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Old 09-15-2010, 02:16 PM   #1
adhomebrew10
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Default First Brew Day In The Books!

Hi All,

Last Saturday (9-11) I brewed my first bath of beer, an extract APA with a recipe I came up with on my own (We will see how that works out).

I have taken pictures of the process and plan to post those soon, but so far everything has gone well, aside from the first time blunders you can read about but never truly prepare for until they happen.

Some things I have learned:
1) Yes, StarSan does foam! DO NOT shake this stuff in your carboy, unless you want it totally filled with bubbles. I know you can rack on top of those, but they were flowing out of the bottle. Waited on them to go down, then syphoned star san back in and gently swriled and capped until ready to use. Worked much better.

2) Boil overs happen very fast. Plenty of empty room in the 7.5g turkey fryer lost quickly with hop and extract additions. 3 boilovers... 2 put out my burner, make a mess. Figured out that using the turkey fryer lid as a fan prevents boil overs

3) Steeping crystal smells fantastic, and the aroma of fresh hops is awesome.

4) Hop bags help with hop pellets... still gets sludgy.

Aside from the newby blunders, all has gone quite well. My DIY IC worked MUCH better than I expected. It dropped my wort from 200+ to about 75 in 10 minutes. Very happy with those results.

I rehydrated my yeast, and fed it a little boiled DME as suggested by John Palmer.

Placed better bottle in my DIY fermentation cooler (Thanks Yooper!) and at 70 pitched my yeast, then chilled down to 66 degrees. This thing has worked so well that so far I need only add 2 20oz bottles of ice twice a day to keep the temp at 66. Took an OG reading - 1.050, exactly what I was shooting for, and pleasantly suprised since I did all the math myself. (The software engineer side of me has to know how to do these things)

At +7 hours I was getting occasional bubbles in the blow off bucket filled with starsan. The next morning fermentation was going strong. Right now I have 1.5 inches of krausen and still steady bubbling.

Plan to wait 2-3 weeks, then dry hop, wait a week and bottle. I am very excited that things have gone so well at this point. Already trying to plan my second brew... thinking a brown ale or porter.

Hope to have some pics up soon of the process...
-adhomebrew



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Old 09-15-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
hal2814
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Congratulations on your first brew. Eventually you'll get good enough at spotting the signs of a boil that you can adjust before it becomes a boilover. In the meantime, you may want to use a thermometer to help know when you're getting close so you can ratchet the heat down as you approach boiling temps.

Do yourself a favor and don't automatically bottle at a week. Take a gravity reading instead. Then take another reading 3 days out and repeat every 3 days until you get the same reading. That way you know fermentation is done and you can safely bottle. If you just bottle at one week, the yeast may not be done yet and you'll overcarbonate, possibly exploding the bottles in the process.



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Old 09-15-2010, 02:39 PM   #3
adhomebrew10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hal2814 View Post
Do yourself a favor and don't automatically bottle at a week. Take a gravity reading instead.
I was not going to bottle after 1 week. I plan to let it sit in the primary for 4 weeks total before bottling. I was saying I would dry hop after 2-3 weeks and then bottle after another week.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adhomebrew10 View Post
I was not going to bottle after 1 week. I plan to let it sit in the primary for 4 weeks total before bottling. I was saying I would dry hop after 2-3 weeks and then bottle after another week.
Sorry, must've misread.
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adhomebrew10 View Post
1) Yes, StarSan does foam! DO NOT shake this stuff in your carboy, unless you want it totally filled with bubbles.
I always shake the carboy with Star San. I usually put a quart or 2 in and shake the hell out of it. since the foam is a sanitizer as well, it's a great way to make sure you have covered everything. Usually the foam settles if you let it sit a bit. I'll do my carboy early and cover with tin foil. By the time I need it, most of the foam is now liquid and pours right out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adhomebrew10 View Post
2) Boil overs happen very fast. Plenty of empty room in the 7.5g turkey fryer lost quickly with hop and extract additions. 3 boilovers... 2 put out my burner, make a mess. Figured out that using the turkey fryer lid as a fan prevents boil overs .

Have a spray bottle of water handy to help prevent the boilovers. I also use Fermcap-S, which pretty much makes boilovers go away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adhomebrew10 View Post
3) Steeping crystal smells fantastic, and the aroma of fresh hops is awesome..

you they do, and yes they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by adhomebrew10 View Post
4) Hop bags help with hop pellets... still gets sludgy..

I whirlpool the wort after it's below 100 ( sanitized spoon - stir the wort into a whirlpool ) which pushes all the trub to the center, then siphon off the edge...no need for hop bags.

Congratualtions on your first brew!!!


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