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First brew experiences: questions and comments

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attym

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I'm in the process of brewing my first beer. I brewed a brown ale from an extract kit with liquid yeast. I boiled my wort and added it to the fermenter, it got a lot of action and slowed down after 4-5 days and i racked it into my secondary glass carboy. It didn't do much of anything to the eye in there, but I let it do its thing for 11 days. I decided I was going to bottle it at this point. In my excitement, I didn't take a second hydrometer reading. I've read the debate on here for and against it so I wasn't too worried (still not worried). I was able to get 46 12 oz. bottles, just shy of two cases. Of course I took a sip and it certainly tasted like beer. I didn't expect it to be great, but it seemed a little...wimpy, i guess. Will it feel more full once it gets some carbonation in there and it conditions for a few weeks?

My other question is, once I add my boiled priming sugar to the bottle of the bottling bucket, do i need to let it cool way down? I let it cool a little, but not to 78-80 degrees like I did for the wort when I added yeast... I'm trying my best to 'relax and have a homebrew" but i have questions!! haha

When would you start brewing your next one? right away? I can always let it sit in the seondary until I have enough bottles. Does 2 cases or just shy seem right? Why was i told 60 bottles?
 

vtfan99

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Congrats on your first brew and welcome to the hobby. No need to worry about bringing the priming sugar down to temp. If I remember correctly its only a couple of cups of solution, which would be too small to have an affect on 5 gallons of beer. Once it carbonates the body should fill up a little bit. Its amazing what CO2 can for "firming" up a beer.

As for when to start another batch....as soon as you want. If you don't have enough bottles then keep it in secondary like you said. If you're short on bottles, ask you friends to start saving their bottles for you (if they're not twist offs). You'd be surprised how quickly you become overwhelmed with them.

When I bottled I always got 43-46 bottles. You always lose some in the transfer from primary to secondary to bottling bucket to bottle. As for the 60 bottles....no idea there. Doesn't even work mathematically. 128 ounces per gal with a 5 gal batch gives 640 ounces. Assuming 12 oz bottles, the max you could get with no waste is 53 bottles (and there will always be waste).

Good luck with your next batch and never worry about asking questions. You can still be relaxed and ask questions, especially with the wealth of knowledge you can find here. Enjoy!
 

homebrewer_99

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First off, welcome.

Secondly, I think 60 bottles relate more to 20 liters versus 19 liters for most kits.

If you think your beer tastes wimpy. Do you mean watery or less alcohol than desired? If the alcohol level if fine then I would recommend adding 2-4 oz of Malto Dextrin to your brew. If it is just watery then I would add another pound of malt. Be cetrain to maintain the initial 5 gals.

Personally, I usually add another pound of malt and top off to 5.5 gals. This way I usually end up with 5 finished gallons. The rest is lost to the bottom during transfer and sampling.

Lots of debate about the priming sugar too. If you are adding about 1 cup of hot water to 5 gals of brew there's really not much to worry about. Most people will add the prime to the bottom of the bucket and rack (transfer) from the secondary into the bottling bucket. Some will rack then add it and stir it in. Both work. One is more sanitary than the other (no stirring), but both work. Either way you need to do something to mix it all up to get the sugar mingled throughout.

Your brewing schedule is something you have to try out for yourself. If you only have 1 bucket and 1 carboy you need to delay your brewing until a couple (3-5) days before bottling. This way your secondary will be freed up when your primary is finished and ready for the secondary.

Me? I have 5 primaries, 4 carboys, and 2 bottling buckets.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 - 5 liter mini-kegs, and 20+ cases of bottles.


If you brewed another batch right away
 

Sir Sudster

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As for the wimpy ..If you could post your recipe ingredients that would help
in making an opinion.

Did you pour boiling priming sugar water into your bottling bucket? Or, did you let it cool some before putting it in? As long as it wasn't straight from the burner to the bucket you should be fine. It is such a small amount that the
higher temp was negated by the 5 gal volume of cool wort anyway.

Depends on how long it takes you to drink 48 bottles of beer. If you can drink them in 5-6 weeks you should be good to go again. Or, just go get more bottles. Your gonna need'um anyway..hehehehe.

Oh Yeah, 48-53 bottles per 5 gal is right on.
5 gallons(640oz) / 12oz = 53 bottles
 

andre the giant

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There's not much more that I can add to what has been said, except to say that I'm trying to keep my brewing schedule aggressive enough that I will always have around four cases of beer on hand. Right now I have about 10 cases but a party this weekend promises to wipe out a couple of those, then another gathering a few weeks later will kill another couple cases.... Now that I think of it... I need to brew soon. Depending on the damage that's done from the parties, I may do another triple batch. :)
 
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attym

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I appreciate all the great responses, it prompted me to order some more ingredients and do another batch, I'm a huge Hefe fan (I love the banana taste) so I'm going to brew a Bavarian Weizen.

When I say the brown tasted wimpy, perhaps that was an overstatement. It just tasted warm and flat. It certainly had the taste of a good beer, just didn't have a lot of life... I didn't say wow, I just said, hmm, that actually tastes like beer, i must have done it right.

The ingredients are:
American Brown OG: 1.059 FG: 1.016
6 lbs. Gold Liquid Malt Extract
.75 lbs. American Brown Kit Grains (Crystal 55L, Chocolate)
1 oz. Willamette – 60 min.
1 oz. Willamette – 30 min.
White Labs California Ale WLP001
5 oz. Priming Sugar
 

homebrewer_99

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4.5% alcohol - Doesn't sound wimpy to me. :D

I've been drinking Hefe Weizens since 1975. I know what you mean.

I'm going to Germany on Sunday for 2 weeks. :D :D

Try some matlo-dextrin like I recommended - 2-4 oz. Start off with 2 oz., 4 is too much for my tastes. That will add body to your beer.

Flat? Add more priming sugar to your beer and make sure you keep it in about 72F for a couple of weeks. It should carbonate nicely.

Good luck.
 
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attym

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Those gravities were from the recipe, not exactly what i got. My original gravity was a little different from that since it was still a little warm from boiling... I forgot to take the gravity before I bottled it...

I've only tasted the beer as it went into the bottling bucket so I'
ll have to report back on 7/25 when i crack into the first one (bottled on 7/4)

Any added advise or anything special i should do when brewing a hefe?
 

Dude

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andre the giant said:
There's not much more that I can add to what has been said, except to say that I'm trying to keep my brewing schedule aggressive enough that I will always have around four cases of beer on hand. Right now I have about 10 cases but a party this weekend promises to wipe out a couple of those, then another gathering a few weeks later will kill another couple cases.... Now that I think of it... I need to brew soon. Depending on the damage that's done from the parties, I may do another triple batch. :)

Good god man!!! Drink your beer! 10 cases? :D
 
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ORRELSE said:
Good god man!!! Drink your beer! 10 cases? :D
I had a 4th party and 4 cases vanished like that. I think I should have checked vehicles as I don't see 4 cases of empties. Them some-bitches think I'm a convenience store or what? :D I now have I think a 12er left of home brew. One in the primary and one bottle conditioning. I'm starting to panic...
 

Gilbey

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Just my humble (and amature) opinion, but 6 pounds of malt would be hard pressed to give you an OG of 1.059 or even close to that. I brewed a lighter summer American ale recently with 6.5# of Light LME and the OG was only 1.040. I think carbonation will help fill it out, but if you are looking for a Big brown beer you are not going to get it with 6# of malt extract. Again, IMHO I would add another pound, or better yet 2 pounds of malt to that recipe (and additional hops accordingly) if you are looking for a bigger beer.

I am just getting back into brewing after a few years, and man is it addictive!!! Glad you are enjoying it too!!!

Gilbey
 
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attym

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I think the OG was actually 1.040 - 1.045 but I'm going by memory here at work. Since it was so far off from what the recipe said it would be, I didn't hold the second gravity reading with as much importance... and actually forgot to do it.
 

Dienekles

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In my most humble opinion, extract brewing cannot capture the essence of true beer. Malt extracts are a wonderful stepping stone and learning tool for those who cannot afford to do all grain - however:

Without at least a partial mash, in all my research, even with the best malt extracts your going to be missing a lot of the freshness, flavor, color, and just plain goodness that comes from using real barley, wheat, rye, corn, oats, or spelt.

Secondly, BREW AWAY BUDDY! Start your next beer today, but do a little research - find a local supply shop or craft brewery and buy your grains, extract, and yeast from there.

If you DO plan on continueing your all extract path then I urge you to look into these companies - they are well known for their high quality extracts:

Briess, Coopers, Ireks, John Bull, Mountmellick, and Northwestern.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF HOMEBREW, my friend.
 
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attym

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Thanks Dienekles, I appreciate the welcome and insight.

My Black Dog Brown Ale (I had a black lab over while I brewed it and he kept me company). Its been bottled for 8 days and I decided to chill one and crack into it. When i took the cap off, it clearly had the slight hiss of carbonation, so it is working. The beer itself is still not close to fully carbonated, but after 8 days, I expected that. The taste is great and very drinkable! Perhaps i'm biased like the unconditional love for an ugly child, but it taste damn good, I'd be happy to buy a six pack of this...

I'm going to resist cracking open too many more as not to waste enjoying them at their full potential.

excited brewer!
 

Sir Sudster

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Oh! come on Man! You know you want to. Crack another just to make sure.
Welcome aboard Man!
 

Sasquatch

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I'd be going mental waiting for my bottled brew to condition, if I didn't have more on tap, and more coming in the meantime. Forget Christmas. Waiting for brew is the real trauma.
 

patrck17

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You guys are killing me here, I have to stop reading threads at work, its like an endurance test. To make things worse I havn't brewed anything YET, so all I have waiting for me at home is store bought.

Must----resist-----temptation----to----brew.

I am pulling my hair out waiting for august 6th, thats when I move into my new apartment. I have reason to suspect moving 5 gallons of beer in a glass carboy might not be a great idea, so I have to wait. :(
 

Gilbey

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If you started an ale today you could have it safely bottled by August 6....just a little something to fester in your mind...... ;) !

Gilbey
 

patrck17

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Hehe, darn it I am gonna have to make a trip to the HBS and get crackin, I don't want to have to wait till September to enjoy a homebrew.
 
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