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Old 07-05-2008, 04:31 PM   #1
mesathinks
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Default Lots of different methods

My wife was helping me with the first couple of batches I have done in a while and while asking questions she was astonished at my replies and at one point gently admonished me for not refreshing my memory better before jumping back in.

I patiently explained that there really are no hard and fast single rules and that brewing has a lot of options at every stage as long as the process ends in drinkable beer. We go for and hope for the best that we can acomplish. She was skeptical to say the least...

An example for me is that I religiously take my reading at the beginning, transfer (just started this process because wife wants a clearer beer and this is one add-on for that) and end b4 bottling. I use a 90 second rule on bubbles in between. This was from a book (Mara) I read in the beginning and his reasons made sense.

Would appreciate input on things you others feel are flexible and things that are not. I'm going to kick it up to all grain in the fall and want to get my routines down pat before. I see the process as very flexible with the exception of santation and temps.

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Old 07-05-2008, 04:46 PM   #2
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There is only one proper way to brew: the way I'm doing it this time. The "I" and "this" just vary from person to person, brew to brew.



Rick

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Old 07-05-2008, 09:22 PM   #3
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I'm inflexible on determining fermentation by bubbles in the airlock.

For me, I don't even think about racking until my hydrometer tells me fermentation is complete. The airlock is not a precision scientific instrument; the hydrometer is. If the ferment is complete, you can fine the beer when you rack it, which makes for an even clearer beer. And if it isn't complete, you know to leave it in the primary until it's done.

Otherwise, the only other thing about which I'm inflexible is sanitization. Even fermentation temperatures in my brewery don't go beyond "cellar temperature". This time of year, that's ~65oF; in winter, it's ~55.

Thought-provoking post!

Bob

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Old 07-05-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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In my opinion, there are just about NO rules that have no exceptions. Sanitizing is pretty solid, but lambics essentially depend on infection (by wild yeast). Hydrometers are considered to be critical by most but I have not used one in years and to date have never brewed a bad batch or had a bottle bomb. Be wary of anyone who tells you that every rule is rock hard.

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Old 07-05-2008, 10:43 PM   #5
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There's one absolute rule... patients, patients and you'll have a good beer. Everything else is just a variable.

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Old 07-06-2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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I thought the only rule was - Realx, don't worry - Have a homebrew.

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Old 07-06-2008, 11:57 AM   #7
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It depends on how YOU want to do it.

The end result is BEER.

The quality will differ depending on the method you use. But the main factor is the quality of the ingredients and the care you take.

Poor ingredients will probably not result in good beer
Lack of care probably will not result in good beer.

You can get good beer from really good extract ingredients
You can also get good beer from mediocre All grain ingredients.

With good ingredients and care you can get great beer from either.
What you can get from all grain that you can't get for extract is a beer you made yourself the way you want it.

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Old 07-06-2008, 01:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
There's one absolute rule... patients, patients and you'll have a good beer
So, then, doctors and nurses must make the best beer.



Rick (sorry, couldn't resist)
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Old 07-06-2008, 01:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick_R View Post
So, then, doctors and nurses must make the best beer.



Rick (sorry, couldn't resist)
I thought it meant someone had to get hurt or sick making it. Sorry, I couldn't resist either.

The one thing that I noticed when I first researched brewing was that everyone does it different. And of course the way Internet forums go, everyone thinks that their way is the only right way. Once I was ready to give it a go, I bought my gear, some extract kits and brewed my first couple of batches. While waiting for those batches to ferment, I researched some more. This led me to believe that I had ten gallons of water unfit for mosquitoes to reproduce in.

As it turns out, I certainly did make some mistakes with those first few batches. But the beer turned out great.

I'm sure John Palmer is a fine brewer, but I wouldn't assume he is any better than the rest of us. I have his book and The Joy of Home Brewing. I refer to both of them as well as a few online resources. But I always go with what works for me.
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Old 07-06-2008, 03:17 PM   #10
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I'll comment on "90 seconds between bubbles".

that's rubbish. that is not a good way to tell what your beer is doing.

airlocks bubble, or don't bubble, for a variety of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with active fermentation taking place.

examples: room temperature increases 5 degrees..thus beer temp rises, forcing CO2 out of solution, and the airlock bubbles. a large truck drives by, shaking the ground, and those vibrations knock CO2 out of solution.

counter example: the lid on your bucket fermenter doesn't seal perfectly. not a problem in terms of sanitation, but your airlock likely won't ever bubble during the next week of active, vigorous fermentation.


You know your beer is 'done' and ready to move to secondary, by using a Hydrometer. 3 separate readings on 3 separate days, where the reading doesn't change AND is at/close to the expected final gravity per the recipe...that's when you can tell fermentation has completed. sometimes you wanna wait a few more days to let the yeast cake clean up off flavors like diacetyl. some beers get no secondary, ever (hefeweizen).

in fact you can easily leave beer in primary on the cake for a month with no worries. You might have read about autolysis, and while it does happen, it takes a while to start...more than a month if you maintain proper brewing conditions.

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