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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Complete beginner seeking a mentor
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:39 PM   #21
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Oh ok that's good to know, so how will I know when fermentation is complete? I can't see any bubbles because the foam is obscuring the surface. I have a hydrometer but I can't work out how to use it and if I drop that in then it will disturb the surface foam as well
Forget the bubbles. The krausen (the foam) is an indicator that bubbling in the wort has taken place. As the yeast slow down, the krausen will drop (usually). If after 1-2 weeks the krausen has not fallen, then you need to take a sample from UNDER the krausen.

Get a turkey baster or wine thief or some such item. Sanitize it. Stick it in the beer (UNDER the krausen) and draw up a sample. Pour sample in the tube that came with your hydrometer. (I usually carefully place the hydrometer in the tube beforehand, YMMV)

Make sure you are reading the BOTTOM of the meniscus as shown here:



NOTE that image is not showing specific gravity. You will look for the 1.020, 1.030, 1.040, etc lines and write down that number. The caption under that image is for winemaking, hence the Brix.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:21 PM   #22
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Surprised I didn't see it mentioned.

The best resource I've ever had is my local homebrew club. I went before I got close to my first batch and was amazed at how much knowledge was available. And I saved boat loads of money with cheap/free dusty equipment that the club members had graduated up from.

They had a library that I just borrowed all the books listed here from, and the club members invited me over to walk me through the finer points of brewing.

Plus, there is lots of tasty beer to sample!

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:51 PM   #23
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If after 1-2 weeks the krausen has not fallen, then you need to take a sample from UNDER the krausen.
When I take a sample from beer with kraeusen, I've just been sampling pretty much from the top, which includes a little kraeusen. It seems ok, but am I fooling myself? How does the kraeusen affect the reading?
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:39 PM   #24
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I found the premade kits to be relatively safe beers. So I started reading old posts and other members recipes. My lhbs has a recipe database and the prepare all the ingredients fresh. I then add my own ingredients for flavors and such. I'd say brew a few batches and then start experimenting. Read some literature on the subject and you'll find what grains and hops are best for most beer types.

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Old 02-05-2013, 06:43 PM   #25
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When I take a sample from beer with kraeusen, I've just been sampling pretty much from the top, which includes a little kraeusen. It seems ok, but am I fooling myself? How does the kraeusen affect the reading?
Not to be flippant but the best advice most of use have ever received is RDWHAHB (relax, don't worry, have a homebrew). A few floaty bits aren't going to skew your readings too horribly. One of the main reasons for taking the readings in the first place is to check to see if fermentation has stopped. So, as long as you're not collecting too much detritus you are good to go. Just use the readings you get and as long as they don't change for two or three days fermenting is done.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:19 PM   #26
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When I take a sample from beer with kraeusen, I've just been sampling pretty much from the top, which includes a little kraeusen. It seems ok, but am I fooling myself? How does the kraeusen affect the reading?
The answer as I understand it is; the yeast and stuff don't affect the reading. They are slightly less than neutrally bouyant and simply float around WITH the hydrometer.

The sugar content is (more or less) what makes the hydrometer float, because it intergrates into the wort/beer and causes the wort/beer to actually be denser and heavier, thereby lifting the hydrometer up.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:28 PM   #27
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The answer as I understand it is; the yeast and stuff don't affect the reading. They are slightly less than neutrally bouyant and simply float around WITH the hydrometer.

The sugar content is (more or less) what makes the hydrometer float, because it intergrates into the wort/beer and causes the wort/beer to actually be denser and heavier, thereby lifting the hydrometer up.
So is the purpose of taking the sample from UNDER the kraeusen to minimize disturbing the beer, rather than for accuracy?
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:22 PM   #28
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'Joy of home brewing' arrived in the post today, I'm VERY excited!!!

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:25 PM   #29
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'Joy of home brewing' arrived in the post today, I'm VERY excited!!!
Enjoy it. Now relax and have a home brew (or beer in anticipation of your first home brew).
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:44 PM   #30
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So is the purpose of taking the sample from UNDER the kraeusen to minimize disturbing the beer, rather than for accuracy?
Neither. It just keeps the sample tube from being all nasty looking and hard to read. The krausen is just a bunch of foam with yeast and proteins mixed.

This reminds me I have a Cream Ale with US-05 in the closet that needs a reading. Need to get the in the keg and settling out ASAP!
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