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StuckinATL

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My first brew is a Muntons no boil kit that has been fermenting for 5 days. I took a SG reading tonight and drank the sample afterward. Very thin if you ask me.

The malt was supposed to be a pilsner but it's a dark amber color. The sugar I used is a can of rice syrup. All ingredients are the quantities called for in the kit. The kit was about 8 years old so I contacted Muntons. They said it would make a darker ale like brew, but that I'd need to get new years. I probably shouldn't have even tried to brew this, but I got it free with a starter equipment set I bought off craigslist, so I thought what the heck. I suspect the stuff sat in the guys garage for many years. My LHBS store sold me more Muntons yeast (ale type I hope, since I explained all this to them). I rehydrated yeast in 1/4 cup 115 degree boiled water and pitched into the wort at 80 degrees. I followed the instructions to a T.

OG roughly 1.040, but I couldn't see exactly as I took my sample after pitching & stirring so the top was a bit foamy. The airlock didn't bubble alot. The most I saw was one burp every 24 seconds. Now after 5 days, it's more like once a minute or so. I decided to take a gravity reading, which is 1.025. FG is supposed to be 1.008. The krausen is all but gone, and there are a bunch of light brown globs floating on top. Is this yeast? Is this brew gonna get to the proper FG? Is it supposed to be thin/watery tasting at 1.025? Is there anything I could/should do at this point to "improve" it? (I have a good pic but couldn't figure out how to attach). Any advice for this newb would be appreciated!
 
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Out of curiosity, what is the fermentation temp?


If it is still bubbling, that suggests to me that fermentation is still occurring, in which case you should get down below 1.025. However, given that it is extract and how old it is, you may not get much below that. Give it another week (at a minimum) in the fermenter.

The brown stuff floating on top is probably left over krausen. It's fine.

The dark color to the beer is probably due to the age of the extract. Liquid extract gets dark over time. Dark extract = dark beer.
 

VTBrewer

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The good news is that you're going to have a beer, and you seem to have a good grasp on the basics from your post. The bad news, it may not be up to your expectations, but you seem to realize already that expectations might be low from 8 year old ingredients.

The no boil kits, even new, in my opinion are kinda thin. My advice would be to check your temps, maybe give it a gentle swirl and hope you can get under 1.020. I suspect you can because 5 days isn't long at all.

Most importantly, in the meantime...get yourself a nice recipe from your LHBS and get one going ASAP....

Welcome to the addiction.
 
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StuckinATL

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Out of curiosity, what is the fermentation temp?


If it is still bubbling, that suggests to me that fermentation is still occurring, in which case you should get down below 1.025.
I pitched at 80 degrees and within 12 hours the wort had dropped to roughly 62 degrees (my coldest room) so I gave it a little morning sun (It's in a bucket) to raise the temp to 70 degrees then moved it to a different room and it's been at 69 - 70 degrees for the next 4+ days.
 
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StuckinATL

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The good news is that you're going to have a beer, and you seem to have a good grasp on the basics from your post. The bad news, it may not be up to your expectations, but you seem to realize already that expectations might be low from 8 year old ingredients.

The no boil kits, even new, in my opinion are kinda thin. My advice would be to check your temps, maybe give it a gentle swirl and hope you can get under 1.020. I suspect you can because 5 days isn't long at all.

Most importantly, in the meantime...get yourself a nice recipe from your LHBS and get one going ASAP....

Welcome to the addiction.
Thanks, I've read a few old books from my local librarys on HB, but this forum and threads are so much better.... maybe modern is another way of saying it! Yes, I was skeptical of the kit but figured it would be ok to try, if for nothing more than (limited) practice. I'm itching to get it out of my fermenter so I can do an extract recipe!
 

goodgodilovebeer

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I pitched at 80 degrees and within 12 hours the wort had dropped to roughly 62 degrees (my coldest room) so I gave it a little morning sun (It's in a bucket) to raise the temp to 70 degrees then moved it to a different room and it's been at 69 - 70 degrees for the next 4+ days.
A tip...you should always try to keep the fermentation temperature as steady as possible. Big swings in temperature can produce off flavours that you can avoid if you stick to a steady temperature.

Yeasts are kinda like old men that way, change startles them ;)
 

tamoore

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A tip...you should always try to keep the fermentation temperature as steady as possible. Big swings in temperature can produce off flavours that you can avoid if you stick to a steady temperature.

Yeasts are kinda like old men that way, change startles them ;)
I'm afraid I might have screwed up on my first beer with the temp swing thing...

I re hydrated my dry east at about 100 degrees, pitched that into 80 degree wort, and the temp (from a thermometer stuck to a bucket) stayed up around 74 degrees in a 64.5 degree room during pretty active fermentation. It has now fallen to right around room temp @ 64 degrees.

Should I have waited for the wort be about 65 degrees before I pitched the yeast?

I took a hydrometer reading last night and was at 1.02 (starting 1.062), and tasted a sample that was still pretty sweet with some alcohol flavor and somewhat thin. The aroma was bananas, which makes me think I fermented too warm. The target SRM looks to be right, the ABV% looks to be right (at around 6%) It may still be a little 'green', but all the values are coming in about where I'd suspect at the end of fermentation.

I'm going to be doing another batch next week, and I'm wanting to make sure I mitigate any mistakes I made last time.

I'm going to go to a brew store and get some wyeast activator to replace the dry yeast I got with the last kit, since I want to get the best crack at a good fermentation.

This is a learning process, and I think I've narrowed down several areas I've screwed up on my first run through. Hoping the next one goes better. Thanks a lot for the help so far.
 

disconnex

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My second batch of beer was a stout that I was really excited about brewing. I was so excited in fact that I forgot to cool the wort before I transfered it into the bucket for fermentation. With no knowledge whatsoever, I just waited it out. Stirring and stirring I finally gave up a little after midnight and just pitched the yeast at almost 90f.

It took over a week before I saw a single bubble come out of that airlock. I popped the top over and over in a that week to check on fermentation. I transfered to secondary, still with no idea if fermentation even took place, again due to my newness in the hobby. Long story short, it was a great beer in the end.

Keep banging out the extract kits for a while and develop yourself a habit or a brew style. Your first few batches are just practice, and what you want to pay attention to is time, temp, and sanitation. Once you find a way to incorporate what you have learned into your brew style you will find that you spend more time enjoying the process, and not overthinking it.
 
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StuckinATL

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My advice would be to check your temps, maybe give it a gentle swirl and hope you can get under 1.020. I suspect you can because 5 days isn't long at all.

Most importantly, in the meantime...get yourself a nice recipe from your LHBS and get one going ASAP....
The temp is staying pretty constant at 69-70 (per my adhesive thermometer). I gave the fermenter a good swirl about 10 hours ago and now the airlock has a bunch of little bubbles (unlike any time previously) and it's burping once every 11 to 18 seconds. Seems like I woke the yeasties up from their a nap! I still plan to wait it out like you suggest and check the gravity in about 5 more days. If bubbles come to a stop again within the next 5 days, would it be ok to give it another swirl?

I can't wait to get my next recipe going....
 

VTBrewer

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Bubbles are no real indication of frementation having stopped, only your hydrometer is. They are a good indication of fermentation happening, but lack of them doesn't mean its not going on. Great work on getting those guys eating that 8 year old sugar!

Keep your expectations low on this brew, but seriously...you may be shocked how well it may taste.

Not sure how much a new bucket at your LHBS would cost ya....but you're gonna want two of them soon, so dive in now and throw that $15 at one and get a real recipe going.

In less than a year you will be the one answering questions like this, and you'll be drinking good brew as you do it. Good work man.
 
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StuckinATL

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Bubbles are no real indication of frementation having stopped, only your hydrometer is. They are a good indication of fermentation happening, but lack of them doesn't mean its not going on. Great work on getting those guys eating that 8 year old sugar!

Keep your expectations low on this brew, but seriously...you may be shocked how well it may taste.
So now it's been a week since my last hydrometer reading. Tonight it came in at 1.019 (temp. adjusted) and there is some taste. Attenuation is 53%, so it appears it's at 2.9% ABV. Maybe a few more days will help, if not, it looks like it'll be one that I can drink twice as many of...:tank:
 
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