Batch #3: Brewday; Batch #2: Bottling Day

Today was brewday for my third batch, an American Dark Wheat ale. This one is going to come out very interesting. It’s extremely dark. In fact, it looks about as dark as my stout, if not darker.

I ran into 3 issues. The first, after steeping the grains, I realized I had too much water in the pot. I let it boil for about 20 minutes or so to boil down some of the water before adding the extract. The second issue was my first boilover. I turned around for about 10 seconds after it returned to a boil and it was everywhere. Luckily, it stayed mostly on the stovetop with a tiny bit that dripped over the front (thank god nothing went over the side). The rest of the boil was uneventful.

The third issue is probably the biggest, and hopefully won’t ruin the beer. I pitched the yeast before aerating the beer and then aerated it. I then realized my mistake. I opened it back up and took some beer for my gravity reading. I really hope this wouldn’t have screwed anything up. I really wanted this one to be good.

Other than that, everything went well with brewing.

I also bottled my second batch, the Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (which I named The Chocolate With, after the Phish song “The Curtain With”). That went pretty well. I ended up with 3 22 oz bombers and 38 12 oz bottles.

After a mishap upon opening a bottle of the Alt during which the top of the bottle snapped off, I think in the future, I am going to stop using Anchor bottles. They seem to be a bit thinner and more fragile than the other bottles I’ve used. It’s all fine and well because Anchor costs more anyway.

Now I need to drink more commercial beer to collect more bottles for the Dark Wheat Ale.

8 thoughts on “Batch #3: Brewday; Batch #2: Bottling Day”

  1. FYI – Sam Adams bottles work very well for bottling. Although, pretty much any microbrew that comes in a standard non-twist off 12oz. bottle (unlike Anchor bottles) should be okay.

  2. I don’t drink a lot of Sam Adams, but I use pretty much whatever I drink. I like the design of the Anchor bottles, but I’m afraid I’m gonna end up with more broken necks (or worse, grenades). I also want to keep them free of other brewery names in case I ever enter them in a competition.

    Any thoughts on the aeration/pitching screw-up?

  3. Ah, the joys of the boilover. It’s happened to everybody. Multiple times. It really is amazing how quickly it can happen!

    Too much water in the pot? I assume you mean too much water for the capacity of the pot, in other words once you added the extract you wouldn’t have enough room to be safe? Because it’s very difficult to have too much water unless you’re over 10% larger than your total batch size. In any case, you did the right thing by boiling off extra, though that can depending on the situation result in overly caramelized stuff. Which can be good if that’s what you’re going for, but generally isn’t.

    As for aeration/pitching, there is absolutely no problem with the order of aerating and pitching. The yeast don’t care, as long as you aerate within an hour or so of pitching there will be no problem. The yeast use the oxygen to form sterols for their cell membranes, which helps with cell division.

    I often pitch the yeast while I’m racking from the boil kettle to the fermenter, and then I aerate once it’s fully racked and moved to the fermentation area in my garage.

    Seriously, you have not made an error at all with the yeast. Worry about something else. Or, better yet, RDWHAHB. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    Though, after everything that “went wrong”, I went to check on it and noticed the water level in the airlock was very low. I grabbed a baster, sucked up some tap water and squirt it in and it drained into the beer! The airlock (which I am using for the first time) apparently has a crack.

    I have no idea how this beer will come out. Worse comes to worse, it’s a learning experience. 🙂

    I will say, it should be an interesting beer. It’s very dark for a wheat ale. I think I’m gonna call this one Murphy’s Dark Wheat Ale in honor of Murphy’s law, but also because it seems like it might end up a little like a wheat stout/porter.

  5. Airlocks can be a real PITA, I’ll give you that. You’re probably fine. Tap water is probably germ-free enough not to worry. Personally, I use cheap vodka for my airlock-filler, but that’s just me. Anyway, yes airlocks do sometimes crack. I probably have 20 different airlocks. Not that I need them, of course, in fact I’m not quite sure why I have them all. But they’re like $1.50, so it doesn’t hurt.

    Do you have the three-piece airlocks? That’s what I mostly use. That is, it’s got the main piece, and a little cup piece, and the snap-on lid piece.

    There is also the triple-ripple type, that is all one piece.

    The two airlock types act a little different. The triple-ripple is impossible to clean, but won’t suck liquid back into the beer.

    But if you use vodka for your filling liquid, it doesn’t really matter if it gets sucked back in.

    “Learning experiences” are good things, though they can be expensive. 🙂 A wheat stout sounds pretty good actually. But you should also know that quite often, during fermentation a beer will be darker than it is once it’s settled out and is ready to bottle. Don’t come to any color-based conclusions until it’s bottled.

  6. I have 3 airlocks, 2 of the 3 piece ones and the S shaped one (is that the “triple ripple”?). I hate the S shaped one because I can’t clean it and it doesn’t fit in the hole correctly. I bought the second 3 piece one because I don’t like the other one, but it makes for a good spare. I could just swap them out, but I’m feeling lazy and didn’t want to sanitize another one (since I’m already all cleaned up from brewing and have been for hours).

    My Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is actually darker now than it was when I first brewed it.

    I may have to buy a bottle of cheap vodka. That sounds like a good solution. Then I don’t have to worry about boiling and cooling water to put in the airlock.

  7. OK, things are even weirder. The water level in the airlock is higher than it was when I went to bed last night. Sign of active fermentation?

  8. Which part of the airlock? If the water is higher in the inner “cup” part, that signifies a slight negative pressure in the carboy (almost always a result of no CO2 production and the temperature dropping in the room, causing the air in the carboy to shrink slightly).

    If the water is higher in the outer part of the airlock, then that means that air/CO2 is being pushed out of the airlock. The inner cup part fills with air, causing the water level in the outer part to rise, until a bubble is discharged. Maybe your fermentation is going too slowly at the moment to discharge a bubble, so it just looks like the water level is higher?

    FYI, I brewed my first 10-gallon AG batch yesterday, too. Woohoo! Now I want a HopStopper.

Leave a Reply