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Old 04-16-2007, 02:20 AM   #1
Cable Guy
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Default Really Rough first brew.

You know, after reading posts on this site for about a month I really thought I knew what to expect on my first brew day but boy was I wrong. Ok, let me step you through my busy afternoon/evening.
I started out today with a kit from the home brewery for a 5 gallon batch of IPA. I've got a 15 gallon brew pot so I started the batch with 6 gallons. The brew went pretty well. I've got an electronic thermometer so I watched it close and stayed in the timelines of when to add this and that. When I reached the end of the boil I realized that the wort chiller that came with my kit was a bit too small to work in my 15 gallon brew pot or so I thought. So I decided to fill a metal trash can full of ice and chill my wort in a 6 gallon brew bucket. About 2 strokes into my auto siphon I realized that it wasn't working, a plastic clip on the inside was floating around and I wasn't getting any suction. I went ahead and poured the wort into the bucket trying not to splash too much but you know how that goes. Once in the bucket it took 2 1/2 hours to get to 75. After I finally got the wort chilled I filled my 6 1/2 gal carboy. Not really, it only filled it half full. I thought about boiling another 2 gallons of water and then adding it but at this point of the evening I thought I would take my chances on having some really strong beer. So, after all that I've got a few questions.
1. How much water do you use to start out with for a 5 gal batch?
2. When boiling your wort, do you leave the lid off your brew pot or leave it on?
3. What do you guys do to chill your wort?
Other than that I know what I did wrong and am making the equip corrections this week. I plan on doing my 2nd brew next Sunday.
Any insight guys would be really apreciated.

Cable Guy

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Old 04-16-2007, 02:32 AM   #2
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well i cant answer all of those but when producing my wort i use about 1.5 gallons of water. I leave my lid somewhat on to keep water from evaporating but not let it get to hot and boil over...basically i find the right heat point (about 5.5 on my electric stove) and crack the lid a bit. To chill my wort i will get a 5 gallon Poland Springs jug (sanitized) fill it with the remaining 3.5 gallons of water and place it in my freezer. Once i see a layer of ice ill take it out and then dump it into my fermentor. I then dump in my hot wort after its one boiling. Worked out about 75 degress everytime.

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Old 04-16-2007, 02:40 AM   #3
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What I find really easy is to try to stick my pot in a sink or bathtub--trashcans are fine, but they're really thin (especially if you have a 15gal pot). A tub full of ice will chill your wort down real fast. Uh, what else. Yeah, don't pour hot wort, but I think you knew that. Unless you know how much water you'll boil off, I'd just make sure you top up your post-boil wort up to 5gal. Leave the lid off when you boil, so you can avoid boilovers.

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Old 04-16-2007, 02:43 AM   #4
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I have only done two batches, but I set my pot (4 gallons) in the bath tub half full of cold water and it cooled within the hour both time. Now I bought a wort chiller, but have yet to use it. Good luck

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Old 04-16-2007, 02:53 AM   #5
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Do you guys think the beer will be any good with only half a 6.5 gal carboy? After sitting down for a while and thinking about it I'm not so sure I haven't ruined my first batch. Bummer.

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Old 04-16-2007, 03:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
Do you guys think the beer will be any good with only half a 6.5 gal carboy? After sitting down for a while and thinking about it I'm not so sure I haven't ruined my first batch. Bummer.

Well, what's your OG? Did you add top-up water after you finished boiling?
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:21 AM   #7
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Here's just afew observations...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
About 2 strokes into my auto siphon I realized that it wasn't working, a plastic clip on the inside was floating around and I wasn't getting any suction.
Well, I don't think an autosiphon is made to withstand boiling hot liquid, so that might be one reason that didn't work out. I could be wrong, though. Happens quite a lot actually

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
Once in the bucket it took 2 1/2 hours to get to 75.
A full boil is going to take a long time to chill just in a bath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
After I finally got the wort chilled I filled my 6 1/2 gal carboy. Not really, it only filled it half full.
Really? How long did you boil?? How big a burner??? If you started with 6 gallons, you would have had to have astronomical evaporation to get down to 3 gallons of wort!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
I thought about boiling another 2 gallons of water and then adding it but at this point of the evening I thought I would take my chances on having some really strong beer.
Do you have a hydrometer? That is your best bet for figuring it out. If it is below what you expected/what the recipe predicted, you can certainly add water to reach the OG you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cable Guy
So, after all that I've got a few questions.
1. How much water do you use to start out with for a 5 gal batch?
2. When boiling your wort, do you leave the lid off your brew pot or leave it on?
3. What do you guys do to chill your wort?
i don't do full boils yet, so I can't answer that one, but I would specualte based on what I have read here that between 6 and 6.5 gallons should get you 5 after about a one hour boil.

Leave the off when boild for sure. Less risk of boilovers (although in a 15 gallon pot it will be tough BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE ) and also there is stuff that is boiled out of the wort that need to be able to evaporate and get away.

I currently just ice bath in the sink, but with a partial boil it's pretty easy. I have a plate chiller, but have yet to use it since I don't have a spigot on my kettle yet. If you have an IC, you should try and use it, even if it seems small - it'll still kick the snot out of an ice bath!

Good luck on the next batch. Just keep brewing!
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:52 AM   #8
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Are you sure your wort chiller is too small? That will help greatly. Maybe you can bend the copper up a little more to fit outside your pot?

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Old 04-16-2007, 04:25 AM   #9
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I've read that you leave the lid off during the boil to let some undesireable stuff from the malt get out with the steam.

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Old 04-16-2007, 06:48 AM   #10
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You might want to go ahead an do partial boils. That way you don't have as much wort to boil or chill and when your done you can top it off to 5 gallons and have 5 gallons.

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