Author Topic: Should I throw out first batch and start over:  (Read 6410 times)

Offline cbpuddleglum

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Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« on: July 09, 2014, 02:49:01 PM »
Hello,
Last night I brewed my first batch of London/Newcastle Brown Ale home brew from a kit.  Several questions came up and were answered after to the fact.  Now I am wondering if I have spoiled the beer and need to start over.   

Here are the mistakes that were made:
1) I wrung out with my hands the grain bag after steeping it. 
2) I added the hops in the wrong order.  It is suppose to be 1.5 oz of Goldings for 45 minutes then add Irish Moss for 10 minutes and then add .5 Goldings for 5 minutes.  I did the 1.5 of Goldings for 45 minutes, but then added the .5 of Goldings next. Realizing I made a mistake, I added the Irish Moss 2 minutes after that and boiled it for 13 additional minutes.
3) I let the beer chill to 80 rather than 85 before I added additional water and the yeast
4) The additional water that I added was filtered and came out of my refrigerator. It was not boiled for sanitation.
5) I did not sanitize the packet of yeast before opening it and pitching it, nor did I sanitize the scissors used to open the packet.
6) Finally, I live in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento.  It is very hot in July.  The beer is supposed to be fermented at a temp between 68-70.  There is no way my wife will support running the air conditioner at that temp :), so I placed the beer fermenter  in my closet inside a cooler that only comes half way up the fermenter bucket and then placed on two sides of the fermenter a large zip lock bags half filled with ice as well as on top of the fermenter a container filled with ice. I have no way of knowing what the temp is. I do know that when I left this morning the temp of the actual closet was 76 degrees.

What do you think?  Does this beer have potential?

Offline TAHammerton

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 04:09:49 PM »
1) Any potential infections should be killed by the boil. Post boil is when you have to be really really careful.
2) I don't quite understand what happened but a little over/under hopped beer is not a throw away.
3) You should chill as fast as possible after the boil. You typically pitch yeast between 70 and 75F as higher or lower temps will stress and may even kill the yeast. Exactly what yeast did you use?
4) That is a bit of a mistake. Your fridge is absolutely packed with things you don't want in your beer. Still you may get lucky.
5) Not a great procedure but not the end of the world.
6) Temperature control is one of the keys to making good beer. You can get all kinds of unusual flavours in a hot fermentation. There are some Belgian strains of yeast that do well at high temps and I would consider brewing something with that in summer if you cant keep you fermenter below 75F.

But just wait and see, don't dump it yet. Bear in mind it is not going to taste like the finished beer when you bottle it. The taste will improve after a few weeks.
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Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 04:15:40 PM »
In your order:
1) I've never steeped, but I assume any nasties from your hands should be eliminated in the boil
2) not an issue
3) Did the instructions say to add yeast at 85? That sounds hot. Should typically be 70-75
4) boiling and cooling removes off flavors and sanitizes. You're but probably OK
5) sanitizing the packet of yeast and scissors is an easy extra precaution which should be done, but unless the packet was sitting in the cat litter and/or you actually stuck dirty scissors in the packet, you're fine. I'm a stickler for sanitation, but there's a difference between sanitizing and "sterilizing"; the difference often lost in first brew attempts. Your brew methods should eliminate as much bacteria as possible, to the point where any bacteria (there always is "some") is not overtaken by the yeast.
6) You need to cool 6 to 8 degrees from your ambient of 76. A stick on thermometer might be a good idea.

I think your beer will be fine, but you need to know approximately what your ferment temp is.

edited....
I didn't see Hammertons post. Basically on the same page, and he's right about the fridge water.
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Offline cbpuddleglum

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 04:38:01 PM »
Thank you very much for the quick and helpful responses.

The yeast that I used is SafAle S-04, SafAleUS-05. The directions actually say once cooled to below 85 degrees, add to fermenter, then add enough water to bring to 5.5 gallons total. Then it says to pitch yeast into fermenter.  I followed these steps, so  the temp was actually below 80 degrees, so I think I am good to go here.

I will purchase a stick thermometer on the way home from work tonight and attempt to keep the beer temp at 70 degrees going forward.

Thanks again.

 

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 06:07:44 PM »
Wrap the fermentor in a wet towel and put a fan on it.  That, plus the ice you keep changing out, should keep it down in the mid 60F range, which would be perfect.  The towel should hang down into the water in your tub.  It will continually wick water up into it and stay damp.  The fan will dry the towel out, but the water it's hanging in won't let it dry out.  The cool water wicking out of the towel from the fan blowing on it, will take it down another 4-6F.  The ice will probably insure that it stays cold enough to have a great cooling effect.

Your closet will probably end up at about mid 60's F.
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Offline cbpuddleglum

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 12:41:43 PM »
Good advice.  Thanks! 

I did purchase a stick on fermometer.  Lo and behold it was at 70 degrees.  I changed out the ice and placed a frozen milk jug on top and a frozen soy milk cartoon on the side in place of one of the bags of ice.  This dropped the temperature overnight to 64 degrees, which is a bit cold according to the recipe.  I removed the milk jug and the soy milk cartoon and the bag of ice for several hours and the temperature climbed bag up to 66 degrees.  I place in another bag of ice before leaving for work.  Hopefully, will be able to get to consistent temperature with your advice. 


Offline durrettd

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 09:32:47 PM »
The yeast will work below the recommended temperature range. It may take a little longer to ferment cool, but I generally prefer beers fermented at or a couple of degrees below the stated low end. I started a batch 10 degrees F below the minimum stated temp range (by accident) and still got fermentation within 24 hours.

Offline jtoots

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 11:19:43 AM »
Wrap the fermentor in a wet towel and put a fan on it.  That, plus the ice you keep changing out, should keep it down in the mid 60F range, which would be perfect.  The towel should hang down into the water in your tub.  It will continually wick water up into it and stay damp.  The fan will dry the towel out, but the water it's hanging in won't let it dry out.  The cool water wicking out of the towel from the fan blowing on it, will take it down another 4-6F.  The ice will probably insure that it stays cold enough to have a great cooling effect.


Great idea.  You basically made your ice bath into a swamp cooler.  Bravo.

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 09:04:06 PM »
Thanks, but it's not my idea.  I got it from on here I think.
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 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
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 Wee Heavy

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Offline haerbob3

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2014, 02:30:10 PM »
Never pour a batch of beer out.  I have had several that were undrinkable at 6 months but at a year were wonder full.  I brew a high ABV holiday ale that I won't even sample until it is 2 yrs old.  A sasion I brewed last year tasted like a malt-o-meal apple cider last year is turning into a most enjoyably summer sipper.  time can do wonderful things for a beer.

Offline Freak

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2014, 04:39:06 PM »
Time for the Freak to piss everyone off with my common (brewing) sense! He he!!

Dude! This is simple stuff. You are making an ale from extract (I assume. If not, this still applies.). Stop worrying about temps and hop additions. None of that matters.

It is noting more than boiling sugar water and cooling it so you can add the yeast without killing it.

If the yeast lives, it will make beer.

It's that simple. Take your malt, add water, boil, add hops (Does not matter when or how often, only changes the flavor and aroma a bit. Hit your marks as close as you can but, it won't matter that much.)

After you boil it, cool it as fast as possible. I used to put my brew pot in a snow bank outside my house in the winter (back about 20 years ago). Now I use a wort chiller. If you got a chiller use it. If you don't just put it in the sink and do an ice bath. Doesn't matter that much until you get your skills refined.

After it is cool, put it in a fermenter (bucket, carboy, clay crock, 10 gallon hat with a plastic liner, hole in the back yard, any container). It does not matter what you use.

Let it set 2 weeks and bottle or keg that sh*t up.

Simple stuff. Don't let beer nerds like me (and the others here) confuse you with complicated brewing science. Learn the basics then expand on that.
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Offline Northwoods_Basics

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 07:49:38 AM »
I read somewhere about a guy that puts his carboys in a bathtub filled with room temperature water in in the spare bathroom for summer brewing.  The sheer volume of water keeps the temp relatively stable, even when the days are warm and the nights cold, and since it's the spare bathroom, it's kept well out of the light.....just food for thought.
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Offline cbpuddleglum

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 05:20:15 PM »
Update. The Beer came out great!  Glad that I did not throw it out.  On to my second batch now. 

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 08:35:49 PM »
Congrats!
A drinkable first brew is always a great thing...... ;D
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Offline Freak

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Re: Should I throw out first batch and start over:
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2014, 08:56:05 PM »
Great! It's just beer. Don't over-think it.
Brewing massive amounts of freakin' good beer since 1991. We had to learn the hard way. No homebrew stores or beer nerds (like me) to talk to back then. Just pure passion and determination. Relax, Don't Worry, Have A Homebrew! -23 Karma! Yee Ha!! It went up! Smite me if you must but, trust me.