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Old 12-31-2013, 01:56 PM   #1
jobrien
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Default New Brewer in NJ

Hi everyone,

Thanks to a Christmas present from my lovely wife, I will be brewing my first batch this coming Saturday. She got me a complete brew kit and a smoked porter extract kit (my favorite). Both are from love2brew and the guys there have been very helpful. I ordered a 10 gallon aluminum pot then went out and got a Bayou Classic SP10 when a little testing revealed that my electric stove just wasn't going to cut it. The only thing I'll probably add to that for my first batch in an install of Beersmith2 because I'm an obsessive data collector.

I have two big concerns going in. The first is fermentation temp control. I pretty much have none. The plan is to start fermentation in the (mid-sixties) house then move it out to the (mid-fifties) garage once it really gets going.

The second is cooling the wort. I got the 10 gallon pot so I could do full boils but I don't have a wort chiller yet. The pot is a little large to fit in my sink so I'm going to have to come up with some other way to do an ice bath.

Can't wait to brew my first batch then watch the Eagles beat the Saints!

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Old 12-31-2013, 02:46 PM   #2
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Welcome and good luck with your first batch!

Mid-sixties air temp should be ok for brewing, the fermentation process releases heat so you'll be a little higher than that, but it should be ok. Depending on the yeast strain you use, sustained mid-fifties could shut the yeast down. But it if does, you can just move it back into the house. Another option would be to put your fermenter into a large bin or cooler with water and swap out frozen bottles of ice as needed. A floating thermometer helps you know whether to add more ice or not. But your plan sounds fine to me.

As for cooling your wort, I don't have any good ideas, other than no chill brewing. If your fermenter is well sanitized, then transfer the hot wort to it, seal it up, and put it in the basement or wherever you will be fermenting. Let it sit overnight and reach room temperature, then pitch the yeast. If you do some searches on the forum, you'll find info about that. Never done that myself, so am not speaking from direct experience, but others do it successfully.

Good luck with your first batch!

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:03 PM   #3
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Sounds like you have a great setup to get started. One idea for chilling could be to get a large bin that would hold the kettle and figure out the right height to add a drain hole that would allow efficient cooling.

One thing to be wary of is dropping the temperature during fermentation. You could end up stopping the yeast's activity before fermentation completes. Generally, you'll be better off starting the fermentation cool and raising the temperature to encourage the yeast to finish completely.

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:18 PM   #4
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Welcome fellow jersey dweller......sounds like you got a good start with equipment...nothin' better than wives that support or habits, huh.

Not sure were in nj your from, but were I live in Monmouth county, our water is surface water, and of medium softness. Lends it self very well to amber ales, lighter beers and Pilsners.

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:19 PM   #5
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For the fermentation temp, my thinking was that once fermentation started the temp would rise on its own. I would then move it to the cooler room to keep it in the proper range.

Then again, I've never done this before. I guess the real plan is to just watch the temp and then decide where the best spot for it would be.

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Old 12-31-2013, 03:20 PM   #6
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The goal is really to keep the beer in the mid 60's (the beer, not the ambient temp) the whole time. Preventing it from spiking up to the 70's during high krausen will give you a better tasting beer. Preventing it from cooling below the mid 60's during the fermentation will encourage the yeast to stay active and ferment the beer completely.


You might be better fermenting in the garage with a "fermwrap" around your fermenter for the first 60 hours, then bring the fermenter inside to finish without the fermwrap. You just might have to limit the fermwrap to "partial contact" with your fermenter to boost the temperature properly during those first 60 hours, since it can have a heat range of 5-20 degrees (see description). Remember that fermentation is an exothermic process so the beer inside the fermenter can easily be 4-10 degrees warmer during the most active part (typically the 24th - 60th hour) of fermentation.

Actually, you could leave the fermenter in the house for the first 24 hours, and once the activity begins, add the fermwrap and move the setup to the garage for the next 36 hours until high krausen passes. Then move the fermenter back inside the house and remove the fermwrap!

http://morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html

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