Been gone from brewing for awhile.

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3bals

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It's been 6 years since I retired and I'm finally getting around to brewing again. There is so much to do. I don't know how I got it all done while I was still working.

I still consider myself a brewing beginner, having only brewed around 25 batches and have a question.

I brewed an IPA (one I haven't done before). Feeling confident, I brewed a double batch. My daughter's wedding is on April 1 and wanted to have some homebrew for that.

The first thing that happened was I couldn't get the airlock to bubble. I waited the 72 hrs and still nothing. When I put the yeast in, I just sprinkled the 05 in and stirred. I used to always make a starter, but this time I decided not to. The yeast was fresh and the buckets, lids and airlocks were new. After the three days, I made a starter (I didn't have any DME so I used powdered dextrose with some old 05 I had in the fridge. It took off like it was supposed to. When I pried the covers off to add it, I could see that the original yeast was working. I added the starter anyhow and replaced the covers. Still no bubbling in the airlocks.

Today, about 2 1/2 weeks fermenting, I checked the hydrometer reading. My OG was 1040 and the FG was 1008. That tells me that it was working. When I tasted the test beer, it was extremely bitter. I must have done something wrong.

Per batch, I boiled 1lb of grains for 30 min, I added 5.5 lbs of DME and boiled it another 30 min then added 1.5 oz of Galena hops pellets for another 30 min, the added 1 oz of leaf Cascade hops and finished the last 30 min, topped it off to 5 gallons in each bucket and stirred in the yeast. I even fastened the bucket lid with a rubber mallet.

My plan is to continue on with it all anyhow. I have Citra hops pellets that I'll dry hop tomorrow with when I rack into the secondary for a week. I will be kegging it after that. I always said, it'll still be beer, but may be a limited edition brew.

Any ideas what went wrong? :confused:

Jody
 

PADave

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Buckets are notorious for not sealing, which results in no airlock activity. Boiled 1 lb. of grains?? That's where you went wrong. Grains should have been steeped at around 150ish. The hops should have went in at the beginning of the boil.
 
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3bals

3bals

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Thanks. Maybe I'll add some sugar, distillers yeast and distill it?

The directions on the recipe were vague and it's been long enough that I didn't remember.
 

BeerAddikt

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Regarding the lack of bubbles, did you make sure you didn't overfill the airlock? If the level of fluid is too high then the CO2 will have too much pressure to release from the airlock properly and will find alternate ways of escaping the bucket (ie. tiny leaks that normally aren't an issue).

The bitterness is most likely from tannins released when you boiled the grains. Anything above 170F will cause problems.

Also, were the grains in a bag that you removed prior to adding the DME? If you left the grains in that would cause even more issues as they boiled for what looks like 2 hours.
 

Pappers_

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Its not bitterness you're tasting, likely, but rather astringency and tannins, from the boiled grain. Similar and easily confused. Sorry for your batch not turning out the way you want, we've all been there and can empathize.

Regarding distilling it, most distillers say that you don't want to distill a flawed base beverage. In any case, we don't allow discussion of distilling here at HTB, because home distilling is illegal in the United States.
 

dantose

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I think everyone has to have one batch not bubble. I remember when I had mine; I'd been rewind long enough I knew what the answer would be, but had to ask anyway. I was told the same thing you just were, sometimes the seal isn't the best. The airlock is not a reliable indicator of yeast not working. Have a beer and relax.
 

dantose

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Its not bitterness you're tasting, likely, but rather astringency and tannins, from the boiled grain. Similar and easily confused. Sorry for your batch not turning out the way you want, we've all been there and can empathize.

Regarding distilling it, most distillers say that you don't want to distill a flawed base beverage. In any case, we don't allow discussion of distilling here at HTB, because home distilling is illegal in the United States.
Astringency from 1 lb of (I assume) special grains is going to be negligable.
 

z-bob

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1.5 ounces of Galena is a lot, ain't it? Maybe it's okay for 10 gallons... Where did you get your recipe?

Congrats on the wedding. Don't mess it up with bad beer (I think we've all made bad batches. I have 4 gallons with mold on top that I need to dump but can't bring myself to do it)
 
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3bals

3bals

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Thanks for all your advice. I messed up this time. This is the first time I didn't make drinkable beer. One thing I've learned in life is that education isn't free. Remember this story?

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=131154 That final batch ended up costing $120 a pint, but it was good.

As far as the bucket lids not sealing, I'll blame it on the new buckets. I never had that happen in the past. A fellow homebrewer told me to rub some veg oil around the rim before I snap the lid on. I'll use coconut oil.

I will do something with my messed up batch and brew again tomorrow. This time I will review basic brewing technics first. Our local brewshop is only open on Saturdays from noon to 4. Hopefully I can still get it done in time and just in case I'll order out a keg of local craft beer to serve.
 
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3bals

3bals

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Boiled for an hour (or two, the OP is unclear) - i disagree that the resulting tannins would negligable.
1/2lb of crushed grain grain per batch and I boiled the grain for 30 min, then removed the grain bag.
 

z-bob

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I don't think it matters that the bucket lids don't seal. It just matters that you know they might not seal, so you don't panic about not seeing bubbles. They seal well enough to keep flies out and to mostly prevent air from getting in past the CO2 layer on top.

Not good enough for long-term storage, but good enough for fermentation.

My next batch will be fermented in a bucket just to try it. We'll see how well I heed my own advice ;)
 

beernutz

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The taste could be bitterness from the hops or astringency from the boiled grain or a combination of both but based on a quick entry of data in Beersmith my guess is bitterness.

Galena has a pretty high AA typically between 11 and 14. Splitting the difference and using 12.5AA, if you boil 1.5oz of Galena for an hour* you are going to get about 81 IBUs for a 5 gallon batch according to Beersmith. That is up in the double IPA IBU range and that doesn't include the Cascade leaf hops that were boiled for 30 minutes plus your Galena could have had even higher AAs.

I have never boiled grain in a batch but I can't imagine that that's going to improve the flavor profile so maybe avoid that in the future.

FWIW I ferment in a 13 gallon Vittle Vault that long ago lost its rubber lid seal so my airlocks never bubble. It has never been a problem in the 30 or so batches I've fermented in it.

* "Per batch, I boiled 1lb of grains for 30 min,
I added 5.5 lbs of DME and boiled it another 30 min
then added 1.5 oz of Galena hops pellets for another 30 min,
the added 1 oz of leaf Cascade hops and finished the last 30 min"
 
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3bals

3bals

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I brewed the 2-5 gallon batches over. This time I steeped the grain (1/2lb per batch), used 1/3 less of the Galena hops, 1/2 of the leaf Cascade hops and dry hopped (5 days, because I didn't have time for longer) with 1/2oz per batch with Citra Hops. So, a total 3 weeks from boil to keg and 1 week on CO2 for carbing.

The beer was a hit at the event. In 1 evening, 1 of the homebrew kegs was emptied and about ½ of the 1/2bbl of local craft brew. So now that I’ve had a successful brew again, I’ll make sure to save my notes so I can duplicate it, but a lot sooner than 8 years. Like maybe next week? :ban:

Thanks for all the advice and direction. :mug:
 
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3bals

3bals

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Oh, and I used 6.25lbs of DME (per batch) instead of 5.5, because when I bought new ingredients it came packaged in 12.5lbs. It was a 90min boil this time.

OG was 1055 and FG was 1009.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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Don't let any of the sealing oil get into the wort, as it will kill both head and head retention. Perhaps a switch to glass carboy fermenters is in order.
 

SlitheryDee

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Glad this turned out well in the end.

My very first batch ever failed to bubble, though I could clearly see activity in the carboy. That early it just looked like a bunch of swirling with no krausen, but I knew it must be the yeast working. Turns out the rubber cap I had on my carboy was leaky. I borrowed a ponytail band from my girlfriend to wrap around the cap and the airlock immediately started going crazy. I have a fermenting bucket, but the way the lid didn't seal easily never sat well with me, so I went for the carboy fermenter for my first batch instead. Turns out even that isn't absolutely foolproof.
 
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3bals

3bals

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Just an update on the IPA project. I have brewed this same recipe several times now. Somehow the kegs keep going empty.

Anyhow in August I decided to enter in a local homebrewing competition. I don't usually enter my beer in competitions, but this was a fundraiser for the local arts center. It won runner up in best of show. My prize is to brew it at the local craft brewery and have keg tapping party in their taproom.
 

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