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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > First Brew IN FERMENTER!!, but I got questions
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:32 AM   #1
BillTheSlink
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Default First Brew IN FERMENTER!!, but I got questions

It's done, finally.. I worker my butt off last night washing all the new stuff so I'd just have to sanitize today and brew. I was up until 4:30 am.

Here's the recipe:
Hefe Weizen Northern Brewer
All in sixty minuet boil:

1 lbs Dry Wheat extract
6 lbs Wheat Liquid extract
.80 oz sterling hops (originally called for 1 oz, But I thought I could do a full boil) {I'll explain}.
Wyeast #3333 German Wheat

First off Northern Brewer said I was getting a 7 1/2 gal pot. Well, no way. With six gallons it's an inch from the rim. So I boiled but poured off about 1 and a half gallon in sanitized buckets.

Then I carefully stirred in everything. Turned the LP back on and almost had a catastrophic boil over. The hops formed a green slime and it raised about a foot and a half. What I don't understand is I was told to be ready with a spray bottle of water to knock this down. Well as it just started and I sprayed; it was as if it exploded. Was I told wrong?

Just as it hit the brim I cut the gas and the boil collapsed and the hop film sank. Flakes would be seen during the boil, but no more hop film is this OK?

I then chilled it with the wort chiller, and put in the glass carboy. My temp was just under 80 degrees by the time I topped off to 5 gallon. I took an OG reading which is another question. Corrected for temp it was 1.042. Northern predicted 1.049 and BeerSmith even higher at 1.052, but was BeerSmith was planned with a full boil, if that makes any difference. That sounds like a fairly big difference, do you not think?

Last and final question: I used the yeast starter kit with my smack pack. Instructions said to boil 1500 ml water with 3/4 cup DME and put in flask, cool, pitch, install airlock and pitch in wort in 12 plus hours. So I did, but after boil I only had 700 ml of liquid left. No problem, it bubbled in about 20 minuets and churned all day.

After cooling the worth to about 78 degrees I aerated with a pump for 30 minuets and then pitched. I didn't know though If I was just supposed to pour in the cloudy stuff or the slurry?? The cloudy stuff went in fine, but I got to looking and smelling the slurry and it smelled like the yeast I opened last night, so I got some luke warm tap water swished around and dumped it in. Please tell me I didn't screw up.

Now only clean up is left. It's all sitting in PBW where it'll stay till morning. I am dead.

Bill

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:08 AM   #2
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Sounds like a fairly successful brew day! Your OG was a bit off, but that will happen and I'm sure your beer will turn out just fine. The two points to watch in the boil are 1) just reaching a boil, and 2) adding the hops. I make sure that I am near by at these times (usually the same time or very close) and keep stirring. Also, I usually use a fan to blow on the top of the kettle. If no fan, just blow on the top of the kettle. As a side note, i will also rinse the side of the kettle where hop residue sticks (on the inside) with the boiling wort so that all of the hops are doing their thing. The lack of hop film is just fine. Once the boil is on it's way, there's usually no need to worry about boil overs unless more hops are being added, and then rarely.

How long did you boil your starter? Sounds like you boiled it quite a while to go from 1500 ml to 700ml. I boil mine for 15 mins, cool, and pitch yeast. Also, just cover your flask with a piece of foil. The yeast need some oxygen to reproduce, and there isn't a huge worry of contamination as long as it's covered. I have done this for all of my starters and have not had a problem.

Have you calibrated your hydrometer? Make sure it reads 1.000 in water

When I rack the cooled wort to the fermenter, I leave the cloudy hop/protein residue in the boil kettle. Probably not a big deal, but just something for next time. If your methods were sanitary, then don't worry too much. I make up the difference in fluid loss while formulating the recipes and account for this through the brewing process.

A last note...be careful with letting your boil kettle sit for too long with some cleaners. I have a 10 gal aluminum kettle and accidentally let it sit overnight with an oxygenated cleaner (don't remember brand) in solution. This was my first mistake. When I finally got around to cleaning the kettle, there was a black stain where the cleaner was in contact with the walls of the kettle. Now I use a non-scented, mild dish soap to clean this immediately after using. No problems since.

Sounds like you are well on your way! Cheers!

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:22 AM   #3
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Congratulations on your first brew. I'm sure it'll turn out great.

Your hydrometer reading may be low because of the top off water you added. If it wasn't mixed in very well, then your sample could have been watered down.

Also I notice you said that you "corrected for temperature". I've read somewhere that, even after correction, the readings are not very accurate when the temp gets to far above/below 60 deg F.

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:25 AM   #4
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For an extract, it is unlikely you were so far off on the gravity. Mostly this happens if you didn't mix it up completely after adding the top off water. Most concerning to me is that you could only get 6 g in a 7.5 g pot... maybe your "1 gallon standard" is off, and you actually had more volume than you thought?

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Old 04-19-2009, 10:19 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input,

I am definitely right on the six gallons in the pot. It just isn't a 7 1/2 gal pot.

I did spray the sticky hop residue after the collapse back from the side into the pot. I may have left a little to much wort behind before reaching trub. I was pouring and still getting wort, but when I stopped to check, turb mixed all in with what was left and I called it a day.

I certainly did something right with the yeast. I had my first bubble out the blow off tube into the pail of water in about 20 minutes and it's going fast a furious now. That's must be a lot of gas coming out the big old tube. I just snuck a peek under my wet blanket I have wrapped around it (temps are near the high end) and I am just an inch or so away from having some blow off. I am glad I used the 6 1/2 gal glass carboy and not the six gal PET Better Bottle.

Thanks,
Bill

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Old 04-19-2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTheSlink View Post
It's done, finally...
Good for you!

Quote:
Then I carefully stirred in everything. Turned the LP back on and almost had a catastrophic boil over. The hops formed a green slime and it raised about a foot and a half. What I don't understand is I was told to be ready with a spray bottle of water to knock this down. Well as it just started and I sprayed; it was as if it exploded. Was I told wrong?
You were not. The thing with the spray bottle is you have to catch it as it starts, or it won't make a difference. If you let the foam get out of control, the only thing that'll make a difference is a garden hose.

That's been my experience, anyway.

Quote:
Flakes would be seen during the boil, but no more hop film is this OK?
That's fine.

Quote:
I then chilled it with the wort chiller, and put in the glass carboy. My temp was just under 80 degrees by the time I topped off to 5 gallon. I took an OG reading which is another question. Corrected for temp it was 1.042. Northern predicted 1.049 and BeerSmith even higher at 1.052, but was BeerSmith was planned with a full boil, if that makes any difference. That sounds like a fairly big difference, do you not think?
There are several possible causes for that discrepancy. First is insufficient mixing of the top-off liquor* and the bitter wort. Second is calibration. Third is the notorious inaccuracy of hydrometer temperature correction.

Take what I'm about to type and write it five hundred times in your little notebook:

There is no need to worry about original gravity readings with recipes where the bulk of the fermentables come from extract.

I know this is your first batch (welcome to the obsession! ), but it's best if we nip this worry right in the bud.

A given quantity of malt extract in a given quantity of liquor will provide a certain OG, within a small margin of error. This is calculated by the points of gravity per pound per gallon (ppg). It's not as confusing as it sounds. Follow:

For example, Briess extracts will provide a gravity of 1.034 ppg for syrups and 1.043 for powders. So if you use 5 lbs of DME in the kettle and end up with 5 gallons in the fermenter, you will start with a gravity of 1.043. Period. Full stop. Sentence ends there. Doesn't matter what your hydrometer says.

Now, there is a small margin of error between extract manufacturers. But the margin of error is small. LME ranges between 1.032 and 1.036, and DME between 1.040 and 1.045. This is too small a margin of error to go from an estimated 1.052 to 1.040.

There's also some small but potentially significant gravity contributions from specialty grains like Crystal Malt. But your software should compensate for that. Trust what your software tells you!

Quote:
After cooling the worth to about 78 degrees I aerated with a pump for 30 minuets and then pitched. I didn't know though If I was just supposed to pour in the cloudy stuff or the slurry?? The cloudy stuff went in fine, but I got to looking and smelling the slurry and it smelled like the yeast I opened last night, so I got some luke warm tap water swished around and dumped it in. Please tell me I didn't screw up.
You did not screw up. Congratulations on not only brewing your first beer, but also building your first yeast starter! That's something not everyone does their first time out.

Yeast management is important. If you peruse the HBT Wiki (link at the top of the page), you'll find an article I wrote on proper yeast pitching techniques. If it confuses you, never mind; file it away for later and just keep doing what you're doing and you'll be fine.

Except for that bit about swirling lukewarm water. I'm sure your beer will be excellent, so don't worry about that! All I wanted to say is, next time simply swirl the container to mix the flurry back into the cloudy stuff (which is just yeast suspended in the starter wort). The point to brewing a starter is to increase the number of yeast cells you're pitching; leaving any of them behind is a bad idea, and the starter slurry is the richest source of yeast imaginable; it's an almost pure culture.

Quote:
Now only clean up is left. It's all sitting in PBW where it'll stay till morning. I am dead.
You did a fantastic job! Be proud!

Cheers,

Bob


* Water is for cleaning. Liquor goes into the beer. Same stuff, different name. Jargon is cool.
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