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First ever batch..did I screw it up?

Howdy

Yesterday I brewed my first ever batch, Witbier extract kit. As it took me over 5 hours, there is room for improving my process.

Issue #1: My OG was 1.040. Instructions showed 1.044 on the low end. I assume this is not that big of a deal? I did lose a little of the two row before steeping and I think I added a little too much water when bringing the total volume to 5 gals.

Issue #2: It took me over an hour to get the temp down to 78*; instructions said at 72* on the high side (my own fault). Since it took so long to get the temp down to 78*, I panicked about contamination and decided to pitch the yeast anyways. Currently the bucket is in the basement and the sticky thermometer says 66*.

Any issues with either of these newbie mistakes?

I think you’re OK. Issue #1 is almost certainly due to adding a little too much water, so your beer will be just a tiny bit lighter, but it won’t be much and it’s a wit, so you’re not going for strong beer anyway. You’ll be close.

I would be more careful about issue #2. It’s really pretty important to get that temp down before pitching. That being said, I very much doubt that you caused any real damage, and I think you’ll be surprised at how good your beer is. If you used the 3944, that’s good to 75.

I think you sound ok - nothing jumps out as a horrible mistake. The gravity is not a huge issue - that is pretty close. Ideally you do get it down to a lower temp for fermenting, but it is not like that was so hot it would spoil or anything. Higher temps can lead to stronger off flavors from some yeast. Although, wheat type beers can handle a little higher temp. better than other beers.

Do you have a lid on your kettle when cooling? If so, it is not going to get infected while you cool it.

I would recommend getting a chiller when you know you want to keep brewing and you have the money. One of the best investments you can make in regard to saving time, effort and getting your beer fermenting as fast as possible.

Overall, sounds like you are doing fine.

Thanks for the info.

Yes, I had the lid on the kettle while cooling. Also the yeast I used was the Safale WB-06 Ale Yeast.

That yeast is rated for up to 75 as well, so you should be fine. Good advice about a chiller though…

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