Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:44 PM   #1
IndyMatt
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Default First Brew - Thanks!

So I got my first brew in the fermenter! I was a little freaked out that I added the smack pack without a starter, next time a starter will be made! It did start bubbling within 24 hours luckily! It took me a long time due to the reasons below:

1. Boiling Time - It takes forever on a stove top to get 4 gallons to boil! We have a propane burned for a turkey fryer that will be used next time! Plus my lovely wife keeps complaining of the smell. I think it smells wonderful, her not so much!

2. Chilling - I plan on either building or purchasing (more likely purchasing due to the sheer cost of copper!) a wort chiller. I used a bath tub of ice and it cooled down but took a while.

3. New - This was my first brew so it took some time to get things organized and I was super anal about cleaning/sanitizing things! I used a sink full of Star San to soak and sanitize items.

Of all of the things above the most annoying was the use of the stove top. It worked just extremely slowly! So to all you new brewers look into a turkey fryer/banjo burner to use.

I used a sweet georgia brown recipe from my lBS, Great Fermentations. It is an extract with specialty grains recipe. Overall I think it went well. It has been in the fermenter since Tuesday and is bubbling nicely. It will be thrown into the secondary for a few days then bottled. I cooled the wort to 75 degrees and then pitched a smack pack of Wyeast. The smack pack was activated earlier that day. It is fermenting at around 68 degrees in 6.5 gallon Carboy, undisturbed! The OG was higher than the recipe suggested but the overall content could be the reason, from memory I think the recipe states 1.052ish and mine was 1.062 although the reading I took was at the 75 degree mark. It seems to be fermenting well and I did rinse the grain bag really when into the wort after steeping.

I will update when I transfer to secondary and then to the bottles. Overall it went well, I have done a lot of reading on here as well as How To Brew and The Joy of Homebrewing. It has all helped me a lot! I am already looking at the next recipe!

One quick question, harvesting yeast out of the fermenter, how is this best done out of a carboy? Also how long can the yeast last refrigerated? Due to some upcoming travel I will be gone for about three months and would like to use the yeast again if possible.

Thanks Again guys for all your help!

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:52 PM   #2
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Congrats....The obsession begins

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:57 PM   #3
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Congrats on the 1st brew!

I've never used a starter with either smack packs or dry yeast and I've never had a problem. I usually smack it the day before brew day and make sure it's around 70 and dump it right in. My last batch, I forgot to do this and realized as I was getting things ready. I smacked it, threw it in a bowl of water at 75 degrees for about 4 hours and was good to go. It quickly cooled and held to about 70.

From what I've read, getting yeast out of the carboy can be tough, so if that's something you want to do, use a bucket for those batches instead of a carboy. I'm sure someone has a way to do it - maybe a sanitized turkey baster? I would like to know as well.

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:18 PM   #4
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Yeah I have heard the same that harvesting the yeast is harder with a carboy.

Obsession, yep pretty much! I already have a list of beers I want to brew. My next will probably be a wit for summer/fall.

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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for your wort chiller, buy some 3/8 refrigeration copper tubing. I bought 2 rolls for ( I think) 36 bucks. hooked em together to make a ribcage chiller ( search on here) and it works GREAT. so far nothing has taken over 15 minutes to cool to pitching temps with full boils. I think I have less than 40 bucks in my chiller, but I had the hose here already. it is ugly but it works great!

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Old 03-18-2010, 03:44 PM   #6
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Congrats on your first brew! I'm three batches down and I still don't have a wort chiller. I brew at night so waiting an hour for it to cool down at 11pm isn't my idea of a good time. This will be my next piece of equipment.

My wife complains about the smell, too. We replaced all our appliances so I replaced my cooktop with a KitchenAid that has a 15,000BTU center burner and it gets 4 gallons boiling quick enough for me. That's an expensive upgrade just for brewing though!

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Old 03-18-2010, 05:31 PM   #7
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Yeah a chiller is one on my list!

Is there a way to convert a full grain recipe to a extract with specialty grain recipe? Not ready to go full grain but there are some awesome recipes!

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Old 03-18-2010, 05:58 PM   #8
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Read up on this here

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Old 03-18-2010, 05:59 PM   #9
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All of the Great Fermentation kits I've brewed up have tasted outstanding. They run a good shop. Currently drinking a batch of their Deck Hand Stout which has been very tasty.

They've got an all grain class coming up.

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Old 03-22-2010, 11:33 AM   #10
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Thanks guys for all of the suggestions!

Clevercugel - I will be out of the country when the class is held. I would have liked to have gone! I want to try their Oktoberfest and Witless kits.

I pulled a sample to take a hydrometer reading, it was at 1.018. I went ahead and racked it to secondary. I did taste it and it tasted like a brown ale! After bottling and aging it should be awesome!

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