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texag06ish 01-13-2012 02:56 AM

First time brewer...i have a few questions...
 
First off...this forum is great so thanks in advance for any advice. Here are my questions:

1) If I use set it and forget it method to carbonate my beer will that time count toward conditioning?

2) Is a week in the primary and a week in the secondary enough time to ferment? How do you even know when fermentation is complete? I ask because both the beers I brewed (mini mash clone recipes from Austin Homebrew Supply) state to condition for 3 weeks before drinking.

MalFet 01-13-2012 03:01 AM

Welcome!

1) Sure. Time is passing.
2) Hydrometer. Everything else is guessing.

day_trippr 01-13-2012 03:05 AM

Absolutely, time spent carbing up is time spent "conditioning" (fancy name for "aging").

As for how long, leaving the whole "primary/secondary" thing out, the only way to reliably judge "done" is to take successive gravity readings and wait until the measurements stabilize. While small beers will typical finish sooner than big beers, temperature, yeast strain and viability, nutrient availability, oxygen content at pitching, the phase of the moon (well, maybe not that last one) all affect the maturation process. Best to use a hydrometer...

Cheers!

brewmax25 01-13-2012 04:05 AM

I like to use the satellite fermentation method. When I put my beer into my bucket or carboy and after I pitch my yeast I fill an old clear bottle half way, like a corona bottle or old coke bottle and monitor fermentation from their. I stick a little bit of paper towel in the top of the bottle to act as an airlock. This way I can take hydrometer readings from the bottle without the risk of infecting my precious wort. I also can watch whats going on during fermentation. Make sure you just throw out the beer in your bottle when you're all done.

The rule of thumb is take hydro readings for three days and if it doesn't change over the three days it is done fermenting. I usually give my beers 10 days in primary. By then they are usually done.

tektonjp 01-13-2012 08:01 AM

Good rule of thumb: Leave it in the primary for 3 weeks. Forget the secondary.

bigbeergeek 01-13-2012 08:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brewmax25 (Post 3659170)
I like to use the satellite fermentation method. When I put my beer into my bucket or carboy and after I pitch my yeast I fill an old clear bottle half way, like a corona bottle or old coke bottle and monitor fermentation from their. I stick a little bit of paper towel in the top of the bottle to act as an airlock. This way I can take hydrometer readings from the bottle without the risk of infecting my precious wort. I also can watch whats going on during fermentation. Make sure you just throw out the beer in your bottle when you're all done.

The rule of thumb is take hydro readings for three days and if it doesn't change over the three days it is done fermenting. I usually give my beers 10 days in primary. By then they are usually done.

That won't work at all. What's happening in the bottle (pitching rate, temperature, oxygenation etc) is in no way representative of the full batch. It's an odd idea. Don't worry about contamination, just follow reasonable asceptic technique. Sanitize the outside of your carboy opening, pull a tiny sample with a sanitized tool and measure the gravity of the beer you are going to eventually drink -- the stuff in the actual fermentor.

texag06ish 01-13-2012 01:40 PM

So if I prime my first batch I should basically complete the process and let the keg sit for at least two weeks before I put it on the keg? Does it matter if I store it in the kegerator or warm? Once it's primed for two weeks is it ready to put on the kegerator and drink immediately? Should I not bother to prime and use the set and forget method?

Also, on my second batch, it was placed in the primary on the 10th. I plan on moving it to the secondary on the 17th and hopefully the keg on the 24th. Then plan on enjoying Super Bowl Sunday. Is 11 days enough to carbonate using the set it and forget it method enough? Will the beer taste bad?

The second batch is a blond ale that I added yeast fuel (from Austin Homebrew) to.

Austinhomebrew 01-13-2012 02:15 PM

You need to ferment in the primary until 2 days after terminal gravity. Transfer to a secondary. You should be able to clear the beer in a week. If it takes longer to clear leave it in the secondary. This extra time will count towards the conditioning time. Bottle and leave for a minimum of 2 weeks tto carbonate. Depending on the beer, it may be ready to drink at this point. You just need to taste the beer along the way to find out when it is ready.

Forrest

Homercidal 01-13-2012 02:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbeergeek (Post 3659483)
That won't work at all. What's happening in the bottle (pitching rate, temperature, oxygenation etc) is in no way representative of the full batch. It's an odd idea. Don't worry about contamination, just follow reasonable asceptic technique. Sanitize the outside of your carboy opening, pull a tiny sample with a sanitized tool and measure the gravity of the beer you are going to eventually drink -- the stuff in the actual fermentor.

I agree. When you stop and think about it, basic sanitation procedures do a VERY good job of protecting your beer.

When you aerate your beer by shaking, you are introducing a TON of air into it. The same air, likely, that you'd introduce by cracking the lid and sticking a turkey baster or thief into the fermenter. Only a HUGE amount more!

When you bottle beer, you're introducing more air to the beer via the bottle fill.

The worst things are usually: dirty or unsanitized utensils, bugs, saliva. Airborne bacteria and stuff like that are not likely to get a foothold in your wort since the yeast will quickly overtake them, and fermented beer has the acidity and alcohol to further help prevent infection.

The fermentation that happens in a smaller vessel is not the same as what happens in a larger vessel. I've heard of something similar for checking carbonation in bottles (filling a couple of soda bottles and feeling the firmness), but those are all the same basic shape and size.

My advice is to simply sanitize a thief or baster and draw a hydro sample. Don't pour it back in. Maybe take a drink and see what it tastes like.

badbrew 01-13-2012 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by texag06ish (Post 3659871)
So if I prime my first batch I should basically complete the process and let the keg sit for at least two weeks before I put it on the keg? Does it matter if I store it in the kegerator or warm? Once it's primed for two weeks is it ready to put on the kegerator and drink immediately? Should I not bother to prime and use the set and forget method?

Also, on my second batch, it was placed in the primary on the 10th. I plan on moving it to the secondary on the 17th and hopefully the keg on the 24th. Then plan on enjoying Super Bowl Sunday. Is 11 days enough to carbonate using the set it and forget it method enough? Will the beer taste bad?

The second batch is a blond ale that I added yeast fuel (from Austin Homebrew) to.

Primary it for 3 weeks and then secondary in the keg with the "in" ball lock fitting attached to a hose in a glass of vodka under refrigeration. On the day before the superbowl, set the keg to 30 psi over night and back to 10 for the game.


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