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Old 03-26-2013, 03:34 AM   #1
Gunslinger711
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Default Long time reader, first time brewer

I've been reading this forums on and off for several years making Kombucha, rice wine, and on home brew technique. I'm proudly typing this post because I brewed my first batch of beer last night.

It was a Chamomile Wheat recipe kit from my LHBS that I'm modifying a bit, let me know your thoughts on my process and observations, if you have any tips I'd love to hear them.

Recipe:
6.6 lbs liquid wheat malt extract
1/2 lb. Munich malt, crushed
1/2 lb. Wheat malt, crushed
1/4 lb. Aromatic malt, crushed
1/2 lb. Flaked wheat

.25 oz Tettnang (60 min)
.5 oz Tettnang (30 min)
.5 oz Hallertau (15 min)

Yeast:
Wyeast 3056 Bavarian Wheat

Additions:
3 blood oranges (meat and zest)
4 navel oranges (meat and zest)
I made a "tea" out of them by boiling all of that at 160 for 10 minutes then added the whole thing to the cooled wart before pitching the yeast

I will be adding about 4 pounds of frozen blackberries after about week. First I'll boil them up at 160 for about 10 minutes then add that "tea" in.

Worries:
--Completely forgot to add the irish moss
--Smacked the hell out of my smack pack and let it sit for 3 hours, but when I cut it open the inside nutrient pack was still intact. I cut it, mixed it, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then pitched it.
--It was extremely difficult to hit my temps and stay at them on my electric stove, but it was too cold to even brew in the garage with the propane turkey fryer (took me almost 15 minutes for a 2 gallon boil!) I overshot my steeping grains temperature (150) and had to wait for the water to cool back down. I'm hoping this will come with practice as I spent a lot of time waiting for things to come back up to boil or down to a certain temperature.
-- OG was 1.030, the original recipe (I took out the chamomille and added the oranges and blackberries in it) was 1.047-1.050

Temperatures:
Pitch temp 67.9
Fermentation temp around 71
After 24 hours there's a few bubbles, not much activity.

Closing thoughts:
The house smells amazing after brewing beer, I'm super excited to finally be brewing, and I'm to try to relax and not worry about stuck fermentation and the other things that could go wrong.

-Adam

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Old 03-26-2013, 03:50 AM   #2
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Hey man, I've been in your shoes. The good news is that as far as steeping grains are concerned, you can't really mess up. It just adds complexity, color, body, and (in some cases) head to your beer. Honestly I'm excited about your recipe. It sounds like it will be very delicious.
I believe that the irish moss is used as a clearing agent. As far as that goes, your beer might not be as pretty as you were hoping. I say function over form!
Remember: people were brewing beer for hundreds if not thousands of years with half as much knowledge about the process and not nearly the equipment. Your beer will be fine!
Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 03-26-2013, 03:45 PM   #3
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With all of the fruit you are adding to your beer (and the fact that this is a wheat beer), the Irish moss wouldn't have really done anything anyway. This beer is going to be cloudy no matter what you do. Sounds like an interesting brew, good luck and report back with results.

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Old 03-26-2013, 07:35 PM   #4
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Oh, pectic enzyme will help make fruit clearer. I'm not sure when to add it for beer brewing purposes, but with fruit wines I add it 12 hours prior to pitching.

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Old 03-26-2013, 10:43 PM   #5
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A couple questions/concerns I had:
1) The OG seems a bit low, by my rough calculation it should've been around 1.055
2) Do the fruit additions seem to be in the correct quantity and at the right time? I culled over a good amount of posts to come up with those #s and methods.

Side note: 48 hours later the airlock is bubbling away, room (closet) temp is at 75°

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Old 03-26-2013, 10:55 PM   #6
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What is your batch size? I can try to help with your first question. Also, 75 degrees is pretty high for fermentation, even for a wheat beer. Is there a cooler place in the house to keep it? Warmer temps tend to lead to off flavors.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:07 AM   #7
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5 gallon batch size. I have one closet upstairs that's around 75°F, one around 68, and one downstairs around 63. No basement. I'm assuming 63 is too cold so I put it in the 68° closet.

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Old 03-28-2013, 12:19 AM   #8
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68 isn't bad, I'd go with 63 next time. During the early stages of fermentation (first few days) the beer will be warmer than the ambient temps. So, considering most ale yeast have optimum fermentation in the 60-68 range, you are better off being a few degrees below the upper limit of that range. As for your first question, I ran the numbers on your brew... it looks like the only fermentables you really have there (assuming the grains were steeped and therefore did not contribute fermentable sugars), your OG should have been 1046. I'm not sure why you came up short considering you used LME, did you stir before taking a gravity reading? I'm wondering if you didn't have a good enough blend to get an accurate measurement.

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Old 03-28-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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Should I move it down to the 63 degree closet now (day 4)? or leave it where it is?

Also, the OG I took was after I dumped the oranges and zest in so I didn't stir at all (just the recommended splashing when I poured the wort to the fermentation vessel). Should I stir it now and take a reading or should things have settled down enough to take a "good" OG. I'm resisting opening up my bucket so as not to let contamination in.

This actually brings up another question, assuming a "normal" fermentation (kick off 2-4 days, no bumps in the road) how often should you take a gravity reading?

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Old 03-28-2013, 02:30 PM   #10
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With the wheat beer yeast,higher temps can be good to get those banana esters into the beer. 68-75 would have done that.

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