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Old 04-12-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
Ilan34
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Default First time BIAB: How many things can go wrong?

Hey all!

First time poster, been reading these forums like a madman for the past 6 weeks. Brief background: my wife got me a one-gallon starter kit from Brooklyn Brew for Christmas. I brewed the Everyday IPA in January with no knowledge other than what was on their website. Fast forward five weeks and it was okay... but pretty yeasty taste. I stuck em in the fridge for an extra week, and they turned out not bad after that. 6.5/10.

Commence much reading, listening of podcasts, buying of equipment, and daydreaming at work. I've now got a Chocolate Maple Porter (AG, 1 Gal) in bottles, Caribou Slobber (Extract, 1 Gal) in primary to be bottled this Tuesday, Black IPA (Extract, 1 Gal) in primary, and this past Monday I brewed a Coffee Brown Ale (AG, BIAB, 2 Gal). So, I'm doing lots of brewing with my newfound knowledge, but haven't yet actually had the end result.

So, to the point of my post: I'm worried about the Coffee Brown Ale. Yes, I know. Relax. Still. I need to vent and hear some feedback as to how screwed it might be.

First off, the mash went great. Love the BIAB. No issues there.

However, here's a litany of what I'm stressing over:

-- This recipe came from Brooklyn Brew's Chestnut Brown Ale recipe kit. I went to my (amazing) LHBS to double the recipe. However, the hops I got from the LHBS smelled funky and were much darker in color than the vacuum-sealed pack from Brooklyn Brew. I used them anyway... which was dumb, because I probably could have thrown in some Amarillo hops I had, instead. So, spoiled hops...?

-- I have an electric stove with a glass top range. As such, I couldn't get my wort to a rolling boil without keeping the lid mostly on. I vented about an inch. DMS?

-- I don't recall seeing a hot break.

-- I couldn't take an OG reading... I have a turkey baster for sampling, and it couldn't reach down far enough into my 3 gallon carboy once I racked to it. I also didn't think to take a gravity reading after the mash.

-- I fear I may have underpitched. I used the Mr. Malty calculator, which told me to use 40% of an 11.5 gram packet. I did so, rehydrating. Later on, it occurred to me that with all my one gallon batches, I'd always done 50% of a packet of yeast, so why was I doing less for a two-gallon batch?! Blow-off activity was very active for 24 hours, but the krausen never got higher than 1/2 an inch. After the bubbles settled down, the foam and krausen disappeared completely. I got nervous the next morning and threw in about 3 grams of dry Safale-04 I had lying around (36 hours after my original pitch). I aerated a little and waited. NOTHING. I may as well have thrown in dirt. No further activity.

-- This was a brand new 3 gallon carboy, and stupidly I didn't mark measurements on the side, so I had no idea if I needed to top off or not. I did, with pre-boiled and cooled filtered water, about 1.5 quarts. But I really have no idea how much beer I have in there, which will be an issue when I bottle (priming sugar measurements).

-- I whirlpooled, but then moved the kettle right before I racked to the carboy so I could have it on a slightly lower surface. I knew this was a no-no, but it was necessary. I should have whirlpooled again, but it was really late, and my wife wasn't feeling well, so I was feeling pretty guilty by then and just wanted to clean up. So, lots of sediment got kicked up and got into the carboy. Also, I can't cold crash this time around because it's too big for our fridge.

Ok, I think that's it. Enough negativity. I just want to thank people in advance for reading so long. And I also want to express that even though I had issues with this batch, I absolutely cannot wait for the next time I brew!

Ilan

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Old 04-12-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilan34
Hey all!

First time poster, been reading these forums like a madman for the past 6 weeks. Brief background: my wife got me a one-gallon starter kit from Brooklyn Brew for Christmas. I brewed the Everyday IPA in January with no knowledge other than what was on their website. Fast forward five weeks and it was okay... but pretty yeasty taste. I stuck em in the fridge for an extra week, and they turned out not bad after that. 6.5/10.

Commence much reading, listening of podcasts, buying of equipment, and daydreaming at work. I've now got a Chocolate Maple Porter (AG, 1 Gal) in bottles, Caribou Slobber (Extract, 1 Gal) in primary to be bottled this Tuesday, Black IPA (Extract, 1 Gal) in primary, and this past Monday I brewed a Coffee Brown Ale (AG, BIAB, 2 Gal). So, I'm doing lots of brewing with my newfound knowledge, but haven't yet actually had the end result.

So, to the point of my post: I'm worried about the Coffee Brown Ale. Yes, I know. Relax. Still. I need to vent and hear some feedback as to how screwed it might be.

First off, the mash went great. Love the BIAB. No issues there.

However, here's a litany of what I'm stressing over:

-- This recipe came from Brooklyn Brew's Chestnut Brown Ale recipe kit. I went to my (amazing) LHBS to double the recipe. However, the hops I got from the LHBS smelled funky and were much darker in color than the vacuum-sealed pack from Brooklyn Brew. I used them anyway... which was dumb, because I probably could have thrown in some Amarillo hops I had, instead. So, spoiled hops...?

-- I have an electric stove with a glass top range. As such, I couldn't get my wort to a rolling boil without keeping the lid mostly on. I vented about an inch. DMS?

-- I don't recall seeing a hot break.

-- I couldn't take an OG reading... I have a turkey baster for sampling, and it couldn't reach down far enough into my 3 gallon carboy once I racked to it. I also didn't think to take a gravity reading after the mash.

-- I fear I may have underpitched. I used the Mr. Malty calculator, which told me to use 40% of an 11.5 gram packet. I did so, rehydrating. Later on, it occurred to me that with all my one gallon batches, I'd always done 50% of a packet of yeast, so why was I doing less for a two-gallon batch?! Blow-off activity was very active for 24 hours, but the krausen never got higher than 1/2 an inch. After the bubbles settled down, the foam and krausen disappeared completely. I got nervous the next morning and threw in about 3 grams of dry Safale-04 I had lying around (36 hours after my original pitch). I aerated a little and waited. NOTHING. I may as well have thrown in dirt. No further activity.

-- This was a brand new 3 gallon carboy, and stupidly I didn't mark measurements on the side, so I had no idea if I needed to top off or not. I did, with pre-boiled and cooled filtered water, about 1.5 quarts. But I really have no idea how much beer I have in there, which will be an issue when I bottle (priming sugar measurements).

-- I whirlpooled, but then moved the kettle right before I racked to the carboy so I could have it on a slightly lower surface. I knew this was a no-no, but it was necessary. I should have whirlpooled again, but it was really late, and my wife wasn't feeling well, so I was feeling pretty guilty by then and just wanted to clean up. So, lots of sediment got kicked up and got into the carboy. Also, I can't cold crash this time around because it's too big for our fridge.

Ok, I think that's it. Enough negativity. I just want to thank people in advance for reading so long. And I also want to express that even though I had issues with this batch, I absolutely cannot wait for the next time I brew!

Ilan
Quick and dirty

Spoiled hops: did they smell like cheese? If they were funky smelling then they could have been spoiled.

Lid venting: more venting the better. One inch if venting isn't great, so that may be a good reason to stick with 1-gallon batches, easier to boil. I think DMS is a possibility, but it really depends on precursors in the wort, boil off rate... You should have had a hot break. If it boiled, then you probably just missed it.

OG: I'd get in the habit of grabbing a sample from the kettle (once its cooled) assuming you don't add top off water

Yeast: trust mrmalty. Adding more yeast after fermentation doesn't do anything because the alcohol can kill a lot of the re-pitched yeast. If you are going to repitch yeast, they need to be at the same stage of fermentation as your other yeast, I.e in the exponential growth phase. So you would need to create a secondary mini fermenter and pitch that. But to be honest, it sounds like your beer fermented out fine. Krausen can drop in 36 hours. Each yeast and fermentation is different. Relax.

Volume: try to measure after fermentation so you can calculate priming. Be sanitary!!

Sediment: don't worry that stuff will settle out. Give it an extra week in the fermenter, if you're worried. Cold crashing drops yeast, not trub.

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!

Hops: Yeah, thinking back, they may have smelled a little cheesy. Whoops. In a 2 gallon batch, I used 0.3 oz of the smelly hops, and 0.3 oz of the fresher hops. I did make the effort to try to throw in as much of the fresh hops closer to the end of the boil and used most of the smelly hops as the bittering... not sure if that was the right idea or not.

Lid venting: Yup, we'll have to see about the DMS, I suppose. I do have plans to buy some Reflectix this weekend to insulate my 5 gallon kettle, and hopefully be able to boil with the lid completely off. If that doesn't work, I'm going to try attaching a kitchen towel to the underside of my lid in order to catch the condensation, and vent that way. I really would prefer to do most of my batches larger than 1 gallon at a time. I have three 1-gallon carboys and a 3-gallon carboy, so I plan on some sort of rotation like: 2.5 gallon AG, 2 gallon AG, 1 gallon extract.

Sampling for OG: The only reason I didn't do it from the kettle this time was because I figured I might have to top off. I need to calculate my pre-boil volume better, but that depends on fixing my boil off rate once I get it insulated.

Thanks for the reassurance on the yeast and sediment! All in all, if the beer turns out just fine, I'll be really pleasantly surprised.

Next up: 2 gallon AG Grapefruit Honey Ale, split into two 1 gallon carboys.

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