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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > 5 gallon batch + 5 gallon primary fermenter = good
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:14 AM   #1
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Default 5 gallon batch + 5 gallon primary fermenter = good

I have a whole 2 batches under my belt so throw back a pound of salt with this. I brewed two extract beers, a nut-brown, and an amber. The hops are different, the amber did not use specialty grains -- same yeast, same hops. The amber (my second brew) is much better. Its crisp and very refreshing. I followed Papazian's advice and used a 5 gallon primary for the amber with a blow-off tube.

It could have been a lot of things that made the second batch better (better technique, personal taste, yada yada) but I really think it was the so-called "extraction of fusel oils from the primary".


I guess I could drink a ton of both on separate nights and see which hang-over is worse but it seemed easier to enquire here. I mentioned this in another thread and folks were calling shenanigans. So does anyone have experience with this? Has anyone done a 10 gallon batch with 5/5 to compare with a control?

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Old 07-29-2008, 04:10 AM   #2
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I'm having a real hard time understanding exactly what you are trying to ask. Are you asking us why your second batch was better than your first?

How are we to know, you really didn't tell much pertinent info.

In any event, no one on here could really tell you why your two batches are different, unless you detailed specific techniques that you differed between the two batches. Otherwise, how could we know?

The recipe alone doesn't really tell you anything about how a beer is going to turn out. Proper sanitation, yeast handling and temperature control are what is really gonna affect your end product. I don't think that the difference between a 5 gallon fermenter with a blow off and what ever you used for the first batch, is really going to affect your beer's taste. As for "extraction of fusel oils," is that supposed to mean that you fermented batch 1 hot? Because that could certainly give you some problems with fusels, in which case you need to control your ferment temp better. But if you didn't have that problem with batch 2, then you likely corrected the problem.

So if you have a specific question about a technique, then maybe someone here can provide some help, but otherwise, I would just chalk it up to your two batches being two different batches with different recipes, and you had much more experience for the second than you did your first. Because I think the first batch is a big hurdle to becoming a good brewer. Now you need to start batch 3.

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Old 07-29-2008, 04:15 AM   #3
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IMO the 5 gallon blow-off method is simply a waste of yeast. all those supposedly bad braun hefe and whatnot will all settle out with time anyway. the only way to really tell would be to do two of the same batch side by side with the different methods...see what works best for you.

glad it came out good, tho!

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Old 07-29-2008, 01:11 PM   #4
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I thought I posted this in the general techniques section. I am not sure how it ended up here.

Sorry my question was not clear Fred. I was asking if anyone has done a controlled 5 gallon in 6.5 gallon fermenter and 5 gallon in 5 gallon fermenter experiment with the same recipe to test the quality. I have done one batch with an undersized primary and I am very pleased with the results (although I mentioned other factors that could contribute). The krauesen and nastiness either blew off or stuck to the sides of the fermenter. I believe Papazian when he says from the Joy Of Homebrewing:

The krauesen is topped with a very bitter and brown resinous scum, some of which will adhere to the sides of the fermenter as the krauesen shortly disappears and falls back into the beer. There is an advantage to the removal of this resin before it falls back into the fermentation: There will be less of a bitter "bite" to your beer. In the process of removing the bitter resins, "fusel" oils are also removed. Fusel oils are a by-product of fermentation and contribute to what are often referred to as "beer headaches." If the removal of hop resins during the fermentation stage can be done it is advisable to do so
....
The advantages of this system [a 5 gallon primary fermenter with blow-off tube] are many. Maximum sanitation is ensured, and the bitter resins and fusel oils that form on the kraeusen are very effectively "blown out" the overflow hose -- without the brewer worrying so much as a tat. The disadvantage is that you may lose a quart or two of your precious brew, but it is an insignificant price to pay for the best brew you've ever brewed.



Anyone care to comment?

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Old 07-29-2008, 01:15 PM   #5
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My opinion is that those bitter resins, if not blown out, will settle on the sides of the fermenter and not back into the beer much. The thing I've noticed is that if I ferment at, say 60-62 degrees, with a nice clean neutral yeast, I get a "gentler" fermentation, with no noticeable fusels anyway. So, I just use a big primary but keep my temperatures under control, and have very clean tasting beer without fusel alcohol notes. I haven't felt the need to have a blow off, and in fact have ever only needed a blow off tube once in about 150 batches.

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Old 07-29-2008, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
My opinion is that those bitter resins, if not blown out, will settle on the sides of the fermenter and not back into the beer much. The thing I've noticed is that if I ferment at, say 60-62 degrees, with a nice clean neutral yeast, I get a "gentler" fermentation, with no noticeable fusels anyway. So, I just use a big primary but keep my temperatures under control, and have very clean tasting beer without fusel alcohol notes. I haven't felt the need to have a blow off, and in fact have ever only needed a blow off tube once in about 150 batches.
As to my beer:
I like your temperature advice, thanks, I will try that. I don't think fusels are what I taste in the first beer (there is no hot-taste). There is a bit of bitterness and bite that is similar to what I have come to associate with crappier beers like Bud and Milwaukee's Best, not aromatic hoppy-goodness like a good IPA.

On the technique:
When using a smaller fermenter much more of the scum sticks to the sides because the surface area of the cone-shaped top of the fermenter is larger than the purely cylindrical sides. In fact it was a bit of pain to clean.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:06 PM   #7
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One thing to remember, is that despite how much we love Charlie and what a wonderful gateway into brewing the book is...It is still well over 20 years old (even with revissions,) he also was never a chemist, and like we do now, so much of what he wrote was conjecture and lore from his generation of homebrewers..And what he read in the commercial trades...

This hobby is ever evolving, the knowlege base is ever evolving, just like scientific advancements in other fields are ever evolving...When he wrote the book, for instance, bleach and water was the state of the art in sanitzation...

Now we know, through the works of Palmer and others, is that there is some benefit to Krausen and all that stuff actully falling through the beer, and taking other things with it, as well as the fact that the yeasts do a heck of a job cleaning up their own waste products if we let them...

A book is a pretty static snapshot of where the author was at in terms of his own knowledge base...and it only means that the author may not have even known that some other knowledge and ideas even existed...

Now we have the internet's and podcasting, and knowlege is dissementated much rapidly, and some things even in an author's own books can end up being retracted or contradicted as the author learns....

For example check out this Basic Brewing radio interview with John Palmer...

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March 20, 2008 - What Is an IBU . . . Really?
John Palmer, author of How to Brew, shares information from a conference that challenged his concept of what defines an International Bitterness Unit (IBU).

http://media.libsyn.com/media/basicb...3-20-08ibu.mp3
Palmer even admits that his views of IBU's now are different from what he wrote in How to Brew.

I guess what I'm saying is that no information is etched in stone...in fact in the cases of some things the older the information is, the less likely it is to be accurate in terms of the discoveries made after it, or built upon it.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:15 PM   #8
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But, but, but Charlie said....

I see what you're saying. "Losing a quart or two of precious" brew is a high price to pay too. For all my faith in Papazian's ability to make good beer, I opted for a 6 gallon primary for my Belgian wit.

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:32 PM   #9
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Is there any concern with too large of a fermenting vessel?

Discounting Krausen entirely - is too much head space problematic? Is there any concern to brewing 2.5 gallons in your 6 gallon Ale Pale? Obviously it might take longer for bubbles to appear, as it will take longer for the amount of CO2 in the bucket to fill the space and then escape from the airlock. But aside from that, will fermentation happen without a problem? Will the excess of oxygen in the fermenting vessel affect the fermentation? Will it potentially oxidize the beer at all? Or will it just cause a longer lead time before outward signs of fermentation?

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #10
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as soon as fermentation begins so does production of CO2. CO2 being heavier than O2 will form a protective cap over your brew. As to airs other major component nitrogen, it is an inert gas and will have no effect either way.

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