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Old 06-24-2007, 05:24 PM   #1
talleymonster
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Default A Few Misc. Brew Questions....

Hi everybody. First off I just feel that I have to say thank you to everybody who posts here at HBT. At first I was intimidated by the plethora of information being exchanged here, but after lurking for a few weeks I was really able to make sense of it all. So thanks to everybody. And also thanks for not NOOB BASHING me too hard!!



I ordered all of my brew equipment the other day and I am practically sitting by the front door waiting for the Fed-Ex guy to show up!

I ordered my first kit, a Nut Brown Ale from AHS, which I am also awaiting to arrive in the mail.

I'm hoping to be able to brew next Sunday, providing I get everything in time. It's my only day off (overtime is a bitch, but you've gotta love it). I also got a new charcoal smoker for Fathers Day, so ideally I would be brewing some beer and smoking some baby back ribs.

I am going to clean about 75 bottles today in advance for next weekend.

Sorry Guys-Off Topic, I Know.




Anyways, I have a few misc. questions for all of you experts out there. Here Goes:
  1. Full boil vs. Partial boil
    I was reading on another post where somebody said it is better to do a full boil. Is this true? I would think that it would help all of the ingredients to distribute more evenly.
  2. Glass Carboy vs. Better Bottle
    At my local HB shop, the owner was very snobby toward me when I told him I had a glass carboy. He said that food grade plastic and better bottles were the only way to go. From what I have read here, I thought Glass Carboys were perfect, with the exception of cleaning and the danger of breaking them. Also, Glass isn't permeably like plastic is. Right?
  3. My Brew Kit
    Here is a photo of the kit I bought. Take a look at it and tell me what you think about it. What is good, what is bad, what upgrades I might want to make, etc. I'm curious as to how good of a bottle capper I'm getting. What do you think?

  4. Storage of Homebrew
    I have noticed in a few pictures that people have their beers bottled an stored on shelves in their garages and/or basements. I was wondering if that is a good idea or not? Is it okay to store your brew at room temperature? Or is that just "bottle conditioning"?
Well, those are all the questions that I can think of immediately, or at least the ones that are eating away at me at the present moment. I know I have dozens more, I just can't think of any right this second.
Thanks for all your help guys and girls!


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Old 06-24-2007, 05:51 PM   #2
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1) you can get a bit better quality by doing full boils since you'll get a little higher steep efficiency and more alpha acid extraction from the hops. that being said, you also have to deal with the cost of a much larger pot. for doing a 3 gallon partial boil you'll want a 4 to five gallon pot (about $40 to $60 for a nice stainless one) but for full boils you'll need around 7.5 gallon ( probably about $80ish). you can make better beer, but its not a huge difference.

2) better bottle's are more of a safety issue than anything else. glass shatters, plastic doesn't. The BB's are also lighter.

3) looks like the same kit i got when i started. just get the brew pot of your choice and a nylon straining bag if you want to steep grains (its worth it).

4) temp consistency is what you need. you'll want to ferment and condition at about 68 to 72 F depending on the type of beer. if you have a room in you basement thats in that range, or you keep your house at a very consistent temp then you're perfect. otherwise you'll need to use a bit of ingenuity to find a way of keeping you beer at a consistent temp.



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Old 06-24-2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Wow.

First off

Full versus Partial Boil: A full boil will better utilize all the goodness of the malt and hops. On top of that, it boils out all the funky flavors of the cool water you use (the top-up water).

Better Bottle, Glass, Bucket:
No discernable difference. Everyone here has their own personal preference and will defend their vessel to the end. Each has advantages over the others.

Kit:
It's the kit most of us start out on. You'll discover more needed gadgets as you get into brewing. Decide whether or not you like brewing before you invest a lot of money, because there's a lot of cool stuff out there but also a lot of worthless crap.

Storage:
When you bottle the beer, you add unfermented sugar into the fermented sugar. This new addition is what carbonates the beer. In order for that to happen, the yeast in the fermented wort need warm enough conditions to do their thing. Room Temp is just about perfect. You then refridgerate when needed.

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Old 06-24-2007, 05:58 PM   #4
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Welcome to the obsession!

I started with partial boils for a couple of reasons- one is that I only had a pot large enough to boil 3 gallons and it's easier to cool three gallons of boiling wort in a water bath in the sink and then top up with cold water to make the 5 gallons. Also the recipes I used called for that amount of water, so I followed the directions until I was comfortable with the whole process. You have some benefits with full boils, I guess- less carmelization of the extract and greater hops efficiency- but I've made some brews too bitter by boiling more than the recipe called for. I'd suggest following your recipe the first few times, then experimenting with larger boils.

I have equipment similar to what you ordered- the capper is ok. I don't really have a preference for the better bottles over glass, as I use both. The plastic is alot lighter and unbreakable but the glass is fine, too. The better bottles are designed for brewing, so I think the glass permeability is negligible.

I store my bottled beer at room temperature (NOT the garage) until carbonated, and then either still at room temperature or in the fridge. Unless it's something I want to keep around for a while, then in the cellar with the wine. That really hasn't happened much- I drink my beer pretty quickly so it doesn't have much of a chance to age.

Ask any questions you want- this is a great community for learning to brew.

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Old 06-24-2007, 06:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talleymonster
Glass Carboy vs. Better Bottle

At my local HB shop, the owner was very snobby toward me when I told him I had a glass carboy. He said that food grade plastic and better bottles were the only way to go. From what I have read here, I thought Glass Carboys were perfect, with the exception of cleaning and the danger of breaking them. Also, Glass isn't permeably like plastic is. Right?
The wiki has an article with the compiled pros and cons of the members. You have to decide for yourself other than that.
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:00 PM   #6
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Word. People here are really helpful. Glad to have you here.

Hey, we bought a smoker yesterday too, charcoal, only $45 @ Lowes. Smoked a whole chicken yesterday with dogwood from our yard, and put some of my "infected" sour oatmeal stout in the water bowl (not too good for drinking, but great for cooking). Turned out really nice.

On to the questions:

  1. Full boils are better, because you get better hop utilization, among other things. But they're not required. Bottom line is this: if you have a kettle big enough for full boils, then make use of it. If not, don't worry about it (until you get into all-grain).
  2. The Better Bottle carboys aren't permeable enough to notice. They are better in that they can't shatter like glass, and are lighter to carry around thnt glass. The disadvantage (small) is that, unlike glass, they can scratch (esp. with carboy brushes), giving bacteria, etc., a place to hide. I've personally never bought a fermenter (I've had all of mine given to me), but if I were to buy one, I'd get a better bottle. Carrying around a 6.5 gallon glass carboy full of 5.5 gallons of wort/beer is scary.
  3. Looks like you got NICE kit. Is there any sanitizer? If not, I recommend Star San. Upgrades probably come when you decide to go all-grain. I also recommend an aeration or oxygenation kit to oxygenate your wort prior to fermentation. Eventually you'll want a chest freezer and a temp controller so you can do lagers. But for now, you're doing damn good. Oh, and if you don't have it yet, get Papazian's COmplete Joy of Homebrewing and/or Palmer's "How to Brew".
  4. It's okay to store it at room temp, especially during the carbonating phase. Mine sit in my basement in cases...see here. It's in the mid to upper 60's in there. They're fine.

Above all, RDWHAHB

Cheers, and good luck. I'm sure you'll be on HBT with a bunch of questions after your first brew.
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.primary | bright:
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Old 06-24-2007, 06:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Hey, we bought a smoker yesterday too, charcoal, only $45 @ Lowes...........Oh, and if you don't have it yet, get Papazian's COmplete Joy of Homebrewing and/or Palmer's "How to Brew"
I think we got the same smoker....this one?
??

And yes, I bought papazians book about a year ago and have read it cover to cover several times! Whenever I would get the itch to brew, I would read it to fuel my fire! I actually have it on my nightstand right now!

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Old 06-24-2007, 06:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talleymonster
I think we got the same smoker....this one?
??

And yes, I bought papazians book about a year ago and have read it cover to cover several times! Whenever I would get the itch to brew, I would read it to fuel my fire! I actually have it on my nightstand right now!

Same exact one. Works like a charm (other than the fact that they forgot to run a rasp on the thing before they let it out of the factory, and I ended up with a big gash on my thumb during assembly from this jagged piece of metal sticking out of a seam). Great taste...especially from the dogwood from our yard.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 06-25-2007, 02:44 AM   #9
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Hey,

I am pretty sure you and me are in the exact same boat at this point.

I am also waiting impatiently for the Fedex truck to arrive with what looks to be the exact same startup kit.

Anyway, I don't mean to hijack your thread. I just thought it nice that there is at least one other person on this board at the same point I am.

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Old 06-25-2007, 03:23 AM   #10
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Careful if you start doing full boils without considering aeration. Boiling water for 60 minutes effectively releases all its dissolved oxygen. Dry yeast properly rehydrated doesn't need dissolved oxygen in the wort, but liquid yeast does. When you do a partial boil, the top-off water has enough oxygen to feed the liquid yeast. But if you've boiled all 5 gallons you have to aerate it somehow, either by shaking it vigorously (pretty tough with 5 gallons of liquid in a glass carboy) or using a sanitized aquarium air pump setup with diffuser stone (and ideally an air filter as well).

Just trying to keep others from making the same oversight I did for about 5 batches in a row.



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