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Old 04-29-2008, 09:29 PM   #1
reif.erik
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Default My first brew is fermenting, fingers crossed...

Hey guys,

Just got a homebrew setup last week and got to do my first brew this weekend. I have a couple of questions and would love other input/criticisms.

First off, here is the recipe and what I did, along with my initial reading.

4/26/08
Modified American Pale Ale
O.G. 1.054


5 Gal. Arrowhead Drinking Water
1 lb 25L Crystal Malt
1/2 lb Carapils Malt
3 lbs Cooper’s Plain Light dried malt
3 lbs Munton’s Amber dried malt extract, Color 18 EBC/Lovibond 7
1 oz Perle Hops
1 oz Magnum Hops
2 oz Cascade Hops
11.5g Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast - E491

1. 3 Gal. Arrowhead Drinking Water in pot.
2. Bring to 155 degrees, add 1 lb 25L Crystal Malt + lb Carapills Malt in steeping bag.
3. Heat over medium heat to 170 degrees. (Took ~20 min)
4. Sparge with 2 pints of 170 degree H20.
5. Bring to boil.
6. Add 3 lbs Cooper’s Plain Light dried malt extract and then 3 lbs Munton’s Amber dried malt extract, Color 18 EBC/Lovibond 7. Stir to mix completely.
7. Add 1 oz Perle and 1 oz Magnum Hops, boil for 60 mins.
8. After 60 mins, add 2 oz Cascade hops and mix.
9. Add mixture to 2 gallons chilled H20 in glass carboy.
10. Top off to 5 gallons total with more chilled H20 in carboy.
11. Let cool in carboy overnight to room temp.
12. Pour pint and chill in fridge to 60 degrees.
13. Take hydrometer reading - 1.054 o.g.
14. Add yeast 11.5g Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast - E491.
15. Shake mildly to mix.
16. Store in closet 11 am 4/27/08.
17. Waiting to take 2nd hydrometer reading.


Now for some questions.

A) The temp on the carboy thermometer has been at 75-78 the whole time. Should I have put this in a fridge to maintain a lower temp? Say, something around 68-70? If so, is it too late to move it to the fridge now?

B) All of the hops were in pellet form, so I just tossed them in and now its pretty murky looking. Is there a way to clear it up a little now or should I have done something else to keep that from happening? i.e. can I just pour everything through a sieve before I keg it?

C) What do you guys think I should do differently for next time? Feel free to criticize as long as its helpful



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Old 04-29-2008, 09:40 PM   #2
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Did you steep the grains at 170 for 20 minutes? If so, that's too hot. You really don't want the steep water to be any hotter than 160 because it significantly increases the risk of extracting astringent tannins from the grain husks. Steep at around 155 for 20-30 minutes, then sparge with 170 degree water.

75-78 is a little on the high side. Wrap the carboy with a wet towel and point a fan towards it to get it closer to 68-72. Anywhere in there is fine. A fridge would also work if you have access to one.

Don't worry about the hops. When you rack to secondary or keg, try to avoid all of the sediment at the bottom of your fermenter if possible. Don't strain the beer at this point because splashing the beer around can cause oxidation. The next time you brew, pour the chilled wort through a stainless steel strainer into your fermentation bucket. This does two things 1) Gets rid of the hops and the cold break and 2) aerates the wort so that the yeast can do their jobs effectively.

Congrats on your first batch, I hope it turns out well for you.


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Old 04-29-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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Well, first of all- welcome to the obsession, and welcome to HBT!

Now, for your questions!

A. That's too warm for most ale yeasts. Great information on the yeast's temperature, flocculation, etc, is found on the manufacturer's website. On so5: http://www.fermentis.com/FO/EN/pdf/SafaleUS05.pdf

Even though it will ferment ok up to 75 degrees, a bit cooler seems to minimize off flavors. I'd go for 64-68 degrees if possible. Remember, the temperature INSIDE the fermenter will be higher than the ambient air temperature (fermentation is exothermic), so a stick on thermometer is very helpful.

B. You can strain on the way into the fermenter- but now that it's in there, NO straining! You don't want to aerate once fermentation has begun. but don't worry- the pellets and other trub will settle to the bottom and you can just rack off the clear beer from above it.

C. Here's my criticism (you knew it was coming!): DON'T just top off with cool water and allow to cool all night. First of all, it's not necessary. You can take that pot and put it in a cold water bath in the sink, and it'll chill to 80 degrees in 15 minutes. Stir the ice bath (to stop hot spots) and stir the pot gently with a sanitized spoon. Then, pour the wort through a sanitized strainer if you'd like- to keep out some of that hops sludge and aerate. Then, use cool water to top off to the 5 gallon mark. This should get you right at about 70 degrees- perfect to pitch your yeast! (Others use sanitized ice, etc to cool- and other methods work well). First, you want to cool it fast to prevent any chance of stray bacteria or yeast from taking hold. Secondly, you'll get something called a "cold break", which is coagulated proteins from your boil chilling fast. That will all settle out, and give you clearer beer in the end. (Search for "chill haze" to see what I mean).

Next- I don't really like your hops schedule. I would have broken the cascades up into flavoring additions and aroma additions, and not added them all at flame out. Still, that looks like a tasty beer, and it will be fine!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew Dude
Did you steep the grains at 170 for 20 minutes?
At 155F I added the grains and lowered the heat until it got to 170 then I took it out. The 20 min was how long it too to get from 155-170.

Quote:
75-78 is a little on the high side. Wrap the carboy with a wet towel and point a fan towards it to get it closer to 68-72. Anywhere in there is fine. A fridge would also work if you have access to one.
I have an extra fridge so is it still ok to move it to the fridge or will moving it around/changing the temp, mess anything up at this point?

Quote:
Don't worry about the hops. When you rack to secondary or keg, try to avoid all of the sediment at the bottom of your fermenter if possible. Don't strain the beer at this point because splashing the beer around can cause oxidation. The next time you brew, pour the chilled wort through a stainless steel strainer into your fermentation bucket. This does two things 1) Gets rid of the hops and the cold break and 2) aerates the wort so that the yeast can do their jobs effectively.
I will give that a shot next time, thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew
Well, first of all- welcome to the obsession, and welcome to HBT!
THANKS! seems like a great forum

Quote:
A. That's too warm for most ale yeasts. Great information on the yeast's temperature, flocculation, etc, is found on the manufacturer's website. On so5: http://www.fermentis.com/FO/EN/pdf/SafaleUS05.pdf
Same question, I have an extra fridge so is it still ok to move it to the fridge or will moving it around/changing the temp, mess anything up at this point?

Quote:
Even though it will ferment ok up to 75 degrees, a bit cooler seems to minimize off flavors. I'd go for 64-68 degrees if possible. Remember, the temperature INSIDE the fermenter will be higher than the ambient air temperature (fermentation is exothermic), so a stick on thermometer is very helpful.
Ya I have one on the carboy, so the readings I gave were from that, not the actual temp of the liquid.

Quote:
C. Here's my criticism (you knew it was coming!): DON'T just top off with cool water and allow to cool all night. First of all, it's not necessary. You can take that pot and put it in a cold water bath in the sink, and it'll chill to 80 degrees in 15 minutes. Stir the ice bath (to stop hot spots) and stir the pot gently with a sanitized spoon. Then, pour the wort through a sanitized strainer if you'd like- to keep out some of that hops sludge and aerate. Then, use cool water to top off to the 5 gallon mark. This should get you right at about 70 degrees- perfect to pitch your yeast! (Others use sanitized ice, etc to cool- and other methods work well). First, you want to cool it fast to prevent any chance of stray bacteria or yeast from taking hold. Secondly, you'll get something called a "cold break", which is coagulated proteins from your boil chilling fast. That will all settle out, and give you clearer beer in the end. (Search for "chill haze" to see what I mean).
I'll do that next time. I thought about doing that, but wasn't sure if doing some would mess anything up by cooling it down so quickly so that's why I let it cool overnite.

Quote:
Next- I don't really like your hops schedule. I would have broken the cascades up into flavoring additions and aroma additions, and not added them all at flame out. Still, that looks like a tasty beer, and it will be fine!
What do you mean by flame out? Just that I added it all at once? And when you say flavoring and aroma additions, do you mean I should have added some of the hops at later times in the boil or something else? Little confused, thanks for all the input so far though!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:10 PM   #5
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Well, the faster you cool the wort, the better. So, next time you could do that differently. You can certainly move it wherever you want- you won't harm it. After fermentation is done, though, try not to slosh it around when you move it. I move stuff around all the time- from the fermenting area to the racking area, etc. It's fine, as long as you move it gently and allow it to settle before racking it.

Well, as far as the hops additions, there are several kinds of hops additions. The first ones (the ones that last 45-60 minutes) give you primarily bitterness with little flavor. Then, the later ones (5-20 minutes) in the boil give you the flavor along with a bit of bitterness. The very last ones (less than 5 minutes or after you turn off the heat) give you mostly aroma. Some beers use hops at all of these times, some don't. Like, a stout. Stouts are NOT hoppy flavored, and often the only hops addition you'll have is the one at 60 minutes. A pale ale might have them every 15 minutes, and then some at flame out. Here's a link to better explain: http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter5-1.html

An interesting way to see this in action is to look at the recipe database (link in the header). Click on some of the recipes in different styles, and you can see how the hops are used and what type are used. Some are floral, some are spicy, some are citrusy and some are added later in the boil. It's really very interesting!
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:23 PM   #6
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sweet thanks a lot. i'm definitely going to have to look into adding hops at different times for the next batch and the carboy is going straight to the chilled fridge once i get home
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Old 04-29-2008, 10:38 PM   #7
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Well, you want to gradually change the temperature if you can- it should be ok regardless, but maybe try dropping the temp only 5 degrees per 12 hours or so, so you don't shock the yeast into going dormant.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:59 AM   #8
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Hardcore! I've done 2 extract batches and working my way up to a Full Boil next time. I'd definitely like to hear how it turns out.


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