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Old 01-16-2009, 09:00 PM   #1
pauly99
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Default Next step in the process? - True Brew Amber Ale

I have the "Gold Kit" from True Brew and am currently working with the True Brew Amber Ale kit. This is my first attempt at a home brew and even though I'm 43 years old, I feel like a kid... jazzzzzed. So I followed the directions, sanitized everything, boiled what I needed to boil, and in the end I had the wort in the fermenation bucket. It started bubbling through the air lock after about 12 hours and continued bubbling for another 36 hours or so. Its been sitting now about 4 days after I saw the last bubbling and I will be sanitizing/washing the grolsch bottles (inherited from my dad) this evening. Here is my question. I understand that I will need to add the sugar for priming that came with the ingredients kit but as I look at my "Gold Kit", I see a carboy which I haven't used and from my understanding, I would just siphon things from the fermentation bucket (where the wort currently sits) right into the grolsch bottles using the included tubes. Is that correct? Or am I somehow to transfer everything to the carboy while using the sugar from the priming process? Am I making any sense?

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Old 01-16-2009, 09:28 PM   #2
Shawn Hargreaves
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Welcome to the wonderful world of brewing! Be warned, this stuff can be seriously addictive :-)

First off - don't try to bottle yet. It's too soon, and you can't use the airlock bubbles as a guide to tell when fermentation is finished. A lack of bubbles just means the yeast are no longer giving off large volumes of CO2 (or perhaps that it is escaping somewhere else around the seal etc). It is very likely that the yeast are still working on the last few sugars (in which case if you bottle now you will get overcarbinated and possibly even exploding bottles). Even if they have fully finished fermenting all the last sugars, the yeast will still be at work cleaning up the nasty tasting byproducts of their fermentation. If you bottle before they are done with that, you're beer will be ok, just not as tasty as it could have been with a little more patience.

Most of the experienced brewers on these forums (including the guys who routinely win national competitions etc) recommend waiting at least three weeks before you bottle.

To bottle, you ideally use two containers. Most people would do the fermentation in the carboy, then use the bucket for bottling, but it'll work fine the other way around like you have it too. The process goes like this:

- Boil priming sugar in a small quantity of water to dissolve and sterilize it
- Pour sugar solution into (sterilized) bucket
- Siphon beer from carboy into bucket, taking care not to splash it around so as not to oxygenate it any more than you can avoid
- Avoid siphoning up the yeasty gunk layer from the bottom of the fermenter! It's better to waste an inch or so of beer out of the bottom than to pick up tons of crud into your bottles
- Stir gently to mix the sugar with the beer, again without splashing
- Siphon from the second container into bottles, leaving about an inch of headspace
- Cap
- Wait 3 weeks
- Enjoy!

There are two reasons why transferring via this second container works better than going straight into the bottles:

- Gives you a chance to thoroughly mix the beer with the priming sugar, so every bottle will get the same amount of sugar

- Makes it easier to avoid the gunk from the bottom of the fermenter

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Old 01-16-2009, 09:37 PM   #3
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S.H. is right.

Give that beer a minimum of two weeks in the primary fermenter. Ideally if you have to do something to keep yourself busy. Rack (siphon) it to the carboy after 10 days and give it another 5 to let the beer clear up.

Bottling now and you'll have too much residual sugars that will continue to ferment under pressure in bottles and give you overcarbonated beer.

Once you go to the bottles, store them at 70 degrees for 21 days. No colder. No shorter.

In the meantime...get out and buy some more ingredients and maybe another fermenter to keep your pipeline going.

Oh...and congratulations on your first "born".

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Old 01-16-2009, 10:45 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies... only I'm a little confused now. I decided to pull out the instructions that came with the beer kit only to read the statement that "generally, you'll be ready to bottle a week after beginning fermentation". I'm taking it from your statements that I'd be better off either keeping it in the bucket fermenter for now for a total of 3 weeks or move it to the carboy after another 4-5 days or so and then still make sure I hit the 3 week mark (to avoid over carboninatation). Either way I'm not to ad the priming sugar until I'm ready to bottle, correct?

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Old 01-16-2009, 11:03 PM   #5
Shawn Hargreaves
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Those are bad instructions. Bottling after just one week is seriously pushing it, unlikely to make good beer, and could leave you with exploding bottles.

Two weeks is likely to be ok, but the consensus is that three will give you an even better end product.

Brewing is a great hobby, but it takes a lot of patience! I think a lot of beginner instructions are too focused on instant gratification, and try to rush things. Trouble is, the yeasties don't care about that and don't like to be rushed :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pauly99 View Post
Either way I'm not to ad the priming sugar until I'm ready to bottle, correct?
Correct.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:10 PM   #6
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Most kit instructions do you a disservice by telling you it will be ready to bottle in a week. They want you to buy another kit. Even if it is safe to bottle in a week the beer will turn out much better if you give it more time - I wait at least 3 weeks and many folks go longer than that. This is definitely one hobby where patience is rewarded.

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Old 01-17-2009, 12:05 AM   #7
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Tho' I'm a n00b, I'm older'n 43, so therefore mature & wise.

From hanging out here I've heard of a 1-2-3 Rule that my gut tells me is a really good rule of thumb to remember, if not strictly adhere to no matter what. Goes like this: 1 week in primary, 2 weeks in secondary, 3 weeks in bottles.

Another great hint I'll pass along is to practice using your new brewing equipment with plain tap water before getting down to business in ernest. This has already saved me a couple nice little PITA's...

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Old 01-18-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
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Ok..... I get the hint and thanks for reiterating it amongst the many home brew fans. 3 weeks before bottling (I like the 1-2-3 rule). Let the sugar and the yeasties do the work before bottling. If anything, I may move to the secondary fermenter (with or without all the added goodies on the bottom?) within the next couple of days but I definitely will not bottle until I hit the 3 week mark. Good lesson learned and I thank you very very much for the input. My dad used to brew both beer (before I ever drank) and later wine (when I didn't care for it) some 25 years ago. I remember him checking gravity, I remember the goods sitting in the bottle, and I remember stuff exploding in the middle of the night (maybe he bottled it too soon).

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