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Old 08-09-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
walrusbt
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Default Brewed first batch last night - obervations and questions

I brewed the AHS Cream Ale last night. Baby #2 is coming Friday so I got the first batch in just in time. I'm anxious to do a pale ale or IPA...hopefully I can find the time soon. So it was an enjoyable process. After doing a batch, I think a lot of what I'm reading will start connect quicker/make more sense, and I can start tweaking the process.

Observations:
* I did a full boil on a turkey fryer - it sure can take a long time to get to a boil. I better get an extra propane tank. I'm not sure how much of the tank I killed, but it must have been a lot.
* I like wearing flip flops but I'll need to be more careful. After stirring the wort a couple times the boiling popped and ended up on my foot. Lesson learned.
* It's easy to get wrapped up in what you're doing and forget to look for simple solutions. I used an IC to cool the wort down most of the way, but used a sub pump and ice water to finish cooling near the end. The water was exiting the IC hose at a trickle though after hooking up the pump - after spending a few minutes tinkering with the pump, trying to make sure the ice wasn't clogging the pump, getting annoyed I didn't buy the higher powered pump, etc. I noticed the problem - a kink in the hose.

Things I forgot/Where I messed up:
* I forgot to submerge the IC in the boiling wort near the end. I realized this after I shut off the flame. I hit the IC with the Star San solution from the spray bottle (spray bottle is a great idea by the way - thanks HBT)....I hope this is okay.
* I forgot to stir the wort as the instructions said to do after pouring into the fermentation bucket.
* OG was supposed to be at 1.052 and I was at 1.06. How "off" is that. Is that a big miss, medium miss? I'm not certain where this came from. The volume was about right, ending with just over 5 gallons (recipe called for 5.25). I suspect the bittering hops adjustment was part of the miss. Instructions were for a partial boil, I adjusted 25% down for the full boil as was suggested, but I basically eye-balled it as I didn't have a scale. Could not having stirred the wort after it was in the fermentation bucket have caused me to grab a sample that wasn't representative of the whole?

Well, thanks everyone on HBT who has answered my questions (or someone elses as I've read a lot of threads over the past couple months). Reading about everyone's process, approach, tips, etc. made getting started very easy.

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Old 08-09-2011, 04:24 PM   #2
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The hops wouldn't alter your OG at all. Was this an extract brew or all grain? If it was extract, the OG should be spot on. I'd usually say that maybe the hydrometer sample wasn't representative of the whole, but you did a full boil, so even if you didn't mix it in the fermentor, it would have gotten mixed up when you poured/siphoned/drained it in.

If it *was* extract, my guess is that you took the sample when the wort was still pretty hot. Hydrometers are calibrated for 60 degrees F, so if you took the reading with hot wort, it would be off. Try using this (if you remember the temp when you took the reading): http://www.brewersfriend.com/hydrometer-temp/

If it was all grain, if could have something to do with the predicted versus actual efficiency and/or mash temps.

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Old 08-09-2011, 04:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by onipar View Post
The hops wouldn't alter your OG at all. Was this an extract brew or all grain? If it was extract, the OG should be spot on. I'd usually say that maybe the hydrometer sample wasn't representative of the whole, but you did a full boil, so even if you didn't mix it in the fermentor, it would have gotten mixed up when you poured/siphoned/drained it in.

If it *was* extract, my guess is that you took the sample when the wort was still pretty hot. Hydrometers are calibrated for 60 degrees F, so if you took the reading with hot wort, it would be off. Try using this (if you remember the temp when you took the reading): http://www.brewersfriend.com/hydrometer-temp/

If it was all grain, if could have something to do with the predicted versus actual efficiency and/or mash temps.
Thanks - I've seen that before but forgot about the temperatrue making a difference. My temp was likely too high, though the link suggests my OG was even higher than what I measured, so I may be evn further off than I thought. It was an extract. I steeped 24oz of grain 25 minutes before bringin back to a boil and adding 6 lbs of DME.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:54 PM   #4
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Sounds like everything went fine to me, to be off by .08 is not the end of the world and with an extract it could be from water volume, the steeped grains, or some other minor variable.

The water flow you actually want to be fairly slow/low better transfer of heat and you don't waste as much water.

With a full boil the stir isn't nearly as important as if you did a partial and added water, then it is crucial.

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Old 08-09-2011, 05:22 PM   #5
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Having a higher OG is better than being too low even after a good mix,etc.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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Sounds like a pretty successfull first brew day.

I usually get 3.5 brew sessions out of one standard propane tank, using it for heating sparge water and boiling during all grain. So you should expect to get at least that from a tank. But I also keep a second one on hand that is full, so I always have a full backup - and I can always completely drain the first tank so I'm a bit more efficient in trips to get it refilled.

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Old 08-09-2011, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walrusbt View Post
Thanks - I've seen that before but forgot about the temperatrue making a difference. My temp was likely too high, though the link suggests my OG was even higher than what I measured, so I may be evn further off than I thought. It was an extract. I steeped 24oz of grain 25 minutes before bringin back to a boil and adding 6 lbs of DME.
Yep - if your wort was too hot when you measured the OG, the hydrometer would actually read lower than the actual gravity, not higher.

I would expect your wort to be a little bit higher OG because of the lower volume (5.00 gal instead of 5.25), but not by that much.

The only thing I can think of to account for it is that either AHS gave you a little extra extract, or maybe you managed to extract sugar from any steeping grains you used. Or if you did a partial mash, you might have achieved a greater efficiency than the recipe predicted. In any case, kudos.

As for your propane usage, you probably will want to keep an extra tank around. I keep one hooked up to my burner and one hooked up to my grill, and I brew much more often than I grill so I always have the grill tank as a spare if I run out. And consider getting one of these so you're never surprised:

http://www.amazon.com/Flame-YSN-212-...2912078&sr=8-1
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