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Old 01-12-2013, 02:16 AM   #1
Jan 2013
Posts: 34
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Ok, my wife left town so I hit the brew store for the first time to use my newly acquired (Xmas) brew gear. It's my first attempt at AGB. Ok, honestly, my first time brewing period. I'm typing as I go along, but if I don't start chronicalling now, I'm sure I'll miss some kodak moments you may enjoy.

The Brew: shooting for a malty IPA. 11 Lbs 2 row, 4 Lbs Munich, .5 Cara-Pils, .5 Caramel 40. 2 oz. Simcoe during the boil, 2 oz Amarillo steep, 2 oz Cascade dry hop. Target OG 1.070, IBU 79.8, IBV 7.4.

First, I'm sure you all know, but don't try to use a 7 gal cooler for a MLT for a 5.5 gal recipe (Damn thing is really only 6.5 gal anyway). Spent 3 hours building the manifold though so was way proud, so for sure I was using it even though I had my suspicions about it's pending evil intent. Was shooting for a mash temp of 152, hit 146-148 after strike. Had no room in the cooler to add hot water, so had to drain off some wort (2 QT x 3), nuke it to 175*ish (I know, I know) and put it back in. Of course as I'm stirring (trying to be gentle) I'm sloshing wort all over because I'm at the rim of the cooler. At least the dog enjoyed it. Oh, and in the middle of the crisis, my 9 YO asks me to play James Bond with him on Xbox. It wasn't the time for that question. I'll be getting him ice cream later. Anyhow, took 60 of my 75 minutes to finally hit 152. A small victory, but a victory none the less.

Lautering went better, but my sparge water temp ended up low again at 162 because my stove turned off when the sparge pot hit the knob. I measured the wort gravity after 1 gallon of running, but I think I somehow misread it because I ended up with 1.165 (adjusted). End running after 6.75 gal = 1.016. Final reading of the whole batch was 1.055, about 10 lower than my target.

On to the boil. Everything ran pretty smooth. Boiled for 100 minutes (@201F here in Denver), hopped it up a few times (wow, someone should warn a guy about the foam when you put the pellets in. That was close), then steeped 1oz of Cascades for 10 min.

Cooling was fine. Used a chiller I built with 25' of copper I had in the garage. Took 30 minutes to go from 180F to 72F. Oh, did I mention is snowed this morning. Should have took that as an omen. Started snowing again as soon as I took the wort outside to chill it. Snow in the wort. It's an act of God so I'm sure it's fine. Just the Big Guys way of helping with the chilling (that and it's 20* out). Oh, and it's now dark outside, so I'm using a flashlight to see.

Took it in and poured it into the fermentor. Grabbed a sample for gravity (1.064) and pitched the yeast I started yesterday. Gave it a good stirring and popped on the airlock. Now all I can do is sit back and wait.

Moral of the story: You can read about it, study it and spend $30 on brewing software to tell you about it, but at the end of the day, you don't know jack until you experience it.

In all seriousness, I had fun (ok, frustrated fun). I'm really curious on how this thing turns out. Anyone out there have a similar experience that can offer a prediction? Thanks for hanging it there on this. I'd really like to get more reps under my belt so that maybe I'll be able to be the guy giving the advice!

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Old 01-12-2013, 02:19 AM   #2
Mar 2008
Posts: 157
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Sounds exciting... I'm glad in the end things didn't go irrecoverably awry. Let us know how it turns out!
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:29 AM   #3

Originally Posted by Chris5899 View Post
Anyone out there have a similar experience that can offer a prediction? Thanks for hanging it there on this. I'd really like to get more reps under my belt so that maybe I'll be able to be the guy giving the advice!
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:56 AM   #4
Apr 2010
Redmond, Oregon
Posts: 497
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9 times out of 10 it will still turn out great no matter how big a fiasco. After some repetition you will have relaxed fun rather than "frustrated fun."

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:09 AM   #5
Polboy's Avatar
Jun 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 917
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Fun post, bring back memories when i did my first AG 2 years ago. From now it will be easier

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:12 AM   #6
Nov 2009
Keystone, CO
Posts: 264
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You have done more homework leading up to your first brew than 90% of the beginners out there.

Unless things to terribly wrong (which it didn't) you will always have beer as an end product!

One minor counter-intuitive suggestion...put a lid on your pot as its cooling. Yes it will slow it down, put it will help keep bacteria from falling into the cooling wort during its critical temperature range!
Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:15 AM   #7
Sep 2012
Madison, WI
Posts: 131
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My guess- it'll be great! Good work, a chance for a cool snow related name for this brew.

Sometimes breaday will keep you on your toes. I had a black esb I was cooling with a wort chiller and had a bunch of water from it drip in and I feared greatly about infection but it turned out great!

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:17 AM   #8
Dec 2011
Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,246
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Read, brew, read about mistakes, repeat! I've been doing it that way for 10+ years and haven't ran out of mistakes yet!!! All things considered, if your pitch was healthy and the wort well aerated, you should have a tasty brew on your hands in a few weeks...

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:22 AM   #9
Righlander's Avatar
Apr 2008
Largo Florida
Posts: 506
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haha! sounds a lot like my first time

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Old 01-12-2013, 05:21 AM   #10
PJoyce85's Avatar
Jan 2013
Mainz, Germany
Posts: 1,069
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Originally Posted by Chris5899
. wow, someone should warn a guy about the foam when you put the pellets in. That was close)
My second batch was a Black IPA and luckily I was already brewing outside with a burner. I had added hops, thought I tamed the foam, turn around a BAM!! I heard a sizzling sound so I turned around and saw an eruption out of the kettle. There were hops EVERYWHERE! There must have been at least 1/3 if my already added hops on the ground and all over the outside of the kettle. That clean up was fun :-)

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