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Old 11-19-2009, 05:47 AM   #1
jim4065
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Default First Batch Bottled Today

I made about 5 gallons of "True Brew German Style Light" from a kit. Lots of mistakes and anguish - didn't have a book (nor time to read it). Anyway - it seems to have turned into beer in spite of me. But cloudy - very cloudy. The kit instructions said to wait for a week after the start of fermentation to bottle, and I waited 'til 10 days total. I'm considering getting another batch started as soon as a new brew kettle gets here, but have lots of questions.

Is there any reason not to install a spigot in the fermenter bucket? Seems like it would make the transfer to the bottling bucket much easier than that siphon.

Would I get better clarity by going to a second stage for a couple of weeks before bottling? Seems like a secondary fermentation in a clear bottle would let me see if the beer had cleared up - prying that lid off to siphon the beer was tough. Might could also make one of your fermentation chillers - the last batch fermented at about 75 in a 70 degree room......

Finally - thanks for having a "Beginners Section". It seems less stressful to ask dumb questions (and vent a bit) here.

Jim

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Old 11-19-2009, 06:50 AM   #2
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I think there are brewers that use a spigoted bucket to ferment but I never liked the idea because I use a water bath to control temperature and don't like the idea of the spigot under water. Try to control your temperatures in the mid 60's and you will get cleaner tasting beer for most ales.

Lots of folks use secondary clearing carboys and it is a good idea if you are bottling but one can siphon pretty succesfully in the primary. Make sure the beer is pretty close to finishing gravity because not a lot will happen in the secondary except to clear more and condition. Do you have an autosiphon? It makes siphoning dead simple.

Do you have an hydrometer? It is the best way to guage how well your beer has fermented.

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Old 11-19-2009, 08:21 AM   #3
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My second batch is in secondary fermentation right now, and I'm working on emptying my first batch now (about a dozen left). I can relate to making mistakes.

My biggest problem with using a bottling bucket as a fermenter, which is what you are pretty much talking about, is that the spigot can tend to drip (from my VERY limited experience), which obviously could get messy and cost you a few beers along the way.

I read somewhere that people tend to recomend/follow the 1,2,3 rule. 1 week in primary fermentation, 2 weeks in secondary, and 3 weeks in the bottles. I'm currently trying this out, but I can already see that batch #2 (only about 4 days into secondary) is going to be much more clear than batch #1.

Just be patient with things. From what I gather from advise on here, you don't really need a secondary, but it helps. The less you fuss with the beer, the clearer it will turn out, but a secondary helps clear it further. What I did, was syphon from the primary to my bottling bucket, cleaned the primary, the syphoned back to the primary. I haven't picked up a carboy YET, but its on the growing list of needed/wanted equipment.

Definately pick up a hydrometer. Let the gravity 'stall' for a few days after a good week or two, remember to be patient - that is the key, then you should be okay to bottle. Check the gravity, then give it a couple more days and check it again. If it is sitting steady, you should be good to bottle.

Hope this helps.

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Old 11-19-2009, 01:52 PM   #4
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Woops! I already bottled. The FG was 1.015 at 66 degrees. SG was about 1.035 (warm - but forgot to take a temp - maybe 75?). I have all the bottles on the back porch, but reckon to move 'em into the barn into a 100 qt ice chest to finish conditioning. At least no lasting harm done if they do start popping.

Maybe the reason I got so much junk in 'em was because of the fact that I forgot to strain the wort coming out of the brew pot. I kinda thought that bacteria would be in there in seconds if I didn't get the airlock on mach schnell. (Pushed the grommet thru the lid and into the brew - where it doesn't float, of course.) Might have been a good thing since pouring the brew back into the pot at least aerated it a bit.

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Old 11-19-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Do a search for 'long primary' and you'll get lots of results. Many people on here don't even secondary, with good results. I routinely leave by beers in primary for 4 weeks, and my results have gotten much better since I started doing this. This will give the yeast time to clean up after themselves, and it will take care of some possibilities for 'off flavors'.

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Old 11-19-2009, 03:53 PM   #6
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I am drinking my first batch and am brewing my second on Saturday .
I am by no means an expert, but my first brew (honey brown ale from AHS) is extremely clear. It spent one week in primary, I racked to secondary (both buckets, I used my bottling bucket as a secondary) where it spent another week. I then racked back into primary, cleaned and sanitized my bottling bucket, racked back over onto the priming sugar and bottled where it spent 3 weeks. I am amazed at how clear the beer is. Probably a LOT more work than is needed, but hey...I'm learnin' and the first batch is AMAZING!

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Old 11-19-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim4065 View Post
Maybe the reason I got so much junk in 'em was because of the fact that I forgot to strain the wort coming out of the brew pot.
I did the exact same thing. My first batch has quite a bit sediment in it. It isn't ruined by any means, but lesson learned.

The only thing I'd recomend is storing the bottles somewhere with a constant temperature. The temperature swings from storing it outside or in the barn might throw the flavor off or prevent it from carbonating properly. The ice chest sounds like a good idea, but from what I've read, you still want to keep it somewhere with a good steady temp.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by iron_city_ap View Post
I did the exact same thing. My first batch has quite a bit sediment in it. It isn't ruined by any means, but lesson learned.

The only thing I'd recomend is storing the bottles somewhere with a constant temperature. The temperature swings from storing it outside or in the barn might throw the flavor off or prevent it from carbonating properly. The ice chest sounds like a good idea, but from what I've read, you still want to keep it somewhere with a good steady temp.
Unfortunately the only place that stays fairly constant right now is the house. It's at 67 degrees on the thermostat but will climb to 72 or 75 as the day warms up. I'm close to having the design for the new fermentation chiller worked out - it's going to wedge onto a tall table but stay under the window AC unit, so there will be compromises. I've pretty well screwed the pooch on this batch anyway - capped by dropping a bottle when I carried all the beer out to the barn. It bounced of my foot, the top step and the bottom step - then shattered on the patio. A new flip-top, of course. No points for dropping a re-cycled long neck.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:39 AM   #9
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I wouldn't say you screwed the pooch just yet. Sure, it won't be 100% what you wanted. I'd say mine is about 40% of what I had hoped for, but the big thing is that its still beer in the end. I didn't go blind from it, i didn't feel it is bad enough to pour it out, etc... The next batch will be much better as long as you remember what you did wrong with this batch and work to correct it.

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