From the HBD Archive
From: (John Freeborg)
Subject: Help a first batch?
Date: 1992-03-17 14:29:45 GMT

Well, after reading everything I could get my hands on for a couple of
weeks, I did my first batch on March 14. It is supposed to be kind of
an amber ale:

2/3 lb. Crystal Malt (20 lv)
3.3 lb. Yellow Dog Amber Unhopped Extract
(Yellow Dog is a mix of 87% 2-row, 12% wheat, 1% chocolate by the
Home Brewery shop out of Missouri)
3.3 lb. Bries Amber Unhopped Extract
2 pkgs Munton & Fison Ale Yeast (14 grams) (Levure deBrassage on package)
2 oz. Fuggles Hops (pellets) (5.9% alpha)
1/2 oz. Hallertauer Hops (pellets) (3.9% alpha)
1 tsp. Irish Moss
1 tsp. Gypsum

Put crystal malt in muslin bag and added 1.5 gallons of water. Brought to
boil. Removed crystal malt at 200 degrees. Removed from heat, added malt
extracts, stirred well for 5 minutes. Added 1 tsp. of Gypsum.
Added 1.5 ounces of Fuggles at beginning of boil. Added .5 ounce of Fuggles
30 minutes into boil. Removed 2 cups of wort - added to cold water and
cooled to 80 degrees for yeast starter. Added 1 tsp. of Irish Moss 50
minutes into boil. Added .5 ounce of Hallertauer 55 minutes into boil.
Force cooled wort in kitchen sink with ice and water.

Then I made a *terrible* choice of strainers (way to small and fine) and it
took forever to get the wort into the primary plastic fermenter. The wort
also got extremely aerated at this point as it dripped into the primary
fermenter. Since then, I have heard straining out the hops at that point isn't that critical (?).

Added yeast starter at 78 degrees. Primary fermentation was 1.5 days at 68
degrees. Not very much head foam - or at least not as much as I was expecting
(1/2 inch). The head fell back *quickly* and lots of fruity ester smell too.

It is now in the carboy and I've got very slow fermentation going -
one bubble every 5 minutes at the best. If I shake the beer
around in the carboy a bit (gently) I get a lot more bubbling
action which stops soon after I stop moving the beer. I think the wort
got way too aerated going into primary with that little strainer. I
suspected a stuck fermentation because there is no sign of head on top of
the 2nd carboy (at all) and the bubbling is so slow when everything I
read says it should be bubbling every 20-30 seconds at least. There was
a 1/3 inch of milky white sediment (yeast I presume) already on the bottom
of the carboy.

So, I worried (don't have any homebrew yet) and sanitized a racking tube
and gave the wort 8 or so really good stirs to get the yeast off the bottom
and hopefully working better. Checking it this morning (4th day) the
stirring had no effect and everything has collected back on the bottom with
no new signs of fermentation.

Any ideas to help resurrect this batch? Should I add another packet
of yeast to try to salvage it? There isn't any signs of infections yet and
it still smells ok (although a little fruity).

- John

- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
John Freeborg Software Engineer Persoft 465 Science Dr.
608-273-6000 Madison, WI 53711

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