he thinks I was sick). :O

Getting ready to bottle the other one from the bad day. We'll see.

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Old 07-12-2012, 08:01 PM   #6
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Test tasted the beer finally and it turned out great. Just shared some the boys and girls at the homebrew club and got good feedback. Now the question is, can I brew it again? May want to enter this one as an American Brown in an upcomming competition. Was told I could place with this one. I'll keep you posted.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:11 AM   #7
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I put the last of this in a plastic 2 litter bottle about a month ago and sealed it up tight. Opened it tonight and it is just as carbonated now add it was then. It still tastes great and is real purty to look at. Great color, clear with great head retention. Definitely brewing this recipe again.

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Old 08-03-2012, 04:01 AM   #8
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With or without the SNAFU's

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Old 08-03-2012, 07:17 AM   #9
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I once brewed a Scotch ale that made it to the top 3 of a tasting competition at a local brewpub. The top three's recipes were reviewed to be considered as a seasonal. I was honest in my recipe submission, so when the host brewer saw that I had a similar mash schedule (roller coaster), I was not chosen. He did acknowledge that it was a very good Scotch ale. He just didn't see it being duplicated on his system...who would do THAT on purpose?

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdeme123 View Post
Ok, picked up some new equipment this week including a thermometer. It is really nice knowing that my readings are accurate. Brewed another batch yesterday (don't tell my boss, he thinks I was sick). :O

Getting ready to bottle the other one from the bad day. We'll see.
Did you check it to make sure it's accurate?
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