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Old 12-08-2006, 05:29 PM   #1
Adam's Apples
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Default Final preperations

Hi

Tomorrow is the day. It's my birthday and my missus has bought me a beer kit. I now have all the essential equipment and, thanks to some reading and some help from here, I now know what I'm doing- ish. I convinced my gf I needed to open the kit to see the instructions - just to make sure I do actually have everything needed and...well, I have everything I need, but there are a few questions I have now that I have read the instructions...

- The kit doesn't mention any racking to secondary. I thought maybe this isn't necessary for the type of beer it will yield, but remember somebody advising that a secondary stage is always helpful. Do you guys think I should ferment in a bin, then rack to secondary and then bottle? Does any actual fermenting happen in secondary, or is it just a measure used to clear the beer?

- I read a few threads on here where guys seemed to be discussing the quickest way to cool the wort - some suggested ice cubes. The instructions just mention adding cold water. Is there any reason to cool everything down quicker, or is it just an effort to speed everything up? I have the whole day tomorrow, so, unless it helps the brew, I am more than happy to just wait a while.

- Finally, I got a little packet of yeast in the kit. The instruction seem to say add it as is, but would you guys recommend rehydrating this?

Thanks for any suggestions. I'm trying to make sure I can go through the whole process tomorrow without doung something fatal to the beer and ruining it!

Cheers

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Old 12-08-2006, 06:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam's Apples
The kit doesn't mention any racking to secondary. I thought maybe this isn't necessary for the type of beer it will yield, but remember somebody advising that a secondary stage is always helpful. Do you guys think I should ferment in a bin, then rack to secondary and then bottle? Does any actual fermenting happen in secondary, or is it just a measure used to clear the beer?
There is very little if any fermenting during the "secondary". Therefore, many call it a clearing tank instead. It is used to allow more of the sediment to settle and allow the beer to condition longer. Your beer would benefit from it (unless you are doing a wheat/weizen style which are cloudy anyway), but for your first batch you may want to skip this step for simplicity. Not that it is very difficult, but you will be in hurry for the beer to finish so you can drink it. Secondary adds two weeks, minimum. Also, you will be able to tell the difference between your first batch without clearing and your subsequent batches with clearing. But, if you want to do it from the beginning, then go for it.
Quote:
I read a few threads on here where guys seemed to be discussing the quickest way to cool the wort - some suggested ice cubes. The instructions just mention adding cold water. Is there any reason to cool everything down quicker, or is it just an effort to speed everything up? I have the whole day tomorrow, so, unless it helps the brew, I am more than happy to just wait a while.
Cooling the wort quickly will help the taste of your beer. A slow cooling will produce off flavors and chill haze (cosmetic only). Your beer will still be good, but will benefit from a fast cooling. I would not recommend ice cubes, unless you boil the water before freezing it. Tap water may contain bacteria. Many first timers (I still do it this way) place the pot of wort in an ice bath. Others use a wort chiller. Still others add cold water (sanitized, of course) to the wort when doing an partial extract boil to make the full five or 5.5 gallons. If you live in a cold enough area, put it outside in the snow for a while.

Quote:
Finally, I got a little packet of yeast in the kit. The instruction seem to say add it as is, but would you guys recommend rehydrating this?
Dry yeast should be re-hydrated in water before pitching. Often the concentration of sugars in wort is high enough that the yeast can not draw enough water across the cell membranes to restart their metabolism. For best results, re-hydrate 2 packets of dry yeast in warm water (95-105°F) and then proof the yeast by adding some sugar to see if they are still alive after de-hydration and storage.
If it's not showing signs of life (churning, foaming) after a half hour, your yeast may be too old or dead. Unfortunately, this can be a common problem with dry yeast packets, especially if they are the non-name brand packets taped to the top of malt extract beer kits. Using name brand brewers yeasts like those mentioned previously usually prevents this problem. Have a third packet available as back-up.
Re-hydrating Dry Yeast
1. Put 1 cup of warm (95-105F, 35-40C) boiled water into a sanitized jar and stir in the yeast. Cover with Saran Wrap and wait 15 minutes.
2. "Proof" the yeast by adding one teaspoon of extract or sugar that has been boiled in a small amount of water. Allow the sugar solution to cool before adding it to the jar.
3. Cover and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight.
4. After 30 minutes or so the yeast should be visibly churning and/or foaming, and is ready to pitch.
-John Palmer "How to Brew". http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html

Quote:
Thanks for any suggestions. I'm trying to make sure I can go through the whole process tomorrow without doung something fatal to the beer and ruining it!
RDWHAH. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:05 PM   #3
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Nice one. I am now officially ready to go.

Great, clear answers. Cheers

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Old 12-08-2006, 06:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam's Apples
Nice one. I am now officially ready to go.

Great, clear answers. Cheers
Forgot to mention. I am still considered a newbie as well, having only brewed seven batches so far. You can get much more information and detailed answers by doing a search on this forum. For example, you can learn exactly how/why cooling the wort produces off flavors, and much more about cooling the wort as well.
Cheers!
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desiderata
There is very little if any fermenting during the "secondary". Therefore, many call it a clearing tank instead. It is used to allow more of the sediment to settle and allow the beer to condition longer. Your beer would benefit from it (unless you are doing a wheat/weizen style which are cloudy anyway), but for your first batch you may want to skip this step for simplicity. Not that it is very difficult, but you will be in hurry for the beer to finish so you can drink it. Secondary adds two weeks, minimum. Also, you will be able to tell the difference between your first batch without clearing and your subsequent batches with clearing. But, if you want to do it from the beginning, then go for it.

Cooling the wort quickly will help the taste of your beer. A slow cooling will produce off flavors and chill haze (cosmetic only). Your beer will still be good, but will benefit from a fast cooling. I would not recommend ice cubes, unless you boil the water before freezing it. Tap water may contain bacteria. Many first timers (I still do it this way) place the pot of wort in an ice bath. Others use a wort chiller. Still others add cold water (sanitized, of course) to the wort when doing an partial extract boil to make the full five or 5.5 gallons. If you live in a cold enough area, put it outside in the snow for a while.


Dry yeast should be re-hydrated in water before pitching. Often the concentration of sugars in wort is high enough that the yeast can not draw enough water across the cell membranes to restart their metabolism. For best results, re-hydrate 2 packets of dry yeast in warm water (95-105°F) and then proof the yeast by adding some sugar to see if they are still alive after de-hydration and storage.
If it's not showing signs of life (churning, foaming) after a half hour, your yeast may be too old or dead. Unfortunately, this can be a common problem with dry yeast packets, especially if they are the non-name brand packets taped to the top of malt extract beer kits. Using name brand brewers yeasts like those mentioned previously usually prevents this problem. Have a third packet available as back-up.
Re-hydrating Dry Yeast
1. Put 1 cup of warm (95-105F, 35-40C) boiled water into a sanitized jar and stir in the yeast. Cover with Saran Wrap and wait 15 minutes.
2. "Proof" the yeast by adding one teaspoon of extract or sugar that has been boiled in a small amount of water. Allow the sugar solution to cool before adding it to the jar.
3. Cover and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight.
4. After 30 minutes or so the yeast should be visibly churning and/or foaming, and is ready to pitch.

-John Palmer "How to Brew". http://www.howtobrew.com/intro.html


RDWHAH. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
I haven't worked with dry yeast in over 10 years. This is his first time brewing, I'm confused, when should he do this so that it won't affect the timing and tempature of when he should pitch the yeast?

I use all glass, for fermenting and secondary. I prefer glass and it's handy to have carboy thermometor's stuck on the glass, they work great.


Good luck!
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:20 PM   #6
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I use dry yeast.

The first thing I do on a brew day is rehydrate the yeast.
Then I set my gear up and by the time I'm ready to pitch the yeast been going for a good few hours. I put it in slightly warmer than room temp water with a little dme and leave it in a warm area of the kitchen.

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Old 12-08-2006, 11:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bigins
I haven't worked with dry yeast in over 10 years. This is his first time brewing, I'm confused, when should he do this so that it won't affect the timing and tempature of when he should pitch the yeast?
You must boil the water first and cool it before adding the yeast to rehydrate it. Therefore, you should take that into consideration, as well as the 30 minutes min. that John Palmer recommends for the yeast to be active. You could do as Orfy does and start your brewing off with this step.
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