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Old 06-26-2011, 04:45 PM   #1
fillyo
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Hi, I have brewed four times with my uncle, enjoyed it, so bought my own kit and did my first solo brew. I did an Alphaking clone (one of my favorite beers), and I think all went well. It was full 5 gallon boil and and I did half my LME in the last 20 minutes of the boil. My original gravity was 1.070 and the yeast was working away all week. Today, I noticed any airlock activity has stopped. It's been a week, so is that about normal? I used a Wyeast 1028 smack pack.

Also, we have always racked to a secondary. After reading a few posts on this, I am considering not for this brew. I see no reason to check the final gravity right now since I am planning to keep it in there, why disturb the beer or risk contamination. Plus, I only have a auto siphon right now, that would be the only way for me to get some beer out of my carboy.


Also, I plan to dry hop, so I was thinking I would let sit in the primary for two weeks, then drop the pellets right in the primary, let sit for a week, then rack it to bottling bucket. That would be a total of 3 weeks. Will I have any clarity or other issues going this route.

Thanks,

Phil

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Old 06-26-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fillyo
Hi, I have brewed four times with my uncle, enjoyed it, so bought my own kit and did my first solo brew. I did an Alphaking clone (one of my favorite beers), and I think all went well. It was full 5 gallon boil and and I did half my LME in the last 20 minutes of the boil. My original gravity was 1.070 and the yeast was working away all week. Today, I noticed any airlock activity has stopped. It's been a week, so is that about normal?

Also, we have always racked to a secondary. After reading a few posts on this, I am considering not for this brew. I see no reason to check the final gravity right now since I am planning to keep it in there, why disturb the beer or risk contamination. Plus, I only have a auto siphon right now, that would be the only way for me to get some beer out of my carboy.

Also, I plan to dry hop, so I was thinking I would let sit in the primary for two weeks, then drop the pellets right in the primary, let sit for a week, then rack it to bottling bucket. That would be a total of 3 weeks. Will I have any clarity or other issues going this route.

Thanks,

Phil
Sounds like your on the right track. Just ignore the airlock. As you've probably read it's not an indication of fermentation being complete, not going smoothly or anything else. Trust your hydrometer only. For a couple bucks a turkey Baster is a good investment for taking small samples. As for the dry hopping... Given proper racking technique from underneath of the hops and a bit of practice will get you as clear a beer as without dry hopping but you'll probably suck some up here and there the first couple tries. Go get you a hop bag which is very cheap as well and put the hops in that way. Lot less hassle. Good luck on the first brew!
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Old 06-26-2011, 04:55 PM   #3
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Initial fermentation usually goes 3-5 days,maybe longer depending on the gravity. I usually take an initial FG sample at 12-14 days. Then wait 2-3 days to check it again,if it's near Final Gravity to start with.
Secondaries aren't really necessary if you're not adding fruit,oak chips,& the like. And use a hop sock,it'll keep floaters out of the bottles,& won't clog the siphon.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:04 PM   #4
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Oh, forgot to mention, my primary is a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, can I use like a smaller nylon bag to dry hop and tie a string to it so I can get it out?

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Old 06-26-2011, 05:17 PM   #5
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I see nothing wrong with your technique for dry hopping. One thing worth noting is that I wouldn't keep that beer in there much longer than 3 weeks. If you keep it in primary for over 4 weeks the trub can start to break down, leaving fatty acids in your beer, and making it taste like soap. Just something to keep in mind.

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Old 06-26-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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Welcome to the site! I consistently leave my beer in the primary for at least a month with no off-flavors. My last beer (a german alt) was in the primary for a little over a month and a half, and it's delicious! While that may be stretching it, certainly a month or so will not result in off flavors. Even if I am going to secondary, I still leave it for a month in primary. Just because fermentation is over doesn't mean the yeast isn't still working, cleaning up after themselves.

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Old 06-26-2011, 05:27 PM   #7
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Regarding your airlock - my last batch never started bubbling, but from the outside I could see the outline of krausen on the inside of my bucket, so I left it. Turned out that the airlock had completely clogged itself with the krausen from the Wyeast 1056. My fermentation is usually done after about 7 days normally, but I always take a hrydrometer reading on day 12 and 14 to confirm.

I dry-hop in a small paint strainer bag in my secondary 5 Gallon better bottle for a week. I've never left a beer on primary longer than two weeks, but that's just personal preference.

You'd be perfectly fine dry-hopping in primary if you plan on racking off after a total of three weeks in primary, although as I mentioned, I find I like racking into secondary.

Use whole leaf for dry-hopping to prevent hop floaties, otherwise wrap the auto-siphon with a grain bag or something to filter out the hops floating around as you rack to bottling.

Cheers!

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