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Old 12-29-2009, 01:31 AM   #1
guitar510
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Well, yesterday was my first brewday and everything went pretty smoothly thanks to all the help on this website. The brewkit I used was Northern Brewer's Three Hearted Ale which is an American IPA with specialty grains.

Recipe was....

1 lbs Briess Caramel 40 (specialty grains)
9.15 Gold Malt syrup
1 oz Centennial (60 min)
1 oz Centennial (25 min)
2 oz Centennial (5 min)
1 oz Centennial (dry hop)

Here are my questions...

1. OG was 1.060...does that sound about right?
2. I used Safeale US-05 Ale Yeast (11 g) hydrated in 4 oz of water...is that enough yeast for this ale? I used 10x mass of water which came out to 4 oz...does the exact amount of water mater?
3. I transferred slightly less than 5 gal (4.8 gal) to the primary fermenter because I was trying to guess how much the foam would settle down to...will there be too much head space in my 5 gal secondary carboy?
4. Recipe suggests 1-2 weeks then transfer to secondary, John Palmer suggests 2-6 days (1-5 bubbles/min)...based on this I was going to aim for 1 week...should I take a SG reading?
5. I aerated the wort then added the yeast. I didn't mix after pitching the yeast. Was this a mistake? The fermentation has MOST CERTAINLY begun...so I'm not that worried.

Thanks for your help!

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Old 12-29-2009, 01:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitar510 View Post
Here are my questions...

1. OG was 1.060...does that sound about right?
Sounds close...

2. I used Safeale US-05 Ale Yeast (11 g) hydrated in 4 oz of water...is that enough yeast for this ale? I used 10x mass of water which came out to 4 oz...does the exact amount of water mater?
Plenty of yeast... Not saying what I did was right, but I have been known to empty the packet in the wort without hydrating... Came out fine...

3. I transferred slightly less than 5 gal (4.8 gal) to the primary fermenter because I was trying to guess how much the foam would settle down to...will there be too much head space in my 5 gal secondary carboy?
It will be fine...

4. Recipe suggests 1-2 weeks then transfer to secondary, John Palmer suggests 2-6 days (1-5 bubbles/min)...based on this I was going to aim for 1 week...should I take a SG reading?
Wait at least 1 week... Extra time in the fermenter generally won't hurt you...

5. I aerated the wort then added the yeast. I didn't mix after pitching the yeast. Was this a mistake? The fermentation has MOST CERTAINLY begun...so I'm not that worried.
If she is a bubbling away, don't fret....

Thanks for your help!
And don't forget... RDWHAHB..

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Old 12-29-2009, 02:14 AM   #3
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sounds like you did just fine. kudos for rehydrating the yeast. Secondary isn't necessary even with a dry hop in the mix but it is ultimately up to you. well done and welcome to the obsession.

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:56 AM   #4
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OK...some more questions for my first brew...

1. I will likely rack to the secondary 7-10 days from brew day, depends on when my auto-siphon arrives (thanks to Northern Brewer for excellent customer service...the first one was broken in the original shipment). Are there any signs to tell me to wait additional time...perhaps the SG reading?

2. Directions call for 2-4 weeks in the secondary fermenter...that's a huge range. Additional time = better?

3. Dry hops are to be added 1-2 weeks before bottling...again a big range with no real explanation. How long should I dry hop for this IPA?

4. When I dry hop, do I just toss the hop pellets in the secondary fermenter? How do I mix or do I need to? I know aerating/splashing is bad.

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Old 12-30-2009, 01:27 AM   #5
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A friend once told me "Brewing is an exact science...sort of". I've discovered in the years since that he was absolutely correct...almost. The reason there is range of time given for things like racking to the secondary is that different batches of beer will behave differently depending on a variety of factors. For instance, did you know that Belgians are slow? Belgian yeasts that is. The 10 gallon batch of Belgian Wit I have in the fermenter took 2 full weeks before the bubbling slowed down enough to call it done. This is average for Belgian beers in my experience. The Texas Blonde I plan to do next will complete primary fermentation in a week or less. Different beers, different yeast, different fermentation times.

You don't actually have to rack your ale into a secondary although I think most still do. You ask if additional time = better. Yep! Yeasts are greedy little critters. They really go to town initially when there is a lot of sugar available. Once all the easy sugar is gone the fermentation slows down. Now the yeast resort to eating the leftovers. Some of those leftovers cause an off flavor in beers so it is best to let the yeasts clean things up.

You should dry hop between 1-2 weeks before bottling. It all depends on how much hop flavor you want in your beer. Remember, dry hopping does not increase bitterness much if at all, it increases the hop flavor and aroma.

And yes, you can just toss the hops into the secondary. That's what I do with sour apples when making my Ephemere clone and dry sour cherries when making a cherry wit.

John

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Old 12-30-2009, 05:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitar510 View Post
1. I will likely rack to the secondary 7-10 days from brew day, depends on when my auto-siphon arrives (thanks to Northern Brewer for excellent customer service...the first one was broken in the original shipment). Are there any signs to tell me to wait additional time...perhaps the SG reading?
FG (final gravity) reading is a must... Bubbles may stop, but that doesn't mean fermentation has... IE: I have a Belgian Dark Strong that is still bubbling like a madman with 3 inch high krausen a week after pitching... I have had a stout that was at FG in 4 days (pitched on a cake from previous batch)... Gravity readings are your friend... Most people shoot for 3 days of the same reading to determine if fermentation is done...

2. Directions call for 2-4 weeks in the secondary fermenter...that's a huge range. Additional time = better?
Again, it is all personal preference... It generally won't hurt to let it sit and clear up a little... Some people go straight from primary to kegging / bottling...

3. Dry hops are to be added 1-2 weeks before bottling...again a big range with no real explanation. How long should I dry hop for this IPA?
I have read that you don't want to dry hop for too long, otherwise you end up with "grassy" flavors... However, YMMV...

4. When I dry hop, do I just toss the hop pellets in the secondary fermenter? How do I mix or do I need to? I know aerating/splashing is bad.
You can just dump the pellets in, but be prepared to use some sort of filter medium when racking... Pellet hops can make a mess in secondary... You can try a hop sock (paint straining bag) but make sure you sanitize it prior to putting in... You can just let the hops do their thing... I may have given them a small swirl to mix them up...
Good luck and let us know how it turns out...

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Old 12-30-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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I've found that dry hopping for a week will give you just about all you can expect from the hops, but longer won't hurt anything.

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Old 01-02-2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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Well, my replacement auto-siphon arrived today so I decided to rack to the secondary fermenter. I took an FG reading of 1.012, so that means my IPA will have an ABV of 6.26% according to BeerSmith. I will probably leave it one week as is...add the dry hops and leave for another week...then bottle and leave for 2 weeks.

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Old 01-02-2010, 11:12 PM   #9
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Some pics...



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