Author Topic: Watch out for short-cuts!  (Read 1665 times)

Offline evandy

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Watch out for short-cuts!
« on: October 31, 2010, 06:07:41 PM »
I wanted to get a quick brew in today, so went for an extract + steeping grains (really a mini-mash, despite what the recipe says) clone from BYO a few years back, specifically the Nutcracker ale.  Hope it turns out good.  However, with the intention of "speeding things up" I made a bunch of bone-headed blunders.  Read and enjoy... and don't make the same mistakes!

Started the water boiling in the kettle while the steeping grains were finishing up inside.  Which would have been fine, if I hadn't gone ahead and added the DME to it once it hit boiling.  Or if I had calculated how much extra water I needed.  I didn't leave space for sparge water from the steeping grains... which were sticky with gooey, tasty, malt sugars.  In the end, I had about 8.5 gallons of wort pre-boil, which I managed to get down to 6.75 gal at the end of an hour.  I usually put 5.5 to 6.0 gallons in my fermentor, so I wasn't too off, but yikes.  Hopefully the lowered OG won't throw off the beer too much.  And I must not have let the whirpool go for long enough, because my fermentor ended up with LOTS of hot/cold break in it, despite a short whirlpool.

Oh well, based on past experiences, it should come out fine in the end.


Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8677
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2010, 06:47:31 PM »
Yea...mistakes are what make us better as homebrewers.
They can be painful sometimes but definitely make us better.   ;)
Ron Price

Offline micsager

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1000
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 08:03:34 AM »
Saturday about 4pm, my neighbor is starting the bonfire, for a night of partying.  I walk over and help him, and a bunch of his friends start coming over.  Once they find out I'm a homebrewer, they all want to brew a batch. 
.
25 pounds of grain + 5 ounces of hops + a couple smack packs of yeast + 5 drunk guys = ???????
.
We'll just have to find out in a month or so.   

Offline corkybstewart

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1298
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 08:26:41 AM »
Yesterday brewing a rye IPA I was recirculating through the counterflow chiller in an ice bath back to the kettle.  Wort was down to about 65, almost finished when my neighbor stopped by.  We talked a minute, and he left.  I looked at the kettle and there was a bunch of wort missing.  Then I saw the hose lying on the garage floor in a big 3 gallon puddle of wort.  I ended up with 8 gallons instead of 11, and today I have to take a bunch of stuff out of the garage so I can hose the floor down.  My floor isn't level, all the wort flowed away from the door.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

beveragebob

  • Guest
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 04:54:49 PM »
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.

Offline tygo

  • I spend way too much time on the AHA forum
  • ********
  • Posts: 2622
  • Sterling, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 05:33:30 PM »
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.

Distractions and too many samples of the finished product on brewday that is.  ;D
Clint
Wort Hogs

Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7208
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 11:45:34 PM »
I was cutting my brew time down to just a few hours by doing concentrated boils and chilling the kettle in the bath tub. I lost two consecutive batches when the kettles floated and capsized wasting a potential 10 gallons of beer. Expensive beer.

And I was distracted both times.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline kgs

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 754
  • San Francisco, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2010, 05:40:26 AM »
I was cutting my brew time down to just a few hours by doing concentrated boils and chilling the kettle in the bath tub. I lost two consecutive batches when the kettles floated and capsized wasting a potential 10 gallons of beer. Expensive beer.

And I was distracted both times.

In a couple of experiments a year ago where I was trying to mash a day in advance, I was sparging into one-gallon water jugs (so I could chill them quickly in the fridge... the theory went, anyway). Yeah, you know what happened each time. Turn my head for a minute... wort all over the floor. Several times. I mean, after the first time, you'd think I would admit this was a bad idea.

I am still going to revisit the mash-ahead idea, but I'll mash into a kettle or bucket and take it from there. My thought is to mash the night before, stop the enzyme activity by cooling the wort with frozen plastic quart bottles, then get up early and brew.

Also, I have found it best to lay out my hop schedule and any other additions in Pyrex cups, labeled with each addition and time, even though I never BUI (brew under the influence). The one time I didn't do this, between one thing and the other I got my additions mixed up.
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

beveragebob

  • Guest
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2010, 10:10:24 AM »
Why not just do an overnight mash for something that you want high attenuation from and leave it in the mash tun? You can always heat it up and do a mash out in the a.m.   Just my .02

Offline beersk

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1870
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2010, 11:18:26 AM »
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
This is why I prefer to brew ALONE.  No one home, invite no one over, ALONE.  I don't like distractions.  I've forgotten to take SG readings, forgotten to add certain things to the boil, etc. and realizing later it pisses me off so much.
I brew alone these days.
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Offline 6thstreet

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 45
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2010, 02:00:24 PM »
It is always hard to brew and host at the same time.  Big Brew days are the worst for me as there is usually a crowd and lots of questions not to mention glasses to fill.

Offline Mikey

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 397
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2010, 02:19:20 PM »
Distractions are the bane of all Brewers.
This is why I prefer to brew ALONE.  No one home, invite no one over, ALONE.  I don't like distractions.  I've forgotten to take SG readings, forgotten to add certain things to the boil, etc. and realizing later it pisses me off so much.
I brew alone these days.

That's the way I do it and I'll still make the occasional mistake from a phone call or ????

Offline bluesman

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8677
  • Delaware
    • View Profile
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2010, 02:23:05 PM »
Ron Price

Offline beersk

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1870
  • In the night!
    • View Profile
Watch out for those Cross Dressing Amateurs!

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Watch out for short-cuts!
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2010, 03:03:18 PM »
I brew alone.

Reminds me of this.  8)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysXMAOgEIq4

I was thinking *exactly* the same thing...  Figured you'd be into the Lonesome George and the Delaware Destroyers.  That song has the best lines.  "The only one who will hang out with me is my dear Old Grand Dad."
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong