Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Brewing Photos & Videos' started by Nosybear, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    It's getting a little boring here in Good Times Brewing so I thought I'd start another "Lessons Learned" thread, a place for us to post the little lessons, accidents and recoveries every brew day brings. So I'll start: Always check everything prior to brew day! My last brew day I was cooling my wort and being midsummer, tap water isn't cold enough to get the wort down to pitch temperature. So I augment using two two-liter soda bottles filled with water and frozen to get the wort down those last few degrees. I'd used the same two bottles for over a year so didn't think anything of it. So when I took one of the bottles out of the freezer, it had split.

    Recovery: I got the wort as cool as I could with the other bottle, then stuck it in my lagering fridge for a couple hours. Pitched and it's bubbling away in the basement right now.
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Nice recovery. It pays to have options.
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps that's the better lesson - always having options!
     
  4. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Over stock the brewery inventory with all kinds of grains, hops, yeast. I used to keep a spare pack of dry yeast on hand, but currently don't have one. Between yeast starters and the fermentation chamber its been incredibly smooth sailing this past year.

    If my electric kettle fails (that would suck), I can switch to propane and brew in the back yard.


    Every now and then tearing down the equipment and cleaning it thoroughly is a good idea too.
     
  5. W1IA

    W1IA New Member

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    How big is your system Larry?
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I keep DME on hand in case my gravity is ever way too light (hasn't happened yet and I'm thankful for an oak desk to knock on). I also have some dry yeast stashed away, as well as several different kinds of hops. The Scouting motto is spot on when it comes to brewing....
     
  7. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    15 gallon kettle lets me do 11 gallon batches.
     
  8. Sy6

    Sy6 New Member

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    Prepare as much as you can the day before.
     
  9. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    So I decided to make a milk chocolate porter-ish beer this weekend using some wyeast 3787 that I had from my Tripel. I've used this yeast a few time and know of it big krausen potential and I was ready for it or at least I thought I was.

    I check on the beer earlier on and it only had build up a small 1 inch krausen on top. No problem, my airlock is fine right now. Only a few hours later this picture was taken. Oh shit! Lets put a blow-off tube on it.
    [​IMG]

    So I placed the tube on it with a new airlock attached and went to sleep not worrying about it. Until I got up in the morning to check on it and found this.
    [​IMG]
    The airlock that was attached to the tube had become clogged due to the fact that it had some kind of guard on the bottom instead of a complete hole all the way, which built up enough pressure to blow the cork out and spray everything, even hitting the ceiling.

    The lesson here is to check to see if you have this kind and cut the bottom guard on it off before using. For some reason its the only one I have like it and never noticed before.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    Wow that is some excited yeast.

    At least it is in a shower stall so you can hose it down real easy.
     
  11. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    There are two kinds of home brewer. Those who have mopped their ceiling and those who will some day.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    ...and the people said Amen.

    Dona eis cerevisium.
     
  13. Smitty27

    Smitty27 Member

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    I think each time I repitched the yeast it became stronger and more violent! Everything was easy to clean except the ceiling. It was a bit of a reach.
     
  14. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Yup , showers make great fermenting chambers.
    Had a friend who didn't want to lose the beer that krausened out.... hooked up the blowoff hose to another carboy... no vent. His wife got real mad. Did kinda like a broken air hose would. It was in a coat closet in the basement. messy, messy, messy. Stick with showers.
     
  15. pazu

    pazu New Member

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    Yesterday a friend stopped by, while visiting he offered to assist me in getting the 6.2 gallons of hot stuff off of the stove and into the plastic tub of water, which was itself in my bathtub of water, no doubt a common approach for noobs like me.

    Anyhow we were the picture of coordination with this 10 gallon pot of molten wort, walking carefully with it, then lowering it into the water of the tub - only to find suddenly that each of our hands on the handles, in huge gauntlet oven mitts, had become completely jammed - between the tapering interior wall of the tub, and the handles of the pot, as it lowered in. Knuckle-jambed, in a big way. So it was a definite "Okay, let's not panic" moment as we looked blankly at each other, both wondering how I have managed to survive life to this age.

    It took several minutes of patient working at it to free his, then my gauntleted hand from this unpredicted, literal jam... There were no injuries :roll:
     
  16. pazu

    pazu New Member

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    Also yesterday, I was working on my third iteration of ladeling out hot wort with a pyrex measuring cup, and pouring it into the 4 pound bag of liquid extract that I needed to get into the wort. Never used liquid extract from a bag before, only cans. I had been pouring some hot water in, ziploc-ing it shut, then squishing it around a bit, carefully, then opening it up again, and pouring it into the wort. I squished it but hadn't sealed the ziploc properly, sending a nice spray of hot water/extract over the floor, stove top and into the vents at the front of my new oven. I was able to completely clean it up as I had covered a lot of the oven with aluminum foil in preparation, but I will be pre-warming my liquid extract in a pan of warm water from now on. Lesson learned!
     
  17. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    was doing a quick batch today in the room upstairs I use the closet for fermenting in, 120 electric 7.5 gallon pot I used years ago; just converted to electric.

    Was excited to have a fast set up brew going smoothly without a hitch. Had the day off so went all out, did a mash rest for an hour then an recirculate lautering then an hour boil had, yeast starer was perfect had 5 hop additions.... five minutes left when the pot started shaking and the whole thing tipped over all over the carpet, burned my feet and hands

    sub-floor bubbled up, I think this is the biggest and most costly lesson :{
     
  18. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    OMG that is terrible. I hope the burns are not too bad!

    Why did the pot start shaking?
     
  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    pot had a bulge in the bottom, "aluminum", had it on a make shift table with plywood on top of something, anyhow since it was inside and a small pot didn't seem to evaporate like by big pot, got it up to a rapid boil by putting on the lid slightly cracked "2000 watt 120v element, slow" .

    started shaking I guess too much; didn't see it happen but was sick when I herd it, problem was the heating element was still on, couldn't get to the plug or switch was blocked by 212 wort all over the carpet

    It was all my fault for not setting up properly, the whole point to this pot was to avoid an 2 hour or so set up and tear down time, expensive lesson
     
  20. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Patience, especially when doing something new or particularly when using a new yeast. Brewed a honkin' big saison a few weeks ago and have been tending it like a mother hen ever since, particularly since I was fermenting it in my summer garage at 90° F (32°C for all our friends with a rational measurement system). The yeast worked as advertised, stalling after eating about 30 points of sugars. Now this guy has maize and some Turbinado sugar in the mix so you can imagine what the yeast ate, all the simple stuff. So, finally, thinking it was irrevocably dead, I brought it in, cooled it to cellar temperatures and pitched WLP 090 (San Diego Super Yeast) to dry it out. And it worked! I have a wonderful beer now named "90° Farmhouse Saison", big, sweet, malty and aromatic but light bodied enough you can really screw yourself up on this before you know it. It isn't perfect (but what brew is?) but it's close enough I will be, at most, tweaking the hops next time around. And there will be a next time. Patience is a virtue best served cold.
     

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