Author Topic: My First Homebrew, A True Story  (Read 767 times)

Offline sethdc

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My First Homebrew, A True Story
« on: February 25, 2016, 03:37:19 AM »
I bought a WilliamsWarn no boil Dutch Pilsner 5-gallon kit and sterilized everything.  I had a clean kitchen with everything perfectly lined up. The first thing I did wrong is the water was nearly boiling when I added the Hopped LME and then when I added the Dry Malt Extract, I dumped it all in there at once instead of gradually (If all else fails, read the directions) and it all solidified in a giant glob so I had to spend a lot of time breaking it up.

I decided to add 48 oz of maple syrup to boost the alcohol, and give it an interesting flavor...I'll get to that.

Then after putting the pot in my kitchen sink filled with ice it got down to the right temperature range - and after siphoning everything into the carboy, I dropped the damn thermometer into the carboy.  Fortunately, I had another carboy that I cleaned and sterilized and siphoned into that one.  Then it turns out that the bung was not quite wide enough and it plunged into the second carboy along with the airlock.

Cue the Benny Hill music and so naturally I fished out the thermometer from carboy #1 and siphoned everything from #2 back into #1 and very carefully used the smaller bung and put some foil around it for a tighter fit until the right sized bung arrived from Amazon.

The extra maple syrup caused a foam-over so I used an empty milk jug with starsan and that did the trick until it was safe to put the airlock back on.  I then went on the road a lot and didn't have time to bottle it so I finally bottled after two months in primary, bottled everything and adding 3/4 cup priming sugar like a good boy.  Last Friday, after two weeks conditioning, I stuck a bottle in the fridge and tried the beer and, despite my best efforts, it was delicious!

I can't wait to taste it after it conditions a bit more.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 03:39:50 AM by sethdc »

Offline 69franx

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 04:35:22 AM »
As I've heard here many times, wort wants to become beer in the presence of yeast, almost no matter what we do beforehand. Could it have turned out better? Who knows, enjoy your first batch and get going on the next,making sure to pay attention to all the small things you struggled with on the first batch. Welcome to the obsession!
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg:
In Bottles:  
In the works: Hopefully brewing 10 gallons of Pilsner tomorrow for a family reunion in July, then back to IPA and  a barleywine to age

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 05:03:29 AM »
Sounds like a real mess, but take it in stride and brew, Man!  Best of luck to you....
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 01:47:24 PM »
90% of homebrewing is surviving brew day. The other 10% is surviving drinking the beer. You did both!

Offline euge

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 04:09:37 PM »
If that's the least that happens on a brew day then it's a success! Many brewing mishaps are recoverable or negligible in feared effects.

Now, I have to ask are you using a "glass" carboy? While still some homebrewers may swear by them and defend their usage unto their last dying breath; glass carboys are extremely hazardous! Invest in another approach such as a plastic Better Bottle or bucket of some type. Others have already learned the hard way that glass fermenters are one mistake away from a trip to the ER or worse.

Good to hear that the first batch was tasty! Brew on!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline sethdc

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 04:34:51 PM »
Thanks everyone and it was fun.

"90% of homebrewing is surviving brew day. The other 10% is surviving drinking the beer. You did both!"  That also holds true of the first time doing something else.

Regarding the glass carboys, I'm really careful and I'm more worried about the toxicity of fermenting in plastic based on scientific studies.  BPA is just one of many issues.  Point well taken though.

Offline fmader

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 05:06:54 PM »
Thanks everyone and it was fun.

"90% of homebrewing is surviving brew day. The other 10% is surviving drinking the beer. You did both!"  That also holds true of the first time doing something else.

Regarding the glass carboys, I'm really careful and I'm more worried about the toxicity of fermenting in plastic based on scientific studies.  BPA is just one of many issues.  Point well taken though.

I think we'd all be lying if any of us said that we didn't have a story similar in magnitude. You'll be fine! I second ditching the glass. I bet you were careful too when you dropped your thermometer into the carboy. Glass carboys can be very hazardous and can cause much more immediate bodily harm than BPA poisoning. Trust me, I'm not a scientist, but I would not worry about fermenting in plastic. I'd be more concerned mashing in plastic, which I do, but don't worry. Your maple syrup probably came in a plastic bottle. The DME and LME probably arrived in a nice sealed plastic container of sort. I'm not trying to be a wise-a$$, but I certainly am advocating the usage of plastic and the dangers of glass.

Regardless.... Welcome to the forum and welcome to brewing! You're going to love it! And these peeps on the forum are great and wise!
Frank

Offline WDE97

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2016, 02:43:40 AM »
Regarding the glass carboys, I'm really careful and I'm more worried about the toxicity of fermenting in plastic based on scientific studies.  BPA is just one of many issues.  Point well taken though.

Actually, most of the new plastic fermenters are BPA free!
Robert H.

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

On tap: Flander's Red, Scottish 80, ESB, Hard cider, Sour Blonde, Northwest Pale Ale.

Fermenting: Northwest Pale Ale.

Offline erockrph

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Re: My First Homebrew, A True Story
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2016, 12:47:04 PM »
Regarding the glass carboys, I'm really careful and I'm more worried about the toxicity of fermenting in plastic based on scientific studies.  BPA is just one of many issues.  Point well taken though.

Actually, most of the new plastic fermenters are BPA free!
I'd say that the potential hazards of dealing with glass carboys far outweigh the potential hazards of fermenting in food-grade plastic. In fact, the biggest hazard in brewing (by a large margin) is the alcohol we consume in the end product.

The "Homebrew Toxicology" episodes here should help mitigate many of your concerns:

http://www.basicbrewing.com/index.php?page=basic-brewing-radio-2013
Eric B.

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