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Old 03-30-2008, 12:40 AM   #1
431brew
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Default Big Time newbie mistakes w/ my AW

I posted earlier this month that I was using liquid yeast for the first time and wasn't sure it was working (http://http://www.homebrewtalk.com/s...049#post595049). After three weeks, the bubbles on top have almost cleared as has the AW. I can still see lots of small bubbles rising to the top, but nothing like I had the first couple of days. If you haven't clicked the link, save the time - I used Wyeast 3068.

While having a homebrew or three tonight and grilling steaks, I decided to get a sample of the AW with my thief. Using a 3 gal carboy, I couldn't get very much with the thief due to the height differentials. What I got tasted good.....too good. Like Apple Juice.

Mistake #1 (or 2 or 3 if you count the yeast type and my screwing around with it after only 3 weeks): It didn't taste like it had much alcohol in it, so I decided to try to get enough to put the hydrometer in it. Had to use the syphon and made a ##%% mess all over everything because I have only used it twice.

Mistake #2: Still couldn't get enough to float the hydrometer, so dropped the hydrometer into the carboy very slowly. Thought it would float high enough that I could get it back. Did not think it would drift to the sides.

Mistake #3: It floated to the side. The top of the carboy interfered with the top of the hydrometer, but it looks like the gravity scale has 1.012 and the ABV scale has 4% if this means anything. (I did not measure the OG, so all of this is just one big screw up.)

Mistake #4: Tried different sanitized instruments to retrieve the hydrometer, but could not get it back out.


Questions.....
1. If the alcohol level is as low as it tastes and appears with my limited hydrometer experiences, does this prove that yeast problem I thought I had in the link above did/does exist?

2. What can I do to get the yeast going if you agree that maybe it just never started working?

3. How do I get the hydrometer back or do I just leave it?

4. Should I go ahead and count this as a loss and drink it up so I can get the hydrometer back?

5. How many of you are ROFLYA's off? LOL!

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Last edited by 431brew; 03-30-2008 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:00 AM   #2
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You need a wine thief.
I have no idea how you are going to get the hydrometer out of your carboy. Maybe just leave it until you rack to another carboy and then retrieve it later? In the meantime, hope to hell it doesn't break.

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Old 03-30-2008, 07:20 AM   #3
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Hang Loose.
It's gonna be OK.
Your Hydrometer will survive in the carboy...just don't break it wrestling the thing about.
Your apfelwein will be ok!...At least I hope. Now, I'm not yet sure if that yeast will ever give you a clear product, but the higher the alcohol gets, the lower your hydrometer will sink, and it will stop hitting the top.

Be patient, give it a month or so, then bottle.

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Old 03-30-2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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After you gently rack your apfelwein out of the carboy, overfill it with water. Your hydrometer will pop to the top when the water reaches the lip of the carboy. I don't think you will safely get it out before you get the apfelwein out.

I take sample out of 1 and 3 gallon carboys all the time with a thief. Do you know that you can fill your thief to the top by gently shaking it up and down with just the top in the liquid?

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Old 03-30-2008, 04:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeyama
You need a wine thief.
yaeyama, I have one.....I just need to learn how to use it. One with suction, or turkey baster, would have been perfect. I have the long, larger one that the hydrometer can slide into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeyama
I have no idea how you are going to get the hydrometer out of your carboy.
LMAO! That is what I was thinking last night!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKahuna
Hang Loose.
It's gonna be OK.
Your Hydrometer will survive in the carboy...just don't break it wrestling the thing about.
Your apfelwein will be ok!...At least I hope. Now, I'm not yet sure if that yeast will ever give you a clear product, but the higher the alcohol gets, the lower your hydrometer will sink, and it will stop hitting the top.

Be patient, give it a month or so, then bottle.
Thanks, BigKahuna. You responded to my original post about the yeast. Do you think I should add more yeast or do anything to try get these going again? What sample I did get with my thief seemed carbonated.

Well, I guess you already answered me with "Be patient....."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurmey
After you gently rack your apfelwein out of the carboy, overfill it with water. Your hydrometer will pop to the top when the water reaches the lip of the carboy. I don't think you will safely get it out before you get the apfelwein out.
Good tip on overfilling it, thanks! I was contemplating pouring the hydrometer out after I syphoned the AW out. That would probably break the thing, though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurmery
I take sample out of 1 and 3 gallon carboys all the time with a thief. Do you know that you can fill your thief to the top by gently shaking it up and down with just the top in the liquid?
No, I didn't know that. This was my first time trying to use it, and I only got it to fill to the level of the AW in the carboy. Looking back, there were several things I could have done to raise the level - I just couldn't think of any at the time.
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Drinking:
1. American Premium Lager (on tap)
2. Porter



Keg Conditioning:
Blonde (AHB)


Fermenter #1:
none

Fermenter #2:
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:37 PM   #6
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I use a cheap turkey baster from wally world works awesome maybe you should check into that

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Old 03-30-2008, 08:46 PM   #7
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Even at 75 degrees, a hydrometer reading of 1.012 indicates that fermentation has indeed taken place. Pure apple juice has a specific gravity of 1.050-ish. Ed's recipe boosts that to over 1.070. Your cider is at least 5% alcohol by volume right now. It should finish closer to 1.000 or slightly less.

Ignore the alcohol potential scale - it's not very useful to begin with, and it's useless once fermentation has begun.

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Old 03-30-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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Yuri, thanks. That was very helpful info!

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Drinking:
1. American Premium Lager (on tap)
2. Porter



Keg Conditioning:
Blonde (AHB)


Fermenter #1:
none

Fermenter #2:
none

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Old 04-07-2008, 01:33 AM   #9
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Dropping the hydrometer in must have roused the yeast or something....lots of small bubbles still rising to the top non-stop. Kind of like an Alka-Seltzer near its end.

With that little sample that I mentioned earlier tasting so good, I am NOT going to carb this when I bottle it. I probably will not rack it either, depending on your answers to my questions below. I am still awhile away from bottling, but have a couple of questions:

After the bottles sit for awhile, can I expect the AW to have as much yeast in the bottom of the bottle as a beer? Or, maybe not as much since I am not adding any carbing sugar?

Should I use Camden tablets or anything else? If so, what is the best technique, and would this require a secondary for best results?

I want to give a bottle of it to my in-laws, who are not homebrew fans, and am hoping that there is a way to keep the yeast out of the bottom or at least to a very minimum.

Thanks again.

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Drinking:
1. American Premium Lager (on tap)
2. Porter



Keg Conditioning:
Blonde (AHB)


Fermenter #1:
none

Fermenter #2:
none

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Old 04-07-2008, 07:35 PM   #10
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Campden(sulfites) shouldn't be needed unless you had unpasteurized juice/cider.

Secondary is not needed at all. Just keep it alone for 4 weeks and it'll clear right up. Ed's pictures are dead on what to expect.

And on the wine thief, I always suck at the end with the hole on, not blowing at all. Then again, I may be doing it wrong!

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