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Old 11-16-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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...and we have fermentation!!

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:26 PM   #12
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I am not a very seasoned brewer either, so take this for what it's worth. Overall you are on the right track. I would recommend that you watch a couple of things.

1. You took all that time to sanitize and then used cold tap water to top off with. i would suggest using bottled "spring" water or boiling the tap water first.

2. Make sure to hit your numbers, not your volume. So if your gravity should have been 1.060, adding more water.

I'm sure those are minor and the beer will be excellent!

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:25 PM   #13
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I agree with the previous posts. You're doing really well. You might want to ditch the S-type airlock for a 3 piece one though. The S-type get clogged easily and are hard to clean if you get krausen into it. A blow-off tube is useful to have on hand as well.

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
Here are some things that may make your next batch better.
1. Have Midwest or wherever you buy your kit from crush the specialty grains for you. They have the equipment for it and will get the grains crushed better and you'll extract more flavor.
2. When you add the liquid malt extract (LME) you should be stirring very vigorously. That LME is much more dense than the water and wants to settle to the bottom of the pot where it is very difficult to mix in and then it will scorch. You don't want the scorched flavor in your beer.'
3. Your yeast need oxygen to propagate. I give mine oxygen by pouring the wort into the fermenter bucket, back to the pot and back to the fermenter bucket. I pour it all in. It doesn't seem to affect the flavor, it all settles out when the ferment is over, and I get all the wort that way. I hate to throw away any potential beer.
4. You are way too careful about the amount of top off water. You really don't want to come out to exactly 5 gallons, you really want about 5 1/4 so you end up with 2 cases of 12 oz bottles full with perhaps a little left over. It won't hurt to be off by a little either, just don't go overboard and end up with watered down beer.
5. When you top off your wort with water it is very difficult to get it all mixed well. Your OG is what the kit says it is. Your FG (final gravity) is what you measured. The yeast will have ensured mixing by then.
6. My beer started tasting better when I practiced temperature control during the ferment. I don't do as well as some with that but I try to keep the fermenter cool for at least the first 3 days. Mine go in a room where it is 62 to 64 degrees and that seems to be enough to keep the yeast from "running away with themselves" and producing the higher alcohols (fusel alcohols) that give the beer a hot alcohol taste or some of the other off flavors that hot ferments cause. You should look into a "swamp cooler" to aid your temperature control if you want better beer or if you have more money to throw into this you can use a refrigerator with a controller (Johnson controller).
7. As others have mentioned, time is your friend. Let the yeast have the time they need to eat the sugars, reprocess the byproducts, and absorb off flavors. You won't need to secondary this kind of beer and indeed you add a chance for infection or oxidation when moving the beer. I'd leave it in the primary fermenter for 2 to 3 weeks before bottling it.

BTW, nice pictures and welcome to a fun hobby. I wish you well on your journey to becoming an accomplished brewer. You'll have a lot of fun with both ends of this hobby.
All of this.

Also, don't believe yeast companies that tell you you can always just pitch one vial or pack. For dry yeast you want to rehydrate it in 90* (or so) water for at least 15 minutes prior to pitching (in sanitized pyrex/glass, covered loosely with sanitized foil) and you can usually pitch just one pack of dry yeast.

Liquid yeast almost always needs a "starter". If you start using it, start also buying some extra DME to keep on-hand and learn how to make a starter. It's simply making a mini-extract beer of about 1L (typically) by addding DME to water in order to achieve a gravity around 1.030-1.040, then cooling and pitching your yeast into that wort in a sanitized flask/jar, again, loosely covered in sanitized foil. The yeast then multiply and you grow your cell counts sufficiently to pitch them into a typical 5g batch of beer.

You can also just pitch two vials, but my LHBS charges $10/vial

I know some of this seems like a lot, but spend some time on the forums and look in the DIY, yeast, equipment, and beginners section and you'll learn a lot.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:07 PM   #15
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Thanks all for the additional feedback. A couple things....I really was worried about using tap for top-off water, bit I started a Newbie Questions thread and asked that specific question. For the most part, I thought the consensus was that it was ok. I came "this close" to boiling and placing in a sanitized container in the fridge but concluded if shouldn't be necessary. I'm hoping that I exercised enough sanitization cautiousness that I shouldn't have infected anything....but, how will I know? Since I've never home brewed before and not tasted this kit, I don't know what to expect. The thing I am slightly concerned about is the possibility that the LME may not have been stirred vigorously enough while adding. It's possible that when I turned the burner back on, there may have been some settled LME on the bottom of the pot. When I dumped out the trub, there wasn't any noticeable signs of scorching on the bottom of the pot. I'm so excited for this. I have a tendency to go all out when I start a new hobby, and I suspect I will be quite invested in this one!! This community is great, and I can't wait to update everyone on this ride. BTW, I just took a whiff of some escaping airlock gasses. Mmmmm. Hahah. I do appreciate the suggestion of skipping the secondary, but I am pretty certain I still want to do it. So, you guys that recommended I skip it, please know I really appreciate your advice. I will follow that suggestion on a subsequent batch!!

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:45 PM   #16
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Okay guys, quick question. My airlock stopped bubbling after three days. Do any of you think that is going to be a problem? My plan was to move to a secondary on Wednesday.

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:59 PM   #17
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When the airlocks stops bubbling it means that.......the airlock stopped bubbling. A gravity reading is the only indication as to the state of fermentation. I believe you mentioned that you use a refractometer, correct? If so you are going to have to use a compensation calculator to check gravity now that fermentation has begun as alcohol cause skewed readings (good one here: http://seanterrill.com/2012/01/06/re...er-calculator/). There is really no need to transfer to secondary (bright tank) other than personal preference (plus it's just another avenue to introduce oxygenation or infection AFAIAK), just give it 2-3 weeks in primary, verify that final gravity reading is stable over a 72 hour period, and call it done!

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:17 PM   #18
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As stated above, transferring to secondary risks infection and serves virtually no purpose for most beers. Time in primary will settle the beer just fine without introducing oxygen/bacteria at a time when the beer isn't off-gassing Co2 that usually helps drive-off things trying to get in. You should take gravity readings after a few weeks in primary. When they're stable, technically you're OK to bottle.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:20 PM   #19
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You might consider skipping the whole secondary process altogether... save that carboy for hard cider or fruit beers. Most of us just primary- easier and it makes great (better, IMO) beer. Cheers!

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Old 11-22-2012, 01:30 AM   #20
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So, day 6. I opened up the primary and took a peek (and s.g. reading).

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I setup my auto-siphon and got it going.

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In addition to me really wanting to use the secondary this time, the recipe (Midwest Supplies) calls for a secondary. I know the general consensus from this thread was that the secondary really wasn't necessary, but I figures I'd exercise some good sanitation practices and give it a go. Reading today was 1.034. Correction on the o.g. should actually be 1.064. I'll let it sit for two weeks and take a couple subsequent readings. If stable, bottling will begin.
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