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Old 02-18-2010, 02:56 PM   #1
knelson
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Default Initial reactions....first brew!

My first batch was the Extra Pale Ale extract kit from Northern Brewer

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...tract-kit.html

I followed the kit instructions pretty much to a T, except for the fact that I did a fulll boil. I fermented in Primary for 2 weeks, racked to Secondary for 2 weeks and now it has been in the bottles for 2 weeks. After reading and re-reading numerous threads on this forum this seemed to be the consensus and made sense to me

So last night marked the 2 week mark in the bottles so I threw a bottle in the fridge for a few hours and then took it down to my local watering hole to share with a friend of mine who owns the joint. Here are my initial reactions...

1. It definately was not carbonated enough. It basically tasted like hoppy water. I currently have the bottles stored in my dining room under a blanket. Temp is around 68F. Should I move them to a warmer place to get better carbonation. I will try another bottle in a week.

2. I was much dryer and bitter than I had expected. The recipe called for Cascade hops so I imagined it would be a little more citrusy (sp?). Should I expect the bitterness to subside a tad in the next week(s)? There wasnt much of a malt character at all. Will the malt flavor come through more with more time in the bottles.

3. The color was great!

4. It tasted like beer, and although it wasn't perfect I made it and was proud to crack open my own brew for all to try.

Now I am kicking myself for not having another batch started already because I want to start building a pipeline with a few different styles. i think i heard my carboys crying last night because they were lonely.

Sorry this post is a little disorganized, i was just trying to throw some thoughts together.

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Old 02-18-2010, 02:58 PM   #2
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welcome to the addiction

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:00 PM   #3
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Congrats........more time will help.

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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Welcome. You are further along than me but I do have second batch a week from being transferred to secondary and 2 other batches of 1 gallon ciders. Also will be brewing this weekend batch 3.

My first batch is still a week out from bottling at least.
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:14 PM   #5
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Congrats on the first batch! I'd definitely let those bottles sit another week or maybe two...but try one every couple days to see how carbonation is coming along. Young beer is typically watery, lacks body, and strong flavors still haven't mellowed out (like bitterness, astringency, etc.). I find that my bottled beers are drinkable at 2 weeks in the bottle, good at 3 week, and hit their prime between week 5-6 depending on the recipe.

So it's a very good idea to get brewing again to fill up that homebrew pipeline! Cheers!

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:19 PM   #6
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Note that you get better hop utilization when you boil lower gravities. So, since you took a recipe that was designed for a partial boil and did a full boil instead, you boiled at a lower gravity and got more bitterness out of your hops. That would account for less maltyness and more hoppy bitterness in your brew.

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:29 PM   #7
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Thanks guys! I am actually kind of impressed with my patience with my first brew. I was never over anxious or impatient and let the process run its course. I have a buddy that started brewing a few weeks after me and he is making just about every n00b mistake in the book.
He insisted on starting with a imperial chocolate porter with an OG of 1.070.
No starter.
Took no notes.
Had multiple boilovers (partly my fault...haha).
Did not follow his recipe.
Has since sent his recipe to a local brewmaster for feedback.
Racked to secondary after a week without taking hydro readings.

We'll see how it turns out...if its great there will be no way to reproduce it without any brewing notes.

I'll stick with my simple Pale Ales until I get a strong grasp on the process and the ingredients...although i did read an article on all grain yesterday that sparked my interest...hmmmm

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Old 02-18-2010, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
Note that you get better hop utilization when you boil lower gravities. So, since you took a recipe that was designed for a partial boil and did a full boil instead, you boiled at a lower gravity and got more bitterness out of your hops. That would account for less maltyness and more hoppy bitterness in your brew.
Chshre- Thanks for the input. Since I plan on doing full boils from now on. What would you recommend I do with my recipes to get the correct hop utilization? Is there a software that I can type my recipe into that will correct for that? I'm assuming i would need to add more Malt in this instance to increase my gravity to bring my hop utilization down but how do I know how much extra to add?

Thanks
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knelson View Post
Chshre- Thanks for the input. Since I plan on doing full boils from now on. What would you recommend I do with my recipes to get the correct hop utilization? Is there a software that I can type my recipe into that will correct for that? I'm assuming i would need to add more Malt in this instance to increase my gravity to bring my hop utilization down but how do I know how much extra to add?

Thanks
Actually, you can go the other way. If you increase the malt then you're making a different beer. If you cut back on the hops to compensate for the lower boil gravity then you'll end up with the beer you intended to make in the first place.

Beersmith is a great piece of software that lets you play with recipes and make any adjustments you want to make. You can enter the recipe as it's laid out, note the IBU's and other information, increase the boil volume and then adjust the hops until the numbers are back where they were at the start. There are a few other good programs out there, but that's the one I use.
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Old 02-18-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
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Cool, I think it might be time to get buy Beersmith, I certainly hear enough good reviews on here. Price seems right too.

Cutting back on the hops makes perfect sense.

Thanks for all the help guys. I'm learning more and more each day due to this site.

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