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Old 01-20-2010, 02:11 AM   #1
Frinkey
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Default I need to vent...and so did my batch

Has anyone ever had a cursed batch of brew?
It seems that for me brewing is getting Harder instead of easier. I think my technique is there, but random things keep happening.

I made a yeast starter for the first time for the aforementioned cursed batch. It's a high gravity stout so I thought I'd need it. The brewing went fine, it was the transfer to primary and initial fermentation that went straight to hell.

First, I tried using a strainer I got from AHB. didn't work. Clogged quickly.
Then, I lost two, count 'em two stoppers into the carboy.
So I had to use a smaller one. I get a text from SWMBO (I love that acronym) saying "your beer exploded". Now this has happened to me before, CO2 pushed the stopper out and got trub EVERYWHERE, including ceiling.

I come home and the ferm lock had literally exploded. Just shattered! That's a new one for me!

I try to learn from every brew session:

A) Dont try and get every last drop of wort in your fermenter.
B) yeast starters are good, but not without blowoff tubes.
C) buy the right size stopper

Am I missing anything? Come to think of it, maybe it's not random things that keep happening to me, it's me doing stupid random things.

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:22 AM   #2
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Maybe also get a bigger carboy? Give it more headroom? I use the big size Better Bottle (6 gallons) to brew 5 or 5.5 gallon batches, using a blowoff tube, with no problems.

Sorry to hear about the headaches - it will be better next time!

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frinkey View Post
First, I tried using a strainer I got from AHB. didn't work. Clogged quickly.

= ...LIKE COWBELL, YOU NEED A MORE STRAINER

I come home and the ferm lock had literally exploded. Just shattered! That's a new one for me!

=NOW THAT'S HOT!!! WHERE ARE THE PICS? IT IS LEGAL TENDER!!!

I try to learn from every brew session:

A) Dont try and get every last drop of wort in your fermenter. = FALSE
B) yeast starters are good, but not without blowoff tubes. =TRUE
C) buy the right size stopper = TRUE

Am I missing anything? Come to think of it, maybe it's not random things that keep happening to me, it's me doing stupid random things.
Like in construction; "measure twice, and cut once". For the next brew, take your time and think it through before you make a flame.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pappers View Post
Maybe also get a bigger carboy? Give it more headroom? I use the big size Better Bottle (6 gallons) to brew 5 or 5.5 gallon batches, using a blowoff tube, with no problems.

Sorry to hear about the headaches - it will be better next time!
Thanks. Yeah not enough headroom.
And maybe saying the ferm lock shattered is overstating it, but half of it was completely gone. I haven't even found it...

And I like to think I'm well prepared, but when it comes to filling a carboy, i feel like I'm diluting my brew the less wort and more water I add. Is this just wrong?
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:06 AM   #5
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one thing i've learned is not to sweat getting trub/hop debris in the primary, it will settle out and hasn't caused me any problems. and your brew days will get better, everyone has a few trying days...

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Old 01-20-2010, 03:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Frinkey View Post
but when it comes to filling a carboy, i feel like I'm diluting my brew the less wort and more water I add. Is this just wrong?
It depends on your recipe. Your recipe is formulated for a certain final volume - as long as you hit that final volume, you're not diluting your beer. You might mark the five gallon level on your fermenter, so you can hit your final volume.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:21 AM   #7
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Thanks for the encouragment guys. I used a AHB kit because I had never tried Stone's Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and I thought I'd brew it myself. The recipe said to steep 4 pounds of grain in 2.5 gallons of water. It said nothing of adding more water for the main boil. I just filled my boil kettle close to full and hoped it would turn out ok.
No biggie. I'm sure stuff like this happens to the best homebrewers. No infections yet so I guess I'm doing ok.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:27 AM   #8
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For me, the significant statement in the OP was "- made a yeast starter for the first time for the aforementioned cursed batch." I've learned that any time I do something for the first time, I need to review everything that's going on, because it's likely that when I change something for the first time, Murphy has been invited to join in.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frinkey View Post
Thanks for the encouragment guys. I used a AHB kit because I had never tried Stone's Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and I thought I'd brew it myself. The recipe said to steep 4 pounds of grain in 2.5 gallons of water. It said nothing of adding more water for the main boil. I just filled my boil kettle close to full and hoped it would turn out ok.
No biggie. I'm sure stuff like this happens to the best homebrewers. No infections yet so I guess I'm doing ok.
The basic methodology for an "extract with specialty grains" recipe is:

1. Steep the grains (in a grain bag) in about 2.5 - 3 gallons of water at around 155 degrees for approximately 30 minutes

2. Remove the grains bag and discard, add extract, stir carefully and often and to keep the extract from burning on the bottom of the pot, bring to a boil

3. After achieving a boil, follow your recipe's hops additions - often some hops at 60 minutes, some at 20, some at 5 (or something like that).

4. After boiling for around 60 minutes, cool your pot in an ice bath, to bring the temperature down as quickly as possible to around 70 degrees

5. Pour into your carboy or fermenter, then top-off with the remaining water to bring the total volume to 5 gallons.

6. Pitch yeast.

This is what is called a "partial boil" i.e. you are only boiling/cooking a portion of your final volume. People do this because it takes a massive pot (at least 7 gallons) to do a "full boil" of five gallons. Also, if you are using your stove, many of us have stoves that would struggle to get 5+ gallons to a boil.

Hope this helps. There is also a sticky thread in the beginner's forum on extract brewing here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/begi...g-howto-99139/

Cheers!
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