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Old 01-18-2007, 03:53 PM   #1
Chuckrox8
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Default About to Brew!! Lots of Questions!!

Ok so before I begin it seems that there could be about a million things that could go wrong in one of the many steps in the brewing process. I just recently purchased a brew kit from AustinHomeBrew. I bought the Fat Tire Amber Ale (Extract) Kit that I will attempt for my first brew.

Ok first thing and most important thing. Sanitize everything!! I understand that everything needs to be as clean as possible to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. Then I will add 2 1/2 gallons of water to my stockpot and bring to 155 F and turn off heat. Do I remove the pot off the stove eye or just turn the heat off and allow the eye and pot to cool together?

I then have my crushed grains which I will put into my grain bag and soak like a teabag for the next 15 minutes. Lift the bag out and let the water drip out of the grain bag. Turn the heat up so that the it is now boiling. Then it says to turn the heat off and move to a cool burner. Would the cool burner be one that is off? When it says to bring to boiling to I bring it to boil for a second and then stop it or let it run for several minutes?

I then add my 4lbs and 3 lbs of extract to the pot. I currently have this in my fridge. Should it be at room temperature when I plan on starting the brew?? Is it necessary to keep my dry yeast in the fridge as well or is that only with liquid yeast, my understanding is to have that at room temp when beginning the brew process? I am reading that I need to rehydrate the yeast. 80F water with the yeast sprinkled on top for 15minutes and then stirred? Should this be poured into the wort before I dump it into my fermenter or after?

I am now supposed to return heat to the mixture. What temperature should I use?? 155? Something less than boiling because my instructions dont say so.
After added my extract and stirring with heat I am to raise it to boil.

I now have three different hops to add to my mixture. Bittering, flavor, and aroma hops. These are the pellets. How do I add them to the mixture? Just drop them in? Do they stay in the mixture as sediment or do they boil out or do I use a grain bag?


Sorry I have a ton of questions and my have not made this clear at all. ThankyouQ

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Old 01-18-2007, 03:58 PM   #2
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http://www.howtobrew.com its all right there. Good luck mate.
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:02 PM   #3
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Wow, lots of questions. Welcome to the club.

For steeping the grains, bring the water to 155-165 ish and add them to the water (in the bag). Then let them steep for 15-20 minutes. You can turn the heat off if you wish or keep it on...just make sure it doesn't come to a boil with the grains in.

After your steep time, remove the grains and bring the pot to a boil. I use a strainer to make sure I get all of the yummy juice out of the bag...don't wring the bag though.

After the water has come to a boil you will add your extract. This will stop the boil and you will need to bring it back to a boil again. It probably wouldn't hurt to have your liquid extract can sitting in a sink of hot water to soften it up. You will have a hard time adding it to the boil while it is cold. Stir very frequently to prevent the malt from burning to the bottom of the pot.

Add the yeast to your fermentor AFTER you've added your wort. Actually, you should add your wort to the fermentor, top it up to 5 gallons, and then add small portions to your yeast mixture BEFORE adding it to your fermentor. This way the yeast will be at the same temp as the wort before adding it...to prevent temp shock.

The bittering hops get added as soon as the water comes to a boil after adding the extracts. I'll let someone else map out when to add the other two hops.

Good luck and have fun. Oh, keep a close eye on the extract during the first few minutes of boiling...you don't want it to boil over.

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Old 01-18-2007, 04:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
Ok first thing and most important thing. Sanitize everything!! I understand that everything needs to be as clean as possible to prevent the growth of unwanted bacteria. Then I will add 2 1/2 gallons of water to my stockpot and bring to 155 F and turn off heat. Do I remove the pot off the stove eye or just turn the heat off and allow the eye and pot to cool together?
Not quite understanding this. Youn don't need to sanitize the boil kettle, it will sanitize itself with the boils. You should clean the sanitize all the equipment, tubing, spoons, funnels, fermenters, etc. that will come in contact with your wort after the boils when it is cooling down. To sanitize, use a sanitizing product suck as Idophor, Oxy, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I then have my crushed grains which I will put into my grain bag and soak like a teabag for the next 15 minutes. Lift the bag out and let the water drip out of the grain bag. Turn the heat up so that the it is now boiling. Then it says to turn the heat off and move to a cool burner. Would the cool burner be one that is off? When it says to bring to boiling to I bring it to boil for a second and then stop it or let it run for several minutes?
I'm a little confused again, but you want to steep the grains (the kit should give you a specific temperature to do this at) for the amount of time the recipe says then remove them. I usually put them in a collander in a bowl, let them drain, them collect up the runoff and return it to the kettle. After the grain steeping, bring the wort up to a boil them remove it from the heat. To do this, I usually don't move the kettle, just turn off the burner. You are now ready to add the extract.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I then add my 4lbs and 3 lbs of extract to the pot. I currently have this in my fridge. Should it be at room temperature when I plan on starting the brew??
Take it out of the fridge! It is very goopy already and will be even harder to get all of it out of the can if it is cold. I would suggest putting the cans into a warm water bath, even if you didn't fridge them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I am now supposed to return heat to the mixture. What temperature should I use?? 155? Something less than boiling because my instructions dont say so.
After added my extract and stirring with heat I am to raise it to boil.
Again, confused. You already added the extract. Stir to dissolve it the crank up the heat to a boil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I now have three different hops to add to my mixture. Bittering, flavor, and aroma hops. These are the pellets. How do I add them to the mixture? Just drop them in? Do they stay in the mixture as sediment or do they boil out or do I use a grain bag?
I just drop them in. But before you dump your cooled wort into the primary ferment you will want to strain them out. I use a plastic funnel with a screen. If you don't have this, you might want to use a large muslin bag but I have no experience with this. One way or the other, you've got to get them out!
EDIT:
the kit will have instruction as to when to add the hops. the first (bittering) hops will go and and you will start a timer. When there is XX minutes left on that timer, you will add the second (flavor) hops, when there is YY minutes left on the timer you will add the final (aroma) hops. Do this acording to the recipe!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
Sorry I have a ton of questions and my have not made this clear at all. ThankyouQ
No problem! The more you learn, the better your beer will be. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
Do I remove the pot off the stove eye or just turn the heat off and allow the eye and pot to cool together?
You can leave it on the stove. You can even turn the heat way down to maintain your temp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
Would the cool burner be one that is off? When it says to bring to boiling to I bring it to boil for a second and then stop it or let it run for several minutes?
You don't really need to move it - you just don't want to scorch the wort. Just turn it off and mix the extract without splashing as you add. As far as how long to let it boil - it doesn't matter. Once it's there, you're ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I then add my 4lbs and 3 lbs of extract to the pot. I currently have this in my fridge. Should it be at room temperature when I plan on starting the brew?? Is it necessary to keep my dry yeast in the fridge as well or is that only with liquid yeast, my understanding is to have that at room temp when beginning the brew process?
If it's liquid extract, keep it in a warm pan for a while. It will help it pour better. You don't need to keep anything in the fridge unless you're storing it. Have all your ingredients out that your going to use for the brew session.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I am reading that I need to rehydrate the yeast. 80F water with the yeast sprinkled on top for 15minutes and then stirred? Should this be poured into the wort before I dump it into my fermenter or after?
After

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I am now supposed to return heat to the mixture. What temperature should I use?? 155? Something less than boiling because my instructions dont say so.
After added my extract and stirring with heat I am to raise it to boil.
Do you mean after you add extract? you boil it for an hour usually - a nice rolling boil. There is no yeast in at this point. Just making sureyou know that because of the question that's before this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
I now have three different hops to add to my mixture. Bittering, flavor, and aroma hops. These are the pellets. How do I add them to the mixture? Just drop them in? Do they stay in the mixture as sediment or do they boil out or do I use a grain bag?
Drop em in! You can use a hop bag in the future, but it's not necessary. Try to avoid moving them to your primary after you cool the wort.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckrox8
Sorry I have a ton of questions and my have not made this clear at all. ThankyouQ
Just relax and have fun - this isn't rocket science - it's a very forgiving process
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Old 01-18-2007, 04:12 PM   #6
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damn, fezz got the Gold medal for response time! me and rdwj gotsta type faster next time!

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Old 01-18-2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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damn, fezz got the Gold medal for response time! me and rdwj gotsta type faster next time!
Wooo-Hoooo!! I'll put it right next to my 3rd place pinewood derby medal.

I was feeling too lazy to do the quotes thingy. Y'all get a runner-up ribbon for that.
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Old 01-19-2007, 04:56 PM   #8
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Is it ok to open your beer in the primary and secondary? I know I'm supposed to take gravity readings but I wasn't sure about opening the container. I guess you don't want to expose it to oxygen for too long.

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Old 01-19-2007, 05:54 PM   #9
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Chuck,
you don't really have to take gravity readings if you don't want to expose the beer to the risk of infections (it is a small risk once fermentation starts though) I've adopted the 1-2-3 guideline (one week in primary, 2 in secondary, and 3 in the bottle) and discarded my hydrometer altogether. if you want to take hydrometer readings, wait until the airlock activity has slowed down to one or two bubbles a min, (usually about 3-4 days) take a reading and note it, wait another 1-2 days and take another reading. if it is unchanged, then the lion's share of fermentation is done and you can rack to secondary. if it is now lower, then there is still signifigant fermentation happening and you would be better off waiting another 1-2 days and taking another reading. when it stops changing, then rack it. once it is in secondary you don't need a hydrometer to tell you when to bottle, just leave it in there as long as you can stand to wait, preferably at least 2 weeks.

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:15 PM   #10
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Thanks a lot Hercules and everyone else. 2 last questions: When I put the hops in(I have the proper time table) do I just toss them into the wort? Once I am ready to pour everything into my Primary do I strain them out as one post above says?

p.s. Does the brew pot have to be stainless steel? Can it be one of those speckled blue ones.

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