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Old 01-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #1
youngstroma
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Default First Beer!... 6 gallons?

Hey guys,

I started my first beer yesterday, True Brew Irish Stout, and everything went pretty well. First of all, we decided to do a full boil, using a 8.5 gal pot we picked up for $30 at bed bath and beyond... not sure if "Graniteware" is the best material but it seemed to work well.

We had added extra water to account for evaporation, but apparently it was too much because when we poured it into the primary it went well above the 5 gallon line. The weird thing is our hydrometer reading is pretty much spot on to the "target", which makes me think it isn't too watered down.

Activity started within about 5 hours, and this morning I wake up and find the water in the airlock filled with wort, not overflowing though. Should I be worried or should I just take off the airlock refill it and put it back on?

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:55 PM   #2
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Sounds like everything went great- congrats on your first brew!

If it were me, I'd pull out the airlock and rig up a "blow off tube". You take a piece of tubing (like from what you use to siphon your beer) and sanitize it. You can either attach the end to the airlock (I'll find a picture, I think Revvy has one in his gallery) or jam it into the hole in the bucket lid/carboy stopper and then stick the other end in a jug of water/sanitizer. That creates a big airlock, allowing the co2 out but no nasties in.

Found some photos to explain:


From Revvy's gallery

Or, if you're using a carboy:


From Biermuncher's gallery

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:57 PM   #3
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If your airlock is full of wort now, it will be overflowing a little while later.
If you can, I would rig a blow off tube. Search for "blow off" for instructions.

And welcome to the forum.

-a.

And Yooper beat me to it!

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Old 01-18-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Thanks guys
I made a blow off like in the first picture. The tubing was snug going on, so I hope it won't come off once it starts to fill with wort. I'll make sure to keep an eye on it

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Old 01-18-2009, 02:55 PM   #5
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The wort foam will also have a extremely strong smell. If you are indoors you may want to have a lid on the secondary bucket ( where the foam will go into ) have the lid air sealed and set up so a secondary hose leads out the window as seen below.

Prevents that lingering sweet smell hovering around your house for months.

** Make sure though to fill the blowoff bucket 1/3 with sanitized water! **


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Old 01-18-2009, 03:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oinyo View Post
The wort foam will also have a extremely strong smell.
This is not an accurate statement. I have been brewing several batches a month for over 4 years and have never had an extreme, unpleasant, or in any way objectionable smell from fermenting beer. Now Apfelwein fermentation is another story completely.

oinyo, I'm sorry your GF is trying to get you to stop brewing but giving this kind of information to a new brewer is a great disservice.
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:17 PM   #7
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The primary is in a closet about 2 feet from my bed and no bad smells yet

One thing I was wondering was if adding the pounds of malt extract increases the water level at all, or just makes it denser (and therefore increases the gravity)

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Old 01-18-2009, 07:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngstroma View Post
The primary is in a closet about 2 feet from my bed and no bad smells yet

One thing I was wondering was if adding the pounds of malt extract increases the water level at all, or just makes it denser (and therefore increases the gravity)
I like the smell. Smells kind of fruity. However, the only way I can smell it is if I go down in the basement next to it.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:15 PM   #9
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I always have beer and wine going and rarely smell anything. But two days ago, I had 15 gallons of chokecherry wine in an open primary and walked in the door and could smell a yeasty odor. Actually, kind of like a bakery. Anyway, now it's in secondary with an airlock, and there isn't any odor at all. I have 5 gallons of fermenting beer and 15 gallons of that wine within 6 feet of me, and there isn't any unpleasantness at all.

Let us know how the blow-off tube works for you!

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Old 01-18-2009, 09:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youngstroma View Post
The primary is in a closet about 2 feet from my bed and no bad smells yet

One thing I was wondering was if adding the pounds of malt extract increases the water level at all, or just makes it denser (and therefore increases the gravity)
Yes, it increases the volume you're dealing with.

I'm sitting in my office listening to the music of the airlock, enjoying the sweet smell of billions of my minions slaving away to make me beer.
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