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Old 11-25-2012, 04:23 PM   #1
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Default Lessons learned with your first brew?

Everyone in sports always talks about how a lot of football teams improve the most between the first game and second game. I feel like that's true for brewing as well.

Just bottled my first brew, and the lessons I learned are as follows:

#1 - If you've got anything other than yeast and hop pellets (for me, it was a spice pack with some orange and cloves), best to do the filter into the primary bucket before pitching the yeast. I didn't filter it at all, and it lead to a lot more air in my auto siphon, due to the end getting clogged with debris other than yeast cake. Ended up with about 4 gallons after issues both going into and out of the bottling bucket, mostly due to debris.

#2 - Get the bottling bucket as high as possible, gravity is your friend.

#3 - Don't forget to sanitize the bottle caps. Had to uncap 6 after realizing I hadn't dropped them through the starsan bath.

#4 - Drink a beer while working. Forgot that part, and it wasn't nearly as fun.

So, what were your lessons that you learned after your first go-round?

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Old 11-25-2012, 04:25 PM   #2
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When siphoning from ferm to bottling bucket, I propped the ferm at an angle with a reasonably thick book before I started. Preferably a bible, just for irony. So glad I did this, no faffing about with the last 1/2 litre or so

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Old 11-25-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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Do an ice bath for the hot wort in BK rather than topping off with all cold water in FV per instructions. Wort was still around 90F after top up. Had to age it more to get off flavors gone.
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Old 11-25-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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you always need bigger pans. if it's your first time brewing, your pans aren't big enough.
more ice. no matter how much ice you have, get more.
don't use iodine, well let me clarify. use iodine carefully. i didn't pay attention to the instructions and ended up turning everything orange... lame.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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Don't put a lid on boiling wort!!

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:11 PM   #6
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Trust the info on here moreso than the lhbs. They just wanted me to buy what they had. So after that it was learn first,then shop.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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"Belgians are fermented warm" doesn't mean they don't need temperature control. Learned it after my second batch, when an especially violent fermentation took the temperature 15 degrees above ambient, to almost 90 degrees. Salvageable for a saison strain, but too high for an abbey ale strain. Almost a year later, it was still an undrinkable fusel bomb and had to be dumped. Since then, every batch is controlled at least until after fermentation has ceased, period.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #8
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Keep fermentation temps under control. That is the fermenting beer temp - NOT the ambient air temp or water temp in your swamp cooler.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #9
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1. Use a much larger brew pot.
2. Boil outside. I tried boiling inside on my range top, and then realized the steam condensing on the vent above my stove was probably going to drip back into my wort. I cook a lot - yuch! I jerry-rigged a solution but I think that brewing outside with propane will lead to faster, cleaner boils.
3. Get more ice than you think you need - or buy a wort cooler.
4. Invest in a system to control fermentation temperature. I've decided on a chest freezer and temperature controller.
5. I decided to keg right away; I'm glad that I did. I lost pressure on my korny keg after the first carbonation, but learned how to seal it better. If I want to bottle down the road then I'll use a bottle gun.
6. Take your time. Don't rush. Don't worry. Have a home brew; I can say that now - see below:

See my post: "Just tasted my home brew (again)."

Update: And one more - use a wet yeast and learn how to make a starter. Research proper yeast amounts to pitch as well.

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Old 11-25-2012, 05:46 PM   #10
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Mostly ignore kit instructions. Make as it should be made, not how the kit demands.

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