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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > 1st batch underway
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Old 09-15-2006, 02:11 PM   #1
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Default 1st batch underway

I have my first batch (an English Ale) in the primary. SWMBO thinks I'm nuts, but I find the whole process amazing that those tiny critters will be making a drinkable (hopefully) beer! I'm so psyched, that I'm already planning my next batch (quite hoppy of course) and I think that after I get a few batches in, I would like to start progressing to AG (as soon as I understand enough about this whole process to be less dangerous) Brewing your own ROCKS!

The primary started bubbling after about 6 hours and after 18 hours was burping away nicely every 2 seconds. I'ts been in almost 2 days now and the bubbling has slowed to about every 11 seconds. The temp is 77 while it's sitting on my basement floor. Unfortunately, I wrote down everything I did, but did not write down the type of yeast that was in the kit. OG was 1.048 and the recipe calls for a FG of ~ 1.014

2 questions: 1 - I have read so much about temps and where they should be; is 77 OK or should I put the carboy in a water bath? 2 - I have also read about swirling the carboy to "wake up" the yeast. Is that something I should be concerned with, or should that only be done under certain circumstances.

OK, actually 3 questions: I broke my floating thermometer during the process. Is a floater really necessary? I was thinking that if I eventually make the move to AG, that I might just get a digital w/probe to track temps.

Thanks for all the help & advice.

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Old 09-15-2006, 02:36 PM   #2
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77 is pretty warm. Try to get that down. I bought a bucket that was large enough to hold my carboy, and then put a cap of bleach in it, filled it with water, and then placed my carboy in the bath and wrapped a towel around it, being sure that the towel was soaked in the water and in contact with it. I put ice cubes in it once a day, but I think a fan would work better. Temperature control, as I've learned here, is a big deal.

I'm no expert, but I've never roused my yeast yet, even in stuck fementations. I wouldn't worry; your beer sounds like it's fermenting fine.

Welcome to homebrewing!

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Old 09-15-2006, 02:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopfan
The primary started bubbling after about 6 hours and after 18 hours was burping away nicely every 2 seconds. I'ts been in almost 2 days now and the bubbling has slowed to about every 11 seconds. The temp is 77 while it's sitting on my basement floor. Unfortunately, I wrote down everything I did, but did not write down the type of yeast that was in the kit. OG was 1.048 and the recipe calls for a FG of ~ 1.014

2 questions: 1 - I have read so much about temps and where they should be; is 77 OK or should I put the carboy in a water bath? 2 - I have also read about swirling the carboy to "wake up" the yeast. Is that something I should be concerned with, or should that only be done under certain circumstances.

OK, actually 3 questions: I broke my floating thermometer during the process. Is a floater really necessary? I was thinking that if I eventually make the move to AG, that I might just get a digital w/probe to track temps.

Thanks for all the help & advice.
Congrats on your brew! It is a heady experience (pun semi-intended).

I'm a noob too, but here are my somewhat less than authoritative responses:

1) The yeast package generally specifies what the temp should be for primary fermentation. It varies according to the yeast strain. A temp of 77 is a little high for most ale yeasts that I've read about. Find out what yeast it was from whoever sold you the kit. If you don't know, try to get the temp down below 74 anyway. Something in the 64 to 72 range would probably be better. I put the carboy in a cooler half-filled with water and added a quart of ice once or twice a day.

2) That advice on swirling to wake up the yeast was given to me, but I took it to be a sort-of unusual measure best reserved for situations where you think you might not be getting full attenuation in a reasonable time frame (after a week of primary fermentation, say). I had not properly aerated my wort before pitching, and my FG seemed stalled. Others will give you a better answer here. I would not disturb the brew if you don't need to. Just let it sit quietly if there is no reason to suspect (via hydrometer readings) incomplete fermentation after a week.

3) You can take temp with any device that seems suitable to you. I use the glass alcohol thermometer that came with my kit only for taking the temp of a beer sample in my hydrometer test tube. It's too fragile for any other use, I think. I have an adhesive strip termometer on the outside of each of my carboys. This is a great and easy way to monitor the temp when it's in primary fermentation or during conditioning. I use a digital meat probe to take the temp of my wort for steeping and during cooldown before pitching. BE CAREFUL; most are not waterproof, so you don't want to get the juncture of probe and braided steel line wet.

Ain't this fun?
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Old 09-15-2006, 03:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I hijacked one of my sons toy buckets and have the carboy in a water bath with a fan. I'm hoping to be able to smoothly control the temp with a fan rather than adding ice. Hmmm, sounds like I need to design a temp control that will turn the fan on & off when needed....

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Old 09-15-2006, 03:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopfan
...SWMBO thinks I'm nuts
That's probably only going to get worse. The more gadgets you start collecting, the crazier she'll think you are. Whenever a delivery arrives at the house, SWMBO asks "what did you order now?" - lol.

Thankfully, she's mostly amused by it.
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Old 09-15-2006, 04:05 PM   #6
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I got lucky, as SWMBO is a big beer fan, and even participates in some brews. But you will find yourself looking at stores online and thinking, "Hey! I could use that!"

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Old 09-15-2006, 08:06 PM   #7
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You're both right. SWMBO already rolls her eyes when UPS or Fedex comes by. Mostly it has been pieces for a '67 Firebird I'm restoring with my son, but now I have an excuse to order for myself. The good thing is that I'm a tinkerer and I like to try and "create" things before I go out and buy them.

Anyhow, the Primary is at 70 and holding and still bubbling away happily. Life is good!

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:40 PM   #8
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Ditto. I have a 1990m BMW 750il that requires a fair amount of attention, between that and the brewing it's a parade of delivery men here.

I'm waiting for the "I thought you said this would be cheaper than..." discussion...

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