Author Topic: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing  (Read 29080 times)

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Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2011, 11:16:20 AM »
Well, I have an early AM dentist appointment, so Sunday will be brew day. Wake up, sanitize everything, sit in the kitchen and stare at boiling water for a few hours, dump it all in a bucket that'll sit in my closet and make funny noises for a week or so, and there we go! Nacho Beer!

Been reading about using plastic water jugs as carboys and am debating grabbing one from work and starting on a second batch of something.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2011, 11:45:35 AM »
Brew day! Going to launch into hours of sanitizing and boiling water right...now!

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2011, 02:06:39 PM »
An hour in and I just started the wort. Waiting for a boil, which will take awhile, then 60 minutes of racing around adding shit and stirring it frantically. Right now it's ass water and I'm sitting on a stool watching shit on the laptop and inhaling the hops like an addict. God, they smell great.

So everything should be in the fermenter within the next 2-3 hours and ready to get going.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2011, 03:21:28 PM »
So what did smell like ass now smells much better as I start in on the hops (a 60 minute boiling process, with hops going in at various intervals).

Now it just smells like I'm boiling lots of beer.

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2011, 04:05:42 PM »
Done!  Now it hits the ice bath for a half hour... Then into the bucket and done!

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #20 on: January 23, 2011, 04:57:37 PM »
Whew!  So that was four solid hours of work. Lots of sitting around and watching, but everything on timers and no chance to wander away for more than a few minutes. Then, at the end, hefty lifting and pouring and sifting and shaking and aerating.

But...done. The fermenter is now sitting in the little box home where it'll live for the next two weeks.

I'm not very confident that I did everything the right way. But, then, I'm fully prepared that this batch will go down the drain.  So...we'll see.

Now, I'm bleary eyed and spent. Going to sit here and stare blankly at whatever is done downloading...

The tentative date when this brew will be ready for drinking -- assuming it's done fermenting and conditioning on time, and assuming it's actually drinkable -- is March 4th. So pencil in March 5th-6th for the first beer party! We'll have a better idea of what's what in a couple weeks.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 05:08:36 PM by nacho »

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2011, 07:51:38 AM »
And... No activity.  Could still be working but, if nothing by tonight, then I may have one of many problems, from nothing bad to a ruined batch.  I'll probably have to pry it open and take a look tomorrow night if it remains inactive.

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2011, 07:57:39 PM »
Okay...hour 52 and no activity, so I go and open it up.  First -- out comes the airlock. And -- plop! -- the little airtight washer for the airlock hole drops into the bucket.  Oh fuck. 

I get it open and...it's beautiful! It's perfect! It's filled almost to the top with a beautiful, healthy, krausen (or whatever they call it). So, if I'd waited just another day, all would have been fine.

I quickly got the lid back on (the washer sunk) and clumsily taped the airlock down like a retard, sanitizing everything behind me. 

Chances are, because I opened it and fucked with it, that I ruined this batch. But...at least I know that I didn't do anything wrong. And I've learned not to go by the book.  If it takes longer than 48 hours, then so be it.

Fingers crossed -- it's early still, and everything was sanitized, and it was only exposed to the air for a couple minutes, and it should be pretty much airtight again.  Maybe my fucking around will be forgiven.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2011, 08:20:54 PM »
When's the first tasting again?


Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2011, 08:37:30 PM »
When's the first tasting again?



IF I didn't just destroy this batch. it'll be in March. Technically, by the book, it'll be ready March 4th. But I think it'll be more like March 12th.

I won't be completely in the dark, though.  In two weeks or so, I'll move it to the bottling bucket, if it's calmed down. I'll have a pretty clear idea at that point if it's turned out okay. Then it needs to condition in the bottles for another two weeks or so.

Once I bottle this batch, I'l turn around and brew up a second batch. My goal is five gallons a month! I'll stick invitations onto the neighbor's doors. Free beer! Come and drink it through a siphon hose out of my empty skull!

Offline nacho

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2011, 08:46:32 PM »
I'll be a bit heartbroken if I did fuck it up... It looked and smelled perfect after just two days. It's not yet beery, but it has this sweet yeasty smell. Lovely. The next batch will just be a repeat of this one, I think. I'm already hooked on this. The brew day was great fun.  I just sat on a barstool in the kitchen and plowed through shitty TV that's been sitting on my harddrive. Lots to do, lots of pot watching, and clock watching, but still very relaxing.  Like being in the cooking bubble...except it went on for four hours.  A great way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2011, 09:20:44 PM »
Hobbies like that are great. There's a zen quality to slow, methodical creation. It nourishes the soul.

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2011, 03:39:14 PM »
Still no airlock activity...but certainly it's working inside.  So...I think the fermenter is not airtight. I think I worked the little washer loose when I first put the airlock in (which is why it fell in so easily). So the mistake was at the very beginning.  I'll still ride it out for a couple weeks.  Give it the college try.

Once the fermenter is cleaned out, I'll play around with it and see if the problem was operator error or if it's not actually airtight.

I realize now that I should have gone for the carboy option.  I didn't want a big fuck-off glass thing bubbling and cooking next to me for two weeks, but it would be nice to actually have eyes on the process.  Since a second fermenter is on my list of things to pick up, I'll just go that route...

God... At this rate, there'll be no Nacho beer till April!

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2011, 08:59:33 PM »
Okay...took out a sample to test it. The hydrometer is not working... Which doesn't make sense.  Going to ask a buddy who's a former brewer about that.

The color is a pleasant red, like watered down Sam Adams. Which isn't right, but... Well, that doesn't matter.

It's flat (which is normal -- carbonation occurs during the bottling process), so it's hard to get a bead on whether or not it's crap.  It's hoppy, not yeasty, and has a little bit of a bite to it... And it's not disgusting.  I guess that's a good sign if flat, 70 degree beer that's been sitting at that temperature for two weeks is actually somewhat palatable.

No sign of bacteria or other nastiness, and no off flavors or smells. So maybe I lucked out? I'll try it again on Monday and bottle next week sometime.  Brew 2 will be on the 12th, and I'll try to correct some of the things I know went wrong with brew one. I'm also going to carefully check the equipment, because I'm wondering if the fermenter is a lemon...

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Re: Nacho's (mis)adventures in brewing
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2011, 01:49:38 PM »
Bottled!  I need more bottles... Had to send about a gallon and a half down the drain. 

So it hasn't changed since the last report.  Which, I guess, is good.  Bottling was an experience, though.  I'm covered in beer...and so's the kitchen.  So the cleanup took more time than the whole bottling process.

Now I can sit and watch the bottles explode and cover my bedroom in four gallons of sticky, flat beer.  I am a little worried about the carbonation process.

I have a couple of small sample bottles.  The first will be opened one week from today to see how things are going, and if the beer is carbonated. If not, then the two week mark should be when we're golden.

Anybody have a garage full of old flip top bottles so I can get started on the next brew?