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Looking for first batch feedback

Hey everyone, Im brand new to this forum and to home brewing. Just got my first batch of Irish red into the carboy and I’m looking for a little feedback from the more experienced here. The water I used was bottled gallon jugs of spring water so i did not pre treat for chlorine or chloramine, I followed the recipe to a T, and used my standard wort chiller and a water bath in my kitchen sink to chill my wort from 197 to 97 degrees in just 8 minutes. Used the refractometer, and its reading about 1.036 or 9.2 brix, although the Irish Red kit says the OG should be 1044, so im off by about .006, not sure if that represents an issue or not, currently fermenting at a room temp of 65 degrees…any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, Thanks for taking the time…oh also used the dry yeast that came with the kit, wanted to do a yeast starter but when buying the Deluxe Starter Kit you dont get the option of liquid yeast.

Sounds like you did your homework in advance and every thing went smoothly.

As for the OG, sounds like you might not have boiled long enough or hard enough to end up with 1.044. 1.036 will just end up with a lesser ABV, but will still be GREAT beer.

For tips, watch your ferm temps. NOT AMBIENT. Ferm temps can easily raise 5* above ambient, which likely means you are fermenting at 70*, which is starting to get borderline too warm. Check out swamp coolers for an easy, effective way of keeping ferm temps down. Or, go all-in and check out chest freezer/fridge conversions. Ferm temps have just as much influence on flavors as ingredients.

For now, keep working on getting your techniques down so you can make consistently good beer before messing too much. If you don’t have your techniques down and you change a recipe or try something else new it is hard to determine if it is a technique issue or the recipe change, new change, etc. at fault.

Congrats on your brew! And have forewarning… it is addicting!

Yeah - fermentation temps… thing that catches my eye is you talk about getting temp. down to 97 in 8 minutes, but you don’t say if you took it all the way down to 65 before pitching. Make sure you do get it down under 70 at least before pitching (if you did not). And, then as mentioned above, make sure you are measuring beer temp (sticker on side of bucket/carboy) and not just room temp.

Also, gravity reading - did you do a full boil or did you add water at end to top off. If you added water, it is very common to not have it quite mixed thoroughly when the reading is taken and that will throw it off. If you used extract…and you used it all, and you had exactly 5 gallons, there is no way to not hit your gravity #.

If your gravity is off with extract, there are only about 5 reasons why:

Too little volume at the end (less than 4 gallons) = gravity high
Too much volume at the end (more than 5 gallons) = gravity low
Did not use all the extract = gravity low
Not mixed thoroughly after adding top off water = high or low
Misread hydrometer/refractometer

sounds like you are off to good start though.

Thanks for the replies and some good advice, I did add the wort to cold water to bring it down to pitching temps, so your probably right there, its just a mixing issue. Also thanks for the advice on watching ferm temps, i was more worried about ambient air temps, will be checking this as soon as i get home. As an update, it appears as though all is fine and my air lock is bubbling away, it was a little fast so will be sure to check temps asap. Thanks again. Cheers.

Oh, I was under the impression that you used a wort chiller which usually doesn’t include adding top-off water. I agree that it is wort stratification then and you’ll end up with the same OG.

see my signature line for help in keeping the temps down during fermentation.

Hey Loopie Beer…just a question but why is it uncommon to use a wort chiller when doing a partial boil?? Does this effect the final product in any way or perhaps it chills to fast?..sorry for the ignorance…also yeah i did use the standard wort chiller from NB.

I don’t see a problem with using a chiller on a partial boil; I don’t think you can chill too fast, although chilling too slow increases the risk of infection.
Adding cold water, or even ice, to the wort is probably the most efficient way to get the temp down, but when doing a full boil that door is closed, so a chiller becomes necessary. If you drop a 16 lb bag of ice in a 2.5 gallon pot, you’ll go from 212 to under 80 in about 4 minutes, and still have a little more top-off room. It’s only uncommon to use a chiller on a partial because you don’t have to.

As to the effect on the final product; it’s doing a full boil versus a partial boil that changes the quality, not the chilling method.

I don’t think adding ice directly to the wort is a good idea. Ice makers aren’t that clean.

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