mistakes on my first brew...help

Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:37 pm

Brewed my first batch last Sunday (extract) and made some newb mistakes. Added the Irish moss too early, shocker the beer is cloudy. Cooled to 90 degrees and added to the fermented, topped off with 2gal of cold to make 5gal but forgot to shake the carboy. Ended up pitching at 86 degrees according to the temp tape (yikes). After 12 hours had active fermentation (phew). 5days out the airlock is bubbling at about 25 seconds.
Two questions;
1. Is my fermentation on schedule? ie is the rate what I should be expecting?
2. Can I throw some clarity ferm into the ferment at this point for correction or am I too late? White Labs is just down the street...
madgirlbruise
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:02 am

1) Welcome
2) Relax- your beer is under way. Give it a good solid 2 weeks to finish.
3) Things to do next time:

a) Let the wort cool down to around 65F or so before pitching your yeast. When you pitch warm like you did, the yeast love it but they also produce a lot of fruity esters and harsh fusel alcohol. Your beer will still be drinkable, but it would be even better if the yeast started under cooler temps. Lesson learned. Consider getting a wort chiller so that you can cool down quickly. Any one of the chillers I link to at the bottom of this post will work well. The bigger the chiller, the more efficient it will chill. This is even more important if/when you go to a full boil setup, ie, you get a big enough brew kettle so that you can boil the entire volume with room to spare. You'll want to do that if you get the bug and eventually want to go all-grain.
b) Lay out little cups (cupcake wrappers work well) for your hop/irish moss/etc additions before you start. Mark them with the time they should be added. This way, you won't forget anything. Clarity is nice but nobody is going to fault you for it in your first beer, and it doesn't have any flavor impact.
c) Aeration is very important for yeast growth. There's nothing you can do at this point, so don't. Adding air now will be detrimental. Don't do it. It will oxidize the beer, producing stale, papery/cardboardy flavors, rather than help the yeast.

HTH-

wort chillers:
http://www.morebeer.com/category/homebr ... llers.html
http://www.northernbrewer.com/search/?q=wort+chillers
-B'Dawg
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Fri Mar 25, 2016 9:12 am

Also to add/expand on BD's advice:

Those temp tapes are notoriously inaccurate. 86 might have been low 70's. It could also have been higher, but with a 12 hour lag in this particular case, I doubt it. I don't think you were terribly high, considering.

I use those plastic Gladware containers in the way BD described for my hops/additions. They stack up real nice, so when my timer goes off I just grab the top one & dump it in. I also keep multiple timers going, so I don't have to restart anything - If I have a 60 minute boil with a 15, 5 & flame out addition, I'll set 3 timers to 60, 55, & 45, then start all 3 at the same time when the boil gets underway. First timer goes off, top container in the stack. Next timer, top container in the stack, etc.

I wouldn't worry about clarity at this point. It's likely to clear up more over the next week. Not crystal clear, but probably much more than you're currently expecting.

At this point in the process there's very, very little that even a very experienced brewer can do to improve the beer. Most any "tweaking" or attempting "fixes" are only going to make it worse. Relax, don't worry about it & get prepared for the bottling process.
Lee

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Ozwald
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:28 pm

Got cha. Relax, breathe, it is what it is. Definitely came out of this knowing the next purchase is a chiller. Thanks for the help! :wink:
madgirlbruise
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:41 am

The knowledge you have gained even in your first brewing experience will most definitely put you on the path towards brewing better beer on your very next batch. Each batch brewed provides an ample opportunity to gain insight into fine tuning your process, technique, and creativity. It is what this hobby is all about.

Congrats on getting your first batch underway. Now go get another batch going to build up your pipeline. You wont be disappointed if you do.

Cheers-
Brewinhard :bnarmy: :bnarmy:
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:09 pm

How dorky is it that I'm looking forward to tasting it to see what kind of off flavors I might have created. I have a bad feeling that I'm liking this brewing thing :lol: thanks for the support.
madgirlbruise
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:46 pm

Not crazy at all. :bnarmy:
-B'Dawg
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Re: mistakes on my first brew...help

Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:39 am

madgirlbruise wrote:How dorky is it that I'm looking forward to tasting it to see what kind of off flavors I might have created. I have a bad feeling that I'm liking this brewing thing :lol: thanks for the support.


That is EXACTLY how one makes better beer.
"A bad man is a good man's job, while a good man is a bad man's teacher."
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