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Old 08-17-2009, 03:42 AM   #1
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Default First Brew Tonight

I just finished my first brew. I did my research, but had a few newbie mistakes. I think I'm ok, but want to see what the experts think.

I purchaced a starter homebrew kit from midwest supplies. I also ordered a recipe kit. Black Bog Ale; 6lbs Gold LME, 16oz Crystal 50/60 L, 12oz Wheat Malt, 1 oz My Hood Hops and Muntons dry yeast.

Things were going nice and smooth at first. I steeped the grains, keeping the water temp between 155-160, and added the malt, taking the pot off the heat to stir it in and returning it to the flame for the boil.

Here's where I messed up. The instructions said to add the Mt. Hood hops at the first boiling bubble. At about 160 the wort started moving around, so I added the hops and set my timer for a 60 min boil. As I looked closer at the wort, I noticed that it wasn't coming to a true boil, just moving around. The real boil didn't start for another 15-20 min, at 212 degrees. I wasn't sure what to do, but assumed that having the hops in for 60 min was the more important thing. In the end I had hops in the wort for 60 min, 40 of which were at a ture rolling boil.

I then gave my brew an ice bath. With 20 lbs of ice in the sink and a liter of frozen spring water in the pot, I was able to get the temp from 212 to ~80 in 30 min.

After adding the wort to the primary, I topped off with ~2 gal of cold spring water to get a 5 gal batch. This got my final temp to 68. I then used a wisk to aerate and mix everything together as best I could.

I thought I was doing ok, but when I took my SG I was off. The recipe gave a target range of 1.042-1.046, but I came in at 1.050.

So my questions are: Did I make the right call on the hops (should I have left them in for another 20 min at boiling...)? Is my SG way off? What, if anything, should I do.

I'm hoping the answers are relax, have a homebrew...

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Old 08-17-2009, 04:12 AM   #2
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pitch the yeast, relax and drink a beer. It will be beer i promise! Have a homebrew!

You gonna pull them pistols, or whistle dixie?

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Old 08-17-2009, 04:31 AM   #3
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This higher SG just means you got a better yield from the grains than expected or something along those lines. The beer might be slightly higher in ABV than the original receipe called for, but nothing your tongue will notice, just your brain after a few!

Relax about the hops I have added them late, forgot some one time, and boiled them over. Beer still tastes great!

Congratulations and relax. You will love your beer.
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Old 08-17-2009, 04:37 AM   #4
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Actually, you kind of accidentally ended up doing what is called First Wort Hopping. In Palmers' How to Brew he says in FWH, some of the bittering hops are added to the kettle, while the wort is being transferred from the Lautertun to the kettle. This allows the hops to steep and release its oils and resins. In short it apparently results in a more refined hop aroma and bitterness.

Anyhow, don't worry. The hops were in long enough to do their job, which is to add bitterness. If you had said you added your aroma hops before the boil.....then it still wouldn't be a complete disaster. Basically you'd have no hop aroma, and a more bitter beer.

It'll be fine.
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Old 08-17-2009, 08:44 AM   #5
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you're fine. I've done much worse to my beers without issue.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:04 AM   #6
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The only thing you might notice is that the beer isn't as bitter as it was designed to be, since you only boiled for 40 minutes instead of 60 minutes.

You add your hops when the wort starts boiling (I wait until after the "hot break", when the wort stops foaming) and then set your timer for 60 minutes. You didn't do any harm at all by only boiling them for 40 minutes, but boiling is what causes the oils in the hops to isomerize- so while they were in the wort, the bittering wasn't happening until the wort boiled. That's why the beer might be a bit sweeter in the end.

Most boils are 60 minutes for this reason.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:36 AM   #7
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As Darkside said, you kind of did a rudimentary First Wort Hop, or as close as you can with an extract brew. If you ever decide to brew all-grain, you will find some recipes where you will do this on purpose. Your beer will probably not be quite as bitter as it would have been with a 60 min boil, but I'm sure you'll love it just the same. Keep us posted!

Now, relax and have a homebrew (or commercial, since your first brew isn't ready yet)!

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