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Old 02-21-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
PatMac
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I started my first batch last night - an Amber Ale! The process went pretty smooth for being the first time I thought. However, I still have some first timer uncertainties.

1) I used Munton's dry yeast, but didn't rehydrate it before putting it in. I thought that this was an additional step that would get slightly better results and wanted to keep things simple the first time around so I just sprinkled it on top of the wort. I'm kicking myself now for not taking the extra time to rehydrate it, but should it be okay?

2) I was very cautious about keeping everything sterilized throughout the process so I'm pretty sure I have a pure batch. But how do you even know if your batch is contaminated with something? What signs should I be on the look out for?

3) It is now sitting/fermenting peacefully on the floor of a closet in my house. It's only been in there for a few hours so there's no activity right now. The thermometer reads right at 65 degrees. If the temperature varies, I would want it to be a slight bit warmer and not cooler, right?

4) What's the best way to get hop and grain particles out of your wort? I don't think I was very successful at this, I should probably just go buy a funnel with a strainer.

Thanks and you have any tips or tricks of the trade please let me know!

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Old 02-21-2009, 04:05 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by PatMac View Post
I started my first batch last night - an Amber Ale! The process went pretty smooth for being the first time I thought. However, I still have some first timer uncertainties.

1) I used Munton's dry yeast, but didn't rehydrate it before putting it in. I thought that this was an additional step that would get slightly better results and wanted to keep things simple the first time around so I just sprinkled it on top of the wort. I'm kicking myself now for not taking the extra time to rehydrate it, but should it be okay?

2) I was very cautious about keeping everything sterilized throughout the process so I'm pretty sure I have a pure batch. But how do you even know if your batch is contaminated with something? What signs should I be on the look out for?

3) It is now sitting/fermenting peacefully on the floor of a closet in my house. It's only been in there for a few hours so there's no activity right now. The thermometer reads right at 65 degrees. If the temperature varies, I would want it to be a slight bit warmer and not cooler, right?

4) What's the best way to get hop and grain particles out of your wort? I don't think I was very successful at this, I should probably just go buy a funnel with a strainer.

Thanks and you have any tips or tricks of the trade please let me know!
I'm somewhat of a beginner as well but here goes...

1) I've found that with lower gravity beers as long as the yeast gets in, you should be ok. In my days of knowing nothing about brewing I always directly pitched my cooper's yeast and it turned out ok.

2) Usually contamination looks like pure nastiness on top (that also doesnt look like yeast or hops). It will make the beer taste funky, but I if you are sterilizing I wouldnt even worry about it, I havent had any problems yet and I'm not the most thorough person in my cleaning.

3) 65 seems good, it will go a little slower in the fermentation, but you wont get off flavors at all. I would keep in there if I were you, just not any cooler.

4) Buy some irish moss to get the particulate out, works pretty well for me. For my last batch I also just left my beer outside for a few hours, just dont let it freeze out there! Then just bring it in and let in warm back up for a day before bottling.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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1. You should be fine. Munton's is not my favorite yeast but it should get the job done.
2. It's a lot harder than you might think to infect a beer. Relax, you beer will be fine.
3. Temperature is good.
4. Time is the best beer clearer. Leave it long enough for the yeast to complete it's job fermenting, removing off flavors, and clearing your beer. Irish moss works great too but since you didn't use it time is your best friend. Leave your beer for a least 3 weeks right were it is and you'll be amazed at how good it turns out. Leaving your first beer alone is the hardest part of brewing. Start another batch very soon to fill your pipeline!

5. Welcome to HBT! We're glad you're here.

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Old 02-21-2009, 04:14 PM   #4
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I've been brewing about a year now and dry pitching yeast seems to be kind of a new thing. I've dry pitched on every batch except one, and that was the one that dident work.I'm not real sure why you wouldent dry pitch,it's way less of a hassle,differnt flavors maybe?

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Old 02-21-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
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I've been brewing about a year now and dry pitching yeast seems to be kind of a new thing. I've dry pitched on every batch except one, and that was the one that dident work.I'm not real sure why you wouldent dry pitch,it's way less of a hassle,differnt flavors maybe?
The main reason is for healthier yeast. Hydrating yeast wakes it up gently without having to deal with the sugars. It is much harder for yeast cells to hydrate in sugar solution than in water.
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:23 PM   #6
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If the dry pitch works every time, is there any other reason?

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Old 02-21-2009, 05:05 PM   #7
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2) I was very cautious about keeping everything sterilized throughout the process so I'm pretty sure I have a pure batch. But how do you even know if your batch is contaminated with something? What signs should I be on the look out for?
I'll say this: You're going to get brown/tan crud and foam forming on the surface and then stuff that looks like dirt on the inside of the fermenter. That's just fine.

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4) What's the best way to get hop and grain particles out of your wort? I don't think I was very successful at this, I should probably just go buy a funnel with a strainer.
Most of it should settle out, then you siphon off into a bottling bucket and leave the trub sitting in the fermenter. Or you siphon off into a secondary and leave the trub behind.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:39 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice! The fermentation is now starting to get a little more rapid. Some condensation has built up in the main shaft of the airlock extending into the bucket. Is this normal? If not, how can I dry it out without ruining the process?

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Old 02-22-2009, 04:45 PM   #9
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It's wet in there so condensation is perfectly normal. Relax, watch your beer bubble, sniff the airlock if you must but stop worrying.

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Old 02-22-2009, 05:02 PM   #10
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Hey, I'm pretty much a beginner myself with only being about 10 batches deep.... I progressed from using the Munton's dry yeast to using the liquid vials you can by from White Labs. I actually re-brewed a batch of Saison using the liquid yeast and I have to admit that it did taste much better. Choosing the "right" type of yeast for your beer will definately take your beers to the next level.

Regarding temps... it all really depends on what you're looking for. The higher the temps, the faster the fermentation. This also causes more byproducts such as esters to be introduced, which in some cases isn't a bad thing at all. I actually fermented my Saison into the high 80's to get some of those tastes. If it drops below 60, you may be looking at a stalled fermentation. Just take it somewhere a little warmer if that's the case and you'll be good to go!

Oh yeah, one more beginner's tip I learned. Buy a straining bag! I got a nylon mesh straining bag for cheap at Midwest and I just put all of my hops into that when boiling. This saves me from really having to worry about too much trub in the bottom of the boiler. The only stuff at the bottom for me is some of that protein crap and Irish Moss if I used it. But this comes out quick using either a funnel with a strainer or just a strainer on top of your fermenter. I just put that on top and dump the entire batch into the primary to oxygenate it and the such.... Good luck man! This stuff is truely addicting!

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