In mid November I brewed my first 5 gallon kit of beer! Boy was I excited. I had some experience with brewing before helping a friend and doing a small 2 gallon Mr. Beer kit (which came out TERRIBLE btw more on that later).
I brewed this kit: Brewer's Best Pumpkin Spice Porter
and the results are pretty bad imho. I know there were several things I wasn't 100% prepared for so I'm just looking for some advice and tips to help improve the quality of my next brew.
Onto the brew days events (recalled a couple months later so hopefully I remember everything correctly...)
I pretty much followed the directions that came with the kit verbatim. I sanitized everything I could think of haha.
I steeped the grains that came with the kit for 20 minutes in 2.5 gallons of water at around 160 degrees F. I kept the pot on the flame while I steeped, uncovered. Should I have steeped for a longer time or with the pot covered and flame off? Would that even make any difference?
After that I brought to a boil and added all the LME and hops and spice pack according to the kit.
Now comes the cooling fiasco. I prepared an ice bath to put the pot into and for about 20 minutes it was fine I was stirring both the pot and the bath and the temp was dropping quite nicely. then all of my ice water drained out of the sink
Luckily my tap water comes out quite cool so I was able to refill with semi cool water but it wasn't anywhere near freezing temps. The temp hit the 80-90 mark before it slowed in cooling down drastically. I knew I had to add top off water to the cooled wort when pouring into the fermentor so I thought I could add directly to the wort to see if it would help cool it down (looking back this might have been a terrible idea? advice?) Finally I got the temp down to 70 range and I poured into my fermenting bucket and topped off to the 5 gal mark on the bucket (I didn't premeasure the marks on my bucket so they may be off)
My OG came in at 1.030 at 70 degrees (expected 1.05-1.06) so either I didn't stir the wort enough before taking the reading or I added more than 5 gallons total (since I didn't exactly measure the bucket hash marks)
I pitched the packet yeast directly on top of the wort and let sit in the primary for 1 month. Bubbling started the next day and went on strong for about 1-2 days after then subsided. I bottled using the priming sugar supplied in the kit. The beer was fully carbed (3 weeks) on 1/8/11 and I just had another taste last weekend, 1/29/11
The taste is very overpowered with the spice with ginger being the main spice I taste. The body of the beer is very thin although the beer was carbonated well. Overall I just can't get past the overpowering spice taste. I'm not sure if its just the combination of spices added or if my techniques would lend to the beer being this way.
I know this is a long read so thanks to anyone who makes it this far