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Old 02-09-2007, 10:55 PM   #1
ds762
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Default Got some questions for my first brew!

I have wanted to brew some beer of my own for awhile. My lovely wife bought me a MW brew starter kit along with a better bottle 2ndary fermenter for christmas. I have probably watched the DVD 4 or 5 times already and I think I understand the process pretty well and now after not having a day off in about a month I will celebrate the weekend by brewing my 1rst batch tomorrow!

I also got some beer kits from family members and they are not the style of kit that MW sells. These are "John Bull India Pale Ale & Edme Micro-Brewery Red Ale" and they are in a tall can. I haven't wanted to open the cans to look at the ingredients for some irrational fear of it being something that would spoil (like a can of soup rather than dry components).

Has anyone here used these kits and if so do you have any suggestions for brewing this style of kit? I do need to say that after watching the DVD I will probably feel more comfortable using a MW style of beer kit rather than the can style .. but hey they were gifts! Also they are the same size can (4 lb / 1.8kg) the JB India pale says that it makes 40 pints and the EDME Red ALE says that it makes 24 pints. I am not understanding the difference in end product volume.

Any other suggestions for a first-time brewer?

Thanks and I think this will be a very ful-filling pastime to enjoy!

David

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Old 02-09-2007, 11:15 PM   #2
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without reading the cans i am guessing that the jb india that makes 40 pints could be dry malt extract and the other liquid malt extract - dry is more concentrated so will produce more beer.
were there instructions with the cans?
if not try to find the manufacturers web site.
this is a very good online book www.howtobrew.com
good brewing!

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Old 02-10-2007, 12:04 AM   #3
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Both cans list malt extract but don't specify dry or liquid.

Looking at EDME instructions - appears to be a liquid mixture.
- EDME instructions as follows

Bring 2 litres of water to boil in boiling pot.
Reduce the heat and and the contents of the beer kit and sugar (700g - must provide own sugar). Rinse out the cans with some of the boiling water so as not to waste anything.
Stir to fully dissolve.
Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Keep stirring the mixture to avoid burning.
After 5 mins turn off the heat
Pour 6 litres of cold water into the fermenting bin.
Add mixture from boiling pot
Top up the final brew level marked on the outside of the fermenter (13.5 or 23 litres)

You now need to put the lid on the fermenting bin and wait for the wort to cool down to between 18 to 24 C

While you're waiting ...
Carefully fill a sterilised cup with some wort and let it cool to 18-24 C. Add the contents of the yeast sachet and allow to stand.
When wort is cool add the yeast mixture and stir.
Take a gravity reading.
Place the lid on the fermenter.
Stand the fermenter in a warm area (18-24 C). Fermentation will take 5-6 days depending on temp.

After reading all of this it is somewhat confusing as I don't measure anything in metric.

What type of sugar should I use for the brew?
What type of sugar should I use for the priming and how much?

I want to be able to use the kit but it seems quite different from the process used in the Midwest DVD.

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Old 02-10-2007, 12:46 AM   #4
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I am a beginner too, but after much research on my own..here's my $0.02



Bring 2 litres of water to boil in boiling pot.---Put as much water as you can into the pot without a chance it will overflow from the boiling or the LME. Boil for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat and and the contents of the beer kit and sugar (700g - must provide own sugar). ---Take off burner and add LME (and extra DME if you have any...I'd avoid sugar of any kind here...taste's weird)

Rinse out the cans with some of the boiling water so as not to waste anything. ---Yup---what he said there

Stir to fully dissolve. YUP --disslove/mix in LME

Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Keep stirring the mixture to avoid burning.--Return to burner and bring to rolling boil for about 10 minutes (5 prolly OK)
After 5 mins turn off the heat--YUP

Pour 6 litres of cold water into the fermenting bin. ---HMMM I say simplify here and wait until it cools now, then fill fermenter with cooled wort (about 80 degrees or so, then top off until full with cool water
Add mixture from boiling pot--Already did this
Top up the final brew level marked on the outside of the fermenter (13.5 or 23 litres)-- Done

You now need to put the lid on the fermenting bin and wait for the wort to cool down to between 18 to 24 C--Done

While you're waiting ...
Carefully fill a sterilised cup with some wort and let it cool to 18-24 C. Add the contents of the yeast sachet and allow to stand.--Naw...no need unless it's liquid yeast IMO...you can if you want though
When wort is cool add the yeast mixture and stir.---Wort should be cool by now, so shake fermenter well to aerate, then add yeast and stir

Take a gravity reading. Good Idea to do this
Place the lid on the fermenter. Yup
Stand the fermenter in a warm area (18-24 C). Fermentation will take 5-6 days depending on temp. 1 week then 2 in secondary then 3 in bottles...no secondary? 2-3 in primary, 3 in bottles

After reading all of this it is somewhat confusing as I don't measure anything in metric.

What type of sugar should I use for the brew? If any, use corn sugar, but I don't use sugar in the brew...just raises alcohol %
What type of sugar should I use for the priming and how much? 3/4 cup corn (dextrose) sugar per 5 gallons



That's how I'd do it...oh and RDWHAHB!!! Have fun!!!

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Old 02-10-2007, 04:18 AM   #5
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Those instructions, that you posted sound to me like a Mr Beer kit instruction

Just start with the one you feel most comfortable with.
don't open those cans and they will stay good for years, you can figure what to do
with them later.
Brew up that Midwest kit as per the instructions and you should be fine.
post some more questions, we'll try to help

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Old 02-10-2007, 08:48 PM   #6
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I've read the more water you use in your boil, the more efficient your hops will be at bittering. You may want to keep in mind when increasing the amount of water above what the kit recommends that your brew may be hoppier than the recipe & instructions were designed for. If you like hoppy brews, I'm sure it's no problem

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Old 02-10-2007, 09:15 PM   #7
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well I'm in the kitchen now getting the water going and I did put 3 gallons in rather than the 2 the recipe called for. This is a Cream Ale .. so we will see how it goes!

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Old 02-11-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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Well, don't keep us in suspense. Did you boil over? Did you make beer?

Both cans are LME and could be hopped as well. What kayos posted was good and the link Rod posted you should read. I didn't see mention of an airlock, I hope you are using one if you seal that bucket up. And if you rehydrate dry yeast in plain water, don't keep it hydrated for long before pitching onto your wort as the nutrients in the yeast will be used up fast and you'll kill off some of your yeast. I have been brewing a fair while and I just pitch my dry yeast onto the wort in the dry condition. No worries for me.

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Old 02-11-2007, 08:01 PM   #9
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Sorry .. got side-tracked.
I carefully watched it with NO boil-over. Successfully brewed a "box kit" Cream Ale from a local brew supply store.
Right now it is in the fermenter with yeast and airlock and all. I have been watching my temp. and it is about 72 F. It also appears to possibly start to bubble.

Is 72 too warm?

edited to add .. I have bubbling!!

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Old 02-11-2007, 10:44 PM   #10
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sounds good, some of the information that was posted is not completely accurate I will try to clarify a little here : )

2 litres = 1/2 a galon (4.5 litres to a galon)

If you did not need to add any hops (you would know) then it does not matter how much water you boil the LME is, as you are simply disolving the contents of the can so when you add the cool water, you do not have all of your malt at the bottom of the fermenter, hence an extremely high gravity reading

secondly, try VERY hard not to let a hot wort sit out and cool to room temp by itself, as hot wort is what produces diacetyl (tastes like popcorn / butter) which might be desirable in a cream ale, but generally not a great taste. Also, if you let a hot wort cool very slowly, you will not get what is called a cold break. A cold break happens from rapid chilling of the wort, which results in certain chemicals in the wort to be shocked, in a sense. If there is no cold break, you are likely to get chill haze

HOWEVER, this does not need to be worried about with LME, the proccess I use for LME is very simple

1. Stand can of LME in a pot of hot water to soften the contents
2. Pour can into fermenter
3. Add sugar (If using sugar, please, use malt. If uncomfortable, then just use Dextrose but try to avoid <-- will clarify later)
4. Add 1/2 gallon of water
5. Stir with sanitised spoon
6. Top up to 3 gallons
7. Shake fermenter (with lid on) (check that wort is not too hot)
8. Top up to 5 gallons
9. sprinkle yeast on top (do not stir)
10. RDWHAHB

whole process takes around 5 mins, and gets a very decent beer (if using a good canned extract)

It sounds like the steps you used come from a brew company that really know what they are doing, and I would guess that aslong as everything was sanitized nicely, your beer is going to be fantastic!

Now, to clarify about sugar if you use dextrose, it adds absolutley nothing to your beer except alcohol and Co2. Dextrose is a 100% fermentable sugar. The yeast eat it and produce alcohol and Co2 (hence the airlock) Now, this is not so bad, you might think, more alcohol = better beer. Well, not quite. Its what DOESENT ferment into alcohol, that makes good beer. Malt is not 100% fermentable, and what doesnt ferment is what adds character to your beer. for example, its not so watery, its thicker, has a nice thick head, good mouth feel etc. For instance, think of a stout. Lots of malt in stouts, very thick beer, nice compact, thick head, the beer has texture in your mouth etc. Now think of a comercial beer brewed with sugar (budweiser for example) a nice tasting beer, but not as creamy, not as much head, more watery.

So, try using all malt, or atleast, cutting down on the dextrose : D

However, with all that said and done, seems to me like you brewed yourself a real nice kit there, and I would love to say, WELCOME! to one of the greatest hobbies on earth it can be so satisfying to actually make your own beer! its like baking your own bread. A little bit of love, some care, and a bit of knowledge, and you can make what ever style you want!

let us all know how it goes with your first brew!


Edit: on a side not

Quote:
I've read the more water you use in your boil, the more efficient your hops will be at bittering. You may want to keep in mind when increasing the amount of water above what the kit recommends that your brew may be hoppier than the recipe & instructions were designed for. If you like hoppy brews, I'm sure it's no problem
This is very true, but its only true when adding hops to your boil. Prehopped extracts have allready had the hops boiled, and therefore there is no chance of getting more bittering from the hops, as there are no more hops to get the alpha acid from. Pure water, when boiled with hops, gives the greatest hop utilization (bitterness from hops) but as you very accuratley stated, this can be a very hoppy beer : D

I am not trying to sound like a smart arse, or come off as some know it all, im just trying to give you a little information that I have learned through mistakes, and to let you know the basics of brewing, and not just how to do it, but why to do it : D it took me a long time to learn it, and this forum was the main place of learning, and now I am just trying to give back to the community!

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Last edited by Kadmium; 02-11-2007 at 10:52 PM.
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