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Old 09-28-2009, 04:04 PM   #1
NBibe
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Default Did Not Mix Top Up Water/Fermentation Issue

Brewed my first extract yesterday - a Williams Belgian Quad kit. I boiled a little over 5 1/2 gallons trying to hit the 5 gallon target after the one hour boil. After the boil, I cooled the wort with an immersion chiller to 80 degrees, took a hydrometer reading (1.122 at 77 degrees, but this is with about 4 1/2 gallons wort), then transferred to carboy. Then I created some possible problems:

1. I added about 1/2 gallon of filtered tap water to top up to five gallons. Bacteria issue since I did not boil the top up water?

2. I did not mix the top up water after adding to carboy. I simply poured it in. The top 1 inch of wort in the carboy looks lighter color than the rest of the wort lower in the carboy. Major problem?

3. I then oxygenated the wort and poured in two packets of Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abby Ale yeast. One packet was fully swelled, the other barely swollen - if at all. Put on the blow off tube and have it waiting to ferment at 68 degrees.

It's been 14 hours without a hit of krausen or bubbling. Should I worry yet? Should I somehow mix the wort?

Thanks!

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Old 09-28-2009, 04:11 PM   #2
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I add water to the finished wort all the time,your all right on that one.

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Old 09-28-2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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Really ambitious first brew!

Not because of difficulty, but because you really should wait six months or so before that thing will be drinkable. There is no way I would want to wait six months for a beer until I had plenty of beer already drinkable. You must have the patience of Job.

As far as your concerns, you will be fine. Could you have done a couple things differently? Yes as always. But the yeast will come alive and eat the crap out of all that delicious sugar and you will be left with a nice very strong beer when they are done.

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Old 09-28-2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NBibe View Post
Brewed my first extract yesterday - (1.122 at 77 degrees, but this is with about 4 1/2 gallons wort)
Jeez, that is ambitious for a first brew! If you can wait 6 months to a year, though, it'll probably be amazing.

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1. I added about 1/2 gallon of filtered tap water to top up to five gallons. Bacteria issue since I did not boil the top up water?
Not usually, though there are different theories on this. Some people swear by boiling, but lots of people (including myself, when I did partial boils) use tap water. Seems like the general theory (though debatable itself) is that if the tap water's good enough to drink, it's good enough to add.

Quote:
2. I did not mix the top up water after adding to carboy. I simply poured it in. The top 1 inch of wort in the carboy looks lighter color than the rest of the wort lower in the carboy. Major problem?
No - the fermentation process will mix everything fine. The only real problem with not mixing top-off water thoroughly is that it makes it harder to get a proper OG reading, but your OG was so high anyway a few points either way shouldn't make a difference.

Quote:
3. I then oxygenated the wort and poured in two packets of Wyeast 1762 Belgian Abby Ale yeast. One packet was fully swelled, the other barely swollen - if at all. Put on the blow off tube and have it waiting to ferment at 68 degrees.

It's been 14 hours without a hit of krausen or bubbling. Should I worry yet? Should I somehow mix the wort?
No - give it time and you'll be fine. Look for Revvy's posts on this issue - it can take days to see activity sometimes.

The one thing to be aware of, though, is that on a beer this big (or so people say - I've personally haven't gone that big yet) is that fermentation might take a long time, weeks even. There are a ton of sugars for the yeasties to eat up here, so this particular beer might take a little more care than the typical 1.055 beer would. Should be fun to watch, though!
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:14 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. It makes me a bit more at ease. I guess it's just a waiting game now (for the fermentation to start). The 6 - 12 month thing is a bit discouraging though, but good excuse to get another batch going.

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Old 09-28-2009, 05:27 PM   #6
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Ya, never believe the instructions or the LHBS guys. I bet they told you "oh ya man, a week in the fermenter and 2 weeks in the bottle and you're golden!".

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Old 09-28-2009, 06:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. It makes me a bit more at ease. I guess it's just a waiting game now (for the fermentation to start). The 6 - 12 month thing is a bit discouraging though, but good excuse to get another batch going.
Yes, an excellent excuse to start another batch. Or 5. I highly recommend a small simple beer like a blonde ale. Flavorful and ready to serve in 5-6 weeks. Still young, but drinkable.

I think you'll find that quad tastes like liquid fire for quite a while. And drinking it young could discourage you from the hobby.

I have a Dark Strong that I bottled last November that I have only sampled one bottle from. That was in July and it was still hot and not very good.
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #8
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Just to bring closure to the thread, fermentation started at about 20 hours. At 36 hours, there is a nice layer of krausen and gurgling sound. Thanks all for the guidance.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:50 PM   #9
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In the future keep a couple gallons of distilled water to be used as top-up - otherwise... great job!

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