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Old 09-11-2012, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default If you need a laugh, read this....

Lemme tell you about my first all-grain experience....last night....and this morning. I order all the ingredients for a Guinness clone, build all my equipment and get it all ready to go. A buddy and his wife come over to have dinner and afterwards we get started. Time: about 7:30. My buddy got a huge (gotta be 15-20 gallon) pot and an enormous burner as a gift, so we decide this will be our boil kettle. We heat the water up for the mash (about 1.25 qt/lb...which seems to take a while. Finally, the water hits 163 degrees and we stir in the grains and water in the mash tun and let it sit for an hour. With about 20 minutes left in the mash, we start heating the water for the HLT, 5 gallons. Lets just say it took longer than 20 minutes....ALOT longer! SO after about a 90-120 minute mash, the sparge water hits 170 degrees. I had already recirculated, so we began the (fly) sparge. 5 gallons was BARELY enough sparge water, and an anticipated 45 minute sparge....took about 10 minutes. Obviously we ran the water too fast. BUT all is fine, we have 6 gallons of super dark wort that looks about like it should, so we start the heat to get it to boil..... Well...after ANOTHER HOUR...with the lid ON, the wort starts to barely roll...we give it another 15 minutes till we are sure it's boiling, add the hops, leave the top off, set the timer and go inside....watch some Turtle Man. With about 20 minutes left, we go outside and find.....the pot not boiling! At this point, it is 2AM in the morning and we don't know why the pot is not heating up like it should...so we get to looking at the burner. Apparently, you aren't supposed to use the metal deflector over the flame...because when we moved it out of the way and let the flame hit the pot....miracles! So we put the wort chiller in (to sterilize) and let the wort boil another 20 minutes. We then cooled down the wort...blah blah blah...finally got it in the bucket. Took a gravity reading before we pitched the yeast and low and behold we hit the EXACT gravity predicted in the recipe. We also had EXACTLY 5 gallons of wort. I'm not sure how this is going to taste with so much going wrong, but the final wort volume and gravity reading gives me a little hope. All this because we didn't slide the little metal piece out of the way of the burner....go ahead and say it...MORONS!!! I got to bed at 3:30AM and I had to be at work today by 9! I think my buddy called in sick. Any opinions on how BAD I may have screwed this up are welcome! NOT a pleasant first all-grain experience....



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Old 09-11-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Good story, thanks for sharing, it gave me a good morning laugh! I am sorry your first experience didn't go quite so well but it can only get better.



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Old 09-11-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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Looks like my first AG batch will be over a loong weekend, lol. I'm sure it will turn out fine!

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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Worst case scenario it tastes like a canned kit, lol

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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If you hit your volumes and gravity numbers, and got good conversion (hard to see how you wouldn't have, with that long a mash), you're certainly making beer. However, with such a long, cool mash (couldn't have been that warm only heating your strike water to 163, and would inevitably lose a few degrees after 120 minutes, even in a cooler), you're going to have a lot more fermentable sugars and a lot fewer dextrines and other sweet/mouthfeely goodies, which will make for a dryer, thinner beer than you were aiming for.

RDWHAHB -- you're brewing Guinness Light.

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Besides for it being a PITA, it doesn't sound like you did anything that would keep you from having a great beer. You kinda lucked out with the style and hopping schedule. A lengthy boil is true to the original guinness recipes and the utilization for hops pretty much levels out at 60 minutes.

Obviously, you would like to get it to a boil faster than that and get a nice strong hot break. It isn't like you are going to notice any clarity issues in jet black beer though. It probably won't age well either, but who cares. It isn't a brew you would want to keep around for a year anyway.

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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At this early stage of your brewing life I would not even use the term mistake when describing your first brew "night". I recall something about S*** happening???

It was a "learning experience" and once it's fermented, carbonated, bottled/kegged and finally conditioned you can all sit around laughing at that first night and giving each other high fives for making beer.

bosco

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:27 PM   #8
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Thanks guys! I guess I need to stop and look at the positives....my homemade mash tun and cpvc manifold performed flawlessly as did my homemade wort chiller. I now realize why people recommend a 10 gallon HLT...which i will be getting soon. I'm not totally hopeless about the beer being decent too!

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:39 PM   #9
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LOL - I wish I could say I've only had one early AM brewing session. I've had my share of brewing sessions going looooooong. It definitely helps with your skills on improvisation and disaster recovery . Beers seem to always turn out great though, so it is worth it.

Three things I've learned - keep a backup propane tank full at all times, always check your valves before adding liquid, and try to avoid building equipment on brew day.

Oh, and don't multitask when heating small amounts of of water in large HLT ... unless you want your sight glass to become modern art. They get VERY hot.

Welcome to the AG club!

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Old 09-11-2012, 03:52 PM   #10
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Sounds exactly my first all grain, except a lot more went wrong. If I went into details, you would realize you were a lot better off then we were. I think we started at 9pm and went to bed at 4am.

Worst part is, the beer was undrinkable. Hopefully you have better luck!



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