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Old 12-23-2007, 10:08 PM   #1
Shahn
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Default Liquid in the airlock - Paranoia!

I pitched my first wort last night at around 4am((it took forever to cool)I need to come up with a better cooling system)). This afternoon I looked over my brewing instructions and noticed that it said to put Vodka in the airlock. It's been sitting there for 12 hours with no liquid in the airlock. My questions are this.

Is it ok to use something other than Vodka? Rubbing alchohol ok?

Was 12 hours with nothing in the airlock a bad thing??

I pitched my yeast a little worm last night because I got impatient waiting for it to cool. I started off cooling the wort in the tub with Ice. I quickly burned through the ice in the tub and I moved it to the primary at 110F. It sat in the primary until it hit 80F and I pitched the yeast(it was 4am!). The yeast was still cool from being in the fridge 30 minutes earlier. I forgot to remove it when I started. I'm afraid that the early pitch with nothing in the airlock has doomed me. Anyone have any perspective on my situation? I'm afraid to disturb the primary now by taking the lid off to do another temp reading or look for activity.

My gravity was at 1.053 pre-pitch.

Did I make too many mistakes?? Am I being too paranoid??

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:17 PM   #2
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I'm sure your beer is fine - the chances of infection are pretty slim since the only opening in your fermenter was covered (even if only by a dry airlock).

Don't use rubbing alcohol - it's toxic if it accidentally gets into your beer.

Many of us just use water in the airlock. If you have a no rinse sanitizing solution, you can mix up a little of that to use in the airlock.

Vodka, Everclear, white rum, 151, or other high proof, fairly neutral spirits are fine for use in the airlock as well.

Don't bother taking the lid off and disturbing your beer. I bet it has a long lag time since you pitched cold yeast (presumably liquid yeast), so just leave it alone for a while. When you think it's been long enough, leave it alone some more.

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:18 PM   #3
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I'm a newbie, but I wouldn't suggest rubbing alcohol. A friend of mine suggested a little of the sanitizer water.

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:20 PM   #4
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Well, it's going to be ok!

You already learned some things to not do next time. Cooling is easier if you have some ice and put your brewpot in the sink with ice around it, adding more ice as needed. Also, it is best to pitch your yeast under or around 70 degrees. Still it will be beer when you're done!

Vodka is great for an airlock, I often use my no-rinse sanitizer. If you don't have either, use plain water. No rubbing alcohol, because sometimes things in the airlock can get sucked back into the brew, such as during big temperature swings.

You did shock your yeast a bit- they probably weren't real thrilled with going from 40 degrees to 80 degrees any more than you would be. Still, they should recover. You should always keep your airlock filled to the line- probably not a problem for you since you caught it early.

From this batch, you might expect some off-flavors from the slow cooling of the wort, the too-high temperature at pitching, and the stress of the yeast. Even so, this will be better than 75% of the beers you can buy!

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Old 12-23-2007, 10:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahn
I pitched my first wort last night at around 4am((it took forever to cool)I need to come up with a better cooling system)). This afternoon I looked over my brewing instructions and noticed that it said to put Vodka in the airlock. It's been sitting there for 12 hours with no liquid in the airlock. My questions are this.

Is it ok to use something other than Vodka? Rubbing alchohol ok?

Was 12 hours with nothing in the airlock a bad thing??

I pitched my yeast a little worm last night because I got impatient waiting for it to cool. I started off cooling the wort in the tub with Ice. I quickly burned through the ice in the tub and I moved it to the primary at 110F. It sat in the primary until it hit 80F and I pitched the yeast(it was 4am!). The yeast was still cool from being in the fridge 30 minutes earlier. I forgot to remove it when I started. I'm afraid that the early pitch with nothing in the airlock has doomed me. Anyone have any perspective on my situation? I'm afraid to disturb the primary now by taking the lid off to do another temp reading or look for activity.

My gravity was at 1.053 pre-pitch.

Did I make too many mistakes?? Am I being too paranoid??

I simply use water in my airlock. You will be fine.

You may want to develop a brew sheet list of actions to assist yourself in organizing your brew day. I find that so much is going on that a simple check list helps me stay on top of the details and when to apply those details.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
rubbing alcohol - it's toxic if it accidentally gets into your beer.
I just ran downstairs and pulled out my airlock to empty it. I had already put rubbing alcohol in the airlock right before posting my original message. It now has regular water(no vodka available). I think a few drops of alcohol may have made it into the primary. *CRY*

How much rubbing alcohol does it take to destroy a 5gallon batch of Pale Ale?

Is it possible for me to make any more mistakes before i get this stuff in the bottle?
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahn
I just ran downstairs and pulled out my airlock to empty it. I had already put rubbing alcohol in the airlock right before posting my original message. It now has regular water(no vodka available). I think a few drops of alcohol may have made it into the primary. *CRY*

How much rubbing alcohol does it take to destroy a 5gallon batch of Pale Ale?

Is it possible for me to make any more mistakes before i get this stuff in the bottle?
Ok, one thing to do right now is this- STOP! Relax. Take a deep breath. Your beer is fine. Beer is resilient, and a few drops of rubbing alcohol won't hurt anything.

Beer making is fun, although a bit of a science and an art. So laugh about this now, and stop worrying. We all have our brew stories, and some of them are hysterically funny. As far as I know, no one has died yet!

Repeat after me- RDWHAHB. Relax, don't worry, have a homebrew. In your case, have a commercial beer and relax. Beer has been made for thousands of years, before sanitization and every thing else. Like I said, this beer will still be better than most commercial beers on the market,, mistakes and all!
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Old 12-24-2007, 12:38 AM   #8
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if you haven't already make an immersion chiller. It's like 25 bucks worth of tubing and clamps and twisty socket medgigers. It isn't especially quick but it should allow you to cool it in under 45 minutes, especially if you still keep it in the ice bath.

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Old 12-24-2007, 01:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwantbeer
if you haven't already make an immersion chiller. It's like 25 bucks worth of tubing and clamps and twisty socket medgigers. It isn't especially quick but it should allow you to cool it in under 45 minutes, especially if you still keep it in the ice bath.
I will definately be looking into a chiller option.

I've managed to not go look at my primary for a few hours now.
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Old 12-24-2007, 01:15 AM   #10
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Relax brah....You're an uptight mess..

You can never brew good beer when your an uptight mess....

Relax....

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