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Old 08-24-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
MasterShake
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Default First Brew Adventures

so..i brewed my first this sunday.

and boy oh boy...was it a mess. I used to read this board and see all people posting about how they make mistakes on their first brew day..etc. and I always thought, hey the process isn't that hard I shouldn't have many mistakes..boy was I wrong.

Things I did because I am a n00b.

1. Didn't realize that 1.5 gallons in a 6gal kettle is not enough for the floating thermometer to actually float in So i rigged up a shoelace device attaching to the kettle handle that hung the thermometer dipping its tip into the wort.

2. Didn't realize that DME chunks up when it comes in contact with heat..steam included......DUH

3. Takes a long time to boil 1.5gal of water on a stove top..zzzzzz

4. Took out my spoon during the boil (this bites me in the ass later)

5. When chilling wort make sure you have enough space for ice...chilling a 6gal in my small kitchen sink was a pain....

6. Make sure you either feed your pet or put him away somewhere before brewing ( especially if they are extra curious)

7.Make sure you have enough ice( i froze a lot of water bottles, but then realized that they dont come in contact with the kettle as much as the ice does)

8. Make sure your sanitation bucket holds 5gals of water before attempting to fill it up to 5 gals...doh....water everywhere . Ended up doing 2.5gals and 1/2oz of Star San.

9. Speaking of 2.5gals, make sure you have something to measure water with quickly. I tried to do 8cups of water (.5gal) almost twice cause I lost count of how many cups I already poured. Ended up using my blenders "bucket" because it has a 4 cup measuring line on it ( 4cups + 4 cups = .5 gal...I hope )

10. Pour the wort slowly into the funnel...unless you want it all over your SWMBO's clothing...oops..sorry honey (thx for holding the funnel steady tho)

11. Remember that spoon i took out during the boil? yea, bags full of hop flying into the funnel is not a good idea...especially since it blocks the funnel and you didn't sanitize anything to pull the bags out of the funnel.....uhh yeah...thinking ahead is not up to my skill level yet.

12. So apparently stoppers are not suppose to be pushed into the neck of the fermenter all the way...let's leave it at that.

13. Don't close your fermenter before pitching the yeast !!!! twice

14. Don't let your fingers get into the water that's being poured into the fermenter to top it off..

15. Don't forget to take a hydrometer reading ( after pouring the top off water?)..i did it before and now I don't know what my actual reading is. Its only been 24hrs maybe I should take one now.

One thing I did do correctly..I didn't fear the foam !!!! although not all foam came out of the fermenter when I poured the wort and beer.

I will be VERY VERY VERY surprised if this beer comes out without an infection. In fact I will be so surprised I promise to drink all of 5gal in 1 weekend.

I made many many mistakes that I learned from.

Feel free to laugh.

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Old 08-24-2009, 04:35 PM   #2
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no none of that hapend to me my first time everything was claen and perfect, who the #u%k am i, i think i had more supplies then a chef feeding an army and my stove top was pretty shinny now i think it has this dme hue to it, haha anyway congrats and remember it get a whole lot easier from here on out

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Old 08-24-2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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good luck...i'm still waiting for my first batch to finish. i made a lot of the same mistakes you did....second batch will be much easier, and i'm sure your beer will be fine.

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Old 08-24-2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cshort4 View Post
good luck...i'm still waiting for my first batch to finish. i made a lot of the same mistakes you did....second batch will be much easier, and i'm sure your beer will be fine.
thx hopefully it will be....it'll def be a one of a kind Saison..
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Sweet list, my first day was similar. =)

Your beer will probably be fine. As long as you pitched the yeast at room temp and they get off to a good start you'll likely end up with good beer.

I'm not a fan of checking the gravity earlier than a week in, and I usually only check it when I'm opening the fermenter for another reason (like racking to secondary, bottling, etc.).

With the sanitizer you actually don't need 5 gallons of liquid - scale down to 1 or two gallons, then use a cup or jar to help rinse anything that's too big to submerge. You can then save the sanitizer for another batch. I have a cooler set aside for this purpose.

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Old 08-24-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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That's a funny post. Things will get easier. Make sure that you read through this post again about 1 day before you brew your next batch. You will learn a lot from your mistakes.
Don't worry about infection etc., your beer will turn out just fine.

If you post your recipe, we can help you get an approximate OG. That will be handy to have later on as you will use that to estimate your alcohol %.

Cheers!

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Old 08-24-2009, 04:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CouchFarmer View Post
Sweet list, my first day was similar. =)

Your beer will probably be fine. As long as you pitched the yeast at room temp and they get off to a good start you'll likely end up with good beer.

I'm not a fan of checking the gravity earlier than a week in, and I usually only check it when I'm opening the fermenter for another reason (like racking to secondary, bottling, etc.).

With the sanitizer you actually don't need 5 gallons of liquid - scale down to 1 or two gallons, then use a cup or jar to help rinse anything that's too big to submerge. You can then save the sanitizer for another batch. I have a cooler set aside for this purpose.
Thats what I did..I figured 1oz/5gal is 1/2oz per 2.5gals, problem was I didn't have an easy way to get to 2.5gals

I don't mind tossing 1/2oz of star san after each brew, I have a 30oz bottle and that means I am good for 60 brews...
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by phatuna View Post
That's a funny post. Things will get easier. Make sure that you read through this post again about 1 day before you brew your next batch. You will learn a lot from your mistakes.
Don't worry about infection etc., your beer will turn out just fine.

If you post your recipe, we can help you get an approximate OG. That will be handy to have later on as you will use that to estimate your alcohol %.

Cheers!
sure thing. I'll post my exact recipe when I get home.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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Buy yourself a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle. Fill it with your mixed sanitizing solution and then spray everything you want to use. Spray the counter top as well and you've made yourself a sanitized field to work with. If you drop something on the ground or think it may be contaminated just rinse it and respray it. One of the best things I ever bought.

I also had a recent problem with topping off my fermenter and then taking an OG reading. I bought a large stainless steel spoon (available from your lhbs or a kitchen supply store). Now I mix the wort after I pour it into the fermenter. You can also lid it and shake like hell to stir it up. This also help aerate. And you'd be surprised at how much you can "screw up" before you ruin your beer.

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Old 08-24-2009, 05:16 PM   #10
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I am willing to bet you a 22oz bottle of my Irish Red that you made acceptable beer, and will make that list shorter on your 2nd batch!

1: I use twist-ties
2: add slowly while stiring
3: can't help you there, I used to do 2.5g on my electric stove
4: not a problem
5: Ice is your friend! Buy a bag before brewday or get an imersion chiller
6: I keep my dog crated while i brew in the back yard
7: see #5 I also empty my icemaker on brewday
8: I use my bucket fermenter for sanitation
9: add .5gal at a time to your kettle, and mark it. perminate marker won't hurt your beer, I darken the mark before each brew. Or, notch your spoon (Alot of people do that also)
10: using the plastic bucket eliminated the need for a funnel. you could also use an autosiphon to transfer to a carboy after it is chilled
11: again, AlePail... I pour through a stainless caulender to catch the debris
12: leaving it at that...
13: I close mine if it is still too warm
14: Were your hands sanitized from all that StarSan? If so, not a problem
15:if you know these 3 pieces of info, it can be calculated.. Pre-Topoff volume, pre-topoff gravity, post-topoff volume..

Also, if you have a 6gal pot, go for a 2.5gal boil, 1.5 soulds awfully small for a 5gal batch.

and Don't fear the foam! It will break down and provide a nutrient to the yeast.

Read up on these topics for future beers as well..
"Swamp Cooler" "Yeast Starter" "Blowoff tube"

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