Epic Fail

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Leemond, Oct 29, 2017.

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  1. Oct 29, 2017 #1

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    After successfully brewing several small all grain batches using demijohns I bought a basic kit to upscale my operation just after Christmas last year. Due to a busy year I'd not been able to get around to brewing again until yesterday. With an afternoon free and having bought my ingredients last week I got all my equipment sterilised and then began the process, following this guide: http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=314

    At this point I'd like to say a big thank you to BrewStew as the guide was very useful and provided tips I wouldn't have thought of such as working out losses before hand (my mash tun takes 4L before anything comes out the tap!)

    I had a few ups and downs but without boring you any further before I get to the 'Epic Fail' I used some sanitised water in my airlock (as advised in previous demijohn kits) which on this occasion got sucked into my wort when I moved the fermenter slightly. From the start to that moment was about 6 hours, plus around £30 in ingredients (inc bottled water)... I'm still angry about it now. I'm sure it's a pretty rookie mistake, but unfortunately I am still a relative noob! I assume the airlock goes in last once the fermenter is in position?

    Despite the catastrophic end, the rest of the process went fairly well, however I did learn plenty along the way...

    Don't underestimate the weight of things and be very careful when they are full. I had a couple of spillage incidents and some near misses with hot water.

    No matter how much space you think you need, you need more :)

    Planning in advance (certainly for the noob) is invaluable. Weighing out ingredients in advance is recommended.

    Next time I will do the boil outside or in the shed - even though I have a pretty good extractor fan the condensation from a 90 minute boil was such that it began to drip back down off the hood... Luckily not back into the wort! My wall above the extractor was also nice and moist!

    Lessons learned I suppose! I'll re-order the ingredients and try again when I next have a spare afternoon :-(
     
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  2. Oct 29, 2017 #2

    Linalmeemow

    Linalmeemow

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    You will inevitably make lots of mistakes when starting out, none of which are very likely to result in disaster. If the water in the airlock was sanitised you have nothing to worry about, though it sounds like you put too much water in there if it got sucked back in. You'll definitely leave the tap of one of your vessels open while you're filling it at some point. Everyone does...
     
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  3. Oct 29, 2017 #3

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    I assumed the sanitiser would contaminate / taint the beer?? I tipped the batch :oops:
     
  4. Oct 29, 2017 #4

    Linalmeemow

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    What sanitiser did you use, and how much went in? Also, how did you manage to spend £30 on ingredients?
     
  5. Oct 29, 2017 #5

    MyQul

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    Thats a shame. It probably would have been fine. The amount of fluid in an airlock is a few spoonfuls. That would be diluted down by 20 odd litres of beer to an negligable amount. There would of possibly been chance of infection, but beer is very reslient to infection (far more than people realize)
     
  6. Oct 29, 2017 #6

    Gunge

    Gunge

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    This is guaranteed to happen, as sure as the rising of the sun. Why, did it myself just last week and I've been at it for 30-odd years.
     
  7. Oct 29, 2017 #7

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    VWT - however much was in the (apparently overfilled) airlock - couple of tea spoons? I did think of leaving it, but I was so mad with myself - was a bit of a knee jerk reaction to tip it away.

    Water was about £6-£7, ingredients were about £13... Postage was £7!
     
  8. Oct 29, 2017 #8

    Linalmeemow

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    Ah, I see - postage is a killer for a single set of ingredients. You can save yourself some cash on the water by getting the 15p a bottle stuff though, and there's a homebrew shop in Thornton if that'll save you on delivery.

    Lesson learned though - hope you have a more successful day next time!
     
  9. Oct 29, 2017 #9

    Thumper

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    "Water was £6-£7"

    It's less than 20p per 2l bottle at any supermarket you care to mention. How much are you using!?
     
  10. Oct 29, 2017 #10

    MickDundee

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    I think it must have been Evian!

    I just use tap water
     
  11. Oct 29, 2017 #11

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    Yeah I've been in that shop - might give them a try in the week as I've got enough hops left over just need some standard grain and a packet of yeast. Thanks.

    As for the water I have used tap water for some of the demijohn kits and although they were drinkable, a couple had a slight medicinal taste which I'd read could be down to my water source (along with many other things to be fair!) so I've just tried using bottled since. On this occasion I used some Morrisons Yorkshire Spring stuff. But if ordinary table water type bottled stuff will do more's the better/cheaper! Thanks for the tip.

    The whole process has been one big learning curve to be fair. One thing I wasn't happy with, though, was at the end of the mash I just couldn't get my runnings to be 100% clear and debris free. The guide said 4-5 litres should see clear runnings but this didn't seem to be the case. After so many jugs worth I decided I had better start sparging as the temperature in the mash tun and of my liquor would be starting to drop (I haven't got a HLT so had to use my boiler again). Any ideas what may have gone wrong? I also had a stuck sparge and (as guided) had to blow up the tap of the mash tun. Wasn't happy doing this because of potential bacteria but needs must I suppose!

    Thanks for all people's help! :thumb:
     
  12. Oct 29, 2017 #12

    Linalmeemow

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    Don't worry about the wort not being completely clear - all the debris will drop out of suspension post-fermentation.
     
  13. Oct 29, 2017 #13

    Gunge

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    True... my wort doesn't run clear until halfway thru' sparging and all my ale turns out crystal.
     
  14. Oct 29, 2017 #14

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    Good to know then, thanks guys :)

    I need to improve my sparging technique - was just slowly juggling it over the grain. I got a sparging arm in my kit but haven't investigated using it yet...
     
  15. Oct 29, 2017 #15

    Zephyr259

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    Sorry to hear about your misfortune. Don't worry too much about bacteria from blowing into the mash, grain is far from sanitary (you can use it for souring due to lactobacillus) and everything is about to get boiled.

    Medicinal taste could be from chlorine in the water, campden tablets knock that out. Someone else can confirm but I think it's half a tablet for 25l, I put in a quarter to the strike water and quarter to sparge. There's a bunch of (intimidating but straightforward) chemistry related to water, for the most part you can ignore it until you're happy with the rest of the process, treating out chlorine is the one part that should always be done.

    Good luck on the next batch.
     
  16. Oct 30, 2017 #16

    xozzx

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    I use cheap vodka in my airlocks. Its sterile and if it gets sucked in it wont do any harm.

    For water I have a Berkey filter (google them, it was an great investment). Its expensive to buy but the filters will last around 10 years and the water tastes great with all the cr@p taken out.
     
  17. Oct 30, 2017 #17

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    Thank you for the advice... and sympathy!

    I'm using a recipe from my CAMRA brewing book but with the hop varieties changes to try and clone one of my favourite commercial beers. I appreciate I'll likely be way off, but thought it was worth a go!
     
  18. Oct 31, 2017 #18

    dweb

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    I used to use bottled water when i did kit brewing but since switching to AG i only ever use tap water.
     
  19. Oct 31, 2017 #19

    Leemond

    Leemond

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    Am I likely to have any issues boiling outside? I've read others have done it :hmm:
     
  20. Dec 11, 2017 #20

    Leemond

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    So following my original disaster I made another brew just over a fortnight ago. I took a sample tonight and the Gravity was 1.008. The original was 1.05. According to the Brewers friend calculator its roughly 5.5% - does this sound right?! Happy enough if so! I'm going to take another reading tomorrow or Wednesday and if it's the same I will bottle. The beer is really clear too which I am pleased with.

    Thinking of using my mash tun as a bottling bucket as I've read some have done. I should be ok adding the priming solution to the "bucket" first shouldn't I? Assume stirring is not recommended to mix the two?

    Two weeks at around 20 degrees then two weeks "cool" - is that right?

    I want to say a huge thanks to all who have helped me to this point - it's great to be a part of such a helpful forum. Apologies if I have hijacked the odd thread - I've always tried to keep it on topic but apologies if I have annoyed anyone.

    Fingers crossed all goes well and I have some ale to enjoy over the festive period.

    Cheers all!
     

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