I apologize if these are stupid questions, but...
Brewing my first batch and am curious about contamination. From all I've read, you want to prevent contamination (airborne/insufficient sanitazion, etc). On the other hand, you want to also take a hydrometer reading in order to ensure that fermentation is done which requires that you open the bucket (I'm using a bucket with lid for my primary). Obviously, I want to be pretty quick about it, so I'm going to have to carefully lift the lid, drop in the thief (to about the middle of the bucket?) siphon out some beer (can I call it beer at this stage?) and close in up. I'll repeat on the next day or the day after. If my readings on the hydrometer remain consistant, I'm going to transfer to a secondary (glass carboy).
So, I guess my question is this: When I read about contamination or the production of off flavors resulting from "air pollution" how long of an exposure are we talking? Am I going to get off flavors during the minute or so that I have to open the bucket to get the sample for a hydrometer reading or from exposure during transfer to a secondary? While I don't think this is the case, I'm wondering if I can get a ball park estimate as to what amount of time people generally consider excessive.
One other question: I'm preparing to sanitize my secondary (glass carboy). I'm using a no-rinse sanitizer that came with the kit. I'm going to fill up the carboy add the sanitizer and brush the carboy. I imagine I'd want to have it dry before I do the transfer (after pouring out the sanitizing water), but doesn't leaving it to dry run the risk of something airborne settling in it? Does it matter if there are a few water droplets in the carboy before transfer?
Appreciate the help!