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twadams777

1st Time Brewer

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     I live with a wife and daughter who don't appreciate my new brewing hobby and I just wanted to tell someone about my first batch. Luckily they aren't enthusiastic about drinking beer either, so it will all be mine! ...hopefully it is drinkable. 

     I read a lot online, especially the Mr. Beer forums, so for my first brew I used a St. Patrick's Irish Stout, added a cup of light brown sugar to the wort, and added 12 oz. of espresso into my LBK. It has been fermenting 24 hours, and I have to say it already smells pretty good. 

     I have read fermentation should take 2 weeks, and without all the fancy equipment, tasting is the way to know when to bottle. Do the additions I have made change fermentation times. Also, I have read that longer conditioning means better beer. What is the rule of thumb on that? Is three weeks to start a good number or is that overkill? 

     Thanks for listening guys. I'm so excited to try my own beer! I can't find a good espresso stout anywhere near me. 

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Irish stout is a rather bitter ale to begin with, The expresso will likely temper out along with the brown sugar during fermentation.

 

I would add the brown sugar at week 2 and the expresso prior to bottling.

 

Brewing will take attention from the family and destroy a clean kitchen at times it is best to give time in proportion, Children first.

3 week ferment, 4 week condition per recipe

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ferment at 65f for 3 weeks, cold crash for three days, then bottle and condition for 4 weeks min. Stouts take longer for the flavours to meld than lighter beers so if you can  wait 6 weeks than fridge for three days prior to drinking. The longer it conditions, the better it will be.

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Thanks guys, so by adding brown sugar and espresso (I was going to add an additional tablespoon of espresso to each bottle during bottling) at the wrong time will the brown sugar ruin it? It is fermenting well from what I can tell. I should have asked about timing I guess. I couldn't find any info about that. My next brew is going to be American Classic Light and I wanted to add a cup of honey. When should that be added? Sorry for the stupid questions. 

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Don't add a tablespoon of brown sugar at bottling unless you want bottle bombs.  Sugar at bottling is for carbonation and a tablespoon will create way too much CO2.

 

Read more on the forums before you begin to add things.  You need to learn timing for these advanced brewing techniques.  Since this is your first batch and CAL will be your second, I would brew the CAL as it is.  Take the next several weeks to read and learn.  Taste your Stout after a few weeks in the bottle and see what you produced.  It may be good but chances are it won't be.

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As noted, if you're going to add brown sugar (pluses and minuses of doing that), add it after a week of fermentation.

 

If you're going to add coffee, add it at bottling.


Fermentation cooks off all the sugar and flavors dissipate.  By adding coffee at bottling, you can vary the amounts and compare bottles.  There are a few posts, including mine, about how to cold brew coffee to use with your beer (versus hot brewing and letting it cool).

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My advice - don't listen to anyone telling you not to experiment. That's what homebrewing is all about! But, it might do you well to ask questions to see if your tweaks are way off-base. Sometimes, doing things the hard way is the best learning experience.

 

:)

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Also, take heed that just because one person says something that they do does not mean that's the only way to do it. I do many things that many other people don't, and vice-versa. We all make beer. There are many ways to do so!

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6 hours ago, twadams777 said:

My next brew is going to be American Classic Light and I wanted to add a cup of honey. When should that be added?

 

Add the honey at "flameout" - after your 4 cups of water have come to a boil, and just before you add the CAL.  If you add 1/2 oz. of Cascade hops at the same time, then you are making the Horse's Ass Ale recipe (which I just made, and think is pretty good):

http://www.mrbeer.com/horse-s-ass-ale-recipe

 

If you read through the recipes and their instructions, you will get a good idea of some simple tweaks that can be done, and when to do them.  Cheers!

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1 hour ago, slym2none said:

My advice - don't listen to anyone telling you not to experiment. That's what homebrewing is all about! But, it might do you well to ask questions to see if your tweaks are way off-base. Sometimes, doing things the hard way is the best learning experience.

 

:)

 

I'm going to take exception with this comment.  This section of the forum is called "New Brewers and FAQs".  twadams777 said he tweaked his first brew.  You're recommending that's great.  I'm going to say it's not - it's a bad idea - as many others have said on the forum over the years.

 

A new brewer needs to learn PROCESS.  A new brewer needs to learn what base refills taste like BEFORE tweaking them.  This hobby has a huge dropout rate, largely because people get results they don't like, have no idea why they got those results, and quit.  Guidelines like 3-4 came about because people weren't allowing enough time for the beer to ferment and/or condition, and got bad results.  While I don't have access to Mr. Beer's data, I'll bet that 3-4, along with efforts by contributors to this forum, have decreased the dropout rate.   I, and others, strongly recommend that brand new brewers NOT experiment until they know what the effects of those experiments might be.  But, it's a free country, so they can do what they want.   

 

Recommending to brand new brewers that they should experiment on their first or second batch (and by experiment I mean not even follow a Mr. Beer recipe), is in my opinion, bad advice.  Your opinion is clearly different.  And I'm sure you'll disagree with my opinion.  ;)

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I think there is some middle ground here... Rick's point about process is very true.  making less than good beer in the first 2-3 batches will cause most to drop out... so safe brews are important for the first few.  Experimentation - you can't tell people to not, but I think they should at least be advised to ask for advice first... especially newbs...  imagine if someone actually did add a tablespoon of brown sugar at bottling!  how much more beer do you think they'd make?  that is a mistake - flat out - and only a rookie who would be experimenting might do it...  so I think advising any experimentations to be vetted first might be a good idea...  

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I get what everyone is saying about this topic and I will probably brew the CAL as packaged. I understand what Rick is saying. Walk before you run. I also get that after you have some experience experimenting can be fun and delicious. I just hope I will have a drinkable beer this time. If not, I'll try again. It smells good (but as a nube idk if that means a thing!). 

Btw, I was never adding a tablespoon of brown sugar at bottling, only a tablespoon of espresso per a recipe from the forum. Thanks for all of the advice. Point taken.  

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I'm also a new Brewer,waiting to taste my first two brews a week from now wish me luck,did all my homework ahead of time I don't foresee any problems,big plans next week for hard cider and Mead which makes wife excited thanks very much mrbeer finally found a hobby the wife likes and can help with!

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53 minutes ago, twadams777 said:

Just an update (not that anyone cares really!). I tasted my stout today and it tasted like a nice (albeit flat) Amberbock. I'm planning to bottle tomorrow evening. I'm so excited! As hard as I tried to screw it up, I made beer!!! Thanks for all the advice guys.  ?

 

Sorry you failed to screw it up. 

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2 hours ago, twadams777 said:

Hey guys, despite my mistake of tweaking my first batch my brew produced a great Coffee Stout that I love. Thanks for all of the advice. Just wanted to check in and give results. I love Mr. Beer and can't wait for my next brew. I need to get it started!

1st Brewing.JPG

You haven't started it already?

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