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Old 05-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #1
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Default Third time's a charm?

To celebrate National Homebrew Day yesterday, I brewed up 5 gallons of Cream Ale from Northern Brewer.

Originally I wanted to try BIAB/all-grain for this, but convinced myself otherwise & that I should still be trying to get the basics down - and I think I definitely improved from batch 2.

Basically, I realized that I'm probably ending up with way too much volume in the fermenter - but I also couldn't tell you how that affected my previous gravity readings because I didn't take any.

SO, this time around I marked (in my head) where 5 gal hit in the kettle, as it was filling with water. I also took note of where the water level was at when I had added my 6lbs of extract.

Previously I've only done 60 minute boils, and I don't think that cuts it on the kitchen stove. At 60 minutes yesterday, I hadn't boiled off nearly enough - this was probably true for the two batches I did previously too! So, I let it go for 30 more minutes, chilled, transferred to fermenter and I was right on the money - 5 gallons in the better bottle. I also took a gravity reading and hit my target of 1.040.

12 or so hours later, I've got a nice little cap of foam on the beer and I have high hopes for this batch!

So, newbies - don't just boil for 60 minutes cause the directions tell you to!

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Old 05-02-2010, 02:24 PM   #2
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Congrats! For extract brewing it's all about volume and timing. Sounds like you got it down pretty good.

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Old 05-03-2010, 02:46 PM   #3
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After a pretty calm fermentation with a breakfast stout last batch, I thought I could get away with no blowoff tube this time around and use the dry-tap BB airlock thing...

This morning it looked like a hand soap dispenser that had shot foam all over the place - oops. I think I'll be good as long as it doesn't clog up and esplode.

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Old 05-04-2010, 01:31 AM   #4
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AG is very easy to get into using the BIAB method. I'm very satisfied with my results since I switched this year. My advice would be to start using brewing software beforehand. Get familiar with the formulas used and how volumes/temperatures play into the brewing. The software will help you create/modify recipes for your specific setup. For instance, I know that when I do a BIAB mash with the full amount of water, I get ~60-65% efficiency. I can load a recipe into BeerAlchemy, change the efficiency and it will recalulate how much grains and hops I need. You'll also be able to enter in the precise volumes your setup needs. I've found that I boil off more water than is normal, so I can enter that in to the software and it will tell me how much I need to start with and what my strike temp should be.

My BIAB setup:
15 gallon SS stock pot ~ $80
1/2" 50FT immersion chiller ~ $50
Jumbo course bag ~ $10
Bayou Classic SP10 Burner ~ $40
Total ~$180

I've done 6 batches with that setup. The first one did not turn out well at all. My temps and volumes were way off. I spent the time figuring out the software and calculations and the last 5 batches have been great.

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #5
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What I had considered for this batch wasn't 100% BIAB method - it was closer to DeathBrewer's stove-top AG, but with mashing in a rubbermaid cooler + grain bag. I think there are a few other dudes on here who do that.

I still want to - and I already have all the stuff I need - I just wanted to have a few batches like this one under my belt where I felt I did it right.

I noticed some stuff on this batch that I hadn't paid attention to previously - when I added my Whirlfloc I definitely got that "egg drop soup" effect I read about on here. That was pretty cool looking. This batch has also looked crazy active in the fermenter, lots of movement like a lava lamp... cool to sit and watch for a few minutes (beer in hand, of course). Also, the yeast is filling my basement with a ... bready? smell... Pacman and Irish Ale yeasts definitely smelled different. I think I like the 1056 though...

Anyway, I'm rambling... sorry

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Old 05-04-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
Also, the yeast is filling my basement with a ... bready? smell... Pacman and Irish Ale yeasts definitely smelled different. I think I like the 1056 though...

Anyway, I'm rambling... sorry
Love-love-LOVE the bready smell!!
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:28 PM   #7
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Ended up at 1.009 and the hydrometer sample tasted very nice! Will definitely brew this kit again.

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Old 06-23-2010, 11:36 AM   #8
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So, this has been kegged for a little over 10 days (I think), a picture is posted in the post your pint thread... and I think it actually gets better and smoother each day in the keg. Definitely my best effort yet!

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Old 06-23-2010, 12:04 PM   #9
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so you were doing a full-boil, correct?

I'm not doing full boils, I am doing 2.5 gallons starting water. So, should I be taking note of the level when I start (2.5G), and trying to boil back down to that after adding the LME?

Sorry if I'm completely missing the point.. still tryin to figure everything out.

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Old 06-23-2010, 12:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MetallHed View Post
I'm not doing full boils, I am doing 2.5 gallons starting water. So, should I be taking note of the level when I start (2.5G), and trying to boil back down to that after adding the LME?

Sorry if I'm completely missing the point.. still tryin to figure everything out.
Full boils are a little bit different, and probably a bit better, than partial boils. That being said, a lot of great beer is made with partial boils. Make sure to use a calculator for your hop utilization if you aren't doing a full boil, because many recipes assume full boil and the hops might be off if the volume is different (this can be a source of debate, but you won't go wrong if you use a program to calculate your hop utilization).

If you are doing partial boils with extract, it is not quite so critical that you know starting volume, because you can just top off with water at the end. In all-grain it's more important because you want to know your efficiency, etc. Still, more information means better learning, so go ahead and measure your water -- it's good practice if you ever get into all-grain.

This is the place to come to ask questions, so don't be sorry for doing so!
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