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Old 12-28-2011, 12:37 AM   #1
Wilson1911
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Default First Brew; questions about mistakes.

So for my first brew I am making a Belgian Tripel using the Brewers Best kit.

My mistake was I used my bottling container with the tap (thoroughly sterilized) as my 'primary' fermenting container. So now I am uncertain how to handle this.

Should I siphon the contents to my other container and treat that as my secondary and siphon to fill the bottles? Or is it okay to transfer it more than once? I am worried I may lose too much yeast in the process and have trouble carbonating the beer.

Also I hear a lot of different times for the fermentation process, currently its been fermenting for 11 days and I am looking to transfer it. I'm rather anxious to finish this brew and get started on a new batch now that I understand the process better. What's the minimum amount of time I should need to start bottling?

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:43 AM   #2
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Don't bottle until it is done. That would be when the gravity is stable. Take readings a couple of days apart and when they are the same, it's done.

But ....... Leaving the beer on the yeast for an additional week or more, will improve the beer.

Belgian trippels generally require time to mellow, especially if you didn't have any temperature control.

Your bottling bucket can work as a fermenter. No problem.

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Old 12-28-2011, 12:50 AM   #3
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First off, congrats on the first brew.

There's no minimum time necessarily, your beer is finished when the yeast finish fermenting. This occurs once the gravity stabilizes for several consecutive days. I like to let my ales ferment for at least 3-4 weeks. This has produced good results for me as the beer is completely fermented and the yeast has time to clean up the beer. I also haven't bothered using a secondary fermentation, as I find it unnecessary and don't want to risk contamination during the transfer or have to clean extra equipment. Many of this forum do the same, however, there's nothing really wrong with doing a secondary if that's what you want to do.

I would just say to be patient, I know it's difficult, especially on your first beer, but patience is good thing when it comes to brewing. That's how commercial Belgian Triples are made.

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I'll leave it in the bottling container and start checking the gravity.

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:20 AM   #5
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So, since a Tripel doesn't begin to become drinkable for 6 months to a year, what are you going to brew next so that you can actually have something to drink while you're waiting for this beer to come into it's own.

I often caution new brewers from choosing a higher grav beer for their first few batches, since they take time, to carb and to condition.

It's a better idea to brew a session beer, or average grav beer rather than something as big. Patience is a bitch.

Especially for your first batch.

After about two weeks, if the gravity is stable for 2 readings over a three day period I would rack that into a secondary and forget about it for 6 months and immediately brew something that can be ready in the usual 6-8 weeks. Then in 6 months bottle the tripel and give it a couple more months in the bottle, and it will be stunning.

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson1911 View Post
Should I siphon the contents to my other container and treat that as my secondary and siphon to fill the bottles? Or is it okay to transfer it more than once?
You can transfer more than once. In general, you want to minimize transfers because of potential for oxidation and contamination, but there are always exceptions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson1911 View Post
I am worried I may lose too much yeast in the process and have trouble carbonating the beer.
Don't worry about this. At fermenting temps, you would have to leave it for a long while (certainly longer than a month) before you would drop out enough to have carbonation problems. Even when the beer looks totally clear, you have millions of yeast cells hanging out in there. I've heard Jamil Z reference a number of times on the brewing network how Sierra Nevada does their bottling conditioning... they filter out all the yeast, and then add back yeast for carbonating at a rate which would be equivalent to 1/5 of a vial of white labs in a 5 gallon fermenter. So you really don't need much yeast at all for carbonation.
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Old 12-28-2011, 01:34 AM   #7
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I purchased my stuff used and both my buckets had faucets i have since purchased 2 more buckets.

I also typically leave my beer in primary for 3+ weeks and have had great results especially when racking due to a tight yeast cake.

You have a couple of options, you can head to your LHBS and get another bottling bucket AND another kit and put it your bucket without a faucet, you can get a food grade bucket from a local bakery (I get mine from a local Giant) and put a faucet in it yourself.

Congrats on your first brew and welcome to the addiction!

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:09 PM   #8
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A TRIPLE!? For your first brew! Listen to Revvy, you have a long wait. But it will be real tasty if you can wait that long. I have spigots on all six buckets, they come in handy for taking samples. I only remove the top when I siphon for bottling or A rare secondary.Welcome to HBT.& Cheers

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:17 PM   #9
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Grats on the first brew, pretty ballsy to go with a tripel right out of the gate! Your patience level is way better than mine was at first brew point. Take a look at some quick session beers to brew next - Austin Homebrew has a bunch of premade session beer kits that you can turn around pretty quickly.

As a side note, I grew up in the 'Cuse. I miss going to Orange games in the Dome, but I sure dont miss the winters...

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Old 12-28-2011, 03:20 PM   #10
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Both my primaries & bottling bucket have spigots. They just make things easier when taking hydrometer samples,racking,bottling rigs,etc. And the yeast cake should be compacted well enough to not get sucked up when racking to secondary or bottling bucket. That's why it's good to wait till a stable FG is reached in primary,then give another 3-7 days to clean up by-products & settle out more. Then rack.
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