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Old 03-14-2011, 03:22 PM   #1
cmw6300
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Default First Brew Day!!

Well, I went out and purchased a kit on Saturday from a LHBS. Got everything home and had to complete the honey-do list on Saturday so no brewing that day. Sunday, still had honey-do's in the morning but finally got to brew later on in the evening.

I chose a brown ale kit from my LHBS that had all the ingredients in it. This kit also had some specialty grain that needed to be steeped prior to adding in the LME. One thing I messed up on was pouring the boiled water straight in to the Better Bottle fermentor without letting it cool, I know, dumb move on my part. Well, it only deformed the fermenter a little bit, just collapsed the top a smidge. After that all went well. I was ablet to keep the water at ~160 degrees for the steep and had no boilovers for the 60 minutes of boil with the LME. I cooled the wort to ~85 degrees and pitched my yeast to my fermenter and added the cooled wort.

No action last night but then again I wasn't really expecting it too much. That changed when I got up this morning to an airlock filled with trub and spewing out foam. I cleaned up the small amount that spilled onto the closet floor and cleaned off the top of the fermenter and the sides. I went ahead and took the airlock and bung out of the fermenter and cleaned those up as well. I made sure not to touch the rim of the fermenter so as not to contaminate the beer and reinstalled everything after a good clean. Within minutes the same thing was happening again. I was able to place the fermenter in my brewpot in order to catch any more spillover. I am able to go home for lunch so I'm planning on doing another clean and reinstall.

My question is, have I run the chance of contaminating the beer? I have read in other posts that with all the foaming and blowoff that the action of fermenting is producing, it would be hard to any contaminants to get down in to the beer. Also, how long will this violent fermentation last with all this foam being forced up in to the airlock?

Sorry for the long first post but, I just wanted to try and cover everything that went on with my first brew!!!

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Old 03-14-2011, 03:25 PM   #2
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Your beer will be fine, and most likely will calm down in 2-3 days...Next time if you don't want to run the risk of wort coming out of the airlock, try a blow off tube and you will have no worries.

Welcome aboard!!!

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Old 03-14-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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How many gallons in the Better Bottle? 5? If so a blowoff tube would be a huge help for you, just put the other end in a bowl of sanitizer. I'm guessing the warm pitch temp contributed to the violent fermentation, not a suggestion more of an FYI, but I have been pitching at 72 when I use dry ale yeast. Good luck, I'm sure it will be delicious.

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Old 03-14-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
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85 degrees is a little too high for pitching yeast,even Cooper's. There must've been a lot of fermentables to make it re-enact Vesuvius.? I pitched my 1st at 90F (about 30C),& the start was weak & stalled out by morning. I made a starter this time,& it had the Cooper's fermenter threatening to nuke the room. It happens sometimes. But with all that action,& your reactions,it should be fine.
Just give the yeast time later to clean things up.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the welcomes guys!! The Better Bottle was the 6.5 gallon size but I'm thinking I lost some of that volume when it deformed from the hot water. I've already priced out a 6.5 gallon glass carboy for my next brew. I guess I was getting a little antsy last night when I was brewing and could have waited a little longer for the temp. of the wort to come down but it was approaching 10 p.m. and my bed was calling me.

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Old 03-14-2011, 03:41 PM   #6
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Another reason I'm going away from the instructions. You just can't get the wort down to the right pitching temp by the "top off" method. I'm mixing my all extract worts in my brew kettle anyway,so I'm gunna chill it down in a sink of ice water next time. Then add to fermenter,top off,& stir/shake like crazy.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:52 PM   #7
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I am confused on the order of things and the wording, you made it sound like you dumped boiling "water" into fermenter. Does this mean you boiled your make-up water first and put it in better bottle, then put wort in later, or did you just put the wort in hot?

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Watch out with that 6.5 gallon glass carboy, those babies are heavy when full! Remember, they're not pyrex so just like the better bottle, you have to get the temp down in the kettle before your transfer.

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Old 03-14-2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwplessner View Post
Watch out with that 6.5 gallon glass carboy, those babies are heavy when full! Remember, they're not pyrex so just like the better bottle, you have to get the temp down in the kettle before your transfer.
My point as well. FV's are bloody heavy to move when full. And using a brew kettle for any brewing type is a good thing to keep really high temps in a safer environment. I used to add some top off water to the fermenter Before adding the wort so it would decrease temps faster.
But since my electric stove doesn't heat like gas,I get more of a heavy simmer. But it's ok for extract. Just can't get "top off water" to cool it all the way down to pitch temp. So I'm gunna chill the wort 1st in a sink of ice water. That way,the plastic parts should be happier.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ongreystreet View Post
I am confused on the order of things and the wording, you made it sound like you dumped boiling "water" into fermenter. Does this mean you boiled your make-up water first and put it in better bottle, then put wort in later, or did you just put the wort in hot?
That is mostly true. I bought some spring water at the grocery store and came home and boiled it. I'm not really sure I need to do that but I did because I'm a new brewer and thought I had to kill whatever critters might be in the water. After it boiled I then poured it into the BB. In hindsight, I should have let it cool even a little since that is what deformed the fermenter. After boiling the wort for the 60 minutes, I cooled it in an ice bath till it got down to ~85 degrees. I then poured this in to the BB on top of the other water.
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