This beer is proof that the brewing process is very forgiving. As long as your mistakes are not made when it comes to cleanliness. Well I learned very valuable lessons from this brew... most of which was to never start brewing at 11 at night, especially when it's your first solo boil brew.
This brew was before I knew anything about brewing lagers and the temp needs or the process that makes a lager a lager. I just winged the recipe and to my much dismay followed the directions to the 'T'.
December 27th, 2012
6.6 lbs of Pilsner LME
1 lbs Carapilz Malt
1 lbs Corn Maize
1 oz of Hallertau hops [bittering]
1 oz of Hallertau hops [flavor]
At this point I got a 30 qt brew pot and a propane burner. The directions call to add only a gallon of water. I do and place all my grains and corn flakes. It already soaked up almost all the water. It didn't even cover all of the grains/maize. Being a complete numskull I am I keep to the directions (Mind you these are general instructions) and don't add any additional water. Chalk this up to being green or just an idiot, I let it ride. The grains started burning on the bottom, the water at the bottom where the grains laid on the bottom was boing while the rest of the water stayed around 160 degrees. After that process I pulled out the grains, and because there was hardly any water I squeezed as much of the water as I could from the grain bag. I knew something was a miss and was a bit panicked that I was screwed. I ended up adding another 2 gallons of water because there was no way I could boil with so little water. I still remember how pissed I was at the directions and my lame self for being too dense to adjust it to my need. Sadly that was not my worst mistake.
As the water is heating I added the liquid extract.
At boil I added the bittering hops.
45 minutes into the boil I added the flavoring hops.
At the end of the 60 minutes I added it to an ice bath. It took about 30 minutes to cool to 80 degrees. I could have transitioned it to the brew bucket at 100 degrees because the additional water would have brought it to 80 degrees, but again I was green.
This is where I really screwed up. I filtered it to the brew bucket and even though I knew I was not supposed to, but it being so late and my need to squeeze all from life, I grabbed the bag that caught all the hops and squeezed out all the wort I could. Big no-no. If you don't know, then you should know that squeezing the bag will pull tannins out of the hops that make it uncharacteristically bitter.
After that I added the rest of the water to equal 5 gallons. I stirred took a gravity reading of 1.035 which is about 0.010 less than it should be. I still don't get how you can just add water to the wort and it will bond together. But I digress.
After some good aeration I added the dry yeast it came with. Lager yeast that should be fermented in approx 50 degree temp, but not knowing that I fermed it at room temp. A week or so later I transferred to a carboy for a second ferm. After 3 weeks total ferm I bottled the beer. I could taste and smell the tannins I squeezed in there. For shame.
The end result was it was a hard brew to get down, but still better then most. Not until after 6 months did it settle and was a decent brew to have cold on a hot day. The one good thing I did was make sure everything was sanitized properly. That is one mistake no brewer can afford to make.
It cleared up pretty well.
The moral of the story is the brewing process is pretty forgiving. I am proof of that.