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Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: gwapogorilla on February 17, 2013, 05:23:04 AM

Title: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 17, 2013, 05:23:04 AM
Well, it's here....brew day! After long research, playing with beersmith, and some help from you great folks...I'm stepping forward to be counted as a "homebrewer". I was inspired by different recipes, tweaked them, added this and that....and ultimately come up with a recipe for a "Beligian Wit".
I will be doing a full 5 gallon boil since I have a huge 44 qt. stainless brew pot. I'll be using Wyeast "belgian wit" yeast..got a 32 oz. starter churning on a stir plate even as we speak. Oh, and lots of sanitizer!! ;D
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: mjaadland on February 17, 2013, 07:43:11 AM
Let us know how you make out.... and welcome to the addition  :P
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Slurk on February 17, 2013, 11:09:27 AM
Gratulations "homebrewer"!
Welcome to the club :)
R, Slurk
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 17, 2013, 02:20:54 PM
Okay...here it is, 6 hours later.  Brew is in the primary, and it REALLY has an intense orange smell to it, as I boiled 1 oz of sweet orange peel in the recipe. On the stove top, it took a lot longer to boil than I thought, but it got there. Oh, and it smelled SOOOOO GOOOOD when boiling! ;D MY GAWD...it reminded me of hot cereal mom used to cook for me when I was a kid...that's a bonus I wasn't expecting. ;)
So, question for you all. How long before I see bubbles? Primary is sitting in a place that had an overnight temp of 64*...belgian wit needs 62-75*.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on February 17, 2013, 04:17:46 PM
Quote
MY GAWD...it reminded me of hot cereal mom used to cook for me when I was a kid

When I do my stove-top decoction for mash out, my wife often says the same thing.

Quote
How long before I see bubbles?

Patience, grasshopper. I started a pilsner yesterday with dry yeast, and the yeast clumped up on me. Swirled it a few hours ago and I think it finally dispersed. I'll probably see bubbles before bed. Tomorrow at the latest.  If you don't see bubbles in 48hrs, then it might be time to worry. Until then, have a beer.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 17, 2013, 04:55:51 PM
Man, I'm really trying...I've got a few friends, brothers AND my parents expecting a mouthful. And I have to say, I hate disappointing my folks. :-\ I'm 43 , and my ol'man is still my best friend, and mom is the only woman never to break my heart....well, yet anyway. ;D So, I'm really hoping to please.
I really am a patient man....just wish God and beer would give me a sign of their intentions is all. :Pha ha
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 18, 2013, 04:01:37 AM
It's 5am...getting ready for work. WHOA...it's alive! REALLY ALIVE! I'm glad I put a blow off tube with a 1 gallon jug on it!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 18, 2013, 02:54:42 PM
Well, here it is, 24 hours since yeast pitching. The volcano has quieted down...almost too quiet. I am going to leave it be til Sunday(day 7) then I will transfer to the carboy...and do another hydrometer check.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on February 18, 2013, 07:24:41 PM
It's 5am...getting ready for work. WHOA...it's alive! REALLY ALIVE! I'm glad I put a blow off tube with a 1 gallon jug on it!

 ;D I was the same way, first time I used the carboy... It was SO cool to actually SEE what it was doing. The plastic bucket jus wadn' gittin it for me.

Quote
Patience, grasshopper. I started a pilsner yesterday with dry yeast, and the yeast clumped up on me. Swirled it a few hours ago and I think it finally dispersed. I'll probably see bubbles before bed. Tomorrow at the latest.  If you don't see bubbles in 48hrs, then it might be time to worry. Until then, have a beer.

Yes, Maine Homebrewer's told me that a couple times, gwapo... but, he is so right. Patience is quite the virtue here. Good on ya, keep us posted, and welcome to the addiction! 8)
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on February 18, 2013, 07:46:05 PM
That pilsner wasn't taking off this morning. Pushing 40 hrs since pitching.  A few spots of bubbles on the top like you would expect in a freshly racked secondary, but no real activity. I did have a mason jar in the fridge of yeast I was washing from a previous batch. Same strain. Third generation. Hope I didn't screw the pooch. Wasn't really planing on using this yeast except to practice yeast washing techniques. It wasn't quite finished washing, but I was able to do some more separation before adding it to the brew. Took right off in a couple hours. Don't know if it was the additional yeast, the existing yeast, or a combination. Probably both.  If that hadn't have worked I still had a packet or two left.  Always do.  It only takes one time of waiting for four days before making a desperate yeast run before you ALWAYS have a backup.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on February 18, 2013, 07:55:02 PM
Man, I'm really trying...I've got a few friends, brothers AND my parents expecting a mouthful. And I have to say, I hate disappointing my folks. :-\ I'm 43 , and my ol'man is still my best friend, and mom is the only woman never to break my heart....well, yet anyway. ;D So, I'm really hoping to please.
I really am a patient man....just wish God and beer would give me a sign of their intentions is all. :Pha ha

Haha... yeah, my son asked me today if I could give him some of the beer I've got stocked up so he can serve it at his gallery opening...had to tell him that it wasn't fit for a public serving just yet, I wasn't going to embarrass him at his first opening. It's ok for me to drink, but it's a chocolate milk stout that runs more along the lines of an imperial stout....sooooo...... yeah... I get where yer comin' from. It's like everyone expects every beer you make to be as smooth and clear as commercial brews and taste EXACTLY like what you were telling them it kinda tastes like. Sorry, I'm just not there yet, and probably won't be for quite a few brews. Still experimenting....and lovin' every sip of it too!! ;)
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 19, 2013, 04:05:07 AM
Yeah, I can already tell mine isn't going to be the way I hoped. It has a really strong orange smell...almost like marmalade beer! But, it is my first, and I have made a few notes to keep in mind for my next batch. My boil off was NOTHING like beer smith estimated...It had me 5.8 gallons off water, plus I did a 32 oz. starter. I am guessing evaporation was in the area of just over a quart...2 at the most. So, I havea full buck fermenting, plus my estimated gravity was off quite a bit(on the low side). It's all knowledge to apply forward, 2nd batch will be much better.
It is still bubbling pretty good...I am soooo gland I went with a run off tube rather than a air lock! ;D
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 24, 2013, 07:56:21 AM
Okay, here we are a week later...racking day. I had quite a few problems trying to rack the beer to the secondary, as the was LOTS of trube in the bucket. The trube kept plugging up my syphon , thus resulting in a lost flow. I had to keep trying to push aside the trube with my mixing paddle.
I got quite a few air bubbles in the carboy... I hope I didn't ruin it by adding too much oxygen. as far as trube goes...I got 10 cups of it out of my primary.
The beer itself does NOT seem to be as I had planned. It is much darker, and the orange peel smell has not dispersed much at all...has a very strong marmalade odor to it.
Time will tell. Perhaps my next batch will be a little more on the more basic side, so I may learn without all of the expense.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: ihikeut on February 24, 2013, 11:15:56 AM
Your local brew supplier should have a attachment to keep your syphon just above the trube. Tilting the bucket towards the syphon tube should get most of the beer out without ant trube.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on February 24, 2013, 12:56:31 PM
Since I have all kinds of glass carbs and jugs around, I have no shortage of rubber bungs. They work great to tilt the works towards the siphon and minimize junk in the secondary.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 24, 2013, 02:57:52 PM
Your local brew supplier should have a attachment to keep your syphon just above the trube. Tilting the bucket towards the syphon tube should get most of the beer out without ant trube.

Is this the unit you are referring to?
http://www.amazon.com/CLAMP-for-Regular-Auto-Siphon/dp/B0064OJRUA/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1361742932&sr=8-6&keywords=auto+siphon
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 25, 2013, 04:00:04 AM
The siphon actually does have a cap on it to aid in filtering trub out...but it didn't do so well. Maybe I'll try Maines trick...or maybe get one of those metal coffee filters to assist next time.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on February 25, 2013, 04:24:23 PM
Quote
or maybe get one of those metal coffee filters to assist next time.

I wouldn't.  There's no need. That and filters can clog or allow air to enter the mix adding oxygen which is bad.

Just tilt it a bit and keep the siphon in one spot at the low point. You'll siphon out some sludge, but it will fall right out in the secondary anyway.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: tom_hampton on February 25, 2013, 04:34:16 PM
Also, hold the siphon a few inches below the surface. Then just follow the beer down as it drains. Then you can just stop before you reach the sludge.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 25, 2013, 04:41:30 PM
Also, hold the siphon a few inches below the surface. Then just follow the beer down as it drains. Then you can just stop before you reach the sludge.
I never thought about that one Tom. I would have to scoop off the thick kraeusen...had about 2 inches of that on top.

These tips aren't going to waste guys. I am taking notes and storing things in the hair covered(somewhat) computer.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on February 25, 2013, 05:00:35 PM
Quote
I would have to scoop off the thick kraeusen...had about 2 inches of that on top.

It wasn't ready. Don't worry, you didn't ruin it. Next time wait for the kraeusen to fall out before you rack it. The yeast doesn't follow the schedule on a piece of paper. That's just a guideline.  I've had ales that were ready to rack in four days, and others took two weeks.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 25, 2013, 05:47:53 PM
Quote
I would have to scoop off the thick kraeusen...had about 2 inches of that on top.

It wasn't ready. Don't worry, you didn't ruin it. Next time wait for the kraeusen to fall out before you rack it. The yeast doesn't follow the schedule on a piece of paper. That's just a guideline.  I've had ales that were ready to rack in four days, and others took two weeks.
So, THAT'S why some folks use a carboy for the primary! :o ARGH! My wife is gonna kill me when I drag one of those home!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: ihikeut on February 25, 2013, 07:30:05 PM
That is the exact clamp I'm referring to.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on February 26, 2013, 03:24:26 PM
That is the exact clamp I'm referring to.
Thanks...pictures help. Speaking of pictures...this is what I am seeing here at home.(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_6259.jpg)
As you can see, I am NOT looking at a full carboy. I did a full boil, but I think the beersmith didn't have the calculations for trub loss and stuff. Does the volume look Okay to you guys? I know it seems dark too, I think it's because of the wheat DME and the 1 lb. of flaked wheat I steeped. I also noticed there is already 1" of trub, and it has only been 2 days since I racked...all on account of not knowing what I am doing
You know, when they advertise the beer making kits, they make it sound as simple as mixing kool-aid. But I am finding out there is a little more to it than that.
But with that being said, I think I'll have plenty of yeast to try my hands at the "yeast washing" thing.
(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_6260.jpg)
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 03, 2013, 06:33:33 AM
Well, it's been 1 week since racing the beer to the secondary...and I finally took a peak at it. Um, it hasn't changed much at all. The krauesen has settled off of the top, but other than that, it looks almost EXACTLY the same. The thermometer on the side still says 63*...just like in the photo. The Belgian Wit yeast I used said it will be active in a range of 62*-75*, but I am wondering if it still may be too low.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 04, 2013, 04:11:33 AM
Okay, I put a milk crate under the carboy yesterday, moving it as carefully as I could. I think it may have helped a little. The temp is at 64*, creeping towards 65* and there is a small amount of activity in the airlock now...yesterday there was none. I am getting 1 bubble every 90 seconds. This leads me to believe my suspicions of a cold carboy were correct.
I am thinking about getting a electric heat pad to set it on, in hopes of keeping the temp near 70*.
Thinking of using a heat pad like this...
http://www.amazon.com/Conair-HP01RBRR-Moist-Heating-Pad/dp/B000F54AOW/ref=sr_1_9?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1362396999&sr=1-9&keywords=heat+pad

in conjunction with a timer like this...
http://www.amazon.com/Intermatic-DT620-Indoor-Digital-Plug-In/dp/B004TGO6RY/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1362396722&sr=8-10&keywords=outlet+timer

I am thinking if I program it to turn on for an 1/2 hour then off for a few, it may be enough to get my carboy near 70*.
Anyone still following the thread have any thoughts?
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: ihikeut on March 04, 2013, 06:31:59 AM
I would use a sterile wine thief,  or large straw and remove a sample and test the gravity. Check it again in two day, if it close to the same gravity, start lowering the temp to see if it starts to clears. Make sure that you sterilize the top of the carboy and any thing the contacts the beer. 
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 04, 2013, 04:42:30 PM
Your temperatures are fine. Patience.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Curly55 on March 04, 2013, 05:16:28 PM
Your temps are less crucial at the end of your aging/fermentation. If anything once you get it into the secondary colder is better it helps the yeast drop out. And I agree with MH... Patience.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 04, 2013, 05:22:38 PM
I understand what your both saying...but remember I racked a little too early, so some residual fermentation was needed(I think :-\)
Also, hoping to start my second batch this weekend. So if temp is a little low in my closet, I want to get it corrected. Plus I'll be needing that carboy in a few weeks too. ;D
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: MaltLicker on March 04, 2013, 06:17:58 PM
Yes, 68-69F may help it finish out.  Also try rousing the yeast to get maximum cells up in contact with the wort.  Safest way might be a tennis ball under the carboy and slowly roll it around while it's standing uneven. 

I use a lazy susan ball-bearing and it works great.  $5 at a wood craft store.   When the yeast starting slowing down, I spin them back up to help attenuation.

http://blueribbonbrews.com/photos/equipment/   pic #19
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 04, 2013, 06:47:27 PM
Seriously dude, leave it alone. It's your first batch. You racked early. That's fine. Don't do it again.

Now you wait. You wait until the yeast has nothing left to eat and falls out of the brew. It will become both darker and clearer. Soon you will see the surface of the yeast cake. Let us know when that happens.  Take a picture.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 04, 2013, 06:56:32 PM
Seriously dude, leave it alone. It's your first batch. You racked early. That's fine. Don't do it again.

Now you wait. You wait until the yeast has nothing left to eat and falls out of the brew. It will become both darker and clearer. Soon you will see the surface of the yeast cake. Let us know when that happens.  Take a picture.
Okay Maine, will do....you haven't let me down yet. I am going to leave it sitting on the milk crate, as getting the carboy off the floor did raise the temp 2 * in 24 hours. I'm also going to try to leave the closet door open, in hopes the added "house heat" helps out. I also took 2 dark plastic garbage bags and double layered them over the carboy, so any light won't penetrate to the beer.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: ihikeut on March 06, 2013, 06:41:26 AM
Quote from Yeast The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

"Regardless of a strains,s flocculation level, lower beer temperatures result in a higher flocculation rate.  More yeast drop out of solution at 40 F ( 4 C ) as compared to 70  F (21 C ), and more yeast drop out at 32 F ( 0 C ) as compared to 40 F ( 4 C ). Some yeast strains require two week or more at 40 F ( 4 C ) to completely clear."
 
BY checking his attenuation, with a hydrometer the wort is most likely in it's Stationary Phase.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on March 06, 2013, 04:59:56 PM
Quote
Okay Maine, will do....you haven't let me down yet. I am going to leave it sitting on the milk crate, as getting the carboy off the floor did raise the temp 2 * in 24 hours. I'm also going to try to leave the closet door open, in hopes the added "house heat" helps out. I also took 2 dark plastic garbage bags and double layered them over the carboy, so any light won't penetrate to the beer.

My wife was making fun of me when she saw my carboy (you know, the GLASS one I just friggin BROKE with 6 gallons of sanitizer water that went all over the #%$@&!$ basement floor!!! >:() cuz it had the 'carboy parka' on it....she pointed and laughed and said "you have a beer snuggie!!! HAHAHAHA"
Yeah....but I don't have bitter beer face from skunky beer....HA!
Seriously, good call on the black garbage bags.....kind of a dual purpose.... light AND holds a bit of heat in....
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 06, 2013, 06:08:06 PM
Quote from Yeast The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation

"Regardless of a strains,s flocculation level, lower beer temperatures result in a higher flocculation rate.  More yeast drop out of solution at 40 F ( 4 C ) as compared to 70  F (21 C ), and more yeast drop out at 32 F ( 0 C ) as compared to 40 F ( 4 C ). Some yeast strains require two week or more at 40 F ( 4 C ) to completely clear."
 
BY checking his attenuation, with a hydrometer the wort is most likely in it's Stationary Phase.
I think it is "stationary". I have been watching it for about 5 minutes...no bubbles and boooooring! The temp is around 65-66*, so I know all is well with the temp. I plan on brewing another batch this weekend, so I'm going to have to put it back on the floor, which means the temp will lower to 63 again. But it's a must do as I don't have enough room for a 2nd carboy with the milk crate in there. I will also take a few hydrometer readings.

But, even if it is "done", I plan on leaving it in the carboy for at least another week in hopes of seeing that yeast drop that Mainebrewer was talking about. Plus, I read that a little extra time in the carboy "conditioning phase" helps the flavors balance in, as the yeasts start to eat the undesirable flavored by products. Or, so it reads in "how to brew".

I am not sure if the beer will become "clear" as I steeped 1 lb. of flaked wheat as part of the recipe. From what I have read, that kind of haze just won't clear up. So I'm not sure as to how "clear" it will be. I fully intend on leaving it in the carboy for another 1 1/2 weeks from this point...bringing the total time in the secondary to 3 weeks minimum.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 06, 2013, 06:12:50 PM
Quote
Okay Maine, will do....you haven't let me down yet. I am going to leave it sitting on the milk crate, as getting the carboy off the floor did raise the temp 2 * in 24 hours. I'm also going to try to leave the closet door open, in hopes the added "house heat" helps out. I also took 2 dark plastic garbage bags and double layered them over the carboy, so any light won't penetrate to the beer.

My wife was making fun of me when she saw my carboy (you know, the GLASS one I just friggin BROKE with 6 gallons of sanitizer water that went all over the #%$@&!$ basement floor!!! >:() cuz it had the 'carboy parka' on it....she pointed and laughed and said "you have a beer snuggie!!! HAHAHAHA"
Yeah....but I don't have bitter beer face from skunky beer....HA!
Seriously, good call on the black garbage bags.....kind of a dual purpose.... light AND holds a bit of heat in....
Man, I'm just cheap that way. I saw those "snuggie" things your talking about at the "Midwest" site. I was like..."WTF? Another way to get a dime from someone."
Sorry to hear about your carboy. I'm still nervous as hell carrying mine around.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Curly55 on March 07, 2013, 08:41:43 AM
Brew Haulers are a life saver when transporting carboys. Check Amazon regularly for them and they will show up from time to time for around 5 buck.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on March 07, 2013, 04:23:31 PM
Man, I'm just cheap that way. I saw those "snuggie" things your talking about at the "Midwest" site. I was like..."WTF? Another way to get a dime from someone."
Sorry to hear about your carboy. I'm still nervous as hell carrying mine around.
Yeah, I kinda thought that too, but....my brain wasn't in cheap mode, it was just, 'hey I need to keep it covered'.....but then she looks at me and said...."it's only two towels sewn together, I coulda done that!".....of course I didn't ask, and she didn't offer!! LOL
That's the danger of me going to the LHBS, just like going to Lowes or HD.....it's NEVER good to go by myself!! 8)
Thanks....I replaced it with a better boy 6 gallon..... sigh.... like the glass, but damn that mess.... >:(
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 07, 2013, 05:12:12 PM
I certainly hope I don't drop one of these...I don't know if my wife would be in a humorous mood like your was. ???
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 08, 2013, 05:08:45 PM
Okay, it's been 12 days since I racked to the secondary. I had to move the carboy around in the closet, so I decided to take a peek under it's bags. Huh, no change. If it wasn't for the tape measure being absent in the second photo, you'd swear they(the 2nd and 1st images) were the same image.

(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_6261.jpg)

(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_6262.jpg)

I took a hydrometer reading. The beersmith seems to be almost right on target for ABV. I have FG 1.008 which gives me a 5.1 ABV .
I also took a little taste sample. Hmmmm, not quite what I was hoping for. No rotten aftertaste or odors, but not the "orange" flavor I was hoping for either. Also, it looks as if it's trying to carbonate just a wee bit. I saw some very small bubbles coming from the bottom of my glass.
 I know the beer is still young. I am going to leave it in the carboy for 1 more week, then I plan on bottling. I hope it clears a little between now and then, but not expecting much. The flaked wheat I used clouds things, plus I don't think I had a hot enough boil in my pot for a true "hot break". 

Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 08, 2013, 06:08:40 PM
If I didn't know that you had already racked it I would think that's a primary that's ready to be racked. Primarily because of the ring and the amount of sediment.  It must have been rocking when you racked it the first time. 

I'd rack it. Seriously. A lot of stuff will just settle right out just from racking it, and it will clarify faster than if you leave it where it is.  Also so you can see what's supposed to happen in the secondary.  Because that's really not your secondary. It's your second primary.  You should think of it as a week to ten days old.
If you don't rack it, you should treat it like the primary fermentation just finished. Because that's exactly what just happened. It was extended by the early rack. 
Also, this gives you a chance to adjust the flavor.  You reported that the orange flavor was not present as much as you would have liked. You have an opportunity to rack the brew onto the (sanitized) zest an orange or two.

Remember that the yeast does not work on your schedule. You work on its schedule.  You screwed that up once by racking early. Nobody warned you.

I'm warning you now that if you bottle in a week, things might not go as well as if you rack first or give it more time. 

I doubt you'll have glass grenades, but you will have a lot of sediment.  Guests aren't usually impressed by beer that's got an eight of an inch of mud in the bottom of the bottle.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 08, 2013, 07:23:38 PM
Okay Maine....I racked as soon as I saw your posting. Here is a pic after racking...foam is from Star-san...show no fear.

(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_6263.jpg)

I only have 1 carboy, so I had to rack to my bottling bucket. There was all kinds of nasty stuff in my carboy. Pieces of orange peel that got sucked through the siphon, bits of grains of paradise....YUCK!
I made sure I didn't get any garbage through the siphon this time, as I left about 12 oz of beer on the trub and chucked it up for waste.  While I am getting better at this whole racking thing, I must say I'm getting more and more nervous about adding oxygen to the beer.
I plan on letting it set for 2 weeks now. At that time, I will probably be needing the carboy for my next batch, which I am starting tomorrow.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on March 08, 2013, 08:37:32 PM
Sounds like tomorrow's brew will go a lot better, as will the fermenting, I know I'VE learned a lot for my brews from this, as I know you have as well. Each one I've done, I keep copious notes... but that's in my nature, as in my profession, so, it's not a stretch for me. Point being, as you brew, you learn, you write or type, you check, you learn, you write/type, you check..... you get the point.  ;)
I'm sure that even though it may not end up "exactly" as you wanted, it's still gonna be a drinkable homebrew that YOU made. THAT is the best part of it all!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 09, 2013, 05:49:05 AM
Yep, I have learned a lot, and I believe this next batch will be sooooo much better. Bad thing is, it's raining out. Which means I have to bring my turkey fryer set-up in side. Wife's not gonna like this. :-\
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 09, 2013, 06:02:02 AM
Quote
Which means I have to bring my turkey fryer set-up in side.

I sure hope you're not planning on setting up a propane burner indoors. That is unwise on so many levels.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 09, 2013, 06:30:56 AM
Trust me, I know exactly what your talking about. I am certified "firefighter level 1" in Iowa...and not crazy about the idea either. But raining today, leaving tomorrow....I think I'm just gonna have to prep to make it safe to do.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: beernbourbon on March 09, 2013, 07:54:00 AM
eh...I'd wait til ya got back... just not worth the chance, man. The beer can wait.  ;)
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 09, 2013, 08:07:23 AM
Yeah, I'm trying to figure something out. I'm a problem solver, so I'll come up with something.
Back to the "Alpha batch", It's got just a wee bit of activity in the airlock. I was hoping for this after racking it. I know it's just excess carbon dioxide that got agitated from racking, but I'm wanting the oxygen in the carboy to get expelled. I'm gonna put my dark garbage bags back on...then get to work on my IPA.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Maine Homebrewer on March 09, 2013, 12:36:55 PM
Sometimes patience means brewing another day.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: tom_hampton on March 09, 2013, 01:13:58 PM
Lots of good advice here.   Almost all of it with the same theme : patience.  In almost all cases the best thing you can do for your beer is leave it alone.   Every time you rack you risk infection and you add oxygen.  When you rack to a bucket and then back into the carboy, that is two ranking (not one).  As. NNewbie, your sanitation practices are almost certainly sub par.  Leave it alone.

Second, racking does NOT improve the clarity of a beer. Settling of the yeast is a function of the floculation of the yeast, and the stillness of the beer, the temperature, and time. When you rack all you do is stir the wort. It takes time for a suspended particle to fall from the top of your beer to the bottom. When you rack you remix anything that is falling, and you introduce currents that will keep particles in suspension.  So, then you have to wait for the currents to subside before the particles will begin to fall to the bottom again. So, the only thing that racking does is PROLONG the clarification process. Leave it alone.

There is no reason to move a beer to a secondary.  It does nothing good for the beer that can't be fixed through other, better means. Leave the beer in the primary until it is done. By done, I mean the final gravity is within 4 points of your target and hasn't changed in two days. After that, leave it in the primary until it is clear.  Then bottle or keg.

There are no cellaring tasks that are dictated by the calendar or watch. Theyare always dictated by a measurrement: gravity, clarity, temperaturee, or flavor.  As I said above, there is significant risk every time you move the beer.  You should know why you are moving the beer and that it is worth the risk of oxygen and infection. 
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 09, 2013, 04:42:14 PM
Well, the racking is done Tome, did it last night. It's still got some bubbles coming out of it, so hopefully I did not upset things too much.

As far as brewing another day...couldn't do it for another week. I don't think the yeast starter that I had spinning on the stir plat was gonna wait another 7 days.
I ended up getting the job done...safely too. The new batch (IPA) is in the primary...right next to the WIT I screwed up on...many times. This 2nd brew went MUCH better. ;D
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on March 16, 2013, 01:42:33 AM
i had many worries on my first brew too.

first, with a temp as low as 62-63 you were fermenting VERY slowly, which is GREAT at the start of fermentation. for this and any subsequent batch if you can start this low and slowly raise the temperature it is good.

my first batch fermented at 66 degrees and turned out great once i waited long enough for it to bottle condition (day 14 was the day it turned good, at day 10 it was drinkable but not good).

if you want to use a secondary always let your beer sit in the primary for 7-10 days. unless there is a REAL reason to move it before this. there is, as previously stated, nothing wrong with letting it sit in the primary longer (i personally would not exceed 14 days).

if you wait long enough in the primary, when you rack to the secondary there will be nothing floating on top and you can just siphon top down (as someone else suggested).
i leave my tip 1-2" below the surface and lower as i go.

it looks a LOT darker in the carboy than it will in a glass. if you use transparent tubing look at it while you rack to your bottling bucket. that is how light it will appear.

i just started last December and have learned a lot in a smal number of batches. the first batch is always the hardest due to a lack of knowing. i refuse to call it impatience because if you knew how it would go, you would wait with no complaints.

for keeping my carboys dark i just use 2 towels. no they are not sewn together. i just wrap one towel around and then from the opposite side i wrap the other.

hopefully some of what i typed made sense, i suck at organizational writing.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on March 16, 2013, 02:25:47 PM
well, I bottled the batch today. I didn't both posting a picture of it as it had NO change in appearance. I did give it a sample tasting...not bad. It is pretty bitter from all of the orange peel, and I also discovered I don't like Belgian Wit yeast. But no off flavors suggesting I screwed up royally.
I only got 42 bottles out of this batch, as I didn't boil enough H2O to compensate for trub loss etc.
1 more month to go!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on March 19, 2013, 01:32:35 PM
actually if you had 5 gallons in your primary, then you boiled enough (after topoff if needed).
on my first batch i left more beer in my primary and secondary than necessary because i was so concerned with accidentally sucking trub.
due to that my first batch was 35x 12oz bottles.

after i bottled i checked out the sediment on my secondary and saw how settled and 'firm' it was and every batch after that i have been more 'aggressive' when transferring to my bottling bucket and have gotten a minimum of 50x 12 oz bottles (with a high of 53) or 26x 22oz bottles (with a high of 28, no idea how).

remember each batch is a learning experience and for the first 2-3 you will always feel like you are doing something wrong.

be patient and also remember that unless your batch had something horribly wrong to only make small adjustments when you make it next.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on April 06, 2013, 12:34:30 PM
Well, here it is guys. After a long wait, I finally was able to taste the finished product. The taste....not bad, especially for all of the mistakes I made AND it being my 1st batch.
(http://i1068.photobucket.com/albums/u445/gwapogorilla/IMG_0159.jpg)

Since everything was cleaned and sanitized well, it really helped it spring back to a drinkable beer. Not Bluemoon, but still good.

Thanks again to all helped me through this one. I have since brewed 2 more times with what I have learned, and I keep getting better all of the time.

CHEERS!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on April 09, 2013, 11:08:17 AM
congrats! and also if you let it condition a bit more it is stunning how much it improves.

here is my first beer before it got lagered (did not take any pics of that, sorry).
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on April 09, 2013, 11:10:03 AM
sorry, my first attempt at adding pics here and something seemed to have misfired.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on April 09, 2013, 02:49:51 PM
I don't think the extra conditioning time is gonna work....  I drinking it too fast! ;D
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on April 20, 2013, 02:34:27 AM
I don't think the extra conditioning time is gonna work....  I drinking it too fast! ;D

well, i made my first batch on a Friday night. the next batch the following Monday and then another batch the Monday after that. so letting it have time to condition has worked well. i currently hve one batch bottle conditioning and another still in primary and am making another batch the week after that (may wait 2 weeks...i'll see).
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on April 20, 2013, 05:34:43 AM
actually, you are so right. I just finished the last of it, and the orange flavor really came out. It was not bitter, but just right. But really, I just can't seem to keep any set aside...between me and family/friends, it went pretty quick.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Detmurds on April 20, 2013, 08:47:04 AM
Was just wondering,..do you remember what temperature you pitched the yeast at,..how did you cool it,..and how long did it take to cool?  Thanks.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on April 20, 2013, 03:18:09 PM
The yeast was spinning on a stir plate for 24 hours before I pitched...my notes say it was at 71* F. I do full volume boils and use a wort chiller. I chilled the wort to 71* to match the yeast temp. Since it was in a plastic bucket, I wasn't able to see any visual signs of fermentation for better than 24 hours. I have since moved on to a 6.5 gallon glass carboy as my primary. Now I see activity in 12 hours or less.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Detmurds on April 20, 2013, 08:56:37 PM
Hey,..thanks for the reply,..can't wait to see how you like it when it is done.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: gwapogorilla on April 21, 2013, 06:25:05 AM
It's done...and gone already. I found out that if you let beer age a little, the flavors REALLY come out. I tried a bottle 21 days after bottling...so it was fully carbed. It was OK at best. Then I waited 10 days more...WOW! The orange really came out in it and the head stability improved 3 fold! 
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Detmurds on April 21, 2013, 10:00:10 PM
I know how you feel,..I did an IPA,..bottled it,..seemed like it took forever to carb,..by the time it carbonated nicely,..with the flavor even better,..I think I had about 6 left,..but I enjoyed them like no other!
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: KipDM on April 22, 2013, 10:52:26 PM
I know how you feel,..I did an IPA,..bottled it,..seemed like it took forever to carb,..by the time it carbonated nicely,..with the flavor even better,..I think I had about 6 left,..but I enjoyed them like no other!

not sure what temp you and Gwap are bottle conditioning at ut i do it at 67-73 degrees and the carbonation is fine after 10 days. beer not mature but it's carbonated.

btw have bottled my Dry Stout, racked my Black IPA to the secondary tonight while i was steeping grains on my India Brown Ale (just hit the fermenter about 30 minutes ago.

also, i use plastic bottling bucket as my primary (until i can get 2 6.5 gallon glass carboys) and i see activity always within 12 hours unless i am fermenting REALLY low temps. of course i either pitch a liquid AND dry yeast packet or i pitch 2 dry yeast packets (3 packs for the IBA). sometimes i remember to rehydrate the dry yeast before pitching but usually i don't bother.
Title: Re: It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!
Post by: Detmurds on April 23, 2013, 09:11:30 AM
My temps are always in perfect range.  My porter carbs quickly,..but for me, it is the IPA that usually takes at least 2 to 3 weeks to carbed the way I like it.