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Old 08-15-2005, 08:02 PM   #1
TheFratGuy
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Default My first batch

Hey Y'all,

I'm new to this board. I just began brewing my first batch of home brew last thursday. I became interested in home brewing when I tried a homebrew that one of my frat buddies brewed this spring. Then about three weeks ago, the culligan man accidentally left two 5 gal. carboys full of spring water on my front door step. I did some internet searches to find the simplest recipie for good homebrew and came up with this website. (http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter1-1.html) if the link doesn't work just go to howtobrew.com and navigate around.
I purchased all the supplies I needed from beer-wine.com.

Here are some questions I have. You can refere to my recollection of the brew below if you don't understand where I'm coming from with my questions.

1. Should you pour all of the cooled wort into the fermentor or should you leave out the green clumpy stuff on the bottom?

2. How long does the fermentation process last after an air lock discontinues it bubbling?

3. Is 'racking' necessary or recommended, and if so, how many days after the start do you rack your brew.

4. I brewed a 2nd. batch two days ago, and avoided the boil over during the addition of bittering hops by keeping the heat low 190 - 200 deg. (still boiling), Everything seemed to go allright, except for that I had a full 5 gal carboy. I started with an air lock, but by yesterday afternoon the foam add came up into the airlock. I replaced the airlock with an 8ft 1/4 hoze that is submerged in a 2 liter bottle of santized water. The pop bottle is now bubbling like crazy (looks like an airator in a fish tank). Is that Normal?

5. Also both of my brews are a dark to medium brown color. Will they stay that color or will they lighten up.?

6. Finally, I have almost ten gallons of brew going and no bottles. I thought about buying some 1 gal jugs or just having my frat brothers donate some empty bottles. Any suggestions. Should I use clear class, brown, green etc.

Heres how the first brew day went.
Anyways I followed the recipie that Mr. Palmer gave and now I have a few questions. First of all the online store I ordered from sent me Munton and Fusion Amber LME instead of the pale malt extract that was called for. Now keep in mind the recipie calls for both DME and LME. Anyways I folled the recipie and I had an inevitable boilover immediately after I hadded the bittering hops 15 mins into the boil. I lost at least half a gallon of the wort, but I contined boiling. I didn't have a large enough brew pot so I was using two smaller ones (is that a bad Idea?). Only one of the pots boiled over. I took every possible precautionary to prevent contamination. After I finished the boil and cooled the wort in an ice bath I added it to 2 gal of spring in water which I had poured into a santized 5gal bucked and then added the prepared yeast at 80 deg. F. , I poured the wort in, mixed it well, then trasferred it to the plastic culligan carboy. I capped the carboy of and put an airlock on it. There was just a little more than 4 gal. in the carboy. That was all thursday, by saturday the airlock had completely stopped bubbling.

The second brew day was pretty much the same, but I knew what I was getting into and was a bit more prepared.

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Old 08-15-2005, 09:29 PM   #2
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welcome aboard fratguy! here's my $0.02 worth:
1. put a large strainer over your primary bucket and pour through that. that way all your hot break stays out of the primary. it'll help the flavor and the clarity. if you use a carboy to primary, just siphon from the brew pot into the carboy. leave all the spent hops behind. they've done their part...
2. you should use a hydrometer to see when fermentation is complete and ready to rack to secondary, but i don't. let it sit in the primary 3-5 days for average ale. once you see no activity for a minute or so, your good to transfer to secondary. i let mine sit in the secondary for at least 10 days, again for an average strength ale.
3. i prefer to rack mine from primary to secondary. IMO, it helps w/ clarity and flavor. again, some will dispute this.
4. yep, it's normal, especially for a weizen style of yeast. ferm temp may be a little high too, which causes a little extra activity and blow-off. but, it'll be fine. good job w/ the blow-off tube and no need to panic.
5. they'll always look darker in the carboys as opposed to in the pint glass (more dense due to volume). unless it's a stout or porter. browns may look a little lighter in color once poured.
6. when i bottled, i tried to always use brown pop top bottles. the best way is to get friend who drink import or micro brews, and have them save them for you. or, you can buy them new from the HBS or on-line.

you can always top off your primary w/ cooled and sanitized water to 5 gal. and lot's of people boil their wort in two batches, just because of capacity. no problem there. try to get a glass carboy to ferment in. plastic can harbor nasties and will retain odors.

over all, i think you did good. as you brew (and read the forum) you'll pick up ton's of way's to improve the brew proces and the beer. just be a freak about cleaning and sanitizing your equipment, use fresh ingedients, and be patient.


what school do you go to?

good luck!

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Last edited by DeRoux's Broux; 08-15-2005 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 08-15-2005, 11:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeRoux's Broux
welcome aboard fratguy! here's my $0.02 worth:
1. put a large strainer over your primary bucket and pour through that. that way all your hot break stays out of the primary. it'll help the flavor and the clarity. if you use a carboy to primary, just siphon from the brew pot into the carboy. leave all the spent hops behind. they've done their part...
2. you should use a hydrometer to see when fermentation is complete and ready to rack to secondary, but i don't. let it sit in the primary 3-5 days for average ale. once you see no activity for a minute or so, your good to transfer to secondary. i let mine sit in the secondary for at least 10 days, again for an average strength ale.
3. i prefer to rack mine from primary to secondary. IMO, it helps w/ clarity and flavor. again, some will dispute this.
4. yep, it's normal, especially for a weizen style of yeast. ferm temp may be a little high too, which causes a little extra activity and blow-off. but, it'll be fine. good job w/ the blow-off tube and no need to panic.
5. they'll always look darker in the carboys as opposed to in the pint glass (more dense due to volume). unless it's a stout or porter. browns may look a little lighter in color once poured.
6. when i bottled, i tried to always use brown pop top bottles. the best way is to get friend who drink import or micro brews, and have them save them for you. or, you can buy them new from the HBS or on-line.

you can always top off your primary w/ cooled and sanitized water to 5 gal. and lot's of people boil their wort in two batches, just because of capacity. no problem there. try to get a glass carboy to ferment in. plastic can harbor nasties and will retain odors.

over all, i think you did good. as you brew (and read the forum) you'll pick up ton's of way's to improve the brew proces and the beer. just be a freak about cleaning and sanitizing your equipment, use fresh ingedients, and be patient.


what school do you go to?

good luck!
Plastic or not plastic for the primary fermenter really doesn't matter one bit. I've never had the need to take anything but a soft cloth and some oxyclean to the inside of my plastic fermenter, so I'm not causing any scratches - and it's those scratches that could harbor your so-called nasties. The only advantage of the glass carboy for primary is being able to see the fermentation taking place.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:19 AM   #4
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Fratguy, good luck keeping the brothers out of your brew. This line may work with the sorority girls, "Hey, wanna come up and see my blow off tube."

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Old 08-16-2005, 12:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFratGuy
1. Should you pour all of the cooled wort into the fermentor or should you leave out the green clumpy stuff on the bottom?
Leave out the green clumpy stuff if you can. It's just used up hops.

Quote:
2. How long does the fermentation process last after an air lock discontinues it bubbling?
Let it sit for a few days after bubbling stops... or even better, rack it to a secondary to clear and condition.


Quote:
3. Is 'racking' necessary or recommended, and if so, how many days after the start do you rack your brew.
Recommended. Rack as soon as the krausen has fallen and the bubbling has slowed considerably (but not necessarily stopped)


Quote:
4. I brewed a 2nd. batch two days ago, and avoided the boil over during the addition of bittering hops by keeping the heat low 190 - 200 deg. (still boiling), Everything seemed to go allright, except for that I had a full 5 gal carboy. I started with an air lock, but by yesterday afternoon the foam add came up into the airlock. I replaced the airlock with an 8ft 1/4 hoze that is submerged in a 2 liter bottle of santized water. The pop bottle is now bubbling like crazy (looks like an airator in a fish tank). Is that Normal?
Perfect. You just created a huge airlock (called a blow off tube). Looks like you need a bigger fermenter

Quote:
5. Also both of my brews are a dark to medium brown color. Will they stay that color or will they lighten up.?
They'll pretty much stay that color. Extract brews are always a little dark for the style. And every brew looks very dark in the carboy. It will look much lighter in a pint glass.


Quote:
6. Finally, I have almost ten gallons of brew going and no bottles. I thought about buying some 1 gal jugs or just having my frat brothers donate some empty bottles. Any suggestions. Should I use clear class, brown, green etc.
You have frat brothers and you can't come up with 100 bottles? Use brown... they let in the least amount of light. You can get a capper and caps from your homebrew supply source. Oh.. and get a bottle scrubber. Just scrub them out to get the mold and cigarette butts, then sanitize. Good as new

I admire your spirit! Sounds like you're the type of person to just jump in head first and learn from your errors. And it sounds like you've done lots of research. Good luck and welcome to the forum!
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Hey, wanna come up and see my blow off tube."
woah how freaking weird i was thinking the same thing

oh yea babe
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewhead
woah how freaking weird i was thinking the same thing

oh yea babe

dirty old men
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:40 AM   #8
TheFratGuy
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Default Thanks for all the help

Thanks alot for the replys that I got from everyone.

I go to school at Westminster College in Fulton Mo. I'm a senior this year, and I'm no longer living in the frat house. So I probably won't have to fight the guys off when it comes to the homebrew. As far as the sororiety girls go, that's a great line, however I actually picked a sororiety girl up the first week of school (and didn't need anything as cool as a blow off tube) and now I'm living with her. Not exactly the wild party that most people think of, when your talking college experiences. However I've had my share of those. Anyways...

I had actually purchased the tube for syphoning from my fermentor to the bottling bucket. My step-dad told me that I should always syphon beer after its done brewing (fermenting). So I'll probably wait to rack the first batch until the second batch has slow'd down some. All I have for a secondary fermenter is a five gal food grade plastic bucket with a sealing lid. I've already punched a hole in the top of it for an airlock, but I think that was unnessissary. The first batch is now a redish brown color and all of the foam on the top has fallen out. The second batch is still bubbling like a aerator. How important is it that I rack that first batch soon? I have eight feet of tubbing that I could cut up to use for both. Well thanks again for all the help.

As for the bottles, I think I've got a handle on that. School starts in a week and the guys are starting to come in for formal rush. I'm sure there will be plenty of bottles laying around to collect. Does anyone know how many bottles I'll need for 9 gallons? I think about 50 or so, but I'm not sure.

Oh, and about my step-dad... He's a native of the Ozark Hills in North central arkansas. He was raised on the Buffalo River and learned about homebrewing when he was a teenager. He's got a recipe for homemade beer that is made from common household ingredients that you can purchase at the local feed store. If this batch turns out I'm going to see if he'll trade a case of brew for that recipie. I know its not a great tasting homebrew but I've heard its like an 8 point beer. I'll share it with anyone interested. He brewed his in an 8 gal glass carboy and used a civil war generals sword to stir the batch. I think he cooked his brew in a ten gallon cast iron pot, over an open flame.

Well thanks again the help and I look forward to more replys.

TheFratGuy

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Old 08-16-2005, 01:49 AM   #9
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9 gallons? You're going to need closer to 90 bottles. I typically bottle 48-50 bottles for a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 08-16-2005, 02:16 AM   #10
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Default 90 bottles, wow...

Ok,

Well that's not going to be a problem, I'm sure I can find that many bottles and my friend has a capper and caps, but where should you store that many bottles? I was planning on finding four or five of those bud light cases of 20 and just putting the bottles in them and stacking them up in the corner for a few weeks. My step-dad used to have a bottle storage rack on our garage wall. Do the bottles need to be kept in a dark room and at room temperature or cooler? Also is it possible to bottle the new twist top bottles or do you need the import beer pop tops? Most of my frat bros like to drink Natty Light or Bud Light. Only a couple drink Corona but I'm sure I could bribe some freshmen guys into upgrading to some higher quality stuff.
Right now I've got the thermastat set at 72. I know that it should be a bit cooler for a slower, better fermentation, but I can't afford to pay the bill for 69 degrees or even lower. I'm going to talk to my buddy about brewing the next batch in his basement. Its dark and cool down there.

Thanks again.

TheFratGuy

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