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Old 06-05-2012, 03:57 AM   #1
trireme32
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Default First brew is fermenting... now, a couple questions

I've got my first brew going... here is the recipe I went with (trying to go for an imperial rye IPA sorta thing):

2lb Briess 2-row
.5lb Med. crystal (55L)
.5lb Rye malt

30 min steep at 160F

7lb Light DME

60 min boil
1oz Magnum at start of boil (the resultant boil-over and resulting incredibly hard cleanup has taught me to wait until after the break next time)...
1oz Centennial at 50min
.5oz Cascade at 55min

Burton Ale Yeast (White Labs WLP023)

Will be dry-hopping with .5oz of Cascade after I rack to secondary.

Now, my questions:

  1. I forgot to cool my brew-pot (started boil with about 2.5 gal of liquid, the boil-over and evaporation caused it to end at pretty much 2 gal on the button). I added the hot wort right to my ale pail and put the cool water in. Took a good 10 hours for it to get down to 75F. Will this be a major problem?
  2. My OG was 1.083. I cannot figure out how it's so high... I've done some looking into this and did some math with what I used, and that number seems waaaay to high. Is it?
  3. I'm brewing in a 1-bedroom apartment in Dallas. My wife is not really crazy about the whole thing (yeast allergy so she has no idea how awesome beer is). This means keeping the fermenter hidden away. I have it tucked into a corner. Even with the apartment kept at 72-73F, the temp strip on my fermenter is at 78F. Is this due to the heat generated by fermentation? Should I worry?

Thanks for any help!!
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Old 06-05-2012, 04:40 AM   #2
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1. i don't think the time will be an issue. although anything is possible.

2. your hydrometer reading was just concentrated. meaning: the 'top off' water you added, and the wort weren't mixed 100% causing a false reading. which is not an issue. fermentation will do the mixing for you. If you ended with 5 gallons, and used all the 7lbs of DME, your OG will be right around 1.061. the wort and water stratafies, which causes samples to be to concentrated, or to diluted ( you can mix the hell out of it, and it will still happen ). again, not an issue. it's very common

3. the temperature... the temps are fairly high for ale yeast. you might get some off flavors due to this. next time try to get the temps on the lower end of the recommended range. for the burton ale yeast, the optimum range is 68-73F, so you are close, but still a little warm. in two weeks take gravity readings, if the gravity is the same for over 3 days, then you can bottle. after its carbed and cold, let your taste-buds decide. But in the future, shoot for lower temps.

you are correct about fermentation creating heat. if the bucket reads 78 degrees, the core of the fermenter could be warmer. if the outside temp is 70 degrees, the beer temp could be 5+ higher during the first week (active part of fermentation).

good luck and happy brewing! hope it turns out well. your taste buds will be the true judges

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Old 06-05-2012, 04:43 AM   #3
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Thank you! I've already been playing with BeerSmith to work on my next recipe - it's rather addicting!!

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Old 06-05-2012, 04:48 AM   #4
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1) That's fine... but please don't tell me you pitched the yeast right after you added the wort to the water.

2) Even if you mix the bejesus out of a partial boil plus the top up water, you'll have a hard time getting a homogenous mix. The wort you took for the reading was likely in a region of the bucket that had a higher sugar concentration. Next time take an immersion blender or an electric mixer to it for a minute or two (when it's cooled down.) This will not only mix your wort up really well but it'll aerate it as well. Just be sure not to hit the sides of the bucket and scratch it all up.

3) Is the yeast allergy so bad that she can't even be around a sealed fermentation bucket? I mean yeah, the airlock throws off some stuff with the CO2 but not yeast... but yes, it's hotter because all biological processes create heat and during fermentation your beer can raise from 3*F up to 10*F hotter than ambient temperature. At this point you shouldn't worry, I'm sure it'll be fine. However, in the future, put the bucket in a tub with water and some frozen water bottles. Swap out the bottles as needed and you keep the temp around 65*F and sometimes lower if you load up on ice. Do a search for "swamp cooler" on here for more info and more detailed systems.

Hope that helps!



EDIT: Man, I took way too much time to think about that response. I should have just gone with "1)No, 2)Yes, 3)Maybe. DONE"

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Old 06-05-2012, 04:57 AM   #5
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LOL No, I didn't pitch the yeast immediately... I waited very patiently for the proper temp and then pitched... happy to say that 12 hours later my airlock was going crazy!

I'll definitely try the immersion blender next time! I have one lying around that I have not yet found a decent use for, so that's kinda 2 birds, 1 stone.

The yeast allergy isn't that bad - just upsets her stomach - so she's never come to appreciate beer. I have it hidden in a corner because she simply does not understand the awesomeness that is occuring and would rather not have it sitting out in case company comes over. Hopefully I can sneak a water-filled tub into said corner!

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Old 06-05-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trireme32 View Post
LOL No, I didn't pitch the yeast immediately... I waited very patiently for the proper temp and then pitched... happy to say that 12 hours later my airlock was going crazy!
Excellent


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Originally Posted by trireme32 View Post
I'll definitely try the immersion blender next time! I have one lying around that I have not yet found a decent use for, so that's kinda 2 birds, 1 stone.
Nice. Just make sure you get a nice swirling funnel in the middle of the liquid column to ensure it's churning down to the bottom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by trireme32 View Post
The yeast allergy isn't that bad - just upsets her stomach - so she's never come to appreciate beer. I have it hidden in a corner because she simply does not understand the awesomeness that is occuring and would rather not have it sitting out in case company comes over. Hopefully I can sneak a water-filled tub into said corner!
Fair enough. But honesty is a good rule
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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1) Chances are, everything will be fine. The risk is contamination. The longer you sit in the higher temp ranges with no yeast going, the more likely it is that some bacteria sneaks in.

2) I wouldn't worry, but you should check your hydrometer to make sure it is calibrated properly.

3) Not much you can do about past temps, but you'll want to figure out a way to control the temps better.

For recipes, you might just want to try some other people's recipes while you work on the mechanics. It is easier to determine what is going right and what is going wrong if you aren't changing a million variables with each batch. You also might consider keeping it simple. eg a normal IPA instead of the biggest imperial IPA you can think of. Smaller beers tend to be a bit more forgiving in terms of pitching the proper amount of yeast, oxygen levels etc.

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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Please sanitize the heck out of the immersion blender prior to using it in cooled wort, obviously.

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