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Old 09-03-2010, 04:52 PM   #1
CypressTop
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Default New Brewer - A few questions

Hello, New to brewing beer and have a couple of questions before I start my first batch this evening.

I purchased a True Brew - Oktoberfest kit and am going to use it for my first batch.

1. The kit suggests a partial boil, then to add to cold water. Should I proceed with a partial boil as directed or should I perform a full boil? Would this reduce the contamination risk from the cold water?

2. Should I ferment as directed for a week in primary, and then bottle, or should I ferment for a week in primary and then rack to a secondary? If I rack to secondary, I assume I should ensure hydrometer reading is stable for a few days before bottling.

3. I heard filtered/spring water is best. Distilled water should not be used as there are no minerals in distilled water that the yeast need. Is this true?

4. My fermenting equipment consists of a Bottling bucket with spigot and arlock hole and a 6.5 Glass carboy. Is is ok to perform primary fermentation in the bottling bucket? I am concerned about possible contamination and or leaks from spigot. I was thinking of getting a second 6.5 Glass carboy, performing primary in one and then rack to second one for secondary, then rack to botting bucket for bottling. This would also allow for a future rotation of carbys.

5. What is the best way to cool wort, keeping the risk of contamination at bay, if I do full boil, without a wort chiller. Budget may not allow for wort chiller it on first batch.

Thanks for any info that you can offer, and I look forward to making great beer!
CypressTop

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Old 09-03-2010, 05:06 PM   #2
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Welcome to the obsession!

1. The boil volume really only effects the hop utilization so for now I'd stick to a partial.
2. Three/Four weeks in primary no secondary then bottle. (check gravity though)
3. If you do a partial boil then top off with cold bottled/boiled-cooled water then your chilling will be almost complete. Distilled water won't hurt but I don't recommend it. Just get some good tasting bottled water!
4. Some people ferment in the bottling bucket but if you have a 6.5 glass, just use that! You really only need to secondary when doing fruit beers or months-long conditioning.
5. Lots of ways to chill, cold water top-off, sit the fermenter in an ice/cold water bath, stir with sanitized frozen 2L water bottles, adding ice to the wort. Read up on the pros and cons on this one!


These are all my opinions so read up and take what all say with open mind and you will do fine.

Read up on sanitzing here on HBT, lots of good info.
Keep all "post-boil" materials that contact the wort/beer sanitized with a good sanitizer and you should never have to worry about contamination. Just be diligent with your sanitizing practices.

Good luck

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Old 09-03-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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I would agree with the above advice. Primary only fermentation vs. primary then secondary is a long discussed topic on this board so you can search for the various arguments/opinions. For simplicity for your first batch I would say just go primary in the carboy for as long as you can wait (3-4 weeks would be best). You can bottle as soon as fermentation stops (when hydrometer readings are constant for 2-3 straight days) but the extra time on the yeast will result in far superior flavors as the yeast continues to work (it is odne converting sugars to alcohol, but it will clean up some of the off-flavors created in the fermentation process). Lots of people do primary or secondary ferment in a bottling bucket for ease of bottling but I personally would be concerned about leakage/sanitation plus having trub in the bottom of the bucket getting into my beers and affecting clarity.

For chilling my first partial boil batches I put the lid on my kettle and stuck the kettle in my sink full of cold water. I used lots of ice or previously frozen 1-2L soda bottles filled with ice and when the water in the sink got too warm I would empty it out and fill up with cold tap water again. Normally took 2 cycles until wort was cool. Then add refrigerated top-up water to cool down the remainder of the way and pitch the yeast.

Enjoy your first batch and don't worry if things go a little wrong. The hardest part is the waiting, but you will be very satisfied in the end. And make more beer while you are waiting!

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Old 09-03-2010, 05:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CypressTop View Post
Hello, New to brewing beer and have a couple of questions before I start my first batch this evening.

I purchased a True Brew - Oktoberfest kit and am going to use it for my first batch.

1. The kit suggests a partial boil, then to add to cold water. Should I proceed with a partial boil as directed or should I perform a full boil? Would this reduce the contamination risk from the cold water?

2. Should I ferment as directed for a week in primary, and then bottle, or should I ferment for a week in primary and then rack to a secondary? If I rack to secondary, I assume I should ensure hydrometer reading is stable for a few days before bottling.

3. I heard filtered/spring water is best. Distilled water should not be used as there are no minerals in distilled water that the yeast need. Is this true?

4. My fermenting equipment consists of a Bottling bucket with spigot and arlock hole and a 6.5 Glass carboy. Is is ok to perform primary fermentation in the bottling bucket? I am concerned about possible contamination and or leaks from spigot. I was thinking of getting a second 6.5 Glass carboy, performing primary in one and then rack to second one for secondary, then rack to botting bucket for bottling. This would also allow for a future rotation of carbys.

5. What is the best way to cool wort, keeping the risk of contamination at bay, if I do full boil, without a wort chiller. Budget may not allow for wort chiller it on first batch.

Thanks for any info that you can offer, and I look forward to making great beer!
CypressTop
1. If youre able to do a full boil i would suggest doing that. just get a big tub and find a place to buy cheap ice. taco johns across the street from me sells 10 pounds of ice for $.99 so i just buy forty pounts and do an ice bath to cool the wort. takes about 15-20 minutes if i stir lots.

2. you should just ferment in the carboy as a primary for three weeks. like said above secondaries are mostly just for fruit or dry hopping.

3. tap water works just fine but if you want you can use bottled water.

4. i would use the carboy as a primary and let it sit for three weeks. it will be more clear and tasty this way.

5. i think the best way to cool a full boil on a budget would be to do the ice bath thing. providing you can find cheap ice or make your own. they dont necessarily have to all be ice cubes too. if you have a big outdoor freezer fill up a couple large containers will water let them freeze and thrown them in the ice bath or any ice packs you have will help keep the bath as cold for as long as possible.
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:55 PM   #5
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I've done several batches using my bottling bucket as a primary. It should be fine.

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Old 09-03-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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just sanitize your spigot if you were really wanting to use the bucket...takes a few seconds then you are good to go.

and one week is WAY to quick (most of the time) 2 weeks minimum, and 3 will get you where you want to be. paaaatience is key

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Old 09-03-2010, 09:16 PM   #7
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And....do your best to keep your fermentation temperature below 70. Below 65 if you can... You will be rewarded with good beer.

your instructions weren't bad - just outdated. Good choice coming here. Welcome to HBT!

Same opinions here - glass carboy for 4 weeks (at 65F) then bottle.
3 weeks in the bottle at 70F should get you a reasonable beer, but 3 more for a very nice Oktoberfest!

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Old 09-04-2010, 04:33 AM   #8
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Default In the Carboy

1st batch in the Car! 4 hours in and already seeing a light coat on the surface. Also discovered that my new hydrometer was broken in the box. Bummer. Will have to procure another. Now for the wait... We'll see if I did everything right. Just curious, how will I know if a batch is contaminated? Are there any distinct indicators?

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Old 09-05-2010, 02:48 PM   #9
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There is a contamination thread with pics, you might look there, but I think that you'll be fine if you just did basic sanitation.

In regards to fermentation temp control, go buy one of these for $6.99 at Target. Works great. Freeze some liter soda bottles with water and rotate two frozen bottles in the tub in the AM and swap those out, let them freeze again with 2 new fresh frozen ones in the PM. THat should keep your wort in the range you need.

http://www.target.com/Rope-Tub-Blue-..._qi_detaillink

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Old 09-07-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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Default Got a Hydrometer

Finally got a hydrometer today. Took my first reading, day 5 and it was 1.015. Recipe calls for 1.010 to 1.012 so I am close. I assume it started as recipe stated at 1.040 to 1.042. What really impressed me is it smells like beer, after only 5 dayes of fermentation! WhoHoo! put a small taste on my tounge from Hydro sample. Was a bit sweet at first, but had a bitter aftertaste. Now to let it continue to ferment and age. Was real cloudy. Color of light peanut butter. This is an extract version of Oktoberfest.

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