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Old 12-29-2012, 11:25 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation timeline and equipment

Hello all, I'm hoping that some of the more experienced brewers can help me out with my first brew because I am somewhat confused about the timeline and equipment that will be used for fermentation. Like many on the forum here, I got a homebrew kit for Christmas and a pre-formulated beer kit (Brewer's Best English Brown Ale). I have done my research and read 3 books on the subject but I've heard different things from these sources. In the kit, there was a 5 gallon better bottle, 6.5 gallon bucket (fermenter) complete with airlock, and of course the bottling bucket and assorted goodies. Here's my confusion: I have read that primary fermentation should be done in both the better bottle, and I've also read that it should be done in the bucket fermenter. I've also read that I should use just the given airlock, or that I should use blowoff tubing. I'm aware that this choice has to do with headspace in the fermenter, so I am assuming that the correct order in which to ferment my first brew would be (after the boil of course) - bucket fermenter with the given airlock, then after approximately 5-7 days, transfer to the better bottle since the most active period of fermentation will have already occurred and headspace is not much of an issue; then wait until primary has finished before transferring to bottling bucket and priming before bottling? I have a feeling that I'm overthinking this process, but am not sure that I have things right and want to know exactly what I'm doing before brewing on Monday. Please correct me if this is wrong, any and all input will be appreciated. Thanks in advance and I'm glad to have joined the forum!

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:33 PM   #2
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You can use either the BB or the bucket for a primary fermenter. If you use the BB, you may want to use the blowoff tube instead of the airlock (depending how full it gets) to prevent a blowoff. The bucket will be less susceptible to a blow off, but you wont get to watch the magic of fermentation!

I would not transfer at all until fermentation is completely finished. I also wouldnt bother moving to secondary unless you intend to age or add flavorings such as wood, fruit, etc. (The non-secondary is a personal opinion, others may disagree, its up to you.)

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:43 PM   #3
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Tacks
welcome to the forum! and welcome to a great hobby.

Your kit was designed to do primary in the bucket ( I still recommend a blow off there too) and secondary in the BB. You can choose to do anything you want there and all is going to be well IF your clean about the process. Myself and many here on the forum do long primary ferments and only choose to do a secondary IF we are going to dry hop, add oak or anything of that nature...

Good luck with your first beer..

Cheers
Jay

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Old 12-29-2012, 11:50 PM   #4
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Wow, thanks for the quick responses! I figured that the kit would have come with blowoff tubing, but since it didn't I guess I had better head to my hbs to pick some up before Monday. I for some reason thought that after a few days I was supposed to move over to the BB to get the beer off of the settled yeast, but I'm glad that I have knowledgeable people to steer me in the right direction. Thanks again guys!

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Old 12-30-2012, 12:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacks
Wow, thanks for the quick responses! I figured that the kit would have come with blowoff tubing, but since it didn't I guess I had better head to my hbs to pick some up before Monday. I for some reason thought that after a few days I was supposed to move over to the BB to get the beer off of the settled yeast, but I'm glad that I have knowledgeable people to steer me in the right direction. Thanks again guys!
You should have received some racking tubing that can be used as a blow off tube as well. Just stuff itin the grommet on your bucket and run it in to some water.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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I did, but it's only about 1/4" ID or 3/8", and from what I've read that's not big enough; so I picked up some 5/8" ID tubing last night to use. it's stretching out right now so that it's not all coiled up when I go to use it. Also for whatever reason it wouldn't fit in the bung without "crimping" itself, so I figured something else would be better suited to use. Thank you for the suggestion, it just wouldn't have worked with the kit that I received (I'm assuming).

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Old 12-30-2012, 02:14 PM   #7
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The larger tubing you have may fit the inside of the 3 piece airlock (if that's what you have). The 5 gallon better bottle isn't big enough for primary,it's intended fort secondary where little head space is preffered. It keeps o2 fron contacting the beer once it's done fermenting & not producing co2 to protect it. The 6.5 gallon bucket is intended for primary.
Many of us go for extended primary. It takes about 3 weeks on average for the average gravity ale to get down to FG (Final Gravity) & clean up/settle out clear or slightly misty before bottling.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:34 AM   #8
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Much appreciated all, looking forward to my first brew in about 10 hours - your advice will be put to good use. Union, thanks for the pointer on extended primary, I'm so geeked up about brewing that I probably would've jumped the gun and bottled it sooner than I should have. Thanks again everyone!

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