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Old 12-28-2009, 03:03 AM   #1
ebpaschal
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Default A Couple First Day Questions....

Hey Guys, I just put away my first batch of brew to ferment and, naturally, have some questions along with it.

1. I shook/ aerated my wort AFTER I put the yeast in, after I finished I'm pretty sure I messed up and should have aerated the wort BEFORE adding yeast... can anyone clear this up please?

2. In the next few days, I'm sure I will be wanting to take hydrometer reading without putting the fermenting wort into contact with too much air... what is the best way to go about this? Would you siphon it or scoop it up with a sanitized spoon or what?

3. The kicker in my first brew day today, was how to prepare my dry yeast. I used Fermentis dry yeast in the 11.5g packet. I put it in 90 degree water i put in the microwave, covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit for about five minutes. Then, I opened up my fermentation bucket and chunked the warm water with yeast mixed in it. There was no visible activity in the cup of warm water/yeast. What did I do wrong?

Sorry for the long questions and I hope they weren't covered earlier but hopefully I can get these cleared up. Do you think I am still OK with my first batch or should I throw it all out and start new batch without finishing this one?
Thanks again,
Ben

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Old 12-28-2009, 03:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by ebpaschal View Post
Hey Guys, I just put away my first batch of brew to ferment and, naturally, have some questions along with it.

1. I shook/ aerated my wort AFTER I put the yeast in, after I finished I'm pretty sure I messed up and should have aerated the wort BEFORE adding yeast... can anyone clear this up please?
You should be fine but it is better to aerate before pitching. No big deal this time.

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2. In the next few days, I'm sure I will be wanting to take hydrometer reading without putting the fermenting wort into contact with too much air... what is the best way to go about this? Would you siphon it or scoop it up with a sanitized spoon or what?
A wine thief is a great tool to have, but in the absence of that a sanitized turkey baster works great.

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3. The kicker in my first brew day today, was how to prepare my dry yeast. I used Fermentis dry yeast in the 11.5g packet. I put it in 90 degree water i put in the microwave, covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit for about five minutes. Then, I opened up my fermentation bucket and chunked the warm water with yeast mixed in it. There was no visible activity in the cup of warm water/yeast. What did I do wrong?
You didn't do anything wrong. I think you're confused about how to make a starter, which you don't usually need to do with dry yeast. You hydrated it, which is fine, but you usually want to use warm water. Your yeast might be slow to start but nothing to worry about. It's a good idea to make a starter with liquid yeast. Do a search and you'll fine plenty of ways to do this. It's not as hard as it sounds.

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Sorry for the long questions and I hope they weren't covered earlier but hopefully I can get these cleared up. Do you think I am still OK with my first batch or should I throw it all out and start new batch without finishing this one?
Thanks again,
Ben
It sounds as if you did just fine. Don't even think about tossing. Just have some patience. Congrats on the first one.
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:10 AM   #3
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1. No biggy. Next time, just try to remember to do it before adding yeast. It's not really a huge issue anyway as far as I'm concerned.

2. Give it at least two weeks before you even think about taking a reading. I know that isn't what your kit probably says, but trust me. The longer you wait, the better the beer will be. I ferment in plastic buckets, and I usually just pull the top off, sanitize my hydrometer, and drop it in.

3. You probably should have let your yeast rehydrate for about 15 minutes. I usually start rehydrating around the same time I start cooling.

NEVER EVER EVER throw out a batch! Even if you think you may have screwed something up, you never know how it'll turn out until you give it a chance. As far as your batch being okay...yes. You're just having first day jitters, and it's nothing new.

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Old 12-28-2009, 03:29 AM   #4
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Welcome to HBT and the wonderful world of brewing!

It sounds like your first batch went great. The guys already gave you the same advice I would have but let me reiterate a couple points.

1. Your beer will not be ready to bottle for a few weeks so no need to take readings for a while no matter what the instructions may say. Waiting is the hard part of brewing when you are new.

2. Don't ever talk about tossing a batch for no reason or we will stop liking you.

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Old 12-28-2009, 03:34 AM   #5
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Ok, I copy on not tossing a batch, no more discussion there.


Thanks for the advice everyone. Great idea on the turkey baster!

I am also planning on siphoning this first stage from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy. I guess I will make sure this happens in at least 2 weeks.

Thanks-
Ben

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Old 12-28-2009, 03:44 AM   #6
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Another quick question.....

After I sanitized my fermentation bucket, I added 2.5 gallons of cold, clean water before adding the hot wort. I used a 2.5 gallon container of store brand spring water...aka bottled water. Is that ok? What are the alternatives? I'm guessing just boiling water and then cooling it down?
Thanks-
Ben

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Old 12-28-2009, 06:34 AM   #7
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If you have some decent tap water I recommend sticking with that.

At first I used 5 gallons of store bough spring water. It worked and tasted okay. I then started doing half (tap) and half (store bought spring) to cut down on costs and didn't notice that much of a difference. I'm now using all tap water and it tastes great. Better than the spring water in my opinion, and significantly less expensive.

If you live in a small Texas town and are drinking well water or tap water that isn't closely regulated by the city, it may be in your best interest to go with the store bought spring water.

If you don't mind your tap water but want the joy of filtering it, you can run it through a Brita filter. The only downside is that can be somewhat time consuming if you don't have one that attaches on to your faucet.

Lastly, you want to make sure that you cool your wort down a decent amount even before you add it to the cold water. You mentioned "before adding the hot wort" which gives me the impression that you didn't give it an ice bath or anything. The full 5 gallons of wort needs to be around 75 degrees before pitching the yeast.

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Old 12-28-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
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Ok, I copy on not tossing a batch, no more discussion there.


Thanks for the advice everyone. Great idea on the turkey baster!

I am also planning on siphoning this first stage from the bucket into a 5 gallon carboy. I guess I will make sure this happens in at least 2 weeks.

Thanks-
Ben
This is all up to you, but most of us have stopped using secondary fermentors. I find that it's better to let it sit on the yeast for about a month before I bottle it. It also eliminates the need for a secondary. The only times I ever use secondary is when I need to add something like fruit, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, spice, etc.

It's also less to sanitize and less hassle.

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Another quick question.....

After I sanitized my fermentation bucket, I added 2.5 gallons of cold, clean water before adding the hot wort. I used a 2.5 gallon container of store brand spring water...aka bottled water. Is that ok? What are the alternatives? I'm guessing just boiling water and then cooling it down?
Thanks-
Ben
There's no need to boil your water unless it's horrible drinking water. I use water directly from my tap, but I have very good water. As stated above, you want to get your wort to around 75 degrees before pitching yeast. This is a minimum. You don't want to risk shocking the yeast the second you dump them in. That said, I had plenty of beers when I first started that started fermenting around 75-80 and they turned out fine. Not great...but not horrible.

I actually like to cool my wort to whatever temp I will be fermenting at. In my case, I ferment nearly all of my ales at 68 degrees with the exception of a few like belgians (64) and wheats (65). This is all personal preference though.
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