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Old 08-17-2005, 06:41 PM   #1
patrck17
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Default Is my beer gonna be stale?

Hey guys. About a week and a half ago I brewed my first batch. And this past Sunday I racked to a secondary. It is funny that even after reading tons of material about the process, including most of this forums' post, I still managed to make a handful of mistakes. I think the mistakes I made were mostly because I was being impatient, and partially cause I am inexperienced. I just wanted to list them out and see if you guys had made the same mistakes, and in what way they may affect my beer. That way I can be sure not to make the same mistakes again.

One of my concerns is with sanitization. I use One-Step sanitizer and I was sure to sanitize everything that touched the wort, but I didn't let everything completely dry. Infact I didn't let it dry at all, I just dipped it in and shook it off and then used it. I don't imagine it will affect the taste of my beer, but my instincts say the head of the beer is gonna be destroyed.

This is a mistake I am not positive I made, but I may have. I use a floating thermometer, and it goes from 60-80-100-20-40-60-80-200-20. When cooling my wort, I think I may have mistaken the 180 degree mark for the 80 degree mark, being in a hurry and stuff. The only reason I suspected this was because 45 hours after pitching there was NO activity in my airlock, and then after I bought some dry yeast and pitched it it took off in just a few hours. Anyways I read somewhere that shaking around wort at high temperatures would cause the beer to be stale, and I worry that nasties my have got in my beer from reopening the fermenter, and the long lag time.

When I transfered the beer to the secondary, I tasted some of it. It tasted pretty bitter, and of course flat. Also I could definately taste the alcohol in it. Since I have never done this before I have no idea what it should taste like, other then what I have read. I know I will just have to wait and see to be sure, but I was mostly hoping that you guys could say yall had done the same thing before and not to worry, that the beer will come out fine.

Also right now my beer is in the secondary, it isn't doing a thing, no bubbles, no head, nothing. I imagine this is normal. Sorry for my long, boring, and paranoid post. Thanks for reading if you have got this far.

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Old 08-17-2005, 07:21 PM   #2
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That's a great first beer to brew, Pat. It sounds like you are not following Papazian's mantra though.

I use Iodophor and shake things dry. There was a thread here about drying/rinsing when using no-rinse products. I wouldn't worry and have not had a problem with head retention since not drying.

Was there steam coming out of the kettle? 80 degrees shouldn't be steaming, 180 WILL be. You'd recognize the difference. Which yeast did you use? Are you sure it was good? Next time, a starter for the stout might be a good idea.

My oatmeal was bitter when racking too. After many weeks in the bottle, it's developing nicely. I did not observe any action in the secondary, but the airlock floater was against its lid the entire time. What was your FG when racking?

I wouldn't say your worries are unjustified, but I bet you'll have a great first batch of beer. Let us know how it turns out.

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Old 08-17-2005, 07:25 PM   #3
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I've never made that error. I usally pitch my yeast at lukewarm temperature and this has never failed me. However if I pitched my yeast at 180F then yeah, i'd feel like i doofed up. No offense buddy, you just gotta take the rough with the smooth. The batch should still be drinkable.

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Old 08-17-2005, 07:26 PM   #4
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The cool thing about making beer, there are thousands of ways of getting there and in the end, we all have beer! Sounds like you did a great job for a noob. Pitching your yeast again was definately the thing to do. You are right, you killed the yeast. Pitching at 180 would kill 'em.

As for sanitation, no need to worry. There are many levels of sanitation and everyone on here is unique. Mostly erring on the side of caution. But, hey, hundreds of years ago, hell even a few decades ago, no one bothered about sanitation. Guess how their beer turned out? Great! that's how.

There is no action in your secondary for a reason and there's not supposed to be if you waited long enough to rack to it. Your beer tasted flat for a reason also...there is no carbonation in it. Carbonation will happen when you bottle or keg your beer.

Sounds like you did great. Good luck with batch #2.

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Old 08-17-2005, 07:33 PM   #5
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Hey guys thanks for the responses. Your right about that 80 vs 180 thing. I am certain it wasn't steaming. I am usually not that careless either. Maybe that is a fear I can put to rest. The yeast was Wyeast smackpack. It took some intensive force to break the pouch inside, but I know I did, and it did swell some, I smacked it about a 36 hours in advance. Maybe it was just a slow starter, or maybe the wort was still a little hot when I pitched and it shocked the yeast. I took a roundabout OG and FG reading, it was around 1.050 going in and about 1.010 coming out. This indicated to me that it did something, but I really am not too concerned with the exact numbers.

I can live with a beer with poor head retention, i'll just be more careful next time. I just hope that there were not too many nasties in there before the yeast started to whoop ass. Thanks again for the input.

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Old 08-17-2005, 11:18 PM   #6
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Patrick- The punishment for sloppiness and impatience is : you've got to drink your mistakes. The cool part is , you get to drink your mistakes ! If you can drink it, and even enjoy it, that's half the battle won. Some of these guys on here are really good. Pay attention to them and you won't go wrong.

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