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First Brew

geastman

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I brewed my first batch of beer ever.  I started with a Scottish ale and I feel that the process went horribly wrong.  Attached is a picture.  If someone could tell me what you think that would be fantastic.  The picture is 48 hours out in the fermentation process.
 

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Scott Ickes

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It looks normal to me.  Patience is required. 

I see a good yeast cake on the bottom of the fermentor, which means that the yeast multiplied and then starting feasting on the sugars creating alcohol and CO2.  Give it time (a week or more).  You can then make a decision as to whether you want to rack it to a secondary, or let it clear up in the primary. 

If you want to take it to a secondary to get it off of the yeast cake, you can do that when the airlock bubbles once about every 15 seconds or so.  Better late then early though!  You can also just leave it for about three weeks like it is and then bottle.  If you don't have a hydrometer, you should get one.  You don't want to bottle until the gravity doesn't change for three days in a row.

 

Maine Homebrewer

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Looks like a healthy fermentation to me.

I know it might look gross as it churns around like it's boiling with this nasty looking raft floating on top (krausen), but that's exactly how it should look. Keep up with the hobby and it becomes a thing of beauty. It means your yeast is good and healthy and doing what it is supposed to do.

In four to ten days the churning will die down and the krausen will fall.  The color will darken as the light colored yeast settles to the bottom.

Being that you are a novice I would advise you to let it ride for a couple more weeks in the primary, then bottle.  Racking into a secondary runs the risk of adding an infection.  Better to skip that step until you know your sanitation is spot on.

Anyway, looks good.  Looks like a happy ale.
 

geastman

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Thank you so much for the responses that helps a lot.  I will probably skip the racking step and let it sit for a couple more weeks in the primary.  I am excited to have finally brewed my own beer.  I will have to say it is a good feeling.  Thanks again!
 

Scott Ickes

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geastman said:
I brewed my first batch of beer ever.  I started with a Scottish ale and I feel that the process went horribly wrong.  Attached is a picture.  If someone could tell me what you think that would be fantastic.  The picture is 48 hours out in the fermentation process.

Will you show us the recipe that you used?  Also, please tell us the process you used.  I'd like to see all the details, just mostly for the fun of it.  Maybe we can give you some pointers, without making it too complicated, that will shorten your learning curve.
 

geastman

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Sure, that would be great.  I used a brewing kit from a local home brewing supply store. 
ingredients include:
-liquid malt extract
-fresh hops
-Yeast, Fermentis: Saflager 34/70 German Lager Yeast
-dry malt extract
-specialty grains

I started by cleaning all my equipment in star san sanitizer, and kept my bottling bucket full of the solution for quick use.  I put 3.5 gallons of cold tap water in my 24qt stainless steel stock pot.  I put my thermometer in and started heating to 155 degrees F. for the steeping of my grains.  I steeped my grains in a muslin bag and steeped them for 30 min.  After that was done I poured in my dry malt and liquid malt extracts.  I brought the wort to a boil and added my hops that said 60min, and boiled for 60min.  The last 15min I added an additional hops.  once the boil was done I cooled it to 70 degrees f, half the cooling was done in the side of a snow bank and half was done in an ice bath.  the only took the wort outside to the snowbank because I realized my pot would not fit in the sink.  I stirred the wort with a sanitized spoon to help the cooling process.  After cooling I poured the wort into my carboy adding as much air as possible.  I then added the remaining water, from the tap, to bring it to 5 gallons.  I took a sample of the wort for my hydrometer with a sanitized baster.  I shook my liquid yeast to mix it up sanitized the packaging, poured the yeast in and rocked the carboy back and forth to make sure it was mixed.
Note: I kept all my equipment that I was not using in the star san solution and took it out as needed.

I attached the instructions I used. 

I hope this helps you get a better idea of how the process went.
 

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Maine Homebrewer

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First thought, it looks like you're unintentionally making steam beer. Cool history there. Worth a google.

Second thought is that you care about sanitation. That is good.

On Starsan. It's not something you soak things in. It's an acid based sanitizer.  You coat or dip (I use a spray bottle) clean things with it and when it dries it leaves behind a layer with a PH round 3, keeping things sanitary.  Nothing that would spoil your beer will grow on that layer of Starsan, assuming common sense storage.

Finally, as far as cooling the stuff in a short time goes, I'd suggest investing in a chiller of some sort. You can build your own immersion chiller with parts from the hardware store, and quite often the staff will be extra helpful if they know they're helping someone make beer.

Every one of us had a first batch.  Mine was a brew of extract and hops in a two gallon kettle in the kitchen, chilled with ice in the bathtub, that I then diluted with bottled water to make five gallons in a bucket.  It wasn't that great.  After a month or so every bottle I opened turned to foam.  An infection turned them all into gushers.

If it was that easy everyone would do it.
 

Scott Ickes

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Great stuff from Maine.  He's correct in saying that you accidently will be making a steam beer.  Well maybe.  It depends on what temperature you've been fermenting your wort at.  If it's in the 60's it will be a steam beer.  If it's in the low 50's it will be a lager beer.

It should turn out tasty either way.

I would like to make the suggestion that the next time you brew, hold back about 2/3rds of your extract until the last 15 minutes of the boil.  You'll get better hop utilization by having your 60 minutes hops in a lower gravity wort for that first 45 minutes.  You'll also lighten the color of the beer up some.
 

geastman

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Thanks for the advise.  I do have a couple of questions about steeping.  Does it matter what temperature the grains are steeped at?  Also is it good to wait until after the heat break to add ingredients?
 

Scott Ickes

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I always tried to steep at around 155F.  This was just the temperature that I found in many recipes.

The hot break won't occur until you've added malt and/or grains.  My process for brewing an extract was.

Bring water up to 155F and added the grains to be steeped.  Let it steep for the required amount of time.  It's just like making tea.
Remove the grains, letting as much of the liquid drip out of the grain bag as possible.  I never rinsed the bag and never squeezed it.
Bring it up to a boil, turn off the heat and add the amount of extract that you want to add, stirring it until it is all dissolved to prevent scorching on the bottom.
Bring it back up to a boil and add your 60 minute hop addition. 
Add any other hop additions at the appropriate time.
At 15 minutes left in the boil, turn off the heat, add the remainder of your extract and stir until dissolved to prevent scorching. 
Turn the heat back on and bring back up to a boil.  Once it has started to boil, start your boil timer again and add other ingredients (yeast nutrient, whirfloc, hops, etc) at their appropriate times.
If you have an immersion chiller, treat it like an ingredient and put it into your boil pot with 15 minutes left in the boil to sterilize it.  I always put my chiller in right after I added my late addition extracts, just before putting the heat back to it.  Now that I'm all grain, I put it in when I put in my Irish Moss or whirfloc.  Be careful that the plastic tubing doesn't hang down and touch your pot (it will melt...ask me how I know!)
Finish your boil. 
Take a gravity reading of the hot wort (don't forget to account for the higher tempterature) and make any adjustments for gravity by adding more extract.  This is difficult to do when doing a partial boil though and probably not as important as it is with all grain brewing.
Hook up your wort chiller to your cold water line and start running cold water through it, letting it go down the drain, if in the kitchen or down the street if you are outside.  Stir gently while the wort is hot.  I start stirring more vigorously when the wort gets down to 100F.  If you stir to vigorously when the wort is hot, you'll introduce oxygen and create hot side aeration which isn't a good thing.
Oxygen in hot wort is bad.  Oxygen in cooled wort is good (actually it's necessary for the yeast to multiply enough to create a good fermentation).
Once it's down to pitching temperature, rack the wort or pour it into your fermentor.  Then pour the oxygen to it.  I use an aquarium pump and diffusion stone for this.  Others use pure oxygen.  Some just splash the wort back and forth from one sanitized bucket to another sanitized bucket.  Others swirl and rock their fementor.  Best is pure oxygen for a short period of time (1 minute or less).  Second best is an aquarium pump.  I run mine for about 20 minutes.  Third best is pouring back and forth from bucket to bucket.  Least best is swirling and rocking the fermentor.
Pitch your yeast on top of the foam of the oxygenated wort.  No stirring or blending of the yeast into the wort is necessary.
Attach an airlock and enjoy the show
Note**--If you use a carboy with very little headspace, you might have the krausen coming out of your airlock.  If you think this might happen, you can put a blow off hose (large plastic tubing) into the hole in place of the airlock.  Run the other end into a bowl of water or properly mixed water and starsan.  As the krausen rises it will come up out of the carboy into the tubing and flow into your water or starsan mixture.  This will work like an airlock, but allow the krausen to escape without creating a mess.  I went to 8 gallon bucket fermentors for primary so that I don't have to worry about a blow off tube.  I hated losing up to a half gallon of beer through my blow off tube!
 

Scott Ickes

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Scott Ickes said:
I always tried to steep at around 155F.  This was just the temperature that I found in many recipes.

The hot break won't occur until you've added malt and/or grains.  My process for brewing an extract was.

Bring water up to 155F and added the grains to be steeped.  Let it steep for the required amount of time.  It's just like making tea.
Remove the grains, letting as much of the liquid drip out of the grain bag as possible.  I never rinsed the bag and never squeezed it.
Bring it up to a boil, turn off the heat and add the amount of extract that you want to add, stirring it until it is all dissolved to prevent scorching on the bottom.
Bring it back up to a boil and add your 60 minute hop addition. 
Add any other hop additions at the appropriate time.
At 15 minutes left in the boil, turn off the heat, add the remainder of your extract and stir until dissolved to prevent scorching. 
Turn the heat back on and bring back up to a boil.  Once it has started to boil, start your boil timer again and add other ingredients (yeast nutrient, whirfloc, hops, etc) at their appropriate times.
If you have an immersion chiller, treat it like an ingredient and put it into your boil pot with 15 minutes left in the boil to sterilize it.  I always put my chiller in right after I added my late addition extracts, just before putting the heat back to it.  Now that I'm all grain, I put it in when I put in my Irish Moss or whirfloc.  Be careful that the plastic tubing doesn't hang down and touch your pot (it will melt...ask me how I know!)
Finish your boil. 
Take a gravity reading of the hot wort (don't forget to account for the higher tempterature) and make any adjustments for gravity by adding more extract.  This is difficult to do when doing a partial boil though and probably not as important as it is with all grain brewing.
Hook up your wort chiller to your cold water line and start running cold water through it, letting it go down the drain, if in the kitchen or down the street if you are outside.  Stir gently while the wort is hot.  I start stirring more vigorously when the wort gets down to 100F.  If you stir to vigorously when the wort is hot, you'll introduce oxygen and create hot side aeration which isn't a good thing.
Oxygen in hot wort is bad.  Oxygen in cooled wort is good (actually it's necessary for the yeast to multiply enough to create a good fermentation).
Once it's down to pitching temperature, rack the wort or pour it into your fermentor.  Then pour the oxygen to it.  I use an aquarium pump and diffusion stone for this.  Others use pure oxygen.  Some just splash the wort back and forth from one sanitized bucket to another sanitized bucket.  Others swirl and rock their fementor.  Best is pure oxygen for a short period of time (1 minute or less).  Second best is an aquarium pump.  I run mine for about 20 minutes.  Third best is pouring back and forth from bucket to bucket.  Least best is swirling and rocking the fermentor.
Pitch your yeast on top of the foam of the oxygenated wort.  No stirring or blending of the yeast into the wort is necessary.
Attach an airlock and enjoy the show
Note**--If you use a carboy with very little headspace, you might have the krausen coming out of your airlock.  If you think this might happen, you can put a blow off hose (large plastic tubing) into the hole in place of the airlock.  Run the other end into a bowl of water or properly mixed water and starsan (make sure the free end is under about 2 inches of liquid).  As the krausen rises it will come up out of the carboy into the tubing and flow into your water or starsan mixture.  This will work like an airlock, but allow the krausen to escape without creating a mess.  I went to 8 gallon bucket fermentors for primary so that I don't have to worry about a blow off tube.  I hated losing up to a half gallon of beer through my blow off tube!
 

geastman

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Thanks that helps a lot.  I had my air lock fill up 3 time in the first 48 hours. 
 

drb1215

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Hi,

If your airlock is filling up you might want to consider using a blow off tube into a container of sanitized water or star-san.  That way the crap that is now filling up your airlock will just blow out into the container.

Having to keep changing out / cleaning your airlock can be a pain.  Having it clog and blow out the plug...causing an explosive mess, is are real pain!!

-Dan
 

costadelrica

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I brought the wort to a boil and added my hops that said one hour, and boiled for 60 minutes.  The last 15 minutes I added an additional hops. once the boil was done I cooled it to 70 degrees and... ???
 
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