First beer... catastrophic?

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perlplex

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Started my first beer on Saturday, August 9th at ~3pm.

I made a hefeweizen from 7 pounds muntons malt extract, hallertau hop pellets, and safbrew wb-06 yeast.

It started fermenting rather quickly, looking very healthy. Nice klausen (spelling?), etc. Only problem is the beers temp range was 72-78.

So early this morning (August 15, ~12am) I went to check the gravity for the first time & the rubber stopper fell INTO the carboy...

By that time it had been fermenting for about 5.5 days.

I immediately started to panic. I do not have a secondary fermentator yet so that wasn't an option. I still needed to sanitize my bottles & it's probably too early to bottle.

So I had 2 options... 1. Sanitize my bottles & equipment, and bottle. or 2. Dump the batch out.

I chose #1. I taped up the top of the carboy, stuck the airlock through the tape, and rushed to sanitize the bottles.

Once the bottles were taken care of & drying it was time to rack. This was my first time racking. I busted my racking cane trying to put it in the wrong way (it's my first time!) & that part fell into the beer. Maybe I should call this "Junk Yard Hefe". Ended up leaving ~ 1 gal in the carboy by accident (screwed up syphon action).

OK, then i boiled the bottle caps and water+sugar.

I started filling up one bottle, done. Started filling up 2nd bottle... hmmm... I FORGOT TO ADD THE SUGAR TO THE BEER. GREAT. By this time i think it's like 3am or so. I usually go to bed much earlier, so I'm half insane at this point.

Added sugar to beer, once again hoping that doesn't screw it up.

Bottles & capped beer. ended up w/ 40x12oz & 2x16oz bottles.

They are now in the closet, I've got a big mess, it reeks of beer, and they're probably trash.

I feel retarded. I Know it's 4:56am but I think I'm going to have a beer.
 
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perlplex

perlplex

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I don't know how much it matters but I think the FG was ok?

FG = 1.010
 

Stevoster

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LOL. I could feel your panic as I read that thread. It is possible that the fermentation had pretty much finished going by your FG. Hopefully that is the case. I'm only a beginner myself but from what I have read it is very hard to destroy your beer. I have just started my second ever brew and I lost the bones of a gallon with syphon trouble when I went to secondary fermenter on the first brew. Chalk it down to experience - I bet you have made a note of how not to do that again!
In retrospect I reckon you could have gotten away with taping up the bunghole but that is completely my uneducated and uninformed opinion! I reckon your beer will be fine. Just be careful when moving or opening them in case they are fermenting in teh bottles - this could cause exploding bottles as far as I know.

Good luck!
 

noisy123

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Its possible with your high fermentation temp and vigorous fermentations associated with wheat beers that your fermentation was finished. Watch the bottles carefully for bombs. If you have a bomb get all of them in the fridge immediately.

In retrospect, if you couldn't fish that stopper out, you should have just left it and put a new stopper and airlock in (or plastic-wrap and a rubber band - since fermentation was pretty much done ... or duct tape and and airlock ;) ). Beer is surprisingly hard to infect once there is a bit of alcohol in there and your stopper was probably pretty clean already.

If I take anything away from this board/hobby it will be the mantra" "Whatever you do, don't panic."
Oh and RDWHAB - your beer's gonna be fine.
 

bull8042

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I feel your pain! I think pretty much every one of us has had at least one brew that seemed to go that way. As a matter of fact, last night just as I was headed to bed I poked my head out into the garage to check the fermentation temperature on my prized Dogfish Head 60-min IPA and noticed it was about 1°F higher than I expected. Turns out the temperature controller on my fermentation chiller had taken a dump! 11:00 PM and I am ripping a controller out of an unused dorm fridge and wiring it to work with the chiller. Cooled to 65°F and still running, so the temp range is too low. Had to move the carboy into a closet inside the house and cover with wet t-shirts to keep the temp down.
Moral of the story, no matter how long you have been doing this, "Crap Happens"!
As a side-note about your ferm temps, my last German Hefe Weizen fermented at 74° - 76°F and I ended up with a lot of fusel alcohols. If yours tastes like solvent, let it condition for a few extra weeks. Mine cleaned up and turned out to be one of the best Hefes I have done. RDWHAHB!!!
 

CBBaron

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RDWHAHB

First, make sure you have a second stopper and airlock in the future, just incase.
Second, you could of just covered the carboy with foil and left it until you were ready to bottle.
Third, at 1.010 after 5 days, it is very likely you are done fermenting. Very very unlikely you will have a bottle bomb problem due to a beer not being finished.
If you capped the beer you filled before adding the sugar it will not carbonate. However adding it back into the bottling bucket should be no problem. All of you mishaps may cause a slight oxidation problem but you will probably drink this batch fairly young so it won't have much time to show up.
Hefes are best fresh so in a couple weeks you should have a good home brew to drink. It may have more sediment in the bottles but again thats not really a problem for hefes.

Relax, enjoy your beer, and learn from your mistakes.

Craig
 

Grinder12000

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I went to check the gravity for the first time & the rubber stopper fell INTO the carboy...
THAT - is a deer in headlights moment. I bet you lost a lot of brain cells in a matter of seconds as they just fizzled out.
 

noisy123

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Looks like a lovely beer. Better head retention than the wheat I made for sure. You may want to try an ammonia or oxy soak to remove the labels from the bottles if that bothers you. Good Job and welcome to the hobby!
 

ChshreCat

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I've known folks (I wouldn't recommend it) who'd just put a balloon over the neck of the carboy instead of an airlock. I'd think that in a pinch, even an unlubricated condom would get you by until morning. ;)
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Hey, that beer looks good, let me go pour one for myself now.
Welcome to homebrewing, and your learn something new every batch, if your not your drinking too much homebrew if that is possible.
I have just a little to much class to use a condom, I think tin foil and duct tape is more my style. (condoms are are flavoured in neon colours).
 
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