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Old 12-28-2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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Hello all! So I have just boiled my first home brew! It's now sitting in the primary, after an eventful, and very informative first boil!

I'm sure I'll have a ton of questions, and probably be annoying as hell -- but all in the name of delicious beer!

My first question, which I must admit is a little embarrassing, is regarding fermentation. The instructions I have, say to let the beer ferment for 2-3 days in the primary, and then rack to the secondary for 2-3 weeks. Now I am curious about this. Since it typically takes a week or so for beer to fully ferment, what is the purpose of this extended period of time in the secondary? Couldn't I essentially add the DME and bottle it after fermentation is complete?

My other question is in regards to cold crashing / gelatin clarification. I have read on this forum that cold crashing should be done about a week before bottling, and the gelatin should be added once the beer has been cooled completely -- is this correct?

Thankyou all for your help!

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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I'm by no means an expert, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt, but I do have some experience. And don't be embarrased... the only dumb question is the one you don't ask.

First off... just out of curiosity, what type of beer had you made here?

I think the fermentation time really depends on the yeast type and how much sugar is in your batch. Other things will affect it, like temperature... probably even she shape of the fermentation container.

I think the key is to use those time periods as suggestions...if you have a transparent fermetnation container (like glass), watching the activity can help you determine what kind of fermentation activity is still going on (also watch the air lock for bubbling). The finaly say I think is really in what the gravity readings are... that REALLY tells when it's done, or done enough for you.

I've seen several people that don't even do primary/secondary... they just do one fermentation for 4 weeks or so.

Remember though, lots of variables to consider. I'm sure someone else here with more experience than me can explain better.

As for the clarification stuff... that's new to me. I always just used some irish moss before yeast pitching.

Oh... and Welcome!

Nic

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help! Wow, all that chatter in my first post and I forgot to say that the beer I made is a pale ale! The specific name is "Strathcona Pale Ale". I was told that pale ales are generally the best beer to make for beginners.

I am regretting using a pale as my primary fermenter, as I cannot see whats going on inside. For my next batch I will pick up a second glass carboy, and use it as the primary.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #4
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Plus side to a pale though is that it's probalby easier to clean than a carboy. My boss at work gave me a bunch of his old beermaking stuff (including an immersion chiller), all stuck inside his plastic bucket fermenter. I may try it out some time just to see how well it works (I wouldn't be siphoning out of it but rather opening the valve at the bottom. It might reduce the sediment that comes out compared to when I try to siphon).

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Old 12-30-2010, 08:37 PM   #5
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I have another question. What temperature does the beer need to be chilled to in order to get a proper crash cool? I don't have a fridge with space, and it's too cold outside! I do, however have a cold basement.

Oh, and one more. If I were to use a carboy as my primary, should it be dark while fermenting?

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Old 12-30-2010, 09:03 PM   #6
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Not sure exactly what to tell you for the temp question. As for the light question, I've heard both sides of the story. One side says, "Yes, keep it out of the light as much as possible." The other side says, "Light is okay as long as it is not UV light such as that which comes from the sun."

Personally, if I ferment in a glass carboy, I cover it with a blanket.

I suggest posting the temp question in one of the other forums.... you'll likely get more answers there since this is the introductions forum.

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Old 12-31-2010, 05:20 AM   #7
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Hello Literhoser,
You're doing one of Dan's recipes. That's a nice drinking beer. Since this is your first crack at things here's what I'd do.
1. Keep the lid on the bucket and quit sniffing it.
2. Leave it in there for seven days.
3. With a sterile siphon hose and a sterile carboy and air lock, siphon the beer from the bucket to the carboy. Park the carboy at room temp for 14 more days. Keep the air lock on it and quit sniffing it.
4. Clean and sterilize your bucket, mix 1 and 1/8 cup of corn sugar in warm water until dissolved. Pour into bucket.
5. Siphon the beer from the carboy into bucket mixing the sugar around well, don't splash or make bubbles.
6. Sterilize your bottles and fill.
7. Start next batch of beer, I recommend Denny's Evil Czech Pislner.
8. Leave your bottles at room temp for three weeks.
9. Open first bottle and enjoy your first home brew.
10. Save one for me for the next time I'm in North Van.

You can run the whole cycle start to finish in a carboy, no bucket, I do. It doesn't have to be dark just out of the sunlight. I'm not a gelatin fan, I prefer Irish Moss (Whirfloc Tablets: http://www.hopdawgs.ca/index.php/ingredients/adjuncts/whirfloc-tablets/)
Forget the cold crashing for now.
HD

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Old 12-31-2010, 06:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopdawg View Post
Hello Literhoser,
You're doing one of Dan's recipes. That's a nice drinking beer. Since this is your first crack at things here's what I'd do.
1. Keep the lid on the bucket and quit sniffing it.
2. Leave it in there for seven days.
3. With a sterile siphon hose and a sterile carboy and air lock, siphon the beer from the bucket to the carboy. Park the carboy at room temp for 14 more days. Keep the air lock on it and quit sniffing it.
4. Clean and sterilize your bucket, mix 1 and 1/8 cup of corn sugar in warm water until dissolved. Pour into bucket.
5. Siphon the beer from the carboy into bucket mixing the sugar around well, don't splash or make bubbles.
6. Sterilize your bottles and fill.
7. Start next batch of beer, I recommend Denny's Evil Czech Pislner.
8. Leave your bottles at room temp for three weeks.
9. Open first bottle and enjoy your first home brew.
10. Save one for me for the next time I'm in North Van.

You can run the whole cycle start to finish in a carboy, no bucket, I do. It doesn't have to be dark just out of the sunlight. I'm not a gelatin fan, I prefer Irish Moss (Whirfloc Tablets: http://www.hopdawgs.ca/index.php/ingredients/adjuncts/whirfloc-tablets/)
Forget the cold crashing for now.
HD
What a small world! You're right, one of Dan's beer recipes! Thanks for the advice! At the time of brewing my first batch, I was not aware of whirfloc or irish moss, but I'll be sure to include it in my next batch. I'm going to start another beer this weekend, I'll try out your suggestion!
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:10 PM   #9
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Here's what she looks like as of this morning!

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