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Old 05-10-2010, 12:25 AM   #1
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Default area for dumb questions on first batch

New member, first batch, Muntons stout malt extract is in the 6 gal primary bucket with 2 lbs sugar and 3 piece air lock. Instructions mention 4 to 6 days fermentation then right to bottling with half teaspoon sugar per pint. An alternate method it mentions is two stage fermentation and transferring beer to secondary after two days to ensure as few dead yeast cells as possible. I can still use the airlock and the secondary will have the spigot for easier bottling. Is this a good idea?

I need to look on the site about siphons and racking tube (need to buy one) to transfer beer cause I'm guessing not to disturb anything thats settled to the bottom, or maybe someone can mention the best way to transfer to secondary. Thanks

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:33 AM   #2
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I'm not sure if you are asking questions or what. But it terms of how long to leave your beer, the instructions for your kit are pretty notorius for being bad.

Ignore them and do what most of us on here do, and leave your beer alone for a month then bottle. Let the yeast clean up after itself.

You can read some of the info on it here.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/sec...-weigh-176837/

And there is some info on why kit instructions are know to be bead here;

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/can-...7/#post1838339

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Old 05-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #3
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Ditch the instructions. I am sure everyone else will agree here. Primary ferment for 15 days to a month. Then rack to a bottling bucket on top of your priming solution for the whole batch. Use 3.5-4oz corn sugar for a 5gl batch. Boil a cup of your beer or water with the priming sugar, cool, pour to bottom of bottling bucket and rack the beer from the primary on top of the solution. Gently stir the solution and bottle.

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:13 AM   #4
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Ditch the instructions. I am sure everyone else will agree here. Primary ferment for 15 days to a month. Then rack to a bottling bucket on top of your priming solution for the whole batch. Use 3.5-4oz corn sugar for a 5gl batch. Boil a cup of your beer or water with the priming sugar, cool, pour to bottom of bottling bucket and rack the beer from the primary on top of the solution. Gently stir the solution and bottle.
Thanks for the quick replies. That does make sense now on not needing secondary and the yeast being better quality now. I'm glad I don't need to transfer the beer until fermenting is complete and I am ready to bottle.

Yes that was just what I needed to know on racking to secondary with spigot for bottling, and priming the entire batch before bottling will be much easier. This site is great!
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tim87tr View Post
Thanks for the quick replies. That does make sense now on not needing secondary and the yeast being better quality now. I'm glad I don't need to transfer the beer until fermenting is complete and I am ready to bottle. Whats the best way to determine when primary fermentation is complete? Bubbles stop on airlock or take the lid off and check the gravity? Instructions say 1008 for this stout.

Yes that was just what I needed to know on racking to secondary with spigot for bottling, and priming the entire batch before bottling will be much easier. This site is great!
You check you gravity twice over a 3 day period, I usually recommend atthe earliest 10 days after yeast pitch for the first one, If they match and are close to the estimated final gravity in your recipe, then you're golden. But if you are waiting a month like we are, then you don't need to take a reading at all.

Never trust your airlock as a gauge- Read this.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/how...0/#post1890427
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
You check you gravity twice over a 3 day period, I usually recommend atthe earliest 10 days after yeast pitch for the first one, If they match and are close to the estimated final gravity in your recipe, then you're golden. But if you are waiting a month like we are, then you don't need to take a reading at all.

Never trust your airlock as a gauge- Read this.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/how...0/#post1890427
Again great info! I'm soaking all this up. I'm reading all those threads and everything is very helpful. I'm definitely going to have to buy another kit and some more bottles.
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Old 05-10-2010, 01:30 AM   #7
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Since it's your first batch, you will probably be wanting to check on things every five minutes. One thing I've learned from my short brewing career is that things turn out better the less we mess with them. Don't forget to check your beer's gravity with a hydrometer (get one if you don't already have one) after a week or so. If you're close to your expected final gravity, you'll know fermentation is almost complete. A hydrometer is really the only way to know, as every batch is a bit different. That's why kit instructions are inaccurate. Some fermentations are fast, others not so much. There are so many variables.

One thing I've learned is the importance of temperature control. I don't have direct control, but my basement is pretty cool most of the time (60-68 depending on the time of year) so it's great for fermentation. I always try to ferment at the lower end of the yeast's temperature tolerance range and that has been responsible for vast improvement in my results. I just move the beer to a closet upstairs if the temp is too low. Remember that the temp in an actively fermenting beer will be 5 degrees or more over the ambient air temperature during the first few days. The higher the fermentation temp, the more likely off flavors become. So if you can keep the temperature relatively constant and cool, that will be helpful.

Finally, as stated by others, leave your beer in primary for about a month. It will really help. Many people don't secondary at all, so don't worry about it at this point. If you get into bigger and more complex beers which require aging, then a secondary could come into the equation. Keep it clean, keep it simple and give your beer the time it needs.

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Old 05-10-2010, 01:38 AM   #8
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This recipe called for 65 to 70 degrees, which I will be ok for now but my house is high 70s during summer, and I don't have a basement. So I'll start the second kit I buy at my buddies house in his basement/bar area.

I do have the Hydrometer. I will be patient and not pop the lid open for a month

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Old 05-10-2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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Quote:
Thanks for the quick replies. That does make sense now on not needing secondary and the yeast being better quality now. I'm glad I don't need to transfer the beer until fermenting is complete and I am ready to bottle.
You don't need a secondary if you are using quality yeast. If you are using a packet of dried yeast, marked "ale" with a sharpie or something, that was taped to the bottom of the kit lid, you might not want to leave it in the primary for very long. Either move it to a secondary after 7-10 days or just bottle it after 2 weeks.

If you are using a decent yeast (liquid or one of the better dried ones), then disregard the above.

As for bottling, adding sugar to the individual bottles is a recipe for disaster. While the spigot seems like a good idea, it is hard to pull off. Get a racking cane, tube to fit it, and a bottle filler.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pkeeler View Post
You don't need a secondary if you are using quality yeast. If you are using a packet of dried yeast, marked "ale" with a sharpie or something, that was taped to the bottom of the kit lid, you might not want to leave it in the primary for very long. Either move it to a secondary after 7-10 days or just bottle it after 2 weeks.

If you are using a decent yeast (liquid or one of the better dried ones), then disregard the above.

As for bottling, adding sugar to the individual bottles is a recipe for disaster. While the spigot seems like a good idea, it is hard to pull off. Get a racking cane, tube to fit it, and a bottle filler.
This was a Muntons stout malt extract kit. The air lock is bubbling every 5 sec this morning, so the dry yeast must be decent. I'll look into the liquid yeast. I will just have to decide about moving to secondary. The only thing I noticed is when I added the yeast and stirred, the yeast wanted to clump together, but it is working.

I have two solid tubes and the flex line. One hard tube is the bottle filler, and the other doesn't have the bend like a racking tube, but has a plastic piece on bottom that appears like some type of sediment blocker, only allowing liquid to travel over the top of the plastic piece and into the tube, being solid on the bottom of the plastic where it would touch bottom. So I'm guessing thats a racking tube

I appreciate all the help, off to a good start. I'm doing this with a friend who has a larger basement/bar where we can brew a lot more when we get to the grain recipes. We do have a great resource with a retired local guy we worked with, that's been brewing at least 15 years, wine too. He was brewing Saturday when we stopped by, using a cooler for the mash extraction process and had a big kettle on a turkey cooker burner, adding hops, etc.
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