Homebrew mistake

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by drperry11, Mar 12, 2012.

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  1. drperry11

    drperry11 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 South Carolina

    I recently started brewing and made my first batch which was a recipe from the local homebrew shop. I told him I was a newbie and wanted him to simplify the recipe as much as possible. Now that I have tasted the beer I wish I would have went through the necessary steps to make my beer better. The recipe was very simple and involved no steeping grains and it was super easy.
    Have you guys ever had this experience on your first homebrew?
  2. Smurf2055

    Smurf2055 Initiate (0) Nov 12, 2011 Washington

    I recently brewed my first batch as well. I went with a porter. It was part extract, part steeping, single hops. Pretty sure I activated the yeast pack too early, forgot to add brown sugar to the boil, so I added it during the cool down instead, didn't have a hydrometer testing tube so I couldn't take an OG reading, unnecessarily transferred to a carboy for primary fermentation, used table sugar for priming, and had no idea how to siphon it on bottling day.

    Co-workers and I think it's really good though, it's a miracle. There's a lot to keep track of, so if you know anyone who has experience in homebrewing, I can see how it would make things a lot easier to have them around.
  3. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (966) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    I am going to try switching to corn sugar for my next couple of batches because that's what came with my kit that I used in my first batch. That beer likely had the best carbonation of any beer I have yet brewed. I have tried brown sugar and maple syrup and both are horrible for priming. Frankly, table sugar is working very well for me right now, but I think the corn sugar lends a tad more body to the head (from what I remember from a year and a half ago).

    But yeah, it definitely takes a few batches to remember everything without a detailed list in front of you. Best advice is to plan ahead and set out all the equipment you know you'll need so you don't forget to use it (hydrometer). Writing out your recipe and keeping by the boil kettle is also recommended.
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,353) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If you find this to be true, I would recommend a controlled experiment, with a blind A/B tasting. IMO the creamier head/smaller carbonation bubbles associated with corn sugar is a myth perpetuated by homebrew stores that sell corn sugar for exorbitant prices, but I don't know if anyone has done a controlled study, so that would be pretty cool.
  5. Spider889

    Spider889 Savant (966) Mar 24, 2010 Ohio
    Industry Beer Trader

    Yeah could be interesting. I only got corn sugar for the first beer because it came with the kit. I just bought a 4llbs at the lhbs for $5.39 which seems pretty on par for sugar (maybe a little more). No one ever told me that it was better, my comment was just based on my own results.

    Again, table sugar has worked very well in the last few batches, but the foam does seem a little thinner (I was able to rest a bottle cap on the head of my first brew and watch it sit there for over a minute before I had to grab it out). We'll see after I bottle the next couple of brews though. Corn sugar is definitely harder to come by (can't get it at the supermarket).
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,117) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Please do report back with your findings on your corn sugar vs. table sugar experiment. I would be very interested in hearing your findings

    Just some other things to keep in mind relative to head formation with respect to extract brewing (from Homebrewing Vol. 1 by Al Korzonas):

    “However, there are still some ways you can improve head retention. Even ½ to 1 pound of crystal malt added to a five gallon extract batch will make a sizable difference. Wheat improves head retention, so you might try substituting one or two pounds of wheat extract for barley malt extract”.

    So, for an ‘accurate’ experiment you need to ensure that you common grain bills between the batches that you used table sugar and corn sugar.

  7. mattcrill

    mattcrill Meyvn (1,269) Mar 16, 2004 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    First through my current batch! (about 75).

    I've never made a "perfect" beer. There are ones that I consistently do very well and enjoy but I think I'm my own worst critic and there are aspects of my beers that I want to improve each time I make them.

    That's what started me on this hobby (obsession). I drank my first homebrew (Robust porter extract kit) and thought, "this is pretty good...but next time I'm going to..." and next time just keeps happening over and over again!
    MrOH, DelicateDelirium and EdH like this.
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,353) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I have many times. They are the ones that smell so awesome in the fermenter. But somehow they end up being less perfect later. :grimacing:
  9. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    I wonder if there is such a thing?
  10. jokelahoma

    jokelahoma Zealot (531) May 9, 2004 Missouri

    I think the "perfect" beer is always the next one I plan to brew. Of course, something always seems to happen between planning and execution... but hey, the next one will be the one, man!
  11. drperry11

    drperry11 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 South Carolina

    Yeah, it's important to continue to improve upon every batch. I am excited to try my golden ale recipe!
  12. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (350) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    That was exactly my first experience. In my 11 years, I started with kits, then steeping, then partial mashes, and then all grain. After all of that, today, I brew 9 times out of 10 extract with steeping grains. I will occasionally get fired up for an all grain pilsner or Kolsch, but I have gotten very consistent with my procedures and equipment and generally make fantastic homebrew using extract/steeping. For me personally, the things that made my "good-enough" homebrew "outstanding" was not switching to all grain. It was controlled fermentation temp and proper yeast pitching rates.

    I have recently began kegging. That was the first major advancement in my hobbie in 3 years.

    I dont think there is perfect beer. Just the path which is filled with friends, fun, and more beer. Welcome to homebrewing.
  13. drperry11

    drperry11 Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 South Carolina

    Thank you very much! my first experience with homebrewing was a positive one but I felt like I could have done a more sophisticated recipe, although I do appreciate the guy at the shop helping me with a simplistic recipe to start on.
  14. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (270) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    When it comes to home-brewing...'Crawl...Wallk...Run' beats 'Fire...Aim...Ready' any day of the week.
    utahbeerdude likes this.
  15. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (350) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Your welcome. I would also add that I started in my kitchen doing 3 gallon batches then pouring over 8 pounds of ice in my bucket. And no basement so a cool closet was my fermentation chamber. If you made drinkable beer the first time, you beat me by 2 batches.
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