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Old 02-02-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
weyerfan
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Default Hello! New to the forum...getting ready for my first brew

I've been following the forums for the past few weeks trying to get as much preliminary info as I can before brew day. Thank you all for the infromative answers to all the questions I had but never asked. I got a equipment kit from Midwest, a recipe kit for a nice brown ale and a few other knick knacks i've read are useful. Looking forward to Saturday and my first brewing experience.

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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Good luck and just remember to have fun. Regardless of how bad you're making it, it'll probably still be drinkable

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:43 PM   #3
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Very nice. Make sure you take notes and post a detailed description of how it went. Also, make sure you have some brews on standby so you can relax while you do it.
I also recently ordered my equip and a couple of kits from Midwest. I ordered the intermediate kit and the Superior Strong Ale and Imperial Stout. What all did you order?

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:45 PM   #4
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Congrats and Good Luck!

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:50 PM   #5
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Acoma...I ordered the brewing starter kit with the better bottle (the 79.95 one) instead of the glass carboy. I like having the better bottle to transfer out of my primary so I can get started on batch #2 quicker. I also ordered a few small things like Star San, a big stirring paddle, thermometer, a metal spoon and a wine thief. The recipe kit i got is called Big River Brown Ale and after reading some reviews it seems a good starter brew. No sense taking off the training wheels yet. Good luck on your first batch man.

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Old 02-02-2011, 08:57 PM   #6
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I wouldn't rack off of the yeast until it's fully ready (2-4 weeks)... If you're looking to brew again before then, either use the second carboy as another primary (you can do it pretty easily) or get another primary. I have one 6 gallon carboy, plus two 5 gallon carboy's that I'm fermenting in. I have a 5 gallon corny that I'm using to age an old ale, but will probably convert that to another primary once it's empty.

Remember, as it's been said here about a billion times now, long primaries are your friend... Leave the brew on the yeast so that they can clean up after themselves. Just because you hit your FG target doesn't mean it's ready for bottles... Going to secondary for anything other than aging on additional flavor elements is no longer accepted wisdom...

Above all else... RDWHAHB

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Old 02-02-2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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Golddiggie...thanks for the tip. I plan on unveiling my first beer at Easter dinner which is April so it will have about 8 weeks give or take between primary, secondary and the bottle. Im hoping thats enough time and from what I read it should be. The plan is like you said 3 weeks or so in primary, let it clarify a bit (a week or two) in secondary then let in linger in the bottle for a month or so. Im so excited to start.

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Old 02-02-2011, 09:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weyerfan View Post
Golddiggie...thanks for the tip. I plan on unveiling my first beer at Easter dinner which is April so it will have about 8 weeks give or take between primary, secondary and the bottle. Im hoping thats enough time and from what I read it should be. The plan is like you said 3 weeks or so in primary, let it clarify a bit (a week or two) in secondary then let in linger in the bottle for a month or so. Im so excited to start.
Then I wouldn't bother AT ALL with secondary... Check it at three weeks in primary. If you want it to clear more, give it another week. Then rack to your bottling bucket and let it sit in bottles for the remaining time... DO remember to chill down the bottles at least a few days before they're going to be opened.

I've been doing 3-4 week primary, with no secondary, with the past few batches (once I learned about it)... The brew is extremely clear after about three weeks in primary. As long as you don't disturb the yeast cake in the primary too much when racking to the bottling bucket, you'll be fine... Even if you do, let it rest (covered) for a couple of hours so that it all settles back down again...

Racking to secondary opens up the risk of contamination... For no additional benefit over giving it more time in primary... Seems like a no-brainer to me, to leave in primary...
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Old 02-02-2011, 09:32 PM   #9
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Good point...what can i do with the carboy though? Im going to follow your advice for batch #1 and just let it sit in primary before I rack it to the bottling bucket but for future beers would it be OK just to rack to secondary for the sole reason of freeing up my primary for another round of fermentation. Considering what you just said that there is not much clarifying to be done in secondary anyway, the main reason would be like I said just to free up the primary. Does the risk of contamination outweigh the reward of getting another batch started? Or should i get another primary bucket for that purpose and save the carboy for down the road when I add fruits/woods.etc to my brews?

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Old 02-02-2011, 09:40 PM   #10
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Brew another batch and ferment it in the carboy... Start it in about two weeks, so that you'll be almost ready to drink the first one, when the second is going into bottles... Get some blow-off tubing (should be the same size as for the racking cane) and a 1-2 gallon pail (or other largish container) for the tube to go into. Half fill the container with StarSan solution (the smaller container) and put the end of the tube into it... The liquid creates an airlock effect, so that you can have blow-off/foam-over going into the bucket, instead of the walls. After the brew has been going for a few days, you should be able to pull the tube and install a standard airlock... I've done this a few times already, works great... Also means you can use all your fermenting vessels for primary, not designate some for just primary and others for just secondary.

IF you're going to need to rack off of a flavor element, to add another, then you'll want an empty vessel for it. But, you can use your bottling bucket as a temporary home for the brew while you clean what it was inside of. Just be careful about how you do it. Personally, I'd only rack when you need to halt flavor contributions from an element and you're not ready to bottle yet... I did this for a brew with a vanilla bean. Racked off of that onto some oak chips, where it's been sitting for the past few weeks... It gets bottled this weekend.

After you get the process down, or get into it, you'll want to get into a brew cycle... Right now, I'm going with about every two weeks, brewing a batch. That means that every two weeks, I start a brew. Either that week, or one on either side is when I bottle a previous batch. Since mine are staying in primary for 3-4 weeks, that works out well. You'll also want to have enough primaries so that you can brew those batches (figure a standard batch is in primary for 4 weeks) and still be in a good cycle. That could mean that you bottle the day before you brew, unless you get another primary for brew day, and bottle after it... Right now I have one carboy empty. I have a second that will be empty this weekend. I have grain coming so I'll be able to brew next weekend (won't get here in time). I have one batch that was bottled a week ago Sunday, and another batch that was bottled this past Sunday (two in a row)... I brewed a batch on Saturday, so I have one running, two carbonating, and will be brewing another in ~2 weeks... I'm also looking at brewing another on the 19th, but might wait since I need a primary for a brew coming up on the 26th... So the 13th will be better (have a party on the 12th, where I'm bringing home brew)...

Planning on keeping with the 2 week cycle from March forward (come hell or high water)... I'll have a grain mill by then, so it will be far easier... Especially if the group grain buy goes through, and I have a few sacks of grain here...

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