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Old 06-05-2008, 05:52 PM   #1
DuffmanAK
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Default A few things...

Hello there folks. I'm gearing up for my first brew this weekend. I've been reading theses forums as well as John Palmer's online guide for little better than a week now. I think I've got a solid handle on the high points, but right now I have some questions I haven't seen answered.

1) Temperature. I've been taking temperature readings at various closets/etc in my place. Looks like I have a stable ~70F in one. This almost seems high for an ambient temp for fermentation from what I've read. Thinking about putting my carboy in a shallow tub (about 3-4 inches deep) filled with water to help keep it cool and stabalize temperature fluctuations. Opinions?

2) The transfer. I plan to follow John Palmer's recipe in that guide for Cinncinati Pale Ale. Also after reading I've decided I'll not use a secondary, and just leave it in the primary for ~4 weeks. So I have a siphon (no I won't start it with my mouth heh). I'm a little unsure about the transfer itself. When siphoning from the primary, should I try to place the input off the bottom as to not suck in the yeast cake? Or will it be pretty solid and not really budge? I also know not to oxygenate/slosh it during siphon, I'm just wondering about the input tube, if I should do anything special to try and get as clear a product as possible.

3) Obtaining samples. Looking for tricks/tips for obtaining samples of the beer while in the primary to test the SG. I know that I should sanatize anything that goes near the primary, and intend to. Hadn't seen much on this, do most folks siphon an amount out? Have a dipper of some sort? A tube with a one-way valve at the end?

Sorry for the long-ish post, trying to get all my questions up in one go. Also sorry if these have been answered. I read many of the stickied threads here, but could easily have missed a post.

Thanks!

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Old 06-05-2008, 05:55 PM   #2
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As for taking samples, a turkey baster soaked in iodophor works fine for me.

For siphoning, an auto-siphon makes everything a breeze. Check you LHBS for this.

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Old 06-05-2008, 05:59 PM   #3
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Welcome to HBT!

1. 70F is definitely a little high for the ambient temperature so you're on the right track for a cooling method. If you wrap a towel around the primary and make sure it's also in the water, you can blow a fan on that and it should get you a few more degrees.

2. Leave as much of the trub behind as you can, so yes you want to keep the tip of the racking cane up off the bottom of the fermenter. An easy way to manage this is to get yourself an auto-syphon. It's got a cap on the bottom that keeps the trub out (for the most part).

3. The wine thief is how I do it. That along with the auto-syphon are the best investments for your brewery and all for less than $20 total.

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Old 06-05-2008, 06:00 PM   #4
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1. Temperature is important and the cooler idea is very popular.
http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=32651
Post six and tons of other around.

2. Keep the siphon about 2 inches from the bottom. I am assuming you will be bottling after your primary, so you can either use a bottling bucket or add your priming sugar to your primary. Both are dicussed in Palmer's book. You will also need a bottle filler. http://austinhomebrew.com

3. Invest in a hydrometer. You can find them online or at your local home brew store.

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Old 06-05-2008, 06:04 PM   #5
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My Opinions

#1 I have a "fermometer" on all of my carboys. My carboys wear a tshirt too. When it gets above the temp I want to ferment at, I just wet the tshirt.

#2 I use a sterile siphon starter. Probably the easiest way since it has a stainless racking cane - which is nice and sturdy, so you know where you are in the carboy. I siphon about an inch or so off the bottom to avoid the sediment.



#3 Use a wine thief. Sanitize it, dunk it in your beer, cover the hole on the thief, pull it out and you have your sample.



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Old 06-05-2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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As to fermentation temp control, here's what I'm doing....

Take one of these (with the lid off)


The one I have can fit 2 carboys/buckets. I fill it about 1/3 with water, I stuck a small aquarium thermemeter with a suction cup on one of the sides touching the water (where I can look at it easily.) Then I put the fermenters in there and put a t-shirt over each of them with the ends sitting in the water to wick up the water. I have a bunch of 2 liter soda bottles filled with water and frozen (as well as some smaller water bottles) and I add them as needed to maintain a temp in the low 60's. You can also put a fan near it to blow air on the t-shirts....

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Old 06-05-2008, 06:11 PM   #7
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Holy god you guys reply fast!

Thanks for the info, I'd seen that post about the guy using his central air vent, slick idea except I'm in Alaska so central air just doesn't exisit up here I do like a few posts down tough of the guy using a cooler. I think I'll be doing that instead, pretty sure I can fit a carboy in that thing nicely. Any thoughts on what temp I should try to keep the water at (since that'll be far easier to take the temperature of)? I'm thinking if I can keep the water about 60F that I'll be doing ok.

Edit: Revvy looks to have answered the above, though he posted while I was typing this one. Heh. You guys are way too fast

Apparently I do have an auto-siphon already and just didn't know it. A friend of mine sold me all his brewing supplies because he was moving and didn't have room. Went digging in the tub and low and behold, there was an auto siphon in the bottom. Now, to read up on how to use the thing.

I'll be looking at getting a wine thief soon.

Another thing. I've been debating halving the recipe in case I screw something up. That way I don't waste all the supplies in one go. Though, the more I think about it, I may just do the recipe as listed since it's my first brew and best to just go by the book this time. I feel I'm a pretty competent guy and can follow instructions well enough.

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Old 06-05-2008, 06:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuffmanAK View Post
Holy god you guys reply fast!

Thanks for the info, I'd seen that post about the guy using his central air vent, slick idea except I'm in Alaska so central air just doesn't exisit up here I do like a few posts down tough of the guy using a cooler. I think I'll be doing that instead, pretty sure I can fit a carboy in that thing nicely. Any thoughts on what temp I should try to keep the water at (since that'll be far easier to take the temperature of)? I'm thinking if I can keep the water about 60F that I'll be doing ok.

Apparently I do have an auto-siphon already and just didn't know it. A friend of mine sold me all his brewing supplies because he was moving and didn't have room. Went digging in the tub and low and behold, there was an auto siphon in the bottom. Now, to read up on how to use the thing.

I'll be looking at getting a wine thief soon.

Another thing. I've been debating halving the recipe in case I screw something up. That way I don't waste all the supplies in one go. Though, the more I think about it, I may just do the recipe as listed since it's my first brew and best to just go by the book this time. I feel I'm a pretty competent guy and can follow instructions well enough.
Don't split the kit (I assuming it's a kit you are brewing) you'd have to fiddle with things like the hops amounts and stuff...Just take a few deep breaths, and follow the instructions, like a recipe in a cook book.

As long as you follow proper sanitization, and follow the brewing instructions, you'll be fine.

These threads have some good tips...
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=54362
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=43635
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=7909

You can do it!!!
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Old 06-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #9
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Hah alrighty, sounds good, I'll just do it all as is listed.

I don't know if I'm using a kit per se, I bought all the ingredients seperately, but it all is pretty well laid out in Jon Palmer's guide.

I did read that Stone Cold Pipe thread.. all of it. Yes, I actually read all 18 pages, it was a great source of useful information to be sure!

At any rate, looks like I'm all set to roll this weekend. Hopefully sometime in July I'll be enjoying my first home brew

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Old 06-05-2008, 06:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuffmanAK View Post
Hah alrighty, sounds good, I'll just do it all as is listed.

I don't know if I'm using a kit per se, I bought all the ingredients seperately, but it all is pretty well laid out in Jon Palmer's guide.

I did read that Stone Cold Pipe thread.. all of it. Yes, I actually read all 18 pages, it was a great source of useful information to be sure!

At any rate, looks like I'm all set to roll this weekend. Hopefully sometime in July I'll be enjoying my first home brew
COngrats for reading it!!!!

In the beginning it's a good idea to follow a kit or recipe to a "T" and using a Palmer recipe is great, 'cause if it's one of his it's bound to be locked in and also darn good....

When you get more experience, you can start fiddling with brewing software, even free ones, to adjust the hops and malts and batch sizes...

HAve fun...and can't wait to here in July how awsone it is...
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