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TwoHeadsBrewing

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I'm new here and haven't yet done my first brew... but I've got it scheduled for this weekend :tank: . I have a 7.5gal kettle and and a 6.5gal glass carboy and want to do a full boil, but am not sure about the volumes of water to add at different stages. From what I've read here is what I'm planning to do, can you correct me if this is wrong?

I have 1lb. of caramel malt (60L) and 6.5lb. of Alexander's Light LME. For hops, I've got 2oz of Cascade. For yeast, I have a Wyeast 1056 American smack pack. I'm basically going for a simple Pale Ale for my first try.

This is my plan for brew day (minus sanitizing regimen):

1. In separate pot, heat 1.5g of H20 to 155F for grain steeping.
2. Steep crushed grain in grain sock for 30 minutes
3. Remove grain sock and add water to wort kettle
4. Bring 5.5gal of H20 to boil in the kettle
5. At rolling boil, turn off burner and stir in LME
6. Turn heat back on and when boiling, add 1oz Cascade hops and start the boil timer.
7. WATCH OUT FOR BOIL OVERS :D
8. At 30min left in the boil, add 1/2oz Cascade hops
9. Add the wort chiller to the boiling wort
10. At 10min left in the boil, add the remaining 1/2oz of Cascade hops.
11. After 60minutes total boil time turn off the heat and turn on the wort chiller
12. When the temperature is down to 80F, pour the wort through the funnel/strainer into the carboy.
13. Pitch the yeast starter into the carboy.
14. If necessary, add water to bring the final volume to 5 gallons.
15. Allow fermentation to take place for 1.5-2 weeks (no secondary for my first batch)
16. Bottle and age for 2-4 weeks (sampling every week of course :) )


Does this process and the amounts of water sound right to you? I'd like to plan this brew day well and get all the details worked out so I can Relax and Have a Homebrew. Your help is much appreciated!

-Ben
 

Yooper

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Sounds fine to me! I start with about 6 gallons to end up with 5 gallons of wort in the carboy, but your amount will vary so the first time is the time to try it and see.

One thing I would do, is to cool the wort to 70 degrees instead of 80 (better for your yeast to start), and pour the wort back and forth between carboy and kettle to aerate it. Or whip it with a dowel, or splash a lot when you pour it into the carboy. Oxygen is necessary for yeast reproduction. I'd also highly recommend doing a starter for your yeast, if you can. (search for yeast starter, or I can post the link, from the wiki). Edit- never mind- I see you planned a starter!

I'd keep it in the fermenter 2-3 weeks at least, then bottle.
Otherwise, I wouldn't change anything. You've pretty much got it!
 

zutmin

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As long as your sanitization practices are sound it looks like you will be making some great beer. If I were you I would consider adding the majority of your malt extract with about 20 minutes left in the boil (late extract addition). Add 1-2lbs of your LME to the initial boil, then add the remaining LME with 15-20 minutes left in the boil. This should help keep your beer color a bit lighter, which is tough to do with LME anyway.

As the previous poster stated, make sure you cool to about 70 degrees before pitching your yeast. Aerate the hell out of your cooled wort when pitching your starter to make sure your yeast have plenty of oxygen to get started in their feeding frenzy.

Cheers and beers!
 
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I would agree with starting at 6-6.5 gallons of water. You will probably boil off a gallon of water or so. I like to go with 5.5 gallon in the 6.5 carboy. You will end up leaving some behind in the carboy when you go to bottle.

Other than that, make sure to aerate it well when you do a full boil. The boiling drives all the oxygen out of the wort.
 

sigmund

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I just did my first full boil this weekend and I did 6.5 gallons to start with, but I think it's too much. My next will be 6 gallons to start. I'm going to go with adding the extract more towards the end also, I had a small amount of burning I'd like to avoid if I can.
 

count barleywine

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also maybe add your initial extract as the water approaches a rolling boil, or as soon as you begin heating it to that point. This way the water is not too hot when you add the extract and it can dissolve slowly.
 
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TwoHeadsBrewing

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Great info all, and many thanks! I think I will start off with 6.5 gallons since I have a 6.5 gallon carboy. Even if I don't lose 1.5 gallons I should have plenty of room in the carboy for the krausen. My only worry is that my beer will come out pretty weak...with only 6.5lbs or LME and 1lb of steeping grains the online calculator reports an expected ABV at 4.4%. For a Pale Ale stlye, anything between 4.5-6% is normal and I'd like to see it around 5%. What are your thoughts?

Also, I've been wondering about sanitizing bottles. I was planning on soaking existing Sierra Nevada bottles (of which I have WAY too many :rockin: ), to remove labels. Then I was going to throw them all in my dishwasher with some iodophor for sanitization. Do you think this is a good practice, or should I take a different approach?
 

zutmin

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Do you have any DME on hand? Just add a bit of DME to your recipe to boost the abv and gravity a bit. Or you could use some honey (I've never done this so you will need to ask for advice on this)

As far as sanitizing bottles, you're in luck because Sierra Nevada and Samuel Adams labels come off easier than any other in my experience. Just soak them in hot water with oxyclean or PBW and the labels will some off with ease. Use brillo sponge to scrub off the glue residue. Use a bottle brush to make sure the insides are free of debris. Then set your bottles aside in a clean place until bottling day.

When it's time to bottle I usually sanitize the bottles in a sink full of water and iodophor. I then run them through a wash cycle, sanitize and heat cycle in my dishwasher without using any detergent. Leave you dishwasher door closed up until you are transferring from bottling bucket to bottles. Line your bottles up on the open dishwasher door and you will have no mess to clean up.

(I have a dishwasher with a stainless interior so it does not stain or harbor bacteria)
 

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zutmin said:
As long as your sanitization practices are sound it looks like you will be making some great beer. If I were you I would consider adding the majority of your malt extract with about 20 minutes left in the boil (late extract addition). Add 1-2lbs of your LME to the initial boil, then add the remaining LME with 15-20 minutes left in the boil. This should help keep your beer color a bit lighter, which is tough to do with LME anyway.

As the previous poster stated, make sure you cool to about 70 degrees before pitching your yeast. Aerate the hell out of your cooled wort when pitching your starter to make sure your yeast have plenty of oxygen to get started in their feeding frenzy.

Cheers and beers!
I was always under the impression that Late Extract additions were for people "Not" doing full boils...I think if he is doing full boils that he could add all his extract at once and be done with it....I do late additions, but Im only boiling 2.5-3 gallons at a time...Someone correct me if Im wrong...
 

zutmin

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splat said:
I was always under the impression that Late Extract additions were for people "Not" doing full boils...I think if he is doing full boils that he could add all his extract at once and be done with it....I do late additions, but Im only boiling 2.5-3 gallons at a time...Someone correct me if Im wrong...
Yeah, you may be right on that one. I just started doing full boils recently. I have continued to do late extract additions, but maybe it's not necessary? Guess, I'll do some research and post here when I find the answer.
 

TexLaw

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splat said:
I was always under the impression that Late Extract additions were for people "Not" doing full boils...I think if he is doing full boils that he could add all his extract at once and be done with it....I do late additions, but Im only boiling 2.5-3 gallons at a time...Someone correct me if Im wrong...
No reason to correct you, as you are already correct. Plus, since this is the OP's first brew, it's best to just keep it simple.

Add your extract, stir in VERY well, and boil away. You can avoid boilover by controlling your fire, or you can skim off all the scum that forms on top. It's also handy to keep a spray bottle with some spring or distilled water nearby for a quick fix.

I agree with Yoop's recommendation to have a good six gallons or so in the kettle. However, I would not assume that you will have plenty of room in your fermenter for krausen. If you don't use fermcap-S, you should start off with a blowoff tube.

Have fun!


TL
 

zutmin

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As TexLaw stated, the blowoff tube is key. Use it during the initial period of vigorous fermentation then you can report back here and thank TexLaw for the good advice :)
Trust me, you don't want to find out the hard way that you should have used a blowoff tube. I've always used one and always will.
 

Moonshae

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I always steep my grains in the wort kettle at full volume (about 6.25 gallons). I'd never heard of steeping in a smaller volume of water unless you weren't doing a full boil anyway.
 
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TwoHeadsBrewing

TwoHeadsBrewing

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zutmin said:
As TexLaw stated, the blowoff tube is key. Use it during the initial period of vigorous fermentation then you can report back here and thank TexLaw for the good advice :)
Trust me, you don't want to find out the hard way that you should have used a blowoff tube. I've always used one and always will.

Sounds good...I took an extra cheapo fermentation lock and removed the top portion of it so I can fit a blowoff tube over it. The end will go into a 64oz growler I have with some water/sanitizer for the initial fermentation. After it settles down I'll add my other unbastardized(new word?) fermentation lock for the remainder.

Thanks for the info!
 
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TwoHeadsBrewing

TwoHeadsBrewing

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After reading some posts on here, I think I will try some late extract addition to keep the color of my beer lighter. The suggestions seem to be to add half of the LME at the beginning of the boil, and boil the other half for only 20 minutes. Anyone have any success with this method, or think its bunch of crap? This seems like a pretty simple way to improve the look of my beer, but how does it effect taste?
 

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Well, it works great for 2.5-3 gallons boils. If only affects the taste by increasing your hops utilization, so the beer has more bittering than the "regular" way.

If you do a full boil though, there would be no advantage I can think of to adding the extract late. Your sg would be right in there, as if you were doing a late extract addition.
 
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TwoHeadsBrewing

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Thanks to all who commented on this thread, I really appreciate all the expert advice! I brewed my first batch yesterday afternoon and it went off almost perfectly (probably due to fanatical planning). This morning, the airlock was bubbling away and I had a good layer of krausen on top.

The only problem I ran into was that with my 6.5gal of water plus the 6.5# of liquid extract, I was at the brim of my 7gal turkey fryer pot :confused: . It could have easily boiled over at that level so i took out about 3/4 gal of wort thinking I could always add it back in later.

Turns out I hardly lost any volume during the boil and just left the extra out...so hopefully my ale doesn't come out too light. Aside from that little mishap, everything went well and I think I'll have a great brew in a few weeks. Next time instead of 5g in the kettle and 1.5 for the steeping grains, I'll just do 4.5gal in the kettle. Anyone else ever had that happen?
 

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Did you use the late add method for the LME? I am interested to know if the full boil stops the LME from caramelizing (turning a red tint). I have always added late, full boil or not, just curious how yours turned out.:mug:

Sounds pretty thorough for a first batch. I remember my first batch. I pitched yeast at 100 degrees. Quick fermention. :)
 
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TwoHeadsBrewing

TwoHeadsBrewing

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Skipster said:
Did you use the late add method for the LME? I am interested to know if the full boil stops the LME from caramelizing (turning a red tint). I have always added late, full boil or not, just curious how yours turned out.:mug:

Sounds pretty thorough for a first batch. I remember my first batch. I pitched yeast at 100 degrees. Quick fermention. :)

There were a couple suggestions to add LME late, but since this is my first batch I thought I would add it all at the beginning as a test case. That way, for my next pale ale I can try late addition to see if that makes any difference. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know. One thing I was a little wary of with late extract addition was fooling with the hop utilization factor; too low gravity causes poor hop utilization (i think?). But in any case, this brew should be a good benchmark for my next pale ale. I wish I had the room and equipment to do two batches, one with late extract addition, and one without. Then I would have a good experimental base for a taste test (and twice the beer of course!). As far as the fermentation goes, I cooled the wort down to about 75F before transferring to the carboy, and it held at about 74F until sometime last night.

In addition, the other experiment I'm doing for my first batch is only using primary fermentation and going straight to bottles. This is another debate that seems to be ongoing here, and next time I brew a pale ale I will be doing a secondary. I plan on saving a 6 pack from this batch until my next pale ale brew for comparison. Hopefully, I'll be doing this recipe again with little modification in May. Here's what I plan on brewing next:

April Fools Day: Citrus Wheat or Bavarian Dunkleweizen
Mid-Late April: Espresso stout or Kona Koffee Porter
May: Pale Ale #2
June: ????
 
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