Author Topic: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit  (Read 13524 times)

Offline garc_mall

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2012, 08:54:10 PM »

I tasted the SG sample* after I read the OG and it tasted fine, quite bitter from the hops, but then it's an IPA so that's probably expected.  It smelled wonderful brewing so I'm not going to spend two weeks worrying when I've already gotten two positive replies and I've had about five beers since I finished brewing it! 

*not that my pallet is advanced enough to glean any useful info from that, but hey, you can't put the sample back in the bucket, so might as well, right?

I drink all my gravity samples as well, and I have noticed that taking good notes on what I taste in that original sample, along with the later samples, has given me a good idea of how I am going. The first beers I didn't know what I was tasting for, but now I can make assessments on whether I hit the bitterness I was going for and whether I made some mistakes prior to fermentation.
In a Keg: Flanders Red Ale, Rye Altbier, Cascade/Topaz Pale
Fermenting: Flanders Red, Saison

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2012, 09:56:42 PM »
My tricorder tells me that it's probably going to be somewhat extra bitter, possibly because I extended the 12 minutes to 25 because of the non-boil phase after adding the malt extracts and 2nd hops addition.  No doubt there's some extra bittering there, but how much I can't be arsed to attempt to calculate at this time and after this many beers.  Let's just say that I expect the IBUs to be higher than normal, except for the OG being lower than expected, thus leading to a definitive mathematical quantification of "I just don't f'in know." 

Whatever, the beer should be tasty when it's done.  The wort was pretty tasty, despite its slightly extra bitter nature.  I'm purely optimistic at this point.  Next time I brew I'll have homebrews to drink so I really won't be worried about it at all.

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2012, 10:32:38 PM »
My tricorder tells me that it's probably going to be somewhat extra bitter, possibly because I extended the 12 minutes to 25 because of the non-boil phase after adding the malt extracts and 2nd hops addition.  No doubt there's some extra bittering there, but how much I can't be arsed to attempt to calculate at this time and after this many beers.  Let's just say that I expect the IBUs to be higher than normal, except for the OG being lower than expected, thus leading to a definitive mathematical quantification of "I just don't f'in know." 

Whatever, the beer should be tasty when it's done.  The wort was pretty tasty, despite its slightly extra bitter nature.  I'm purely optimistic at this point.  Next time I brew I'll have homebrews to drink so I really won't be worried about it at all.

unfermented wort tastes more bitter than the final beer will be in my experience. I suspect because alot of harsh bitterness gets driven off and carried away into the yeast cake.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline headhunter4hire

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2012, 10:52:01 AM »
I'm new to this but learning fast from people here and a buddy at work that brews, one trick I've picked up that really helps is that I buy 1 gallon jugs of bottled water. It helps me know exactly how much water I'm using, it's purified already, and they fit in the refrigerator to quickly drop the temp of my wort.

You may also want to consider kegs if you are doing the 5 gallon route. I made the switch and only bottle a few to give away for friends to try. It is so much easier then cleaning bottles.

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2012, 11:26:48 AM »
When circumstances allow, I eventually plan to do the keg thing.  Right now that would be impractical.  

BTW this time I'm doing my yeast a bit different.  I aerated in advance, then I'm going to pitch the yeast according to the alternate directions on the website:

Quote
Alternatively, pitch dry yeast directly in the fermentation vessel providing the temperature of the wort is above 20C. Progressively sprinkle the dry yeast into the wort ensuring the yeast covers all the surface of wort available in order to avoid clumps. Leave for 30 minutes and then mix the wort e.g. using aeration.

Only deviation is that I've already aerated the wort, and plan to stir gently instead of aerating after pitching.

Anyone have any comment on that method?  

The yeast is safale S-04

Offline euge

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2012, 11:46:28 AM »
What do the instructions say on the package of yeast? I find optimum results with rehydration before pitching. I almost exclusively use dry yeast.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2012, 11:52:54 AM »
What do the instructions say on the package of yeast? I find optimum results with rehydration before pitching. I almost exclusively use dry yeast.

Package has little info on it, just saying pitch between 15-24C.  I got the info from the website.  There is a rehydration method and an alternate direct pitching method.  For ease, and because my last batch worked well with direct pitching, I chose the simpler method.  I may try the rehydration method next time though (if using dry yeast again). 

Offline erockrph

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2012, 08:29:42 PM »
My tricorder tells me that it's probably going to be somewhat extra bitter, possibly because I extended the 12 minutes to 25 because of the non-boil phase after adding the malt extracts and 2nd hops addition.  No doubt there's some extra bittering there, but how much I can't be arsed to attempt to calculate at this time and after this many beers.  Let's just say that I expect the IBUs to be higher than normal, except for the OG being lower than expected, thus leading to a definitive mathematical quantification of "I just don't f'in know." 

Whatever, the beer should be tasty when it's done.  The wort was pretty tasty, despite its slightly extra bitter nature.  I'm purely optimistic at this point.  Next time I brew I'll have homebrews to drink so I really won't be worried about it at all.

unfermented wort tastes more bitter than the final beer will be in my experience. I suspect because alot of harsh bitterness gets driven off and carried away into the yeast cake.

I just experienced this firsthand myself. I started my second batch of beer a few days ago from a recipe/hop schedule I threw together myself. When I tasted the unfermented wort I was pretty worried that I overdid the bittering hops because it was bracingly bitter. I just took a gravity sample a few minutes ago and it tastes great. There is a nice bite to it, but it isn't overwhelming like the wort tasted. In five days it went from "I'm worried I screwed this up" to "this is going to be a nice one".  ;D
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2012, 04:32:37 PM »
The "English IPA" I made with the 2oz dry hops...

WOW!!  Just popped a 12oz of this one, ten days after bottling.  It's freaking GOOD!  Very hoppy, not too bitter, has a nice light sweetness and a touch of fruitiness despite being pretty dry overall, and has tons of hops, both in the nose and on your taste buds!!

This recipe turned out great and I would certainly recommend that any homebrewer who wanted an easy recipe for a hoppy beer should try it!  Make sure to note the dry hops, 2oz cascade after a week in the fermenter (not shown on original recipe). 

I am so friggin' pleased right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline Brew Doc

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2012, 10:15:05 AM »
New to home brewing but excited to get started...couple of questions:
-Using the Zymurgy Introduction to Brewing recipe for the American Pale Ale to start--does it matter if you used a hopped or unhopped bitters malt extract?
-Reference cooling the wort at the end of boiling--do you have to put the wort on ice or is it okay to let it cool slowly?

Offline hokerer

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2012, 10:37:41 AM »
New to home brewing but excited to get started...couple of questions:
-Using the Zymurgy Introduction to Brewing recipe for the American Pale Ale to start--does it matter if you used a hopped or unhopped bitters malt extract?
-Reference cooling the wort at the end of boiling--do you have to put the wort on ice or is it okay to let it cool slowly?

Welcome to the obsession!

Haven't seen the exact recipe you're talking about but yes, hopped or not extract will make a difference.  Does the recipe call for you to add hops at times during the boil?  If so, you should use unhopped extract.  if the recipe never adds any hops, then hopped extract.

As for cooling, yes it's generally considered best to cool as quickly as possible (at least down to 140F or so).  Beyond that, plenty of folks make great beer letting it take it's time cooling.
Joe

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2012, 11:02:03 AM »
New to home brewing but excited to get started...couple of questions:
-Using the Zymurgy Introduction to Brewing recipe for the American Pale Ale to start--does it matter if you used a hopped or unhopped bitters malt extract?
Yes, like hokerer said, it matters.  You should use what the recipe calls for - if it's not available, you'll need to change the recipe.  We can help with that if you tell us what the original recipe was and what ingredients you can get.  If it calls for hopped extract but you can't get any, you need to add bittering hops.  If it calls for un-hopped extract but you can only get hopped, you need to remove bittering hops.

-Reference cooling the wort at the end of boiling--do you have to put the wort on ice or is it okay to let it cool slowly?
Generally, best practice is to chill it quickly, but it is better to cool it slowly than to not make beer ;)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Brew Doc

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2012, 06:44:47 PM »
So the recipe specifically calls for:
-3.75 lb Cooper "Bitter" Brewing Kit--I purchased their English Bitter kit (hopped), my local brew shop did not have unhopped bitter extract
-2 lb light dry malt extract
-1 oz Cascade hops--added last 15 mintues of the boil

I'm ready to get started, I just wanted to make sure that the hopped bitter kit is appropriate.  Thanks for the help...

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2012, 09:24:41 PM »
So the recipe specifically calls for:
-3.75 lb Cooper "Bitter" Brewing Kit--I purchased their English Bitter kit (hopped), my local brew shop did not have unhopped bitter extract
-2 lb light dry malt extract
-1 oz Cascade hops--added last 15 mintues of the boil

I'm ready to get started, I just wanted to make sure that the hopped bitter kit is appropriate.  Thanks for the help...

yeah the hopped extract sounds right with the rest of the instructions. It is only asking for late hops (15 minutes) which will give flavour and aroma and only a very little bitterness while the extract itself is already bittered.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Questions on my first batch, 5 gallon kit
« Reply #44 on: February 29, 2012, 05:46:22 PM »
So the recipe specifically calls for:
-3.75 lb Cooper "Bitter" Brewing Kit--I purchased their English Bitter kit (hopped), my local brew shop did not have unhopped bitter extract
-2 lb light dry malt extract
-1 oz Cascade hops--added last 15 mintues of the boil

I'm ready to get started, I just wanted to make sure that the hopped bitter kit is appropriate.  Thanks for the help...

A few things you should definitely do...

1. Before you brew, get all your ingredients, equipment, instructions, sanitizer etc together and make yourself a checklist of steps.  I've done this every time so far (I'm coming up on batch 4) and it really helps.  You will probably forget something or have a brain fart of some kind if you don't make a checklist.  I use large lined post-it notes and stick them to the cabinet and check off each step as I do it.  You may need to revise your list a couple times before it's perfect.

2. Keep good notes on everything you do, every ingredient, every calculation, everything that deviates from your plan, every worry, every concern, everything!  Write it down, talk about it with friends, post on forums (I'm on a bunch of forums, some beer, some non-beer), get conversations going and get yourself thinking about brewing.

3. Realize that despite the above two steps being highly recommended by myself, there is one step that is much more important.  Don't over-think think it.  RDWHAHB (relax, don't worry, have a homebrew).  Have a good commercial brew if you don't have any homebrew ready yet.  Your beer will probably come out good!  The first batch is the killer when it comes to suspense though. 

4. Cooling takes a lot of ice.  The first two solo batches I brewed I used twenty pounds of ice (5.5 gallon batches, about 3 gallons of boiled wort, topped to 5.5 with chilled spring water).  Get some ice before you've had four or five beers and realize it'll take hours to cool without it.  Sooner or later (probably sooner) after you've got the bug, you'll want a wort chiller.  I just got one.

5. Water.  If you're at all uncertain about your water, use bottled spring water.  My water wasn't good for beer (discovered when I was messing with Mr Beer).  I had a couple of meh batches of Mr Beer.  When I got my 5 gallon kit I switched to spring water and the difference is night and day.

Again, the biggest thing is relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.  I sense a great tasting bitter in your near future!