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Old 04-20-2006, 01:28 AM   #1
texasgeorge
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Default The worst day of brewing...

... is still better than the best day of work.

(Story)

Last week I went to Austin Homebrew Shop and bought more stuff! I wanted to do a secondary fermentation this time, which would mean buying a carboy. Up until now I just had a single plastic fermentor. I went ahead and bought the 6.5 gallon carboy, thinking that I can use it for a secondary now, and then make it my primary after I buy a couple 5 gallon carboys in the future. Also bought a flask to whip up a nice yeast starter, which turned out great!

So I did my first mini-mash last night - an IPA. 2 1/2 lbs of 2-row, 3/4 lb Crystal 40L steeped in 3 gallons at 155 for 45 minutes. Remove grain bag. Add 2 more gallons of water, bring to boil, add 6 lb pale LME. 1 oz German Magnum 13.6% at 60min, 1 oz Tettnang 4.1% at 15min, and another oz of Tettnang at 5 min. That baby smelled awesome! Got it cooled to 85 fairly quickly with an immersion cooler (well worth the money!!!), and then it hit me. (It's about 11:00pm by this point and I have to be up at 8am for work.)

- My tap water wasn't cool enough to get it down to 80. Fine, I'll siphon into my fermentor, put it in a cooler, and ice-bath it down.
-WHEW!! That smells like a dead skunk! Nope, just my plastic fermentor, which apparently I didn't clean well enough after my last batch. Still stinks like it. Good thing I bought the bigger carboy. I'll just use it as the primary.
-Well, now I need to sanitize the carboy. Didn't think I'd need to do that for a week. Mix up another batch of star-san in the carboy, siphon it into the stinky fermentor just in case I need more.
-Siphon the 85 degree wort into the carboy, lose suction twice because I pulled the hose up... stir up a ton of trub getting most of the wort out, put in the cooler, hit the ice bath. Boom, down to 80 in no time. Smooth sailing, right?
-Oops, forgot to check my OG. Fumble to santize a hose and get a bit of wort. 1.080? That's not right. The recipe says 1.059. OOPS... I didn't account for evaporation. I only had about 4 1/4 gallons of wort. Fumble to sanitize a funnel and pyrex measuring glass. Pray that a brita sink filter will clean water up enough to throw into cooled wort. (It's a little after 1am now and I'm real tired and dreading tomorrow). That gets us to 1.057. Close enough. Let's airlock this bad boy...
-Nope! The rubber stopper for the plastic fermentor doesn't fit the carboy. Good thing I bought the flask and a stopper for it... fits the carboy great. So I sanitize the funnel again, pitch the yeast, clean and sanitize the stopper, and seal the carboy. I didn't let the stopper dry well enough though because it just seemed to want to slip right out. Stopper falls out on to the floor twice on the way to the closet. Splash it around in the sanitizer and screw with it some more. I finally got it to stay (it's since dried and tight as a... well, you know..).

By this time, my apartment is a sauna. I've sweat clean through two t-shirts, underwear, and socks. And I smell like freshly boiled IPA I shower. Twice. Finally get into bed around 3am... toss and turn worrying about my efforts until I finally pass out around 3:30ish I figure. Wake up (but not actually awaken) this morning at 8:15, and she's taken off. It smells great and looks better. I just hope my haste at the wee hours of the morning didn't completely FUBAR my brew. Guess I'll find out in a few weeks, eh? I think I'll call it "All Saints' IPA," since it will take the blessing of All Saints for it to not be contaminated after my fit of frustration to get finished and in bed

But I still feel strongly that the worst day of brewing beats the best day of work

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Old 04-20-2006, 02:21 AM   #2
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It will still be beer

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Old 04-20-2006, 02:28 AM   #3
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Sounds like my last 2 batches! They turned out great so don't worry.

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Old 04-20-2006, 04:00 AM   #4
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My fist brew was totally like that..... Its hard to plan for what ya don't anticipate. As you get more batches under your belt I bet ya sail through. But things will alway happen that want to fubar things. Its all part of the process. No question its still better then going to work. I'm sure your beer will be wonderful.

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Old 04-20-2006, 05:19 PM   #5
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I've only have a few batches go bad, but in each case, the brewing process went "normally". Batches where something major went wrong still turned out ok.

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Old 04-20-2006, 05:23 PM   #6
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So where did things go unusual?


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Old 04-20-2006, 05:30 PM   #7
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Back when we opened the brewery, the first brew was horrible. For some stupid reason I decided to quit smoking that day, so I was in a f---ed up mood. I was wearing Teva sandles and the webbing soak up caustic from the puddle on the floor and burned the Sh-- out of my feet. The brew took like twelve hours, we wanted an OG of 1.048 but got about a 1.060. The chiller leaked like crazy. We ended up with 25 barrels instead of 28. But in the end I stopped smoking, my feet healed, beer was made and that first batch became known as Numb Skull for the effect it had on the drinker.

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Old 05-04-2006, 07:31 AM   #8
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Well, I bottled this bad boy today. I just left it in the primary and took readings until I had identical ones over a couple days. I took the airlock off the carboy and she smelled like molasses... wonderful!!

So I rack into my priming bucket (which has gallon markers on the side) and I've only got about 3.75 gal of beer. Time to improvise... I boil up a gallon of water and dissolve the priming sugar in it. Cool in a cold sink bath, and pop it into the beer... a little better than 4.5 gallons, that'll do. FG after this addition was right at the target FG for the recipe, so I think we're in business. Took a sip out of the hydrometer tube, and oof, it's real bitter. Kinda tasted like chewing on raw mustard greens... I'm hoping that's just an eccentric hop profile that will mellow over the next couple weeks. I end up getting 45 12-oz bottles out of it. I still feel like I screwed it up and it's bad, but we'll see.

Stay tuned.

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Old 05-04-2006, 02:25 PM   #9
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Your IBUs are somewhere between 66 (for whole hops) and 72 (for hop pellets)... that is a bit above the IPA style max of 60...and with an OG of 1.057 (closer to the low end of IPA style) you end up with a BU:GU ratio (IBUs divided by Gravity Points) of 1.1-1.2 (depending on whole or pellet)... that's MAJOR hoppy even for an IPA... average BU:GU for an IPA is .8... you should have had around 46 IBU for a 1.057 batch (call it 48 for the planned OG of 1.059)... Even Imperial IPAs use a .8 BU:GU...

Anyway, I'm not sure how much of the bitterness will age out... you may have to give it several months, and even then it may still be way bitter...

Where did you get that recipe???

Good Luck, and let us know how it turns out!!!

mikey

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Old 05-04-2006, 04:03 PM   #10
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I've had days like that before. Usually it results in a great batch of beer.

Man I miss brewing... Just a couple more weeks and I can start the brewery up again.

Good luck.

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