Author Topic: First brew day mistakes  (Read 7546 times)

Offline DrewG

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First brew day mistakes
« on: January 24, 2012, 09:33:25 AM »
I'm new to the hobby (obsession?). I'm absolutely hooked, in spite of about 4 and a half gallons of really lousy oatmeal stout. My second batch is under my belt now, and looking back at my first I'm amazed at what I've learned since.

First Batch:

Didn't cool the wort (dumped it on top of 2 and a half gallons cold water in carboy, result being it didn't cool to 75 for about 5 hours)
Didn't aerate wort
Pitched dry yeast without re-hydrating
Fermented 5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy without a blowoff setup (initially)
Had fermentation temps all over the place (I live in MI and heat with wood, gone during the day)

The result was an under attenuated beer (finished around 1.024) that tastes not much like an oatmeal stout. Some fruit/alcohol wine flavors.

Since then I've listened to about 40 hrs worth of podcasts (mostly brewstrong), finished one book (Papazians), halfway through J Palmers "How to Brew", bought "Brewing Classic Styles", started a brew logbook, purchased an additional 6.5 g carboy, ranco 2 stage controller, fermwrap, thermowell, yeast starter flask, and about 10 other things I'll remember after I post this.

My 2nd batch (dry hopped APA) is currently sitting at exactly 68 degrees awaiting bottling this weekend. High hopes for that one.

What a hobby.

"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

-Barbarosa

Offline WDE97

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 09:43:05 AM »
Great job learning from your mistakes.  Keep reading and learning, and get ready to make (and drink) some great beer.

Welcome to the obsession.  ;D
Robert H.

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.    - Steven Wright

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Fermenting: Northwest Pale Ale.

Offline edvinjonsson

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 10:10:26 AM »
Haha, I'm new to the hobby too. My first batch of pale ale was about 8 months ago, I read Papazian's and John Palmer's book before I started brewing, so I thought I knew what I was doing, but it was a disaster, I actually ended up throwing it away. Tried again the next day and that one came out really good. It became an obsession after that.  ;D

Offline euge

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 11:38:45 AM »
Congrats!

Yeah it's a sharp learning curve but the rewards are worth the effort. And we all are learning as we go.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline DrewG

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 12:29:02 PM »
Brewing again this sunday. Going to try a starter for the first time. OG should be 1.050-1.053. Using WLP001, and I've read that it may not be necessary to use a starter with that gravity? Is it a "best practice" to do one anyway?
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

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Offline duboman

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 03:02:47 PM »
Brewing again this sunday. Going to try a starter for the first time. OG should be 1.050-1.053. Using WLP001, and I've read that it may not be necessary to use a starter with that gravity? Is it a "best practice" to do one anyway?

This isn't really the best answer but I've never made a starter, not for not wanting to but my brewing tends to be very spontaneous and I can never get my schedule coordinated in time to make one! I direct pitch liquid yeast either Wyeast or White labs and I do use yeast nutrient in the end of the boil to make up for it. Fermentation is generally rolling within 8 hours. I generally don't brew really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!

Most everyone i know does make a starter though, regardless of the beer, they just tend to be more organized than I am in their schedule.....
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Offline euge

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 04:11:09 PM »
While it isn't absolutely necessary to make a starter for a beer of that gravity it is advisable that you do. If you haven't the time or organization then dry yeast is a perfect alternative. S-05 ought to be the same as 001. Re-hydrating can be done in less than 20 minutes and pitched into the wort. I've been getting fast ferments this way. Less than 5 hours for a big head of krausen to develop.

If you pitch just a vial of liquid yeast it may take up to 36 hours to show active fermentation. The beer won't be as good as one pitched with a starter.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline tubercle

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 04:20:57 PM »
Didn't cool the wort (dumped it on top of 2 and a half gallons cold water in carboy, result being it didn't cool to 75 for about 5 hours) - No need to rush. I usually don't pitch until ~12 hours later to get the temps where I want them. 75 bad. 65 good.
Didn't aerate wort - actually you did some. Pouring into the carboy will aerate some (not to the standards of the O2 users but probably could use a little more).
Pitched dry yeast without re-hydrating - I don't. Some do, some don't, who cares. The jury is still out on this one.
Fermented 5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy without a blowoff setup (initially) - ouch.

Had fermentation temps all over the place (I live in MI and heat with wood, gone during the day) - double ouch. Put the carboy on a container of water and it will keep the fluxuations to a minimum.
Sweet Caroline where the Sun rises over the deep blue sea and sets somewhere beyond Tennessee

Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 05:06:53 PM »
Very interesting thread.  I'll be doing my first five gallon batch (at least without help, that is) this weekend.  Also bottling my first five gallon batch (brewed with a lot of help).  I'm going to keep a close eye on this thread because I think we're in mostly the same boat.  I will of course be reporting on my experiences down the line too.  

I'm already obsessed!!

My temperature control is much easier.   I'm also using dry yeast on batches 2 and 3 so that should make a difference too.

Have yet to decide what batch 4 will be.  I suspect I'll pick up ingredients for some type of "red" next time I hit St Louis.  I've got multiple books (joy of homebrewing, how to brew, beer captured), and I've narrowed batch 4 down to a couple different red recipes.

My second/third batches will be an extract IPA and a sweet stout (haven't decided the order yet).

It's very obsessive!
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 05:12:37 PM by alcaponejunior »

Offline weithman5

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 05:11:27 PM »
really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!



dude we are three weeks in to the year.  you may be my hero ;D
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Offline DrewG

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 08:34:37 AM »
Quote
Had fermentation temps all over the place (I live in MI and heat with wood, gone during the day) - double ouch. Put the carboy on a container of water and it will keep the fluxuations to a minimum.

I picked up a Ranco controller and a ferm wrap heater, working really well. I'm able to maintain 68 degrees with a towel around it for a bit of insulation. Much better than trying to control ambient room temp. Went the space heater route prior. The girlfriend will probably shoot me when the electric bill comes
"Well, the Mexicans got a saying - what cannot be remedied must be endured."

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Offline duboman

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 01:59:31 PM »
really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!



dude we are three weeks in to the year.  you may be my hero ;D

That would be 100+ in 2011, I'm not that obsessed, I do have a real job.
Peace....Love......Beer......

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 11:03:53 PM »
really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!



dude we are three weeks in to the year.  you may be my hero ;D

That would be 100+ in 2011, I'm not that obsessed, I do have a real job.
Not to mention if they've all been great and really big, and it hasn't even been 4 weeks . .  ;D
Tom Schmidlin

Offline kgs

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 05:47:44 PM »
really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!



dude we are three weeks in to the year.  you may be my hero ;D

That would be 100+ in 2011, I'm not that obsessed, I do have a real job.
Not to mention if they've all been great and really big, and it hasn't even been 4 weeks . .  ;D

This is *perfectly* achievable with a flux capacitor.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: First brew day mistakes
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2012, 01:18:53 AM »
really "big" beers and of the 100+ gallons done this year, they've all been great!



dude we are three weeks in to the year.  you may be my hero ;D

That would be 100+ in 2011, I'm not that obsessed, I do have a real job.
Not to mention if they've all been great and really big, and it hasn't even been 4 weeks . .  ;D

This is *perfectly* achievable with a flux capacitor.

True - does your work?  mine is in the shop ;)
Tom Schmidlin