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Old 11-07-2007, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default How bad did I screw up (Please, be gentle)?

Ok. Brewed the first batch (ever) this Saturday past. It's a nut brown ale. Everything went according to plan, and by that I mean I felt like I did everything in the proper order and manner. I've noticed that the activity in the fermenter as subsided greatly. However, there is a lot of foam (approx. 3.5 inches) in the fermenter. My questions are:
Is this normal?
Is this in indication that I shouldn't even bother trying to continue with the rest of the process and just start from scratch again?

We cook on a gas stove. Our brew pot is so big that we use both front and back burners turned up on high. Even using both, I noticed that the boil was not a "full on" boil. It was more of a gentle, rolling boil. Does anyone know if this could be problematic, either now or in the future?

Thanks in advance for any help/thoughts/comments you offer.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:23 PM   #2
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The foam you are seeing is called krausen and it is a byproduct of fermentation. Once fermentation is complete, it will fall. Every beer you make will have this foam. For more info check the wiki or www.howtobrew.com.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
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GOOD GOD MAN......You made BEER!!!!! Grats! nothing to worry about. The burner situation should be ok with extract... All Grain you really want a strong boil. I would look into a propane burner for the future. My 2 pesos

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:42 PM   #5
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I checked out the link you provided. How come the directions i followed said to ferment for approx 4 days and then bottle, and the link says two weeks? I know when in doubt, follow the directions, but you are not the only one to refercence Mr. Palmer's book here. As i'm sure you know.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:47 PM   #6
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You really should give it more than 4 days. What book are you referencing? Which kit did you get? I am wanting to say this sounds like a Mr. Beer instruction.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:51 PM   #7
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Four days to bottle is way too quick! I guess the instructions say that because it would be very discouraging to a new brewer if they read that they should wait 2-3 weeks to bottle, and then 3 weeks from then to drink! It sounds better to bottle sooner, but it's wrong! Some beers will ferment sooner than others, depending on the health of the yeast, and the ingredients used. I've had some ferment in just a day or two, and some took 2 weeks. I still leave them in the fermenter for at least 10 days before moving them to a clearing tank (some people call that "a secondary") to sit for 2-3 weeks.

Four days from start to bottling might not definitely cause bottle bombs, but I wouldn't chance it at all. It's not worth it. Plus, all the sediment that is circulating around now will drop in a week or so and the beer will be clearer and cleaner both in looks and taste.

I recommend a hydrometer to use and that helps with knowing when the beer is ready to be bottled, or placed into a clearing tank if using.

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:51 PM   #8
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Different beers, yeast, temps, situations make the beer ferment at different rates of time. The directions you have sound like boilerplate, generic directions. I've had some ales ferment and clear in 3-4 days, others can go for a week or more.

Trust your visual clues. When the krausen foam falls, when the airlock bubbles subside to one every 45-60 secs. - then you can probably transfer to secondary or bottle if you aren't planning to secondary. You can always take a hydrometer reading. If you get the same reading two or three days in a row or if the gravity has dropped to 1.012-1.014 or whatever your desired FG range should be, you're good to go. I don't bother with that. I just count the bubbles in my airlock!

Just don't be in a hurry. I know the temptation is great, but if you take your time and be patient, your patience will be rewarded. RDWHAHB!

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Old 11-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #9
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I've done a few kits and the directions for those will all give you beer, but they won't make the beer as good as it can be. Listen to the collective here and definitely listen to Mr Palmer.

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