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Old 04-25-2012, 04:46 PM   #1
ianhoopes
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Default My first brew is this weekend - anyone have suggestions for me?

Just thought I'd introduce myself. Long time beer drinker, but first time brewer.

I've gathered all my supplies, I have a large aluminum brew pot, two fermenters (One with a spigot for bottling), necessary tubing, airlock, brushes, sanitizer, etc.

I'm planning to make a heavily hopped APA, something almost close to an AIPA.

Here are my ingredients:

6.6lb Pale LME
1lb pale DME
1lb cracked Crystal 40L
1 oz Simcoe whole leaf
1 oz Centennial whole leaf
1 oz Cascade whole leaf
1 vial California Ale V yeast

My plan:

Steep grain for 30 minutes at 160F
60 min: Boil 3.3lb LME and 1lb DME, add .5oz Simcoe
30 min: Add .5oz Simcoe
15 min: add .5oz Centennial and Cascade
10 min: add 3.3lb LME
0 min: cool and strain hops while pouring into fermenter

I'm planning to ferment until it's slowed or stops, around 7-14 days from what I've read, then add the remaining .5oz of centennial and cascade and let it dry hop for another 7 days, then bottle into 22oz bombers.

Anyone see flaws, problems in my execution, or have a recommendation! I'll be sure to come back and update everyone on the process.

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Old 04-25-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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Sounds good, the only input that I have is, I love 22 oz. I use those and they are great for me. Not do great for friends and family that don't like my brews though lol more for me.

Good luck in your brews

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Old 04-25-2012, 04:55 PM   #3
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Get a good nights sleep the night before an start early just in case something comes up and you have to go get supplies

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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A good nights sleep is great advice!!

I prefer a stainless steel kettle vs. an aluminum one. The aluminum can't be cleaned with the oxygenated cleaners like Oxyclean. I use the crap outta Oxyclean and swear by it.

If you use Oxyclean on aluminum, you will immediately oxidize it and getting that crap off of your kettle is a chore. Been there. Done that.

That is really the only reason why you should use stainless over aluminum.

Good luck and check in from time to time and update us.

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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If you can make a starter is recommend that with the liquid yeast

Prepare a brew sheet so you can make brew day notes that you can reference and make a check list to keep track of your needed steps during the process

Keep a bucket of sanitizer handy so you can keep items in it or quickly sanitize something as you brew

Take your time and don't get caught up in the excitement of your first brew and if you do screw something up, relax because it's probably not as big a deal as you will think it is

Have a great time and keep us updated! Cheers

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:38 PM   #6
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Not sure about the AA units, but I would switch the 60 min Simcoe with the 15 min Centennial.

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:46 PM   #7
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Your plan brings up a question I've had; perhaps some more experienced hands can offer an answer.

You are going to be steeping a pound of grain for a given length of time while holding it at a specific temperature. This suggests to me that you are going for some kind of mash and/or partial mash. But my understanding is that Crystal is one of many specialty malts that offer no diastatic power and hence will not benefit from any form of mashing.

So the question: Is there any benefit to fiddling around and trying to steep Crystal at a specific temperature? Why not just throw it in cold, bring the whole thing up to temperature and remove prior to boiling? (I understand you don't want to boil the specialties.)

Perhaps I'm over-thinking things -- a few weeks perusing this forum has my head spinning with info and ideas...

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:59 PM   #8
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Tow pieces of equipment to invest in over the next few weeks: an autosiphon and a carboy (I prefer plastic). You won't need them on brew day but they'll help later in the process.

A secondary fermentation is a very easy way to improve beer quality and it gives you more flexibility.

The autosiphon is a very cheap and simple device that makes racking and bottling so much easier. Starting a siphon without it was so hard, and the autosiphon solved my biggest brewing frustration. I would just use that to bottle and ignore the spigot.

Happy brewing!

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Old 04-25-2012, 07:23 PM   #9
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If using an aluminum pot for brewing, you actually WANT an oxidized layer inside the kettle before brewing. You can do an oxyclean soak to accomplish this, but most of us just do an hour boil with water and this gives you an idea of how long your system takes to reach a boil prior to brewing. And like the others have stated, stay relaxed. Have a documented plan, but don't stress if things don't go perfect and give yourself extra time in case you have to deviate from the plan. Also, wait to start drinking until the boil starts. Welcome to the obsession!

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Old 04-25-2012, 07:25 PM   #10
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@JohnnyO

So you mean, boil the .5oz Centennial for 60 and do the other .5oz of Simcoe for 15 instead? May I ask why?

@Margos

My reasoning for steeping the Crystal 40L is to give a bit of freshness to the beer - from what I understand pure extract beers are never really great, just good. I thought it would be nice to have some actual grain used in the mix to make the beer fuller, although I understand it should be adding little to no gravity to the wort. Also I love the smell of fresh cracked malt.

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