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Old 03-06-2012, 02:16 AM   #1
McKraken
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Default First Brew Disaster

So today was my first ever brew day, a partial mash IPA kit from hopdawgs.ca.

I started out with my mash "teabag" for an hour at 155*-160*. Once that was complete, I turned up the temperature and slowly added my DME, mixing with my spatula as I went. I started to feel something grainy on the bottom of my pot. I thought "wow, this malt extract really sticks to the bottom". That's about the time my floating thermometer jumped up in temperature very quickly, and became positively buoyant. I tried to keep it upright, but it just floated horizontally again. I pulled it out to take a look, and the bottom was missing off of it. I realized the grainy feeling on the bottom of the pot was the weight material from the bottom of the thermometer.

So I naturally begin to panic.

First I grabbed my spare 5 gal paint strainer bag and put it over the top of my kettle. I didn't envision that going well.

I took a step back (with the burner off) to see what gadget I could whip together to fix it. I don't know what's in the thermometer, and I definitely didn't want to boil it into my wort.

It was probably an obvious choice, but I felt pretty smart when I was racking my wort into my fermenter. I cleaned out my kettle, and poured my wort back in. Crisis averted. Good thing I bought that back up thermometer at Canadian Tire (yeah, I know, we have a store called Canadian Tire in Canada).

After that, the rest of the brew day went pretty well, aside from the fact I obviously don't have a system yet. I kept jumping back and forth between different parts of my kitchen, trying to stay one step ahead, stopping at the Star San bin every chance I got.

I actually built a CFC to chill with as well, and I was surprised at how well it worked, with my tap barely flowing. I know, my first homebrew and I built a CFC for it, I just like to build things. That's why I think I'll be brewing for a long time. There are so many DIY's.

To be honest, with the information I gathered from this site, I was never too worried. After the initial panic, I fell right into RDWHACraftB.
Thanks everybody.

Pre boil gravity: 1.059
Post boil gravity: 1.069
That's after adjustments; my hydrometer read 0.989 in room temp water

Safale S-04

I'm leaving it in my primary bucket for 2 weeks at 66*, then racking into a secondary for 2-3 more weeks, then I'll be bottling.


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Old 03-06-2012, 02:21 AM   #2
tchfunkta
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Do you know what the thermometer's ballast was made of?

Otherwise, you'll find it getting less hectic every time you brew. For me, it got easier and easier. Nowadays I just run on autopilot, even with new recipes.


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Old 03-06-2012, 02:24 AM   #3
postal_penguin
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The thermometer ballast was likely steel shot. No homebrew thermometer would have lead in it.
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Primary: Apfelwein, Raspberry Lambic, Experimental Wheat cider, IPA
Secondary: Empty
Keg 1: Hefe
Keg 2: Irish Stout
Keg 3: Peach Kolsch
Keg 4: Empty
Bottled: Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Chocolate Stout
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:27 AM   #4
McKraken
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I looked it up, and all I could find was that the ballast "does not contain lead or similar alloys". If anyone could help me out, it was made by Alla France.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:13 AM   #5
tchfunkta
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Your good. Enjoy the brew!
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:43 AM   #6
theempire
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Damn, that sucks. You will have more rough days going forward, but I assure you it gets much easier every time you brew.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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Mine is the one that came with the turkey fryer. Works great. I would be reluctant to use any glass products around my brew. It just seems as if this is a regular occurance for somebody. Breakable stuff tends to break, especially in the boil.


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