Author Topic: New to brew  (Read 8218 times)

Offline dirigo

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New to brew
« on: April 15, 2012, 08:07:45 PM »
Did my first brew 5 days ago. Started alot above my level. LOL! Hey, can't kill or hurt me so why not go for it! It's a high grav Weizenbock est. 9.3% ABV according to BeerSmith . My own recipe tweaked from one on the net. Made a number of mistakes. 1) Didn't take into account that 12lbs. of Wheat LME was also 1gal.! LOL! Suprise! My 3 gal. brew volume is now 4 gallons! Survived that without boil over. Barely. Got a 5 gal brew pot! 2) Had a hard job getting the wort temp down to yeast pitching level and added to much water to the fermenter. 5.5 gal. total. I think this turned out to be a good thing. Would that lower the O.G.? O.G. Measured 1.081.  3) Pitched 2 vials of WPL 300. Should have done an activator but didn't know about it till to late. 4) Had trouble keeping the temp level at 72 F. Weather and available space are banes to my existence! 5) Fermenter leaked gas so my airlock didn't bubble.
  Fermentation didn't take off like I expected. Checked it through the hole. It foamed up some and bubbled very slowly. Left it in the primary for 4 days as instructed. Transfered to secondary (Better Bottle) about 4.5 gallons. Took a gravity reading. 1.021 S.G. Today is day 5. The beer doesn't seem to be fermenting much now. The airlock isn't bubbling enough to be noticeable. Should I pitch some more yeast or just let it go? That's my tale. Should have taken the time to read up on the process and steps but I wanted to get started. Enjoyed myself so far. Looking forward to bottling in about 9 days.
   What do y'all think? Advice, comments, experience, ridicule, and humor are all appreciated. Thanks.
~ Dirigo ~
~ Dirigo ~

Offline ArtCox

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2012, 05:45:45 AM »
RDWHAHB.. Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Home Brew.. That's my advice. just let it sit. That's the wonderful thing about this hobby, you can still drink your mistakes and learn something, except for contamination, I think you'll be fine,.

Offline glienhard

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 11:40:32 PM »
Well, nothing like jumping in with both feet.....LOL!

As for things to be worried about, I agree with ArtCox, aside from an infection you will learn a lot from your brew session.  You said that you had problems with fermentation temp, was it high or low?  If it was high, you will will have an extra ton of banana/clove/fruity type of tastes and possibly some esters.  If your temp was low, you shouldn't have much to worry about.  Rule of thumb, when given a temp range on yeast, go for the bottom end of the range.  Beer always heats up a little when fermenting, so this gives you a buffer.  As for your gravity, I would suspect that it won't go too much lower.  The yeast you used has an attenuation of about 75%.  Given where your gravity started, you are finished about your range.  But don't be in too big a hurry to get it off the yeast.  If you leave it on the yeast for a few extra days it will give the yeast a chance to clean up some of the off flavors that are produced during fermentation and to settle out of the beer.  Leaving a beer in primary for 10-14 days is pretty common.  Then when you rack into your secondary vessel, you will want to give it another 5-7 days to age, longer if you have the time.

Please post back here and let us know how it turned out for you.

Cheers!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 06:30:44 PM »
Like most homebrewers I started off with big, complicated brews. You know, as long as you're going through the effort you might as well get the biggest bang for the buck, right? Right? AmIright?

The one I started this past weekend is a session ale with an est 4% ABV.  I like the low octane brews because I can drink them all night without getting totally wasted. If I want to get wasted I'll add shots to the mix.

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Offline dirigo

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 12:09:12 AM »
Thanks Guys,
  Appreciate the comments. Glienhard, the temp was a little high, but I think it stayed in range. Those liquid crystal stick-on thermometers seem to be off by about 5 degrees F. Should be bottling tomorrow. Took a S.G. reading tonight. O.G. was 1.081 and F.G. was 1.021.. No change from Day 5. Do you guys think I might have racked to the secondary fermenter too soon and killed the fermentation? I racked it on Day 5.
   The color didn't match the BeerSmith2 picture at all. The Wheat LME I had was dark as molasses. Good thing I took the [Carafa I] specialty grain out of the recipe! The beer is a deep red color and it even tastes pretty good! LOL! Had to try a sip! I figure if it tastes alright flat and as a "green" beer, it should be pretty good after bottle conditioning for a month. I'm hoping my bottles won't explode. This beer is supposed to have 3.71 to 4.74 volumes. Have a good one guys. Dirigo out.
~ Dirigo ~

Offline Slurk

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 08:23:31 AM »
Hi Dirigo,
We have all been there, aren't we. But if you are able to handle this and bring it to a good end, that would be great.
That's the fun factor of brewing your own. From time to time you end up with totally new beers just by coincidence or complete mistake.
I understand you would like to bottle allready in a couple of days. Totally against your enthousiasm at the moment, I would like to advice to wait to get a better beer and some more process control. Lett the yeast come to a real rest and let it do a bit of cleaning job regarding some possible off flavours due to the higher fermentation temperature. Your beer will stabilize and, at least afterwards, you get a better answer on if you had control on the bottling process (timing of bottling and adding too much/too litle sugar in the bottle).
Anyhow enjoy!!
Regards,
Slurk
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Offline dirigo

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 10:41:28 AM »
Thanks for the advice Slurk! Just want to be clear on it. I had the beer in the primary fermenter for 4 days. It has been in the secondary fermenter for 9 days. S.G. has not changed since Day 5. I waited as you said, and the beer did taste better. How much longer should I leave it in the secondary before I bottle and how do you determine how long to condition a beer in the bottle?
~ Dirigo ~

Offline glienhard

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 11:41:11 AM »
For future beers, 4 days is on the short side for primary.  Anywhere from 7-14 would be much better for a cleaner beer in the end.  I typically shoot for the 10-14 day range on my primary for ales.  Then about the same amount of time in secondary for the beer to settle out and condition.

Since you have spent 9 day in secondary, you could probably bottle at any time.  The gravity would only change a point, maybe two in secondary.  Secondary is more about conditioning than anything.  Plus you are looking at another couple weeks in the bottles to bottle condition and get carbonated.  Just bottle as normal and you should be fine.  After a week and a half or so, pop a bottle open and try it.       If the carbonation is where you like it, get the bottles into the fridge.  Otherwise wait a little longer and try one again.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 03:56:06 PM »
That session ale I mentioned took just over a week to get to a point where I want to rack it, but it's also 60 degrees in the basement which slows things down.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline dirigo

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2012, 11:03:45 PM »
Hey Guys!
   Thanks for all the support and info! Gonna do like Glienhard said on my next one. Makes more sense to me that way, than the info I had originally.
   Well, today was bottling day! Did a split bottling. 1 (5L /1.25 gal.) Easy Keg IT, 12 (1L /1 pint) bottles, and 18 (12 oz.) bottles. Racked about 4.5 gal. into the bottling bucket. Wanted to put the priming mixture in first but the Easy Keg is apparently not too good with higher volumes. Not alot of specific info on these kegs. Just rough estimates is all I could find. So I doped the keg with 1.5 Tbs. /.60 oz. of dextrose boiled in 2 oz. of water. A little heavier than recommended. Loaded it up with 1.25 gal. of joy and corked it with a vented bung. Used the BeerSmith carbonation tool on the remaining 3.25 gal. to try for 4.2 volumes of CO2 that they say is normal for Weisenbocks. Mixed it up, boiled it, cooled it, and gently stirred it into the beer. Loaded and capped the bottles. Now it's sitting in the the old shower, out in our poolroom, hopefully carbonating at 68 F! If it pops, I'll just hose it down the drain and pick up the shrapnel! LOL! Man, I love this stuff! LOL!
~ Dirigo ~

Offline etcmoore

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 11:34:32 AM »
Earlier you mentioned that your beer was much darker than indicated on BeerSmith. I'm not sure if BeerSmith takes it into account or not, but when using LME you are always going to come out darker than you would if using a mash process. It's explained pretty well in the "Home brewing with BeerSmith" book.

Offline dirigo

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 01:47:21 PM »
Hi all!
   Well, I couldn't wait 'till today to taste my Weizenbock. Drank some last night and it was excellent! The only things that didn't come out as planned was the color(thanks to you guys I know why now), the FG(I believe because of the extra .5 gal of water in the fermentor), I believe my carbonation volume is a little low( don't know why that is, as I followed the carb. tool in BS2), and the head doesn't seem to last very long. How long should the head last on a beer if it is just sitting in the glass? But the beer tastes great! I don't have the experience or vocabulary to describe the taste and texture yet.  Am I going to have to make these mistakes again in order to recreate this brew? LOL! It's really good.
   I'm kinda bummed right now 'cause I've wanted to do some more brewing, but have had to put it off due to an upcoming business trip! When I get back, I shall have my new brew pot. Hopefully, I'll be better organized and I'll still have my first brew to drink while I brew my next one!
   Thanks again to all you guys for the valuable help and support. You have made this a most enjoyable experience! Much more so than it would have been by doing it alone! Good brew to you!
~ Dirigo ~

Offline tom_hampton

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Re: New to brew
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2012, 07:13:33 PM »
Enjoy your beer.  There's plenty of time to worry about minor details like head retention.

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