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Old 01-23-2007, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default 1st brew - A comedy of errors

I posted this under general discussion but nobody much looked at it so I decided to post under beginners even though it's not a question.

My first attempt at brewing beer AKA a Comedy of Errors

I hope this provides a few laughs

I decided I wanted to brew my own beer and extract brewing just wasn’t enough of a challenge so I decided I’ll do an all grain brew instead soooo:

After 2 failed attempts over the previous 2 weekends to build a counterflow wort chiller and get it to stop leaking I decided I’d slap together an immersion chiller this past weekend and do an all grain brew or bust. First while putting the tubing in the mash tun I noticed that the store bought false bottom had a different diameter hose fitting than what I had installed in the mash tun. Sure did look like the same size until I tried to get the hose over it. So off to Home Depot, 3 year old child in tow at 8:00am. Back home at 9:00 and am dumping the strike water by 9:30 I hear a popping sound as the mash tun expands from the heat and then starts to leak. I had failed to test the new hose connector that was just purchased at home depot. Luckily I had a spare 5 gallon Igloo cooler so I dumped the mash in it. And proceeded to try to get the mash tun to stop leaking. Finally success the mash tun was no longer leaking. So I dump the contents of the 5 Gal. igloo back into the mash tun and get ready to sparge. The homemade sparge (basically a shower head) works less than spectacularly but it works. So as I fill up the boil pot I see Uh oh I forgot to install the valve and forgot to sanitize it. Now I can't remember if I washed it or not, so I wash it. As I'm wrapping the teflon tape around the nipple I catch a stainless steel frag in my finger, now I'm bleeding like I just went to the doctor for a test. So I think can't leave it like this, I need to file this sucker off then rewash and sanitize again no problem. All the while the boil pot is still filling. Finished with the valve now I noticed wort is coming out of the boil pot. Oh S---- so I try tilting it backward where's the damn teflon tape? This ain't working. I spot a 1/2' barb connector and put that in, hold my finger over it till the boil pot stops sloshing back an forth. Finding the teflon tape I wind it around the nipple and as I start to thread it I realize I've wound it backward for what seems like the 5th time. Back in goes the barb connector . Finally, success I've got the valve into the boil pot. By now wort is all over the boil pot, burner and everything. No problem I'll wheel it outside and hose it off. On the way back in the boil pot falls off the burner. I manage to catch it with no more than a 2/3 gallon lost, I think. At this point I’m thinking this beer is gonna suck. Why waste the yeast? But during the baby's nap I figure what the Heck so I flame up and start the boil. All goes well and now I'm ready to start cooling with my immersion wort chiller only unlike the counterflow unit I had failed to test it. Thinking no problem this is simple stuff. Guess what, it leaks but I see them and get them fixed pronto. It's working great and warm water is coming out of the chiller; So I go back to stir then I notice an unusually strong current well after I stop swhirling the chiller. Pulling the chiller out I see it gushing water. So now I'm wishing I had not popped the yeast pack that I had originally forgotten about. Oh well plenty of commercial beer in the fridge. Thank goodness for sam adams. But I give up on the chiller it’s fairly cool now and I dump the wort into the primary fermenter. I ended up with 4.5 gal where I should have had 5 no telling how much from the chiller. Happy to report that despite all this and a too cold temp it’s fermenting. I’m in the process of getting the temp in the basement up to where it should be and thinking I’ve had some horrible home brews before surely this can’t be worse than any of those. Maybe next time things will go a little smoother....

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Old 01-23-2007, 07:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkonkle
Maybe next time things will go a little smoother....

One can only hope!

It does get easier with practice. Welcome to the club!


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Old 01-23-2007, 08:05 PM   #3
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Wow--you must be a very spontaneous person

I try to do a "dry run" of any new gear before actually using in on brewday. That helps avoid many (not all) of the problems you had.

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Old 01-24-2007, 02:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Wow--you must be a very spontaneous person

I try to do a "dry run" of any new gear before actually using in on brewday. That helps avoid many (not all) of the problems you had.
My orginal intent was to do a "wet run" so to speak. But due to time constrants the fact that it was ALL new equipt. somethings just slipped my mind. Anyway looking back on it all I thought it was hilarious and wanted to share a laugh with my fellow brewers.
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Old 01-24-2007, 02:56 PM   #5
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Welcome to a typical brewday!

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Old 01-24-2007, 05:19 PM   #6
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Things always fall apart on my brew days. I get out of work late, and get held up on the commute home, have to clean up after roommates who trashed the kitchen that I had spotless the night before, have friend's gf throw yeast out while she helps clean... **** always goes wrong to some extent. Stick with it, it's well worth it.

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