I have just bottled my first batch of brew - a MoreBeer Light Ale Malt Extract kit. In looking back all went well. The fermentation stated within hours, the FG was right where the kit predicted it would be, the calculated ABV is spot on, bottling was easy. Now I just have to wait a couple of weeks. If I can!
There were a couple of things I'd like feedback on before I start my next kit - an English Ale.
1) I understand that the critical time is after the boil and before you pitch the yeast. All that sweet wort and air can start the 'wrong' fermentation. So I removed the 5 gallon kettle from the heat, put it into a sink of ice water and added a sanitized zip-lock with ice in it. The wort cooled rapidly from 200F to 120F. A wort chiller would be easier, but this was quick. The instructions called for chilling to 130, then pouring it into the carboy with 2 gallons of cold water and topping it off to 5 gallons. Then pitching the yeast at 70-80F. The temperature at that point was 90F and it took a long time to reach the temp where I could pitch the yeast - about an hour. Is that normal? Are there any tips to speed that up? Why put the beer into the fermenter at 120/130. Why not cool down further in the sink and then put it in the carboy.
2) After bottling I read that you shouldn't use the screw-top bottles and cap them. I have 4 of that style bottle. I checked and they appear to have sealed well. What is the reason why you shouldn't use empty screw-top beer bottles (Yuengling!)