Drank too much - first all-grain brew-up screw-up!!!

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Griffsta

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I thought I was prepared, yet, my first batch had some serious issues. Lets see what went wrong…

I was brewing Bee Cove Haus Pale Ale (as many of you suggested). I tossed in an extra ½ lb of malt to cover any potential low efficiency problems (3 keggle, tiered, gravity, fly sparge system, direct fire all 3, Sabco false bottom). The first 35 minutes of the mash wet perfect. Infused at 166, dropped to ~156 and went to about 152 for 35 min. The MLT started crept near 150, so I fired it up to get it to 153.

After firing up, I got distracted, and at ~ 35 min in the boil, I accidently let it get up to 180 degrees (I was about 7 IPA’s deep). I tried to hit it with about 2 gallons of cold water, but the temp just didn’t want to come down for the last 15 minutes of the mash. It was at 175 to 178 for about 15 minutes. So now I have way more water in my mash than I had anticipated. I decided to bail out an begin to vorlauf.

I went through with the vorlouf and after about 2.5 gallons, it maybe got little less cloudy, though, not much. I proceeded without it getting as clear as I would have imagined. I ended up restraining my wort because about ¼ of the way through collecting, I all of the sudden got a bunch of grains in the boil kettle. Don’t know how that happened, my FB fits perfectly.

Final runnings were at around 1.013.

The boil kettle started with about ~6.5 gallons, as suggested by beersmith. I ended up with only 4.2 gallons after my hour boil, yet, my gravity was only at about 1.040 to 1.045 (should have been around 1.056). I boiled off over 2 gallons??? WTF?!?!? So much went wrong, that when it comes out tasting like satan’s taint, I want to know which screw-ups gave it the taste that it has.

To summarize: Way to hot of a mash temp, Shortened mash time, had to add 2 gallons extra during mash, Vorlauf produced significantly cloudy runnings, Boiled off too much, still had a low gravity into fermentor.

Please tell me all that I did wrong, and if you have any suggestions for me to make this go smoother next time. I really need some help here...
 

WBC

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Good grief. You will know better next time. Drinking and brewing do not go together. Forgetfulness is usually the biggest offender but having hot liquid splash or loosing balance and falling on or into the boiler would be bad. Let's face it, if you are going to brew then lay off the suds.
 

Belmont

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I cannot back WBC's suggestion here. I think there are very few activities that do not go well with drinking beer.

Seriously, the high mash temp is probably your biggest issue. Above 170 or 172 I believe you can start extracting some tannins from your grains. I don't take gravity readings straight out of the mash tun so I don't really know what to expect there. It's the after boil gravity that you're interested in. 1.040 is lower than expected for Ed's pale so it will probably be a little more bitter and less sweet than it would usually turn out but this alone wouldn't make it undrinkable. As for the boil-off rate, do you use a lid at all? I partially cover my kettle because I live in a hot, dry, heavily wooded area and all kinds of things can fly into my boil if I don't but don't completely cover because that can cause boil overs. If the diameter of the kettle is higher than what you were using before then that could cause more boil-off. More surface area = more boil off. If you used the same amount of heat on a lower gravity wort you might have more boil off as well. For the cloudy runnings try using corn husks. I haven't used them because my system hasn't had a problem with it but I've heard that they can help to filter and reduce stuck mashes. I may try then soon just to see if I notice a difference but I don't have issues with either so I probably won't.

I almost wet myself when I read your comment about the beer's taste. :D
 

greencon

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I would agree you might want to cut back on your brew day drinking a little bit. At least until you get a handle on your process.:drunk:
 

david_42

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I'm really puzzled about the temperature not coming down, 2 gallons is a lot of cold water. Maybe the placement of the thermometer prevented it from seeing the change. I suspect the mash was colder at the end than you thought, which would reduce the solubility of the sugars. Hence, lower efficiency.

Flavor? Tannins and scorching are my first guesses.
 
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Griffsta

Griffsta

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Well, I stirred it a lot as I added the cold water. I was pretty surprised that it didnt come down much either. I guess the SS of the keggle can hold a lot of heat.

I didnt get any scorching at all. THe MLT was as clean as a whistle.

Honestly, if I didnt know any better, I would have thought that the thermometer was wrong, because it shot up from 152 to 180 in less than 5 minutes.

The way I am figuring it, I essentially mashed out at 35 minutes into the mash, which stopped all the conversions. Too bad the temp got so high. I hope I dont get too many tannins. I have no idea about the many ways that adding the cold water could have screwed me up. Again, this was my first all grain, with a new system. I guess I will just have to see how it tastes.
 

eschatz

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Edwort gave me good advise once. He said, "Never open a beer until the brew is in the carboy!" I still follow that. I've screwed up too many beers from doing otherwise.
 

BierMuncher

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...Please tell me all that I did wrong, and if you have any suggestions for me to make this go smoother next time. I really need some help here...
I'm no expert...but I'm guessing you were about 6 1/2 IPA's too far along to be brewing your first AG batch. I have a few AG's under my belt and still I don't generally start sampling until the wort is chilling...and even then it's usually a lower ABV.
 

pompeiisneaks

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I have another question, you said you added an extra 1/2 lb of malt... was that at boil time or mash time? Usually you want to do that at boil time only. As for the errors w/ mash, you'll learn for next time for sure... It def takes some practice to figure it all out, and I agree w/ others, stay off the beer until after things are at least well under way. Hang in there, each time you do it, you learn something else you did wrong that can be done better...
 

Denny

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Edwort gave me good advise once. He said, "Never open a beer until the brew is in the carboy!" I still follow that. I've screwed up too many beers from doing otherwise.
+1000, man! Not only do I screw up if I drink when I brew, by the time I get to cleaning up it's too much work! I prefer to get everything done, cleaned and put away, then reward myself with 1 or 6 beers!
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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Woohoo! 7 IPA's on a brew day??? Sounds like you had fun, but who knows what you actually did to that beer. I like to tip a few back on brewday, but I have maybe one or two before I get to the chilling process. I also print out a brewday sheet from BeerSmith and write damn near everything down that I do. That way, I'm sure to remember what I did during the brew day, and see what mistakes I may have made. Good records are priceless IMHO, and even moreso in brewing.
 

jpc

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Sorry, but I've gotta have a beer or two during brewing. Most of the time I start in the late morning, so the "brewed beverage of choice" during that time is coffee. After the mash, I tend to get thirsty for something different, so a homebrew or two is in order. Typically, I end up running around/doing enough stuff that I sweat it out of me, and it doesn't go to my head.

As always, YMMV.
 

Runyanka

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No beers are opening in my brewhouse (garage) until the cooler is kicked on and getting ready to pitch. But afterwards watch out!!!
 

joety

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Edwort gave me good advise once. He said, "Never open a beer until the brew is in the carboy!" I still follow that. I've screwed up too many beers from doing otherwise.
If you want to have your recipe's made into kits by the big mail order houses like Ed, that's great advice. If you are in it just for the fun of it, a little controlled drinking is fine. I make out a brewday checklist to follow and try to limit it to 2-3 beers before it's in the carboy.
 

Ysgard

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I wouldn't worry about anything.

No Really.

You already experience the worst of it. Low Gravity.

Tannins extraction is extremely unlikely. The Mash is much too acidic to extract tannin in, and highly concentrated. For Example: Decoction mashers BOIL their grains, and they can because the PH and water ratio is so low. (assuming the grains that made it into the boil weren't too numerous.

Your main problem in a hot mash is low efficiency since the enzymes did not spend enough time in their prime operating temps and were likely denatured early. Since the starch is not soluble until the enzymes go to work, that would explain the starch haze, the low gravity, and (possibly) the bits of grain/flour in the boil.

RDWHAHB :) (just wait a bit first :))
 
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If I had 7 IPA's in me before the mash was finished it'd be like Christmas morning looking in my fermenting freezer the next day:drunk: Except most likely Santa would have been a big jerk and left me with poo water instead of beer.

Either drink or brew IMO.

edit: drink heavily or brew IMO. I can't say I don't ever have A beer during.
 
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Griffsta

Griffsta

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YSGARD - Thank you. I appreciate the constructive answer. Not that I dont deserve to hear it from all of you (as I did from my wife last night), but at this point, Im just looking to figure out what the beer will be like, exactly what the mistakes did to the beer, and what I can do better next time. I already know I drank too much, you have all made that abundently clear.

FYI, I normally dont drink like that during brewing. I was just so excited to do my first all grain with my new system, and it was the first beautiful day we have had all spring, i guess I just got a little carried away (and frankly, Im a big guy, 7 beers over 3 hours doesnt get to me that much... it took me a solid 2 hours to set it up for the first time) THough, if it werent for the socializing due to the beer drinking, I probably woulnt have had the high mash temp problem. I suspect I still would have boiled off too much.

You made a good point that I really dont understand. If decoction mashers boil the grains, then why will 180 degree water screw me up? Also, no grains made it to the boil, I restrained it into the kettle.
 
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I'm not a decoctor :)D), but I think the difference is that in decoction mashing, only a small amount of wort/grain is heated to boiling and added to the mash, leaving a mash temp and enzymes that will still convert. When you increased the entire mash to 180, all activity stopped at that point.

As pointed out, the only problem with your beer is likely the efficiency due to the mash temp/time. Other than that, probably no probs..

edit: The crush may be the real culprit. You spent 35 minutes in the 153ish range. That may actually be long enough to convert the starches. since this was your first AG, that may very well be it. You need to get a few brews under your belt before you can be confident you know what efficiency to expect.

Oh, and I also boil off 2 gallons from 7 to 5 gallons or so.
 

Denny

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Heat isn't the culprit it's made out to be in tannin extraction....mash pH is at least, if not more, important. Decoction mashes can be done because the pH of the mash is so low.
 
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Griffsta

Griffsta

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I used the ph 5.2 product... I dont know if that helps or hurts me...

So, should I be taking gravity readings of the entire wort before preboil, of just the final runnings, or both? What if I am less than 1.008, but havent gotten to my target of 7 gallons (to accomodate the 2 gallons of boil off)? Do I just quit at 1.008, and end up with a lower batch? I am calculating my efficiency from my final wort that goes into the fermentor, right? Again, Im a newb to all this...
 

humann_brewing

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Yep, I usually don't get a beer until the boil is going. It is just a goal for me, small if you will, but basically if I get all this other stuff done, I get to have some beer, plus I usually start at about 9AM or so and don't really feel like a beer at that point, but it is usually about 12 when the time arrives.
 

diatonic

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I did my 8th all-grain batch last Saturday. SWMBO & I were going to a party Saturday night, so I decided to brew early, and not drink any beer until it was in the carboy. I usually have about 3 or 4 beers while I brew. That day I drank coffee, then gatorade. My brew day went perfect. I nailed my pre-boil gravity. I cleaned up while I was doing everything. It was just a lot easier, and I didn't have any screw-ups. It was enough to make me decide to put off having any beer until I've cleaned up and put away my MLT/HLT. My biggest mistakes in the past have been forgetting Irish Moss, and forgetting to get my IC in the boil for the last 10 minutes. Nothing super major, but still enough that things didn't go the way I wanted them too. It doesn't help that most of my beers are high gravity.

FWIW, YMMV.
 

jds

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I thought I was prepared, yet, my first batch had some serious issues. Lets see what went wrong…

...stuff stuff stuff...

After firing up, I got distracted, and at ~ 35 min in the boil, I accidently let it get up to 180 degrees (I was about 7 IPA’s deep). I tried to hit it with about 2 gallons of cold water, but the temp just didn’t want to come down for the last 15 minutes of the mash.

... More Stuff....

Please tell me all that I did wrong, and if you have any suggestions for me to make this go smoother next time. I really need some help here...
Problem highlighted. ;)

The trouble with adjusting temperatures is that most people do it too fast. It takes a few minutes for temperatures to stabilize, after adding hot or cold water. As you're heating a direct-fired mash, there will be a couple of minutes after you cut the flame where temps will continue to climb a bit. Also, the skirt of a keg gets pretty hot, and can hold considerable heat after it's been warmed up. Cooling the skirt with a bit of hose water helps.

As for the beer, I'd guess you're going to get somewhat lower attenuation and more body than you expected, and possibly some tannin bite. Only time will tell on that end.

Like others have said, restraining your beer intake until later in the brew helps a lot. I don't usually start drinking until the chiller's in the kettle, although I have broken that rule for a beer or two a few times. Seven, on the other hand, can get scary, since you're playing with fire and boiling liquids.
 

G-E-R-M-A-N

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Unless you are comfortable with your processes, I would lay off the drinking. Drinking will only distort things when they are new.
 

bruin_ale

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I missed the part about 7 IPAs. I always drink a little when I brew, but I don't go crazy. I don't have a rule about when, but usually I start brewing around 9:30 or 10, so I'm not drinking until around the time I start vorlauf. Either way, I'm never wasted at any point. There's open flames and boiling liquid and glass everywhere.
 
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