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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > First Brew Review
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Old 01-24-2011, 01:09 AM   #1
HannoverFist
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Default First Brew Review

Folks:

So, to get my palette wet with my first brew I went with something simple: a 3.75 Cooper's Canadian Blonde and a 3.3Lb Briess Golden Light extract ( I had given the name "Dumb Blonde In a Bottle" to this very simple combo ). I used the packet of yeast included with the Cooper's. The idea was to get out of the gate with understanding the mechanics of the process and have something drinkable as a result.

I did 14 days in the primary ( visible airlock activity in 2.5 days, lasting for about a day ), then 14 days in secondary, and then bottled with 3/4 cup of cane sugar. Nothing extraordinary, but the fermentation temps for the primary were probably closer to 65 deg. f instead of 70.

Made the newbie mistake of not checking gravity before primary. Got a 1.020 when racking to secondary, and 1.020 again when bottling. I'm guessing this means that there's not much more fermentation activity that occured in the secondary.

A quick sample during bottling: Amber color, very sweet. Almost syrupy. Green apple and/or Banana smells - which I gather means fermentation and temperature issues. Almost no hops or bitter at all. I wound up with 36 bottles instead of the predicted 48, so I'll have to adjust my volumes next time.

After a week in the bottles I decided to try one: I was rewarded with a nice CO2 release on removing the cap. Still sweet, thick, amber colored, and the apple/banana smell ( not horrible, but noticble. ). Had a nice head when poured. It's drinkable, but obviously it's still very young and requires more time to sit and think - I think.

So, oh great Wizards - what do you think? Aside from the newbie mistakes, should I expect this beer to get better over time, or should I just expect the character to remain the same? I'm tempted to do this recipe over with a liquid yeast ( say, WLP001 ) just to see if I can make the fermentation be more... complete?

I welcome your comments.

Thanks!


HF

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Old 01-24-2011, 02:53 AM   #2
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Sounds interesting. I have had problems with high temperature fermentations where my beer turned thin and very hot. Alcohol was quite present, the viscosity was low and the hop flavors or scents were nullified. This sounds a little different but I find that keeping good notes on your brewing process helps you root out potential maladies. What was your fermentation temperature? Did you forget to clean or sanitize something? Did you notice any white matter floating atop your beer at some point?

Sometimes I take an inaccurate reading of the original gravity but if you know how much your yeast attenuates you can get calculate a good estimate. For example, the original gravity reading I took of a porter I brewed recently seemed a bit off but I had a solid final gravity recorded.I knew that the yeast was supposed to attenuate by 75%. Here we go!

Suppose that the original gravity was "x." Then (final gravity) = x - 0.75x = 1x - 0.75x = 0.25x; or (final gravity) = 0.25x. So, dividing both sides by 0.25 lets me approximate the original gravity; (final gravity)/0.25 = x. Of course, if your yeast attenuates by "y%" you should replace the 0.75 by 0.y and follow the math. At any rate, since the final gravity for my porter was 17, taken from 1.017, I estimated my original gravity to be 17/0.25 = 68, implying that my original gravity was 1.068; an accurate assumption according to my brewing software!

Hopefully you could follow the math okay! Good luck!

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Old 01-24-2011, 03:11 AM   #3
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Djonas - The fermentation temperatures were on the low side, I think - 65 to 68 usually. There was a good amount of foam on the beer in the primary, but racking into secondary left it clear and without a head.

I'll take your math and start the appropriate research . Thanks for the tip!

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Old 01-24-2011, 03:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HannoverFist View Post
Djonas - The fermentation temperatures were on the low side, I think - 65 to 68 usually. There was a good amount of foam on the beer in the primary, but racking into secondary left it clear and without a head.

I'll take your math and start the appropriate research . Thanks for the tip!
That is actually an ideal temp to ferment at, or less even. I doubt you will get much hop flavor at all with that kit and it sounds like you may not have topped up water enough, thats why its so thick and sweet.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:32 AM   #5
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Niko has a good point in that I never inquired about the ingredients involved! Brewing has been more like an art form for me so I have never used a kit before; just created recipes and brewed them!

Just make sure to take good, detailed notes from now on so that you can reference possible issues. To a certain degree, brewing is trial and error so don't beat yourself up about a few strange batches. If it's drinkable then enjoy! Personally, apple and banana sound deliciously exotic!

Although dry and liquid yeasts are supposed to yield the same results these days, I find that I need to watch fermentation temperature closely with dry yeast because they tend to explode into action at higher temperatures. But your temperatures seem to be in the right range.

I don't think foam in primary or secondary matters too much in the final product since the wort or beer has not been carbonated; it's just a matter of how much your beer has splashed around.

As Niko stated, your bottle issues are a matter of volume. If you end up with a certain amount of beer, you can only bottle a certain amount! Calibrate your carboys by dumping in premeasured gallons until you hit five. Then you can slap a piece of tape on it so you always know when you're at the homebrew standard.

I'd recommend checking out some brewing programs like BeerSmith or BeerAlchemy to help you get organized. I used to scrawl every last bit of information into a notebook but computer programs help you get a good idea of what to expect. So far for my brews, they've been pretty dead on!

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