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Old 03-26-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
logoll
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Default A couple of newbie questions

Been lurking in these forums for a while now until I got my brew kit yesterday. I bought the Coopers Kit and brewing a lager.

Just a couple of questions.

1. I want to see what is going on in the fermenter but unfortunately only have the plastick bucket variety. Will I "damage" the brew in anyway if I pop off the lid every now and then to have a look. Will definately go for a glass carboy next time round.

2. This being my first batch I really want to keep a close watch and see what happens, for example how quickly does the SG drop etc. Is there any reason why I should not take a hydrometer reading once a day or so. I know this is excessive

3. I am certain there is a major leak somewhere on the bucket as I am not getting any bubbles through the airlock. Fermenting is definately taking place as the krausen has started to form on the top and after 1 day it is about 5cm thick. Will this leak cause my brew to spoil ?

4. I have seen some videos on youtube about some really "violent" fermentation. Is this the correct fermentation to expect as mine is much slower and if it wasn't for the krausen hardly noticable?

5. Any advise on how to keep a carboy cool. The official coopers "manual" says the temp should be between 69 an 80. Mine is running at about 75, but from what I have read everywhere this should be lower.

Lastly thanks for a great forum.

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Old 03-26-2008, 12:43 PM   #2
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1. Damage it, well yes and no. Every time you open the lid you're exposing your wort to microbes. Sure it's a very small chance you'll contaminate it, but why chance it? Besides all you'll see is a big thick greasy set o bubbles on top. The REAL action is underneath.

2. Same reason as above.

3. No, outgassing keeps outside air from getting into the wort. Even when it's done fermenting, microbes don't crawl, they float in the air and fall.

4. Krausen levels vary on the amount of fermentables, temp, and yeast, so sometimes you'll get a violent blowoff, sometimes not.

5. Putting the bucket in a tub of cool water and adding jugs full of frozen water to it will help keep it cool. ALso a Tshirt over the top will help by doing evaporative cooling.

And welcome to the forum!

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Old 03-26-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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1. I want to see what is going on in the fermenter but unfortunately only have the plastick bucket variety. Will I "damage" the brew in anyway if I pop off the lid every now and then to have a look. Will definately go for a glass carboy next time round.
Nope, as long as you're careful and don't drop/drip anything in there.

2. This being my first batch I really want to keep a close watch and see what happens, for example how quickly does the SG drop etc. Is there any reason why I should not take a hydrometer reading once a day or so. I know this is excessive
The more you open the lid, the more you risk contamination. I would only take a reading when you're preparing to rack or bottle

3. I am certain there is a major leak somewhere on the bucket as I am not getting any bubbles through the airlock. Fermenting is definately taking place as the krausen has started to form on the top and after 1 day it is about 5cm thick. Will this leak cause my brew to spoil ?
You'll probably be okay, but are you sure there is a leak? If you push down on the lid do bubbles appear in the airlock?

4. I have seen some videos on youtube about some really "violent" fermentation. Is this the correct fermentation to expect as mine is much slower and if it wasn't for the krausen hardly noticable?
Airlock activity doesn't really determine fermentation. My last batch only appeared to have activity for a couple of days, but sure enough after 1 week the gravity had completed dropped to the target FG. It also depends on your yeast, recipe, etc.

5. Any advise on how to keep a carboy cool. The official coopers "manual" says the temp should be between 69 an 80. Mine is running at about 75, but from what I have read everywhere this should be lower.
Before I got my freezer, I put the carboy in a cooler filled with several inches of water and added ice as needed to keep the carboy at 66F. Worked like a charm.

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Old 03-26-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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Welcome!

Go here...all the info you want to know about your questions are pretty much answered...http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54362

This tread talks about leaks (or lack of) http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=60000

Especially this post

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthre...860#post609860

You don't need to obsessively stare at your beer....or worry that fermentation is or isn't occuring...This post is great advice...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
You do know that as a new brewer, it's your job to insanely worry that you have the only environment on earth where a billion yeast cells can't figure out how to find all that sugar that they crave. ;-)

you shouldn't open the bucket too much...after a week in primary you can open it up the next 3 times to take hydrometer readers to see if it's done fermenting...get a 6.5 gallon carboy if you want to watch it....
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Old 03-26-2008, 01:31 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for your replies, I wil be going through that epic post you pointed to Revvy.

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Old 03-26-2008, 01:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logoll
Thanks to all for your replies, I wil be going through that epic post you pointed to Revvy.

Glad I could help!

In the future before you start a thread, use the search feature...you'll prolly find that your guestions have been already answered dozens of times(often in the same day)...Of course after you read the links I gave you, you probably won't have anymore "n00b" worry type ones, because you'll become the king or "RDWHAHB!"

Welcome to our hobb....erm I mean obsession!

And welcome to HBT!
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