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Old 02-19-2010, 03:24 AM   #1
jruffatto
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Default New Brewer with lots of questions

I'm new to the homebrewing game. I have a Brewer's Best kit with two buckets, one for fermenting and one for bottling. Unfortunately my bottler bucket has a very very slow leak. But I plan on going from fermenting straight to bottling with an auto sipphon and the bottling wand and tubing that came with the kit. A have some questions though. Brewing an IPA from a Brewer's Best kit. I've read the directions and the book that came with the kit and I'm still confused, mostly about the fermenting process.

1.) Can I sanitize all my equipment in my dishwasher, which has a 155 degree sanitize feature?

2.) Can I buy another plain bucket for secondary fermenting? Other than the not getting scratched up, and not having oxygen permeation, what is the advantage of the glass carboy?

3.) Can I go from secondary fermenter right into bottling or would I still be wise to use the bottling bucket with the spigot? Like I said it's a very, very slow leak so I could still get my bottling done without losing too much beer.

4.) I keep seeing people talk about not letting any oxygen in during fermentation, but then how do I test the gravity to make sure the hydrometer is not sinking and I'm ready to bottle?

I think that's it. I appreciate any help for a newbie.

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:36 AM   #2
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Hi there, keep asking ??'s as they come up. Here are some answers to the best of my knowledge:

1.) Can I sanitize all my equipment in my dishwasher, which has a 155 degree sanitize feature? no, you can was your equipment in your dishwasher, but you need sanitizer such as iodophor or star san. A dishwasher is not sanitary

2.) Can I buy another plain bucket for secondary fermenting? Other than the not getting scratched up, and not having oxygen permeation, what is the advantage of the glass carboy? you can use another bucket for secondary. some like glass, others lick plastic, it is up to you. check this out: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/ind..._Better_Bottle

3.) Can I go from secondary fermenter right into bottling or would I still be wise to use the bottling bucket with the spigot? Like I said it's a very, very slow leak so I could still get my bottling done without losing too much beer. Use your bottling bucket. you will want to use a siphon from your secondary (or primary) bucket into your bottling bucket. this will reduce the sediment that goes into your bottles. Read this: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/bott...ebrewer-94812/

4.) I keep seeing people talk about not letting any oxygen in during fermentation, but then how do I test the gravity to make sure the hydrometer is not sinking and I'm ready to bottle? Don't sweat that, after fermentation, there is a heavy layer of Co2 sitting on top of your wort which will protect it from o2. Just sanitize the top of the bucket (with sanitizer mentioned above, put some in a spray bottle), then pull the top off and use a sanitized turkey baster or wine thief to pull a sample and dump that into your hydrometer. then put the top of your bucket back on

I think that's it. I appreciate any help for a newbie.[/QUOTE]

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:40 AM   #3
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1.) Can I sanitize all my equipment in my dishwasher, which has a 155 degree sanitize feature?
Get some star san and use it. I use the dishwasher only to sanitize my bottles.

2.) Can I buy another plain bucket for secondary fermenting? Other than the not getting scratched up, and not having oxygen permeation, what is the advantage of the glass carboy?

Right now I use a glass carboy as a primary and a better bottle as a secondary. I like having them instead of a normal bucket because I can see what my beer is doing.

3.) Can I go from secondary fermenter right into bottling or would I still be wise to use the bottling bucket with the spigot? Like I said it's a very, very slow leak so I could still get my bottling done without losing too much beer.

I would use a bottling bucket. You should try to fix the leak. Is it around the spigot? If so try tightening it up.

4.) I keep seeing people talk about not letting any oxygen in during fermentation, but then how do I test the gravity to make sure the hydrometer is not sinking and I'm ready to bottle?

I only take readings after brewing and 30 days later. I figure RDWHAHB.

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:42 AM   #4
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You need to do a lot of reading...

1. For the most part, you probably will be alright. What equipment are you talking about? Not the buckets, right? Get some starsan - you'll thank me later.

2. Well, proper fermentation buckets should be food grade and allow only minimal oxygen permeation (although oxygen introduced to the primary ferm will be consumed by the yeast). Don't forget, glass won't absorb flavors and have carry-over from batch to batch like plastics can.

3. You could... but, are you going to bottle with a siphon? Use the bottling bucket to mix the priming sugars into the (now) beer. Using a spring/gravity-loaded bottle filler will save you hours of aggrevation. As far as the leak, take the valve apart, clean it, and when you re-assemble, do not overtighten.

4. Actually, you want oxygen introduced to the fermentaion... at least in the beginning. It's after the fermentaion is complete that oxygen will affect your beer and cause pre-mature staling. CO2 is heavier than oxygen and will form a protective blanket on top of your fermented beer. Taking a gravity reading is not going to ruin the whole batch.

...start with "How To Brew" by John Palmer - it's essentially free online (one of the coolest gifts ever to the homebrewing community!)

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:47 AM   #5
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I'm assuming the leak is around the tap. Are there washers on both sides of the plastic bucket? If not, there should be. Another thing you could try is teflon tape or plumbers putty, just make sure it's sanitized or sanitizable.

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:59 AM   #6
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My guess with the leak is that you are putting the washer on the wrong side of the bucket when you put the spigot together.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:11 AM   #7
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1. Like others said, I only use my dishwasher for sanitizing my bottles, but even still, I rinse them with a no rinse bar/restraunt food grade sanitizer

2. You can use another plastic bucket, but it is nice to see how your beer is clearing up, which is part of the reason for using a secondary, clearing the beer. When I first started out, I would transfer the beer to my bottling bucket, then clean out the primary and transfer the beer back. I did it VERY carefully to minimize oxidation, but its seems too risky and too much work.

3. I don't really see anything wrong with it other than you will get more debris than you would by using the bottling bucket. Plus, transferring to the bottling bucket is good for stirring in the priming sugar without adding too much air to the beer.

My bottling bucket drips from the area AROUND the spigot. I have washers on both sides. It seems that no matter how much I tighten it, it drips. I've tightened it to the point the washers are getting squeezed out from behind the thing and it drips. I have tried getting it just a little snug and it drips. Everything between the two drips too. It has since the day I first got it. What I do is tighten it for minimal dripping (while sanitizing it before adding the beer to bottle it), then set it on the counter over the open door of the dishwasher. THEN, on the door, I also put something to catch most of the beer that drips. My bottling wand is attached to the spigot with about 2 inches of tubing. I push the bottles up against the bottom of the wand. It works GREAT.

After I'm done bottling, I close the dishwasher door and cleanup is halfway over. PLUS, I have a tester cup of my beer to see how it tastes before carbing in the bottles.

4. It seems like you are asking 2 questions here. I think Grizzlybrew covered it well. Some people will use a wine theif or a turkey baster to remove a sample then check the gravity in a separate beaker. I've just been carefully checking the gravity right in the primary. You don't want to stir up the air too much, but if you are gentile enough, you should be alright.

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Old 02-19-2010, 12:32 PM   #8
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jruffatto,

See PM.

Not trying to overwhelm or confuse you, but for your 2nd question, one advantage of a 5 gallon glass carboy for your secondary is that the surface area where the beer meets the air is smaller and it is a good practice to keep the beers exposure to oxygen at a minimum. (The bucket surface area is much larger than the neck of a carboy) If this is something that you think you may stick with for a while, a glass Carboy is a good investment.

As far as when to bottle, there will certainly be people that disagree with my statement here, but for MY first batch, I dumped 2 packets of dry yeast and let it ferment out for 1 week in the primary. I let it sit for just over two weeks in the secondary and just kept an eye on the airlock. "Even though you may not see bubbles it may be continuing to ferment", but I didn't have ANY action for most of the second week. On the 15th or 16th day, I bottled. I didn't have any bottle bombs, and although I don't practice this now, it made for less to worry about on my FIRST batch. When it doubt, just let it sit for another week...

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