my first brew attempt

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by xxbillay, Dec 28, 2012.

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  1. xxbillay

    xxbillay Initiate (0) May 31, 2012 New Jersey

    Last night I had my first try at home brewing. I feel like it was a good experienc, I never thought I would get into this but I definitely want to give it another go. I feel like it went pretty well but I have a few questions.

    I started out heating the water to 155 then steeping the grains for 15 minutes. Then bringing it to a boil, removing from heat and mixing in the DME. After that I returned to a boil and hopped for 60 minutes. This is where my concerns come in. I added the bittering hops in a hop bag, but the aroma hops straight to the mix. They were both hop pellets, and I guess using the bag was redundant because I poured through a strainer before putting it in the carboy.

    My biggest concern is that I started with a gallon of water in the pot, by the end I had barely any left. Is it usual for that much to evaporate over the process?

    Bu after I was finished hopping, I cooled it down to below 75, poured through a strainer into the car boy,added water (a lot) to get to the gallon mark, added yeast and capped it up and set it in the basement.

    How did I do for my first time? Sorry for the long post, but any help will be greatly appreciated for my next attempt
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    You have discovered boiloff. It's perfectly normal. The trick is to determine how much your system boils off in an hour, and add that much extra water at the beginning.

    The problem with boiling away so much water when starting with one gallon of water is that your hop utilization would have been lower than if you had added the extra water at the beginning. That said, your beer will probably be fine.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    For most yeast strains, cooling the wort down to the low to mid 60's would be even better (to avoid off flavors). But you added a lot of water to reach one gallon, so the temp of the added water would have had a big influence on the final wort temp.
  4. xxbillay

    xxbillay Initiate (0) May 31, 2012 New Jersey

    great thanks a lot for your input. i am hoping that this one comes out pretty decent, then i plan to get the necessities to brew a bit more at a time.
  5. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Without knowing the details of your brewday, it sounds like for your second try you should focus a little more on the boil volume. If you're boiling off too much, and know you'll need to top off with water at the end, just go ahead and add some to the pot during boiling. Boil as much of the batch as you can, using the least amount of top off water that you can. You will hear people touting the benefits of a full boil, and they are right, more is better. But you can get good results anyway with a partial boil (I did a bunch of batches that way, and they came out fine).

    Soon you will be wanting a bigger brew pot tho, I predict it. :rolling_eyes:

    It sounds like your first brew day went fine. Brew again before the first one is finished, and use what you learned the first time to improve the second batch.

    BTW you can add the hops direct to the boil (or direct to the beer if dry hopping). I did that for quite a while, and even recently did it again because I didn't have any filter bags available (paint strainer bags from home depot work great). You did the right thing, just filter it (make sure to sanitize your strainer tho).

    welcome to the hobby, er, addiction.
  6. xxbillay

    xxbillay Initiate (0) May 31, 2012 New Jersey

    i actually had no idea that there was a such thing as half and full boils until today. I never really read into homebrewing much as all, i just figured id give this a go and see what happened. Now just after reading a few things today ive learned a lot already.

    and you are correct about a bigger brew pot, i already looked up a few homebrew shops in the area that i plan to check out next week sometime.
  7. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If you're in the mood to read, here's the best place to start...
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    There's a thread on brewpots here with lots of discussion and links. I like the turkey fryer setup I got (comes with 7.5 gallon aluminum pot), but YMMV.
  9. mclaughlindw4

    mclaughlindw4 Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2009 Maine

    Is filtering neccessary if adding hop pellets directly to boil? I just brewed my first batch, and was wondering this... but was following instructions on the kit which said nothing about filtering.
  10. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I just filter with a sanitized spaghetti strainer or paint bag. Warning: paint bags can fill up! So can colanders/strainers! Otherwise you can also just put a sanitized paint bag/rubber band around the bottom of your auto-siphon / racking cane and it filters good enough.

    This probably won't result in the clearest beers ever, but it's good enough for amateur to midland homebrewers. I really don't mind a little haze or the occasional hop chunk. :rolling_eyes:
  11. Mattreinitz

    Mattreinitz Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2012 New York

    You'll be fine. I forgot to filter the hops out of my first batch so they sat in the brewing pail for 2 weeks before I realized it and the beer was still pretty good. My only problem was that my beer was a very pale wheat beer (2 SRM) and it picked up a little bit of a funny color from the hops. If your beer has any darker malts you shouldn't even notice.
  12. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,013) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    After dropping the colander into my wort three times I picked up the. NB double strainer for xmas. I can't wait to use it.
  13. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (459) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    The website is a gold mine. It is written in style for people like you and me. I constantly pick up new tips every time I review. It is a good bookmark to have.

    For equipment: You will find everything you need from local or online brewhouse suppliers. But don't forget good ole Amazon and eBay . . . lots of good stuff shows up there.

    For tutorials: In addition to forums like here, go to youtube and type in your question, you'll almost always get multiple hits on the subject. If you want to build an immersion chiller, strain hops, or wire an electronic controller there seems to be many videos to help you.

    Good luck and good beers-to-come.
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