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Old 09-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
KimmiC
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Default Newbie confused what to do next

Hi,

As a newbie, I made my first batch (Moose Drool from a kit) last Friday evening, September 6th.

Everything seemed to go smoothly as far as me following the directions. It is in a bucket with a 3 piece airlock and I took a gravity measurement with the hydrometer right before I put the lid on and it read 1.052.

It bubbled nicely in the air lock for 24 hours and a little vodka either dissipated or got sucked in, not sure. So on Saturday I carefully took the top lid off the airlock and added more vodka. It bubbled again but then stopped on Saturday evening.

I’m doing this in our basement with a finished kitchen and we have had nice cool weather until yesterday. I noticed the temp in the room last night reached 72 degrees so I put a wet shirt on the bucket with a small fan going. It’s pretty dark in there so I’m not worried about sun light. But it’s supposed to be really hot again tomorrow – although it is cooler in our basement, I’m nervous about it getting hot out again in Connecticut - they are talking 90 degrees tomorrow

So far have I done everything right up to this point?

I’ve been reading up on here that there is no need to transfer to a secondary fermenter. My kit came with a glass carboy and the instructions say to transfer into it after 7 days. I would take another gravity reading first but do I even have to transfer? After reading on here, many people don't.

So if I keep it in the bucket, when should I take another reading and is it ok for me to open the top to do so? What is the best way to do this - I want to be as sanitary as I can.

And if the reading looks good (the instructions told me what the reading should come out at but I’m at work right now), how long should I keep it in the bucket – 3 or 4 weeks? Will it “age” and “clear” in the plastic bucket?

I guess I’m reading so much on here about Krausen and what to look for. When I open the bucket to take a reading what should I see? Would be nice not to have to put it in a secondary, one less step but if I should, I will.

I will be bottling this – I have an autosiphon with the attachment for the bottles that will fill them from the bottom up.

Thanks for any input! Why am I so nervous about all this



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Old 09-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
BarefootFriar
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Hi.

Don't worry about secondary. I wouldn't unless I was doing something like oaking it or adding fruit or something like that. Actually, the little yeasties need to be able to clean up the mess they've made. So let it sit in primary for three weeks or so and then think about bottling it. If it goes four weeks, no biggie.

As for your cooler, yeah, sounds good. I like to keep my ales about 65F or so, which is really hard in summer (I'm in Alabama and 90F is a cool day). So I keep mine in the bathtub, and when temps start to rise I fill the tub with cold water. If they really start to go up, I'll add ice. Since it's a small room, I keep the door closed and the a/c keeps it three or four degrees cooler than the rest of the house. I could add a fan to the mix if the power or a/c went out.

Relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew. Cheers!



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Old 09-10-2013, 04:11 PM   #3
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Double post. Dang ISP.

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Old 09-10-2013, 04:15 PM   #4
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If you're really worried about temps...you can buy a tub relatively cheap (got mine at Walmart for $7)...put some water in it and drop in your bucket. Throw a wet t-shirt over it. From there...I control temps using frozen water bottles.

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Old 09-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #5
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For this beer, definitely don't worry about a secondary. Let it sit for at least 14 days, then take a reading. This will allow the yeast to fully complete their job. It will clear during this time, but the aging will mostly occur in the bottles.

The best way to do this is using a wine thief or turkey baster. Sanitize it, dip it in and get your sample. Don't put it back in the bucket though.

As for what it should look like, after that time period, the krausen should have fallen and it should look fairly clear on top with maybe some yeast and protein particles floating around. You should also see a ring around the bucket just above the level of the beer. No real size it should be, mine have been from 1/2" to 3 or more.

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Old 09-10-2013, 04:29 PM   #6
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If it's in a bucket then I'd just put it in the basement. Since you're using extract there is no Trub to worry about, as with grain brewing, so just leave it in the bucket. As mentioned, a good rest will allow the yeast to reconsume some of their discharges. It's like a dog eating poop! 2 to 3 weeks is all you need. Pull the lid and stick your sanitized hydrometer in there and take a reading. If it's anywhere around 1.012 or so it's ready to bottle!

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Old 09-10-2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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You're nervous because it's like the birth of your 1st child. By the 2nd or 3rd, you know what to expect. All the reading in the world is not the same as experience.
So now the answers:
1. Yes, based on you description you have done everything as perfect as you can.
2. The most dangerous time for high temps is during the 1st 24-48 hours of fermentation when the yeast are growing quickly and producing more byproducts. Cooler temps then are most important to limit the off-flavors.
3. Your swamp cooler with a fan should help alot. You can add soda bottles filled with frozen water if you need to.
4. Whatever you do, DON'T move it off the yeast after only 1 week. The LHBShops should drive a stake through the heart of this old advice. If your early fermentation did create some off-flavor compounds, then you need all your yeast to help clean them up. This usually takes a couple days after the vigorous fermentation looks finished. I would leave it in the fermenter for 2 weeks total, then and only then consider a move to secondary. Depending on what my batch is, and what my time schedule is, I bottle after 2-4 weeks.
5. No, you don't have to move it to secondary. Everything that your beer will do in a secondary, it will do in a primary. With the possible exception that I do believe that I get a clearer beer if I do transfer. I now use a 'conditioning tank' (much better term than secondary fermenter) in only about 1/4 of my batches.
6.I generally take a SG reading after 1 week and usually find that I'm about 75% to 90% of FG. Leaving it for an additional week gets me to 100%. Spray the rime with starsan, crack the rim and take your sample with a wine thief or turkey baster that you have sprayed with starsan(or other sanitizer).
7. Krausen, during active fermentation, looks like a thick brown, bubbly blanket at the top of the beer, When it settles, it usually leaves a ring of brown 'crud' at the beer line of the bucket.
Good luck! Sounds like you are doing very well.

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Old 09-10-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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Just a word of encouragement here...You are doing fine.
Just be patient.....there is no real need to take a reading at all until at least 2 weeks really. As mentioned, the majority of fermentation has already taken place and the yeasties are now sanding, polishing and finishing and will soon be cleaning up. Trust them to do their work and give them some time. As Diana Ross sang, "You can't hurry love....you just have to wait."

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Old 09-10-2013, 05:09 PM   #9
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Thanks all for the quick responses and awesome helpful information! I am going to keep it in the primary and not move it to the carboy - for this beer anyway. Yes being new to this has made me insane. My husband said last night that I'm giving the bucket more attention than him! Our kids are all grown and aside from two loving canine furkids, I need another hobby and since I love beer, why not try to make some myself? I am actually looking forward to the holidays now because if it turns out that I can do this, I sure will be spreading that Christmas Cheer - will be gifts from me. I love homeade gifts versus the crowds at the stores during the Holiday season!

And another lesson learned, keep the dogs upstairs while I'm downstairs doing this - they love beer - my bad as they get some for treats now and then. As soon as the kettle was rolling, they were down with me not wanting to leave the stove. I had to bribe them to get them upstairs and locked in up there.

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Old 09-10-2013, 05:27 PM   #10
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Watch your dogs getting near the hops! There's a sticky on this forum about the dangers of hops and your pets - can be quite dangerous!

As far as your beer goes, it sounds like you are doing everything right! You are definitely more prepared than I was on my first batch. Be patient and welcome to the hobby!



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