Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

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Old 12-26-2013, 11:45 PM   #1
puttster
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Default New guy looking for an equipment check.

Daughter got me a Christmas present and I am pumped to make my first batch. The kit had a 5 gal steel cooking pot, a 5 gal plastic carboy and about a 6 gal plastic bucket with no lid but with a hole near the bottom and a faucet to fit it. Other inclusions are siphon, bottle filler, capper, thermometer, carboy plug, funnel with strainer, airlock, hydrometer, tubes, sanitizers, a kit for making pale ale and an instructional video from Midwest Homebrewing supplies. The kit has no grain, only packages of malt, sugar and yeast.

Q. I don’t want to buy a cooling coil because in a few months the tap water here in Houston probably won’t be enough to cool the wort. For this first batch can I just set the boiling cooking pot in a tub with a few inches of water and add ice? If the ice is zero degrees and the 5 gallons of wort is 212 to get it down to 70 I will need about 10 gal of ice (80 lbs) does that seem right? So I will need a 15-20 gallon tub to do the cooling.

Q. When it is cooled, do I add the yeast to the pot and then pour everything into the carboy using the filtered funnel? Am I right to consider the carboy the fermenter? In the video the expert talked about using a glass carboy, all I have is a plastic one, wondering if it will be okay. When I get the wort in there should I top it off with water?

Q. It seems to me I could just pour the wort straight from the cooking pot into the 6 gallon plastic bucket, if I could find a good lid for it, and let it ferment in there (bypassing the carboy). Then when the beer was ready, just open up the tap on the bottom and fill the bottles. So maybe the carboy is redundant, or supposed to be used for something else?

This is my first post other than introduction. I’m proud to keep it to approximately three to eight questions! Hope to meet all of you one day, this is a great looking forum.

putts

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Old 12-27-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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In order:
1) With a 5 gallon pot you will be doing a partial boil usually starting with about 3.5 gal or so and boiling down to 2.5 to 3 gallons, then topping off with a couple gallons. If you chill the top off water then you only need to get your wort partially cooled and the top off water will help bring it down. I used to do an ice bath in my big kitchen sink, I can't remember how much ice was needed but certainly not 80 lbs . Like a bag or two I think.

2) dump your mostly chilled wort into the fermenter, add the top off water, then shake or stir the crap out of it to aerate for several minutes. Then add your yeast.

3) So the midwest kit didn't come with a bucket for primary fermentation? I thought all their kits did. The bucket with the spigot is for bottling, I would not recommend trying to bottle from that as a primary. There will be a big layer of yeast and trub at the bottom that you really don't want to disturb or get in your bottles. Most folks batch prime for bottling which means you put the boiled and cooled sugar in the bottling bucket, rack the beer onto it to mix, them bottle from there. The 5 gallon carboy size is typically for use as a secondary/clearing vessel (for example for longer aging). It will be a little small as a primary for a 5 gallon batch, you might want to go down a little on the batch size or get a cheap bucket at the LHBS or home depot to use as a primary.

Oh, and welcome to the addiction!

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Old 12-27-2013, 12:20 AM   #3
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Chicky has some good advice.

Cold top off water will cool it down a lot, then a little ice bath to finish it off. Even before I got a chiller I was doing full volume boils (no top off water) and getting down to 60ish with 40 pounds of ice. Use just water first to get down from boiling to around 100, then add fresh cool water and ice.

I'm in houston also. My copper chiller gets me to the 90s or so in the summer, then I pump ice water through it to get it lower.

Get your ice from buccees if you have one close, $1.50 for 20 lb bag. And there is a good homebrew store called defalcos on Stella link and 610 that I shop at.

Happy brewing

Ps: read read read.

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Old 12-27-2013, 12:25 AM   #4
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Yeah now that I think about it I would do a cold tap water bath to get it down, then drain and add new cold water then add the ice. Uses a lot less ice that way (though my tap water is also pretty cool year round). It's been so long since I haven't had a chiller and I'm getting old so my memory is fading.

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Old 12-27-2013, 03:14 AM   #5
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As the others have mentioned - the 5 gallon carboy you have is usually intended as a secondary fermentor (meaning, after your beer spends some time in a 'primary fermentor' you could then move it to the secondary fermentor for additional fermenting time). Typically, most homebrewers use a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket (or carboy) for primary fermentation. This allow enough headspace in the bucket for a 5 gallon batch so that it fermentation doesn't blow the lid off and cause a big sticky mess.

It sounds to me that it would be worth your while to pick up a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket with a lid that has a hole in the top to insert an airlock with a rubber bung. You can do your fermenting in that, and then it's optional whether you want to transfer (rack) the beer to your 5 gallon carboy after some time.

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Old 12-27-2013, 10:45 AM   #6
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1. Check the "Carboy" it may in fact be a 6.5 in carboy.
2. Boil about 2.5 gallons. Once its chilled to about 100 degrees dump in your chilled spring water. You'll be below 80 degrees and it will be pitchable.
3. You can bottle it about 3 weeks later.

Welcome to your new addiction....

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Old 12-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #7
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Go with what's been said... check your plastic carboy -- it may, in fact, be 6.5 gallons. I have a hard time telling my 6 gallon plastic carboy from my 5 gallon one. They are almost identical. Look on the bottom, it'll probably have the volume stamped on there. Oh, and one very important thing -- do not go by airlock activity to determine when your beer is done -- wait about 3 weeks then take several consecutive hydrometer readings over several days. Once you have three days with identical readings, it's done.

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Old 12-27-2013, 04:48 PM   #8
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You are all correct, the carboy is actually 6 gals. And yes I see now, since the boil will only be 2.5 - 3 gals, the extra water will do a lot of the cooling for me. Looks like my plastic carboy is no one's first choice for a primary, but it will do?

I will have the house to myself Tuesday so that is spud date. Temps will be 40's and 50's, will that be okay for fermenting in the garage?

tom

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Old 12-27-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puttster View Post
You are all correct, the carboy is actually 6 gals. And yes I see now, since the boil will only be 2.5 - 3 gals, the extra water will do a lot of the cooling for me. Looks like my plastic carboy is no one's first choice for a primary, but it will do?

I will have the house to myself Tuesday so that is spud date. Temps will be 40's and 50's, will that be okay for fermenting in the garage?

tom
Actually, the carboy is fine for your primary. Some folks prefer to use a bucket, but I use a plastic carboy (i.e. "Better Bottle") myself.
As for the fermentation temp, that's too low. It really should be in the low 60's for most yeast. Do you have a spare room in the house that you can put the fermenter in? Doesn't have to get up too high, as the fermenting yeast will create heat, so a little on the cool side would be better (high 50's to low 60's ambient) would be perfect.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:03 PM   #10
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40s seems low for fermentation to me. I would try to find a place around 65 ambient.

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