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thepartyguy

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Well for anyone new to Brewing, or who has just brewed their first batch and it's fermenting; let me tell you a little story about my first brew day.

**Disclaimer**

This article is in no way shape or form about taking away from the importance of Sensitization, careful brewing practices, and following a process; those are all very vital to good beer.

** Coles Notes of the Long Post**

Moral of the story: Beer is tough and can fight off all kinds of stuff.

If you followed the process, once in fermentation just leave the beer alone. don't touch it for 3 weeks atleast is my advice; no gravity readings, no sniffing; just leave it alone and let the yeast do it's thing.

Your beer and sanity will thank you.


*** Here we go.

So i jumped right into All Grain Brewing, started with just a simple IPA, Basically just 2 row and some crystal 40 or 60; and 3 hops. 1 round of additions at the start, 1 half way through, and 1 at flame out. Simple hop schedule.

Started the day with setting up all my brand new equipment and sanitizing it with Star San, things looked great. Now here is where the down turn starts ... I was doing a 5 gallon batch and cheaped out by not purchasing a Propane burner; I thought i could get away by using my stove.

Boiling the strike water took long enough; then boiling the sparge water even longer. Either way got the mash going; managed to get the temperature right and held; things were good through the initial mash. 60 minutes goes by and it's time to transfer to the boil kettle ... one problem i intended to dual purpose my boil kettle and my hot liquor tank. So i drained off what was in my mashtun into a fermenting bucket, then batch sparged the rest; let it sit for 15 minutes and then transferred everything back into my hot liquor tank ... lot of moving and splashing around happened.

Next Problem ... my hot liquor tank was only an 8 gallon pot ... i had just over 7 gallons of wort in there ... not a lot of room for a good rolling boil. Non the Less i managed to get a little boil on for 60 minutes ... Cooled it with a wort chiller and transferred it to my 6 gallon Carboy ... with having about 6 gallons or a little better of liquid it didn't leave a whole lot of room for head space in the carboy.

Took my gravity reading and miraculously i was only a few points off my target OG; now it's time to pitch the Yeast ... I was using WLP001 ... didn't make a starter and spilled 1/5 of the yeast on the outside of the carboy ... Either i was too far in at this point. Put on the bung tossed an airlock and left it.

I checked on it for 2 days and nothing, then day three i went to my basement to find that the airlock was full of krausen and everything looked gnarly; switched the airlock for a blow off tube, and it was draining krausen and god knows what into the bucket full of water.

Having never brewed or seen fermentation before it looked wild and gross and i was convinced i had an infection. To make matters worse there was a small bend in my blow off tube and some of the yeast must have came out in the krausen so i had a yeast culture build in the blow off tube causing some unpleasant odors. Replaced the tube and left it to do it's thing.

Once things died down i figured i'd do a gravity reading. It was close to my target FG but not quite there yet ... and when i but Bung back on, it slipped right down into the carboy. Again freaking out not having brewed or seen fermentation i decided to go from a glass 6 gallon carboy, and rack it to a plastic 6 gallon fermentation bucket, as i was worried about the bung giving the beer an off flavor.

Racked to secondary, which was totally unnecessary, and the fermentation was not complete; regardless i went ahead with it. Left it there for a further week; then got concerned with it getting oxidized so i kegged it.

After 4 weeks of worrying and doubting and bothering my beer (constantly checking gravity, thinking i ruined my beer, not understand the process); possibly introducing bacteria, oxygen, and wild yeast. I kegged it carbbed it, and it turned out great. Was a lovely drinkable IPA, nice color, great flavor. Was super happy with it.

Moral of the story: Beer is tough and can fight off all kinds of stuff.

If you followed the process, once in fermentation just leave the beer alone. don't touch it for 3 weeks atleast is my advice; no gravity readings, no sniffing; just leave it alone and let the yeast do it's thing.

Your beer and sanity will thank you.
 

kev211

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A few notes... No need to sanitize things before the boil. This is whats known as "hot side" and any bugs on your equipment will be killed during the boil.

Did you actually "boil" the strike water for the mash and sparge? If you did, Im surprised you got any conversion, so Im assuming you didnt. If you did, dont :D.

Blow off tubes are smart. Dont worry about the gunk that gets in there. Its just yeast and hops. In theory you could harvest it and make bread or something. But unless it gets clogged, just leave it.

But it sounds like everything ultimately went well. Congrats on the first AG brew!

P.S. definitely get a bigger boil kettle :D

And a propane burner :mug:
 

PADave

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If you followed the process, once in fermentation just leave the beer alone. don't touch it for 3 weeks atleast is my advice; no gravity readings, no sniffing; just leave it alone and let the yeast do it's thing.

Your beer and sanity will thank you.
I am a huge advocate of this. Let the yeast do their work.
 
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thepartyguy

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A few notes... No need to sanitize things before the boil. This is whats known as "hot side" and any bugs on your equipment will be killed during the boil.

Did you actually "boil" the strike water for the mash and sparge? If you did, Im surprised you got any conversion, so Im assuming you didnt. If you did, dont :D.

Blow off tubes are smart. Dont worry about the gunk that gets in there. Its just yeast and hops. In theory you could harvest it and make bread or something. But unless it gets clogged, just leave it.

But it sounds like everything ultimately went well. Congrats on the first AG brew!

P.S. definitely get a bigger boil kettle :D

And a propane burner :mug:
Oh man first brew was over a year ago, just sharing a story is all. Didn't boil strike water just got it to ,172 and I have everything now, skills are much better just a story for new brewers not to worry so much
 

kev211

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Oh man first brew was over a year ago, just sharing a story is all. Didn't boil strike water just got it to ,172 and I have everything now, skills are much better just a story for new brewers not to worry so much
Ohhhhh well that makes sense. I was gonna say... Didnt I just comment on a thread of yours where you were building a black ipa recipe? Seems pretty advanced for a newbie haha. Still good notes though :)
 
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thepartyguy

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Ohhhhh well that makes sense. I was gonna say... Didnt I just comment on a thread of yours where you were building a black ipa recipe? Seems pretty advanced for a newbie haha. Still good notes though :)
i'll be brewing that black IPA this weekend, keep you posted on how it goes!
 
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