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Old 01-04-2008, 06:27 PM   #1
Chaos_Being
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Default First "real" beer brewed and fermenting!

Hello everyone! I've been lurking here for a few months absorbing new information (which is the sort of thing I do pretty much every time I pick up a new hobby.) I finally decided to register, posted a few times in EdWort's Apfelwein threads, and now...here I am, posting about beer

I admit that I'm still pretty new to all of this. I recieved a Mr. Beer kit last year after Christmas (I know I know, groans all around.) It sat in my basement for most of last year, not quite forgotten...but also not used. Then I decided that it would be a kick to have home-made beer available for Thanksgiving, so I finally busted it out. I brewed their "Whispering Wheat" kit, and decided to stick strictly to the instructions for my first time. The resulting beer wasn't as bad as so many make Mr. Beer stuff out to be around here, but I personally wasn't going to call it good either. My friends all loved it, but I found it to be a little thin, and didn't taste like any of the other wheat beers I had ever had. Regardless of the results, it fueled my interest enough, and in short time, I had located my LHBS, found a lot of informative websites and forums (such as this one,) and had purchased and read a copy of Palmer's "How to Brew."

After that first batch and my resulting explosion of research, I was ready to experiment. I wanted to use up the rest of my Mr. Beer ingredients, but did not want to stick to their recipies and instructions. For my second batch, I took one of their Oktoberfest kits, and added a half can (about 1.8lb) of dark LME, and a pinch each of cloves, ginger, and cinnamon. I was shooting for a nice spiced holiday beer for New Years, and that one came out much better than the first! I got a lot of compliments, and one of my friends (who wants to get into homebrewing once he has the space for it,) was shocked that it was my second attempt.

My third, and last Mr. Beer batch was kind of a "lets put a bunch of stuff together and see what happens" brew. I used a can each of their "West Coast Pale Ale" and "Canadian Draft" LME, added the 2nd half of the Briess dark LME I had, and almost a pound (an entire bottle) of orange blossom honey. I pitched all of this on the yeast cake from my 2nd batch. Partly due to planning, and then due to not having time, this one sat in the fermenter for 6 weeks. It's in bottles now...we'll see how it turns out. It tasted pretty good flat though.

In between the 2nd and 3rd batches, I dropped over $200 on "real" brewing supplies- the obsession is on now! I've already had a batch of Apfelwein fermenting since just before Christmas, and now two nights ago, I finally brewed my first beer with the good equipment. I told my wife (who loves beer and even loves the smell of cooking wort- I'm a lucky guy!) that she could pick the first beer. Her response- blueberry wheat. Here's the recipie I used:

6.6lb Briess Wheat LME
1 oz Hallertau added @ 60 min
1 can (3.1lb) Oregon blueberry puree
1 packet Nottingham (rehydrated @ 75 degrees for 15 minutes)

I thought about doing a late addtion of LME, but ended up just putting all of it into the boil at once. I started off boiling 2 gallons, by the time I added the LME, it looked like I was over 2.5 gallons. By the time I was done boiling, I was back down to 2 gallons. That plus 3 gallons of filtered water is currently fermenting in my basement at around 68 degrees. I'm planning to let it sit until next weekend (aka, about 10 days,) and then I'm going to rack the beer onto the blueberry puree in a 6 gallon Better Bottle (it's in a bucket with a gunked-up blowoff tube now ) I'll probably let it sit in the secondary with the fruit for at least 2 weeks, and then I'll bottle.

Speaking of blowoff tubes, I'm glad that I read about the necessity of those with wheat beers! It was just starting to foam into the tube 24 hours after pitching, by 30 hours (this morning) it was full of gunk and blowing bubbles out like mad! Fun stuff

I'm eager to see how this turns out...between this and the Apfelwein, there will be much in my house in the coming month(s) (that, and I already have a mental list of things I want to brew up...)

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Old 01-04-2008, 06:58 PM   #2
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Well done mate, congrats on graduating to producing your own recipes.

I'm only 6 batches into my Homebrew hobby / obsession and this forum has helped me a lot, it really is a mine of information with some very experienced brewers who are happy to help.

Sounds like you have done your reading and research and have the basics down now.

Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Cheers

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Old 01-04-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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Sounds like you're doing everything right. Once you try out your 'real' beer you'll understand why people slam Mr Beer so much around here. BTW, you're not a 'real' homebrewer till you get to the point where you can't remember which beer is in which fermenter..... or even what you've made.

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
I dropped over $200 on "real" brewing supplies- the obsession is on now!
Yep, you're hooked. Just curious, but are you planning (or should you plan) to boil the blueberry puree to avoid nasties? I've never added fruit to beer so I've no idea.

Rick
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickylr
Yep, you're hooked. Just curious, but are you planning (or should you plan) to boil the blueberry puree to avoid nasties? I've never added fruit to beer so I've no idea.

Rick
I'm not planning to with the puree...it's in a can, so it should be sterile. If the blueberries were fresh, then I probably blanch them a bit to pasteurize.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickylr
Yep, you're hooked. Just curious, but are you planning (or should you plan) to boil the blueberry puree to avoid nasties? I've never added fruit to beer so I've no idea.

Rick
Im kinda curious about that myself. I used fruit flavorings before. I made a blonde ale and added stawbarry flavoring to it before kegging. Ive been told that adding fresh stawbarrys to the secondary will acomplish the same thing but ive never tried it.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickylr
Yep, you're hooked. Just curious, but are you planning (or should you plan) to boil the blueberry puree to avoid nasties? I've never added fruit to beer so I've no idea.

Rick
When I used grapes in mead, I put them in the wort after cutting the heat to the pot and let it steep for about 20 minutes. Boiling will cause some of the fruit matter to turn to pectin.
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:06 AM   #8
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Well, I racked the beer into a 6 gallon BB today, onto the blueberry puree straight out of the can. I did sanitize the top of the can of puree and the can opener, and figured the puree itself was already sterile. The result- a big bottle full of funky looking purple beer

The OG of just the wheat wort was 1.05 at 68 degrees, and the SG of the beer I racked today was 1.012, also at 68 degrees. I didn't take another reading after I racked it onto the fruit, however. The hydrometer sample already tasted pretty good too- I noticed right away that the Nottingham yeast made a much "cleaner" tasting brew than the Mr. Beer yeast ever did, and the hop flavor was better too.

So far I'm sticking to my initial plan of letting it go for another two weeks in the secondary, and then bottling. Only the hydrometer will tell. My apfelwein should be done in a few weeks too hopefully (it has already cleared quite a bit,) and my last batch of Mr. Beer brew is going to need at least another month- probably more- in bottles I think (it turned out to be an un-intentional barleywine, or at least something that tastes quite barleywine-ish.) After all that, it'll be time, hehe...

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Old 01-13-2008, 04:14 AM   #9
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purple beer! rock on!!! I so have to make purple beer...

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  • Primary: [2 mr beer lil keg things] Apfelwein. One with sucrose and molasses, the other with fructose and honey.
  • Better Bottle: Empty. Going to be Cheesefood's Caramel Cream Ale.
  • Carboy:empty.
  • Secondary:Brewferm Frambois
  • Piggie: Irish Stout
  • Bottled: Red Ale, Irish Stout
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:48 PM   #10
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I had a blowoff tube on the secondary for the first few days, because I had seen repeated mentionings of another explosive fermentation happening after the addtion of fruit. That didn't happen to me; after two days it was bubbling a bit, but not much else. I put on an airlock, and gave the bottle a vigorous swirl, as it didn't appear that much of the fruit puree at the bottom had really been contacted by the beer. After getting all of that back into suspension and letting it settle, I got a mini-krausen for the next few days, and a lot more bubbling.

Now at 1 week in secondary down, there is still a bit of foam on the surface, although the bubbling has slowed back down dramatically. It's still a cloudy, strange, purple-red-brown color (depending on how much light is shone through the beer,) this stuff should be really unique once it's done

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