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Old 10-22-2012, 03:30 AM   #1
JAL1029
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Default First Time Brewing -- Fermentation started pretty quickly - Normal?

Hey All -- Very sorry if this is already addressed elsewhere (went through a few of the Sticky threads but couldn't make it through all of them), but I recently purchased a Craft A Brew kit (small sized, came with a 1 gallon Caroby - perfect for my tiny apartment and lack of experience) and decided this afternoon to start my brew.

Everything seemed to go according to plan, and after cooling to just below 70F I pitched the yeast in the carboy, placed the rubber stopper, and then (per the instructions) placed one end of the tube in the stopper and the other in a sanitized glass with the end submerged in some water. Not 6 hours later and the carboy is bubbling like crazy (bubbles all the way to the top) and pretty constant bubbling from the carboy into the sanitized glass.

I have since replaced the glass with a larger one and placed that in a tupperware in case it overflows over night, but I just wanted to see if this sounds abnormal at all? Some of the directions you all have given in previous threads seem to pertain to larger brews with a slightly more advanced/better set up, so even just pointing me towards the correct sticky would be greatly appreciated. It is worth noting I am living in an older Apt in Houston, and my brew is probably being stored on the upper end of the temp range (it would seem this may speed up fermentation).

Thanks!
Jared

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:38 AM   #2
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With a smaller carboy, it should be easy to stick in a bucket of cold water to keep ferm temps down. Depending on the yeast, I'd try to get it down to around 65 at the most, 62 would be better. Warmer temps may speed up fermentation, but can also leave you with some nasty off flavors (hot alcohol flavor for one - see fusel alcohol). Other than that, seems good to me.

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:45 AM   #3
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This is absolutely fine. There are a lot of variables that play into your fermentation that would influence a quick fermentation start up: fermentability of wort, wort temperature, yeast strain, amount of healthy cells present etc. Oh and by the way I can't stress this enough, DONT rely on your airlock to tell you anything significant about your fermentation! Yes, it is a way to tell if fermentation is under way, as the yeast produces co2 etc...but don't think for a minute that an airlock that is not bubbling is a sign of a completed fermentation. As far as reading materials, I would strongly recommend picking up "The Joy of homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian. Good luck and RDWHAHB!

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Old 10-22-2012, 03:50 AM   #4
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Thanks you guys. I have decided to move my brew into the little utility closet since it presents equal amounts of darkness but is more exposed to the climate controlled areas of my apartment. I also put the carboy in a bucket with 2 inches of water in it, in hopes of further controlling the temperature.

I'll keep you guys updated. I am making a Chocolate Milk stout (probably bit off more than I should have for a first time)!

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Old 10-22-2012, 04:38 AM   #5
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Just a quick general question too...

The kit I used was great for the beginner with NO background in brewing -- it made no mention of measuring the BG or FG as a means of determining whether or not the beer is ready. That being said, based on what I have read, I am going to go out and find a hydrometer tomorrow so I can start doing this right. Is there a standard FG that I should be getting to let me know my beer is ready to bottle? Obviously, I have a few weeks at this point...

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Old 10-22-2012, 10:36 AM   #6
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Blow off rigs are pretty common,as some initial fermentations can be very active,to say the least. There is no standard FG,just that listed for that particular recipe. And we generally call it OG or Original Gravity. So look at your instructions for OG & FG. Or maybe the website has a PDF on the beer. Midwest does this.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:30 PM   #7
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Thanks again, and clearly I showed just how novice I am by calling it BG instead of OG (won't happen again!)... The instructiosn did not even address taking this measurement, so I am kind of on my own...It looks like once i get my hydrometer I am going to want an FG of around 1.022 or so (Based on other Milk Stout recipes), but should I try to get more info from the kit mfg first?

As an update, the bubbling has subsided significantly (No longer burning off through the tubes) but there is still plenty of movement in the carboy. Now the biggest challenge will be my fiance keeping me from just sitting and watching this thing non-stop for 3 weeks...

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:46 PM   #8
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Don't look for a specific number, when watching for FG, unless you're working from a kit that tells you that specific number.

Instead, what you should do is this: Let the brew sit in the fermenter for at least 2 weeks (forget whatever timeline your kit gives you - those are designed to get you to turn around as many kits as possible, in as short a time as possible - NOT to get you as good a finished product as possible!). At that time, take a gravity sample and record it. 2 days later, take another sample. If the gravity is still the same, then that's your FG. Basically, you want to see that the gravity has stayed steady for at least 3 days straight.

For a 1 gallon fermenter, 2 weeks should be plenty of time for fermentation to complete and for the yeast to have cleaned up any by products, and hopefully for most of the yeast to have dropped out of solution so you can get ready to bottle. For folks doing larger batches (most of us with 5 or 6 gallon fermenters) we like to go a week or two longer than that - and many folks also will rack to a secondary vessel, but that's a debate for a different thread (or many different threads, as the case may be!).

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