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Old 02-02-2012, 01:48 AM   #1
FatBaldBeerGuy
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Default Hi all; a couple Noob questions...

Greetings!

I am pretty new to the homebrewing life, as I've brewed only 1 beer so far (and haven't even drunk it yet... Still bottle conditioning). A friend of mine is interested in getting into homebrewing as well; so I told him to get an extract kit and we'd brew it up. He chose this kit here: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/homeb...h-red-ale.html

Which of course led me inevitably to a couple questions (as my first kit was a simple American Ale and had no grains).

-The kit says to add a minimum 1.5-2 gallons of water for the steeping of the specialty grains; but if you have a larger pot and can boil more to do so. Does this include more water for steeping, or should the water level for that remain lower? I have a good SS 5 gallon pot and would plan on boiling 3.5-4 gallons to minimize water i have to add in the fermentor; but I don't want to steep in 4 gallons if that's the wrong way.

-What exactly is Sparging? I think I've gotten the general idea but so far I haven't been able to find any clear directions on this (searches lead mainly to other questions about sparging ) Do I need to do this for an extract kit or is just steeping and draining enough?

-My first brew, the Northern Brewer American Wheat Ale kit; seemed to come out pretty well so far, but it was quite a bit darker than I expected. This time, I'd like to try late addition brewing; should I divide the LME in half and do half at 60 minutes and half at 15; or should I divide it further? Like 25% at 60 and the remaining at 15 or so?

-Last one: I got Wyeast for this kit; I have no yeast culturing equipment so I am wondering if I should try to make a starter with part of the LME in the kit? Or if (assuming the Wyeast pack "wakes up" well) I should just pitch it? Is there an easy "no nonsense" way to do a starter without any extra gear? Yeast starter bits are among my next purchases, just haven't been able to yet...

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:27 AM   #2
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Dang it; I meant to put this in the beginners brewing forum; sorry!

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:35 AM   #3
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Wow , ,,,,,, anyway , yes to the starter ( usually best if the beer is over 5%, but not needed), follow the directions for late additions , no need to sparge ( but does not hurt ) , and lastly , steeping in 4 gal is ok . Happy Brewing . Welcome to you're new adiction .

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:48 AM   #4
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Spraging is more of a all grain thing don't worry about it yet. The grains you get from these kits are more for color and aroma you are not really extracting anything and they should be pulled around 170 degrees so they don't add any neg flavors. Your yeast if it is a smack pack as long as it inflates your fine as for a starter not a bad idea but not totally needed you maybe should start with dry yeast first to get use to the process of brewing. Ideal way to spend your money is to make brewing easier till it second nature then you can make your life complicated.

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Old 02-02-2012, 03:16 AM   #5
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OK cool; thanks guys!

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Old 02-02-2012, 12:29 PM   #6
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Sparging is a brewers term for rinsing the sugars out of the grain. Since you are steeping you will have enough water in the pot so this isn't necessary but you certainly can try it if you wish. Just hold the grain bag above the water in the pot and pour some more water through it to get to the amount you planned.

Dry yeast has a lot more yeast cells than the liquid yeast and for the yeast to propagate they need oxygen so when using the liquid yeast make sure you mix your wort thoroughly, more so than if using the dry yeast packets.

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Old 02-02-2012, 05:36 PM   #7
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That's a perfect explanation thanks! I'll be sure to aerate more for this one too

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