Author Topic: First brew  (Read 1760 times)

Offline cleaner72

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First brew
« on: April 14, 2012, 05:09:55 PM »
So i started out doing lots of research and buying several books before I started. I picked up a starter kit and an American Pale Ale from my local brew shop. On brew day, I brought 3.5 gallons of water to 150 degrees and placed the grain bag in for 30 minutes.
   Turned off the heat and added the malt extract, then brought to a boil. I added the bittering hops and had a boil over...I will be better prepared next time for this. The rest of the boil went without a problem adding the aroma and finishing hops at the prescribed times.
   I used an ice bath to cool down the wort and when it showed 75 degrees I poured it into the fermenter along with 2 more gallons of water. The OG at this point was right on at 1.055 The temp at this point was around 70  degrees so i pitched the yeast. I added the stopper and placed it in the basement where it came down to 66 degrees and stayed there for the duration. The only issue I had during this time was the bubbles only lasted a few days then stopped. I kept it in the fermenter for 14 days then took a gravity reading. It was at 1.013. I let it sit another couple of days and checked the gravity again and it still was at 1.013.
  I then attempted to bottle at this point. My issues came when trying to siphon. For some reason I just had a hard time getting it started...I finally figured it out but I was worried I had allowed to much splashing. Not much I could do at this point so I finished bottling.

   Beer has been in about 10 days so I opened my first bottle and was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. I had tasted it when bottling and it was pretty bitter, but had mellowed out alot during the brief time in the bottles. The color was nice with a good head on it. I am looking forward to my next batch without the mistakes I had made the first time.

Any hints or tips you guys might have would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 05:21:46 PM by cleaner72 »

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: First brew
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 05:16:28 PM »
Gratz on your first brew!

Maybe next time wait until it gets to 66F before pitching but 70 isn't too bad. Everything I've read says pitch low (like 64) and let it rise slowly to maybe 68 (for something like a pale ale).  Something about lowering the esters that get created during the first part of fermentation.

Intra cervisiam est deus.

Offline erockrph

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Re: First brew
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 05:24:47 PM »
Congrats on your first of many tasty brews to come.

I highly recommend an auto-siphon if you don't have one. I racked my first beer without one, and said "screw this" and picked one up at my LHBS the next day. Worth every penny.
Eric B.

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Offline FirstStateBrewer

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Re: First brew
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 09:13:32 PM »
Here's how I siphon into my kegs.  I fill my siphon tube with starsan-water, raise both ends to contain the water inside.  Connect one end to the racking cane already inside the fermentor up on the counter.  I place my finger over the other end of the tube to keep the water from leaking out.  Then I lower the end with my finger to a glass on the floor.  I release my finger until all the water drains and beer starts flowing.  I press my finger on the end again and then insert the tube into my keg.  The beer continues to flow via the siphon action.  This process takes just a few seconds and works every time.  Just make sure everything is sanitized, including your hands.

I'm sure you can use a similar method to fill bottles.
Scott B

Offline bluesman

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First brew
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 09:14:47 PM »
Congrats on your first brew.  Sounds like your research payed off.  Definitely get the beer down into the low 60's before pitching on your next batch. Keep up the attention to detail.  Minimize the beers exposure to air to mitigate any potential oxidation.

Keep us posted on your next effort.
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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: First brew
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 09:48:12 PM »
So i started out doing lots of research and buying several books before I started. I picked up a starter kit and an American Pale Ale from my local brew shop. On brew day, I brought 3.5 gallons of water to 150 degrees and placed the grain bag in for 30 minutes.
   Turned off the heat and added the malt extract, then brought to a boil. I added the bittering hops and had a boil over...I will be better prepared next time for this. The rest of the boil went without a problem adding the aroma and finishing hops at the prescribed times.
   I used an ice bath to cool down the wort and when it showed 75 degrees I poured it into the fermenter along with 2 more gallons of water. The OG at this point was right on at 1.055 The temp at this point was around 70  degrees so i pitched the yeast. I added the stopper and placed it in the basement where it came down to 66 degrees and stayed there for the duration. The only issue I had during this time was the bubbles only lasted a few days then stopped. I kept it in the fermenter for 14 days then took a gravity reading. It was at 1.013. I let it sit another couple of days and checked the gravity again and it still was at 1.013.
  I then attempted to bottle at this point. My issues came when trying to siphon. For some reason I just had a hard time getting it started...I finally figured it out but I was worried I had allowed to much splashing. Not much I could do at this point so I finished bottling.

   Beer has been in about 10 days so I opened my first bottle and was pleasantly surprised at the flavor. I had tasted it when bottling and it was pretty bitter, but had mellowed out alot during the brief time in the bottles. The color was nice with a good head on it. I am looking forward to my next batch without the mistakes I had made the first time.

Any hints or tips you guys might have would be appreciated.

\o//o\/o\\o/ Happy Dance....another baby brewer is born!!!!!! Way to go Deaner.
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Offline euge

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Re: First brew
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 11:50:44 PM »
Most very excellent! Doing your homework has paid off for a first brew! You get an A+ today! ;D

Fermentations can and do happen fast, even at lower temps. Stronger beers take longer. But for a 5% beer you are usually ready to bottle or keg at 7-10 days though you can wait a few more days. The primary phase of fermentation usually only takes three days at most- the rest is winding down and conditioning.

And I'm not convinced at the ferment temp being higher than ambient if you have the air circulating. So a gently blowing fan in your basement will help a great deal.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline bo

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Re: First brew
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 05:23:23 AM »
Most very excellent! Doing your homework has paid off for a first brew! You get an A+ today! ;D

Fermentations can and do happen fast, even at lower temps. Stronger beers take longer. But for a 5% beer you are usually ready to bottle or keg at 7-10 days though you can wait a few more days. The primary phase of fermentation usually only takes three days at most- the rest is winding down and conditioning.

And I'm not convinced at the ferment temp being higher than ambient if you have the air circulating. So a gently blowing fan in your basement will help a great deal.

I agree. From the tests I've run, the biggest factor is the type of fermenter you use. Plastic will hold more heat than SS, but in either case, if the air isn't stagnant, you'll only see a 2-3 degree rise at most, but it's usually less. 

Offline tonyp

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Re: First brew
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 08:17:32 AM »
gratz on your first brew, nice work!
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Offline Wheat_Brewer

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Re: First brew
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 08:37:21 AM »
Welcome to the obsession!!!!!!  ;D

If you want you can buy an auto siphon which definitely helps with the siphoning of your beloved beer. I was against it for my first 3 years of brewing and recently caved in and bought one...it was 3 years overdue!

Keep up the good work and let us know what your next beer is going to be!
Homebrewing isn't my obsession, it's my life calling, there's a difference.

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Offline netsteel

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Re: First brew
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 11:29:42 AM »
Welcome aboard! I'm a new brewer as well and can tell you you're in for a ride.  I'm 2 months in with 3 batches so far and I'm already plotting out how to move to 10 gallon all-grain brews.
Peace, Love, Beer!

Offline FirstStateBrewer

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Re: First brew
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 11:47:13 AM »
Welcome aboard! I'm a new brewer as well and can tell you you're in for a ride.  I'm 2 months in with 3 batches so far and I'm already plotting out how to move to 10 gallon all-grain brews.
Good luck!  I brewed extract for 20 years before taking the leap to all-grain a year ago.  All-grain brewing has been an adventure, to say the least! 
Scott B

Offline timberati

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Re: First brew
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 12:07:50 PM »
Welcome to the fun. As the late Gilda Ratner said (as Rosanne Rossana Dana), "It's always something." That, in a nutshell, is what makes brewing fun. In my experience, if you pitch yeast at a temperature that doesn't kill them you will get okay beer (good enough for the woman I'm married to anyway). +1 on pitching yeast at a cooler temp (if you can) and letting the wort's temperature rise.
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Offline cleaner72

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Re: First brew
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2012, 07:20:05 PM »
Thanks for the kind words. Really appreciate it. I have drank several so far and they taste great....far better then I expected....I really am looking forward to my next batch, but I am moving to Houston in 10 days and will be without a house for the first month....once we get moved into our new place I will get my second batch going as long as I have a cool enough place to ferment......if I dont I might have to buy a refrigerator and get a temp control to do my fermenting. How do those of you who live in the hotter climates do your fermentation?

Offline ccfoo242

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Re: First brew
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 07:26:56 PM »
How do those of you who live in the hotter climates do your fermentation?

I did one batch with a swamp cooler then went out and bought a freezer from Home Depot and a temp controller from Amazon...unless you keep your A/C on 68 or lower you'll enjoy your beer much more by getting a small freezer.

Intra cervisiam est deus.