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Old 04-29-2012, 10:52 PM   #1
jonwest
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Default Finished first brew day, but have a few questions

I just finished brewing one of the Brewer's Best PSA IPA kits. I think everything went well, but I have a few questions/concerns.

1) The instructions called for 2.5 gal of clean water in the brew pot to make the wort. I used tap water knowing that the boil would kill anything. The problem comes when I added the remaining 2.5 gal to make a 5 gal batch. After I chilled the wort and moved it to the fermenter, I added 2.5 gal as the instructions called, but I used unboiled tap water. Is there any reason to be concerned?

2) When I was chilling the wort, I had a hard time getting it down to the 70*F the instructions called for. I finally added the remaining water and pitched the yeast (Nottingham) at 79*F. Is this ok? Will it be ok if it maintains this temperature during fermentation? The instructions called for 64*-72*F during fermentation, but my house is warmer than that without turning on the A/C.

3) The instructions say within 4-6 days the bubbling will slow till there is no more CO2. From what I have read on here it seems like I need to leave it for much longer than 4-6 days. The OG was 1.060 and the instructions call for a FG of 1.012-1.016. Should I leave it in the primary for a while even after it has stabilized at the FG?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Welcome to the hobby!

First, topping up with tap water should be fine. Most municipal water is sanitized with chlorine, so there won't be any nasties for the yeast to compete with.

Second, 79F is quite warm for all but very specific yeasts. You should try to bring the temperature down to the range listed in the instructions. The easiest method would be to put your fermentor in a tub with water and put an old, wet t-shirt around it and into the water to allow the water to wick up and cool by evaporation. A fan blowing on it will do an even better job. It may not get it down to the range listed, but will bring it down. At 79F, the yeast will be producing chemicals that will affect the flavour of the beer.

You can leave the beer on the yeast for longer than six days. I leave mine on the yeast for about two weeks to let the yeast clean things up. From there, you can rack it into a carboy to let the rest of the yeast settle out for a week or just bottle straight from the fermentor. There are lots of posts on HBT about bottling, etc.

Regardless, you'll make beer and will know right away what you do and don't like about it. From there, you can work out how to avoid the things that you don't like. This forum will be of immeasurable help.

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonwest View Post
I just finished brewing one of the Brewer's Best PSA IPA kits. I think everything went well, but I have a few questions/concerns.

1) I added 2.5 gal as the instructions called, but I used unboiled tap water. Is there any reason to be concerned?
no concern at all

Quote:
2) When I was chilling the wort, I had a hard time getting it down to the 70*F the instructions called for. I finally added the remaining water and pitched the yeast (Nottingham) at 79*F. Is this ok? Will it be ok if it maintains this temperature during fermentation? The instructions called for 64*-72*F during fermentation, but my house is warmer than that without turning on the A/C.
you want to keep it under 72 . use a cool room, use the AC, use a bucket/tub with water and frozen bottles.

your pitch temp wont hurt the yeast.

Quote:
3) The instructions say within 4-6 days the bubbling will slow till there is no more CO2. From what I have read on here it seems like I need to leave it for much longer than 4-6 days. The OG was 1.060 and the instructions call for a FG of 1.012-1.016. Should I leave it in the primary for a while even after it has stabilized at the FG?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I wouldn't even look at it for a week, then see what the first reading is.
then if its good transfer to a secondary till it clears, however long that takes.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:45 PM   #4
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I would agree that adding tap water straight into the fermenter at the end is probably ok; however, tap water can actually be harmful to yeast if it contains enough chlorine, and if your yeast were old that can cause things to get off to a real slow start.

I always use tap water these days for my brew, mainly because here in central Arkansas we have fine tap water, plus it's really cheap!! I always bring it to a boil first though, to remove chlorine. I don't like to use distilled water because it contains no minerals at all and yeast actually need some of those minerals to do their magic.

I have fermented some beer when the temp in my house was around 80 and I haven't had any problems. I always move my brew to a secondary after 7-10 days though.

Welcome to the hobby!!

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:47 PM   #5
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I usually pitch Nottingham around 75-80 degrees, no problems...you'll want to keep the temperature cooler during fermentation though. I set my freezer to 67 +/- 3, fermentation usually kicks off rapidly and violently.

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Old 04-29-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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The tap water is fine, but it's not ideal. If you have a lot of chlorine in your tap water it can create unpleasant tastes. Get yourself a carbon filter or use Campden tablets in your water to get the chlorine out.

Like everyone else has said, try to get the temps lower. You can do a search on "swamp cooler" to get a bunch of ideas along with what was mentioned above.

As far as how long you should ferment.. that is a subject of debate as there are many ways it can be done. Some do Primary and secondary for various amounts of time, and others only do a primary and then go straight to the bottling bucket. Some people go as little as 10 days in primary and others go as long as 4 or 5 weeks. The most important thing is to make sure your FG is stable for a few days and if it already tastes good to you then bottle it.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:32 AM   #7
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Personal preference, I like to buy bottled spring water. I have been getting it for $0.88/gallon at Walmart which seems reasonable. You can smell the chlorine in my water and I don't like to drink it unless its filtered so that's why.

My best unnecessary purchase has been an immersion wort chiller. I bought a 50' from Grape, Grain and Bean and it cools mine in 15-20 minutes to pitching temp.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:47 AM   #8
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A $20 RV carbon filter and a swamp cooler (both available at Wally-World) and you're good to go. Of course, you've just embarked on an obsession that will have you buying and building all kinds of things you don't even know you need. Welcome.

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:59 AM   #9
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Thanks for all of the quick responses. I have submerged the carboy into a tub of water. The temp has come down to 70. I'll check the temp daily and add ice packs if necessary, but I'll wait until next week to check the SG.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but the only reason to rack to a secondary is to clarify the beer, and minimize the amount of sediment in the bottles. It doesn't have anything to do with fermentation? If so, I need to wait until the FG stabilizes to rack. Or am I wrong?

Thanks

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Old 04-30-2012, 02:04 AM   #10
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The gang has answered all the questions, but here's a tip that might help the next brew: Throw the "top off" water in the fridge or freezer a few hours before you know you will need it. It brings down the temp of the wart very fast along with an ice bath.

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