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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > I think I messed up my first brew - what do you think?
View Poll Results: What should I do?
Keep the brew... it is probably NOT ruined 66 88.00%
Keep the brew... but it is probably ruined (worth a try anyway) 7 9.33%
Dump the brew... it's definitely ruined (try again) 2 2.67%
Voters: 75. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
nickhead
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Default I think I messed up my first brew - what do you think?

Hello everyone. My name is Nick and I am new to this forum (and home brewing in general).

Firstly, let me say that I love beer and am excited to create such a wonderful thing in my own home.

Last Friday I purchased everything I'd need to brew my first batch. Naturally, alcohol was consumed during the brewing process. This may not have been the wisest decision (hence my mistakes), but it certainly made things more interesting.

Background info:
This beer was not from a kit - I had some grains and hops and all that cool stuff (it seems more challenging or involved or satisfying this way)

At least 2 clear mistakes were made during my first brew session. I'd like to know of potential repercussions...

Mistake #1: When I put the airlock thingy in the lid of the primary fermenter the O ring popped out and fell into the bottom of the bucket. I then idiotically reached into the bucket of wort to pull out the O ring. I pondered disinfecting my arm first, but the glaring negative warnings against skin contact on the packaging convinced me otherwise. Yes, I probably should have washed my arm in soap and hot water, but I didn't. It sounds like I may have contaminated my beer from what research I've done thus far. Doh.

Mistake #2: This one was dumb - but I didn't realize the omission until I watched some tutorials on YouTube. I didn't fill the airlock with water! I am at work right now, and just figured out my mistake. As soon as I go home I will fill it up with water, but do you think the damage has already been done? Doh.

What kind of problems do you think my mistakes may lead to? Should I dump this batch and try another or should I give it a chance?

I think I'm going to just roll with it and bottle it up after the secondary fermentation stage is complete (I'm getting another setup so I can do multiple batches at once - so might as well take my chances w/ the first batch).

Thanks in advance for your replies. Glad I found this forum - there's some super helpful info oozing out of these threads.

-Nick

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
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Relax, I bet it will come out just fine.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:38 PM   #3
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just learn from your mistakes and don't do it next time. chances are good it will turn out fine.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:43 PM   #4
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The only, only time you should dump a brew is if you've finished it, bottled and aged it, tried it and nearly vomited, aged it for twice that long again, tried it again and nearly vomited again. It's damn hard to ruin beer. I've managed once.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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Chances are....this batch will be the best you'll ever make in your LIFE! From now on, you'll be sticking your whole arm in the carboy to try to reproduce the recipe. RDWHAHB...

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:48 PM   #6
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wow - thanks for the info. That is SO helpful.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:49 PM   #7
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I noticed when I was reading up on how to brew beer before my first batch, the emphasis on sanitizing made it almost seem like you're preparing to perform open heart surgery. The truth is, you are going to end up with unwanted bacteria in your wort no matter how hard you try. The real goal is to minimize the unwanted bacteria and to get your yeast to overpower it.

Sticking your arm in without sanitizing it wasn't the best thing to do, but there is still a good chance your beer will turn out fine. If the yeast is working hard enough, there doesn't really need to be any water in your airlock (but you should still do it to be on the safe side. The water should have sanitizer in it or you could use something like vodka instead,) there will be so much CO2 being pushed out that something else coming in is unlikely.

Let your beer finish fermenting, bottle it, try it.

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:52 PM   #8
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You're beer is fine....People have put body parts in their beer and it still came out...And you aren't a real homebrewer until you've put a grommet in the bucket once.

Kai's right about not dumping a beer....Here's my story.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=73254

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Old 07-28-2008, 11:59 PM   #9
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You left out the "ship it to ______" option.

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Old 07-29-2008, 12:03 AM   #10
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Your arm will probably not infect the beer, and with the byproduct CO2 made during fermentation most likely nothing will get into the beer. Just put some sanitizer or cheap vodka into the airlock and you will be just fine. Promise.

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