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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > A Couple Beginner Questions
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:46 PM   #1
evilfishtank
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Default A Couple Beginner Questions

I have a few questions that are very noobish. I have read some of the extract brewing tutorials and these are the questions i have left over.

1. When you add the hops do you put them in sort of a grain bag so you can remove them later or do they just stay in the wort and stay there.

2. When checking your specific gravity throughout the fermentation process is it ok to keep opening up the fermentation bucket and getting a sample? Does this not increase the chance of contamination?



I am sure I will have more questions later but I will try and find those answers in already posted threads.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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You can add them either way. Some people use bags others don't it's your choice. They will get utilized better if you don't use a bag from what I've read but haven't had much change in my beers.

I simply check the gravity before pitching the yeast, then around the 4 or 5 day mark if the krausen has subsided. Then again before I keg it in about 2 weeks. If it's not low enough I'll gently rouse the yeast and let it sit longer.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:53 PM   #3
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Some use a hops bag - a type of grain bag with smaller openings, some don't. Some strain their wort when transfering from pot to fermentor, some don't.

It is best to take your OG, pitch your yeast and then leave for about 2 weeks. Take your SG if you want when transferring to your secondary (if you use one) and then leave for a week in the secondary. Or you can just leave in the primary for about 3 weeks, take your SG before transferring to the bottling bucket before adding priming sugar. Avoid opeinging fermentor to over check SG. Just relax and let the yeast do their thing.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:58 PM   #4
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So basically what I am reading is its mostly preference with the hops. If you leave them in do they contribute to a lot of sediment? I am sure it wouldnt be hard just to not siphon out the last bit in the fermentor before bottling to escape having excess sediment in the bottles.

It also seems that using a secondary fermentor seems to be completely brewers preference. Is there any proven factual advantages to moving the beer to a secondary fermentor?

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Old 01-04-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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It all comes down to preference. I use a secondary if I need a primary otherwise they sit in there. As long as you leave the bucket/carboy in a spot that you can siphon right into the bottling bucket you'll be better off.

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Old 01-04-2011, 06:04 PM   #6
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If you use a hop bag or another very fine mesh bag (paint strainer?) in the boil it makes it a lot easier to separate them from the wort, hop pellets in particular. Definitely recommended for your first time, maybe every time. It may reduce the hop utilization some; I've mostly just added to the boil, but sometimes hops will seem to clog whatever type of filter you're trying to use in the kettle or while trying to transfer to the fermenter, and it can be a complete PITA to overcome that obstacle.

Gravity samples aren't too necessary until you're getting close to the bottling/kegging stage... best to just let it ferment out completely for 3 weeks, as long as it appears that fermentation has progressed normally and is done. To get an idea of what "normal" is, you'll need some experience. For your first couple of brews you might want a sample after a few days, maybe once a week, to make sure you can tell what's happening. It is best not to disturb the CO2 layer in the fermenter, but sometimes it has to be done.

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Old 01-04-2011, 08:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfishtank View Post
So basically what I am reading is its mostly preference with the hops. If you leave them in do they contribute to a lot of sediment? I am sure it wouldnt be hard just to not siphon out the last bit in the fermentor before bottling to escape having excess sediment in the bottles.
My brew club leaves the hops from the boil in the wort the whole time the beer is fermenting.

after my brother said this reminded him of leaving rotting lettuce in the wort, I started transferring the wort from the kettle to the fermenter with as trub/hop sediment as possible. I have tried both pouring through a filter, or siphoning without taking the trub.

If I were to dry-hop an IPA, for example, I would probably use a bag.



As far as taking hydrometer readings, I take my OG after cooling the wort. Then I let it ferment until the waterlock stops bubbling, then I give the fermenter a swirl to see if I can stir up any dormant yeast. If there is no bubbling a day or two later, I pull out the waterlock and draw a hydrometer sample using a sterilized turkey baster, then replace the waterlock. Remember that CO2 is heavier than air, so the wort still has a blanket of CO2 over it if you keep the jostling to a minimum.
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