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Old 08-14-2011, 03:54 PM   #1
jr14
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Default Lessons learned from first brew

So my first beer didn't turn so great. In fact, it was bad. I've finally given up on it, and it's going down the tubes. But I learned some valuable lessons I believe, and have ideas on how to improve. Any suggestions or corrections are very welcome.

1: I did a full wort boil, but used large tea balls, which ended up packed solid, so I don't think I got the extraction I wanted. Next time: Use hop bags.

2: Forgot to order a hydrometer test tube, and couldn't come up with anything on the fly. So no gravity readings. Next time: Order hydrometer test tube with next order.

3: Cooled wort in an ice bath while stirring to whirlpool. Next time: I already ordered the copper for an immersion chiller.

4: Sanitized bottles in dishwasher on rinse cycle. It has been speculated that remnants of food in the dishwasher is why I have NO head retention and the soapy off flavor. Next time: Soak in star-san and hang on bottle tree.

5: Fermented in closet. Who knows what temp. swings there were. Next time: Better temp control with mini-fridge I snagged for free.

Does that sound like a winning combination to everyone?



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Old 08-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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Sounds like you're on the right track to me. Wort chillers are faster. I still use the ice bath,works well enough for now. And PBW & star-san are def the way to go. I use them all the time,good choice there. The vinitor & bottle tree make life easier & faster. And any type of temp control is a great thing as well.


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Old 08-14-2011, 04:03 PM   #3
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1-i just throw my hops straight into the brew.
2-you can use the plastic tube the hydrometer came in for your measurements. with my first brew, i was trying all kinds of glasses and then reaized i could slap that bad boy into the tube it came in--just had to figure out how to get that little piece of foam out of the bottom.
3-an ic will work great...just get ready to fight for those last 30 degrees. it's easy to get it to 100, but down to 70 takes more minutes than you would think (especially in the summer months).
4-i swear by starsan.
5-to make really good beer, temp control is a must!


sounds like you are on your way to a better batch of beer.

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Old 08-14-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
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just had to figure out how to get that little piece of foam out of the bottom.

Is it necessary to take that piece of foam out? If so, uh oh.

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Old 08-14-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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Get a vinator to help sanitize your bottles.

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Old 08-14-2011, 06:33 PM   #6
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Sounds like what a lot of us do - wing it and end up with a good beer anyway.

By the way, do you have a hydrometer but not the measurement tube? You can just chuck the hydrometer in the brew itself and check that if you want. It's my usual course of action tbh!

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Old 08-14-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesmartin View Post
you can use the plastic tube the hydrometer came in for your measurements. with my first brew, i was trying all kinds of glasses and then reaized i could slap that bad boy into the tube it came in--just had to figure out how to get that little piece of foam out of the bottom.
My friend and I had this thought, but he was tasked with the taking the reading, and didn't let the wort cool enough. The plastic tube melted before our eyes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesmartin View Post
3-an ic will work great...just get ready to fight for those last 30 degrees. it's easy to get it to 100, but down to 70 takes more minutes than you would think (especially in the summer months).
Even during the summer here, my tap water NEVER gets above 55 degrees on cold. Maybe a deep well? Will this help cooling faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobWalker
You can just chuck the hydrometer in the brew itself and check that if you want.
It's comments like these that make me wonder if I'm qualified to drive a car, let alone make beer. That is SO simple, it never crossed my mind.

That was an extract brew by the way. I'm going all grain doing the BIAB method, so this should be FUN!
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:09 PM   #8
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nothing wrong with the dishwasher to sanitize bottles as long as it has a sani mode ... I've (and many others on here) done many batches that way and no problems at all .. i doubt that was the off flavor ... just high heat tho ... no DW dertergent needs at all ...

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Old 08-14-2011, 07:21 PM   #9
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You can take the end caps off the ends of the hydrometer storage tube to get the little foam pieces out. Then just put one back on & presto! I use mine to take samples all the time.
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Old 08-14-2011, 07:23 PM   #10
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I always pre-rinse my dishwasher i.e. no soap or rinse chemicals, before I run my bottles through the sani mode, then I just slowly rinse each bottle with a little Star San solution and place them back on the dishwashing rack to dry right before I bottle the brew. I have never had any problems using this method.



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