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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished my first all-grain brew on a three vessel set-up. A huge learning experience, basically learned that I don't have a clue. So much fun though! Brewed a Belgian saison with Amarillo and Nelson Saison hops. Here's a few pics:



Doughing in:


Mash on:


Sparging: (this is where I really didn't know what I was doing)


Just hitting the boil:




All wrapped up:


Can't wait to brew again!

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Given we're about a round six months to Christmas, I'd like to try making a mead, or perhaps a metheglin, I can bottle in December. Does anyone have any recipes they can recommend? I don't have any preferences when it comes to sweet/dry, so long as it's drinkable.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Couple of ales, my first Maxi-BIAB attempts. The first is a blonde ale. This is brewed with belma and multihead, dry hopped too. Was a very hoppy

summer ale. So full of hop oil that the top of the drink had an oily finish. Tasted really nice and refreshing but left a residue in the bottles which was hard to clean.


My latest is an american amber. This is brewed using Amarillo and Galaxy hops. One of my best so far this, very well regarded by everyone who has tried it. I'm glad I went maxi, this means I still have some bottles left to drink.


Next up I'm thinking about doing a red rye ale. Just need to get some ingredients in for that.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I just did my first all-grain effort on saturday. It was a lot trickier than it should have been, largely due to me not having the equipment that I should have had. Had to improvise a bit.

I used hop pellets that basically completely disintegrated as soon as they went in - a fair amount also got into my brewing bucket. Will this ruin my brew?

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Not necessarily ruined. The majority should settle out to the bottom once fermentation is finished. You may get some particles floating around. If you are able chill the fermenter once fermentation is complete before bottling. This will help this kind of stuff settle out. Using a secondary fermenter could help with this too but it's not something I have bothered to use so far.

My very first brew suffered from hop infiltration too. Hop bits did make it into bottles but again these tended to settle out. There was a very occasional bit of hop while drinking the brew but careful pouring minimised that.

What was the recipe you went for?

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It started out as a copy of Deuchars, but I got really hand-wavy about the ingredients. Here's what I used

Amount Item Type % or IBU
6 lbs 6.1 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 78.96 %
9.1 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 7.05 %
6.1 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.70 %
1.13 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 17.9 IBU
0.50 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (15 min) Hops 3.9 IBU
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [5.00 %] (5 min) Hops 3.5 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (5 min) Hops 3.9 IBU
1.00 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops -
1.00 oz Styrian Goldings [5.40 %] (0 min) Hops -
12.0 oz Dememera Sugar (2.0 SRM) Sugar 9.28 %
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

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Filter paper might strip out the yeast you need for bottle conditioning? Not sure. Do you use a bottling wand? It has been known for people to put mesh in or over the wand. It will tend to get blocked up fast so is a bit of a faff. Main thing is to keep everything sanitised!

You should find that if you can cool things down it will help things settle. I tend to stick my brew up in the loft now the colder temperatures are here. If you had a shed to stick it in that would be ideal.

Recipe looks good btw!

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I think you're right about the yeast :-( It's going to need at least a light bit of bottle priming. Can't really see how I can remove hops without also removing the yeast tbh.

I think I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and hope for it all to settle, and bottle it with hops in if need be.

It's been kept cold for a while now, which I think has kept fermentation suppressed to an extent - it had a thick head/froth on it 24 hours after pitching, but that's died down pretty considerably now. My last batch was absolute snake venom though - a less strong beer would be welcome now.

Here's what it looked like 2 nights ago, 3 nights after the pitch:


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How long are you leaving it to drop out/clean up after fermentation is finished?

I've never had a problem with floating hops, normally I'll give it a week after fermentation/final gravity. And then I'll rack to a bottling bucket with spigot/bottling wand and go from there.

You said a less strong beer is a welcome, but if you get a stuck fermentation your beer will taste syrupy.

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I was planning on giving it a couple of weeks in the bucket. It's been sitting at about 8 degrees during the day, dipping a bit below that at night. I think I'll move it into my bedroom near a radiator to take it up a few degrees, then I'll see about wrapping it up in a sleeping bag and putting it back into my airing cupboard.

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  • 2 months later...

So my first attempt at an all-grain brew ended up going horrifically wrong. I got a stuck fermentation, got lots of hop pellet gunk into the fermentation bin and it eventually got infected, and ended up reeking of vinegar.

I managed to learn my lessons with that batch, and had a second attempt on saturday. Things went a lot more smoothly, and I think things are going well so far :-)

Here it is, during the boil:


And here it is last night, happily fermenting away:


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In an attempt to stop the hop gunge from getting into the brew, I made teabags by putting the pellets into muslin cloths, and also had them float about inside my mesh bag. The mesh bag was only about half-way into the pot, so it wasn't touching the bottom. It also did a good job of stopping it from boiling over too!

I made sure to stir fairly regularly during the boil, to make sure that things were circulating.

I'm working (roughly) based on the recipe found here:


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So is all the spent grain out of the bag at the boiling stage? As far as I know boiling grains can release tannins which may not be favourable. Not a bad idea with the teabags. I tend to filter after cooling into a sieve inside a mesh bag. Scooping out detritus as I go.

Sounds like a decent recipe, I have some fuggles and styrian goldings so might use them up in something like that.

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Yeah I had gotten rid of all of the grains by then. The final wort was pretty much free from detritus by the time it went into the fermentation bucket. A much cleaner result than my previous attempt.

I'm also being a lot more careful with regard to the temperatures - it's currently sitting at around 22C, which is inside the favourable 22-25C required by the yeast. I also have it insulated by my nice warm festival poncho :-)

One question - I managed to cool it down fairly quickly by putting the lid on and letting freezing cold tap water flow over it. It got it down to 28C roughly, at which time I transferred to the fermentation bucket. It took a good couple of hours to get down to 25C, when I added sugar, stirred and then sprinkled in the yeast. I'm wondering if the slow temperature decrease could negatively impact the flavour? I've been told it should be as quick as possible.

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I wouldn't worry about how long it takes to get down to pitching temperature, as long as you get there is the main thing. Just be sure to keep the lid on while you're cooling as it'd be really easy to pick up an infection at this point.

I'm not 100% sure on this, but I wouldn't pitch the yeast above the temperature you intend to ferment at. I think because the yeast is in a growth stage at that point (the most important stage) that the extra temperature can stress the yeast more and slow down fermentation. You may also have to worry about the heat that the yeast generates stopping the beer from reaching the optimum fermentation temperature.

What yeast is it, by the way? 22-25 seems awfully high for an English or American ale yeast. Doing something Belgian perhaps?

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I'm using Safale US-05 Beer Brewing Yeast, which I've read is good for IPA's. Said on the sachet that 22-25C was the temp to aim for.

Its currentlY pretty stable at 22C just now, has been since Saturday night. It was fizzing away pretty busily last night, but its certainly calmed down now. You can barely hear it, and there aren't any bubbles obviously forming under the scum on the surface. I can only assume that that's OK behaviour.

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