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Old 11-02-2008, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default First Ever Brew & First All Grain- Spiced Winter Ale

Well, after intense "education" over the last 3-4 months, I did my first all-grain and first ever homebrew!

I devoured Palmer online multiple times, read the hardcopy multiple times, and have been reading, taking notes, searching, and trying to gain as much knowledge from this board (and to a lesser extent other groups/sites).

The methodology, the bit of OCD necessary, etc. appealed to me and after doing due diligence I was finally able to dive in.

Recipe: (Northern Brewer Spiced Winter Ale) 2.5 gallon batch

4 pounds Golden Promise
1 pound Dark Crystal
.5 oz Kent Goldings 60
.13 oz spices 60
.25 oz spices 0
.13 oz spices secondary

Mash at 155.5 for 60 minutes- zero temperature loss in my igloo 5g MLT over 60 minutes.

Double batch sparged at 168f

Collected 3.8 gallons

Split the runnings in two pots (one SS and one AL)- once AL reached 210 added the contents to the SS-

Boiled for 60- cooled to under 140 in an ice bath in 7 minutes; cooled to 120 in 11.

Aerated through two strainers, two times each; vigorously shook fermenter as well.

Pitched Safale S-04 at 78f

Placed fermenter into rubbermaid with cold water and fermenter was at 64f within 30 minutes

Specific Gravity into boil pot was 1.043 and target was 1.045

Collected 2.75 gallons as opposed to 2.5, so OG (post boil) was 1.063 and target was 1.053

Here is my info in beersmith:



So is my efficiency approximately 87%? Is that right? If everything goes according to course, this will clock in at about 7% abv... a bit above the 5% est. This NB recipe is supposed to be based on a Scotch Ale- only time will tell.

The day went well, but there were a few incidents. Shortly after doughing in, my father in law, who is in town visiting, was listening to me talk about homebrewing and he wanted to see the hydrometer. Long story short, he dropped it and shattered it! The LHBS was closed (yet again) and there was no one else in town who would supply a hydrometer. So I called a few Brewpubs, and the best part was Steven from Selin's Grove Brewing said "I have a hydrometer you can just borrow!" Major kudos to them! So the FIL and SWMBO and the kids went and grabbed it for me.

One other snafu- failed to add .5 oz of spices at 0 minutes. So I am thinking just increase amount in the secondary to maybe give a bit more spice flavor to the nose, but not necessarily the body? Any other suggestions?

The last gaffe was during whirpooling the wort, I dropped my digital thermo into the center of the whirpool and it got pulled right in! It is still drying out :fingers crossed:

So it was a great day, but a bit tiring (taking my mother to the airport at 4:15 am probably had something to do with it). Overall including setup/cleanup my brew day was probably 4-4 1/2 hours.

So I have my schedule setup in beersmith, as well as reminders via email, to transfer to secondary, add spices, cold crash, bottle, and cold condition.

First sip is planned for 12/22/08. Hopefully they turn out well enough to be able to give a bottle or two away at Christmas. That is the plan at least. If nothing else, it will be the house ale for that time

Now to get my Immersion Chiller fittings (I have had the copper for a couple weeks) as the ice bath is a pain.

An oatmeal stout and an american amber are on deck- hope to bang both those batches out by next weekend.!

I am stoked! Today was a blast- I am officially a brewer, and cannot (but will) wait to try it!



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Old 11-02-2008, 01:43 AM   #2
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Here is a little video of my boil- I think it was vigorous enough! An aside- Ferm Cap S is amazing. Had approximately 1 inch at most to the top of the BK and only had "pops" over the side...



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Old 11-02-2008, 01:48 AM   #3
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Here are also a view pics of my brew area (aka the kitchen), my laptop, a decent shot of the BK, etc.




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Old 11-02-2008, 01:49 AM   #4
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And one more:



Prost!

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Old 11-02-2008, 01:55 AM   #5
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this is your first brew?

you're so full of ****












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Old 11-02-2008, 03:45 PM   #6
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Looks like you've got it going on.

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Old 11-02-2008, 04:09 PM   #7
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My first brew ever was an AG wheat... went really well except I mashed a little high, but the beer was nice and malty!

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Old 12-15-2008, 01:21 PM   #8
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Well this was bottled on 11/30 and it should be ready for consumption on 12/22.

Nevertheless... when I was bottling I had some leftovers/dregs in the bottling bucket that I was able to fill about 6-8 ounces of a bottle. While milling around in my brew area on Saturday I figured "hell, it's been two weeks, let's try that mini bottle" So, I threw it in the freezer for about 2 hours, and the fridge for about an hour.

Long story short- it is beer!

Popped the top and got a nice "pffft" sound. Poured a nice ruby red, with about a 1/2" creamy head. Some bubbles were noticeable coming from the bottom of the glass, but not tons.

First thing on tasting is a stinging on the tip of the tongue-- I am attributing this to the co2 not being fully absorbed back into solution yet.

The spices were still present in the nose, but not as pronounced in the taste (most likely due to missing the last bk spice addition). However, if the character does not change over time, I do not think I would use Northern Brewers spice mixture again- I am not sure if it is the cardamom, the allspice, the clove... but it just lends something that isn't bad, but isn't personally appealing.

Otherwise, it was nice and malty with just a slight bittering at the end.

One more week and I will hopefully be tasting properly carbed and tasty homebrew crafted by me!

Updates when that happens.

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Old 12-15-2008, 02:13 PM   #9
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I was going to ask what "spices" were used.

I brewed one up, it is in my Sig... it used cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. The beer is really malty, and the spices come through in the back, but do not overpower the beer at all.

Mine was brewed back in Oct. and has been on tap since Thanksgiving... I really enjoy the beer. The seasonals are fun to have around arent they!



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