Well this is my first post in this forum. I'm new to homebrewing...I just bought a kit today, and will be making my first batch of Nut Brown Ale as soon as I tie up a few lingering questions about the process. I've read both the Palmer book, as well as The Complete Joy of Homebrewing. I thought I had the processes down pat (I like to prepare) but am now having doubts about a few things. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help! (by the way...I am relaxing...having a Sierra Nevada...not worrying )
My first question is about siphoning. I should have bought an autosiphon, but I forgot. My kit came with a racking cane and tubing...problem is, I'm not too sure how to use them. If I can't use my mouth, how can I siphon? I know I could fill the tubing with water, but am kinda scared that it will flow back into the wort contaminating it. The guy at the homebew shop I went to recommended thatI use the siphon to transfer the cooled wort from the boiling pot to my 6.5 gal glass carboy (and I don't have large funnel/strainer, so I can't pour it into the carboy either).
My second question concerns the brewing process. I'm following Palmer's advice, and doing a preliminary 3 gallon boil, then will be steeping my grains in 1 gallon, then boiling extract in 3 gallons (2 additional gallons added to the steeping water). Well, after I boil the first 3 gallons, what am I to do with it? Should I chill it in an ice bath? I can't siphon the hot water to the glass carboy (I'm told it will crack). So, I guess I have to leave it to cool somehow, or chill it?
Last, I was wondering about cleaning. All my equipment is new, is it necessary for me to clean it first (as in, with a deterrgent and brush)? Don't get me wrong...I was definately going to sanitize them in StarSan. But I don't know if soap/water was necessary. If it is, is something like Dove liquid deterrgent o.k., or do I need to buy the homebrew cleaning stuff? (PCB etc.)
Thanks in advance for any help you guys can offer,