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Old 02-06-2011, 10:43 PM   #11
joetothemo
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Originally Posted by superjunior View Post
my tip would be to NOT follow your kit instructions to a T, at least when it comes to time frames on fermenting and bottling. Most kit instructions will tell you your beer will be ready in a week or two - simply not true. rely on your hydrometer not the airlock.
oh, and welcome to hbt

I understand your point about the fermentation times in kit instructions being rushed.

The reason I said to "follow to a T" is this: I think that a lot of people that dispense wisdom on this and other boards forget what it is like to be a complete brewing virgin.

It is information overload.

Before you have ever popped the top of your first can of extract, should you really be inundated with the age old "How long should I ferment in primary?", "do I need a secondary!?" or even "is my beer ruined?" discussions? There are hundreds of conflicting opinions on this one forum alone.

Those kit instructions are designed to make beer. It may not be the best. But it will be beer. And hopefully, you will be encouraged to improve your process for future brews.

A lot of people (self included) take to heart when people say "Step one: Toss the instructions"

However, they are not at all qualified to do such a thing and can get into real trouble.

That's all!

Most of all, have fun. This is a great hobby.
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Amarillo Pale Ale
A Stout I brewed for a guy as a lesson

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Jamil's Belgian Tripel
Centennial Pale Ale

On Draft:
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:53 AM   #12
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Step one ~ Breath Deep; It will become Beer, and if not you can redo it!

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Old 02-07-2011, 02:03 AM   #13
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First off, welcome to your consumation!

My default answer to anyone who asks what it takes to brew beer is to say 'if you can make tea, you can make beer.' The analogy holds true in many respects, especially if the person is extract brewing. In that same breath (as any Southener knows), it is also really hard to make sweet tea that will hold its flavor for two months or more. In essence, this is what beer making requires.

That leads to the first point; sanitation. A lot of books and instructions will say this is very important. That is an understatement. If you think about it, what beer brewers do is create an environment that is ideally suited to making little buggers grow and multiply. Through proper sanitation we ensure that only the buggers we WANT are the ones growing. There are several threads of very advanced brewers who have wasted dozens of gallons of beautiful beer because of contamination. I have heard of breweries who have had to shutdown major portions of their brewery due to one type of bad bacteria growing. Me personally, I won't even come close to a towel if I plan on being near my wort post boil. It is better to have drippy hands than it is to have ruined beer. Avoid your pant legs, towels, counter tops, and kitchen faucets without washing your hands.

Second, and I blame a lot of kits for not pressing this enough, is to make sure you cool your beer quickly. If you are doing stouts and porters it is not so important as the chill haze will be masked by the darkness of the beer. If you are doing anything with any kind of translucence (e.g. lagers, pils, ales, etc.) I strongly recommend getting a wort chiller.

I myself rarely followed directions in the kits when I started. I was lucky enough to be in the area of a well accomplished and knowledgeable LHBS. If you are not so lucky then you probably want to follow the directions and/or look at some of the example recipies on HBT.com. I may be a new member, but I have been watching this site for a long time. Seeing as to how you are from Oregon you should be able to find several above average LHBS's within driving distance from you.

Regarding how long to worry about your primary fermentation, wait until the yeast cake and trub seem to stabilize. This usually takes 3 days, +/-. If you check SG regularly or can swing for a refractometer all the better, but I found that watching the yeast cake is a pretty good lithmus test. When you rack to the secondary you may get a yeast cake that is as large as in the primary, but you can always rack into the primary again. The point is you don't want to leave a large/thick yeast cake exposed to the wort/beer for more than 3-4 days. Otherwise you will end up with a beer that is very 'bread'y and that is the primary drive to have a primary/secondary/tertiary fermentation vessel. If you enjoy the yeast flavor (and i know many who do) then this a moot point and I wouldn't worry about secondary fermentation.

Lastly, if you are worried about information overload then I suggest a different hobby. Perhaps quantum mechanics or philosphy. Not trying to be a dick, but I personally have been brewing for about 10 years and I learn something every time I come to HBT. But don't let that discourage you. The basics of brewing beer takes 5 minutes to teach and a lifetime to learn. Think about it. Mankind has known how to brew beer for thousands of years and we are still debating when is best to add hops to a boil. Making beer is a case study in 'it depends'. That is why I love it and I hope you do too!

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Old 02-07-2011, 02:50 AM   #14
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Stay out of the DIY forum..... These guys have he coolest toys and will show you how to empty your wallet, LOL...... This place is a gold mine for the new brewer!!!!! Tons of helpful people here with loads of experience.

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Old 02-07-2011, 03:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superjunior View Post
my tip would be to NOT follow your kit instructions to a T, at least when it comes to time frames on fermenting and bottling. Most kit instructions will tell you your beer will be ready in a week or two - simply not true. rely on your hydrometer not the airlock.
oh, and welcome to hbt

Actually i would read your instructions completely. Northern Brewer has some of the best instructions for correct brewing of kits. their times are right on for primary through bottling. when they say 6wks, stick to it. they are in the buisiness of "Good to Great homebrewing"

where some of the basic quick kits will have terrible instructions that will give you beer. IMHO, Norther Brewer rocks!!!

Superjunior: check out NortherBrewer if you are having problems with your kits' instructions. all of their kits have their instructions/ingredients online.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Senior_Beer View Post
Stay out of the DIY forum..... These guys have he coolest toys and will show you how to empty your wallet, LOL...... This place is a gold mine for the new brewer!!!!! Tons of helpful people here with loads of experience.
Why my friend, whatever are you talking about?
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Old 02-07-2011, 05:12 AM   #17
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Wow thanks for all the replies. Looks like there isn't a shortage of knowledge here! I'll stick to my instructions and try to do things right. I was going to do an ice bath to cool the wort, but the more I read, I realize a wort chiller might be best. Might go to Home Depot and try to build one as I am kind of reluctant to drop 50-60 bucks if i can make it. I'll let yal know how it goes. Thanks again

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Old 02-07-2011, 05:27 AM   #18
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Wow thanks for all the replies. Looks like there isn't a shortage of knowledge here! I'll stick to my instructions and try to do things right. I was going to do an ice bath to cool the wort, but the more I read, I realize a wort chiller might be best. Might go to Home Depot and try to build one as I am kind of reluctant to drop 50-60 bucks if i can make it. I'll let yal know how it goes. Thanks again
As much as copper costs these days, you may not see much of a difference. DIY guys would know better, though.
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In Primary:
Amarillo Pale Ale
A Stout I brewed for a guy as a lesson

In Bottles:
Jamil's Belgian Tripel
Centennial Pale Ale

On Draft:
Imperial Red Ale

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Old 02-07-2011, 06:09 AM   #19
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Read How to Brew by John Palmer. This laid the basics out for me enough that I don't freak out on what I need to do when I brew, and I know what people are talking about most of the the time on this forum.

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joetothemo View Post
I understand your point about the fermentation times in kit instructions being rushed.

The reason I said to "follow to a T" is this: I think that a lot of people that dispense wisdom on this and other boards forget what it is like to be a complete brewing virgin.

It is information overload.

Before you have ever popped the top of your first can of extract, should you really be inundated with the age old "How long should I ferment in primary?", "do I need a secondary!?" or even "is my beer ruined?" discussions? There are hundreds of conflicting opinions on this one forum alone.

Those kit instructions are designed to make beer. It may not be the best. But it will be beer. And hopefully, you will be encouraged to improve your process for future brews.

A lot of people (self included) take to heart when people say "Step one: Toss the instructions"

However, they are not at all qualified to do such a thing and can get into real trouble.
my point was a lot of kit instructions advise that your fermentation is done and your ready to bottle in two or three weeks. While that may be technically true, with a little effort/research you will learn better methods with their ingredients and kit. I haven't done kits in a while but that has been my experience with their instructions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockeyhunter99 View Post

Superjunior: check out NortherBrewer if you are having problems with your kits' instructions. all of their kits have their instructions/ingredients online.
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