Would love feed back on my new process

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mdawson9

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Hi all - Been working on deconstructing the extract brewing process to fit it in my busy life (demanding job and 4 kids under 4 years old). It makes me tired just typing that... Anyway, I can still fit a brew day in about every 3 weeks on a Sunday. Here's what I'm doing to fit it in.

Between 12-2 (naptime) - I steep specialty grains (150 F for 30 min) and dissolve approximately 1/2 of my extract in about a gal or so warm water. Set up kettle, propane burner, make star san solution, fill kettle with approximately 4.5 gal of water, pull out any other necessary equipment, etc. I do 6 gallon boils so the water amount between the steeping grains, extract, and kettle vary but always total 6 gallons in sum.

Between 4-6 (older kids go to church program) - Fire up the propane burner before I shuttle the kids off. By the time I return the water is 180 F or so. I run into the house and grab the two "mini worts" (one pot with the wort from steeped grains and one pot with the dissolved extract) and dump those into the kettle. Get to boil, add hops per schedule, add remaining extract, etc. Chill with combo ice bath and immersion chiller (I live in Florida). Pull out chiller and cover with sanitized lid.

After 8 (post everyone's bedtime routine) - check wort temp (kettle is still in ice bath), hydrometer read, re-hydrate yeast. Pour wort into primary, aerate, pitch. Clean up.

The biggest question I have is there any issue steeping the grains early and then using them cold after a couple hours? Then the general question of is what I'm doing efficient? Can I do things more efficiently?

Would love to get any feedback!
Thanks!
 

IffyG

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The biggest question I have is there any issue steeping the grains early and then using them cold after a couple hours? Then the general question of is what I'm doing efficient? Can I do things more efficiently?

Would love to get any feedback!
Thanks!
I'd be concerned about potential souring from lactobacillus if you don't use the steeped product immediately after generating it. Ever left some grain in a mashtun for a few hours? It's gets rank in a hurry.

As far as being efficient, what kind of beers do you make? I'm a grad student, so time is at a premium for me but I can knock out a partial boil, hop bursted, extract batch of beer in a hair under 2 hours start to finish. I use a 15 minute boil and hop the hell out of the wort during that time and it produced a damn fine pale ale. It certainly doesn't work for all styles, but I've optimized it that I can brew up a batch on a weeknight before calling it a night.

I'd also look into getting a pond pump and recirculating iced water through your immersion chiller. In my experience, that works a hell of a lot better than using an ice bath (and it's easier to boot).
 

flars

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Leaving your propane burner unattended has the potential for problems; fire or injury to uninvited neighbor.
 

IffyG

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Leaving your propane burner unattended has the potential for problems; fire or injury to uninvited neighbor.
I didn't even catch that on my first read through. Honestly, if you don't have time to supervise the burner the entire time, you don't have time to brew. Period.
 

unionrdr

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Not so much that,but what's the wife doing all this time that you have to take care of them & do the runnin around too? she can't take over one sunday out of a whole month of days? Sheez.
 

PJoyce85

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unionrdr said:
Not so much that,but what's the wife doing all this time that you have to take care of them & do the runnin around too? she can't take over one sunday out of a whole month of days? Sheez.
That made me chuckle
A few brews deep.

So, to the OP, as long as you are using the steeped grain liquid within a few hours, you should be just fine.
 

unionrdr

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It just bugs the heck out of me that some just can't find it within themselves to help when they see you're swamped. That's selfish & bone lazy.
Having said that,the op's day would be a couple hours shorter if he got help with the kids one lousy day out of the month. As long as the fresh worts covered,it'd be ok for a short time. But even the spent grains go south very quickly. If you don't use them in recipes right away,they sour. So they must be dried slowly to store'em fresh.
So I wouldn't let the fresh wort sit more than 2 hours myself.
 

PJoyce85

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As long as I have a Nut Brown or a Belgian on tap, I can brew whenever and the mrs. will cover the home detail. Although, we don't know the OP's home situation so maybe we should cut her some slack (for now ;) )


mdawson9 said:
Hi all - Been working on deconstructing the extract brewing process to fit it in my busy life (demanding job and 4 kids under 4 years old). It makes me tired just typing that... Anyway, I can still fit a brew day in about every 3 weeks on a Sunday. Here's what I'm doing to fit it in.

Between 12-2 (naptime) - I steep specialty grains (150 F for 30 min) and dissolve approximately 1/2 of my extract in about a gal or so warm water. Set up kettle, propane burner, make star san solution, fill kettle with approximately 4.5 gal of water, pull out any other necessary equipment, etc. I do 6 gallon boils so the water amount between the steeping grains, extract, and kettle vary but always total 6 gallons in sum.

Between 4-6 (older kids go to church program) - Fire up the propane burner before I shuttle the kids off. By the time I return the water is 180 F or so. I run into the house and grab the two "mini worts" (one pot with the wort from steeped grains and one pot with the dissolved extract) and dump those into the kettle. Get to boil, add hops per schedule, add remaining extract, etc. Chill with combo ice bath and immersion chiller (I live in Florida). Pull out chiller and cover with sanitized lid.

After 8 (post everyone's bedtime routine) - check wort temp (kettle is still in ice bath), hydrometer read, re-hydrate yeast. Pour wort into primary, aerate, pitch. Clean up.

The biggest question I have is there any issue steeping the grains early and then using them cold after a couple hours? Then the general question of is what I'm doing efficient? Can I do things more efficiently?

Would love to get any feedback!
Thanks!
Have you tried this before? Aside from leaving your burner unattended, which other posters have pointed out, if it works for you, it works for you.
 

Homercidal

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Acetobactor isn't going to turn your wort sour in 2 hours, especially at 150 degrees, but I do think that leaving the propane unattended for any length of time is something to be cautious about. But that's a safety issue, not a process issue.

I think I would rather just have 2 hours set aside for the hot side process rather than having to split it up like that. Not that it wouldn't work. After that, you can chill in your bath for a while and do kid necessities until time to pitch yeast.

Good luck with the rugrats! Hopefully they won't put you in the poor house or mental institute! ;)
 

krackin

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I'd suggest getting everything ready the night before, turn in as early as possible and hit it at 3 to 4 AM. You can be all done except clean up in 3 hrs easy. Use the afternoon time for a nap in the shade after clean up and a cool one.
 

krackin

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Maybe a little longer than 3 hrs, call it 4 , you may have little helpers get up to give you a hand.
 

ladodger34

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krackin said:
Maybe a little longer than 3 hrs, call it 4 , you may have little helpers get up to give you a hand.
My boys were more than happy to help me bottle last weekend.. Mommy wasn't exactly excited that her little guys learned how to bottle beer (they helped with the wand and capping a few times) but they were occupied for a bit!
 

andy6026

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It sounds to me like you're in as much need of an assistant as you are a plan. Surely a friend can or two can help given that it's once every 3 weeeks?
 

krackin

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Maybe she wasn't but what a small price for their future memories. Helping dad with beer. Priceless.
 

bleme

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I see the time between 12 and 2 as all wasted time. There just isn't a need to dissolve the extract and steep ahead of time. When you turn on the propane, toss your steeping grains in. When it hits 170F, wiggle them around and pull them out. No more worries about stuff souring.

Make your Star San during the boil. No need to sanitize stuff before boil anyway.
 

KIAKillerXJ

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bleme said:
I see the time between 12 and 2 as all wasted time. There just isn't a need to dissolve the extract and steep ahead of time. When you turn on the propane, toss your steeping grains in. When it hits 170F, wiggle them around and pull them out. No more worries about stuff souring.

Make your Star San during the boil. No need to sanitize stuff before boil anyway.
My thoughts too. Your extract day is longer than my AG days. Shiuld be able to knock that extract batch out in 2.5 hrs or so, especially since you have a propane burner setup
 
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mdawson9

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Wow. A lot of good feedback here. Thanks! Yes, I've done this twice. An apricot pale ale and an IPA. IPA is awesome. The pale ale has an astringent/sour undercurrent that really bugs me. Which is why I posted the thread. My sanitation is solid and I'm confident in my technique so I will assume that letting the steeped grains go to room temp for several hours is the culprit. I do pull the grain bag out obviously.
Tomorrow I'm going to switch back to going straight through. Brew day is 2.5 hours but I broke it up because I don't have 2.5 hours straight unless its 4am or 8pm. So I'm doing 8pm.
As far as the comments around the SWMBO, I do not ask for her to cover for me. No way. Not with twin 6 month olds and a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old. She loves beer, is still hot after 4 kids and bought me a two tap kegerator for Christmas. So I'm happy there. Anything more is just pushin my luck. :) I do appreciate unionrdr sticking up for me though. I feel a bromance coming on... ;-)
 

nelven34

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Leaving your propane burner unattended has the potential for problems; fire or injury to uninvited neighbor.
Does everyone else roll their gas grill inside after every use? I use charcoal now, but grew up with gas and the grill stayed where it was used 24/7/365.

Why is leaving your burner unattended a problem then? Unless I misunderstood, it wasn't on. I don't have one, but you make it sound like they are inherently unstable and are likely to spontaneously combust.
 

bleme

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nelven34 said:
Unless I misunderstood, it wasn't on.
He says that from 4 to 6 he fires up the burner then takes the kids to church. Sounds like he leaves it on and unattended to me.
 

unionrdr

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Well,md,i just feel one should help the other when they see they're busy. One day out of the month shouldn't be a problem. Especially if they like the brew. Before my wife became diabetic,she even started brewing herself.
 
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mdawson9

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Hey I appreciate that unionrdr!

Regarding the propane, yes I did leave it on a low setting unattended. Not smart. Consider myself wristslapped on that part. Of course I do during the boil at times by running in the house, etc. but that's not going a far distance.
 

unionrdr

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I brew on the stove,I'm retired,& kids are old enough to know when I'm busy not to bug me. But I can get them to help with the heavy lifting.
 
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