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Notes from my first brew (all grain) - almost perfect until the end.

Did my first brew today. After a lot ( A LOT) of research I jumped straight into all grain.

Staring with a Belgian Blonde using Belgian Ardennes yeast

OG = 1.060

FG = 1.010

25 IBUs

11 EBC

6.5% ABV

Made water additions with calcium chloride, gypsum and epsom salt.

Mash at 64.4C, batch sparge.


My 1.5l yeast starter spilled over, a lot.

My mash tun made from 22l buckets insulated with bubble wrap and reflective wrap worked great. Only lost about 2C during mash. Mash temp was 1.5C under after strike water addition so i mixed in some hot to bring it to 65C.

Was really happy with my new burner from allgrain.co.nz

My 30l (actually 28l) trademe pot was too small. 

My pre boil gravity was under but then my OG turned out slighly over. I think i measured pre boil gravity wrong and my OG was ever so slighly high due to adding 30 mins extra boil time.

Then the bad part, my copper immersion chiller that I tested yesterday as fully working leaked, into the pot. I ended up trying to block the leak with tape (unsuccessfully). I then brought the wort back up to boil for 3 mins to re sanitize (from about 60C). After that I cooled again with a small amount a water leaking into the pot. Cooling to 21C took just over 10 mins.

To add to the problem, the hose connections on the chiller blew off from water pressure twice. This is after it working perfectly yesterday when I called 25l of boiling water to 20C.

So, I guess this batch will most likely be infected. Not ready to ditch it though. Even if its OK the hop profile will be quite different (up to about 33 IBU I estimate)

Oh well. New pot and immersion chiller it is. I might use the leaking coil as a pre coil in a bucket of ice. Might invest in a 3l erlenmeyer flask for starters as well.

Ready to try another brew now. Had a great time

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I didn't see your initial OG in the post... but it could be the it of cold water in the brew has lowered the OG and thus the FG.

If not then the yeast has done a litter extra conversion and your beer will have extra alcohol and be a little thinner.


If it tastes good drink it, if not share it.

Have bottled this beer now and so I thought I would update how it is going as well as how my second brew went. Tasted the first bottle after a week, needs longer to carbonate. Taste isn't too great. We all agreed it has a weird but not bad taste and doesn't necessarily taste like beer. Hopefully the next will be better.

Second brew day went way better brewing a hop burst pale ale with a good malt hit (recipe here). Fixed the coil so no leaks. My new kettle from allgrain.co.nz was amazing, no overflows this time, I am very happy with it. Screwed up the mash a bit, got the temps mixed up and added water at the mash temp rather than the strike water temp and so we drained a couple liters out and brought it to the boil and mixed it back in. We also had to mix in about another 2 or so liters of boiling water to bring the mash up to 65C. Was aiming for 66-67C and an estimated fg of 1.015 which is now estimated at 1.012 which is is still perfectly fine (maybe better).

Overshot my brewhouse efficiency by about 2%, although I estimated this pretty low at just 60% (74.4% mash efficiency). Was almost spot on with my volumes, boil off was 7 liters (estimated 6.8) and loss to trub/chiller was 6 liters (estimated 5)  The extra trub loss was probably due to the hefty hop additions (250g).

Have this beer in my new chest freezer with a stc-1000 temp controller set to 17.5 C. Hopefully the temp control will make a big difference this time. Fermentation started in about 3 hours and is bubbling much more than I expected for such a low temperature. My stir plate probably helped with pitching nice healthy yeast (I used yeastcalc.com to estimate starter size). I am getting an overload of mango smell coming from the fermenter as well as lots of citrus.

Next up I am brewing a robust porter followed by a Emersons Bookbinder inspired beer. It is safe to say they I am already addicted to brewing.

Thanks for the kudos Josh. Sounds like you got it sussed.


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