Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: evandy on November 01, 2010, 01:07:41 AM

Title: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: evandy on November 01, 2010, 01:07:41 AM
I wanted to get a quick brew in today, so went for an extract + steeping grains (really a mini-mash, despite what the recipe says) clone from BYO a few years back, specifically the Nutcracker ale.  Hope it turns out good.  However, with the intention of "speeding things up" I made a bunch of bone-headed blunders.  Read and enjoy... and don't make the same mistakes!

Started the water boiling in the kettle while the steeping grains were finishing up inside.  Which would have been fine, if I hadn't gone ahead and added the DME to it once it hit boiling.  Or if I had calculated how much extra water I needed.  I didn't leave space for sparge water from the steeping grains... which were sticky with gooey, tasty, malt sugars.  In the end, I had about 8.5 gallons of wort pre-boil, which I managed to get down to 6.75 gal at the end of an hour.  I usually put 5.5 to 6.0 gallons in my fermentor, so I wasn't too off, but yikes.  Hopefully the lowered OG won't throw off the beer too much.  And I must not have let the whirpool go for long enough, because my fermentor ended up with LOTS of hot/cold break in it, despite a short whirlpool.

Oh well, based on past experiences, it should come out fine in the end.

Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: bluesman on November 01, 2010, 01:47:31 AM
Yea...mistakes are what make us better as homebrewers.
They can be painful sometimes but definitely make us better.   ;)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: micsager on November 01, 2010, 03:03:34 PM
Saturday about 4pm, my neighbor is starting the bonfire, for a night of partying.  I walk over and help him, and a bunch of his friends start coming over.  Once they find out I'm a homebrewer, they all want to brew a batch. 
.
25 pounds of grain + 5 ounces of hops + a couple smack packs of yeast + 5 drunk guys = ???????
.
We'll just have to find out in a month or so.   
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: corkybstewart on November 01, 2010, 03:26:41 PM
Yesterday brewing a rye IPA I was recirculating through the counterflow chiller in an ice bath back to the kettle.  Wort was down to about 65, almost finished when my neighbor stopped by.  We talked a minute, and he left.  I looked at the kettle and there was a bunch of wort missing.  Then I saw the hose lying on the garage floor in a big 3 gallon puddle of wort.  I ended up with 8 gallons instead of 11, and today I have to take a bunch of stuff out of the garage so I can hose the floor down.  My floor isn't level, all the wort flowed away from the door.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beveragebob on November 02, 2010, 11:54:49 PM
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: tygo on November 03, 2010, 12:33:30 AM
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.

Distractions and too many samples of the finished product on brewday that is.  ;D
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: euge on November 03, 2010, 06:45:34 AM
I was cutting my brew time down to just a few hours by doing concentrated boils and chilling the kettle in the bath tub. I lost two consecutive batches when the kettles floated and capsized wasting a potential 10 gallons of beer. Expensive beer.

And I was distracted both times.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: kgs on November 03, 2010, 12:40:26 PM
I was cutting my brew time down to just a few hours by doing concentrated boils and chilling the kettle in the bath tub. I lost two consecutive batches when the kettles floated and capsized wasting a potential 10 gallons of beer. Expensive beer.

And I was distracted both times.

In a couple of experiments a year ago where I was trying to mash a day in advance, I was sparging into one-gallon water jugs (so I could chill them quickly in the fridge... the theory went, anyway). Yeah, you know what happened each time. Turn my head for a minute... wort all over the floor. Several times. I mean, after the first time, you'd think I would admit this was a bad idea.

I am still going to revisit the mash-ahead idea, but I'll mash into a kettle or bucket and take it from there. My thought is to mash the night before, stop the enzyme activity by cooling the wort with frozen plastic quart bottles, then get up early and brew.

Also, I have found it best to lay out my hop schedule and any other additions in Pyrex cups, labeled with each addition and time, even though I never BUI (brew under the influence). The one time I didn't do this, between one thing and the other I got my additions mixed up.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beveragebob on November 03, 2010, 05:10:24 PM
Why not just do an overnight mash for something that you want high attenuation from and leave it in the mash tun? You can always heat it up and do a mash out in the a.m.   Just my .02
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beersk on November 03, 2010, 06:18:26 PM
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
This is why I prefer to brew ALONE.  No one home, invite no one over, ALONE.  I don't like distractions.  I've forgotten to take SG readings, forgotten to add certain things to the boil, etc. and realizing later it pisses me off so much.
I brew alone these days.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: 6thstreet on November 03, 2010, 09:00:24 PM
It is always hard to brew and host at the same time.  Big Brew days are the worst for me as there is usually a crowd and lots of questions not to mention glasses to fill.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: Mikey on November 03, 2010, 09:19:20 PM
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
This is why I prefer to brew ALONE.  No one home, invite no one over, ALONE.  I don't like distractions.  I've forgotten to take SG readings, forgotten to add certain things to the boil, etc. and realizing later it pisses me off so much.
I brew alone these days.

That's the way I do it and I'll still make the occasional mistake from a phone call or ????
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: bluesman on November 03, 2010, 09:23:05 PM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beersk on November 03, 2010, 09:52:22 PM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

Haha, indeed.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: gordonstrong on November 03, 2010, 10:03:18 PM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 01:10:32 AM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."


HA!

Gotta get a Thorogood fix every now and then. Ole' Georgie and the boys are bad to the bone.  8)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: BrewArk on November 04, 2010, 01:19:07 AM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."


HA!

Gotta get a Thorogood fix every now and then. Ole' Georgie and the boys are bad to the bone.  8)

all I can say is: "Get a haircut & get a real job"  ;)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: tschmidlin on November 04, 2010, 06:52:17 AM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."
I didn't even have to follow the link to know what it was :)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: euge on November 04, 2010, 07:16:55 AM
Who was that chick at the end? She looks familiar.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: bluesman on November 04, 2010, 06:28:44 PM
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."
I didn't even have to follow the link to know what it was :)

Great Brewers think alike.  8)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: pweis909 on November 06, 2010, 10:31:53 AM
My latest blunder occured when I was inspired by Drew's Zymurgy article on turning 1 beer into two.  To make the long story short, I pitched a Belgian ale yeast starter into the batch that was destined to be a dubbel, and then I pitched my American ale yeast into the batch that was destined to be a dubbel.  I pitched it into the wrong fermenter!  That left me with no yeast for my IPA.  Although it was 11pm, I live near a convenient mart that sells a small assortment of homebrew products.  When I arrived, they were out of S-05 and S-04, my "go to" dry yeasts.  So I got a Nottingham pack.  Then I realized it was the recalled Nottingham that some homebrewers have complained about as non-starter.  So I got a Windsor pack too.  I pitched them both.  To recap, it was 1 mash, 2 different beers, and 4 different yeasts.  I'll sample the first bottle of the Notty-Windsor IPA today.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beveragebob on November 07, 2010, 02:56:15 PM
I hope you took good notes. It may turn out to be fantastic!
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: gordonstrong on November 07, 2010, 04:13:45 PM
My latest blunder occured when I was inspired by Drew's Zymurgy article on turning 1 beer into two.  To make the long story short, I pitched a Belgian ale yeast starter into the batch that was destined to be a dubbel, and then I pitched my American ale yeast into the batch that was destined to be a dubbel.  I pitched it into the wrong fermenter!  That left me with no yeast for my IPA.  Although it was 11pm, I live near a convenient mart that sells a small assortment of homebrew products.  When I arrived, they were out of S-05 and S-04, my "go to" dry yeasts.  So I got a Nottingham pack.  Then I realized it was the recalled Nottingham that some homebrewers have complained about as non-starter.  So I got a Windsor pack too.  I pitched them both.  To recap, it was 1 mash, 2 different beers, and 4 different yeasts.  I'll sample the first bottle of the Notty-Windsor IPA today.

As brewing disaster stories go, that's pretty funny and likely not fatal.

Maybe adopt a system to identify when you have pitched.  I keep a piece of aluminum foil over the carboy before it's pitched, and add an airlock afterwards.  Maybe something like that would help.  Or if you're making multiple beers, take some masking tape and identify the carboys before you fill them.  You could even make little reminder flags, like a piece of tape that says "needs yeast" that you remove when you pitch.  But chances are, once you've made this mistake, you won't make it again anyway.  That's how most mistakes go (thankfully).
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: pweis909 on November 07, 2010, 08:57:55 PM
I hope you took good notes. It may turn out to be fantastic!

Thanks for the encouraging words, Bob.  I tasted the AIPA last night and the Belgian this afternoon.  Gordon is right that the mistake was fatal neither for the dubbel nor the AIPA.  I suspect that the dubbel has a reduced Belgian yeast character because some of the fermentables were consumed by the American ale yeast.  The AIPA is a bit fruity, probably because of the Windsor, and this fruityness might have been more intense if not for the Nottingham's presence.  I think the dubbel is more to style than the AIPA, but that likely is more of a recipe issue than a yeast issue (advice for next IPA: more late hops).  While I don't think the mistake is worth repeating, I am happy to have two drinkable beers.     
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: beveragebob on November 07, 2010, 09:39:36 PM
Now blend them 1/2 in a glass and see how your recipe collaboration tastes together. I was reading on another thread where someone made a Triple(as in Belgian) IPA so, I blended a real hoppy IPA with my Belgian Triple I have on tap and I loved it. Never thought of using Trappist Ale yeast for a Golden Belgian IPA and I'm thinking "why not"
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: capozzoli on November 07, 2010, 11:19:06 PM
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
This is why I prefer to brew ALONE.  No one home, invite no one over, ALONE.  I don't like distractions.  I've forgotten to take SG readings, forgotten to add certain things to the boil, etc. and realizing later it pisses me off so much.
I brew alone these days.

Me too; pant-less, well unless you count little Capazzoli and the hairy twins.
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: tubercle on November 07, 2010, 11:37:35 PM
 :o :o :o :o
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: bluesman on November 08, 2010, 01:08:06 AM
:o :o :o :o

Yea...TMI.  ::)
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: kgs on November 08, 2010, 02:41:56 AM
I brew alone. But appropriately garbed (just like Mrs. Cleaver, in a dress, pearls, and high heels, with my hair perfectly coiffed, and a festive ruffled apron to keep my dress nice).
Title: Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
Post by: Mikey on November 08, 2010, 01:57:03 PM
I miss June.