What are some of the mistakes you made...where your beer still turned out great!

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unionrdr

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Well...here's the only one I think truly quaifies for this thread from my experiences. I was brewing a light hybrid lager on Fat Tuesday this year. Another partial mash of course. Mash went fine,got sparged & onto the boil,where I added the bittering addition. This was 3:50pm. I'd drank two 24oz'rs & most of a fifth of vodka,& passed out. At 5:20pm,I awoke & freaked. finished the brewday anyway. Wondered what was going to come out of pandora's bottle when they're ready?!...
Well,last night was the night my oldest son & I watch Bonanza episodes on youtube. He's multi-handicapped,a rather good artist,& enjoys watching & drawing from the shows. so,I had him go to the fridge & grab me another one of my beers. Instead of the cold dark hybrid lager I was expecting,he brought me a barely cool light hybrid lager I was sure was ruined on Fat Tuesday. Oh well,I am curious. So I poured it. Lots of head,light yellow color,half decent carbonation concidering it was bottled on 4/2,& only maybe an hour in the fridge at that point. Bittering was nice with the light,very slightly sweet malt profile. And some of the spicy hops coming through as well. It just goes to prove...never say never...again. :ban::tank:
 

cullen

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When I was first brewing, I was told to cover the primary fermenter (bucket) with a sheet of sanitized plastic instead of a lid and airlock. This worked just fine, but that practice has gone out of style.
 

lazyhophead

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I just brewed a cascade smash. My intent was to continuously hop it with 3oz of cascade for the entire 60 minute boil.

Just it was coming to a rolling boil, a friend that I have not spoken to in a long called me. We got to cutting up on the phone.

When it was time to add a couple of pellets at 60 minutes, being distracted with the conversation and not paying attention, I dumped the entire three ounces in. (I had all 3oz pre-measured in a cup)

Yeah.... So I don't know how it's going to wind up but I imagine it will be horribly bitter. I'm going to let it sit for awhile before kegging.
 

MustBeZ

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On my third brew I built an IPA recipe that had 60-70 IBU. It was an extract batch so I added about 75% of the extract in the last 15 minutes.

I used BrewTarget as the software to build the recipe and didn't notice there was a button for late extract addition until after the boil. Upon hitting that button the IBU's went up to 132.5 for a beer with a 1.058 OG.

The IPA actually turned out great, and lucky for me I love bitter beers. It's been named my Armstrong IPA since Neil Armstrong died the day the first one was brewed. I've moved to all grain now and converted the recipe with the same IBU and OG with the same great results! I'll be doing a third batch of it within the next couple of months.
 

unionrdr

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Good name for the beer! I always wondered what it would've been like to be him,taking that first step onto an alien world...:mug:
 

25518

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I am having A.B.V issues. I've done just about all, said above as well. But keep having low alcohol readings.
 

unionrdr

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Not enough malts to make enough fermentable sugars. Or you're boiling to much malt at the start of the boil. That can make unfermentable,long chain sugars.
 

25518

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Boil for an hour. Am I boiling out the sugars? I believe it, if I am? Hhhmmm?
 

unionrdr

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Not boiling out the sugars. In other words,boiling all the extract at the beginning of a 1 hour boil can change som e of the sugars to long-chain sugars.which don't ferment with the yeast we use.
 

25518

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Burnt hop sock to bottom of kettle. Made for more of a roasted flavor. One person offered me money for a 6er.
 

25518

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Arm into bucket, because I made it to tight. Pitched yeast into, wort not at pitching temps. I'm still novice, give me some time to make some mire mistakes. Oh yeah. Left wort on stove top after I boiled it. Don't ask why. I have absolutly no reason why I did this. Still run into doors on why. But I still pitched the yeast. Fermenting now. Taste nasty. Kind of glad I made the mistake. Because, now I really know not to do this. Ever!
 
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Revvy

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When I was first brewing, I was told to cover the primary fermenter (bucket) with a sheet of sanitized plastic instead of a lid and airlock. This worked just fine, but that practice has gone out of style.
North Peaks Brewing company in Traverse City, Michigan does that for their beers.
 

unionrdr

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It's popular on the Cooper's forums with the older Micro brew Fv's as well. Plastic sheet & rubberband. I think it's laziness myself. with all the condensation,you're not gunna see anything. And pokin pinners to let some gas out is nearly the same as just having put on the darn lid & airlock.
 

Piratwolf

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I like to think of it as alchemy. I was going to post about a black IPA that's not roaty and finished a bit full bodied, but then i realized it's not a mistake; instead I'll play the American Craft Beer Week card and call it Rough Riders Imperial American Porter.
 

kh54s10

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Well, I would not say great, but very drinkable... in the end,

I had quite a bit of sparge water left in my mash tun so I made an IPA with more runnings. It was low gravity and very bitter at first, so I waited and it became good if not great. It did take about 2 months+ of bottle conditioning to become good. Long gone now.
 

lazyhophead

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I just brewed a cascade smash. My intent was to continuously hop it with 3oz of cascade for the entire 60 minute boil.

Just it was coming to a rolling boil, a friend that I have not spoken to in a long called me. We got to cutting up on the phone.

When it was time to add a couple of pellets at 60 minutes, being distracted with the conversation and not paying attention, I dumped the entire three ounces in. (I had all 3oz pre-measured in a cup)

Yeah.... So I don't know how it's going to wind up but I imagine it will be horribly bitter. I'm going to let it sit for awhile before kegging.
In case anyone was wondering, this actually turned out pretty good. After a week in primary I racked to secondary for another 8 days or so, then kegged.

After about 4 days in keg it was surprisingly good. Pretty hoppy/bitter, but as a lazy hop head, I approve!

It's almost like I meant to do it.
 

MMJfan

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As I was gathering all of my grains and ingredients for one of my brew days I realized I had spaced during the week and forgot to make a starter. I wash yeast so I have it all stored in pint size mason jars in our basement fridge. So, I figured wth and quickly made the starter before I got into milling grains and going forward with my brew day. I purposely took my time on my brew day (I do BIAB) and kept shaking my starter flask throughout the day.

While the starter never officially took off, I went ahead and pitched it anyways figuring if it didn't take off, I would just make another starter and re-pitch it. Well, less than 24 hours after I pitched it, the damn thing took off! And I'm happily enjoying one of those tasty brews as I type this post! :tank:
 

unclevername

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Made a 10G batch of amber ale. In one 5G seconary I expiermented with oak chips. When I tasted after 4 weeks I was convinced I ruined the oak chip portion with way too much oak so I stuck in the back of my chamber and forgot about it. About three months later we had a lot of company for a long weekend that cleaned me out of my "good beer" and they wanted more. All that was left was my over Oaked amber ale, so I gave my disclaimers and served it up. Well surprise, surprise, surprise, it had mellowed and got GREAT reviews. It turned out to be a really great beer.
 

Brewskii

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I added 5 tablespoons of gypsum(1per gallon) to the boil kettle for an IPA I made using mostly nugget. Yeah; I have no idea what the hell I was thinking there.

It was stellar. How it wasn't a bitter hop bomb I don't know but it was actually an awesome IPA; even by my current brewing standards.

Yup, I'm gonna have to get back to that recipe someday.
 

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Fermented with nottingham yeast at almost 80 degrees, best honey porter I've had.
 

MMJfan

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One other major mistake I made was back when I was a newb, I had 2 beers fermenting in buckets at the same time. I failed to label them thinking I could just tell the difference. One was a wheat and one was a blonde. My plan was to add apricot puree to the blonde and dry hop the wheat. Well, when fermentation was done and I went to add my secondary additions, I couldn't tell which beer was which so I just guessed. Well, I guessed wrong and I got an apricot wheat and a hoppy blonde ale instead. :cross:

The beers still turned out OK, but it was just not what I was shooting for. Needless to say, I label all of my buckets now so I don't make this mistake again! :mug:
 

Brunobearbo

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I had two pots of water, one clean boiled top-off water, the other just warm water with an dirty can of malt extract sitting in it to warm it up.

After I was ready to top off my primary, I grabbed the wrong pot of water and dumped it in. I could see all floaties and dust pour into the primary and figured it was toast.

Two weeks later, it was one of the best wheat beers I had ever made.
 

Rhumbline

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If I were to go professional, I would have to name my brewery the "Brewery of Benign Neglect". I've committed almost all the cardinal sins of brewing, sans sanitation, which I'm AR about.

I have to admit to a laissez faire approach to brewing that in my brief experience has led to some great beers, in spite of myself. my unscientific research leads me to believe that it is rather difficult to mess up a beer.
 

MMJfan

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If I were to go professional, I would have to name my brewery the "Brewery of Benign Neglect". I've committed almost all the cardinal sins of brewing, sans sanitation, which I'm AR about.

I have to admit to a laissez faire approach to brewing that in my brief experience has led to some great beers, in spite of myself. my unscientific research leads me to believe that it is rather difficult to mess up a beer.
LOL! I too am anal about the sanitation. But that's about the extent of it when it comes to brewing and I have yet to make a beer that I wouldn't classify as very good to great... :mug:
 

smyrnaquince

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Dropped the hydrometer into the cooling wort. It broke on the bottom of the pot, leaving glass and those little lead BBs in the wort. I do BIAB, so I lined my fermenter with the bag, then poured in the wort to strain out the glass and BBs. The beer came out fine, with no sign of glass or BBs in any of the bottles. I dropped the hydrometer because the kids were arguing over something and I dropped it when I reached into my pocket to get a coin to flip to settle the argument. I named that beer "Coin Flip APA".

Dropped my screwdriver into the hot wort while tightening the hose clamp on the immersion chiller. Fished it out with my stirring spoon and hotdog tongs. When I use my tools, all I ever do is wipe them (if they need it), so the screwdriver couldn't have been all that clean.

Then later on the same beer, I lined my fermenter with the BIAB bag as usual (I've taken to doing this to screen out the kettle trub), poured in the cooled wort, dumped in the liquid yeast, then pulled the bag. Enough yeast made it through into the fermenter for a good fermentation.

Screwdriver beer also turned out fine. No infections, etc., and a reasonable FG. Maybe I'll call it "Screwdriver Wit".
 

deepcdan99

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Just happened the other day...grabbed the tri-clover connection on the out put of my brew kettle....after it had been boiling for 90 minutes....Ouch. I'm sure my beer is fine though, lol!
 

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Took off the camlock from by boil kettle to switch pump directions and forgot to close the valve...a liter or two of first runnings went all over my garage floor. Oops
 

twistr25

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Forgot to heat up my strike water until the very end of my mash, missed OG, hops were 3% below recipe AA values, thought I underprimed. Netted second place and a 39 from a BJCP judge at a local comp!
 

JonM

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Apparently, if you throw rice hulls onto your false bottom then add your strike water, then add your grains, the rice hills plug up the false bottom and you get a slow sparge and crappy efficiency.

I did that on a recent batch of EdWort's Kolsch and wound up with 1.040 OG. ( Or at least that's what I think happened to slow the sparge and reduce OG by about 10 points) But I wound up with a really, really tasty 4.0 ABV session beer, which is perfect for summer.
 

sailingbrewer

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I forgot/didnt know to give my first lager a dyactle rest turned out to be the best beer ever
 

drummstikk

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Me too, no diacytl rest and severely underpitched a Bavarian lager. It turned out great.
Do you guys ever worry that this thread makes people believe they can do things like underpitch a lager and expect it to be "great"?

There are a lot of good brewing habits, especially regarding sanitation and wort production, that are typically overvalued by newbies. As many here have pointed out, you can reach into your unfermented wort to grab a thermometer, and your beer will turn out fine. You can use the wrong hops, leave out an ingredient, or come in 15 points under gravity, and your beer will be fine.

But good fermentation habits are typically undervalued by newbies. It took me months to start pitching enough healthy yeast and doing temperature control, but when I did, my beers got good. Even when I forget ingredients, forget brewing salts, come in under gravity, run out of time and don't adequately cool so I have to leave the wort out overnight in the kettle before racking, all these things: the beer is always ok as long as the fermentation is healthy.

But when I don't have time to make a yeast starter and I pitch one or two vials of yeast straight from my LHBS's cooler, my beer is not fine. It finishes sweet, and the fermentation flavors are generally more muddy. When my fermentation cooler is full and I have to ferment an ale in my apartment at room temp, the fermenting temperature inevitably goes a few degrees too high, and the beer is not fine. It tastes hot, and the esters are never very good after a temperature spike.

I guess what I mean is -- let's be careful about assigning insignificance to the ferment. Please don't encourage the fledgling brewers in our midst to underpitch or ferment hot. We know from experience that unlike sanitation and wort production, small differences in the ferment can have huge impacts on the final beer. A healthy, temperature-controlled ferment is the difference between beer tasting like "beer", and tasting like "a good try". That's not just dogma or ideology: I've experienced it myself, and one commercial brewer after another stresses the ferment as the first place to focus for improved beer quality.
 

DrunkleJon

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I believe the goal of this thread is to encourage more of a RDWHAHB mentality. Mainly because most new brewers are paranoid as heck that they screwed up. Most new brewers realize that their first batch is not going to be a Chimay or HT or pick your favorite craft brew. This thread is mainly to say that it will become beer, but you do not have to be an expert or a biological scientist in order to make it. If you look at the beginners forum you will see a plethora of "Did I ruin my beer?" posts as well as "Is it infected". This thread is to let the new brewers relax a little and learn as you go and not expect amazing beer right off, but not expect that you are going to be drinking 6 day dead roadkill juice filtered through used TP, but sometimes even us seasoned (I am speaking with a modest 3 years experience here) brewers screw up a step and still come up with something good. Heck, sometimes the best brews we make are the ones that are not recreate-able due to a trial and error, or just plain error. It is not like we are telling them to skip sanitation and not pay attention, just that it is not the be-all end-all if they goof, and some mistakes are not immediate dumpers.

Just my opinion though. Disagree as you will, but in my opinion some learn by positive reinforcement, some by negative, some by reading about it and some by doing.
 

drummstikk

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Sure, I remember being a newbie and wondering the same things, "Is it infected?" "Did I ruin my beer?" Of course the answer to both is almost always "no".

One of the first beers I ever made, I added some sugar during the ferment. I was so worried about sanitation that after boiling the sugar, I only let it cool for 5 minutes or so before adding it to my fermenter!

The temperature of the beer went up to the high 80's for about 12 hours, and needless to say, it had some off-flavors. It was WLP001, but most people who were trying to be nice said it had some "spicy" or "Belgian" flavors. I entered it in a competition for feedback, and the judges unanimously told me it had too strong of an ester / sulphur profile.

I was so worried about sanitation, but I should have been worried about the fermentation temperature. The best method was of course to boil the sugar, let it completely cool, then add it. But given a choice between the two extremes, I would have been better off just adding the sugar straight to the fermenter without ever sanitizing it.

I wish somebody had told me how important the ferment was, and how unimportant, at least in comparison, sanitation is.

But even that beer wasn't ruined. We finished all 5 gallons after all! So, I think I understand the spirit of this thread.

But don't we serve our new brewers best not by telling them RDWHAHB (Papazian's indelible hippy mark on our hobby), but by telling them what does matter, alongside telling them what doesn't really matter?

Every new brewer wants to make a good beer; that's why they worry. But given that making good beer is the goal, isn't knowing what actually matters for making a good beer the most relaxing thing of all?

Here's an example from cooking: If you watch Good Eats but you've never cooked before, you might think that making breakfast is horrendously complicated. Alton Brown gives recommendations for equipment, ingredients, temperature, seasoning, and on and on. But the only thing that really matters is watching your bacon cook, and taking it off the heat when it looks done.

If you were going to help a newbie in the kitchen relax, this is probably what you'd tell them, "Just watch your food and stop cooking it when it looks edible." That's relaxing advice. But if you told them not to worry about anything, (Relax, Don't Worry, Drink Some OJ), then when their bacon turns out a little well done (edible but not great), they have a giant list of recommendations to try, each with supposedly equal importance. To me, that's anxiety-inducing.

It's obvious not to burn your food because we've all cooked before, but it's not obvious to new brewers that the ferment is more important than wort production. I heard the standard advice to chill out when I was new, but it really just made things worse. I was making beer that was drinkable but not great, and I wanted to make it better. But there was that huge list of techniques and ingredients rolling around in my head, each equal contenders for the cause of my beer's crappiness.

If someone had told me, "Relax, Don't Worry, Do Temperature Control", then I could have actually relaxed, because I would have known one simple thing I could do differently next time.

Maybe the slogans should be this, RDWDCT and RDWMAS (Relax, Don't Worry, Make a Starter".

I think we're right to tell new brewers not to worry, but unless we tell them what to do instead of worrying, we're not doing them any favors.
 

Rhumbline

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Some people spend their work day dealing with situations where a ten-thousandth of an inch makes the difference between pass and fail or in a world of black and white that doesn't allow for shades of grey.

For me, the joy of brewing is that I can afford to just roll with it. The worst that will happen is I'll waste some time and a few dollars.

My day job satisfies my need for slavish devotion to accuracy and adherence to the rules. Brewing is one of my releases from that.
 

KavDaven

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I spent the entire brew day sanitizing my equipment in water that I forgot to add starsan to. Beer tastes great. I brewed the exact same IPA a couple weeks later with sanitized equipment and I can't tell the difference between the two.
 

croakerj

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I spent the entire brew day sanitizing my equipment in water that I forgot to add starsan to. Beer tastes great. I brewed the exact same IPA a couple weeks later with sanitized equipment and I can't tell the difference between the two.
This is excellent
 
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