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Old 11-24-2012, 12:07 AM   #11
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Most DIYers use 5 or 10 gallon beverage coolers (Igloo, Rubbermaid, etc.). There are plenty of posts on here on how to easily convert them. I use a 5 gallon Igloo cooler and my temps stay stable while mashing. You can get premade false bottoms or make your own pretty cheaply.

If you decide to go that route I would suggest a 10 gallon cooler as my 5 gallon is limited to about 8-9lbs of grain before maxing out, so if I want to do higher gravity beers I need to supplement them with LME/DME or sugars. You can also use the larger square ones for even more capacity, but you'll need to make a manifold which is a bit trickier.

It's a big learning process, but you made a great attempt. Kudos!

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Old 11-24-2012, 12:52 AM   #12
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Ok well, instead of me posting all my questions at once i figure i will post one at a time.

As in my previous post i mentioned my mash ton is kinda junky. I bought a Igloo 42 Qt rectangle cooler this past summer and attempted to convert it into a nice larger mash ton. I went to my local brew shop and picked up a stainless steel ball valve, a bulkhead and a few rubber gaskets. I then headed out to Lowe's where i picked up some PVC to make what i think you guys call a manifold. My manifold was rectangle and fit in the bottom of the cooler. I drilled holes facing the bottom. I think i might have made the holes slightly to large as it was super easy for the PVC to clog up, which pushed some sugar sized grain into my brew kettle.

After boiling for 60 min i chilled the wart to 70-72 degrees and transferred it into my primary fermentor. I then started to aerate the wart real good and added my yeast. I capped with a bung and air valve filed with a little water to prevent air from getting back into the airlock.

After about 30min-1hour i am seeing a great deal of what i think is the same sugar sized grain at the bottom of my cataboy. I think i am going to let this sit for a few days and transfer into a second dairy fermentor. I will use a syphon to pull out the liquid just above the sediment line. Will there be any problems with this?

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Old 11-24-2012, 01:33 AM   #13
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If you've already pitched I'd give it a week in the primary before transferring it to secondary or at least wait until after your krausen has settled down. The grain at the bottom of your fermenter won't harm anything and, as you mentioned, it'll be gone when you rack to secondary.

When I'm sparging I run the tubing from my mash tun down into a mesh strainer (like you would get in the kitchen section of a walmart or the like) that I clamp to the top of my brew pot. This usually keeps the pinch or so of grain material that makes it's way past my false bottom from getting in the boil.

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Old 11-28-2012, 02:34 AM   #14
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Its been a few days... fermentation seems to be moving along quite nicely! I seem lots moving around inside and a nice aroma coming from the airlock. it seems to be bubbling once every 3 sec.

When i transfer over to my secondary should i wait till fermentation is complete? or just before? i only ask because since the yeast is moving things around the bottom keeps stirred up so if i was to transfer over into the secondary i would most likely get some little nasties along with the transfer...

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Old 11-28-2012, 03:49 AM   #15
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I'd leave it in primary for 1 week and leave it in secondary for 2 weeks. There's the ol' "1-2-3" rule of thumb for ales: 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary and 3 weeks conditioning (bottled or kegged), then you can drink it. There's some debate about whether or not that is necessary, but that's what I've been doing on mine and it hasn't steered me wrong. Anything that gets transferred from the primary (trub, yeast cake, etc.) will flocculate out in the secondary which is just a clearing, spice and dry hopping and a last few points of FG reaching phase.

Everyone has a different way of doing things with brewing, especially with all-grain. Some like a primary and secondary while others insist that just a primary fermentation is all you need. Read all the pros and cons of each you can and find what works best for you. I like doing a primary and secondary because when I've done just a primary the beer has been a little "meatier" than I like, but you may find you like the slight earthiness of only doing a primary.

One thing that helped me with learning was doing simple 1 gallon recipes and testing different methods. It makes for a cheap but educational brew day and if you make a huge mistake you're only out $10 and 7-10 beers that need to be dumped or swallowed quickly.

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
I'd leave it in primary for 1 week and leave it in secondary for 2 weeks
So even though i am getting airbubble coming through the airlock i should still transfer into the secondary?

Quote:
There's the ol' "1-2-3" rule of thumb for ales: 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary and 3 weeks conditioning (bottled or kegged), then you can drink it.
Sounds plausable


Quote:
Anything that gets transferred from the primary (trub, yeast cake, etc.) will flocculate out in the secondary which is just a clearing, spice and dry hopping and a last few points of FG reaching phase.
Dont quite understand
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #17
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Also, for a wheat beer my beer is very dark! I have a 6+ inch head of foam in my primary and the bottom of the container has a 1inch bed of sugar sized grain. The Yeast is really stirring up everything! its crazy to think it has that ability! pretty cool!

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Old 11-28-2012, 04:58 PM   #18
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The foam is krausen which forms while the yeast is at the peak of its activity. It will dissipate after the yeast settles down. Generally 1 week is enough for most fermentations to get out of the krausen phase, but sometimes it can take longer, so wait until you're getting 1 bubble a minute or less and the krausen has dissipated. That is usually a good time to transfer.

Secondary fermentation isn't fermentation, per se, but rather used to allow more of the yeast and any large proteins to settle to the bottom before bottling/kegging as a means of making the beer clearer and cleaner. It is also the best time to rack onto fruit, dry hop and add any spices like cinnamon, oak chips, etc. That's why the argument is made by some that the secondary is unnecessary if you aren't doing any of those things.

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Old 11-28-2012, 06:37 PM   #19
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Ahhh Briliant!

Makes total sence now zzARzz! thanks!

I added orange zest to and honey tomy wart right after flame out. You think i could maybe add a little more orange zest and honey? or would the sugars bring the yeast back into action?

also, will my beer clear up and maybe get lighter? its kinda dark right now.

Michael

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:03 PM   #20
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You can rack into secondary on top of more orange zest, though when you take a gravity reading you may want to taste it and see if it is necessary. I wouldn't add more honey unless you want to bump up the ABV and make it a bit drier.

As far as the color, did you boil the honey or add it at flame-out when the boil was done? I can only imagine you may have had some caramelization in the wort to make it so dark, but remember that a large 5 gallon batch will appear darker in the fermenter than it will in the bottle. My honey wheat looked like a brown ale in the secondary but now has a pretty dark, golden color after bottling:

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