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Old 05-18-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default 2nd AG Batch - Another Learning Experience

We brewed our second all grain batch yesterday, a Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale and learned a few things along the way and of course ended up with some questions.

What I learned

- Never take for granted that your helper is as careful as you will be. My son was helping measure and crush grain and mistook the roasted barley for the chocolate malt. Had I not been wandering through the kitchen at the time we would have had an interesting brew.

- Make sure that your thermometer is not resting on the bottom of the kettle. "Why does the mash strike water cool so quickly?"

- Always double check that the recipe that you're brewing has been correctly put into your brewing software. "Honey, are you sure that both the Warrior and Vanguard hops are added with 60 minutes to go in the boil?" I should have listened to the little voice inside my head. The whole hops weren't that hard to pick out.

- Read the instructions on the yeast and compare the starting gravity of your brew to what's recommended on the package. A little late in the game I realized that our recipe was supposed to have a starting gravity of 1.071 and that Wyeast recommends to pitch additional yeast if above 1.060. Our SG actually came in even higher at 1.077. I guess I'll have to learn to make a starter.

- Ants and bees like wort. One bee in the MLT and one ant at flameout. It's all protein right?

A couple of questions

- What type of DME would be a good choice for making starters for most beer styles?
- What will be the effect of not pitching enough yeast in my high gravity beer?

BTW, my son learned that when he's measuring grain he shouldn't mix two types of grain in the scale container. It took him quite a little while to pick 6 ounces of roasted barley from the crystal malt.

Thanks for the input.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:42 PM   #2
The Pol
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I used to use extra light DME... why? Because it is light and will not add much of anything to any brew that I may pitch the yeast slurry into.

You should make a starter anytime you use liquid yeast, no matter the gravity.

You may likely see no ill affects... but it may take a while to get fermenting, and you can get some off flavors if you undr pitch or over pitch to a large degree.

Dont worry bout it

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:23 PM   #3
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+1 to what POL has said. Definetly light or extra light DME so the starter wort has as little flavor as possible.

The yeast will be fine. It will probably start slow, and may produce some off flavors from this, but given enough fermentation time the yeast do a good job of removing a lot of off flavors. Give it an extra week while fermenting.

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:42 PM   #4
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I would suggest, from my experience recently with my own 2nd-ever AG:

- Clean the spent grain from your MLT as soon as possible. The smell of 48-hours-old, soured mash is NOT pleasant and tends to linger without adequate ventilation.

- If you use liquid yeast, make your starter at least 24 hours in advance. The Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator is immensely helpful in determining how much of a starter you need for a beer of a given O.G.

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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i'd love to try a DFH Indian Brown clone with the roast and chocolate flipped around. it'd be great regardless.

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