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Old 12-28-2011, 03:23 PM   #1
IrishJosh
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Default Am I Alright? 1st Batch Jitters

Hello fellow brewpeeps.

I dived into the world of brewing this past Monday with a brew kit that my lovely wif..... err Santa Claus gave me for Christmas.

I don't have all the fancy gadgets that some of you veterans have, but it seems to be a pretty good starter kit from what I've read.

Few quick facts before I ask a few questions:
* It's a brew tub, NOT a carboy.
* I did brew from an ingredient kit with dry hops
* I didn't take an initial gravity reading because the instructions failed to mention that part...

Just wanted to say that time got away from me while I was brewing my initial batch. I let the mixture cool on the stove for about 10 minutes before adding to 4 gallons of cool water in my fermenting tub. I sanitized both my hands and the spoon I was using and mixed it all together (so I know it wasn't hot, just lukewarm) but I didn't have a cooking thermometer (also not in the instructions or with the kit) so I would imagine the initial WORT was about 85-90 degrees farenheit. I then pitched my dry yeast pack (gently stirred twice), said a quick prayer to the beer gods, sealed the tub and placed in my spare bathroom which keeps at a good 65-68 degrees.

It has been about 48 hours now and I have seen minimal activity in the airlock. While I know from reading in this thread that this isn't exactly a bad sign, I guess I was just looking for some validation that everything is alright.

Do you guys think I killed the yeast if I introduced them at 90 degrees?
Is it safe to open the lid and take a peak?
Should I pitch my spare yeast packet just to make sure?

Also, was wondering if you will gain a higher ABV by letting your brew sit in ferment for longer than the instructions say... instead of 7 days, was thinking more like 3 weeks/??

Thanks for the help in advance!

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:29 PM   #2
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Do you have a hydrometer? If so, that is the only true way to tell if there is fermentation occuring.

However, it's only been ~2 days. I would wait for a few more days, then take a gravity sample (making sure to sanitize the hydrometer and collection device). Let us know what your reading is, as well as your recipe (software can estimate what your original gravity should have been). I'll bet ya a dollar you're gravity reading will be a lot lower than the starting gravity.

Pitching at ~90 could be bad, but not always lethal; but next time try to get the wort below 80 before you pitch.

As for ABV, the yeast will ferment what it can; it's not really a function of time. A certain original gravity wort will finish at a certain final gravity regardless if it's left to sit for 2 weeks or 3 months.

Welcome to HBT.

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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leave the beer alone. RDWHA....SBB.... an airlock is not a fermentation indicator its a pressure release valve only. If the airlock isn't bubbling its because the CO2 is escaping elsewhere. This is nothing to worry about. If your worried stick your good ear up next to your tub and listen. If you hear a hissing you know you have fermentation. Despite what the kit might of told you leave it alone for 3 weeks before checking to see if you have reached FG with your hydrometer.

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:32 PM   #4
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Def disregard the instructions with times,as the yeasties have no time tables. It isn't that exact. 90F was def too high,but not detrimental. The yeast produce esters & off flavors at higher temps. I use a floating thermometer in the BK during the ice bath while chilling the wort. I chill it down to between 65-70F ideally. I also re-hydrate dry yeast to get'em going quicker during the initial reproduction phaze. Also known as lag time,it'll reproduce till it's of sufficient numbers to make fermentation visible to whatever extent.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Deffinitly wait out the 7 days before opening for safe measure. Today you should see more activity. when you do open it, you'll see what is left of the fermentation foam residue on the side of the bucket - thats a good sign. If you notice little to none of that you have a bit of an issue.

All and all - I think you're okay I have pitched that high before and survived.

If you have a Home Brew Store near you, Go in get these three things:
Hydrometer
auto-Siphon
Carboy (glass or plastic)

You'll need them in the future anyways, but with these 3 items you'll be able (after the 7 days) transfer your brew to a secondary fermentator and get a gravity test on the 7 day beer. in secondary a bit more fermentation will occur, so you'll at a minimum get exp. with using the instruments and as always practice really does make a difference

Cheers and relax I never made a batch that I didn't like or at a minimum learn from!
Slink

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:53 PM   #6
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Fermentation should never be continued/finished in secondary. Finishing fermentation in primary,including the usual 3-7 days clean up & settling time,will go further to giving you clearer,better tasting beer. No need to play alchemist. If you transfer too soon,any off flavors will likely take more time to get rid of,if at all. Not to mention,more trub to deal with. The process can't be rushed,as the yeasties know no time tables.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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To set you at ease about one more thing you mention, it isn't strictly necessary to take an OG reading for an extract kit. If you add the extract included to the amount of water called for in the instructions, your OG will be just about what the kit said it would be. In fact, it is probably a good thing that you forgot to take the OG reading, because it is very difficult to get an accurate OG reading for a partial boil extract brew. When you take your OG sample, the wort has typically not mixed with the top off water, so you end up with a really low OG reading, and you freak out. So assume that your OG was what the kit said it would be, and down the line, use your hydrometer to determine if fermentation is done.

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Old 12-28-2011, 05:10 PM   #8
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Thank you guys for taking the time to reply to this.

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Old 12-28-2011, 05:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishJosh View Post

Also, was wondering if you will gain a higher ABV by letting your brew sit in ferment for longer than the instructions say... instead of 7 days, was thinking more like 3 weeks/??
No. ABV is the difference between your starting gravity and your final gravity reading. Basically, when the yeast ferment sugars, they make alcohol. To get a higher ABV, you need more sugars (more grains and such) at the beginning, and yeast that is strong enough to ferment them. You will notice that in imperial stouts or IPAs (which have high ABV), the grains (or malt extracts) are a larger quantity.

In my experience, the fermentation is pretty much done by 7 days. But letting it sit 3-4 weeks helps "condition" the beer.
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Old 01-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #10
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Reporting back in.

Took a gravity reading at 1.018 after 6 days of fermentation. Starting gravity was 1.044... so for the mathematically challenged, that means we are sitting at about 3.4% ABV, right?

Keeping the primary at a constant 72 degrees fahrenheit. I had it in a cooler bathroom location but the temp fluctuated too hot in there. Isn't it better to keep it steady, even if it is a little more warm than ideal?

Looks like the yeast are happy

Not sure what it is called but I have a good 2 1/2 - 3" ring of crud around the top of the bucket now.

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