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Old 10-29-2012, 11:30 PM   #1
TheJasonT
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Greetings!

My name is Jason and I'm addicted to homebrewing.

(all together now: "Hi Jason!")

Okay, now for the recipe:

Brew date: 10/28 2:30pm EST

5 Gallon Starter Kit from LHBS. Plastic fermenters. All equipment sanitized thoroughly beforehand.

Kit: Brewers Best PSA IPA.

Boil Size: approx. 2.75 gallons

Dry Grains: Carapils and Caramel, 2oz and 6oz respectively, made a "tea" with them at 165-170 for 20 minutes.

Increased to boil, added 6.6lbs light LME.

Hops and flavorings:
60min: 1oz Summit
20min: 1oz Palisade
15min: 1lb Dry light malt extract
Flameout: 1oz Ahtanum

Cooled the wort in an ice bath, took about 15 minutes to hit 70deg. Siphoned off wort to fermenter and added cool water to bring to 5gal. Pitched yeast and stirred it in. OG 1.063

Now for the questions:

How can I measure the temperature of the wort? With the fermenter sealed, is it safe to open it and add a sanitized thermocouple?

It's about 26 hours after fermentation started and it seems to be very vigorous. I'm getting bubbles, some longer than others, every 1.5-2 seconds. Is it possible it's running a little hot?

How long is a normal fermentation for an IPA? I'm shooting for about 9 days, or November 6th for bottling. iBrewmaster is telling me to expect a FG of 1.020. Does that sound about right? I'm planning on warm conditioning at room temp for 7 days and cold conditioning for 7 at about 40deg.

Your help is appreciated greatly and I'm looking forward to your advice!

Thank you!

-Jason

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:38 PM   #2
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Your starter kit should have came with an adhesive thermometer tape to stick to your bucket,
like this
http://www.midwestsupplies.com/dual-...ermometer.html
I wouldn't even think of bottling in less than 2 weeks, preferably 3 weeks or so.

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:52 PM   #3
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Hi Jason!

Full fermentation probably takes 7-10 days (although organic and inorganic reactions will still continue to occur for a long time) but the bulk of sugar consumption and corresponding CO2 and ethanol production happens over the first 3 days.

My experience is that there is no need to be more than conscientiously sanitary - and taking samples and readings by opening your fermenter top will be fine. I have had even serious (to my mind) breaches of sanitary protocols and had zero issues with the beer. You have inoculated your wort with billions and billions of yeast cells that are almost sure to outcompete anything that lands in your fermenter by accident. And your fermenting beer has a nice layer of CO2 on top, too, providing a little oxygen barrier.

Maybe with LME a 1.020 FG is possible or likely. My experience with all-grain batches where I mash ~149-150 deg F is that the FG Calcs are too high by 0.006-0.010.

Good luck - but I bet you don't need any!

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Old 10-30-2012, 12:01 AM   #4
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+1 to all above. Welcome!


Yeast do not work by calendars so stop planning by days. After 10 days take a gravity reading and most likely, but not always the beer should reach FG. Take another sample 2 days later. If its the same then fermentation is complete, then, IMO, you let it sit in primary for an additional week to clear and clean up.

If you do not know how warm it has fermented definitely leave it an additional week, even 2 to metabolize any potential off flavors from high temperatures.

Be patient you'll be rewarded. Once bottled, keep the beer in a 70 degree environment for at least 3 weeks to carbonate, If colder the process will be slower.

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Old 10-30-2012, 12:03 AM   #5
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So many ways to do this. Best advise is keep your temps low to mid 60s. Also take hydrometer readings after a week or so. After two to three days and the readings remain the same it's safe to bottle. Congrats to brewing man it's a great hobby.

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Old 10-30-2012, 02:25 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input, friends.

I was able to put a sanitized thermocouple in the brew. I almost had a panic attack when I saw the temp at 82.5deg F!! I guess it wasn't nearly as cool as I thought it was. I went and put ice and water in the second bucket and inserted the fermenter into it. It's been in there a little less than an hour now and the temp is 81.4 and dropping. Hopefully I caught it in time to prevent any odd flavors.

While is was open I took some pictures...

image-1363503669.jpg

That's a krausen, right?

And here's the fermenter all sealed up with the thermocouple on top.


image-2556168697.jpg

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Old 10-30-2012, 02:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJasonT
Thanks for the input, friends.

I was able to put a sanitized thermocouple in the brew. I almost had a panic attack when I saw the temp at 82.5deg F!! I guess it wasn't nearly as cool as I thought it was. I went and put ice and water in the second bucket and inserted the fermenter into it. It's been in there a little less than an hour now and the temp is 81.4 and dropping. Hopefully I caught it in time to prevent any odd flavors.

While is was open I took some pictures...

That's a krausen, right?

And here's the fermenter all sealed up with the thermocouple on top.
Looks great. Get that temp down that's mucho high. Get it to at least 70 if that's all you can muster. Put it in bath tub slowly putting ice in the water. Slowly dropping temp. After you get close to in better temp range put it somewhere that its very cool And can maintain that temp like a Basement or closet.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:39 AM   #8
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Welcome

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Old 11-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #9
TheJasonT
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UPDATE:


Just checked on my brew! It's pretty! The temp never really got below 69 degrees, but I'm thinking that it might be because the probe was floating just above the beer. Next time, definitely putting a weight on the probe.

Anyways, the gravity was 1.012-13. I was expecting 1.020-025. What does this mean?

I took a sample to taste. It was murky and looked to have a few very small chunks of yeast in it. The taste was nice, definitely hoppy, but it seemed a bit "hot". It was a background flavor, nothing like shooting tequila or whiskey.

I'm going to check the gravity again on Wednesday then if its stable I'm planning to bottle Saturday. I'm thinking of running the beer through cheesecloth on the transfer from fermenter to bottling bucket. Thoughts on this?

Thanks!

-Jason

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Old 11-04-2012, 09:39 PM   #10
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Your FG was lower than you expected? I've only had the exact opposite problem. A lower FG means you have better than expected attenuation and as a result your beer will be a higher abv. I'm unsure if that is a good thing for you or not.

I always taste my beer at various stages of the brewing process. I've only done a few, but they always taste weird for me before they spent time in the bottle.

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