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Old 04-15-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
Shaggy
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Default Tips for my first brew session please...

I recently ordered a kit from Austin.
Its an extract Lemongrass Wheat Ale.
Though I've read extensively and took a class...nothing beats getting tips from the pros lol.
I've also a couple questions posted below the recipe...

Heres the recipe/instructions:

2 1/2gal water to 155.
Turn off heat and steep grain bag (containing 1/2lb Cara Pils, 1/2lb Aromatic, 1/2lb 2-Row) for 15min then remove.
Return to heat to boil.
Turn off heat and stir in 8lb Wheat Extract (liquid).
Bring back to boil stirring well.
Bittering hops 1oz. Spalt @ 60min.
Flavor hops 1oz. Crystal @15min left.
Aroma 1oz. Lemongrass @ 0min.

Cool and top off with enough water to = 5 1/4 gal.

Using WL American Hefeweizen Ale 320 yeasties.

OG target is 1.058
FG target is 1.012



So, my questions...

1. Add the lemongrass at 0 min? I'm not sure I get how that works overall.

2. The bittering/flavor hops are pellets and the lemongrass is, well, lemongrass. Should these be put in individual grain sacks or the like to help with straining? I've a "filter" in my funnel but for some reason I picture it getting pretty clogged as is lol.

3. When going to cool the wort, I've read to cool it first then to pour into fermenter with water already in and then top off to desired amount. Is there a reason I couldn't put a couple gallons of cold water into a big sanitized pot and pour the hot wort into that first to help cool, then mix well and pour all into the fermenter?


Thats all off the top of my head.
TIA!!!



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Old 04-15-2008, 02:57 PM   #2
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Recpie looks good. Procedures look fine.

1. Just put it in once you turn the burner off and it will leach out into the beer while it cools. It will add a good bit of aroma to the final product and a little lemongrass flavor. Just dump it in, it will be fine.

2. You can use sacks or filter, either are fine. If some gets into primary - so be it. It won't hurt anything - some people don't strain at all.

3. You don't want to 'pour' hot wort. You want it to be cool before you dump or otherwise aerate by splashing. I would put it into your sink in an icewater bath - should cool it down most of the way, then put into bucket with cool water. You want the end result to be good pitching temp so warmer wort and cooler water or all the same temp. Just get the wort under ~100 or as close to room as possible before you go dumping.

You'll be fine. Sounds tasty.



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Old 04-15-2008, 03:06 PM   #3
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Welcome. The first batch is a fun one.

1. 0 min means 0 minutes left in the boil. So wait until you have boiled for 60 minutes and are ready to start cooling. At that point, throw in the lemongrass.

2. Some kind of containment is usually useful for hops and other additions. If you have hop bags, I'd say use them. If you don't, no big deal. Just try to strain the lemongrass and hop "mush" out of the solution when you transfer. If you don't get all of it, it will just settle in your fermenter with the trub (long protein strains and yeast).

3. You could pour the hot wort into colder water, but it is a bit easier to cool 2 gallons of hot wort to your target than 5 gallons. I would fill your sink halfway up with ice and water and keep the boil pot moving around as much as possible. You want to cool the wort very fast so that the cold break forms and will fall out of solution. The other advantage here is that you will be able to accurately control the final volume by adding cool water to the wort rather than wort to the water.

3.5 When you do get everything mixed together, give the wort/water a good mixing and shaking. You want to get a lot of oxygen into the fermenter. Boiling the wort for 60 minutes has taken most of the O2 out of solution. Shaking will help the oxygen get back in there. Also, having a good mixture will give you a more accurate specific gravity reading.

Once you get a few batches under your belt and you think you want to pursue the hobby, I would pick up a chiller of one sort or another and some kind of oxygen infuser.


Cheers

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Old 04-15-2008, 03:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy

So, my questions...

1. Add the lemongrass at 0 min? I'm not sure I get how that works overall.
It's called a "Flameout Addition." When your clock reads 60, you turn off the flame and drop the lemongrass in, they want you to do that so you don't cook away the flavor/aroma of the lemongrass.

Some recipes call for a flameout hop addition as well.

Quote:
2. The bittering/flavor hops are pellets and the lemongrass is, well, lemongrass. Should these be put in individual grain sacks or the like to help with straining? I've a "filter" in my funnel but for some reason I picture it getting pretty clogged as is lol.
It's your choice to use hopsacks or not. I did for my first few batches, now I just dump everything in and then strain it into my bucket using a large sanitized kitchen strainer I got at the dollar store....

Look up whirlpooling in the wiki, it shows you what to do to compact the gunk in the bottom of the pot before you pour off the wort, leaving MOST of the gunk behind.

If you're going into a carboy no matter what, your funnel will clog at somepoint. I've seen pics of some brewers using a big collander set inside a funnel, to strain most of it before it gets into the funnel. Don't forget to sanitize.

Quote:
3. When going to cool the wort, I've read to cool it first then to pour into fermenter with water already in and then top off to desired amount. Is there a reason I couldn't put a couple gallons of cold water into a big sanitized pot and pour the hot wort into that first to help cool, then mix well and pour all into the fermenter?
Most people don't because they don't have pots large enough, or don't want to have to dump 4+ Gallons of liquid into their fermentor...It's easier to control a couple gallons rather than that...I've done a couple batches, one mead, and one PM Beer where I ended up with nearly 4.5 gallons in my 5 gallon pot....Once I got the pot cooled down enough, I used my autosiphon, and racked the liquid into my fermentor...but you have to get the temp down below the temp where you'll melt your autosiphon though. (I think there's a pic on here of someone's melted and still working autosiphon.)

Welcome to your new obsession!!!

Biggest advice I can give is to read the sticky threads in the beginners forum...Including the Stone Cold Locked one...

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY- Relax, Don't Worry!!!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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This may sound like a bad think to do but I used to slowly pour the hot wert over ice in my fermentor. I can say that I never had a batch go bad doing this and my local brewery said that it was fine to do this. It also served to aereate the wert at the same time.

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Old 04-15-2008, 05:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerfan
This may sound like a bad think to do but I used to slowly pour the hot wert over ice in my fermentor. I can say that I never had a batch go bad doing this and my local brewery said that it was fine to do this. It also served to aereate the wert at the same time.
Aren't you afraid of the boogeyman? Boogyman in this case is hot side areation. I don't think it is as big a deal as some companies/magazines/books/people make it out to be. I'm guessing it could be a problem maybe 1 time in 20 and the wort would probably have to be pretty hot when you are splashing it around. Personally, I had a good time making my immersion chiller and I am excited by how fast it cools the wort down.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:14 PM   #7
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After brewing my first beer (I'm just about ready to go to secondary) here are my newbie words of wisdom.

1. Relax, its fun

2. You will screw something up, could be minor or major, but it's gonna happen, and probably more than once. It probably won't affect the beer at all.

3. See number 1 when number 2 happens

4. If you are using a pot only slightly larger than the boil volume buy a new larger pot (preferably) or be prepared to watch it like a hawk.

5. Before sterilizing your fermenter use a gallon jug and mark gallons and 1/2 gallons starting around 4 up to around 6. I didn't and now I won't know how under volume I am until I switch to secondary.

6. Sterilize an extra glass and spoon. You will forget you need it again and throw it in the sink/etc.

7. In a separate pot boil a gallon or so of water and then take it off the stove (with a top) and let it cool. This will be used for random things such as top off after adding wort, rinsing items, etc. Better to have it ready and cool than rush boil something or use tap water risking possible (unlikely) infection.

8. If you want to use ice to cool (and put it IN the wort) make your own from sterilized water in sterile containers. I plan to do this with my next batch to help quickly chill the wort better than just sticking it in the sink. A medium-sized tupperware container holding 1/4 gallon of ice will really speed up the cooling since its in direct contact with the wort and not transferring heat through the pot.

9. If using glass, the carboys are no joke. These boys are HEAVY and slippery when wet.

10. If possible put the fermenter above ground level (on a desk/crates/etc). When you rack to secondary or bottling bucket its nice to be able to not move the primary fermenter. This keeps sediment at the bottom and dried krausen at the top, and all but eliminates a dropping hazard.

Goodluck, its addictive!

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for your time everyone! I really appreciate the info and advice.
I need to pick up a few odds/ends at my LHBS before I get to this...but hopefully Friday night I can start this up!



Ohhhh...just had a thought...should this beer go to secondary?
Directions state to go to secondary 5-7 days to clear.

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Old 04-15-2008, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaggy
Thanks for your time everyone! I really appreciate the info and advice.
I need to pick up a few odds/ends at my LHBS before I get to this...but hopefully Friday night I can start this up!



Ohhhh...just had a thought...should this beer go to secondary?
Directions state to go to secondary 5-7 days to clear.
I would suggest to follow the directions given. I know that some members here secondary some of their wheat beers to clear it some. I personally don't.

You might also want to consider doing a late-extract addition, inwhich you put about half of the malt extract at the beginning of the boil and the rest at the 15 minute mark. By doing this you will minimize the extract "twang" and lighten the color of your brew. It will increase the overall utilization and bitterness imparted by the hops, but it isnt noticeable in my AHS Bavarian Hefeweizen.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:43 PM   #10
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I would skip secondary and just leave it in your primary fermenter for 3 - 4 weeks or so before bottling. Wheats aren't supposed to be crystal clear anyway. Keep your first bach simple as you can so that you get used to everything. You'll get to the point where things start becoming second nature, but those first batches start getting hectic sometimes!

After topping off don't forget to shake it like crazy. This will aerate the wort and mix together your wort and topoff water to create a homogenous solution. Take a hydrometer reading if possible. I suggest picking up a wine thief for hydrometer samples.

Hot side aeration will lead to a cardboard taste in your beer, but it takes a little bit of time to develop by my understanding. You will finish this beer before it develops, but better to get started using sound techniques. Cool your wort in an ice water bath in your sink before racking/dumping into your primary.



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