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First Brew...did I make a poor choice?

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Good afternoon, one and all...

I am now in posession of all of the basic goodies needed to start down the road to my very own brew, but after reading through a few threads, I am a wee bit concerned. The ingredient "kit" I requested and got was one for Irish Stout, which is my absolute favorite brew. This, after ripping the kit down to see what is there, apparently is going to have LME, DME, and grains which, according to the instructions, are just steeped separately, and the water poured into the brew kettle later. Any advice and or support would be appreciated...even so far as to go the "go and get a different set of ingredients for your first shot" Thanks in advance for all the aid and comfort I expect to get from you fine folk...

John
 

rewster451

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PowerDispatcher said:
Good afternoon, one and all...

This, after ripping the kit down to see what is there, apparently is going to have LME, DME, and grains which, according to the instructions, are just steeped separately, and the water poured into the brew kettle later.

John
I'm not sure what this means. I've never seen instructions like this, although I also have never made a dry stout. If you could post the instructions verbatim, that would be helpful.
 
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rewster451 said:
If you could post the instructions verbatim, that would be helpful.
Ask, and you shall receive...

"Heat 1/4 gallon of water in a stainless steel saucepan to 155 degrees F. Add crushed grain, remove from heat, put a lid on the pot, and wrap in towels to insulate. Leave it alone for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put LME in hot water. Place 1.5 gallons of water in brewpot, and bring to boil. Turn off heat, and while stirring, add LME, DME, and both packages of hops. Pour WATER ONLY (Emphasis is the instructions) from crushed grains through a strainer and into the pot. Stir till extracts dissolved, then return to heat and boil 30 minutes.

Hope that helps to delineate the question I have..and thanks...

John
 

ajf

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Hi John,
Welcome to the forum.
There is nothing wrong with steeping the grains separately (as your instructions state), and then adding the liquor from the steeped grains to the brew pot. The other way to do it, is to put the grains in a gran bag, and steep, then remove the bag containing all the grains before boiling.
I don't like the grain bag approach because the bag will interfere some with the extraction from the grains, but that's just me.
I suspect your instructions are slightly wrong in two places:
When adding the crushed grain to the 155 degree water, I would continue to heat while stirring the grain until the water reaches 155 degrees again before removing from the heat and wrapping in swadling clothes.
The other thing is "Pour WATER ONLY". If you only poured the water, you wouldn't need a strainer. Dump the whole lot into the strainer, and the strainer will catch the spent grains. You will need a fine strainer, not something like a colander with big holes. You don't want the spent grains in the brewpot to boil, as this would extract tannins, and lead to a very bitter beer.
You might also want to rinse the grains with some hot water (about 160 - 165 degrees) to extract more of the color and flavor, but the recipe may have taken this into account.

Good luck,

-a.
 

Passload

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It sounds like in a seperate pot is where the steeping of the grains will occur. Then it will rest in that pot for thirty minutes. In the mean time start putting clean water into your boiling pot and start the heating process. Add your lme, dme, and hops then pour your steeped grain tea into the brew pot.
 
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Thanks for all of the suggestions, and I think I will do the little extra extraction with a bit more water, as you suggested, ajf. Now, tomorrow, we brew...*chuckles, and goes off to ponder the journey from hither...to yon and beyond*

John
 

The Councilman

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My first brew was a Brewer's Best Irish Stout. LME, steeping grains & pellet hops. It was very good! I still have one bottle left. Seeing how long I can hold out before I open it. ;)
 

rewster451

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The Councilman said:
My first brew was a Brewer's Best Irish Stout. LME, steeping grains & pellet hops. It was very good! I still have one bottle left. Seeing how long I can hold out before I open it. ;)
I just raced through all of my homebrews until recently. I want to start a collection, and when I get ten different good homebrews, make a night of drinking all of them. It'll probably be the night I get married (to another homebrew afficianado, I hope), or something like that. You know, a special occasion.
 

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Powerdispatcher, it sounds like this recipe is a good introduction to all grian mashing. But being a partial grain recipe, it will be more forgiving. It's similar to my first batch, from a kit for Irish red ale. My second batch was all grain- 3 years later.
 

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Hey there John! Welcome to our addiction.

John do you have any other instructions then what came with the can? Directions on cans are nortoriously terrible. Since we can't see the directions exactly its hard to say too much. You might want to check out this site to suppliment the can instructions and if there are differences, go with the website instructions.

http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/index.html

He is also the authur of a book called "How to brew" and its a very good book. Another good book is "The joy of homebrewing" which you could easily find at Boders or Barnes and Knobles.....

Keep posting here. This is a great bunch of people!
 
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Denny's Brew said:
What type of grains are they?
Good morning...

I was amazed at the number, and quality of replies to this..I think I'll stay..*chuckles* As for what grains they are, I am not certain, since this ingredient pack was made by the local HBS. The bag is just labelled "mixed grain". The rest is:

John Bull Hopped Dark LME
Munton's plain dark DME
Cascade Hop pellets

and Homebrewer 99, I am going to have to have that statement engraved on my wall. Thanks a lot, everyone...this is gonna be fun....

John
 

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One thing I'm not sure anyone has mentioned yet...you might want to hold off on adding the hops until after the hot break. As you're beginning to approach a boil after you've added your LME, DME, and grain water, the wort will begin to foam up. Watch very closely at this point and be ready to remove the pot from the heat to prevent a boil over. Once the foam reaches it' peak is will begin to dissipate. Once that happens add the hops and start your timer for the boil.

And let me toss my welcome in here too. :)
 

Beer Snob

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El Pistolero said:
Watch very closely at this point and be ready to remove the pot from the heat to prevent a boil over. Once the foam reaches it' peak is will begin to dissipate. Once that happens add the hops and start your timer for the boil. :)
Try to watch for this carefully John. Boilovers are NOT FUN. It literally took me a week to clean up the mess when this happened years ago. I had a VERY small boil over my last batch that I got just in time and I was watching it... took my eyes off it for probably 10 seconds. Bamm, that was it. Thankfully I was not married at the time I had the big boil over and can live to tell about it:D
 
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Thanks to all of you for the advice...after reading the fora, I decided to wait till Thursday or Friday to start the brew. This was due to seeing that I should have a rather effective method of cooling the wort when the boil is through...and no real good method was apparent here in the house. I will either go stock up on ice, or perhaps try out my not-so-mechanical skills and make a wort cooler with pieces parts from the friendly neighborhood hardware emporium. As a point of learning about this stuff, if the wort does not get a good, and reasonably rapid cooling, what effect does this have on the finished product? Any other suggestions more than welcome, since this board has already taught me more than reading the little book with the kit..*chuckles*...and yes, suggested books from Amazon or other sources will be ordered...when I know which of the myriad of them are "good".

John
 

Beer Snob

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I have never done anything but extract or steeping so the amount of wort has never been excess. However, I have not used a wort chiller yet. I just fill my sink with cold water and dump what ice I have available in it. When the water warms up open the drain and turn on the cold water to fill it up again. Chillers are cool though (no punn intended:)). Its just at the volume I do (and what sounds like you are doing) they are not absolutly necessary. Certainly not to the point that you should no brew because of not having one:)
 

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I usually brew up a 1.5 gal boil and place 4 - 1 gal containers of water in the freezer for 4-5 hours prior to brewing.

I pour my wort through a nylon strainer on my primary to get out all the hops, etc. Then I sparge (rinse) the hops with the cold freezer water until it's about 5.25 gals.

The temp is usually down below 70F and ready to pitch the yeast.

Don't forget to take a temp and gravity reading prior to pitching the yeast.:D
 

SteveM

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Yeah, there are lots of ways to cool things down in a small brew. The simple expedient of chilling your brew tank water in the freezer (assuming you are using gallons of bottled spring water) is common. I am wary of introducing any gear into the process because of the risk of compromising your sanitizing.
 
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