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First Brew Done... Some Ideas On What Went Wrong?

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joshld

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G'day...
I finally finished my first brew, a golden harvest lager.Wasn't the best start, gravity didn't drop much..It started out at 1.040 and after almost 3 weeks only dropped to 1.018.I tried stirring it all up again and left it again but still nothing, so bottled it anyway.
It's now been 2 weeks and the beer is flat.. I used 2 carb drops in each pet bottle..
Any ideas of where I have gone wrong?
Last night I bottled a corona clone and that one seemed to go really well!
Just after some ideas of what could have happened to the first brew!
 

Danhutch333

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G'day...
I finally finished my first brew, a golden harvest lager.Wasn't the best start, gravity didn't drop much..It started out at 1.040 and after almost 3 weeks only dropped to 1.018.
Dodgy yeast? Not enough viable ones when you first pitched them.
Thats just a guess though. Check the exp date on the packet.
 

petesbrew

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G'day...
I finally finished my first brew, a golden harvest lager.Wasn't the best start, gravity didn't drop much..It started out at 1.040 and after almost 3 weeks only dropped to 1.018.I tried stirring it all up again and left it again but still nothing, so bottled it anyway.
It's now been 2 weeks and the beer is flat.. I used 2 carb drops in each pet bottle..
Any ideas of where I have gone wrong?
Last night I bottled a corona clone and that one seemed to go really well!
Just after some ideas of what could have happened to the first brew!
Maybe wait another couple of weeks and try again. Sometimes you'll find 2 weeks aren't enough for them to carb up.
Yes I would expect it to drop further than 1018, considering "first brew" recipe's are usually pretty simple. What were your ingredients?
 

tricache

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And what temp did you brew at?

My eyes have been opened when it comes to yeast, the 1 pack of 6-9g of yeast is WAY under what you really need
 

joshld

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I brewed it at 18 degrees... I'm just working on heating and cooling options at the moment..But it was a steady 18 degrees.
Ingredients were just basically a kit and kilo of dextrose. Kept it simple for the first one..
I was thinking it could have been not enough yeast, because this second brew I used a premium lager yeast and there was almost 3 times as much!
For those basic kits would you recommend adding another packet of yeast into it?
 

tricache

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I brewed it at 18 degrees... I'm just working on heating and cooling options at the moment..But it was a steady 18 degrees.
Ingredients were just basically a kit and kilo of dextrose. Kept it simple for the first one..
I was thinking it could have been not enough yeast, because this second brew I used a premium lager yeast and there was almost 3 times as much!
For those basic kits would you recommend adding another packet of yeast into it?
I know people who use 2 packs...I know people who have tried MORE (recommended 6) so that is mainly just for dried yeast
 
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I had a batch that refused to ferment a couple of months back, I think it was a Mangrove Jack one, with the kit yeast. I had some spare yeast sachets in the fridge so I had to re pitch and it started up in a few hours.

I think it was a dud yeast and come to think of it, it was probably my last Mangrove Jack brew............hmmmm.

From my limited experience, it is definitely worth spending a little extra on a yeast upgrade from the kit yeast. Coopers yeasts seem to be ok though.
 

joshld

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Yeah, I have bought other yeast for the next few brews..Just cracked a bottle from that first brew, and its not real good at all!!
 

Danhutch333

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Yeah, I have bought other yeast for the next few brews..Just cracked a bottle from that first brew, and its not real good at all!!
This brewing caper is a slippery slope. There's always something new to learn.

Upgrading the yeast is a great idea. Then have a look at the threads on making yeast starters.
Down the track, harvesting your healthy yeast is a great way of saving a few dollars but I am getting ahead of this thread topic.

Enjoy the learning curve. The benefits will be in your glass and shared among friends!
:D
 

cdbrown

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Yeah, I have bought other yeast for the next few brews..Just cracked a bottle from that first brew, and its not real good at all!!
What's not good about it? No carbonation or an off flavour? Does it taste worse than the first bottle you tried? Did you taste the hydro samples (I find it interesting tasting the changes as it ferments and discovering infections early)?

Better and fresher yeast will provide a better result. Hopefully the shop keeps them in a fridge for optimum health.
 

wbosher

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because this second brew I used a premium lager yeast and there was almost 3 times as much!
Have you already done this one? Just remember that lager yeast ferments at a much lower temperature and takes a lot longer.
 

Camo1234

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Massive tip is to ditch the kit yeast and go straight for a decent dried yeast such as US05.... Remember that yeast doesnt just ferment your beer but it gives your beer taste... use dodgy yeast and get a dodgy taste... stress the yeast out (not enough pitched, wrong temp) and get the taste of stressed yeast.

I have been brewing now for 2 years solidly and have spent literally thousands on my brew gear and done heaps of brews (all grain now)... and I am still getting my head around yeast!

Poor yeast handling can turn a good brew shit.... My first brew I didn't realise that yeast didn't like 30c ferment temps and my brew tasted like arse... the next one I had a fridge and temp controller and brewed the exact same kit and kilo and used us05 and whilst it was definitely still a "home brew" tasting beer, it was actually ok and I got a kick out of drinking beer that I had made... the first one I couldn't even get through the first bottle!

Just keep asking questions and tweaking something every brew to try and get your head around all the aspects of brewing... .Concentrate on getting fermenting right first off and then start to look at the brewing styles... (and jump to all grain as quick as possible! BIAB is too easy!)

Good Luck!

Camo
 

Juzdu

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And just to throw a different view into the mix, my first 3 brews were all using Coopers kit cans. The first two were Thomas Coopers wheat. With the first brew I used kit + 1kg dextrose and the kit yeast just randomly sprinkled on the foam...it went Gangnam style on my sugars, bubbling in 10 hours and climbing through my airlock within 24 hours. Went from 1036 to 1008 in 6 days.

My second brew I used the TC Wheat kit, 500gm light DME and 300gm dex, pitched WB06 yeast this time, but again by just sprinkling on top. It again was bubbling in 10 hours, but didn't climb through the airlock. It went from 1045 to 1011 in 7 days.

My 3rd brew was using the Coopers Draught, 700gm dex, 500gm maltodextrin & 300gm golden syrup, using kit yeast. No airlock activity at all, even 3 days later (different fermenter/airlock than the first two so could be that, and I know it's not important so please nobody come around and choke any kittens in front of me), yet it went from 1049 to 1022 in 2 days, so is obviously very active.

I'm certain it's your yeast that caused the problem, not that one pack of it isn't enough, it must have just been mostly dead. As you can see from my experiences you don't need to make yeast starters or pitch extra packs. Which kit can was it if I may ask?
 

tricache

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And just to throw a different view into the mix, my first 3 brews were all using Coopers kit cans. The first two were Thomas Coopers wheat. With the first brew I used kit + 1kg dextrose and the kit yeast just randomly sprinkled on the foam...it went Gangnam style on my sugars, bubbling in 10 hours and climbing through my airlock within 24 hours. Went from 1036 to 1008 in 6 days.

My second brew I used the TC Wheat kit, 500gm light DME and 300gm dex, pitched WB06 yeast this time, but again by just sprinkling on top. It again was bubbling in 10 hours, but didn't climb through the airlock. It went from 1045 to 1011 in 7 days.

My 3rd brew was using the Coopers Draught, 700gm dex, 500gm maltodextrin & 300gm golden syrup, using kit yeast. No airlock activity at all, even 3 days later (different fermenter/airlock than the first two so could be that, and I know it's not important so please nobody come around and choke any kittens in front of me), yet it went from 1049 to 1022 in 2 days, so is obviously very active.

I'm certain it's your yeast that caused the problem, not that one pack of it isn't enough, it must have just been mostly dead. As you can see from my experiences you don't need to make yeast starters or pitch extra packs. Which kit can was it if I may ask?
Dried packet yeast its basically bacteria which has been sourced from left over yeast used at major breweries after they ferment. It's taken from them, dried and then packed. So its been used already and life span (and viability) can be different between batches. I have done side by side batches (same kits, same malt/dex mix and same kit yeast) and gotten different fermentation times and values (same temps too). This is the disadvantage with packet yeast and why so many people have gone to liquid yeast, its healthier, happier and does its job better without so many off flavours and aromas you get with some dried yeast.
 

wyane

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Sounds like you had a stuck ferment and failed to carbonate. Give it another week. Some yeasts have a higher flocculation leaving less in the bottle which leads to longer secondary. S-04 is one of these.

The kit yeasts get a bit of flack, but the only issues I can see with these are poor or extended storage at point of sale and inadequate quantity of yeast -- 5g in the Tooheys kits! Wouldn't pitch that in 23L of anything over 1.034.

The dried yeasts include some rehydrating agent. Give 'em a head-start and rehydrate in 25-30C water, volume = 10x the weight of the yeast. Do this 30 mins before pitching in a bowl covered with cling wrap. Leave a teaspoon handle sticking out the side and stir occasionally.
 

joshld

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Kit was a cascade golden harvest lager..
And yes I've finished the second brew, and from what I've tasted out of the hydrometer tube I'm pretty excited to crack one of them open in 2 weeks!
I'm guessing my local homebrew shop should be able to help me out with some better yeast options in the future? I like the sound of liquid yeast!
 

Diesel80

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Kit was a cascade golden harvest lager..
And yes I've finished the second brew, and from what I've tasted out of the hydrometer tube I'm pretty excited to crack one of them open in 2 weeks!
I'm guessing my local homebrew shop should be able to help me out with some better yeast options in the future? I like the sound of liquid yeast!

patience Josh.... :p
Leave them be. 2 weeks? Maybe if you were kegging mate. Give them 4 weeks in the bottles.

Liquid yeast has impressed me on the 3-4 occaisions i have used it (just back into brewing from a break for renos). Wyyeast 1318 London Ale is particularly to my liking. Expensive though! The costs will really add up with Kit + Extract brews. Do yourself a favour and read up on making yeast starters for delving into using liquid yeast. This way you make a starter, pitch 95% of it in brew, and store the remaining 5% for your next starter. Can get a fair few uses out of 1 packet this way. At $12-15 a packet you will need 3-4 brews to crack even with dry yeast.

Cheers,

D80
 

warra48

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And I totally agree that the most likely issue with the OP is with inadequate yeast health and quantity.
One sure fire way to improve your brews is:
1. Use a decent yeast, either liquid or dry, but make sure it's a decent one.
2. Pitch sufficient yeast. With liquid grow it up before pitching, with dry make sure it's well within use by date, or use 2 or more packets (my last use of dried yeast I used 4 packets in 25 litres).
3. Control the temperature of your fermentation.
 

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