Starter kit woes

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by waggy02, Jun 11, 2019 at 5:28 PM.

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  1. Jun 11, 2019 at 5:28 PM #1

    waggy02

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    Hi, i was purchased a northern brewer starter kit for christmas and brewed it over weekend, i followed the instructions and sterilised my equipment. So i'll go the through the process, collected 2.5 gallons of water started the heating process and added my grains to steep, removed after 20mins as instructed, brought to boil and removed from heat to add the syrup, mixed and returned to boil adding the hops as instructed, 60 min boil during which at 55 mins the hob turned off (stupid electric touch hob something brushed the control panel and it turned off) so turned it back on and put lid on the heat it back up for the remaining time, forgot the lid due to looking after child and it boiled over luckerly it had done its 60 mins so turned off cleaned up whilst the wort was chilling in the sink with cold water, lid on. Chilled it to below 100f as instructed. After the bucket was sterillised added 2 gallon of cold and added the wort, topped up to 5 gallon as the instructions say. Measured the gravity and its very low 1.020 should be 1.042, clearly something is wrong and i need help. Done some google searching to increase sg and if the calculation are correct its telling me i need at least 1kg of dry malt extract to up it...as i say beginner so open to all the help you have...please
     
  2. Jun 11, 2019 at 6:32 PM #2

    Cwrw666

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    Could just be innadequate mixing after you topped up at the end. Wort would sink to the bottom as it's denser.
     
  3. Jun 11, 2019 at 6:51 PM #3

    waggy02

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    Dont know if it helps but has no foam and produces very little bubbling...if any, i did rock the wort and water as shown in there beginners video to airrate and mix it when i added the water, it smells like home brew from what i remember when my dad did it along time ago.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2019 at 7:22 PM #4

    Dutto

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    Welcome to The Forum and the reality of home-brewing!

    Boil overs, heaters switched off, helpful (not) kids etc we've all been there, I kid you not!!

    Did you wring out the steeped grains? That may account for the low SG at the start.

    Personally, I wouldn't worry. Regard it as a learning curve (and you are at the bottom of a curve that gets very steep!).

    An SG of 1.020 will still give you an ABV of 1.3%, and left for a few weeks after being bottles, it will probably taste much better than any Low Alcohol Beer that you can buy in a shop.

    "Yes." you can add DME if you wish, but make sure that it is well mixed in. (Personally, I would just add a tin of Golden Syrup).

    Then pray a lot and remember that God favours newbies, so the chances of something going badly wrong are a lot less for you that some of us!

    PS It can take up to 48 hours before the yeast gets active and the wort starts to bubble and "foam".
     
  5. Jun 11, 2019 at 8:49 PM #5

    terrym

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    It seems from what you have said that you have been provided with a kit that comprises 'syrup' which is liquid malt extract (LME) and steeping grains.
    If it is essentially LME and steeping grains
    - steeping grains contribute very little to the SG , they are more about flavour
    - its the LME that provides the majority of the fermentable sugars, and so if you have used all the LME and made up to the recommended volume you should hit the predicted OG or thereabouts. You cant lose the contribution of the LME to the SG, and thats a fact.
    So if you believe you have a measured SG of 1.020 it suggests two things.
    1. The wort wasn't properly mixed.
    Or
    2. Your hydrometer is faulty, or you have misread it. Former is unlikely given the disparity in anticipated vs. actual
    Personally I would not add any extras and would leave it alone, but would take an SG reading 24 hours in. By then the FV contents should have homogenised and you should be getting a reading of somewhere betweeen 1.035 and 1.040 allowing for some of the LME being fermented out.
     
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  6. Jun 12, 2019 at 9:39 AM #6

    Llamaman

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    I’d first check your hydrometer by putting it in plain water at 20C and checking it’s at (or very near to) 1.000.

    If I’d got a reading that far ‘off’ I’d have taken a second sample after giving the wort a really good stir to ensure mixing. However, if you’ve now pitched the yeast I would resist fiddling with it.

    As others have said, it’s unlikely you lost half the wort in your boil over so those fermentable sugars should be in your fermenter. I’d put the reading down to equipment or user error.
    Ultimately, you’ll still get beer. Just make sure to let the yeast do it’s stuff and don’t try to bottle or drink it too soon (a common newbie error we’ve all made!)
     
  7. Jun 12, 2019 at 2:27 PM #7

    fury_tea

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    My first AG kit was a Red Ale that stated I needed 5 gallons in the fermentation vessel in the end. When I got to the end of my brew day I measured my OG and it was massively under what was predicted. I realised that it was an American kit and they meant American gallons (3.7L) and not the Queen's finest imperial gallon (4.5L). if I remember correctly it should've been 4.5%ABV and it ended up 3.5%.

    Not sure this is what happened to you but it could be something to be aware of with the American kits.
     
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  8. Jun 12, 2019 at 2:35 PM #8

    Llamaman

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    That’s a good point - Northern Brewer are an American manufacturer.
    But I don’t think that would account for the low SG reading in this instance.
     
  9. Jun 12, 2019 at 2:46 PM #9

    fury_tea

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    I agree, that's too much of a difference, but thought it worth mentioning with it being an American kit.
     
  10. Jun 12, 2019 at 2:59 PM #10

    Mavroz

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    You also haven't mentioned adding the yeast at any stage or what temperature you added it at.
     
  11. Jun 12, 2019 at 5:44 PM #11

    Dutto

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    I've also fallen foul of the US v. Imperial v. Metric system as well. The reason is mainly:
    • 1 US Pint = 16 fluid ounces
    • 1 UK Pint = 20 fluid ounces
    • BUT both US and UK Gallons = 8 Pints (be they US Pints or UK Pints).
    For the record:
    • 1 US Gallon = 3.79 Litres
    • 1 UK Gallon = 4.55 Litres
    • 1 US Pint = 0.47 Litres
    • 1 Litre = 2.11 US Pints
    • 1 UK Pint = 0.57 Litres
    • 1 Litre = 1.76 UK Pints
    Enjoy!

    PS:
    The difference is why a "45 Gallon Oil Drum" only contains 37.5 gallons when we buy one in the UK! aheadbutt
     
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  12. Jun 12, 2019 at 6:30 PM #12

    waggy02

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    Adden the yeast after adding water to the wort as instructed, added at below 75 f as instructions, its been 72 hours and the air lock is inactive and level across both chambers...to me totally inactive. Its in the spare room, covered with a dark towel, the house is never allowed below 19c (thank the wife...)
     
  13. Jun 12, 2019 at 6:41 PM #13

    ChrisRedWills

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    what temperature was the wort when you took the hydrometer reading
     
  14. Jun 12, 2019 at 6:42 PM #14

    fury_tea

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    If the OG was 1.020 it's possible that it's finished already. Did you test the gravity?
     
  15. Jun 12, 2019 at 7:26 PM #15

    waggy02

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    Sorry, going to have to take the admission on the chin..., I didnt take a reading straight after finishing because i didnt know what i was doing, also the thermometer i bought only went as low as 100f so i made two valuable mistakes that will help on the next, i can gaurentee the wort was cooled as rapidly as possible to 100f as the instructions said, i then added 2 gallon of cold water followed by some more water to top up to 5 gallon which means is was below 75f when adding the yeast (the instructions only said below 75...didnt give a minimum) so the sg reading was taken 44 hours after brewed, the equipment was sterillised to take a sample. Thanks for all the help so far, its filling in alot of the blanks in the instructions and i feel alot more confident for the next brew.
     
  16. Jun 12, 2019 at 10:26 PM #16

    matt76

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    This is absolutely a possibility - I made this mistake recently, but quickly realised what I'd done, gave it a bloody good stir, re-took the gravity reading and found all was well.

    But if I understood your last post correctly @waggy02 you took your gravity sample 44 hours after adding the yeast? I'm sure the grown ups will confirm, but I'd have thought it's perfectly plausible for fermentation to start and the gravity to go from 1.040 ish to 1.020 in this time.

    Now then, would this be the Northern Brewer Block Party kit by any chance? If so that was my first brew last autumn - honestly it was ok but only ok, rather sweet and others have said similar.

    But the really positive thing is you've broken your duck with this brew, learned some lessons and you have all the gear you need now to carry on brewing - I switched straight to all grain and 18 brews later I'm still using the same equipment I started with with only one or two minor additions.

    So keep your expectations realistic, and have another go if it's not everything you hoped for. You're here now on the forum anyway, and as far as I can tell it's pretty much a life sentence! :laugh8:
     
  17. Jun 12, 2019 at 11:24 PM #17

    terrym

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    Its finished. Leave it another 7/10 days, then bottle it with the priming sugar and leave in a warm place for 10 days to carb up. It will probably be ready to drink a month or two after its been bottled. Now move on.
     
  18. Jun 13, 2019 at 8:04 AM #18

    Llamaman

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    Aah, you took the gravity reading two days after pitching yeast?
    That’s not a OG then. It may even be FG.
     
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  19. Jun 13, 2019 at 2:29 PM #19

    waggy02

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    Getting used to the lingo it was my initial one...which i realise is a mistake not to take an OG. I thought it would ferment for days not a couple of nights. Always learning
     

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