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Old 05-04-2010, 02:46 AM   #1
grabby08
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Default A couple of questions.

Tried my hand at home brewing for the first time this Sunday. I used a starting equipment kit and batch kit by brewer's best from my LHBS. Trying out the IPA since I am in love with so many of those. Everything seemingly went well enough, but I do have a few questions to things that have come up while expirimenting:

1. I waited till my steeping water was about 155 before placing the grains in and I let it go for the 20 minutes or so. After pulling it and letting it drip seemingly forever I gave it a slight squeeze just before tossing them. Is this the best way for this?

2. Getting things to cool down after the boil was through took a while so I had some purified water-made ice cubes in a sanitized tray and I threw them directly into the pot along with all the ice surrounding it. I only used one tray out of 4 or so to place directly in the pot. Is this acceptable since you are going to be adding water next anyhow?

3. The hydrometer that came with the kit did not have great directions with it but was color coded for desirable ranges. I know after fermentation is complete you are supposed to test again. I originally just sanitized that and tested right in the pot and it was right where the color code said to be. For the next test can I test the same way?

4. I have heard to leave the fermentation bucket capped until the bubbles popping through the valve reach one about every 90 seconds. I also recall this takes about 11 days, but some friends have mentioned doing that and then siphoning it to a secondary ferment for another 7 days or so to help the flavor before bottling. Any opinions here?

5. Since my time on the net is limited during the week with work kids and I have not been able to read a whole lot more from here, what is the difference between an extract and a partial mash(have read these terms in some places here but not had a chance to look up yet)

Thanks in advance and Cheers!
~Matt~



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Old 05-04-2010, 03:07 AM   #2
Rick500
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1. No, you shouldn't squeeze the grain bag. You'll get more tannins and make the beer more astringent. "A little squeeze" though... I wouldn't worry about it. Just don't do it next time.

2. Sanitation is the concern. If everything was sanitized, you likely won't have a problem.

3. If you're topping off with water, you need to mix it up really well and then take a hydrometer reading to get your starting gravity (or "original gravity"... SG or OG). Be aware though that it's really difficult to get the water mixed up with the wort well enough to get a reliable reading if you're adding top-off water. Does your hydrometer also have a numeric scale? The specific gravity scale is the one you're looking for.

4. Don't worry about a secondary. Leave it in the primary for two or three weeks and then take a hydrometer reading. Take another reading once a day for two more days. If they don't get lower for three days in a row, then it's ready to bottle/keg. Bubbles in the airlock are not a reliable sign of the state of the fermentation. It can bubble for reasons other than yeast producing CO2.

5. Partial mash just means you're extracting some sugars from some amount of crushed malted barley.

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Old 05-04-2010, 03:14 AM   #3
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I'll answer to the ones I have any kind of experience with....

1. I do it and so far, no bad experiences. (edit) I don't squeeze the bag 'dry'. Just some to get a little more of the liquid out of it. Once it drips when I put pressure on it, I'm done (edit) If the bag tears while squeezing it, I'm guessing it would cause 'issues'

2. So far, never heard of anyone doing this. I've learned not to try and re-invent the wheel, especially early on in your experience. On the other hand, if you are making partial boil batches, I don't see why (as long as the water is boiled/purified) why it wouldn't hurt.

4. Don't time your bubbles. Bad Habit. Wait about 18 days and check the gravity. Check it again on about day 21. If they are the same, you are good to go. These are generalizations on the number of days (about 3 weeks). Either way, wait until your gravity (or where it falls on your color chart (I'm not framiliar with your particular hydrometer)) stays stable for a couple days.

5. Partial mash is using more grains and less extract. Times and temperatures for dealing with the grains become more critical. Overall, not a huge deal though. Some techniques change, but it really isn't all that difficult of a switch. Same for moving on to All Grain. Partial Mash is kind of the middle step between Extract and All Grain. The more towards All Grain you go, the more complicated it gets, but you also gain more control. Think, making your own Spaghetti Sauce v.s. Using Sauce out of a jar.

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