Thursday, March 30, 2006

1st batch in bottles!

I racked my first batch into bottles tonight.

I pulled a sample out to make sure it wasn't fermenting any more. It's got a nice dark amber color to it

I racked the wort and the priming sugar to a 5gal plastic water carboy that I sanitized. I had to use the other end of my spoon to stir in the carboy. After it was in the carboy I noticed that there were some bits of hops floating around in the wort, so I put my grain bag over the racking cane as a filter when I went to bottles.

I racked to bottles and capped them

And tucked them away for two weeks.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

S.G. test

I took a sample out of my first batch and took a S.G. reading. It came out 1.008. I'll take another in a couple of days to make sure it's not still changing. Hopefully I'll be racking to bottles this weekend.

I tasted some of the sample after I took the S.G. and it didn't taste all that good. It didn't really taste bad, just tasted like nothing. Of course warm beer doesn't usually taste very good anyway, but I hope it gets better in the bottle.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

My 2nd Brew!

I brewed up another batch today. It was supposed to be a Hefewiesen like Wienstephan.

The previous batch is still in the primary, I'll rack to bottles sometime soon.

Here's the Brew Smith:

Recipe: Beer2
Brewer: Brewby, my beer
Asst Brewer:
Style: Hefewiesen
TYPE: Extract

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Actual OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 8.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 10.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.60 lb Wheat Liquid Extract (10.0 SRM) Extract 100.0 %
0.75 oz Hallertauer [3.20%] (60 min) Hops 6.4 IBU
0.69 oz Hallertauer [3.20%] (30 min) Hops 4.5 IBU
1 Pkgs Weihenstephan Weizen (Wyeast Labs #3068) Yeast-Wheat

It went into the primary at about 12:30-1:00pm. At 9pm when I got home, there was plenty of airlock activity and lots of froth in the carboy.

I tried to follow the procedures that I set up in the previous post and it all worked out, for the most part.

I used the turkey cooker. I had one small boil over. It took me a little while to get use to cooking with the turkey cooker but I think I've worked it out now. I was follow in a recipe but I messed up when figuring out the hops. The recipe called for .75oz of hallertauer hops. I put this in at the start of the boil. Then I was reading another post which suggested not thinking about the volume of the hops but the AAU's. When I did this I found with the 3.2% of the hops I didn't put enough in. I decided to make up for it by putting more in, but I waited until 30min into the boil.

I didn't follow the recipe correctly regarding the hops, so I'm not sure how it's going to come out. I think it will be fine, I'm just wondering if it will come out like a Wienstephan hefe or not.

When I do the math, I get:
(I got all these formulas from the book that came with my kit, 'Home Beermaking' by William Moore)


((.75oz hops x 3.2%) x .3) + ((.69oz hops x 3.2%) x .21) = 1.183 isomerized AAU's

(1.183 / 5gal) = .2366 iaa per gal.

.2366 x .01335 = 17.72 IUB'S

Starting Gravity

((6.6lb LME x 34dpp) / 5gal) = 44.88 or 1.044 OG

The actual OG that I took was about 1.043 SG

I hope my adding the extra hops at 30min didn't change the style too much.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I've been looking for ways to make the process more efficient. Here's what I came up with:

I've been told that if I'm using bottled water I really don't need to do the pre-boil of 3gal. to top the wort off with. I'm thinking if I put three gallons of bottled water in the fridge the day before, it will be nice and cold by the time the wort is finished boiling and bring the wort temp down rapidly. The other option I have (other than bottled water) is to use tap water and boil it the day before and put it in jugs in the fridge overnight. I don't want to be pouring hot water into the wort next time. [I should also find out how long it will take before a gallon of water in my freezer will freeze. If I time it right I can put it in the freezer and take it out when it is as cold as it will get before freezing, just at the time the wort is off the boil.]

So in my next attempt I'll:

1.) Put 3gal. on the turkey cooker, which will take about 20min to boil

2.) During that 20min, I'll do my sanitizing, and measure out the hops

3.) When water boils, I'll remove from heat, add extract, put back on the heat.

4.) I'll add my bittering hops after the hot break and start the 60min boil time from there, and compleat the hops schedule.

5.) At end of boil, I'll put the pot in the sink full of water and add the 3gal. of ice water to the wort to bring up to 5gal. I'm hoping this will save a lot of cool down time.

6.) Take the O.G. reading

7.) Pitch the yeast, transfer the wort, put the lid and airlock on and move the fermenter to its resting place.

I tested out my turkey cooker and was able to get a rolling boil in 20min. I might be able to do it faster than that, but I don't want to burn it either.

My first batch is doing well in the fermenter. Plenty of airlock action, now I wait.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Batch #1, Dark Bitter Ale

I brewed my first batch this weekend. I took picks along the way and I had a few problems as well. First thing, here is what Brewsmith says about my beer:

Brewer: Brewby, my beer
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Dark Ale
TYPE: Extract

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 3.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.044 SG
Estimated Color: 10.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 43.8 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: - %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
2.00 lb Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 34.8 %
3.75 lb Dark Liquid Extract (17.5 SRM) Extract 65.2 %
0.75 oz Nugget [13.20%] (60 min) Hops 27.5 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50%] (30 min) Hops 11.7 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50%] (7.5 min) Hops 4.6 IBU
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1084) Yeast-Ale


Here is how the day went:

I cleaned up the kitchen and got rid of most things that would be in the way.

Then, I drove to the LHBS and picked up the hops. I stopped on the way back and picked up 6gal of water from the suppermarket.

At 1pm I started a pot of 3gal. to use to top off the wart at cool down time.

I sanitized everything.

It took 40min to bring the 3 gal. to a rolling boil on my kitchen stove. Afterwards I poured the water in to the sanitised fermenter bucket and put the top on and set it out on the back porch to cool. I put the little cap from the airlock over the airlock hole in the fermenter lid to keep anything from getting in.

I put another 3 gal. on the stove at about 1:55pm. While this was heating up I started to hydrate the yeast. I boiled a cup of water and then waited for it to cool. Then I added the yeast and covered it with saran wrap and set it to the side.

Then I mesured out the hops and put in seperate containers.

I removed the wort pot from the burner and added the LME and the DME. I returned it to the heat at 2:45pm

Here is where my first problem started:

At 3pm I had a boil over. I killed the heat and removed it from the burner. When I calmed down I returned it to the heat and turned the burner back on. I made a bit of a mess, but it was all on the stove top and not too hard to clean up.

At about 3:08pm I added the bittering hops (Nugget).

Then the flavoring hops (Williamette)at 3:38pm.

And, finaly, 7.5 min left in the boil, I added the aroma hops.

I removed the pot from the heat at 4:08 and put it in the sink full of ice water.

Here is where my second problem happened:

I brought the fermenter in from the back porch and opened it up, to add to the wort and bring to 5 gal. The water in it was still hot! It was about 90deg. So my cool down plan didn't work out. I think next time I need a better system to cool down fast.

Here comes my big third problem:

So it's going to be some time before this wort cool. I start to think about the yeast. My hydration attempts have failed. There is no activity in the yeast at all. This is the Copper's yeast pack that came with the can. It didn't have a date stamped on it like they say it does, but it did have some numbers stamped on the package. It says 154 05. I don't know if that is a code or if it's the 154th day of 2005, or what.

So now, it's about 4:23pm. The LHBS closes at 5pm. The wort is cooling and so I jump in my car and drive to the store.

I get a Smack pack of Wyeast Irish Ale 1084. This was the store owners choice. I really don't know one yeast from another. The owner smacked it in the store (that sounds bad) and told me I should be OK to pitch by 7pm.

After I got back from the store I checked the Gravity.

I took untill 8:15pm to cool to pitching temp.

No problem with the yeast this time, the package has puffed up nice.

I piched the yeast into the empty fermenter,

and then aggresively poured the wort into the fermenter.

Put the top on tight and set up the air lock.

Then I moved it to a spot where it can sit for two weeks.

Then I cleaned up the kitchen, grilled up a steak, had a beer and watched a movie.

The next morning at about 11am there was good airlock activity. It was bubbling at about two bubbles per second.

Later the next day I tested out my propane set up. I found I was able to bring 3 gal. of water to a rolling boil in 20min. on the turkey cooker as apposed to 40 on the kitchen stove.

Thoughts on the process:

I think I knew what I was doing throughout the process but the thing that I didn't think about so much was the time it takes to heat up and then cool down the water/wort.

I definitly need a better system for cooling the wort. I planned on the water out on the porch colling down, but it didn't. So using it to cool the wort wasn't very effective. Maybe I need to get a wort cooler, or boil the cool down water the night before so it is cold when I add it to the wort. Maybe put the 3 gal. in one gallon jugs and put them in the fridge.

I didn't know what I was doing when I came to checking the SG. I'm not sure when your supposed to do that. I wish I had taken it before topping off the wort. I seems like this batch is not going to be very high alchol (about 3%) I 'm guessing. This started out as just a kit, but then I changed the yeast and added some hops.

The hops are another thing where I'm not sure what I'm doing. I found a recipe on the 'how to brew' site for a pale ale and borrowed the hops schedule from that. I think it is going to be a very bitter beer. I hope not too much.

I think in the future I'll have a better Idea of how long each step takes and maybe be able to refine the process. Plus, If I cook on the propane that will cut my time down as well.