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Old 09-07-2011, 06:13 PM   #1
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Default 4th time's the charm?

My first two batches were LME kits with specialty grains. They came out "okay". Not much flavor, not much body. A friend showed me the ropes with my first batch, the second was solo.

Okay, my third batch (first all-grain) came out very nasty smelling and tasting during/after fermentation. Bavarian Hefeweizen. *shrugs* I will let it sit for 4 weeks and taste t once more. Terribly missed my OG on this one.

All this time I have been also building equipment and trying to figure up a process with what I have. So I have a modified process of all that I have been reading. And I tried out my 4th batch with all kinds of new ways of doing things. Yeah, I am using the shotgun approach.

So I built a stir plate and got a 2L yeast starter kit. Bought the Northern Brew Caribou Slobber all-grain kit. Early Sunday, I pulled the Wyeast #1332 from the keezer, let it warm a bit, then smacked it and let it swell for 5 hours. Also brought the 10.625 pounds of grain out of the keezer to warm to room temp. Monday I used my heat stick I made to warm up a little over 3 gallons of water to ~165 to mash at 153. Came out close, yet a bit cool, so I stirred with the heat stick while I brought some water to boil. Thought that I had screwed up bad. Not sure why I missed this temp yet. Got the mash to 153 after stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring and... popped the top on and wrapped it in a comforter. Left it alone for the full hour (no more stirs). Heated water to 180 for the sparge. After that hour mash, opened the top and noticed I lost no heat at all. Finally, something going right. Pulled the bag, put the heat stick in the pot of wort, transferred bag to an additional bottling bucket thinking of using the spigot, sparged there. Stirred and stirred and stirred, then let it sit for 10 minutes. Tried to drain, spigot stopped up. Oops. Pulled the grain bag letting it drain while I held it for about 3 minutes, set it in another pot. Poured wort in bucket to pot. Got a pot top and squeezed, squeezed, squeezed the grain bag, pouring the runnings into the pot until I was not getting anything out anymore. Ended up with 6.5 gallons. Pre-boil was 1.059. Fired up the propane, got through my boil adding the hops at the right times along with the IC and a teaspoon of Irish Moss at 15 minutes left. Turned off propane, started faucet water through IC. Took 45 minutes to cool to 100. Yuck. Gotta do something better here. Hooked the small pump up in the tub of ice water. Took another 30 minutes to get to 65. Boil volume was 5.5 gallons. Transferring to fermentation bucket and I have 4.5 gallons minus the trub. Rats. Took the flask of yeast starter from the stir plate and poured it all in. Closed it up and placed in fermentation chamber set to 66 degrees (probe taped to bucket). A few hours later, I had the thought that I forgot to aerate the wort before pitching. I sprayed sanitizer everywhere and to my mash paddle, stirred the heck out of it trying to make bubbles. I think it worked. Activity started a couple of hours later and is still going strong this morning, a day and a half later. OG was 10.54 with a target of 10.52. I like.

A few things -
1) I think I need a bigger kettle. I have a 30-quart. Not much space at all.
2) I need to figure out something with the wort chiller. Place I bought it from advertises it chills wort from boiling to 70 in 15 minutes.
3) I need to hit my mash temp closer right off the bat.

Anyway, I had to tell someone. Thanks for reading this far.

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Old 09-07-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
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so your pre boil gravity was higher than your original gravity?

Usually starters are allowed more than a 24 hours to grow

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:14 PM   #3
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Sounds like i went pretty well!

Is one of the gravity readings off though? Like hopsalot said, it doesn't make any sense that your preboil is higher than your postboil.

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:36 PM   #4
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Also, the WC will perform it's advertised function under [I]ideal[I] situations. If your ground/faucet water temps are above 70 then the WC won't chill to 70...obviously.

It does do a fantastic job getting it from boiling down to about 90 in the middle of a Texas summer in about 20 minutes. That's a pretty decent cold break in my opinion.

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Old 09-08-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Yep, now that I look at my notes, I had the gravity readings wrong in my head. 1.046 to a 1.054.

I agree my IC won't chill below what the ground water temp is, but I would be happy with boiling to 90 in 20 minutes. I went from boiling to 100 in 45. Then again, after doing some shopping, I think I got the wrong chiller. :-) Guess I know what to ask the family for a birthday present.

Also re-read "How To Brew" on yeast starters. Seems I do need to plan more in advance when I do those. Oops. Good thing is that the airlock is still bubbling this morning.

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Old 09-08-2011, 01:13 PM   #6
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Are you stirring the wort while you are chilling? This will make sure you are not just chilling the wort that is in contact with the ic.

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Old 09-08-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puter View Post
Yep, now that I look at my notes, I had the gravity readings wrong in my head. 1.046 to a 1.054.

I agree my IC won't chill below what the ground water temp is, but I would be happy with boiling to 90 in 20 minutes. I went from boiling to 100 in 45. Then again, after doing some shopping, I think I got the wrong chiller. :-) Guess I know what to ask the family for a birthday present.

Also re-read "How To Brew" on yeast starters. Seems I do need to plan more in advance when I do those. Oops. Good thing is that the airlock is still bubbling this morning.
Why do you think you bought the wrong WC?
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKABrewer View Post
Are you stirring the wort while you are chilling? This will make sure you are not just chilling the wort that is in contact with the ic.
No, I am not. I understand the reasoning. I have tried before, though. What I didn't like is that the trub kept floating instead of falling to the bottom.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zixxer10R View Post
Why do you think you bought the wrong WC?
I got this...

Economy Wort Chiller

When I started out with a 4.5 gallon pot and I think I need to step up to this...

Immersion Wort Chiller
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:56 PM   #10
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For the price of the first one you bought you could have assembled a 50ft one yourself. If i were you, if you're going to spend more money on a coil-type immersion chiller then i would build it my self. It's really easy.

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