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Old 07-12-2014, 01:49 AM   #1
jeremybwilson
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Default 6 gal carboy + 5 gal carboy + fermentation bucket = confused

Well not totally confused but this is my very first home brew and after about 8 days since cooking the wort and fermenting in the 6 gal carboy, I'm ready to proceed to the next step. I'm really just generally unsure of the process and don't want to ruin my first batch.

Question is this, do I transfer to the 5 gal carboy? How? Do I used the siphon or do I carefully pour it in from the 6 gal carboy with the funnel?

I'm pretty sure it's going to transfer to the 5 gal carboy via the the siphon. Correct?

I'm worried about allowing too much exposure to the outside air while siphoning or is that a non-factor prior to the priming sugar being added?

Next, the included instructions (True Brew Belgian Ale) with the kit only really call for about 7 days from cooking to bottling, but I don't mind giving the beer another week of fermentation in the 5 gal carboy. I'm assuming fermentation will continue in the 5 gal carboy even though it largely appears to have already stopped in the 6 gal carboy. Is this advisable?

Last question, if it makes sense to transfer to the 5 gal carboy for another week of fermentation, then am I correct that I don't mix the priming sugar solution until I transfer to the fermentation/bottling bucket?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

P.S. Only slightly ironic the many mentions I have found on these forums regards to how terrible the instructions are that come with some of the home brew ingredient kits. I'm hoping that with a couple of kit brews under my belt I will be ready to brew a batch with locally and individually purchased ingredients.

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Old 07-12-2014, 02:08 AM   #2
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Personally, I would really just leave it in that 6 gallon carboy for about 14....up to 21 days, then take a gravity reading to confirm it is done fermenting (it should be by then).

Transferring it will pretty much shut down fermentation.

Then use siphon to transfer to bottling bucket with priming sugar and bottle. (You are correct there - priming sugar gets mixed at bottling time, in bottling bucket, right before you bottle.)

You could transfer it to the 5 gallon secondary fermenter for a time if you want....... even then, I would still wait at least til day 10-14 before doing that.

* And yes - a lot of the kit instructions suck. In particular, temperature recommendations and the timeline they give you.

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Old 07-12-2014, 02:09 AM   #3
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First / you're not rely that confused.
You should be sure that the fermentation (primary) is complete BEFORE transferring. This is most easily accomplished using a hydrometer(you did get one?).
Once the SG is unchanged for three days you can rack (transfer). I'd recommend using an Auto-Siphon. Easy to sanitize & even easier to use. Avoid splashing & DO NOT pour between containers. You are correct that this will cause oxidation of your wort/ beer.
Now comes the "controversial" part. Some prefer to go straight to packaging from primary, i.e., add your priming sugar solution to your bottling bucket and bottle.
My preference is to go to secondary for about 7-10 days for more clearing then to bottling. Actually I keg condition instead of bottling.
In either case y have a ten to fourteen day wait at room temp. Then chill for a couple of days and enjoy.
I've found it beneficial to stir my beer & sugar mixture after every 6 bottles to maintain a good mixture and get better carb consistency.


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Old 07-12-2014, 03:12 AM   #4
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First / you're not rely that confused.
That is something of a relief. Thank you. My confusion/paranoia stems mostly from my concern with limiting the unsettling of the sediment and or any additional O2 exposure.

Probably worth mentioning, I also found the FH. Freihbart 'first time home brewing 'video on Youtube to of tremendous help.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:16 AM   #5
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This is most easily accomplished using a hydrometer(you did get one?).
Yes, I have a Beer Thief and a hydrometer. Although the hydrometer testing tube is just the cheap plastic packaging that it came in.

It probably doesn't warrant buying an actual replacement, especially if I can't guarantee the diameter of the testing vessel is somewhat close to that of the hydrometer. I understand that is one way to waste good beer by having too large of a testing vessel.
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Old 07-12-2014, 03:18 AM   #6
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I second (third) what the other two guys said. Keep it simple. I used to do secondary but now I just ferment in one vessel for 3 weeks minimum. As mentioned, you really do need a hydrometer if you don't already have one. Start taking daily readings at 2 1/2 weeks. As govner said, it's done fermenting once you have 3 readings with no change. You can bottle then or even give it another week - time will not hurt it.

When you're ready to bottle, boil up your priming sugar and start siphoning from the carboy into the bottling bucket. Add your priming mixture as you siphon. This will mix it well. One big tip is do not just boil up the entire package of priming sugar that came with the kit. It is usually too much. Go to http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/ and figure out exactly how much you need and only use that.

Sounds like you're off to a good start. Enjoy!

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Old 07-12-2014, 06:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BlueHouseBrewhaus View Post
I second (third) what the other two guys said. Keep it simple. I used to do secondary but now I just ferment in one vessel for 3 weeks minimum. As mentioned, you really do need a hydrometer if you don't already have one. Start taking daily readings at 2 1/2 weeks. As govner said, it's done fermenting once you have 3 readings with no change. You can bottle then or even give it another week - time will not hurt it.

When you're ready to bottle, boil up your priming sugar and start siphoning from the carboy into the bottling bucket. Add your priming mixture as you siphon. This will mix it well. One big tip is do not just boil up the entire package of priming sugar that came with the kit. It is usually too much. Go to http://www.northernbrewer.com/priming-sugar-calculator/ and figure out exactly how much you need and only use that.

Sounds like you're off to a good start. Enjoy!
That's a really useful calculator.

I actually got the opposite response though. I was given 4 ounces of corn sugar for my beer, but the calculator recommended 5.2 ounces of corn sugar for the style. I guess it just comes down to how much carbonation you want, I guess.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:55 AM   #8
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I'll add a bit on priming sugar at bottling time. Add the priming sugar solution to the bottling bucket before transferring the beer to it. It helps to mix it. It is good practice to coil the siphon tube on the bottom of the bottling bucket so that the beer does not splash around too much as it fills.

It is an issue as to whether or not to stir the beer with the priming sugar once the bottling bucket is full. I have done it both ways. If I don't stir it thoroughly, then I end up with some bottles very, very overcarb'ed and some not carb'ed much at all. My suggestion is to stir it in and stir it some more after every 6 bottles or so.

Also, I am one that uses secondary. The better my process gets, the less need I have had for it, but it is a habit at this point. The kit instructions say to do that after 3-5 days usually. That is OK for a normal beer if there has been a successful fermentation with adequate yeast and FG is almost right. The hydrometer will prove that things are really OK. At that point, there will be plenty of CO2 generated in the secondary vessel to displace oxygen in the carboy head space - and that's what those instructions are implying. Transferring to secondary after 2 weeks would make that less likely. My need for secondary has been due to messy trub from the kettle that just would not settle in primary, and also from unskilled siphoning method. So I'll suggest that if you transfer from primary to bottling, you can purchase a small very fine mesh nylon bag at the brew store that ties on to the end of the siphon - it helps to filter out the trub as you transfer. I had a few batches initially that had a 1/4-1/2 inch of trub in the bottom of some bottles....and chunks in the mug - which is fine by me, but not so fine for others.

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Old 07-12-2014, 10:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braufessor View Post
Personally, I would really just leave it in that 6 gallon carboy for about 14....up to 21 days, then take a gravity reading to confirm it is done fermenting (it should be by then).

Transferring it will pretty much shut down fermentation.

Then use siphon to transfer to bottling bucket with priming sugar and bottle. (You are correct there - priming sugar gets mixed at bottling time, in bottling bucket, right before you bottle.)

You could transfer it to the 5 gallon secondary fermenter for a time if you want....... even then, I would still wait at least til day 10-14 before doing that.

* And yes - a lot of the kit instructions suck. In particular, temperature recommendations and the timeline they give you.
I'll agree to leave it in the 6 gallon carboy but I'd stretch out the time you can leave it. I'd say 14 to 90 days. I doubt very much that you would leave it 90 days but it won't hurt the beer to do so. I've heard from one brewer who left beer for twice that long and he reported that it was just fine. My beers stay in the primary for a minimum of 21 days as it give the yeast time to clean up the intermediate products it makes during fermentation and then settle out. The longer the settling time, the less sediment in the bottles.
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:29 PM   #10
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Just wanted to say thanks to all the great feedback here. Despite a cracked and non-functional auto-siphon (in the starter kit gear my MN-transplanted buddy sold me) and some rather high temps here in Seattle this summer, my Belgian Ale (True Brew) turned out great by all accounts.

I gave most of my first homebrew batch away and so far nobody has come back with any negative feedback on the taste, carbonation, etc.

Again thanks for the advice freely given and greatly appreciated.

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