Author Topic: Mistakes, Learned From  (Read 2347 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Mistakes, Learned From
« on: January 02, 2016, 01:43:56 PM »
After Denny's thread on tips, maybe it would be interesting to share lessons learned from simple mistakes

On 12/1 I brewed a 1.040 Scottish and about 20 minutes into the boil I was looking at my work bench when I realized I used CaSO4 instead of CaCl in my mash/sparge water. Oh well, keep on trucking. I tapped it last night...

1. I really need to build my QD pressure checker, because its at about 2.8 volumes...
2. Even through the over carbonation I can really tell the difference between CaCl and CaSO4. I'm not liking it... obviously you can tell the difference between the two chemicals just by looking, but I need to put them in small tupperware bins clearly labeled so this doesn't happen again. Its like when you take a drink from a half gallon carton, expecting milk, but its OJ. That moment of WTF!!!

Anyway,  I wouldn't normally intentionally brew with the wrong calcium just to see the difference.  Accidentally doing it gave me a chance to learn the difference though. Also, its supported my mindset on WHY I add Cl or SO4. I do it to add calcium, and whether I add Cl or SO4 is based on the style. In other words, for me its less about trying to drive malt (Cl) or hops (SO4) its more about getting the adequate Calcium from a salt that doesn't get in the way of the malt (SO4) or hops (Cl).

What have you learned from a mistake?

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2016, 02:26:39 PM »
I have done that...

I keep leaving valves open on my fermenters and pumping over. Doesn't seem to matter if it's a conical or a Speidel, I have done this more times than I care to admit... and lost gallons of wort. Thinking a lock out - tag out system might be required... or a real brewer.
Matt Chrispen
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Blogging from the garage @ accidentalis.com
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2016, 02:42:39 PM »
I've learned a lot of things the hard way. Pretty good way to remember the next time !

1/  Make sure your scale is set to 'g' not 'oz' when weighing out water salts.  ;) I jacked up a beer doing this once. It was an English bitter and was overmineralized like crazy (obviously), . Got dumped.

2/  When you have a freezer full of hops, be awake enough to weigh out the ones you actually want in the beer. I've had a couple of beers come out pretty 'interesting'. I'll say that Simcoe is a pretty crappy fit for kolsch.   ;D

3/  When quick carbing, realize that your regulator has its limits. One of my regulators has ~ 48psi as its pressure relief dump. Emptied a tank that way.


I know there are others. I'll post when I can think of them.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 03:34:15 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2016, 03:29:52 PM »
Embarrassing mistakes I make often:

1/ pour strike water into the mash tun with the valve open.

2/ not pay attention when heating to boil leading to a boil over.

Offline dzlater

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2016, 03:51:16 PM »
A minor mishap. I just bought one of those paint stirrers you put on a drill to aerate my wort.
It worked well but fell off the drill into the fermentor. I just left it in there to ferment along with the beer.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline riceral

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2016, 04:16:02 PM »

1/ pour strike water into the mash tun with the valve open.


Yep. Done that. Also not checking the spigot on the fermenter when filling. Duh!

But never both on the same batch.
Ralph R.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2016, 05:04:06 PM »

1/ pour strike water into the mash tun with the valve open.


Yep. Done that.
+2 - I'm good for a hotfoot once every year or so. I should really wear shoes when brewing...
Eric B.

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

Offline kgs

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2016, 05:05:38 PM »

1/ pour strike water into the mash tun with the valve open.


Yep. Done that. Also not checking the spigot on the fermenter when filling. Duh!

But never both on the same batch.

Just this morning, I poured water into my HLT with the valve open. I don't drink (alcohol) while I brew, but I was going through the process without the master checklist I keep meaning to create, and before I had my coffee. (My mash tun valve was open too... at least I closed THAT.)

A master brewing checklist is on my to-do list, and "close all valves" is going on the top. There is no need to have an open valve before the process starts, and yet I (we!) do this over and over.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 02:23:49 AM by kgs »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2016, 05:27:21 PM »
A master brewing checklist is on my to-do list


Really helps me stay organized on the early morning brews, which are most brewing days for me.
Jon H.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2016, 05:32:32 PM »

There is no need to have an open valve before the process starts, and yet I (we!) do this over and over.
I actually store all of my gear with the valve open to keep it from getting musty. I do this with my coolers as well.

Offline kgs

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2016, 05:37:43 PM »

There is no need to have an open valve before the process starts, and yet I (we!) do this over and over.
I actually store all of my gear with the valve open to keep it from getting musty. I do this with my coolers as well.

I do as well, for the same reason, and no doubt that is why so many of us leave valves open. I also take a bucket lid and stick it under the lid of my mash tun to keep it open a crack in between brew days.

But there is no need to have an open valve at the beginning of the brew day (the actual process).
K.G. Schneider
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2016, 05:42:22 PM »
I've learned a lot of things the hard way. Pretty good way to remember the next time !

1/  Make sure your scale is set to 'g' not 'oz' when weighing out water salts.  ;) I jacked up a beer doing this once. It was an English bitter and was overmineralized like crazy (obviously), . Got dumped.

I did this my first all grain brew. Ended up with a very salty brown ale. Simmered a lot of hot dogs in that beer.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2016, 08:05:36 PM »
A minor mishap. I just bought one of those paint stirrers you put on a drill to aerate my wort.
It worked well but fell off the drill into the fermentor. I just left it in there to ferment along with the beer.

I did exactly the same. Less chance of contamination leaving it in than trying to fish it out.

I also left a valve or two open. Not sure with the mash or kettle, but for sure on a bucket fermenter with a spigot.

This one time I put together 3 different recipes at the LHBS, then forgot to label the bags. I had the grain milled and bagged again. 1 batch was obvious what it was, but the other 2 were similar enough in weight and grains that I couldn't tell them apart. Not sure, but to this day I think I mixed those up when I brewed them. lol


Offline brewinhard

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2016, 10:44:10 PM »

This one time I put together 3 different recipes at the LHBS, then forgot to label the bags. I had the grain milled and bagged again. 1 batch was obvious what it was, but the other 2 were similar enough in weight and grains that I couldn't tell them apart. Not sure, but to this day I think I mixed those up when I brewed them. lol

Ha!  Nice work. At least you were trying to think ahead.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Mistakes, Learned From
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2016, 10:47:32 PM »
Honestly, one of the best ways to learn how to avoid mistakes is by sharing information in great forums like this one. The trick is remembering how to fix the error or to avoid it when the time comes. But, thank you to all who are constantly sharing ideas, recipes, tricks of the trade, and insight into our fabulous hobby.  It has been a pleasure learning from everyone here.  :)