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Kris Cole
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I doubt you really screwed it up. Contamination is the biggest fear in homebrewing, and as long as you're not letting your dog lap the wort, you're probably okay. The water lock is probably the biggest of the mistakes there, but 24 hours shouldn't be too much of a problem. Slight dip in the overall quality. General rule of thumb is that if the SG doesn't move for three days fermentation is finished. That, or you can wait longer and just measure once if you're worried about contamination. Unless I'm dry hopping I don't bother with a secondary these days. Just bottle straight out of the primary.
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I've been homebrewing for about 2 years now. From what I've heard, the quality of ingredients has gone up a lot since you last brewed, so hopefully you'll have better luck. I'd echo what others have said: sanitize, take notes (especially your starting and finishing specific gravity) Try to get as close to the recommended temperatures as possible, in every step. The biggest rule in homebrewing is to relax. Everything will turn out. How To Brew has a decent troubleshooting section if you don't like the way your first beer turns out. See you on r/homebrewing!
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Jul 9, 2011