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Old 10-13-2012, 11:29 PM   #1
UtahNate
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Default First Brew Session

First ever brew session this morning with an amber ale kit from my LHBS. Got a bit of later start than I had hoped, but it is nice to sleep in on Saturday...

The kit included a 24 oz bag of pre-cracked specialty grains, 7 lbs of light LME, .75 oz of Columbus hops, .5 oz of Cascade hops, a whirlfloc tablet, and a sachet of Safale US-05 yeast.

After the boil was complete, I cooled the wort down using a combination of ice water bath and topping off to 5 gallons with chilled water. That brought the wort temp down to 67F. The expected OG for the recipe is 1.052. I was fairly close at 1.050 (adjusting for temp). After oxygenating the wort by pouring it back and forth between my kettle and FV, I pitched the yeast. It's now chilling in a dark corner of my 62F basement.

All went (fairly) well, but here are a few of my observations...

* I should probably pick up one of those drink coolers for the mashing process. Seems that would make it much easier to keep the water temp consistent for the duration of the mash process and help conserve fuel.

* I love the smell of hops.

* Dealing with LME is a PITA by yourself. Fortunately, no scorching. My OG was probably lower than the recipe stated because I couldn't get it all out of the bag and into the kettle. Probably should have rinsed it out with water to get more of the malty goodness.

* I do not like LME in bags.

* Getting 3.5 gallons of wort up to a boil takes longer than I thought it would on my natural gas stove top.

* Getting said wort cooled to pitching temp also takes longer than I expected. Note: I have already purchased an IC. Should be here in time for my next brew session.

Just wanted to thank this forum for being an invaluable resource in my quest to brew great beer.

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Old 10-14-2012, 12:11 AM   #2
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I did my first batch today too!!! I was so excited I woke up at 630! Everyone here has been great with answering questions and helping me along.

One tip w the LME... I warmed mine up in a sink of hot water for quite a while so it would pour nice and easily.

Also for cooling it honestly only took 20 minutes to get from boil to 70's. I took a large rubbermaid container put water in it then poured about 8-10 lbs of ice in and then set the kettle in it. After about 5 minutes I had cooled to 120, then I added 1 gallon of water I had set in the freezer for about 2 hrs... 5 minutes later was down to 95. Added more ice. Waited about another 8-10 minutes and moved to fermenter... added next gallon of water that was in freezer and got it down to the 70's. Aerated it a few times and let it settle then pitched the yeast. All in all seemed easier then using an IC.

How long are you fermenting? I keep going down to check on mine. I thnk I'm going to swamp cool it to insure it stays cool enough. air temp is about 65 but the fermenter was showing 70 on the outside.

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Old 10-14-2012, 05:03 AM   #3
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Good tip on the LME... I did that as well, but the LME in my kit came in a ziploc bag. My complaint was more about trying to manipulate said bag with one hand whilst stirring with the other. I'm sure I would have had an easier time with it had the LME come in a plastic jug.

As to how long I'm going to ferment... Simple answer: As long as it takes. I don't plan on racking into a secondary. No fermentation activity that I can see so far, but I only pitched the yeast about 8 hours ago. Not worried... yet... My FV is a plastic bucket, so I might not see any activity from the airlock, though I'm fairly sure I sealed it well. Time will tell...

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Old 10-14-2012, 05:09 AM   #4
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In the future just take the pot off of the burner when adding the LME then you won't have to worry about it scorching.

You can also check with other suppliers / stores. It's much easier to pour the LME out of a hard plastic container. I wish I could remember what shops sold the LME this way.

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Old 10-14-2012, 11:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by earwig View Post
In the future just take the pot off of the burner when adding the LME then you won't have to worry about it scorching.

You can also check with other suppliers / stores. It's much easier to pour the LME out of a hard plastic container. I wish I could remember what shops sold the LME this way.
Midwessupplies and austinhomebrew both come in milk jug like containers anytime I've ordered from them.
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UtahNate View Post
First ever brew session this morning with an amber ale kit from my LHBS. Got a bit of later start than I had hoped, but it is nice to sleep in on Saturday...

The kit included a 24 oz bag of pre-cracked specialty grains, 7 lbs of light LME, .75 oz of Columbus hops, .5 oz of Cascade hops, a whirlfloc tablet, and a sachet of Safale US-05 yeast.

After the boil was complete, I cooled the wort down using a combination of ice water bath and topping off to 5 gallons with chilled water. That brought the wort temp down to 67F. The expected OG for the recipe is 1.052. I was fairly close at 1.050 (adjusting for temp). After oxygenating the wort by pouring it back and forth between my kettle and FV, I pitched the yeast. It's now chilling in a dark corner of my 62F basement.

All went (fairly) well, but here are a few of my observations...

* I should probably pick up one of those drink coolers for the mashing process. Seems that would make it much easier to keep the water temp consistent for the duration of the mash process and help conserve fuel.

* I love the smell of hops.

* Dealing with LME is a PITA by yourself. Fortunately, no scorching. My OG was probably lower than the recipe stated because I couldn't get it all out of the bag and into the kettle. Probably should have rinsed it out with water to get more of the malty goodness.

* I do not like LME in bags.

* Getting 3.5 gallons of wort up to a boil takes longer than I thought it would on my natural gas stove top.

* Getting said wort cooled to pitching temp also takes longer than I expected. Note: I have already purchased an IC. Should be here in time for my next brew session.

Just wanted to thank this forum for being an invaluable resource in my quest to brew great beer.
When you are working with malt extract, either liquid (LME) or dry (DME) and specialty grains, you really aren't mashing but rather steeping so your temperature control isn't as critical so at this point you wouldn't need a cooler. If you decided to go to all grain then you will be mashing and your temperature control needs to be pretty good. You can use a cooler for a mash tun in conventional all grain or you can do your all grain as a BIAB and go without the cooler. Do more reading on this forum before you decide.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #7
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I like to use the same temp range for steeping as mashing. Keeps it from going to 170+ which extracts taninns from the grain hulls. It's the water volume for steeping that isn't as critical as for mashing. Good habit to get into in terms of consistency in regard to temps. I do biab myself for such occasions with a cake cooling rack in the bottom of the kettle. It keeps the bag from burning on the bottom,& gets better water circulation under it.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
When you are working with malt extract, either liquid (LME) or dry (DME) and specialty grains, you really aren't mashing but rather steeping so your temperature control isn't as critical so at this point you wouldn't need a cooler. If you decided to go to all grain then you will be mashing and your temperature control needs to be pretty good. You can use a cooler for a mash tun in conventional all grain or you can do your all grain as a BIAB and go without the cooler. Do more reading on this forum before you decide.
Good to know. I plan on graduating one day to AG. I'll keep on reading.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #9
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Update: Checked my FV this morning and the airlock is bubbling away.

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Old 10-14-2012, 03:08 PM   #10
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good luck.

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