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Old 03-24-2013, 03:11 AM   #1
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Default Lots of problems brewing today.

This is my 3rd batch. It was an extract milk stout. I had 5-6 lbs of DME and last time I had problems getting 3 gallons of water to boil without putting the lid on so this time I just used 2 gallons.

1. It seemed like all the grains I steeped were not getting in all of the water since I only had 2 gallons. I had to move them around and put the bag upside down. Hopefully that fixed that problem.

2. My thermometer sucks. It said 155 then I when I put the grains in, it went up to 180 degrees. So I steeped at 180 for about 30 seconds then tried to get it back down to 140-155 but I'm sure that messed something up.

3. I tried to add a lot of DME at the end (a tip I've heard from you guys and other sources for extract) and it just clumped up. It would not unclump at all. I had to start the boil again for it to (mostly) go away.

4. After all was said and done, I had about 1.5 gallons of sludgy thick gooey wort. My wort chiller could not chill it because there was barely any liquid to put it in. I added 2 gallons and got it down to 70 degrees and added more water to get 5 gallons. The OG is 1.050 but I tasted it and it smelled burnt and tasted watery and meh.

Is this batch screwed or am I worrying too much?

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:14 AM   #2
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If you can't get much to boil on your stove, you can always get another pot and do a split boil.

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:24 AM   #3
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Electric stove? I have been there and learned lots of things. First, if your stove can only boil two gallons of water then use that much and just live with it until you can get something with more BTU. Please get a new thermometer. They are cheap, or at least inexpensive. It is common for them to get sticky and show incorrect temps. DME clumps when you add it to water (this isn't gravy mix). Add it slowly to a boiling mix and it will break down.

From what I read in your post, and what my mind can deal with at this hour and BAC, I would say that it sounds like you scorched your malt. That being said, you are making a stout and those have a slightly toasted note to them anyway. I wish you the best, and I wish you to receive a turkey fryer.

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GameFreac View Post

Is this batch screwed or am I worrying too much?
Well you've done all the front end work, so if the yeast is in, let it go for 2 weeks and then taste when you get your FG. If it tastes really bad, don't bother bottling.

There is nothing except your last bit about the bad taste that is inherently worrying. My experience has been that any bad flavors that are there in the beginning are there at the end. However, with that said since the boil is done, and the fermentation is going, and you should give it a try.

And in the future, if you can't get the boil going, split between pots if you have them.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:37 AM   #5
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Watch homebrewfinds and get a turkey fryer, cheap investment, makes your brewing life much better.

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:39 AM   #6
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I have plans to get a turkey fryer, a propane burner so I can brew outside, and switch to all grain but this was my last extract batch before I graduated and moved back to GA.

Also there are some burn marks on my brew pot that won't come out. I hope they won't affect the beer. I sprayed it with Easy-Off so hopefully it comes out eventually.

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Old 03-24-2013, 03:44 AM   #7
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Yeah, keep an eye out for the turkey fryers, I found one at the grocery store last night for $50. Came with a 30 qt pot with a spigot on it and everything.

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Old 03-24-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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Also there are some burn marks on my brew pot that won't come out. I hope they won't affect the beer. I sprayed it with Easy-Off so hopefully it comes out eventually.
Those are called 'scorcth marks' or 'hot spots' Because there is a bit of burn on, there is a change in the conductivity, and those spots will be susceptable to being hotter than the rest of the bottom.

You can easily still use the pot for boiling water, but other things might get a bit dicy as you can burn at those locations again. There are tons of varriables on that, like how much sugar is in it, what else is being cooked, etc. So I'm not saying if you are on a budget (who isn't) that you should dump the pot, if for no other reason, it could be your HLT for heating strike water.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:20 PM   #9
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The scortch marks are usually in the shape of the burners on an electric stove. I have a link in my profile for the aftermarket burners I got on amazon. They heat up hotter & faster than the stock ones. I can get 3.5 gallons boiling in about 18 minutes!
And get your steeping water up to temp,put a paint strainer bag in the kettle with a cake cooling rack under it to keep it from burning. Pour in crushed grains & stir with a plastic paddle to break up any dough balls,& get the grains evenly wetted. Put the lid on the kettle & wrap it up in a winter coat or something with decent insulating properties. Leave it for the 30 minute steep.This same method is what I also use for partial mash for 1 hour.
Heat sparge water in another kettle while the steep or mash is going on.
And you had trouble with the DME at the end because from your own words,it was not boiling when you added it. You don't have to take the kettle off the heat when adding DME,but it does have to be boiling.
Using the same paddle,slowly pour in the DME while stirring. Use this method at the begining of the boil. When adding the remainder at flame out,have it ready to go before turning off the heat. Then quickly stir it in. But it had to have been boiling before flame out from hop additions.

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Old 04-02-2013, 06:41 AM   #10
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Update

So after 9 days of fermenting, I figured I'd taste it and see how it's progressing.

Good news: It's not horrible and that burnt taste went away. It's got a nice chocolatey flavor.

Bad news: It's still watery and feels thin. And it's at 4% right now. I was shooting for 5-6% ABV.

Do you think it will get higher as it ferments more or is it likely to stay that low?

And maybe it will get a thicker mouthfeel with bottle conditioning and when it's carbonated?

Anything else I should do besides wait?

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