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Old 06-28-2009, 08:49 AM   #1
bakersbrew
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Default First AG...might have blown it

So I did my 4th batch tonight. My first AG. I decided to go with EdWorts Haus Pale Ale. I used DeathBrewers method for easy AG brewing. Here are a few problems I encountered.

1. I missed my strike temp by about 3-4 degrees. I heated the water to 165 and was trying to get to 152. For some reason it just ended up around 149.

2. I ended up wayyyy short of 5 gallons. I topped off a little. I know I wasnt supposed to but I did. I'd say half a gallon. I ended up with around 4 - 4.5 gallons.

3. It took me 3 hours to shock the wort. Usually my ice bath cools it within an hour. I dont know why it took so long this time. I ended up giving in and pitching around 78 degrees. It was 1AM so I didnt really have a choice.

What do you guys think? Did I blow it completely?

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Old 06-28-2009, 09:10 AM   #2
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1. Not such a big deal, you'll lose a few fermentables--I had a thermometer that read lower than normal and I subsequently mashed lower than normal, but still made beer.

2. I'll top off if I take a hydrometer reading and am higher than expected, but otherwise you're just watering down your beer. Better to have less of a good beer than more of a watery beer, but what's done is done.

Did you take a reading before topping off?

3. Not sure of your method for cooling, you may want to invest in an immersion chiller/prechiller to cool your wort faster. 78 degrees is kind of high (remember fermentation creates higher temps as well), but probably safely within the range of not doing too much harm.

I'd say you'll make some drinkable beer, this is a fairly forgiving recipe--I know from experience.

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Old 06-28-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bakersbrew View Post
So I did my 4th batch tonight. My first AG. I decided to go with EdWorts Haus Pale Ale. I used DeathBrewers method for easy AG brewing. Here are a few problems I encountered.

1. I missed my strike temp by about 3-4 degrees. I heated the water to 165 and was trying to get to 152. For some reason it just ended up around 149.

2. I ended up wayyyy short of 5 gallons. I topped off a little. I know I wasnt supposed to but I did. I'd say half a gallon. I ended up with around 4 - 4.5 gallons.

3. It took me 3 hours to shock the wort. Usually my ice bath cools it within an hour. I dont know why it took so long this time. I ended up giving in and pitching around 78 degrees. It was 1AM so I didnt really have a choice.

What do you guys think? Did I blow it completely?
Easy mistakes to correct...no worries.

1. Until you are comfortable w/ your system, I think it is best to overshoot your temps by a few degrees, it is far easier to add a handful of ice cubes, or a pint of cool water, then raise the mash temp. Or also have a kettle of boiling water standing by.

2. Topping off is no big deal, after a few batches, you will be able to judge your volumes pretty easily just by the head space in the kettle IMHO.

3. Rather than pitch warm, delay pitching until the wort is cooler. While it is ideal to pitch quickly, I would rather pitch the following morning rather than pitch warm.

Good job all the same.
Mike
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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I had problems getting my wort cooled yesterday also -- it got up to 102* outside so the wort temp was 88* after going through the CFC

I decided to secure the lid and airlock and toss into the ferment fridge, but that was working reallly slow so I put it in an ice bath and got down to 67* within an hour or so. Hot-ass times call for cold (er...) measures.

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Old 06-28-2009, 03:02 PM   #5
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I routinely pitch my yeast in ales at 80 degrees, I know my fermentation area will cool it to about 71-72 during the 12 hour lag time. i have never had off flavors due to this, but I am vigilant in monitoring fermentation temps and activity after I pitch, so I wouldn't worry about that if I were you. Like another poster said, its good to keep some boiling water handy in case of a missed temp, but you'll figure out how much heat you lose to your system over a couple brews. You can always mash a little longer at a lower temp and end up with something a little lighter than planned, no real harm done. Definitely should have some sort of chiller for full boils. That should be next on your list of supplies, maybe you can make one or trade a handy friend some brews for making you one.

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Old 06-28-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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I had to top off my first AG batch a month ago. I was skeptical but the final product is fine. I made an immersion chiller for just a little over $50 and it is a godsend. I bought a little aqua pump from petsmart for $15. I fill a bucket with ice water and submerge it in and hook it up to one end of my i.c. This runs the ice bath through the wort and usually only takes me 30 to 45 mins to get to pitching temps.

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Old 06-29-2009, 12:15 AM   #7
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Without getting into details, I chill to ambient in about 5 minutes. Involves a pool, a pool noodle, and a waterfall.

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:06 PM   #8
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welllll...after 8 days in the primary i took a gravity reading. it was right on...even though i had topped off with a bit of water. i am thinking this beer is going to turn out great. i tasted it, and even without carbonation it tasted great. i guess its AG from here on out.

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Old 07-08-2009, 02:40 AM   #9
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so i just tasted it...wow. i love it. it is still a little green, but it is great. tastes better than the extract batches i made. i am hooked on AG now. think i am going to do cheese's caramel cream ale next if i can figure out his schedule and mash temps. here is a picture of the beer. its a little cloudy because it is the first pull from the keg. but still beautiful

firstag.jpg  
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Primary: Caramel Cream Ale (Second AG)
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Keg 2: Honey Ginger Lager
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:45 AM   #10
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Just keep at it.....sounds like you're getting the hang of it. I've got my first 3 AG batches in the primary / secondary, compiling an order for the next ones. I've been fighting the same things you have since I started. No matter what people say about brewing software, or formulas in Palmer, or even throwing darts, there seems to be a bit of black magic in arriving at the correct mash temperature without fiddling with boiling water or ice....

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