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Old 06-08-2007, 02:21 AM   #1
wup
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Default Getting Frustrated with Brewing, Need Some Encouragment

Well. this is how the story goes last spring got fed up with paying $40/case for beer, and went to a Brew On Premise which are common up here in Ontario. Gave them $90 and they said come back in 2 weeks. Go back 2 weeks later with six cases of empties and fill them up. Take it home, tastes like sugar water, call them up they say bring it back and they will make a new batch. Another 2 weeks goes by and bottle the next batch and it tastes the same.

I say enough of this, and pick up some ingredients for my first batch(extract). Make my first batch and it tastes pretty bad as well. Second batch is a bit better, but it is nowhere near "good". Third batch I steep some specialty grains and it is a little better. Fourth batch an infection, and fifth batch was the worst batch of them all.

Well, at this point it is clear that I am getting a little depressed.

The winter comes and goes, I say, hey lets give it another try, but this time all grain. So I assemble everthing needed. and this brings me to last tuesday.

First AG, hit 50% efficiency, didn't sparge with enough water, so I ended up with <4 gallons of really LG beer, no big deal, the first attempt, I knew it wasn't going to go perfect.

2'nd AG last Thursday, things went much better hit 72% efficiency proper volume of wort, no problems with the brewing, pitch the yeast and put it in the basement, Saturday comes, I get home from work, and there lies my air lock on the ground and krausen spewing out the airlock. Rig up a blow off tube and put it away, over the next couple days I start smelling a really sour smell, so as it stands I am pretty sure it is infected, but I really hope its not.

3'rd AG This Tuesday, Hefe. Crush the grains. Realized I should have not mixed the wheat and 2-row before crushing as the wheat is slightly smaller. So I dropped in efficiency about 5% no big deal as I am still learning. Make the beer, everything goes allright. Pitch the yeast, WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast, rig a blow off tube from the begging, set it in the laundry room since I don't have room where the other 2 are sitting. I come home today and find out that the freaking room is like 80 degrees because people have been doing laundry all day, and of course 80 degrees + hefe yeast=lots o' bananna. So this is going to be an interesting beer.


So as it sits now, I am here, depressed, upset, ready to call it quits, absolutely nothing has gone right for me. Has anything like this happned to anyone else?

Wup

P.S. Sorry for the long story but I just though I needed to get it off my chest.

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Old 06-08-2007, 02:28 AM   #2
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How's this for encouragement?

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Old 06-08-2007, 02:32 AM   #3
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Hold on partner, step back from the ledge, put all sharp utensils down.
Now, you've just gone thru the same learning expierence that we all do
(and still do )
You've already realized your mistakes and you'll have that knowledge to take into your next brew session. Now, start planning that next brew.
For what it's worth, I'm drinking one of my first AG brews. It was supposed to
be a Pale Ale, but I had temp issues along with brain farts and added too much
hops, so now I have more of an IPA. Glad I didn't toss it. Even my buddy says
it's not as bad as I explained before he had one.

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Old 06-08-2007, 02:36 AM   #4
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As long as you don't repeat those mistakes, just chalk it up to working for your Masters of Home Brewing. Like megavites says, it's an education, learn from the mistakes and your beer will get easier, better, and more fun.

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Old 06-08-2007, 02:45 AM   #5
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I went through the same thing, almost stopped brewing, but I turned it around, Talking to more experienced brewers, batch sparging, patience, all finally paid off. PBW is your friend, or at least mine, I love the stuff.
Here is what helped me....
1. Ferment my ales at 68F and learning that fermentation generates heat...
2. Clean then sanitize.....I use bleach and powder brew wash to clean and idophor to sanitize, and vodka sometimes on my beer caps. Its handy to keep a spray bottlle of VO around.
3. Good yeast health....I almost always brew a smaller beer and build a yeast cake for my bigger brews. Aeration, Nutrient. I like to use Nutrient thats just me though.
4. good recipes, sometimes the ones at the brew shop, or online is not always best.
5. Use the IBU calculators that are online.

Right now I am working on improving my water profiles for differant brews.
Dont give up....
Good luck

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Old 06-08-2007, 03:04 AM   #6
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We've all been there to some degree so don't despair! On my first extract batch I sanitized my fermenter with bleach water - only to realize I had forgotten to add the bleach! At the time I thought I had done a great job rinsing to get all the bleach smell out. That brew had quite a funk to it (taste and smell) - ultimately I had to pour it out. It was really tough given that it was my first batch but I kept at it and my second brew was MUCH better.

My first AG went pretty much like yours, I got 55% efficiency and I think I ended up bottling a whole 14L or something. As for the sour smell on #2 I would wait until you taste it before you write it off. Some yeasts put out odd smells I've noticed.

Above all just don't give up; it sounds like you're hitting your stride with the AG brews!

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Old 06-08-2007, 04:23 AM   #7
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I'd say you are at an advantage over the rest of us (well...me) who have bad batches, since you can pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Most of the time, that's the hard part. Since you know, you can correct those problems on your future batches. Instead of learning everything the hard way though, why don't you ask a lot of questions here before you begin the brew session? maybe you already are, IDK. I'm sure that would help you at least anticipate better and maybe avoid some issues. Anyway, you've definitely got what it takes (patience), so keep it up!

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Old 06-08-2007, 04:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
How's this for encouragement?

Don't know if it helped the OP, but I'm, um, encouraged...
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Old 06-08-2007, 04:34 AM   #9
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But more seriously, my next batch will be #40, and I still have something on nearly every batch that makes me feel the way you do, at least momentarily. And I'm learning that beer is resilient...it wants to be good in spite of your inadequacies...and it usually is.
The worst thing I do is overthink and overreact to every little problem. The "RDWHAHB" mantra is a good one (even if you need to sub in a fine commercial brew for the HB on occasion).

If that fails, well, Yuri's post was pretty fine...

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Old 06-08-2007, 05:49 AM   #10
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Where are you located? Find a brew partner that can help do things in the brewery while your brewing and trying to focus. Remember SANITIZE SANITIZE SANITIZE (be mean keep it clean) kick everyone who isent brewing out of the brewery while your brewing I.E people,dogs, cat, children, focus on the task at hand and thats keeping the bugs out of your brew. Dust, vacuum, blow down, mop, then mop again. get some hand sanitizer and some alcohol and keep them in the brewery and use them often. there is a great thread here for beginers and the problems they have also how to fix them. alot of us here have a passion for brewing and a firm grasp on problems that arise and how to fix them. Dont giive up brother you can do it! you have come to the right place! and if all else fails there is always Yuris post.
JJ

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