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Old 08-31-2008, 08:17 PM   #1
Hoosier
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Default A few notes on my first brew

I finally took the plunge. I made my first batch last night and things seem to be going well *knocks on wood*. I put together a few notes on my batch and am curious what you all think.

8/30/08 2100
Fisher Price, My first Robust Porter
The Recipe:
.75lb Chocolate Malt
.50lb Crystal 90 Malt
.25lb Black Patent Malt
3.3lb Amber LME
2.0lb Dark DME
.5oz Magnum (60min)
.25oz Willamette (25min)
.25oz Willamette (5min)
Danstar Windsor Dry Yeast

steeped milled grains in 1.5 gallon water for 30 min. Temp 153-170. Had a bit of trouble regulating temp but went pretty well.
added 2.5 gallons (4 total) and cranked up the heat. Took a little longet to get to a boil than expected (30-45min).
60 minute boil
added .5oz Magnum Hops @ 60 min remain
added 3.3 Amber LME @ 30 min remain
added 2lb Dark DME @ 30 min remain
wort boil slowed for about 5 min. did not subtract time from boil.
added .25 Willamette Hops @ 25 min remian
submerged wort chiller @ 20 min remain
added .25 Willamette Hops @ 5 min remain
killed heat at the end of the 60 min boil
moved pot out to hose hookup and started the cooling process.
30 minutes of cooling to hit 75
poured wort through strainer into fermenter (6.5 gal bucket)
rinsed strainer and brewpot w/tap water and poured back to brew pot through strainer again.
poured back into fermenter
temp was 74
placed fermenter into ice water bath (15 min)
target temp of 72 achieved
sprinkled yeast (dry) into wort and mixed with a steril wisk (3 min)
placed lid on bucket and inserted airlock
pressure sucked some airlock liquid (tap water) into bucket so I added a bit more to airlock to fill it to the line.
placed bucket in basement and went to sleep.
OG 1.0527
8/31/08 0900
checked fermenter and no sign of bubbles yet.
checked airlock and found there was to much water, adjusted and walked away.
checked again at 1030 and airlock was bubbling

there are the notes. if you have any thoughts/suggestions please let me know
Thx,
Chris

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Last edited by Hoosier; 08-31-2008 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:33 PM   #2
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Congrats on your first brewing session.

A couple suggestions:
- The whisking of the yeast is not necessary. Pitching directly will work fine. Or you can rehydrate according to the directions on the package before pitching (many but not all of the brands suggest this).
- You didn't mention it, but gently stirring the wort with your immersion chiller will greatly reduce your chilling time. When I chill, if I don't stir for about ten seconds or so, I'll feel that the output side is luke warm or colder. One slight swirl and it gets immediately hot again.
- A better option for your airlock is to fill it with vodka or a no-rinse sanitizer. Tap water (un-boiled) could have bacteria. It's not a huge concern since infecting a beer is harder than it sounds.
- Your use of tap water to rinse your strainer/brewpot before dumping the wort back into it could be a sanitation issue. Anything that touches your wort after cooling should be sanitized (I recommend a no-rinse sanitizer like Star-San). But per the comment above, you're probably OK since people have done much more unsanitary things and their beer came out fine.

Fight the temptation to open the lid, look at it, take 14 hydrometer samples, etc. Let it go a couple weeks in primary before you contemplate racking to secondary or bottling. Waiting is the hardest part.

Good luck, and congrats.

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Fermenter 1: Best bitter (1)
Fermenter 2: Best bitter (2)
Fermenter 3: APA
Fermenter 4: APA

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Old 09-02-2008, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice Brian. I have changed the liquid in the airlock to vodka. Now I am trying to pretend it isn't there for a few weeks and just leave it alone. Kinda hard tho, being a first time brewer. Also, I am looking at the better bottle as a primary. Any thoughts from those that have used them? I want to be able to watch but still have the convenience of the spigot.

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Old 09-02-2008, 06:47 PM   #4
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Plus 1 on Brian's comments, but sounds like you are well on your way to having beer before you know it.

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Old 09-03-2008, 12:27 AM   #5
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I only use better bottles now, and I love them. Just make sure to use a blow off tube instead of an airlock. (buy an orange carboy cap and about 3 feet of 5/8" and 38" ID tubing. stick the tubing on the cap, and submerge the ends of the tubes in a growler halfway full of sanitizer) If you use an airlock, krausen can clog the airlock, causing a nasty explosion.

And also, the reciper looks good too!

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Old 09-03-2008, 02:38 AM   #6
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I also use better bottles and am very happy with them. The nice thing is the lightness and non-fragile aspect (compared to glass), plus you can watch the fermentation rather than peeking under the lid.

I use an airlock (exactly like Herc suggests), but it's not an absolute necessity. It is a good insurance policy against a blow-out, which is why I do it. Plus there's no chance of suction (caused by lifting the BB) sucking the airlock liquid into your beer.

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Fermenter 1: Best bitter (1)
Fermenter 2: Best bitter (2)
Fermenter 3: APA
Fermenter 4: APA

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Old 09-03-2008, 08:21 AM   #7
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Hoosier - Welcome to homebrewing.
BrianP hit all the points I would if I was thinking right now.
It sure looks like you did your homework and had a good plan in place. Heck, I wish I was that prepared on my first batch. Try to control the temperature for the yeast and keep everything touching the beer sanitized and your have some great beer.

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