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Little help with my first partial mash brew, and yeast starter.

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h4mmy86

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Hello folks,

So in a couple of days I will be starting my third brew ever. So far I've brewed two extract kits, one with specialty grains, and this will be my first partial mash brew. I'll be making Northern Brewer's Oatmeal Stout kit.

I've done little more than open the box and I've already noticed one mistake!

I was planning to make my (first ever) yeast starter tonight, and because I didn't properly read up on the subject before ordering, I ordered Munton's Plain Dark DME for my yeast starter.
Now this might be fine for this particular beer (I think...?) but if not, the kit contains a pound of DME.
Could I just dip into that for my starter?
How much should I take? I've got a half gallon mason jar to pitch my starter into.

Any help is much appreciated! ...and I'm sure I'll need a lot over the next few days, haha

Thanks!
 

Matkon

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You are fine using the Munton's Plain Dark DME for your starter. Just cold crash the starter for 24 hours before you start your brew day. Then just decant the beer off the top of your starter and pitch into your carboy.

Cheers!
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Thanks, Matkon!

...one more thing I forgot to mention!
I don't have a mesh bag for my grains, but I do have a double mesh strainer, think that should suffice?
 

Matkon

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I've never done a partial mash brew, so someone with more experience in that area will have to answer. Sorry.
 

bobbrews

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You can get the bags at Home Depot. Or use the strainer, but it will be easier with the bags. I don't recommend getting any type of DME except EXTRA LIGHT OR PILSEN DME for partial mash beers. Using the dark DME for a starter won't be the worst thing in the world, but I wouldn't use the dark DME for your actual beer.
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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@bobbrews,
Okay, I'll look into getting some cheesecloth or something then. Thanks!
I realize that about the DME now, wish I had known when I placed my order... Sorta jumped the gun on that one, no biggie tho.

So what would be a good thing to do with the leftover dark DME since I have it on hand? Any recipe suggestions?
 

progmac

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dark dme is fine for the starter, really the last thing to worry about
use 3/4 cup dme per liter of water
a one liter starter is fine, i'm assuming the OG is around 1.060
don't forget to boil the water/dme to sanitize

the goal with the partial mash is to eventually separate the grains from the wort. how you do this is up to you. you could use a fine mesh strainer, but a muslin bag would be easier. to use your strainer, you'll need to do your mash and then pour it through the strainer into some other large vessel. don't underestimate the challenge of holding the strainer while pouring the pot. so you need two large vessels instead of one. you could use your fermenting bucket for this task. sanitation doesn't matter at this point, it will all be boiled. anyhow, while the first wort is in the bucket, you could do your sparge in your main brewpot for 10 mins or so. preheat the water if at all possible so that it doesn't take forever. if you have a second brewpot or even large stockpot, it will come in very handy. some of these kits don't call for a sparge, but even a cold water sparge is much better than nothing. to accomplish this, sparge the grains with sanitized water in some sanitized vessel while you're brewing and then add this water to the fermenter at the end.

note: i just looked up the recipe. you really don't need a starter if you're using the yeast from the kit. but if you want to do it, more power to you. i'm assuming you got the wyeast 1945 neobritannia
 

bobbrews

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Use the rest of it up for your starters. Like I said, it's not the biggest worry since you'll be decanting much of the starter wort prior to pitching the yeast in your main wort.

If you use cheesecloth, be sure to rinse it first. It's not as clean as the nylon bags.
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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What do hardware stores sell these nylon bags for?
I mean like, in what aisle around what type of items are they typically found?
I'll pick one up if I get the chance
 

JeffersonJ

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You're looking for a paint strainer bag. It's in the painting aisle, typically near the rollers and roller trays. Be careful, the first time I bought them I accidentally bought one gallon bags instead of five gallons bags. If your hardware store has the same bags mine does, the packaging is tricky - even though it shows a five gallon bucket on the label it says "one gallon" at the bottom in small print.
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Hey guys, just wanted to touch base and let ya know I made my first yeast starter about 10 o'clock last night, and I got up today, not even 12 hours later to a pretty nice layer of yeast already!

...now should I be shaking the hell outta this thing, swirling it around, or just leave it sitting...?
I plan to brew tomorrow so I'll be putting it in the fridge tonight for a good cold crash.
 
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h4mmy86

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...and here are some pics of my yeast starter. I mean, why not? I'm proud of my first one! haha

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h4mmy86

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Gave it a swirl an hour or so ago, here it is before I put it in the fridge to cold crash for the night...

Seems to be doing well, I guess..?

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h4mmy86

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Pretty nice cake to wake up to :)

I'll be going after a nylon bag a little later and brewing this evening, if it doesn't rain me out. I really don't wanna brew indoors on my old electric stove.

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h4mmy86

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Alright guys, time to brew...

Should I let my yeast starter come back to room temp before I pitch it or leave it cold??
 

kh54s10

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Pour off the liquid from your starter when you start your brew and leave it in a sanitary condition on the counter. Room temperature. About 70 degrees, not 95 like it was in my kitchen today.

If you can control the temperature as close as possible to the cooled temperature of the wort is best.

Did you check your ingredient kit well I brewed the same kit and it came with a grain bag. They wad up very small.

The Oatmeal Stout was awesome BTW.

Get a few 1 gallon paint strainer bags (great for hop additions) and a couple of the 5 gallon ones. They come in real handy.
 
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h4mmy86

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I couldn't find one, and it wasn't listed in the kit inventory.

I picked up a couple of five gallon strainer bags today! I'm gonna photo document my brew best I can and post up later. I have all of my water measure out, ready to start.

So for keeping my grains at steady temperature I'm just gonna try towels and blankets. Maybe wrap it up best I can and then throw a big thick blanket over the whole thing. Should work fine I imagine.
 
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h4mmy86

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Okay, so here is my journey thus far. So far so good. Forgot to take a pic of adding the grains :drunk: but I seem to be getting everything else pretty well so far!

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kh54s10

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Epic fail!! :(

OG: 1.032

....is this worth keeping?
More than likely you got an uneven mix when topping up with water. It is very difficult to mix an extract kit fully so your gravity sample was watered down. It is also very difficult with an extract kit to miss your OG unless you do not use all the ingredients or add too much water.

You Oatmeal Stout will be good.

And never throw out a beer without giving it months if not a year to finish. There is a thread on waiting out mistakes. Time sometime heals major mistakes.

I don't see that you have made any mistakes! :D:mug:
 
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h4mmy86

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While laying in bed worrying about my low OG I wondered (hoped) that a watery test sample was the problem.

Should I take another reading today?

We did go just a little bit over the 5 gallon mark, not a lot tho.
The TOP of the red tape is the 5 gallon mark, not the bottom. Its less than an inch over the line.

I did wake up to a healthy bubbling airlock and a pretty nice looking head :)

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