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Old 01-03-2008, 10:33 PM   #1
Skunkyhops
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Default My First Brew

I Started my first brew on 12-28-07 after recieving the equipment i needed for christmas. I was totally stoked and went down to my lhbs and picked up a Brown Ale Extract recipe... Things couldnt have gone better as far as the boil went, I was really prepared and that made a huge difference. Well living in Washington state there was about 6 inches of snow on the ground the night i boiled up my wort, i decided to pile up a bunch of snow and when my wort was finished i just plopped the kettle into the snowbank thinking that my wort was going to be cooled in about 20 minutes....wrong! It took two hours for my wort to finally cool to about 70 so i could pitch the yeast. I guess the snow wasnt such a good idea??? Anyway i just racked it to my secondary and was thinking about adding some vanilla to half the batch when bottling time comes. I was curious if any of you have tried this and how much vanilla should i add to 2.5 gallons? I was thinking like an ounce or two? I appreciate the help!

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Old 01-03-2008, 10:56 PM   #2
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Never tried a vanilla beer, but I did try the snow thing with the same result. Just don't try it with a glass carboy...yikes! Vanilla is a fairly subtle flavor. I would use 3 whole beans, but this will cost you $$$.

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:12 AM   #3
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Congrats on the first brew!

I live in California, so snow is somewhat of an oddity to me I can tell you that I use ice and water bath and it takes 2-3 hours depending on the weather. If you use the bath tub, you can keep topping up with cold water. Just make sure not to get any in the wort.

I havent used vanilla extract myself, or a real bean. IIRC, people were saying the beans are pretty strong so you might want to start off with 1/2 or 1 vanilla bean.

Do a search for the vanilla cream ale recipe, that should give you some good reference from another brew.

Hope that Helps!
gp125racer

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:17 AM   #4
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If you have a container bigger around than your brewpot, you can add snow and water around it and it will cool pretty quickly.

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:24 AM   #5
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stir the hot wort. it cools around the pot edge, but stays hot in the center. fluid thermal dynamics.
stir gently and the whole thing will cool down.

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Old 01-04-2008, 03:35 AM   #6
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Believe me, I tried the same thing brewing out of my garage, and it was 15 below without wind chill. I thought a snowbank would work really well, then realized about 45 minutes into it that a snow cave can be used for a warm survival shelter if you have to. Needless to say, it didn't work. It worked better just leaving it on the cinderblock wall for about 10 minutes. The breeze cooled it off and I was ready to pitch yeast.

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Old 01-04-2008, 12:02 PM   #7
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The only way a snowbank would work is if you kept pushing the snow in against the sides of the pot. It only takes a few minutes for the snow touching the pot to melt then you just have an insulated pot holder and your pot will never cool down.

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Old 01-04-2008, 07:00 PM   #8
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+1 on using a snow and water bath, I cooled a couple gallons of wort to 80 in about 20 minutes using about 4 big bowlfuls of snow and cold tapwater.

Congrats on the first brew, my unasked-for opinion is to skip the vanilla and just make the kit for your first beer so you know what it's "supposed" to taste like and then determine how much vanilla accent you want. Vanilla doesn't seem to go with brown ale to me but that's just personal pref.

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Old 01-04-2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the input... Planning my next brew and its gonna be cheeses Vanilla Caramel Cream Ale. Im waiting on my Brown Ale in the secondary its still got about 2 weeks to go before I bottle it. Im trying really hard to not make the mistake a lot of "noobs" make and bottle way to early... Im still contemplating adding vanilla to half the batch at bottling, that way i have a case or so of the brown ale and a case of the Vanilla Brown!

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Old 01-05-2008, 08:08 AM   #10
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You're doing well not to bottle too early, but since this is your first effort, I would recommend not altering the recipe. I also have been tempted to, but when experience is low, the risk of failure is high. I don't think you'll be disappointed if you leave it alone. If you just can't help yourself, then maybe flavor only the last 1/2 gallon or so and see how it goes. Heck, wait until the whole batch is done and add vanilla to a glass of it to see if it's better.

For a chiller, I have a fairly short (as coil chillers go) DIY 20' coil of 3/8" copper tube I hook to the garden hose. This time of year the tap water is in the low 40s and it took me less than 10min to bring 5 boiling gallons down into the low 70s.

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