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Old 03-19-2009, 10:33 PM   #1
paradoc
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Greetings, just brewed my first beer. A IPA extract kit. I had a lot of fun doing it, and was pleased with the appearance and taste of the wort. Now it is just time to wait for the yeastie-beasties to work their magic! Some basics:

IPA extract kit
OG: 1.068
Pitching temp: 74
Yeast: White Labs California Ale

Couple of quick questions:

1) I used starsan/water for sanitizer. When I drained the carboy after sanitation there were a LOT of bubbles in the carboy (probably half-full with bubbles). How much foam from the starsan should you worry about? I want to embrace the foam

2) When I put the wort into the carboy, I used the airlock that came with my kit. But when I checked it after a few hours, I noticed the water level was below where I filled it, and it looked like about 1ml of the water had drained into the carboy. I used some of the sanitizing rinse with starsan in the airlock. Will that kill my yeast?

3) I've bought a 1" inner diameter tube to use as a blow off tube. It fits into the opening of the carboy, but I don't think it is "air tight". I presume it needs to be tight to prevent air from entering the fermenter?

Thanks!

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:38 PM   #2
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1) When the foam spills out of your fermenter and gets deep enough in your kitchen that you are in danger of drowning... you MIGHT have reason to fear the foam. Until then, you're fine.

2) No worries. That tiny amount of starsan just gets diluted in your wort and feeds the yeasties.

3) Your yeast are creating a blanket of CO2 over the top of your beer. No need for an airtight seal as long as there isn't enough of a gap for flies to crawl in or things to fall into the wort.

RDWHAHB

You're doing fine.

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:39 PM   #3
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I dont' use starsan, so I can't answer question one.

However, in regards to number 2, you should be fine. It's a few drops in five gallons; not a big deal. In the future try not to fill it will so much water. I try to aim for slightly below the middle piece (if that makes sense).

Secondly, for blowoffs, I would suggest using your drilled rubber stopper and getting a smaller diameter blow off to fit in that hole. Your LHBS should know the exact measurements.

Hope this helps.

Edit: I didn't even think about the loss in the airlock due to suction. Either way, it won't hurt. From what I've learned, it's rather hard to screw up a beer.

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:40 PM   #4
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No need to worry about the foam.

The starsan won't hurt the yeast, which is why you use the starsan solution in your airlock. Some use vodka in their airlock instead of starsan, just in case some gets sucked in.

I can't help with the blow off tube, but I would assume that you need it to be an airtight seal.

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Old 03-19-2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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1. Embrace the foam. Foam is your friend.
2. It will be fine. Just be sure you don't press your airlock so hard you crack it or push the stopper into the carboy. UH OH!
3. Blow off tube does not need to be space station tight. Like ChsreCat said... as long as nothing can fall/crawl in, you will be just fine. Be sure to put the other end of the blow off tube in water to create an airlock.

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Old 03-20-2009, 12:12 AM   #6
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1 - If you don't like all the bubbles (I don't either actually) I just fill the carboy all the way up with StarSan water or don't shake it too hard. Then you can pour our slowly so you don't have a ton of bubbles in there. When I have had a lot it has made no difference though, I just don't like "fake" krausen when the wort goes in.

2 - That just means you sealed the fermenter up and it cooled down further so it naturally sucked up some of the air-lock fluid. Again, you are okay, it is an acidic solution and so is your wort so you will be fine. Use vodka if you care.

3 - I would try to make it have a good seal. Doesn't really have to be but you know nothing will get in and that the tube won't pop out if you bump it. I use a 3 piece air-lock and hook a 5/8" tube up to the body of the air-lock rather than filling it with fluid. Works great!

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Old 03-21-2009, 02:55 PM   #7
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Success! Vigorous fermentation after about 12 hours. Very happy with how it is looking. Can't wait to taste it! If I can impose for a couple of additional questions:

1) The recipe calls for adding dry hops and oak to the secondary. I've only got one carboy and was planning on just doing a single 2-3 week fermentation. Can I just add the hops and oak to my primary after the fermentation slows down and the krausen has backed off?

2) My full-boil kettle was missing a part, so I did a partial boil on this batch. When I transferred the wort to the fermenter, much of the trub ended up in the fermenter (it isn't easy to poor 3 gallons from a kettle into a funnel!). Any tips on how to pour the wort from the boil kettle without getting all the trub? It should be easier with my larger kettle when I get the valve. I suppose this is one reason to rack it to a secondary so you can leave the trub behind?

Thanks for all the help!

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Old 03-21-2009, 04:08 PM   #8
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2) If you don't already have a siphon hose you'll want to go pick up some vinyl tubing from the hardware store. ($6 for a roll) Use the hose to siphon the wort from the brew kettle into the fermenter. When you're siphoning just keep the end of the hose off the bottom of the kettle where all the trub is. While you're at it you might want to pick up an 'Auto-Siphon' (around $12), which will make this process 10 times easier and they come with a cap on the end which keeps the siphon about an inch off the bottom of the vessel. When fermentation is over you'll also want to use a siphon hose to transfer the beer into your bottling bucket. The idea at that point is to disturb the beer as little as possible to avoid unnecessary contamination when moving it between vessels.

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