Adventures of a novice

Adventures of a novice

Post by Brian K. Micha » Mon, 17 Jul 1995 04:00:00



Well, I've been wanting to get into homebrew for quite some time
now, and never took the plunge until a guy I hired at work told
me his stories about brewing.

I started reading the books I already had, and started reading this
group (which has excellent signal quality).  Well anyway, I got the
nerve up this weekend; went to Austin Homebrew and bought the
"Super Deluxe" kit, and a Texas Bock kit -- you know, start off
with something easy.

I started getting things ready around 5:00.
5:30 - set the water on the stove
6:05-10 added the 5 lbs Alexander Pale Malt Extract
        added 1 lb Brewers corn syrup
        This was when the water was about to boil but wasn't quit boiling
        yet.  Was this okay, or should the think be really boiling already?
6:17    added MaltOFerm -- this is when the boil really started.
        added .75 ounces Mt. Hood Hops
7:14    added .25 ounces hops
7:24    Wort removed from heat and placed in an ice bath
8:07    Transfer to carboy and yeast pitched.  Temp was 80F.  Gravity of 1.1.

Questions (starting from the top):
I was very careful about sterilizing everything.  I had a warm container of
B Bright for disinfecting things like the stopper, thermometer tubing, etc.
however, I had to do things where I touched sanitary surfaces with my
hands, like siphoning from the kettle to the carboy.  Oh yeah I rinsed with
lots of hot water after taking anything out of the disinfectant solution.
Are these precautions sufficient?

Second:  When boiling I had some carmelation that got scraped off the bottom
of the pot.  Should I be worried about this?  I turned down the heat when
I noticed this.

Third:  I had lots of flakes and stuff that were much smaller than my
strainer, so I didn't strain.  This is okay right?  Also, I left about
an inch of wort in the kettle so I didn't get all the sludge from the bottom.
I did still get a few flakes of carmel that was scraped off the bottom.

Fourth:  When I measured the gravity, that was from the kettle since
I didn't want to risk contamination after the wort cooled.  I don't think
I'll ever want to stick anything into cooled wort unless I have to.
Is there any way to guestimate what my specific gravity was after I added
the water?  I had two gallons for the boil, and added maybe another
2.5 gallons to bring the carboy up to five gallons.

Interlude:  I placed the carboy in a pot, filled with water, wrapped a
towel, and tucked it in for evaporation.  I placed my little baby in front
of the air conditioner return vent.  Today (12 hours later) the house
temp is 75 and the water cooling the wort is a lovely 68F.  Thanks for
the idea -- read it here first.  The yeast is going to town.  They must be
having on hell of a party in there.  I can just picture them saying:
        Lovely party eh?  
        Yeah, excellent sugar
        I think I'll split and mingle with the others.
        (then four yeast cells have the same conversation ad infinitum)
The stuff that came out of the blowoff hose looked ***, but oh the
aroma.  Reminded me of my grandmother baking bread.

Fifth:  I think maybe I should have added a little more water.  I have
about five inches from the top of the fermenter.  Another inch of water
would have reduced the surface area considerably.  There is some
dark brown matter on the krausen.  I hope this won't bitter the beer
too much.  I think more water would make this brown stuff almost go away.

All in all things went fairly well -- I even got initiated into the
brewers club when my wort boiled over, but I was watching, and it wasn't
too bad.

What does everyone think?  I'm e***d.

Oh, by the way:
I was reading here about the lambics, so I went to the local store and
bought a Belgian Kriek Lambic.  Nectar from the gods.  Cost me about
$4.50 for one bottle.  I'm definately going to try my hand at one of
these.
--
Brian Michalk   |No, the  |AWPI, home of *the* online magazine about Austin.

 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by Brian K. Micha » Tue, 18 Jul 1995 04:00:00




Quote:
>Well, I've been wanting to get into homebrew for quite some time
>now, and never took the plunge until a guy I hired at work told
>me his stories about brewing.

< megasnip>

Well, almost 48 hours have passed since the yeast was pitched.  The
kraeusen fell sometime last night, and I didn't have time to put the
fermentation lock on until I got home a few hours ago.

I'm a little worried (YES!, but I have no homebrew).  It looks like I
have a little infection near the neck of the carboy.  It doesn't look
like any got on the beer, but now that I removed the blow off hose,
I'm sure I knocked some of the brown crud into the brew, and that stuff
might have been infected.

I'm planning on waiting another three days to see if the fermentation
doesn't pick back up.  Is this what I should do?

--
Brian Michalk   |No, the  |AWPI, home of *the* online magazine about Austin.


 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by Bruce Conn » Thu, 20 Jul 1995 04:00:00



: I'm a little worried (YES!, but I have no homebrew).  It looks like I
: have a little infection near the neck of the carboy.  It doesn't look
: like any got on the beer, but now that I removed the blow off hose,
: I'm sure I knocked some of the brown crud into the brew, and that stuff
: might have been infected.

The brown crud is usually just some of the bitter components of the beer
being carried up on the foam.  Some people skim this off, others just
leave it.  It *probably* isn't an infection.

If things have calmed down in the ferment, you probably won't see much
more action even after you put it in the secondary fermenter.  That is
mostly for letting the yeast fall out of the liquid and settle. Some
fermentation does go on, but it is slight compared to the first round.

Sounds like you are doing fine so far.  Best of luck!

 -- Bruce Conner

 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by Brian K. Micha » Thu, 20 Jul 1995 04:00:00



Quote:


>: I'm a little worried (YES!, but I have no homebrew).  It looks like I
>: have a little infection near the neck of the carboy.  It doesn't look

>being carried up on the foam.  Some people skim this off, others just
>leave it.  It *probably* isn't an infection.

Yesterday I went by the local homebrew shop and asked about this.  Thanks
to Allan Lazo and Alan McKay from here, and the guy at the shop, I was
able to identify the white stuff as being a wild yeast.

He told me to bottle as soon as possible, so that is what I did last night.
Only three days in the fermenter.

He asked me about my airconditioner.  Yes, I had it on.  Yes, there is a
vent in the kitchen, yes the vent was right above where I transferred my wort
to the fermenter (probably three feet away).  So anyway.  I tasted the
beer again, and it tasted much better than it did on the second day o
fermenting.

While I was there I picked up a Hefe Weissbier kit.  I can't wait.
--
Brian Michalk   |No, the  |AWPI, home of *the* online magazine about Austin.

 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by AHoward3 » Fri, 21 Jul 1995 04:00:00


Quote:
>>: I'm a little worried (YES!, but I have no homebrew).  It looks like I
>>: have a little infection near the neck of the carboy.  It doesn't look

>>being carried up on the foam.  Some people skim this off, others just
>>leave it.  It *probably* isn't an infection.

>Yesterday I went by the local homebrew shop and asked about this.  Thanks
>to Allan Lazo and Alan McKay from here, and the guy at the shop, I was
>able to identify the white stuff as being a wild yeast.

>He told me to bottle as soon as possible, so that is what I did last
night.
>Only three days in the fermenter.

I'm a bit concerned that you bottled after only three days in the
fermentor.  If your beer hasn't finished fermenting, you might end up with
dangerous exploding bottles!
 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by John Hueg » Tue, 25 Jul 1995 04:00:00


Quote:
>>I have about five inches from the top of the fermenter.  Another inch of
>>water would have reduced the surface area considerably.  There is some dark
>>brown matter on the krausen.  I hope this won't bitter the beer too much.  I
>>think more water would make this brown stuff almost go away.

Don't worry about filling the carboy to the top like wine.  Many folks ferment
in buckets or 6.5 gallon carboys.  Surface exposure is not a problem with
beers, as the amount oc CO2 produced effectively blankets the surface.  Very
few brewers 'top off' the carboy to minimize air exposure.

The brown gunk on the krausen contains a lot of bitter oils; if you let them
blow off, your bitterness will be reduced, and if you keep them in, the beer
will not be ruined.  It'll either stick to the side of the carboy, or will
fall to the bottom when the krausen head recedes, and if you rack off of it to
a secondary, will be removed from your beer.

 
 
 

Adventures of a novice

Post by Brian K. Micha » Tue, 25 Jul 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>Don't worry about filling the carboy to the top like wine.  Many folks ferment
>in buckets or 6.5 gallon carboys.  Surface exposure is not a problem with
>beers, as the amount oc CO2 produced effectively blankets the surface.  Very
>few brewers 'top off' the carboy to minimize air exposure.

>The brown gunk on the krausen contains a lot of bitter oils; if you let them
>blow off, your bitterness will be reduced, and if you keep them in, the beer
>will not be ruined.  It'll either stick to the side of the carboy, or will
>fall to the bottom when the krausen head recedes, and if you rack off of it to
>a secondary, will be removed from your beer.

What I was trying to do was get the krauesen to blow out the hose.  The wort
level was so low that everything stayed inside.

Thanks for the reply though.  I bottled about five days ago.  I sampled one
bottle at three days to check for carbonation, and things are going well.
Not bad for my first try if I don't say so myself.

Other Note:
After having such success at bottling, I started up my second batch.  This
time a Bavarian Hefe-Weizen.  Everything went smoothly until my friends showed
up wanting to go see Under Siege II.  Well, the wort hadn't cooled to pitching temp,
and the sterile lid was still on the pot, so I placed the whole thing in the
freezer for three hours.
When I finally pitched, I added cool water from the tap to the cooler wort.  The
final temp was about 60F.

Next I placed the fermenter in the fridge.  I thought I was supposed to ferment
at lager temperatures.  It's now been 48 hours since pitching, and no action.
I just moved the fermenter inside to get things going.  Like an idiot, I pulled
off the lid, and in the process sucked about a teaspoon of water into the
fermenter.

I'm toying around with the idea of re boiling, and repitching.  What does
everyone else think.
--
Brian Michalk   |No, the  |AWPI, home of *the* online magazine about Austin.