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Old 07-17-2009, 07:28 AM   #1
whathits14
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Jul 2009
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Just finished my first homebrew tonight! Here the skinny:

MoreBeer! American IPA ingredients kit.
Came with:
9LBS ultralight malt extract
1 oz gal hops for bittering (11.3 % AA)
4 oz cascade hops, 2 oz for flavoring and 2 for aroma. (7.5% AA)

I took a chance and ordered a turkey fryer kit (Bayou Classic, 30L aluminum stock pot and outdoor gas stove) that I found off amazon for ~$50. Considering I couldn't find a decent kettle or stockpot for less than about 75 on craigslist or at the local homebrew store, I felt it was a reasonable purchase. Downside is that aluminum is not durable and I have heard can impart some undesirable metallic tastes to the beer....we will see. Plus is that the stockpot is 7.5 gallons and allows me to do a full boil. Also, there is NO way my old POS electric stove could boil enough liquid in a reasonable amount of time to do even a partial boil, and I can work outside so messes are a lesser concern.


The actual brewing went great, the turkey fryer throws out plenty of heat and it was easy to control the boil. Only minor mistake I made was putting in the flavoring hops ten mins too early, but I think it will be OK . Working outside is great in case there were any spills, which I was fortunate enough to avoid. Cooled the entire batch down in a large 10+ gallon bucket that I had lying around in the garage, ran water from the hose to it and got a few packs of ice in there. Very quick cooling, got the wort down from ~190 to around 70-80 in about 20 min. Transferred to a carboy, and set in the garage to ferment. I have an airlock on there for tonight, but I will check in the morning to see if it looks like I need to place a blow off tube on there.

My only complaints with the ingredient kit are that it comes with pelleted hops. Oh well. Next time I will be buying ingredients separately and will be sure to get fresh hops, might even try a mini mash. Looking to do a Imperial Stout, or maybe a nice holiday spiced porter... I was thinking nutmeg, a little chili powder, and a hint of orange rind, any thoughts? Total investment in this setup was around $200, and that includes the ingredients for the first batch ($35). Considering me and my roommates drink like fish, we should actually be able to save some money over the next year versus paying $8 a sixer for some good micro.

I'd love to hear about any similar experiences people have had with malt extract kits, and also any suggestions going forward on how to make this beer as good as possible....I'm also sure I will run into trouble somewhere down the line so any preemptive advice would be great!

Thanks for reading

-Erik

 
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:13 AM   #2
Ryno
 
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Jan 2009
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Welcome to the world of homebrewing. It wont be long and you'll be a total addict. That's a good thing! Dont get hung up on the pelletized hops. Nothing wrong with them if stored correctly. I use them about 50% of the time. Hopefully your supplier didnt give you cheesy hops. You picked the best homebrew forum for finding all the info you'll ever need!!
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:49 PM   #3
whathits14
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Jul 2009
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Thanks!


Update: Looked at the brew this morning and no signs of fermentation yet. Carboy has zero bubbles, it looks completely flat. Hopefully yeast will pick up by this evening. I used White Labs California ale yeast is anybody wants to comment...more later

 
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Old 07-17-2009, 03:57 PM   #4
Beerrific
 
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Sounds like it went well, I can't help to point out though...

-There is nothing wrong with aluminum. No off flavors. Just need to boil some water in it first to develop a protective oxide coat. A 30L Al pot is what I used for my first 2 years of brewing.

-Pellet hops are just as fresh as anything you get short of picking them yourself. In fact, depending on how they are handled they can be fresher than whole hops. And many people (myself included) prefer pellets.

 
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:00 PM   #5
whathits14
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Jul 2009
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Well I did not boil water prior to brewing in the stockpot, so hopefully any off tastes will be minimal.

Update: The yeast have begun to work their magic! looks like I left just enough room in the carboy to avoid blow off as the foam from the fermentation is up to the neck, but no further. It smells good too, very hoppy. Can't wait!

 
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Old 07-19-2009, 09:04 PM   #6
MikeG
 
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Sounds like fun. I've only used alum, no probs there, same for the 30qt. It's tough at times but learn to brew with what you have. I prefer pellets for hops, whole hops absorb a lot of liquid (using them now).

Welcome to HBT!

 
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Old 07-20-2009, 08:34 PM   #7
headfullahops
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There are pros and cons to using both leaf hops and pellet hops. The biggest con to using leaf hops (and pro for pellets) is freshness and storability. Pellet hops are compressed and even if some of the outer surface of the pellet oxidizes over time, the majority of the pellet stays fresh. The biggest con for pellet hops, at least for me, is how small the particles are when the pellets are boiled and trying to keep them from moving from vessel to vessel. I'm about to try the strainer bag approach.

 
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:32 PM   #8
Shooter
Almaigan Brewing Co.
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This kit will probably be my next brew. Of course they say they're out of stock online, but they always have them available up in their Concord retail location. So far, I've found their kits to be pretty straightforward and haven't had any issues with them.

 
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:36 AM   #9
whathits14
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Jul 2009
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The brew kit I picked up came with some nylon mesh bags, which helped with the pelleted hop particles somewhat, but the actual pellets are formed from some pretty fine particles and a small amount snuck through...same with some of the specialty grains, but its a negligible amount.

Shooter, I will be sure to let you know if the kit is worth it

Question for anybody who know the answer...I have access to some pretty high quality filters, would straining the beer before transferring to the bottling bucket be possible with a ten micron filter? My only concern is that I do not know how large yeast are, or if they tend to agglomerate into micro/macro colonies so I am unsure if this would also filter out a majority of the yeast. I imagine it would be possible to skim some yeast off the top before bottling and save those...any comments welcome!

update on the brew: looks like the yeasty beasties have calmed down a little bit, but are still fermenting away...color seems to changing a little as well, but it could just be the lighting. More to come.

Off to drink some beer.....

 
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Old 07-22-2009, 05:32 PM   #10
Shooter
Almaigan Brewing Co.
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If you filter before bottling you may have to add some yeast. If you're kegging you can force carbonate. However, if you're careful in your transfer, you shouldn't really get any sediment in the bottles. There will be a little in there after carbing and conditioning, but that's normal. I get little bits of the hop pellet coming through the steeping bag as well, but they usually settle out in the fermentor and I don't really notice them when I transfer for bottling.

 
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