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Made my first batch... quick question though...

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MrEcted1

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Well, I made my first batch of brew today (busta nut brown ale). Everything seemed to go pretty well, i'm pretty confident. There is one little issue though...

I cooled my wort really quick, in fact I cooled it a bit much I think. The wort was at about 62 degrees and I went ahead and pitched the yeast anyways figuring that once the brew warms up a bit my yeast can go to town.

Is this a potential problem? I didn't think about it at the time, but now that I think about it... I am worried that there might be a problem because the yeast need the oxygen from the aeration and at this point there is only about 1/2 inch of head in my primary (this is about 4 hours after putting the brew in my primary). is 62 degrees too cold for the yeast to become active?

Thanks!
 
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MrEcted1

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One other thing...

I couldn't get the wort to boil fully... it was between a simmer and a boil, like an aggressive simmer that wanted to boil but didn't quite make it (I couldn't get my stove any hotter!). Is this an issue?

Thanks (and I apologize for worrying too much)
 

Catfish

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Fist question first; How much yeast did you pitch? Liquid or dry? I would expect your fermentation to go okay, not the optimal, but it should be alright. With out enough warmth your yeast may not have mutiplied as much as you'd like. Try not to stress your yeast too much any more (don't let the wort cool down too much or temperature fluctuate too much).
How did you aerate your wort? Do you have any bubbles in your airlock yet?

The next question. Were you doing a full volume boil? A nice rolling boil results in better beer (so they say).

Don't worry too much. You will likely make beer, and then you get to drink it.
 
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MrEcted1

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catfish said:
Fist question first; How much yeast did you pitch? Liquid or dry? I would expect your fermentation to go okay, not the optimal, but it should be alright. With out enough warmth your yeast may not have mutiplied as much as you'd like. Try not to stress your yeast too much any more (don't let the wort cool down too much or temperature fluctuate too much).
How did you aerate your wort? Do you have any bubbles in your airlock yet?

The next question. Were you doing a full volume boil? A nice rolling boil results in better beer (so they say).

Don't worry too much. You will likely make beer, and then you get to drink it.

I pitched a vile of white labs english ale (liquid)

I aerated the wort by aggressively pouring the wort into the carboy (through a funnel of coarse) and then I shook the living crap out of the carboy until it had a good bit of head on it (shook it for about 4 minutes very aggressively... my back hurts now! =)

I was doing a partial boil... which is part of the reason I accidently brought it down a little too cold. I gave it an ice bath and then poured in cold the cold water and it got a bit too cold.

The airlock is only bubbling about once every minute or so, but at this point its been fermenting for about 12 hours.
 

cweston

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MrEcted1 said:
I was doing a partial boil... which is part of the reason I accidently brought it down a little too cold. I gave it an ice bath and then poured in cold the cold water and it got a bit too cold.

The airlock is only bubbling about once every minute or so, but at this point its been fermenting for about 12 hours.
Sounds like you'll be fine. For partial boils, chilling the wort down to about 90 is usually a good target, depending on how cold your top-off water is. That's also a good target temp for avoiding off flavors from hot side aeration of your wort.

It seems strange that you had trouble maintaining a full boil with a partial boil. I do partial boils on a crappy old stove and am more likely to have the opposite problem (boilovers). I guess if it's a lower-end gas range, maybe.
 

Catfish

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Are you boiling on an electric stove? If so you may be able to find a higher heat element.

You sound like you're good with the ferment. Hopefully the bubbling will pick up speed, but your aeration and temp sound fine.
 

davidkrau

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You seem to be on the right track.I brewed a Kolsch ale and the recipe called for fermenting at 60 degrees. It just took a lot longer. As the beer warms up it will ferment faster. I never heard of a high end range being any hotter than a low end range. If you continue to have problems you can always buy a propane cooker. I paid $39 for a turkey frier and that came equiped with a cooker, regulator and a 71/2 gal pot. The propane tank is extra.
Good Luckl
 

cweston

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davidkrau said:
I never heard of a high end range being any hotter than a low end range.
In gas ranges, that's the main thing you're paying more for in higher-end models: higher BTU burners. In electrics, I don't think there's much difference in the BTU ratings of the burners.
 
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MrEcted1

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Thanks for all the input!

My gas stove really sucks... Sometimes getting a full pot of water to boil takes a bit longer then it should... I had a heck of a time getting this to boil much at all... I only had 1 1/2 gallons of water in there!

I will probably be buying a turkey fryer like david suggested...
 
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MrEcted1

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If I don't get any bubblin' action in the next day and a half, should I try aerating again?
 

cweston

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MrEcted1 said:
Thanks for all the input!

My gas stove really sucks... Sometimes getting a full pot of water to boil takes a bit longer then it should... I had a heck of a time getting this to boil much at all... I only had 1 1/2 gallons of water in there!

Wow, that does sound pretty bad. You probably know this, but it's fairly common for gas ranges to have higher and lower output burners. Are you sure you're using the highest BTU burner?
 

Mikey

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MrEcted1 said:
If I don't get any bubblin' action in the next day and a half, should I try aerating again?
No! If you're convinced that there's no fermentation then pitch additional yeast. It can take three or fours days to see visible signs of fermentation, relying just on airlock action is unreliable.
 
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MrEcted1

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Mikey said:
No! If you're convinced that there's no fermentation then pitch additional yeast. It can take three or fours days to see visible signs of fermentation, relying just on airlock action is unreliable.
Cool, thanks for the tip
 
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MrEcted1

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Hey there...

Well I came home today and the air-lock was bubbling like mad! (yay... even blew the cap off)... I can see little yeasties floatin' everywhere.

There are only 2 questions I have now (due to excessive paranoia)

1.) The head is much darker now then before... this is normal right, considering the style of beer this will be? (nut brown ale)

2.) When I smelled right above the bung I could smell the beer (which had a bit of a sharp scent... prolly normal cuz it still smelled good)... but since I could smell it, does that mean that it's not air-tight?

Thanks!
 

cweston

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MrEcted1 said:
2.) When I smelled right above the bung I could smell the beer (which had a bit of a sharp scent... prolly normal cuz it still smelled good)... but since I could smell it, does that mean that it's not air-tight?

Thanks!
It's not supposed to be air tight--the job of the airlock is to let the CO2 out and not let air in. The reason you smell it is because you're smelling all the gas the fermenting beer is generating and sending out the airlock.

The main thing you need to do now is have a beer.
 
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MrEcted1

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You guys are probably right...

I apologize for my paranoia... i've been wanting to brew beer for years and finally mustered up the cash (and talked my wife into it... that was the hard part). Just wanna make sure my first experience is a good one!

okay, i'll stop now =) time for a brew.
 

El Pistolero

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MrEcted1 said:
I apologize for my paranoia...
No need to apologize...every one of us here has been through the same thing. :)

MrEcted1 said:
2.) When I smelled right above the bung I could smell the beer
Next time you're right above that bung, go ahead and give it a lick...it'll drive that airlock wild. :D
 
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MrEcted1

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El Pistolero said:
Next time you're right above that bung, go ahead and give it a lick...it'll drive that airlock wild. :D
haha! i'll do that :p
 

Lost

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Sounds like things are going fine - you're on your way to some excellent homebrew!

1. I would like to second the turkey fryer suggestion - it is very effective. To sell your wife on the idea just tell her that it'll let you move the mess outside and you'll never have to clean a boilover off of the stove! Better still, if you get a fryer then you've got everything you need to do a full boil and are well on your way to doing all grain batches if you so choose (all you'll need is a cooler with a false bottom/copper manifold).

2. As for the boil being weak, a vigorous boil is best because a weak boil generally results in less than optimal hop utilization - practically speaking this is a small concern. However, the boil also cooks off some undesireable compounds - most notably DMS. This is why putting a lid on the kettle or having a weak boil is probably not the best thing. DMS can have a cooked vegetable type smell that can be an unwelcome addition to your beer. Now I would not be too concerned about this either but I thought it was worth mentioning just so that you can understand why a vigorous boil is better than a simmer.

3. Relax and have a beer/homebrew - I think that's the best advice anyone on this board has ever given.
 
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MrEcted1

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Lost said:
Sounds like things are going fine - you're on your way to some excellent homebrew!

1. I would like to second the turkey fryer suggestion - it is very effective. To sell your wife on the idea just tell her that it'll let you move the mess outside and you'll never have to clean a boilover off of the stove! Better still, if you get a fryer then you've got everything you need to do a full boil and are well on your way to doing all grain batches if you so choose (all you'll need is a cooler with a false bottom/copper manifold).

2. As for the boil being weak, a vigorous boil is best because a weak boil generally results in less than optimal hop utilization - practically speaking this is a small concern. However, the boil also cooks off some undesireable compounds - most notably DMS. This is why putting a lid on the kettle or having a weak boil is probably not the best thing. DMS can have a cooked vegetable type smell that can be an unwelcome addition to your beer. Now I would not be too concerned about this either but I thought it was worth mentioning just so that you can understand why a vigorous boil is better than a simmer.

3. Relax and have a beer/homebrew - I think that's the best advice anyone on this board has ever given.
Thank you for the advice!

I assume that even a cheap turkey fryer should do me fine for this job... right? I saw one at target for around $40.00 and I could get away with that pretty easily (I think). $40.00 shouldn't put me in the dog-house too long :)

I'm not sure if I can sell her with that idea because with how weak my stove is... i've never had a boil-over (not even close) but still, I might be able to talk her into it.

As far as DMS is concerned, I think I have that under control. I recently racked to my secondary and took a little sample to see where i'm heading. It tasted like pretty damn decent flat beer (I even felt a little buzz afterwards!), which is exactly what i'm aiming for at this point... hopefully I didn't screw up racking to my secondary, though I'm rather confident that everything went pretty well.

Thanks again for the input!
 
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