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Old 11-28-2007, 03:33 PM   #1
hopsalot
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Default True brew questions

Last night I was up late brewing a Irish STOUT(true brew kit)

It came with:

1. can hopped dark extract
2. 2 pounds muntons dark dried extract
3. 0.375 lbs 2 row Roasted barley
4. 0.375 lbs Crystal (no indication on where it stood on the lovibond scale)
5. 2 oz. Cascade
6. 6 grams Muntons Active Brewing Yeast
7. 5 oz. Priming sugar

I took a hydrometer reading before pitching yeast
B.G. = 1.041

I brewed as we all would, taking notes and sanitizing efficiently using a cap of bleach per gallon of water. The wort smelled great my house smelled like roasted nuts and coffee, delicious. Now to the questions:

1. I made a huge mistake when I was chilling my wort, in an ice bath, I dropped my thermometer into the wort. I panicked, using my beer spoon I tried to get it out, but I couldn't. So I got a brand new sponge, put som bleach on it and some water and thoroughly sanitized up to my elbow paying close attention to my fingers and finger nails. My arm was clean but not too clean I did not "over bleach". Is this terrible for my stout or did I take the proper steps in retrieving the thermometer?

2. I am confused by these kits, the instruction don't match up with what I have learned on this web site and others. For example the istruction were to pitch the yeast when the temp was below 90 d F, this seemed a bit extreme. I was learned to pitch around 75 d F. I didn't want to take the advise from the kit but it was getting really late so I pitched aroun 85 d F. I havent been back to my house today to see bubbles, but I hope the kit did not mislead me.

3. I live in Texas, it is getting a little bit colder here,, is it a bad idea to put my fermenter in my garage? It is not the cleqanest place, will this make a difference? Should I put it in a large cardboard box in the garage? The temp outside is more suitable for beer than my inside is now( around 75 d F inside <75dF outside.

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Old 11-28-2007, 03:38 PM   #2
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1. RDWHAHB You should be fine. Many an arm has gone into wort and still made beer.

2. The instructions are almost alway way to over simplified.

3. As long as your wort stays above about 60-62 you will be fine. If you have your heater on, find a closet in the back of the place and put the carboy in a tub of water with a t-shirt over it and a fan running across it. The dry air will cool off the carboy as it evaporates.

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Old 11-28-2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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You did fine on the thermometer retrieval, I would invest in some "no rinse" sanitizer soon, it does not have the same risk that bleach does for your beer and sanitizes well.

Yeast are OK at 90F, it will get them going sooner too. You want the fermenting temp to be significantly cooler, the garage may be good. You probably want fermentation in the 68F range. Get a strip thermometer to put on the side of your fermenter.

Lastly, I personally think it is a crime to brew an irish stout without white labs "irish stout " ale yeast. But that is just me.

Bottom line, you should be fine.

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Old 11-28-2007, 03:45 PM   #4
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whoa cheezy demon I will get there but right now I jus t trying to get the routine down this is my fourth batch

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Old 11-28-2007, 04:00 PM   #5
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Default Instructions

When I started brewing that was an issue as well. We would get in a kit with a photocopy instruction that would clearly violate what I had determined to be clear best practice.

I have found that the only thing you really need from the kit is the additions schedule, grain temperatures and time.

I have also found that you can trust your instincts most of the time. For instance, my original brewing kit came with a book called the "Brewmaster's Bible". Good brewing information in the front.

But the back contained recipes, many of which contravened the advice given in the front of the book. In addition these recipes were often missing ingredients from the list. You would only find out about that 1lbs of Crystal 60 because it was in the step by step. Badly and barely edited the recipes nearly ruin what is normally a great book.

The point is this: Trust yourself. If a recipe or instructions sound whack, they probably are. This isn't as hard as it sounds.

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Old 11-28-2007, 05:18 PM   #6
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Actually, I'm a little worried about the whole 'bleach on a sponge' part.

when you use bleach to sanitize, you must rinse it. if you had enough bleach residue on your arm, it will get into the beer, and it may cause some funky off flavors.

time will tell. But if it did take a hit, at least you can blame it on an accident like this, and not some mysterious problem.

Everyone does something like this, at least once, in their brewing career. Mine include adding 1kg of sugar instead of 1lb, and bottling a stout during a stuck fermentation that resulted in bottle bombs and 5 gallons of lost brew.

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Old 11-28-2007, 05:22 PM   #7
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I BROKE my thermometer while steeping grains...luckily it was only the outside glass shell while steeping some grains. I dug out my digital meat thermometer/fork to finish brewing! Figured the glass shards would be filtered out while sparging.
Just broke my hydrometer during clean up on the latest batch.

I read 4 different books on brewing before my first batch and noticed inconsistances in all.

Muntons is safe up to 77*
http://byo.com/referenceguide/yeaststrains/ales4.html

I take it your thermometer don't float? I'd get one that does.

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Old 12-05-2007, 02:46 AM   #8
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Default Rdwhahb

I love it when I see the advice: "RDWHAHB" (Relax, Dont Worry, Have a Homebrew) for beginners. I am fairly new to brewing and I always thought, "well, that seems pretty easy to say when you have a homebrew, but I'm still working on it and don't have squat, so I will bloody well obssess until I do." Of course, that was until I had a homebrew to drink, now I am far less neurotic. My advice: get a no rinse sanitizer (if you like bleach, just use C Brite, essentially same stuff but less harsh, so greater margin for error -- think pool water); keep a bucket half-full of full-stength sanitzer solution at the ready for when you drop instruments or need to sanitize a limb; wait far longer for your beers than the recipe calls for (my first two kits called for only five weeks of fermentation/conditioning, but the extract hefe took 6 weeks before the green flavors were gone enough to drink and the steeped-grain nut brown took 8 weeks); and stock up on great beers that are the same style that you just brewed, so you have something to occupy your mind while you wait.

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Old 12-05-2007, 03:00 AM   #9
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+1 on what he just said

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