Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

1st home brew and not sure how bad/good things are going

so, I just did my first home brew on wednesday and just when I thought I did all the research I could do, I had more questions after brew day. Below are a list of things that I know went wrong and other things that I’m not sure. But I’m looking for answers to everything.

FYI: This brew is Caabiou Slobber.

#1 I had a boil over! I can’t believe I let it happen. I walked away for about 30 sec and thats all it took. What I don’t know is, does this ruin this batch?

#2 I got put the special grains in the water and it got to a boil, then removed the bag and turned the heat off to add the malt. After adding both the wet and dry malt, I reapplied the heat and immediately added the 60 min hops, then the 45 and then the 15 min hops (I added all the hops based on when I reapplied the heat…NOT once it came back to a boil. My question is, did I ruin this batch by not waiting for the water to come back to a boil or is this ok the way I did it? I didn’t realize what I did until I was looking at some other recipes that had a more detailed directions.

#3 Once the boil was over I had already started chilling water with ice in the sink. It felt like the wort was cooled rather quickly so I was happy and moved on to the next step. I funneled the wort into the better bottle and began to aerate the beer. Once the beer cooled, I added the yeast, put in the stopper and airlock and hid it away in my closet. This was about 6pm on Wednesday. Later that same night I went back to see how it was doing and the airlock was bubbling away and the foam was going up to the neck of the carboy. I panicked and quickly cleaned and sanitized my blow-off tube and swapped that out for the airlock. I called the next morning to see if this was normal and NB said yes. THIS IS WHERE MY QUESTION COMES IN FOR #3…around 12noon on Thursday I went to see how the beer was doing and there were no bubbles and the foam was gone. There was only a little bit sitting on the top of the “beer”. I thought this process was going to go on for 1 or 2 weeks and it didn’t even go on for 24 hours…is this normal???

Many thanks and I look forward to hearing back from some experienced home brewers.

#1 Boil overs aren’t going to ruin anything but your stovetop so you’re good there.
#2 You don’t really want the specialty grains in there if the water gets past 170* next time you brew. You obviously know this now but yeah, add hops according to the schedule after the boil starts. This might through of the bitterness a bit but I think you’ll be fine but you’re still on the path to making a beer.
3# Sounds like you had a pretty vigorous fermentation right off the bat and you did in fact make a beer. The initial fermentation can be done quickly, but can also take a week or so to finish out the last few gravity points at which point you won’t notice a visible active fermentation. Wait for two weeks (meaning try to move the Better Bottle somewhere you won’t see it) and then take a hydrometer reading. Should be somewhere below 1.020.

Hope everything turns out. Obviously some flaws in that process but nothing that will completely ruin you. Just get that next kit and apply your new knowledge.

You nervous newbies are fun. RDWHAHB man.

You made a few mistakes, but you’ll end up with beer. Its a learning experience.

  1. Boilovers happen to the best of us. You lost some sugars and probably some hops, but life will go on. Always watch like a hawk during the boil, you cannot walk away.

  2. You should have pulled the grains out before the temp reached boiling, you don’t want them to go over 170. You may end up with some extra astringency because of this, but it may not be terribly noticeable. Personally I don’t add my bittering hops until after the boil has gone on for a bit, to get the worst of the hot break over with. Your hop timer is definately supposed to be based on boiling time, not total time. But its not that big a deal. This will only impact your bittering addition, and you’ll have a little less bitterness is all.

  3. Did you make a yeast starter (or use dry yeast)? What temperature was the wort when you pitched the yeast? It sounds like you had a very rapid fermentation, which is not unusual if you pitch plenty of yeast and the wort is on the warm side. Even when you have properly cool wort, if you aerate well and pitch lots of yeast, the most active part of fermentation only lasts a few days. If you didn’t already, in the future, try to get the temp down to the low 60s before you pitch yeast.

Note this doesn’t mean your primary fermentation is “done”. You want to let it sit for the next couple weeks at a minimum while the yeast clean up some of their initial byproducts, and then finish dropping out of suspension. Switch your blowoff tube back for an ordinary airlock, and let it hang out for a few weeks.

All will be well.

Thanks for your reply Nate.

I know I’ve been freaking about this…I was actually delaying brew day because I was so nervous I was going to mess it up.

All sounds like good advise. I’m not sure if I can set my garage fridge to 60ish but will do that for my next ale.

Anyway, I’m going to get right back at it as soon as my primary carboy is done with the current brew.

btw. what is RDWHAHB?

thanks again,
Justin

[quote=“jbayer80”]Thanks for your reply Nate.

I know I’ve been freaking about this…I was actually delaying brew day because I was so nervous I was going to mess it up.

All sounds like good advise. I’m not sure if I can set my garage fridge to 60ish but will do that for my next ale.

Anyway, I’m going to get right back at it as soon as my primary carboy is done with the current brew.

btw. what is RDWHAHB?

thanks again,
Justin[/quote]
Relax, Don’t Worry. Have A Homebrew.
You can get a temperature controller that will make it easier for you to get your fridge to proper temperatures. I’ve got a Johnson analog controller hooked up to my chest freezer.

:cheers:

[quote=“jbayer80”]Thanks for your reply Nate.

I know I’ve been freaking about this…I was actually delaying brew day because I was so nervous I was going to mess it up.

All sounds like good advise. I’m not sure if I can set my garage fridge to 60ish but will do that for my next ale.

Anyway, I’m going to get right back at it as soon as my primary carboy is done with the current brew.

btw. what is RDWHAHB?

thanks again,
Justin[/quote]

No problem. Congrats on your first batch, and good luck on your next one. I think this first one will turn out just fine. I’ve been doing this on and off for 15 some odd years, and I still make mistakes, or have things not work out exactly as planned. And I still ask for help from the awesome guys on this forum when I need it. We always strive to get better, but even when things go wrong I’ve almost never made a “bad” batch. Some are better than others, but that’s okay.

Humans have been making beer since the dawn of civilization, its really hard to screw up too terribly badly. Which is why we say relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew. If you don’t have access to a friend’s homebrew, have a good craft beer. :slight_smile:

Cheers! Thanks to all of you. I feel much better and can’t wait to try this batch and start by next. I’ll come back here to post how it tastes in about 6 weeks.

how many things did I do wrong on my first batch? (More like what did I do right!? Hahaa…

Tap water from outside hose/added extract without removing from heat/warmed my can of extract in the same water I made the beer with - didn’t remove the label first/dropped a few hop pellets on the garage floor - picked em up & tossed em in/cooled my wort off in the snow bank-it melted below the top & some snow got in/didn’t filter out the cold break/put brew bucket in bath tub for 8 days & bottled - no hydrometer test/“Scooped” my finished wort with a beer pitcher & poured into my 22oz bottles-many overflows, etc.

But it was the best beer I had ever had! we learn by mistakes & mistakes improve our methods, so the old saying prevails…RDWHAHB…and make some more!

And welcome to the forum! The best advice I have found on the net. Some really great brewers are here - don’t be afraid to ask questions and experiment with new things. Your brew will likely be pretty good and will only get better with each new batch, if you keep learning and avoid repeating mistakes and repeat what works well for you.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com