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Old 09-11-2008, 08:36 PM   #1
Needsanamebrewery
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Default First brew with mistakes

Here is a rundown of my first 5 gal brew and the mistakes I made:

True Brew Pale Ale kit
3.3 lbs Muntons light hopped LME
2 lbs pale dry DME
.25 pounds crystal grains
1 Oz UK First Gold hops
OG 1.042-1.050
FG 1.010-1.012
IBU 13 (this seems a little low to me for the style)

1845: Put 5 gallons spring water in 11 gal pot on the SQ-14

1850: First mistake In the house, brought 1 gal spring water to 170 degrees and cut heat--added grains and put lid on. My thought was that the grains would bring the temp down to 155-160, so I went outside. Apparently my pot holds heat very well because I came in 15 minutes later and the temp was 171. I took the lid partially off and got it to 165 for the remaining 15 minutes.

1850-1925: Imbibe

1925: Added "grain juice" to outside pot

1945: It's boiling. Take the pot off the heat and stir in LME, DME, and hops. Back on burner. Proceed to boil (I'd guess somewhere between "vigorously" and "violently"--boy does that burner put out some heat)

1945-2030: Imbibe

2030: Add irish moss. Also put IC in boiling wort to sanitize.

2045: Burnout. Place pot in ice/salt bath (in a large plastic container) and crank up the IC

2055: Wort is 80 degrees. Leave chiller in and put lid on. Go in and rehydrate yeast. Second (and biggest) mistake

2055: I live in a red state, meaning we don't know celsius from shinola. I rehydrated the yeast at 40 degrees F instead of 40 degrees C. It didn't dawn on me until a couple of hours ago that it seemed a rather cool temperature to rehydrate yeast. Live and learn. I guess I'll drive the 70 miles to the LHBS and pick up another packet.

2110: Wort is 70 degrees. I double strained (fine splatter guard on top of a strainer) the wort into my bucket, then back into the pot, then back into the bocket. It foamed like it was a Duvel being poured right down the middle. It foamed over the edges of the fermenter bucket on the last pass into it. I assume this means it's sufficiently aerated.

2110: A little more than 5 gallons in the bucket (though I did not calibrate the 5 gal mark so I'm not 100% sure). OG 1.038. Pitched yeast.

2115. Put fermenter into my plastic container and stick it in the spare bathtub. I put water in the container and have a couple of frozen litre PET bottles on the ready in case the temp goes up. Holding steady at 70 degrees. No signs of fermentation yet but it's early.

Question is, is it advisable to go ahead and pitch another packet of yeast? I certainly now know it's advisable to keep a couple of extra packets on hand.

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:41 PM   #2
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I wouldn't think the 40* rehydrate would harm the yeast, and since they are already in a state of slumber, it wouldn't even do so much as to slow them down. You should be ok. Just out of curiosity, what strain of yeast was it?

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
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It was Munton's Standard Ale yeast.

I read somewhere that at that low temperature, up to 60% of the yeast would lose their viability? Then again, I'll believe anything I read on the internet.

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:47 PM   #4
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Don't bother with the second packet, give the first one a chance to take hold. Ideally you want to rehydrate at a temp closer to your wort...still, it's unlikely you did any serious damage to the yeast with cold water. In future, I'd just sprinkle the dry yeast onto the wort, at least for beers in this relatively low OG range.

Munton's yeast is notorious for not attenuating all malt recipes very well, so don't be surprised if you don't reach your FG.

Likewise, I wouldn't sweat the high steeping temps. Worst scenario is that you pick up a bit of astringency from the grain husks, but I doubt you'll have a problem. Steeping temperature is not as critical as mashing temperature.

All in all, it sounds like you did really well!

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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I will leave it as is. Thanks for the advice!

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:21 PM   #6
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In practice it makes very little difference to rehydrate your dry yeast unless you are making a high gravity ale, since in that case the osmotic pressure will cause the yeast to hydrate very slowly.

40*F is fine for rehydrating. Lower temp just means it takes longer but the yeast are still dormant so it will not cause any harm.

Your procedures sound really solid! Your beer should be great.

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:25 PM   #7
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If those were your two big mistakes, you did damn well for your first go. As far as mistake one - I wouldn't worry about that temp. I do all grain, and the temperature of mash differs greatly depending on where you take the temp. It might have been a little high, but if you're only doing 0.25 lb. of specialty malt, you're not converting, so like BlindLemonLars said, temperature is not as critical.

And rehydrating the yeast at 40F won't hurt it at all. It might not get it going real quick, but they'll be fine. Some people don't rehydrate the yeast at all, just go right from the fridge, so it would be similar to that.

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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Yep, 40F shouldn't be an issue at all. Most of us keep our yeast in the fridge where it's 38F or so and many of us just dump the packet into the wort and don't bother rehydrating so they'll wake up just fine.

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Old 09-14-2008, 07:46 PM   #9
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Oops, I just found another mistake when I went in and checked the temp (been averaging around 70). My airlock had not been bubbling, but thanks to this forum I knew that a bubbling airlock is no indication of fermentation so I've left well enough alone.

After I checked the temp, I put my nose to the airlock and gave the top of the lid a little push. Ahhh, the sweet smell of beer mixed with CO2; the fermentation was indeed taking place. The problem came when, after I took pressure off the lid, air got sucked back into the fermenter. I knew immediately what I had not done: I failed to put the domed piece in the airlock. It was confirmed when I opened my bucket of sanitizer and found it. I took it out and put it on.

I humbly beseech thee, Beer Gods, please kill any nasties that may have gotten into my semi-sweet-semi-bitter nectar.

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Old 09-14-2008, 07:48 PM   #10
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No worries. CO2 is heavier than oxygen, there's a layer of CO2 over the beer that should keep it safe.

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