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Old 12-17-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
mtgray9
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Default First Brew: Lessons Learned and a Few Questions

Well, I did it...this afternoon I brewed my first batch: St. Arnold Christmas Ale clone from Austin Homebrew Supply. Below are some observations, lessons learned, and some questions.

Don't go cheap on your boil pot; I bought and used a 12-quart pot (3-gallons)...sooooo not big enough.

I had a boil over immediately after I added my bittering hops.

The mess from the boil over wasn't as nasty to clean up as I had expected, and was even able to get it cleaned up before my wife busted me.

The liquid malt extract dissolved quicker and easier than I anticipated.

I have a wort cooler, but didn't use it. Instead I went the ice bath route. It took me probably close to 30-minutes to get my wort cooled to 80-degrees.

Planning and having everything sanitized beforehand is essential.

My OG measured at 1.075; according to the directions from Austin Homebrew Supply, it should have been about 1.066.

After I pitched the yeast (liquid White Labs English Ale), I moved my fermentation bucket to its final location. For the next 10-minutes, I noticed action in the air lock.

With my OG higher than it should have been, what are the ramifications? Is this going to be a problem?

The action I saw in my airlock: was that probably just due to me relocating my fermentation bucket? The action seems to have stopped, or at least slowed way down.

All in all, it was a fun process, though longer than I expected.

If I could make one single recommendation to a fellow beginner, it is to get a large boil pot..follow the directions of the experienced brewers or the directions that come with your brew kit...don't go cheap on the brew pot!

I think the hard part is done...I just hope the fermentation goes well (I did not use a starter). Looking forward to drinking some good, fresh beer.

Thanks in advance for any helpful comments!

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:15 PM   #2
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Was the airlock sucking in towards the beer? I sometimes see that as the beer comes down to room temp. I would be surprised (happily) with the
OG difference with an extract or mini-mash kit. Do you recall the amount and ingredients used? What was the volume into the fermenter?

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:18 PM   #3
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And f you measured the og @ 80f you are higher than 1.075...more like 77 or 78.

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:29 PM   #4
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Hrm, the biggest pot I have is 1.5 gallons. I was planning on doing a 2 gallon partial boil in two stages, 1 gallon each. Maybe no?

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgray9 View Post
I think the hard part is done...
I thought that too, until i came down with "Watchit Syndrome." Now the hard part is the waiting.
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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also, great thread info for newbs like myself. I also learned that the 3 gal pot was not enough for a 2.5 gal boil.

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:34 PM   #7
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ashpub, why do you say you'd be pleasantly surprised with the high OG (please excuse my ignorance)?

the og of 1.075 is already adjusted for the 80-degree temperature.

the recipe called for 5.25-gallons in the primary fermenter.

the airlock sure looked like it was reacting to C02 coming out of the bucket...would it have looked different if it was sucking?

the ingredients were:

grain bag consisted of:
.5-lb cara munich malt
1-lb cara vienne malt
.5-lb special b malt
13-oz munich malt

hops:
1.5-oz perle hops
3.0-oz liberty hops

malt extract:
9lb amber malt extract

yeast:
white labs english ale 002 liquid yeast

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:37 PM   #8
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ezzieyguywuf, get you a bigger pot...trust me.

sounds like wrelsien would agree.

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:47 PM   #9
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congrats on your first brew! Next time you brew don't be afraid to use your wort chiller, it'll cut that cooling time in half. and if you haven't tried, heat up your lme in some hot water prior to adding to the pot, makes it much easier to work with. As far as a bigger pot and following instructios of experienced brewers, YES. Following instructions that came with the kit, not so much, reference at best. Ask questions on this forum before following kit instructions

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Old 12-17-2010, 11:50 PM   #10
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I generally like my missed OGs to be high. I'm an alchy like that. I am getting 1.067 for that recipe and volume also. That recipe looks delicious none the less.
The s-type airlock will show vacuum on the beer side when cooling as opposed to pressure escaping to atmosphere during fermentation. Now go shake that fermenter....

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