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Old 10-29-2007, 02:18 AM   #1
Neomich
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Default 3rd batch, still have issues

I did my third batch Saturday and I'm still having issues. My stove just doesn't get hot enough to keep even 2 gallons or so at a decent boil. The last two batches I've even done late LME additions hopping it would help, but as soon as the LME goes in, it barely moves in the pot.

I know I should just go and get me propane burner but I'm not able to afford that right now. Christmas is coming so maybe Santy will be nice.

Also, it's my first ale so I filled a rubbermaid plastic tub half-way with water to keep the fermentation temperature down. Early this morning around 8, I dropped in a frozen gallon of water to keep it around 65. Apparently, it got the water a little too cold and activity stopped. I took the primary out for an hour or two and put it back in when the water warmed up. I think the water is reading 65 degrees or so. The airlock is bubbling nicely again so I think this will work.

I also used dry yeast. I re-hydrated it and everything. It was bubbling away nicely in less than 12 hours. I tried both liquids and dry and haven't had a problem with either of them yet.

I've got high expectations on this batch. I feel I worked out a few issues in my first one and I really think this one will be awesome.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:24 AM   #2
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Sounds like you're adapting well to your limitations. Don't worry so much. Beer is much simpler and forgiving than you might think.

Figure out how to save up $70 in the next few weeks and get yourself a turkey fryer at Sam's and start doing some full boils.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:28 AM   #3
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Or go to Walmart and get the $37 fryer kit. Aluminum pot and all, yum.

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Old 10-29-2007, 03:54 AM   #4
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As hard as you are working you could probably just chop some fire wood. Just think, two thousand batches from now you'll have some stories to tell.

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Old 10-29-2007, 06:33 AM   #5
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Maybe put a second pot on the stove and use a second burner?

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Old 10-29-2007, 01:53 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I know I need to get a gas burner but in addition to the cost of that, I'll also need a way to cool down a full boil. An IC is the cheapest and that'll run another what, 40 - 50 bucks or so? So I'm looking at basically doubling my initial cost. I can do it, I'll just need to budget to save the $.

I'm also limited in space. We live in a new townhouse with no yard at all. I grill out behind the garage and I could do my boils there as well. I'd have to figure out some way to get an IC hooked up out there. We've got an outside faucet but no hose.

I know a burner and IC are next on my list of purchases. And once that happens, it will be easy to justify getting an AG setup going. But AG just won't be reasonable with the space I'm limited to right now.

Thanks for all the feedback, I'll keep brewing and see if I can get my toys soon.

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Old 10-29-2007, 02:12 PM   #7
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I'm with you, neomich. I'm slated to brew my first batch a week from today (UPS and my workload allowing), and have been somewhat spoiled by the knowledge I've gained here. I know I plan to get a wort chiller and a turkey fryer, but being a grad student, I've done pretty well to get a couple of fermenters and the essential gear together.

Luckily, one of the several people I've brewed with before had even less brew gear than I have, and he makes some of the best beers I've ever tasted anywhere. My father, when talking about music, likes to quote Duke Ellington, who said "if it sounds good, it is good." If your beer tastes good, it is good. That's my plan. Make beer, enjoy the beer, make it better the next time.

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Old 10-29-2007, 03:23 PM   #8
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"Maybe put a second pot on the stove and use a second burner?"

Or straddle one pot between two burners?
That's what I had to do last weekend to boil 6 gallons on my stove...oh yeah, I'll be buying a hurricane burner soon too! Took two hours!

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Old 10-29-2007, 05:52 PM   #9
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Putting it on two burners won't work. In order for it to reach another burner, it will be half-way off the big one that's currently used. I thought about this but realized more surface area is covered in using just the big main burner I have.

I bet if I had one of those electric stoves with coiled burners it would work better. At least there would be direct contact between the burner and pot. The flat stove has some sort of barrier between the two and I think this is why I'm not getting a lot of heat. Of course, the stove was not designed for this purpose so I can't really blame the stove.

Oh well, I will attempt to adapt, improvise and overcome. Semper Brew!

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Old 10-29-2007, 09:22 PM   #10
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Ahhh, you've got the same problematic stove as me...those ceramic top bastards. They do indeed have temp monitors in the surface and it causes the burner to run only 10 seconds out of every minute.

I couldn't get 3gallons of water over 170F, and that took 90 minutes! Definitely save up for a propane burner and a chiller.

I boil on my front porch and heat all my water there, but everything else is done indoors in my kitchen: mashing, sparging, immersion chilling, and putting it all in the bucket so I can pitch.

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