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Old 02-01-2006, 05:59 PM   #1
The Maddock
Jan 2006
Posts: 9

So I took a dive and decided to brew my first AG batch. I went out, bought the grain, yeast, and hops, and 2 days later, I decided to brew. The mash went all right and I was surprised at how sweet the mash liquid actually was.

Well all was going fine until sparge time came, then I realized that my siphon wouldn't siphon. My collection manifold was not clogged, but for some reason I couldn't get a steady flow. At 2:30 AM (I started brewing at 12, so the rents wouldn't tromp through the kitchen), I was getting tired. My only option was to put a tube straight through the grainbed and siphon as such, with the liquid falling on a splatter screen to keep out the nasties.

About 4:00 am I was about finished boiling, and there was no way I would spend another 1-2 hours waiting on the wort to cool so I could pitch. I put the wort in the backup fridge (ambient temperature 36F), pot and all, and went to bed. About 9:30 that next morning, I woke and re-sanitized my fermenter. Poured in the wort, (which was conveniently cooled to an even 84F!), yeast starter from the night before, attached the airlock, and set it in the basement. Two hours went by and not a bubble. So I removed the lid, not surprised that there was no layer of foam and gunk (German word, I forget what it's called), and no action at all.

I made the decision to swallow my pride and mix up a starter of bread yeast. The brand I use has served me well in the hard times, and doesn't produce too much of a bread-y taste. Now the fermentation is going well, according to my airlock.

Any ideas on how the product might taste? Hmm? It's usually just me and my buddy that drink my brew, so no loss if it isn't the greatest, I just hope it doesn't sour.


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Old 02-01-2006, 06:15 PM   #2
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
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Most likely the grain bed had settled too much and was restricting flow. Raking the bed (or poking it with a spoon) will loosen things up.

Because AG wort has more nutrients and probably better aeration, the growth phase lasts longer. Fortunately, bread yeast and ale yeasts are in the same family, so you just speed things up a little.
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:31 PM   #3
Dec 2005
San Diego
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Only problem I see is that the long cool down period might have allowed germs in the wort to start multiplying. Aand, you didn't give the ale yeast time to get started- 2 hours don't do it, I'd have waited 24 hours. Time will tell if it's infected, otherwise drink up!
So far, I've had more experience thinking than I've had don't think they are mutually exclusive, do you?

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Old 02-01-2006, 06:49 PM   #4

I think you'll be fine! I once let an extract w/grains wort sit in a sink of ice water while I went off somewhere on a Saturday night. I got home seven hours later, then mixed the cooled wort with water, pitched a vial of yeast (no starter) and went to bed. The beer turned out great!

But casebrew is right, two hours isn't enough time. I usually give it 24 hrs. Even with perfect conditions and a healthy starter, I see a lag time of about 4-6 hours!

Oh, and the layer of foam and gunk - Krausen!

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Old 02-01-2006, 08:16 PM   #5
Aug 2005
Little Rock, AR
Posts: 334
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Initial problem with your sparge is called a stuck sparge. When it happens to me, I turn off the valve and stir the grainbed. Re-circulate wort until it clears and then continue sparging.

For everything, the other comments are good. Wait longer for krausen and stop opening your fermentor - it lets in more nasties. Also, get a wort chiller of some sort so you can cool the beer faster, it will help you avoid infection. As far as the flavor of the bread yeast goes, I'm going to guess moderately nasty, although it might not be so bad since the other yeast was also in there working.

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Old 02-01-2006, 08:30 PM   #6
Baron von BeeGee
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Jul 2005
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
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What kind of manifold do you have? When I used to use a braided hose I had lots of stuck sparges (frankly, mine wasn't as sturdy as what most people use). One way I could always unstick them was blowing gently in the end of the drain hose which would unclog the screen in the tun. I say gently because I did get a hot wort eruption from the top of the tun and into my hair once.

Since fashioning a copper pipe manifold I haven't had any problems.

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Old 02-02-2006, 07:11 AM   #7
Antipodean Aler
Nov 2005
Posts: 3

Originally Posted by cowain
Initial problem with your sparge is called a stuck sparge. When it happens to me, I turn off the valve and stir the grainbed.

will this oxydize the wort, or is it hot side airation ?


nice community...

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Old 02-02-2006, 03:09 PM   #8
El Pistolero
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May 2005
Houston, Baja Oklahoma
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Originally Posted by Antipodean Aler
will this oxydize the wort, or is it hot side airation ?
Hot side won't happen if you stir gently.
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Old 02-02-2006, 05:00 PM   #9
boo boo
Jun 2005
Hearts's Delight, Newfoundland
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You have to learn a bit of patience. Beer takes its own time given the ingredients and the conditions you give it. yeast takes a while to kick in while it takes in nutrients and o2 from your wort. Another thing is if you do AG then you must be doing full boils. You really need to use some sort of a chiller to get your wort down to pitching temps within a reasonable time. Most of all you have to learn to relax and enjoy the process of making great beer. Read up on the process and progress.

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Old 02-02-2006, 08:42 PM   #10
Bernie Brewer
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Feb 2006
Eldorado, WI
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Two hours to cool your wort? Dude, you need a chiller. My chiller ( a cheap immersion type that anyone could make) cools 5 gallons from boiling to 65* F in 20 minutes, 30 tops. Also IMHO 84* is too warm for pitching-should be 60-75 to avoid shocking yeast. As far as your stuck sparge goes, I'd have to know more about your setup to offer any practical ideas
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