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Old 02-20-2011, 03:09 AM   #1
Davka
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Default 1st All-Grain - Disaster?

Urk. Yesterday I brewed my first all-grain beer, and I was all proud of how my home-made mash/lauter tin worked and marveling at how wonderful it smelled, and after I finished the boil and cooled the wort and poured it into the fermenter, I noticed something strange in the bottom of my brewing pot.

Little shards of glass and chunks of iron. The bottom of my floating thermometer had broken at some point during the process, and I hadn't noticed.

The glass I know will sink to the bottom of the fermenter, and if I'm willing to lose the last gallon or so, it should be safe to rack. But what about the iron bits? I'm sure there are a few tiny fragments of iron that got into the fermenter as well. Are they going to destroy the beer? Should I just pour out the whole batch and chalk it up to experience? Or is it safe to allow it to ferment, as long as I'm careful with the racking?

The part of the thermometer that holds the mercury was still intact, btw.

Anyone know what to do? I hate to lose all the work and care that went into this batch, but I don't want anyone getting sick either.

Oh, and it took much longer than usual to start bubbling, and is proceeding slower than usual as well.

Have I ruined this batch?

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:40 AM   #2
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ME: let it ferment out, then pour through a paint strainer before bottling and call it good. Yes, it will oxygenate it (not too good). Whatever. I am not going to chuck a first AG EVER! But I am a bit loose on the whole sensitive thing.

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Old 02-20-2011, 03:47 AM   #3
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What I would do is let it ferment, rack to a clear secondary and leave an inch or two of beer at the bottom of the primary (so hopefully nothing gets sucked up, yes you will waste some beer, but oh well) and leave it in the secondary only for a day or so, so you can physically see if there is anything still in it, then bottle/keg.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:36 AM   #4
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I personally would dump it. Just not worth the risk of picking up a random glass shard on accident. Can't imagine it would be too fun digesting that.

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:53 AM   #5
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Mercury poisoning?

Actually, do modern thermometers use mercury?

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Old 02-20-2011, 04:54 AM   #6
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Is the mercury still intact? If not, is the small amount enough to dump it?

VB

EDIT: duh...read the post....i am dumb....carry on.

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Old 02-20-2011, 05:28 AM   #7
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everything that has broken off into the beer will sink to the bottom. I would NOT dump it, if it were mine. Racking off the top after fermentation and leaving an inch or two at the bottom should allow you to be pretty safe that everything broken off would not be in the beer.

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Old 02-20-2011, 10:22 AM   #8
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I'm on the fence with this one. I personally think if I were in your shoes, I would dump it and start over. Take a mulligan, so to speak. It's easier said than done, though - I haven't been in that position! You'll probably be fine with keeping the 1-2 inches at racking time but is it really worth the gamble? Glass is no joke going down the hatch... It's really your call - you've seen both sides here.

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Old 02-20-2011, 12:55 PM   #9
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I did the same thing last night with my first all-grain batch. Luckily I autosiphoned it from the stock pot to my fermenting vessel, so all of the beads stayed at the bottom.

My advice for you and my next time: buy a better thermometer.

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Old 02-20-2011, 01:05 PM   #10
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+1 to the paint strainer. Anything that gets past it would be way too small to do any harm. As for the mercury issue, I believe it isn't being used all that much anymore. If you just recently bought it, go back and find another one exactlly the same and see if it used mercury or not. Also, this is one of the reasons I use metal thermometers, and don't leave ANYTHING in the tun while I'm brewing.

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