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Old 08-25-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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Default Couple More Questions

No doubt all have been asked and answered but please indulge me. Please answer some or all. All opinions on which is better are welcome:

(1) Some recipes say ferment 1 week, bottle w/ sugar 1 week, then some say ferment two weeks, then bottle for two weeks, now someone here suggested I ferment at least 3 weeks. What is best for a consistently good brew?

(2) carb tablets or hard sugar pieces?

(3) Carbinate in a secondary carboy or in the bottle?

(4) Using a secondary after fermenting or going straight to the bottle?

(5) After much reading of varying and some conflicting information (not on this forum I just joined today) I find myself formulating this opinion and wonder if I will find agreement, disagreement, other. I am beginning to think that my best approach is to ferment in the primary fermentor for two weeks, then transfer / semi-filter to the secondary carboy, adding priming sugar or carb tabs, along with Ventor's Antioxident (to make it last longer in the bottle). Then let it sit in the secondary carboy for 2 more weeks. Then filter/bottle it and put it in the fridge ready to drink. Most of the homebrew stuff I've read says that yeast will settle in bottle bottoms and not to drink last little bit there. I'm thinking there has got to be a way to filter similar to store bought. I don't have to waste the last sip on those beers. Again ALL comments welcome.

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Old 08-25-2008, 09:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kontreren View Post
No doubt all have been asked and answered but please indulge me. Please answer some or all. All opinions on which is better are welcome:

(1) Some recipes say ferment 1 week, bottle w/ sugar 1 week, then some say ferment two weeks, then bottle for two weeks, now someone here suggested I ferment at least 3 weeks. What is best for a consistently good brew?

(2) carb tablets or hard sugar pieces?

(3) Carbinate in a secondary carboy or in the bottle?

(4) Using a secondary after fermenting or going straight to the bottle?

(5) After much reading of varying and some conflicting information (not on this forum I just joined today) I find myself formulating this opinion and wonder if I will find agreement, disagreement, other. I am beginning to think that my best approach is to ferment in the primary fermentor for two weeks, then transfer / semi-filter to the secondary carboy, adding priming sugar or carb tabs, along with Ventor's Antioxident (to make it last longer in the bottle). Then let it sit in the secondary carboy for 2 more weeks. Then filter/bottle it and put it in the fridge ready to drink. Most of the homebrew stuff I've read says that yeast will settle in bottle bottoms and not to drink last little bit there. I'm thinking there has got to be a way to filter similar to store bought. I don't have to waste the last sip on those beers. Again ALL comments welcome.
1. Ferment until the hydrometer tells you it's done.

2. Wouldn't know. I use corn sugar.

3. Carb in the bottles.

4. Personal preference. Some like the secondary for clearing (like me), some leave in the primary for weeks and then go straight to bottles. I've done both.

5. As a n00b, I found it helpful to secondary to get a better handle on the process. Bottle it with corn sugar, let the bottles carb for three weeks at 70 degrees then chill and taste. Don't worry about the sediment. It's good for you.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kontreren View Post
No doubt all have been asked and answered but please indulge me. Please answer some or all. All opinions on which is better are welcome:

(1) Some recipes say ferment 1 week, bottle w/ sugar 1 week, then some say ferment two weeks, then bottle for two weeks, now someone here suggested I ferment at least 3 weeks. What is best for a consistently good brew?

3 weeks in the fermenter, then bottle and wait three weeks. That's the best advice for most beers.

(2) carb tablets or hard sugar pieces?
I've never seen hard sugar pieces, but I recommend priming sugar, mixed up in a bottling bucket, and bottled in a batch from there, instead of individually adding sugar to the bottles.

(3) Carbinate in a secondary carboy or in the bottle?
You don't carbonate in a carboy- the glass will blow up. You always carbonate in the bottle, or in a keg.

(4) Using a secondary after fermenting or going straight to the bottle?
Either/Or- whatever your preference. Most people are going to bottle after 3 weeks in the primary. If you use a clearing tank (what you're calling a "secondary"), then one week in the primary, 2 weeks in the clearing tank. It's still three weeks, though, either way.

(5) After much reading of varying and some conflicting information (not on this forum I just joined today) I find myself formulating this opinion and wonder if I will find agreement, disagreement, other. I am beginning to think that my best approach is to ferment in the primary fermentor for two weeks, then transfer / semi-filter to the secondary carboy, adding priming sugar or carb tabs, along with Ventor's Antioxident (to make it last longer in the bottle). Then let it sit in the secondary carboy for 2 more weeks. Then filter/bottle it and put it in the fridge ready to drink. Most of the homebrew stuff I've read says that yeast will settle in bottle bottoms and not to drink last little bit there. I'm thinking there has got to be a way to filter similar to store bought. I don't have to waste the last sip on those beers. Again ALL comments welcome.

Answers to the first questions are in bold above.
Well, you aren't going to be able to filter that way, and you risk oxidizing your beer. When you bottle homebrew, the yeast are what carbonates the beer. It doesn't carbonate in the carboy (it's not designed to hold pressure) so it carbonates in the bottle. The yeast then fall to the bottom, and you pour the beer off of this sediment into a glass. If you want to have no sediment in your beer, you'll have to keg it.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:02 PM   #4
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LOL - age old debate/problem.

it's up to you. You will here so many conflicting opinions on Secondary it is really a toss up.

I ferment for 2 weeks in the 6g carboy - THEN transfer into a 5g carboy for a week and then bottle and have the brew bottle condition for 4 weeks.

Others do different things.

I do it this way to free up a 6g carboy for the next brew.

It's really up to you and there is no 100% right or wrong way. the ONE thing you REALLY want is to not get in a hurry. Once the yeasts are finished fermenting you want them to gobble up all there yeasty poop called Diacetyl and clean it up.

So longer is better.

#2????? What are those?? For carbonating?

Don't worry about that last sip. A lot of microbrewery beer have yeast on the bottom - it's pretty common actually.

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shecky View Post
1. Ferment until the hydrometer tells you it's done.

2. Wouldn't know. I use corn sugar.

3. Carb in the bottles.

4. Personal preference. Some like the secondary for clearing (like me), some leave in the primary for weeks and then go straight to bottles. I've done both.

5. As a n00b, I found it helpful to secondary to get a better handle on the process. Bottle it with corn sugar, let the bottles carb for three weeks at 70 degrees then chill and taste. Don't worry about the sediment. It's good for you.
+1 to all the above - The only thing I would add is:
#1 - Ferment until the hydrometer tells you it's done. If leaving in the primary (see #4) let it sit at least another week (preferably two) to let the yeast do some cleanup work.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:03 PM   #6
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As an addendum to #5.
Most homebrewers will tell you that you should gently pour your beer into a glass. Leave the last 1/4inch behind then you won't have very many floaties. Drinking a bottle conditioned/carbed homebrew striaght from the bottle is a recipe for bad farts and very yeasty (to some gross) tasting homebrew.
The easiest way to ruin someone hwo has never had a well made and skillfully poured homebrew is to let them drink it straight from the bottle.

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:05 PM   #7
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My responses are in bold...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kontreren View Post
No doubt all have been asked and answered but please indulge me. Please answer some or all. All opinions on which is better are welcome:

(1) Some recipes say ferment 1 week, bottle w/ sugar 1 week, then some say ferment two weeks, then bottle for two weeks, now someone here suggested I ferment at least 3 weeks. What is best for a consistently good brew?

I leave all my beers in the primary fermenter for 3 or 4 weeks, then either rack to secondary or bottle.

(2) carb tablets or hard sugar pieces?

I use sugar for priming. I buy dextrose 5# at a time and measure out about 3/4 cup per batch, give or take a little depending on how much carbonation I'm after.

(3) Carbinate in a secondary carboy or in the bottle?

Carbonation occurs in the bottle, not in the secondary.

(4) Using a secondary after fermenting or going straight to the bottle?

I usually go straight to bottle after 3 or 4 weeks in the primary fermenter. I only rack to a secondary if its been a month or more and I can't bottle for some reason or another. I'll also use a secondary if I dry hop.

(5) After much reading of varying and some conflicting information (not on this forum I just joined today) I find myself formulating this opinion and wonder if I will find agreement, disagreement, other. I am beginning to think that my best approach is to ferment in the primary fermentor for two weeks, then transfer / semi-filter to the secondary carboy, adding priming sugar or carb tabs, along with Ventor's Antioxident (to make it last longer in the bottle). Then let it sit in the secondary carboy for 2 more weeks. Then filter/bottle it and put it in the fridge ready to drink. Most of the homebrew stuff I've read says that yeast will settle in bottle bottoms and not to drink last little bit there. I'm thinking there has got to be a way to filter similar to store bought. I don't have to waste the last sip on those beers. Again ALL comments welcome.

As mentioned above, carbonation occurs in the bottle, not in the secondary fermenter. There is a wide variety of practice among homebrewers regarding use of a secondary. Some, like me, don't use them at all. Others always use them. A secondary is nothing more than a place to hold your beer after fermentation is over to allow for additional clearing or aging.
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Old 08-25-2008, 10:07 PM   #8
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There is no substitute for measuring your gravity in order to determine a beer is done fermenting. Using a time-based method, or counting bubbles is not a good way to determine this and you could get some dangerous bottle bombs if you go this route. Get a hydrometer and make sure the readings are the same for 3 days before bottling. That being said....


1. 3 weeks usually works for me, but I always measure the gravity over a 3 day period to make sure. Primary for 4 weeks or longer for VERY clear beer.

2. 3/4 cup corn sugar for each 5 gallon batch. If you add too much sugar directly to a bottle, you can get a bottle bomb!

3. Carbonate in the bottles unless you are kegging.

4. In my experience, a secondary doesn't help that much in reducing sediment in the bottles. You're still going to get a thin film of yeast in the bottom of the bottles due to naturally carbonating in the bottles. I wouldn't sweat it...lots of micro brews have yeast in the bottom, and taste fantastic. If you really want ultra clear beer and a compact sediment in the bottom of the bottles, just store the bottles for 4-8 weeks before you start drinking them. I prefer to just pour my homebrew into a glass and leave out the last 1/2 oz. However, I have on many occasions drank my brew out of bottles, yeasties and all with little effect on flavor. Give 'er a try and see what works for you!

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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All you guys are great to help me with these answers. I appreciate every response. I forgot to ask a couple questions and the responses have generated another.

(1) I get it that I don't want to get in a hurry but where is the point where the liquid has been too long in the fermenter? Is a three week ferment safe for any beer (mine is a gluten free beer made w/ sorghum malt extract)?

(2) I have gotten the impression that I am not suppose to open the fermentor because of air/contamination yet I also get the impression I am suppose to measure the liquid with a hydrometer. How am I suppose to keep it closed air tight and open it to get out liquid for testing w/ the hydrometer?

(3) If the glass carboy is not a good choice for carbonating because it will explode then will I be making a mistake to bottle my beer in mason jars? They are much thinner than my carboy glass. Also one recipe/method I found said I could use plastic 2 liter bottles so that is why I thought mason jars would be okay. But I don't want ANYTHING exploding.

HELP!!!

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Old 08-25-2008, 10:38 PM   #10
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As for bottling, rule of thumb is you can reuse a bottle if it previously held a carbonated beverage. I would definitely not trust a mason jar, save them for moonshine plastic soda bottles will work, just make sure they're clean and sanitized, and you have good tight fitting caps. Since they're usually clear, keep them away from sunlight (cover them) to avoid skunking your beer.

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