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Old 08-23-2010, 06:37 PM   #1
brianwadley
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Default Brian's First Extract Brew

Hi all, I've done a couple ciders over the past year, but hadn't stepped into brewing yet. Until this past weekend. I went down to my LHBS (Brewer's Connection in Tempe, AZ) and talked to some of the guys down there. they directed me to their recipe book and helped me put together an ingredient "kit" based on my preferences, their knowledge and one of their extract recipes. Great guys and have been helpful with my cider making too.

Think of this as my brewing journal for my first brew. I'll be placing the recipe along with my notes as the process goes along. Technically we are in day 2 right now, but allow me to catch you up.

The "kit" I picked out is their "Dangerous Belgian" recipe. It should be the strength of a Dubbel, but with the lighter coloring of a Tripel. Since this is their recipe, I've linked to the recipe site here: http://www.brewersconnection.com/recipes/dangerbell.htm

The recipe was modified a bit by my interest and their suggestion. I have placed that below:

Ingredients:

6# Light DME
1# Light Belgian Candy
2oz Hallertau
1oz Tettnang
1tsp Brew Saltz
1tsp Irish Moss
Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes

Instructions/Process taken (8/21/10):

1. Activate yeast (the 3522 apparently takes a long time and did indeed take about an hour and a half before the bag was really expanded)
2. Iodophore everything
3. Bring 2 gal. filtered water, brew saltz, candy and 3# of DME to an easy boil
4. At start of boil mark time (for me was 8:16pm) and add 1oz of Hallertau, boil for 20 min.
5. After 20 min. add 1oz of Hallertau (added at 8:36pm) and boil another 20 min.
6. After 20 more minutes (40 min. total boil) add 1oz of Tettnang, 3# of DME and Irish Moss (I did this at 8:57pm...a minute offish)
7. Boil another 15 minutes (for a total boil of 55 minutes), then turn off heat (9:09pm)
8. Gently stir for several minutes, stirred until 9:15pm.
9. Remove hops with strainer (oh crap, where is that strainer...oh crap...my strainer isn't fine enough to get the hops out--used hop pellets--whatever, I left them in for the night until I could get a strainer the next day.)
10. Placed 16# of filtered ice into fermenting bucket and poured hot wort over ice.
11. Topped off to 5 gal. with 1 more gallon of filtered, cold water. stirred vigorously until temperature was consistently down (temp was around 60*F)
12. Checked O.G. (remember very nearly 3oz of hops in still--was at 1.070)
13. Pitched yeast, closed lid and aggitated for two minutes (they didn't tell me to do that, just thought I remembered reading that somewhere)

After that I fitted the airlock with iodophore solution in it and put in my cider making/brewing cabinet to await the next day.

The instructions call for 4-5 days in primary, then 7 days in secondary with a final gravity of 1.008-1.010. It then calls for 7-10 days bottle conditioning. I expect to take a little longer with the colder start and lower starting yeast count and maybe let condition 14-21 days. I'm thinking I will switch to secondary at 1.012 (does that make sense to anyone or should I let it go all the way to 1.008-010 before taking to secondary?) All fermentation and conditioning will take place at 72*F which is the steady temperature in my cabinet.

(8/22/10)
Bought proper strainer with fine mesh.
At 3:15pm, used strainer to remove hops (and probably a lot of the yeast).
Checked S.G. after straining and found at 1.068.

At 7:30pm, checked cabinet and saw bubbling in airlock, I may just let this one go without buying more yeast...

(8/23/10)
Got up this morning to find that my airlock had bubbled over violently some time during the night and had some fluid on the lid. wiped down the lid, then removed the airlock and stopper for cleaning with Iodophore. left stopper hole open in cabinet for 5 minutes while the stopper and airlock soaked. I hope that didn't let too much of anything in. Replaced stopper and airlock now filled again with iodophore and after 30 seconds was bubbling away again. All this happened at 7:30-40am.

(8/27/10)
Last night I checked my airlock and am showing an average of 56 seconds between bubbles. seems like primary fermentation is slowing down. Now I have to make my decision as to whether to go into secondary fermentation or let it settle out in the primary vessel. See my questions in the comments regarding this decision.


Alright, that's were I am at this point. I'd love any feedback you have and I'll continue to update this first post as time goes on.

-Brian

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Last edited by brianwadley; 08-27-2010 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Updated
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:33 PM   #2
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Wait - did you strain the beer a full day after you had pitched the yeast? Once fermentation starts you generally want to minimize the amount of oxygen going into the beer. May not be too bad since the yeast lag time helped you out, but just for future reference if you want to strain the wort do it before pitching yeast.

In my extract batches I never removed hops (pellets) with anything. They used to go straight into the fermenter when I poured the wort into the carboy using a funnel. Beer was fine. That is definitely a step as a new brewer that you do not have to worry about.

In any case - you're off to a decent start. Let it ferment all the way in primary. There is no need to rack it to secondary before fermentation is fully complete. Secondary is mainly for clarifying and fruiting beers.

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Last edited by brrman; 08-23-2010 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 08-23-2010, 07:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up on the fermenting, in cider I tend to take out of primary a bit early to allow less time on the lees, but I figured beer would be different.

As for the straining, Yes. I know I screwed up, but I didn't have a proper strainer and I wasn't sure if it was okay to leave the hops in (kinda worried that it might impart TOO much hop flavor for a belgian and move the taste too far off). I did strain about a day after the yeast was pitched, didn't have any bubbling yet in the airlock, so hopefully I didn't do to much damage (I guess I'll know soon enough--what should I look for as evidence to introducing too much oxygen after pitching?). I iodophored the strainer before use and went very slowly putting it in the wort/beer and only swirled one direction and slowly. I did as best icould to keep too much air from getting in, but time will have to be my judge on that.

Now that I have a proper strainer, I'll make sure to do it in the brewpot during cooling and before pitching from now on.

Also, reading more I think the recipe is more like a Strong Belgian Golden than a Dubbel since I'm missing the munich and special b. However, I'm right on the bottom end of O.G. for a Stron Belgian Golden, kinda riding the edge between a blonde and golden on O.G.

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Old 08-23-2010, 07:58 PM   #4
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I thought you may have poured the wort through a strainer which made my eyes go wide when I read it. LOL. But if you simply pulled the strainer through the wort then you are much better off than I thought. However, if I were you I would drop the idea of straining the wort. It is not worth the risk of infection and you will not likely notice any flavor differences. Any hops that have been boiled should not impart much (if any) more flavor/bitterness than they already have given once in the fermenter.

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8-Paws Brewing Co.
On tap:
. SN Tumbler Clone
. Nierra Sevada
Secondary:
Primary:
. SN Tumbler Clone 10g
. Sycamore Oatmeal Porter 10g
. Nierra Sevada 10g
On Deck:
.
Kegged:
.

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Old 08-23-2010, 08:03 PM   #5
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OH! Well that's great info and thanks for the reply. It eases my stress as a first time brewer.

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Old 08-23-2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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I'm also in Arizona and live in the East Valley. "Brew your own Brew" just opened a new store on Hobson and Baseline in Mesa. Just an FYI http://www.brewyourownbrew.com/

Let us know how the beer turns out.

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Old 08-24-2010, 07:56 PM   #7
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After reading direction for other beglian golden/light color ales with an O.G. in the 1.068-1.070 range, the fermentation times seem to be a bit different than what was suggested in the recipe. the recipe states, 4 days primary, 7 secondary and 7-10 bottle condition.

I think I'm going to try for patience here. the beer may be fine at that timeframe, but with this high of an O.G. and with the Beglian Ardennes yeast, I'm going to let it ferment out in primary (however long that takes to get to 1.008-010: hoping for 008 but if it dies at 010 I'll accept it). Then give 4 weeks in secondary to clear out and condition (most belgian blondes and goldens seem to call for 1-2 months in secondary..since this is just an extract brew I'm not sure it really needs the whole 2 months---please let me know if I'm wrong). Then 2 weeks minimum bottle condition.

That would give me approximately 2 months total fermentation/conditioning time. How does that sound?

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Old 08-24-2010, 07:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1badcfh View Post
I'm also in Arizona and live in the East Valley. "Brew your own Brew" just opened a new store on Hobson and Baseline in Mesa. Just an FYI http://www.brewyourownbrew.com/

Let us know how the beer turns out.
Thanks, I just checked out their website and I'll stop by when I'm in the area. Living in Ahwatukee and working in west Tempe, Brewer's connection is rather convenient, but I'll definitely stop by and check things out. Thanks for the 'heads up"!
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Old 08-27-2010, 09:57 PM   #9
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New Question: I have another 6.5 gal. bucket that I could use as secondary. I don't have a 5 gal. bottle/carboy. Can I use the 6.5 bucket for secondary or does that leave too much airspace after racking into the second bucket?

If I shouldn't use the 6.5 bucket for secondary, would it be best to just do a long, single fermentation? The recipe does have that as an option (it states for single fermentation vessel, ferment for 7-10 days then bottle). If I do a single fermentation, could I keep it on the trub longer? (I have learned to stop using cider lingo here. lees=trub, good to know)

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Old 08-27-2010, 11:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianwadley View Post
New Question: I have another 6.5 gal. bucket that I could use as secondary. I don't have a 5 gal. bottle/carboy. Can I use the 6.5 bucket for secondary or does that leave too much airspace after racking into the second bucket?

If I shouldn't use the 6.5 bucket for secondary, would it be best to just do a long, single fermentation? The recipe does have that as an option (it states for single fermentation vessel, ferment for 7-10 days then bottle). If I do a single fermentation, could I keep it on the trub longer? (I have learned to stop using cider lingo here. lees=trub, good to know)
You can leave it on the trub without any issues. I definitely wouldn't secondary in a 6.5 gallon bucket, way too much headspace and now the beer is done actively fermenting it won't create enough CO2 to push the oxygen out. I would primary for two to three weeks and then bottle.

I went back and read your secondary plan. The secondary is essentially "bulk aging" the beer, which is perfectly fine to happen in the bottle as well. You can primary until the beer is ready to bottle it and then let it condition in the bottles for another month+.
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Last edited by NorCalAngler; 08-27-2010 at 11:20 PM.
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