First brew

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tspilker

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Hi everyone.

I am new to the forums, and I find myself getting more and more anxious for my first brew to be drinkable the more I read here.

I started a No Boil Porter kit on March 7th (OG 1.042), I did 9 days of primary fermentation, checking the gravity on day 7 I saw that it matched the day 9 level(1.011), so I bottled.

Now I am anxiously waiting for my brew to be finished to the point where I tossed one in the fridge last night and popped it open after class today. It tasted very different than most of the other porters I have tried. It was very weakly carbonated, I can attribute that to having been 9 days since I bottled it, I should give it some more time. It didn't have so much of the carmely/chocolatey/coffeeness that I am used to with porter, it tasted a little sweet, not a lot of hop character and "woodsy" is how I could describe it. Almost what I would imagine the smell of an irish peat bog would smell like (in a good way).

So I decided to give it another week before trying again in hopes of some more carbonation.

I have been so nervous about messing up my first batch, and am obviously very very eager to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I have been reading a vast amount about brewing and I want to try an extract brew as my next batch. I am hoping by this summer I can start to improve my equipment. I certainly plan on adding some primary/secondary carboys to my arsenal.

This hobby is shaping out to be a very good 21st birthday gift!

Is it normal for a beer to only be lightly carbonated on day 9?

I have been obsessively keeping track of the temperature where I am conditioning them and it has remained between 68-70 the entire brew/condition time. (Except for the initial boil). My only concern is that I didn't mix my priming sugar well enough before bottling, but I figured I would have some with excess carbonation if I have some with weak carbonation (thus bottle bombs). Would I know about those by now or not?

My final question. When bottling, is it better/safer to under or overfill a bottle. I feel like I might have slightly underfilled them, but as a result of that more carbonation can hang out in that airspace not carbonating the drink since air can compress and liquid cannot (thus not allowing the CO2 to dissolve into solution)

Thanks everyone, I will let you know when/what I decide for my next brew!
 

llazy_llama

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Yep, it's totally normal for your beer to be partially carbonated after a week or so. It generally takes about 3 weeks before it'll be finished, but some bigger beers will take even longer than that. Patience is your best tool here, as bottled beer tends to age very well.

If you were going to have bottle bombs, you'd probably know by now, although that's not a guarantee. I always keep my bottles in a box, generally wrapped in a towel just in case.

When bottling, if you used a bottling wand, headspace isn't an issue. The wand knows it's stuff. If not, as long as you don't have huge variances in headspace (some bottles filled to the brim, some only filled 3/4ths) you really shouldn't worry about it. I've gotten some variances between bottles in the same batch, but they all tasted the same.
 
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tspilker

tspilker

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Yep, it's totally normal for your beer to be partially carbonated after a week or so. It generally takes about 3 weeks before it'll be finished, but some bigger beers will take even longer than that. Patience is your best tool here, as bottled beer tends to age very well.

If you were going to have bottle bombs, you'd probably know by now, although that's not a guarantee. I always keep my bottles in a box, generally wrapped in a towel just in case.

When bottling, if you used a bottling wand, headspace isn't an issue. The wand knows it's stuff. If not, as long as you don't have huge variances in headspace (some bottles filled to the brim, some only filled 3/4ths) you really shouldn't worry about it. I've gotten some variances between bottles in the same batch, but they all tasted the same.

They are all filled to the neck, mostly a half an inch from the top when the want was removed, some were filled to the brim before the wand was removed.

I keep all of mine in the closet inside a Rubbermaid container just in case of any leakages/explosions.

Any suggestions for a simple "must-have" recipe? I am hoping to try an all grain batch by this summer.
 

llazy_llama

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1) With the wand, the idea is to fill the bottle all the way to the brim, then remove just before it overflows. A half inch or so too little isn't going to hurt though, so don't panic.

2) EdWort's Haus Pale and Apfelwein, BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde, pretty much anything from Brewpastor. Try and keep your first few batches fairly simple until you really get your process dialed in. Then again, that's just my 2/- so go for a huge double RIS or a peach/cranberry/chocolate wheat if you prefer.
 
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tspilker

tspilker

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1) With the wand, the idea is to fill the bottle all the way to the brim, then remove just before it overflows. A half inch or so too little isn't going to hurt though, so don't panic.

2) EdWort's Haus Pale and Apfelwein, BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde, pretty much anything from Brewpastor. Try and keep your first few batches fairly simple until you really get your process dialed in. Then again, that's just my 2/- so go for a huge double RIS or a peach/cranberry/chocolate wheat if you prefer.

What is an "RIS" ?
 
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