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Old 02-28-2013, 04:23 AM   #1
BeatsBrew
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Default First Brew, putting the research to work....

Hey everyone, I'm in the process of brew my first batch of beer. I stuck with a pretty simple kit for my first run. (http://www.brewerylane.com/beer/brewhouse.html) I chose the Pale Ale. Just wondering if anyone has some pointers they would like to share. I'm 2 days into my primary, hoping to rack around the 4th or 5th day to my secondary( 6.5 gal glass carboy). Directions say 3-5. Is it a problem if my primary isn't air tight? It's a food grade pale that came with my equipment, but it does not have a air tight seal. I placed a Sheet of wood over the lid with some weight on top to hopefully create a better seal, but its definitely not air tight. Any suggestions or pointers on any of my past steps or future steps are greatly appreciated!

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Old 02-28-2013, 11:47 AM   #2
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First off, it is absolutely unnecessary to transfer to secondary and I'd recommend you simply leave it in primary for 14-21 days before bottling. This has become very common practice among many of us who have been up to this for awhile, to the point it is probably the norm nowadays.

Regarding the not so air tight bucket... you'll be fine. However, it's likely the lid will actually create an air tight seal, you'll just have to manhandle it the first time. I've got some buckets that actually required the use of a rubber mallet, but after the first time, they whipped into shape and seal up nicely now.

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Old 02-28-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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I agree with Brulosopher. You don't need to do anything to it until bottling day. But I'm a little more concerned than he is about your bucket. Have gotten an infection in my brew that cost me several batches before I got it sorted out, so I'm easily spooked by things like you described.

First thing I would do is leave it alone as long as you can. The co2 given off by the fermentation will crowd out any oxygen laying on your beer and also create a slight positive flow out of the bucket. This should help keep any nasties from getting in. (Unless you want to try making a lambic on your first batch.). When you do lift your block of wood off I would lift it carefully to make sure you don't get any debris (fungus spores) on the lid then give the surface a nice spray of StarSan from a spray bottle. Soak a paper towel in StarSan and cover any opening in the lid. Don't let anything drip into that unsealed hole. Once that lid is off you should be fine.

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Old 02-28-2013, 01:04 PM   #4
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[QUOTE="Puddlethumper"]I agree with Brulosopher. You don't need to do anything to it until bottling day. But I'm a little more concerned than he is about your bucket. Have gotten an infection in my brew that cost me several batches before I got it sorted out, so I'm easily spooked by things like you described.

Oops. Misread your post. No openings in the lid so no issue there. Sorry. Still that wood block has fungus spores all over it (I'm in the wood decay business) and wouldn't want it anywhere near my beer. A good spray of StarSan over and around the lid before you open things up should clean it up fine.

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Old 02-28-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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leave it in primary for at least 3 weeks, no need to secondary. You dont want to secondary a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon carboy anyway because of to much head space. Brew up another batch and stick it in the carboy to ferment. Get that pipeline going!!

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Old 02-28-2013, 01:09 PM   #6
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Never rack until the beer has reach final gravity (which it will not have done on the 4th day) and you probably shouldn't rack it at all. You can dry hop right in the primary when all yeast activity seems to have ceased, probably on about day 14. Here is a good explanation on the yeasts activity.

http://www.brewgeeks.com/the-life-cycle-of-yeast.html

Use your hydrometer to determine when the yeast is done, not the airlock.

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Old 02-28-2013, 01:13 PM   #7
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You would be better to leave the wood off your bucket. There are a few people who actually do open fermentations without any trouble. As long as you aren't next to a fan or register where there are moving air currents the CO2 should form a nice protective layer over your beer. Placing a piece of wood over your fermenter is a recipe for disaster though.

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the feedback. Does anyone think I could ruin my batch if I don't follow their instructions? Also I was wondering if a lot of you are saying that you bottle straight from your primary? From my research I kinda assumed secondary was necessary for a clear clean beer?

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:38 PM   #9
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You can bottle without having used a secondary fermenter/conditioning vessel. However, you would still likely want to use a bottling bucket to mix your beer with priming sugar before transfering to bottles.

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Old 02-28-2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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I rack 1 time only. To the bottling bucket on top of my priming solution. Great clear beer.
edit: maybe I should have said "clean" beer

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