Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Things to consider before my next batch

I'm about to begin my third attempt at brewing beer. Just to recap, my first attempt resulted in some excellent beer, despite some challenges and mistakes made along the way. My second round of beer making was a complete flop. Something definitely went wrong as I produced 5 gallons of fowl tasting and smelling beer with inconsistent levels of carbonation.

Before I begin batch #3, I need to consider the problems I had in the first two attempts and plan better to over come some universal challenges. The big issues are:

  • I need to locate all my equipment
    • My wife and her friend cleaned every inch of the house while I was in Afghanistan
      • Because of this, everything I had tucked away in storage has been moved
  • Sanitizing the gear (Am I cleaning the equipment effectively?)
    • As stated above, the gear has been collecting dust in a basement closet for a year+
    • Need more C-Brite or something along those lines
    • Can my dishwasher be effective despite the rinse agent we use?
    • Have the plastic buckets from the brew kit been scratched inside?
      • Scratches make sanitizing an even bigger challenge
      • I may need to get glass carboys
  • Bottling never goes well for me
    • I need to get past the shortcomings of the two handed capper
    • I need a better siphon
      • It's probably not a great idea to start suction with your mouth
  • Do I need a new brew post?
    • I think the bottom of the cheap Wal*Mart special I purchased got a little singed
  • That damn hydrometer! (Maybe these guys can help...)
    • I can never get a clear reading on the hydrometer (Am I the only one?)
    • I either need to learn how to use it better or get a digital one
Additionally, my fermentation location is not what it use to be. My basement, which typically stays at a consistent temp within acceptable guidelines for beer making, may now be a liability. My house is split into two heating zones, but for some reason, the basement zone doesn't seem to be working. And we just got hit by a massive cold front. I fear the penguins that now live down there might drink any beer I put down there, not to mention the temps may just kill the beer completely.

This brings me to something I don't like to talk about... Real life! I suppose if half my house is cold enough to hand meat in, that should be something that trumps beer making on my to do list. I just had to take a break from writing this blog entry to go down below and fidget with the water heater so my wife's morning shower water didn't come out in cube form.
So, Monday morning, I'm calling the boiler guy, the beer will need to wait...


  1. Thanks Ben, by the way, your site has a bunch of great resources... I may hit you up for some brewing advice some time if that's ok...

  2. Hydromiter readings are always a little bit og a guessing game at best. I usually just let it sit for a while and take a stab at it.

    Keep on brewing

  3. Quick note, I always mouth siphon so don't feel like you need to change, just keep a bucket handy so if any spills out of your mouth it won't go in your holding device.

  4. Thanks for the tips Travis... I feel a little better knowing that I'm not the only that feels like he is Hydrometer reading is a guessing game and not the only one guilty of "mouth siphoning" LOL! Too funny, perhaps I worry way to much about all of these little details.

    Thanks again for the advice!!!

  5. I've mouth syphoned as well - was told it was veeeery bad!


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