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Old 02-22-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
BesteBrew
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Default Few Questions from a beginner

Hello all, Just bottled my second batch and my local homebrew store isn't to helpful so i have turned to the internet for a few questions.

1) I have started my first two batches using Brewers Best kit. What kind of brewing is this considered. For example is it an extract kit or partial grain kit.

2) When it comes to sanitizing equipment/bottles i am using a no rinse cleaner. Should i let my equipment sit in the solution for a while or is a simple dip in enough? Should I also just let it air dry?

3) If I am making only one batch at a time is it best to let it sit in primary fermentor (plastic bucket) or to transfer it to a secondary fermentor (glass carboy) after a certain amount of time?

4) Eventually i want to start buying my own ingredients to start making or using others recipes. Can you buy ingredients online, and if you do is it good quality or am i better off just paying more at the local homebrew store.

These are a few just off the top of my head. As you can tell i am really new to this but slowly learning. Expect more questions from me. Thanks for all the help.



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Old 02-22-2011, 08:23 PM   #2
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1) Partial Mashing is taking base malts (E.g. US 2-row) and converting the starches into sugars; this is usually around 3 to 5 lbs of base malts, PLUS the specialty malts (e.g. black patent). This is in additional to adding about 3 lbs. of DME or LME. Me thinks you did an extract batch; how many pounds of extract did you use? If it was in the 6 pounds or more, I think it is extract.
2) I think you want to give it a few seconds soak, but you need to remember that the sanitation doesn't replace overall cleanliness. Some people like to take extra steps and use a bottle brush or throw their bottles in the oven for sanitation.
3) Everyone has their opinion on this, but majority says that you only need to rack to a secondary if you are: 1) Dry hopping, 2) Adding Fruit, or 3) Need the primary for another batch.
4) There are a bunch of great stores online; you will find a lot of the advertisements on this forum. I think the pricing is similar, but you might need to pay for shipping. But you might be able to find stuff online that you can't find at your LHBS.



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Old 02-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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1 - Extract = all your sugar is in syrup or powder form; Partial = you mash a portion of your sugars out of grians; All grain = you mash all your sugar from grains. My guess is your Mr. Beer kit has specialty grains that you steep for a while, this is extracting flavor and very few sugars.

2 - No rinse stuff is sanitizer so if your equipment is already clean, theoretically you just need to dip and you'll be sanitized. Of course, I always let it soak if I'm not using it just to be safe.

3 - The general consensus is that you can let your beer sit on the yeast cake for a month without any flavors being imparted, after that your beer starts to take on some yeastie flavor. Over the counter yeast have gotten stronger and less prone to autolysis (self digestion).

4 - It depends on your homebrew store's turnover compared to the LHBS you buy from. An online store like Northern Brewer has grains and hops flying off its shelves so they're constantly getting new products in. My LHBS on the other hand, I'm pretty sure I've seen a few bags of grains there for a couple months. However, you may have a more popular LHBS that has a higher inventory turnover.

That being sad. I still buy all my ingredients from my LHBS. I can talk shop with the brewer there, he serves me samples of his beer, I can bring my beer in (if it's good! don't bring in your first beer asking what you did wrong), and check out all of the cool hardware firsthand.

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
1) I have started my first two batches using Brewers Best kit. What kind of brewing is this considered. For example is it an extract kit or partial grain kit.
If you are using base malts (pale, pilsner) around 150-160 and then sparging those grains to get a substantial amount of the recipe OG, then you are doing a partial mash. If you are just steeping crystal malts, then that is extract brewing. I'm not familiar with the Brewer's Best kits to tell you straight out.

Quote:
2) When it comes to sanitizing equipment/bottles i am using a no rinse cleaner. Should i let my equipment sit in the solution for a while or is a simple dip in enough? Should I also just let it air dry?
Cleaners clean and sanitizers sanitize. No rinse really means to let it gravity drain for some period but what won't drain out can be left behind. But a no rinse cleanser, is not a sanitizer. And a no rinse sanitizer won't work if the surface is not clean.

Quote:
3) If I am making only one batch at a time is it best to let it sit in primary fermentor (plastic bucket) or to transfer it to a secondary fermentor (glass carboy) after a certain amount of time?
Why not ask which religion has the true truth? You can do either and get good results.

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4) Eventually i want to start buying my own ingredients to start making or using others recipes. Can you buy ingredients online, and if you do is it good quality or am i better off just paying more at the local homebrew store.
I buy online and get great quality. IMO, you should still buy some stuff at your LHBS, just to keep it in business for when you need something on short notice. I like to buy yeast at the LHBS, rather than have it shipped, for instance (although I only buy 1-2 smack packs a year).
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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Update on 1)
Extract kits use dried or liquid malt extracts for all of the fermentable sugars and then provide the specialty malts, hops, and yeast to complete the recipe. Partial kits will have approximately 3 to 5 pounds of base malts in addition to DME/LME and the rest of the kit.

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:33 PM   #6
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I haven't used the BB kits but I believe they are "Extract plus steeping grains" kits. That is, you have a bag of grains to steep at 150 or so for 20 minutes or so, then remove grains, add heat and extract, bring to boil.

A short step up from this would be "extract plus mini-mash", which involves a longer controlled steep prior to adding the extract. I'm greatly simplifying , but you could look into "brew in a bag" (BIAB) techniques as a good way to ease into more complex recipes.

There are a number of excellent online retailers who will take your recipe, crush the grains, and ship it to you as a kit. I have used Austin Homebrew and Brewmaster's Warehouse, but there are others as well. It's really a pain to construct a recipe at the LHBS, but I use them for small equipment purchases and fill-in ingredients.

For a no-rinse cleaner, I use Star-San. I mix up enough to half-fill a 5 gallon bucket, and toss all my implements of destruction in there to soak. Follow the label directions and you'll be fine.

Unless you have a complicated recipe calling for a secondary, just leave the beer in the primary until bottling time. Sometimes simplest really is best.

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Old 02-22-2011, 08:33 PM   #7
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Brewer's Best kits are extract kits with steeping grains. So, it's an extract kit.

Those no-rinse cleaners like One-step need like 30 minutes of wet-contact time to sanitize. I'd switch to either Iodophor or Star-san, for ease of use and faster results.

Primary/secondary doesn't matter. I'd get more buckets, and just leave them all in the primary for three weeks and then bottle.

Some of the best quality ingredients will come from the stores with the highest turnover, so it really depends on your local store. I've seen some kits with dust on them in some shops- definitely not the freshest! My favorite online stores, austinhomebrew.com, northernbrewer.com and brewmasterswarehouse.com will get your order, then crush the grains and put together your kit. Even the extract is fresher, because they buy it in big drums and flush it with nitrogen to keep it fresh, instead of that canned stuff you get in Brewer's Best kits.

I'd suggest taking a look at some of the extract kits here: http://www.austinhomebrew.com/index.php?cPath=178_452_43&osCsid=1354360e3768a493 773eb821d531bc42 It's like a candy store for brewers! I've personally done more than a few of their kits, and all were great and fresh with good instructions!

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Old 02-22-2011, 09:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gregpio85 View Post

That being sad. I still buy all my ingredients from my LHBS. I can talk shop with the brewer there, he serves me samples of his beer, I can bring my beer in (if it's good! don't bring in your first beer asking what you did wrong), and check out all of the cool hardware firsthand.
I disagree- This is the BEST time to have your beer tasted.. A homebrew shop owner can supply lots of critical feedback, especially for a new brewer. Never be afraid to have someone more knowledgeable than yourself try your beer and provide feedback.. Just my .02
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BesteBrew View Post
Hello all, Just bottled my second batch and my local homebrew store isn't to helpful so i have turned to the internet for a few questions.

1) I have started my first two batches using Brewers Best kit. What kind of brewing is this considered. For example is it an extract kit or partial grain kit.

2) When it comes to sanitizing equipment/bottles i am using a no rinse cleaner. Should i let my equipment sit in the solution for a while or is a simple dip in enough? Should I also just let it air dry?

3) If I am making only one batch at a time is it best to let it sit in primary fermentor (plastic bucket) or to transfer it to a secondary fermentor (glass carboy) after a certain amount of time?

4) Eventually i want to start buying my own ingredients to start making or using others recipes. Can you buy ingredients online, and if you do is it good quality or am i better off just paying more at the local homebrew store.

These are a few just off the top of my head. As you can tell i am really new to this but slowly learning. Expect more questions from me. Thanks for all the help.

Welcome to the wonderful obsession. It looks like your initial Q's were answered so keep coming back here when you get more. I really do recommend reading a lot of the posts here though. There is a massive amount of info here that may be missed by just asking. Either way, this is a great site and don't be ashamed of any questions you may have.

Good luck
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:40 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the help everyone. I am sure you will see more of me in the future.



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