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Old 05-23-2007, 03:44 AM   #1
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Default Brew process not working as expected

I am a first time brewer and have noticed a couple things not working as expected. Maybe I did something or a few things wrong. Here is what I did. Any advice of my next steps is greatly appreciated.

Bought an English Pale Ale Kit (dry malt, malt extract, crushed crystal malt, Perle hops, Willamentee Hops, Yeast).

Brought 1.5 gallons of water to 160 degrees and steeped the crushed grains in a cloth bag for 20 minutes.

Then brought water to a boil and added the dry malt, malt extract and Perle hops. Boiled for 55 minutes.

Then added the Willamente hops and boiled for 5 minutes.

Next put the brew pot in sink filled with ice water and let cool until ~70 degrees.

Poured the contents of the brew pot less the sediment on the bottom into a plastic fermenter. I think this was my first mistake as I was not sure to pour the whole thing in our not. Here is a photo of what I left behind:



Then I added warm tap water to the 5 gallon mark.

Next I took a hydrometer reading and read 1.018.

Next I added the yeast, dry. I realize this might have been a mistake after reading the sticky. I then gave the mixture a stir. I also realized I didnt stir before taking the hydrometer reading but I already added the yeast and it is too late now.

I put the lid on, installed the air lock and stored it away.

After 24 hours the air lock was bubbling like crazy but after 48hrs it only makes one bubble every 20 seconds or so. Now after 72 hours it only makes one bubble every 20 seconds or so.

At this point I am not sure what to do. I dont know why my initial hydrometer reading was so low (the kit says 1.044 to 1.048) and why the rapid bubbling stopped so soon after 24 hrs. Is this normal?

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Old 05-23-2007, 03:52 AM   #2
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I'd say you probably got a low gravity reading because you didn't have a good mixture. it probably did not start at 1.018.

but it is lower than 1.044 because you have a lot of sugars left in that pot that the yeasties are not going to have the pleasure of enjoying.

fermentation sounds completely normal....so you probably did fine and will just end up with a lower alcohol volume.

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Old 05-23-2007, 04:00 AM   #3
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Note: I'm no expert, been brewing less than a year, but had some of these problems/questions on my first one too.

Relax and Don't Worry.

Don't worry about the hydrometer reading it was almost surely low since you didn't stir the water and wort together, so you were probably reading mostly water. Or you misread the hydrometer, I know I did on my first one. Either way, you can't change it now so don't worry about it. You're making beer, since it bubbled.

Most of my beers have ceased violent fermentation after 3 days, with little to no noticeable airlock activity after the 3rd or 4th day. Your wort is now beer, but not ready to drink yet.

You're fine pouring the whole thing in. Are you going to put this in a secondary? If so, great because you'll be able to rack off the hops on the bottom of the primary. If not, you'll have a little more sediment in the bottom of the bottle, but nothing to worry about.

I won't comment on any of the other techniques, because I'm not 100% sure of the best practices myself, but I'm sure others will chime in and let you know if anything looks off. But you've made beer (still needs to finish and clear and age and carbonate, etc, but you do have alcohol now) and it's just a matter of refinement of your technique now.

My best advise is to read this board a lot. I have very few posts but I read every day, even in the advanced threads that are way over my head or current skill level. I figure the more that I can learn the better the beer I'll make will be. I use the heck out of the New Posts link at the top of the forum. You'll gain confidence that you know what you're doing even without doing it, so next time things will be even smoother.

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Old 05-23-2007, 04:01 AM   #4
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Dude you've got beer!!!


I think you did everything just right, yeah you left some sugar behind but not much. Again, probably didn't mix the water in well, with extract (if using the right amount) there is really no way to miss it by that much. Also, did you adjust for temperature?

In about 4 days you are ready to rack to secondary! or whatever you are going to do

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Old 05-23-2007, 05:12 AM   #5
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I say congrats on the first of many Im sure. Hay at least you remembered to take a reading thats an important step not to leave behind. GOOD JOB! only one way to go from here.... and thats brew more LOADS more
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Old 05-23-2007, 05:12 AM   #6
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Don't worry about a thing. I thought I royally screwed up my first brew too, seconded guessed every step but I am enjoying one right now Congrats on making beer.

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Old 05-23-2007, 01:42 PM   #7
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Thinking about your low OG reading, here's what I would suggest for your next beer:

-Add the tap water
-Close up the carboy/bucket
-Shake the hell out of it
-Take OG reading
-Pitch yeast

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Old 05-23-2007, 02:07 PM   #8
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Congrats!!!!

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Old 05-23-2007, 02:21 PM   #9
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As people have said, you've got beer (almost).

There is a tendency for new brewers to under-mix in the fermenter because they have heard getting oxygen in the beer is bad. The one exception is just before pitching the yeast, then the more O2 the better. This under-mixing makes for unreliable gravity readings.

Wait until the bubbling is down to one a minute and start checking the finish gravity.

Compared to my first batch, you've done well.

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Old 05-23-2007, 03:09 PM   #10
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You did it just fine! The only suggestions I have are to maybe buy or find a colander or strainer that fits over your bucket, sanitize it and pour your cooled wort into it to strain out all the gunk and to aerate it a bit. Add your top off water and stir it lots, then take a hydrometer reading. Good job!

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