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kjackson82 02-18-2013 07:15 PM

First brew and questions!
 
I bought Palmer's book a week ago and read it in a few days (understanding as much as a new brewer could). I bought my kit thursday and read the directions for a few days, read Palmer's first section on extract brewing and then finally brewed yesterday (Sunday). I had issues getting a rolling boil. All i could get on the stove was a gentle boil. I guess expecting a rolling boil, i had a lot of boil off ending up with a little less than 2 gallons of wort (1) what issues could this cause? Everything was going pretty smooth until racking into the primary. I was told this should be an extremely clean beer and that i needed to keep the cold break out of the primary. My siphon stopped up with a few inches of wort left in the boil pot and i freaked! I grabbed the only funnel in the house which wouldn't funnel skittles being so small, then i grabbed a paint strainer to filter the wort. Of course, everything being so small i stopped up the strainer and spilled wort. I then just said the hell with it and poured everything left into the fermentor. After this, i pitched the yeast with everything around 70 degrees and then shook it up to add oxygen to everything. (2) Was i supposed to oxygenate before pitching? and (3) What could i possibly due to correct the cold break going into the primary?

Lastly, what would be a good book explaining the differences in different beers? ie stouts, barley wine, boch, dopplebochs?

Thanks in advance!

aiptasia 02-18-2013 07:22 PM

1) Probably an underpowered stove eye. Is it gas or electric?
2) No. Oxygenate after you pitch. It helps mix yeasts and any top off water into the wort.
3) Skim it out. Got a sanitized spoon?

cluckk 02-18-2013 07:23 PM

You just had the average first brew day. You will have beer when it is done, so the rest is details. With each such mishap you will learn a little more and gather more equipment and skill. For the break, the best thing is to get a strong boil. If your stove won't do this, you have to either do partial boils and top off in the fermenter, or get a better burner. I use a Bayou Classic turkey fryer burner with a 10 gallon SS kettle.

Another thing that many use to encourage a better cold break is Irish Moss added in the last fifteen minutes of the boil (I use it for most batches). This will coagulate helps it to drop. Cool as quickly as possible. Don't worry if you get some in the fermenter. It can be very hard to avoid. Just try to minimize it. There are other techniques you can research--whirlpool, etc.

LLBeanJ 02-18-2013 07:23 PM

Sounds like you did all right. Nothing you described would cause me the slightest bit of concern. As far as cold break going into primary, that's my SOP. Down't worry about it. Life's too short to obsess over keeping the break material out of the fermentor, as in the end, it will all settle out and great beer will be the result.

As for books, Brewing Classic Styles is one of my faves. Also, I haven't read it, but I've heard great things about Designing Great Beers.

brewkinger 02-18-2013 07:32 PM

My only question is:
"I grabbed the only funnel in the house which wouldn't funnel skittles being so small, then i grabbed a paint strainer to filter the wort."

The funnel and paint strainer that you grabbed were soaking in sanitizer.... correct?
After the boil, EVERYTHING that touches that wort must be sanitized.

LLBeanJ 02-18-2013 07:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brewkinger (Post 4917460)
My only question is:
"I grabbed the only funnel in the house which wouldn't funnel skittles being so small, then i grabbed a paint strainer to filter the wort."

The funnel and paint strainer that you grabbed were soaking in sanitizer.... correct?
After the boil, EVERYTHING that touches that wort must be sanitized.

Yeah, I took that for granted in my reply. Assumed all of his improvising included proper sanitization.

SC_Ryan 02-18-2013 08:10 PM

1) Couldn't tell if you were asking why you weren't getting a rolling boil or asking about the boil off amount. Multiple factors can affect your boil off rate, not many of which you can control. The key is figuring out about how much you normally boil off then adjusting your starting volume so your final volume is where you want it. You need a more powerful burner to get a stronger boil.

2)Works either way.

3) If you create a good whirlpool then cover and let the wort sit for 30+ minutes, the break and the hop material will create a nice little cone in the center of your kettle. If you siphon from the edge of the pot, it should minimize the amount that you are racking over.

4) Brewing Classic Styles is the book that you want. Not only does it give a nice little description on every style, it gives you an example recipe which will help you understand what these ingredients do to the beer. There is also great information in that book about yeast pitch rate and fermentation temperature control, which brings me to my next point...

The unsolicited advice) Brewing a "clean" tasting beer has far more to do with your yeast pitch rate and fermentation temperature control than how much trub you rack over. Break material usually has a little bit more to do with overall clarity in the finished product. Hope this helps.

kjackson82 02-18-2013 08:57 PM

@Aiptasi - It was electric but the boil off i let happen while thinking the eye would give me rolling boil is what has me nervous. I lost a little of 1/2 a gallon of wort and wonder what effect this will have? I am also using a carboy so skimming with a spoon isn't an option for me as i don't have a spoon that skinny :D

@Clukk - I will be using my Bayou Classic Turkey Fryer next time! I was just worried about contamination while brewing in the garage but now that i think of it, if i get it inside after the boil i should still be hot enough to kill any contaminants that may enter?

@LLBeanJ - Thanks for the info

@brewKinger - Yes, I tend to be a little OCD. So when everything i read says sanitize, sanitize, sanitize... I was sure to sanitize everything, even when SHTF!

@SC Ryan - I was asking about the effects of losing over 1/2 gallon of wort?

I will have Brewing with Classic Styles on the way. Now, I feel all giddy inside after this first batch and want to do it again. I brewed the American Cream Ale for my wife who hasn't had a beer in nine months! So after our first child arrives I don't want her drinking any of that commercial crap, I want her to celebrate with a nice home brew (if i did my job correct). So I would like to brew something for me. I have been thinking a wheat beer with citrus and spices? Although i had a Naked Pig the other day and have really started liking hops... ALOT. Even had some hop candy the other day. Any suggestions for a new brewer? Are wheat beers difficult? Are hoppy beers possible with my beginners setup?

Also, our new local HBSS carries kits from Brewers best so if you know any kits that you've used or tried that fit the bill please let me know!

SC_Ryan 02-18-2013 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kjackson82 (Post 4917826)
@SC Ryan - I was asking about the effects of losing over 1/2 gallon of wort?

The wort isn't gone, it's just more concentrated which will likely produce a slightly more full bodied beer with a higher percentage in alcohol.

Search for "Centennial Blonde" if you are looking for a good recipe with some nice hop presence.

kjackson82 02-19-2013 11:30 AM

Ok, It started bubbling after about 5 hours. Now im having trouble keeping the temp up to the 68-70 range. It's maintaining around 64. What problems could this cause, if any, and how would I fix them (off flavores)?


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