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Old 07-08-2010, 05:29 PM   #1
cenla
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Default bad brew session

I brewed my second batch ever last night and it did not go according to plan.

I...

1. Managed to spill a portion of my specialty grains all over the counter prior to steeping.

2. Had my first boil over. They are a mess to clean up, esp. if your wife insists on a clean kitchen. They don't take long to happen. I was nearby and got it under control quick.

3. After the boil was done, I had tremendous difficulty getting the temp down to pitch range. I brew at night for a variety of reasons. After two hours of ice/ cold water baths the wort temp was just over 100 degrees. Brewing in central louisiana sucks sometimes. Oh, and it was past one in the morning. My kids get up at 6 am.

4. At the end of it all, as I was putting my gear away, I broke my thermometer.

I went to bed and couldn't sleep. I had decided to wait until morning to pitch the yeast, but at 2am I figured what the heck, got up and pitched. I don't know the exact temperature but it was somewhere under 99 (the last temp reading before I broke the thermometer).

It is now bubbling away. I've got my swamp cooler set up and I'm going to add ice later. According to the stick on thermometer, the current temp's at 76.

Moral of the story- even when you screw up you end up with beer at the end of the evening.

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Old 07-08-2010, 05:33 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cenla View Post
I brewed my second batch ever last night and it did not go according to plan.

I don't know how many batches I have brewed... but what I do know is that I can count the number of times things went "according to plan" on one hand.
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Old 07-08-2010, 05:38 PM   #3
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Yes sir. You always have beer.

Lessons learned though. Try sticking a fan next to your pot that blows right over the top. It'll keep the foaming down a little.

Also, I'd highly suggest either building or buying a wort chiller. You won't regret the investment. They make chilling your wort a breeze. I live in Illinois, so our summers aren't usually that bad, but after waiting 8 hours for a beer to cool to 80 degrees a few years ago, I decided enough is enough. I bit the bullet and made myself a 50' immersion chiller. I have never been happier. It takes me 15 minutes to cool down a 10 gallon batch now.

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Old 07-08-2010, 06:30 PM   #4
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Yes sir. You always have beer.

Lessons learned though. Try sticking a fan next to your pot that blows right over the top. It'll keep the foaming down a little.

Also, I'd highly suggest either building or buying a wort chiller. You won't regret the investment. They make chilling your wort a breeze. I live in Illinois, so our summers aren't usually that bad, but after waiting 8 hours for a beer to cool to 80 degrees a few years ago, I decided enough is enough. I bit the bullet and made myself a 50' immersion chiller. I have never been happier. It takes me 15 minutes to cool down a 10 gallon batch now.
This! Wort chiller is the way to go! Build it yourself and cool your wort in less than 20 minutes...I live in Alabama so I feel your heat It's 97 in Birmingham right now.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:40 PM   #5
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The real question is...did you have a beer at 2am while you pitched???

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Old 07-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #6
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Been brewing for 10 years and every once in a while you'll have one of these days. I actually had one last Saturday myself.

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Old 07-08-2010, 10:36 PM   #7
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I just brewed my second batch and not everything went according to plan.

I did a mini-mash with a grain bag in the stock-pot. After 30 minutes I turned the burner back on to raise it a few degrees. I got distracted for a couple of minutes and found it at around 170 degrees. I turned the burner off and added more water to get it back down to around 155. Hopefully it won't affect the final product much.

I tried doing a (near) full-boil, boiled 6 gallons, which netted me around 4.75 into the fermenter. Everything takes longer with a larger boil volume, including cooling the wort. The last time I only boiled 3 gallons, so I was able to top off with a couple gallons of refrigerated spring water at the end of the boil, brought the temperature down to around 130 before I even hit the ice bath.

This time I wasn't sure yet how much water had boiled off, so I wasn't comfortable adding water until I poured the wort into a container with gallon markers, so I had to cool the entire 4.75 gallons from near boiling down to near pitching temperature using the ice bath. I used up both bags of ice I had in the freezer, all the ice out of the ice maker, and 3 ice packs, and it was still around 100 degrees. I had to run down to the convenience store to get another bag of ice.

I use a water bath for the fermentation process. I absentmindedly decided to dump the water from my ice bath I used for cooling out into the street because it was a bit dirty, not remembering I had no ice or ice packs left to bring tap water down to the proper temperature for fermentation, I kinda just said "screw it" so the water bath was around 76 degrees for the first 12 hours or so. I woke up in the morning with a very active fermentation, and krausen near the neck of the carboy. By that time I had more ice in my icemaker and my ice packs had re-frozen, so I just dumped ice and a couple of ice packs into the water to get things down to around 63.

I kinda took a very relaxed attitude during this brew day, but I don't have enough experience yet to be so casual, which was the cause of my problems. None of them will kill the beer IMO, but my process ought to be a little better tuned next time.

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Old 07-08-2010, 11:36 PM   #8
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The real question is...did you have a beer at 2am while you pitched???
Nope. I did have a 22oz. bottle from my first batch earlier in the evening. It came out quite strong. I was still feeling it, even at 2am. Looking back, that's probably a big contributor to all my goofs.

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I kinda took a very relaxed attitude during this brew day, but I don't have enough experience yet to be so casual, which was the cause of my problems. None of them will kill the beer IMO, but my process ought to be a little better tuned next time.
Exactly.

Oh, and I am seriously considering a wort chiller. Won't be able to afford one for a while though.
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