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Old 08-10-2012, 11:41 AM   #1
Tubba
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Default I think I finished my first all-grain...

All right, after putting together my marvellous brewing machine from a fermentation bucket, a kettle element and some silicone, I set out on my quest to make a Dirty Monk Golden Strong Ale. I learned many things during all of this.

The mashing went... so-so. I don't have a thermostat yet, so I had to manually check the temperature. While stirring and keeping track of everything. I had also broken my hydrometer, so I couldn't actually check the gravity. Plus, the nylon bag I used for the grains wasn't properly protected against the element, weakened by the heat, and broke. I've got to build some kind of cage for the element.

Still, I THINK I managed to successfully extract sugars. It's fermenting on nicely, anyway. After that came the boil.

"****, I haven't checked if I need to rig the element to not stop."
After paining through the odyssey of getting 2200 watts to boil 6 gallons, I found out that I really did need to rig the element. I attempted to hotfix it, but I only damaged the integrity of the seal in the process. I'll have to fix it later, and I also need to put another element in, wired to another fuse.

Oh well! I transferred it all to my largest pot (not terribly large - 3 gallons) in intervals, and did the boil on the stove. First with the hops for 90 minutes, then just a boil through the hot break for the rest.

Then I chilled it with my counterflow chiller, abused my siphon when transferring the hot wort (it's a little bent now) and into the fermentation bucket, pitched 3 packs of yeast, diluted to the proper volume... and it's been fermenting vigorously for 3 days now.

Yep.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubba View Post
I don't have a thermostat yet, so I had to manually check the temperature.
How do you manually check the temp without a thermometer?



Sounds like you had quite an adventure but it'll be beer of some sort or another
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:50 PM   #3
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Ahahaha, this cracked me up. I hope you the best, and if your beer turns out tasty, it's proof that you don't have to be a perfectionist to make good beer.

Now, replicating the beer if it turns out awesome... You might be SOL.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:52 PM   #4
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Sounds like a bad brew day. You just need to practice more.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tubba View Post
Still, I THINK I managed to successfully extract sugars. It's fermenting on nicely, anyway.
It sounds like you did manage to extract sugars - without them, the yeast would have nothing to do.

You sound pretty upbeat, considering all that went wrong. Treat it as a learning experience and plan for your next brew. I like that attitude.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by griffondg View Post
How do you manually check the temp without a thermometer?



Sounds like you had quite an adventure but it'll be beer of some sort or another
Oh - I used an oven thermometer. I've been looking at one of those universal thermostats, which is a power switch connected to a thermometer. That way, you can focus on stirring, etc.

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It sounds like you did manage to extract sugars - without them, the yeast would have nothing to do.
The recipe includes 2lbs of caster sugar, so they'd have that if nothing else. Still, given how it's been fermenting, it should've burned all that up by now.

Quote:
You sound pretty upbeat, considering all that went wrong. Treat it as a learning experience and plan for your next brew. I like that attitude.
Oh, that's the only way to deal with things that go wrong.
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Old 08-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #7
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Okay, the most vigorous fermentation has stopped, so I had a sample.

A buttery taste, that will probably settle after conditioning. Light, sweet, with a prominent alcohol taste. I had to substitute a few hops (randomly, frankly, I picked once I had that smelled nice), but it has a sweet taste reminding me of spring. Smells very Belgian. Colour is what it should be, a bright golden.

I think this will turn out well. It has a sharp alcohol taste, indicating I didn't fail in my mashing.

But the twist comes! I'm going to infuse it with plums from my garden, once they are ready, which they should be in a week or two. Yum!

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Old 08-11-2012, 10:59 PM   #8
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Buttery is usually diacetyl which gets worse over time.

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Old 08-12-2012, 12:34 PM   #9
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Not if it's the result of normal fermentation. According to Palmer, letting it sit on the yeast and occasionally rousing the yeast for a while will get rid of most of it, as the yeast consumes the diacetyl.

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Old 08-12-2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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True, but his is already bottled. It usually sticks around I thought.

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