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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > First Brew attempt
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:27 PM   #1
tarreg01
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Default First Brew attempt

Hello,

This is my first post and first attempt at home brewing. Just wanted to post a couple of thoughts and questions and get some input from people on if/where I went wrong.

The wifey and I tried the Brewers Best Witbier extract kit. I did my best to sanitize everything but I'm still concerned about germs. (I think this hobby may end up giving me OCD!)

My main concerns are as follows:

The wort was much darker than I would have guessed. Does the yeast and fermentation lighten up the brew?

When it came time to go from boil to fermenter, we had trouble getting the auto-siphon to pull up the wort (seemed too thick). I remembered in the instructions that we were supposed to add water to bring the wort up to 5 gallons, so I added the water to the boil pot and the siphon worked just fine. It wasn't until afterwards, that I remembered I wasn't supposed to add the water until I got to the fermenter. Oops. Is that a big problem?

No visible signs of fermentation yet (almost 48 hours). Is that a problem?

Finally, and mot importantly the OG was a little too high. I think we came in at 1.051 or 1.052. I didn't know how to correct that problem so I left it as is. Is that just going to make my beer have more alcohol? Should I have added more water?

Thanks to everyone for any assistance!

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:55 PM   #2
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I've only got a few batches of beer under my belt but i'll give this a shot.

the beer usually comes out darker, if you want a lighter color, only add about 1/4 of the liquid malt for the full boil with the majority of it going in with about 10 minutes left.

I didn't bother with an auto syphon, you want to aerate it in the beginning so i just dumped my boil directly into 2 gallons of water, then topped up to just over 5 gallons. (tip if you freeze some gallon water containers, and cut the plastic off it'll help bring down the temp of your beer)

don't freak out yet if there's no fermentation, personally i started out making wine so if i had a stuck ferment i add a pinch of yeast nutrient and yeast energizer.

1.05 isnt too bad for SG though i'm curious if you added more sugar to the recipe, i've never had a kit that fell out of the specified range on the high side, i once added too much water to bring it in on the low side.

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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Congrats on brewing your first batch!

Yeast/fermenation won't lighten the beer. Extract typically makes the wort a darker color than what's possible with all-grain. I'm also assuming you boiled the extract for 60 minutes? If so, this increased the melanoidin reactions, which darkens the wort. This shouldn't effect taste (unless the extract burnt on the bottom of the pot). In the future, you can dabble with late extract addition to help lighten the color.

48 hours with no sign of fermentation isn't bad. It can take 72 hours at times. Just make sure the fermenter is in a spot that will keep it around the yeast optimal temperature (usually around 67F).

I don't forsee any problems with topping off the water in the boil kettle to help with the siphon.

Your OG at that level isn't bad. You might just end up with a little higher alcohol content than you intended (which generally isn't a problem for most).

Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew!

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:58 PM   #4
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First answer is, that much liquid in a single container is typically much darker than what the final product will be. Having said that, if you managed to scorch some of the extract, not taking off the burner when adding, you can get a darker color.

Don't think that makes any difference when you add the extra water, but for curiosity, why did you use the auto-siphon and not just dump it in?

What temperature did you cool down to and what yeast type?

It may not have been mixed well when you took the reading, that can happen alot when you top off. You may just end up with a little higher ABV. What was the OG supposed to be?

Congrats on getting one under the belt!

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Old 04-08-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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Hey everyone. Thanks for the replies. I think I may have spotted a big problem (more to come on that).

1. I boiled the wort for a total of 55 minutes (what the recipe said).
2. I have the bucket fermenting at 68f.
3. The kit I bought came with an auto-siphon. I may try a dump into collander method next time.
4. I think the directions said og somewhere between 1.047-1.049 (but i could be wrong on that, don't have the directions in front of me).

In doing some more reading and searching on this great forum, I may have found a big problem. This thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/begi...g-howto-99139/ says to read the instructions on the yeast. I didn't. I didn't mix the yeast in any warm water before pitching.

Is there any way of fixing this now? Is there any chance the yeast will work anyway? I guess the worst case scenario is that this was all just a great learning experience.

Thanks again to everyone.

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Old 04-08-2013, 10:27 PM   #6
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the yeast still has a chance of working if you just sprinkled it on top. this may be why it's taking a bit longer to start up.

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Old 04-08-2013, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneTreeFarms View Post
the yeast still has a chance of working if you just sprinkled it on top. this may be why it's taking a bit longer to start up.
Yeah, that's what I did. Thanks. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:07 AM   #8
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Many people sprinkle the yeast, it isn't the end of the world, you will still make beer.

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Old 04-09-2013, 08:26 AM   #9
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If your top off volume was slightly less than desired that would also cause your OG to be higher. If you're too high and want it to come down you can always dilute with more water. Larger volume=lower OG. Also in reverse if your OG is too low you can always boil longer to bring it up. You will wind up with less volume but higher gravity.

As long as your volumes are exact when using extract your OG is pretty much what the kit will say it to be.

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Old 04-11-2013, 12:05 AM   #10
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I pretty much always just sprinkle the yeast and it ends up just fine.

Any visible signs of fermentation yet (bubbles in airlock)?

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