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Old 12-31-2008, 06:43 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 37

Well I finally made my first "real" beer, IE not using hopped extract and not apfelwein and I MAY have went a little crazy. I found a recipe online for an "imperial stout" though it seems like it will turn out nothing like one. Here's the recipe:

6lb Light DME
6ln Amber DME
1lb Dark DME

2 oz Northern Brewer 60min
1 oz Perle 15 min
1 oz hollertau 15 min

Safale S-04 yeast

3 gallon boil, 5 gallon batch.

Well things went a little sideways when it came time to actually make this stuff. I only have a 10 qt pot at home, which I thought was 3 gallon. I'd heard things about late-addition extract brewing so I did the boil with only 1 pound of DME and then planned to add the rest later. Well all 13 pounds of malt wouldn't fit in my pot with the water after I was done with the boil so I had to dump some of it in the carboy early to make room, then I had it boil over and make a big huge amounts of malt don't dissolve easily in small amounts of water and it turned into a large piece of candy on the top of the pot. This caused the boil to go from about an hour to about 90 minutes.

Then once it was in the fermentor I filled it back up to 5 gallons with sanitized cold water, forgetting that I have to add an additional 1/2 gallon for my yeast starter I made a few days before. Naturally, this led to the top of my bucket popping off and getting sticky proto-beer all over the top of my fridge where the bucket is being kept. I was afraid of it happening again, which I now realize it couldn't, so I dumped out about 1/2 gallon of wort into the sink to make extra room in the bucket.

this was on friday. Today the airlock stopped bubbling so I decided to try a sample of pre-beer to see if I could taste anything horribly awry. To my amazement, the cloudy liquid that filled my test cup smelled like beer. good beer. and to my even further amazement, it tasted like beer! Of course it looks and tastes nothing like an "imperial stout" as the recipe indicated, but whatever you'd call it, it all turned out ok.

So a few lessons learned for sure, but it looks like once all of this is done i'm gonna have 5 gallons of pretty kick ass beer. It's been a long journey to this point, but I think I made it.

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Old 12-31-2008, 01:25 PM   #2
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Wow that is a lot things going sideways. When I have brew days that do not go as planned, I just try to remember that beer has been made for a very long time, and made under conditions that were much worse than whatever I can do to it. As long as you are not doing anything that would obviously infect your beer, don't worry it will probably by beer. It may not taste the way you want it to, but it will still be beer. Murphy's law suggests that this may be one of the best batches of beer you ever have.


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Old 12-31-2008, 01:27 PM   #3
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It wants to be beer and despite all your trials you made beer.

I suggest you pick a known / popular recipe and stick with it until you get all of your processes down. Fighting with your volumes and learning the steps is enough of a headache without worry over the recipe origin.

I recommend you look over Jamil Zainasheff's recipes and give one of them a go!

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Old 12-31-2008, 06:57 PM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NJ
Posts: 113

That's one hell of a brew you got there. I'm glad it turned out OK. You may want to pick up a larger brew pot, I got a 20 qt SS at Big Lots for $15. Most of those 'discount' stores will have something similar.

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Old 12-31-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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I'm still pretty new to all this and I've had my share of foul-ups, but here's my 2 cents worth:

1. Bigger brewpot - I'm sure you've already made up your mind on this one after trying to cram that huge brew into that little pot. If you have the money or can find a good deal on it, I'd get the biggest pot that you can reasonably fit onto your stovetop. I have a 20 qt and after 6 brews I already wish I had a bigger one, at least enough for a full boil.

2. Try steeping some grains. I went with a Brewer's Best kit (Robust Porter) for my first attempt, and it happened to have some specialty grains, with instructions to heat in a steeping bag for about 20 minutes at 150 F before adding the liquid extract to boil. Even after having to stick my hand into the wort to retrieve a strainer, the beer turned out considerably better than I expected. So far I have been sticking to brewing with extracts, but I've been consistent with using steeped grains in my recipes. If you prefer to try your own recipes or buy your ingredients separately, you may be able to get suggestions from the staff at your LHBS on which grains to use.

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Old 01-01-2009, 08:50 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 37

I just tried another sample and the flavors are now a bit weird. It tastes very herbal. I think the boil taking too long made my aroma hops into flavoring hops. It's not bad, It just doesn't fit any beer I've ever had.

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