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Old 10-05-2012, 03:42 PM   #1
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Hello all, I'll be hopefully starting my first batch ever tonight. I've been doing a lot of reading and watching videos on Youtube which honestly has me more confused then ever. It seems that everything from the instructions with my beer kit to the videos i've watched. Everyone has a different way of doing things..a different amount of times for fermentation(I've seen everything from a week to four weeks?), how long to let it sit in the bottle, etc. My question really is should I follow the instructions that came with the kit or something else? Thank you.

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #2
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For your first brew, follow the kit instructions on brew day. Once the beer's in the fermenter, wait until you have a stable gravity over three days, and that that gravity is on par with the kit's target FG, then you can either rack to secondary or bottle. Generally, that will take 10-14 days, with the bulk of fermentation finishing in 5-7 days. The most important thing is to wait until gravity is stable before removing the beer from primary. Kit's usually say "rack to secondary after 'X' days", ignore the timeline and go on the FG readings.
Your avg beer will take 2-3 weeks at room temp to carb once you bottle. There's no way around that, it's just a matter of the yeast consuming the priming sugar.

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:47 PM   #3
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It all depends on what kit you are doing and what the instructions say, i.e. give some more details. For fermentation generally you want to try for 3 weeks to give the yeast time to finish up and clean up after themselves. Allot of people just do 3 weeks in primary than bottle and keg from there. If you are going to do a secondary than ensure fermentation had stopped by taking hydrometer readings over the course of 3 days. Once you bottle the general consensus is to wait 3 weeks or until your beer is properly carbd

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:51 PM   #4
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If you thought you got conflicting opinions up to this point, give it a few minutes for people on this forum to answer.

You are probably reasonably safe following the instructions in the kit or what you saw online...or what you read here. Lots of different methods work fine.

One thing I would caution you about: it seems that many kits try to rush the process, seemingly in an effort to get you though the process and ready to buy another kit or just to make the time commitment seem less daunting. It is unlikely that patience will ever have a bad effect on a brew.

Keep things sanitary and take advice on polarizing issues (especially secondary fermentation vs. primary only - this is especially decisive) with a grain of salt. Many people have success both ways. There is a reason people like their own methods and it is because the both work.

Relax, be patient, and have fun. You will almost certainly make beer. The quality and quantity are dependent on how much time you want to put in.

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #5
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*EDIT*

Deleted - in the time it took to write my answer, it has been covered 3 times over, WOW

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies all. Yea I'll definitely make sure to take my time. My biggest fear it throwing a $40 kit out the window and hating my beer but as you said with a little patience it should turn out fine. I'm looking over the instructions now just trying to get an idea of the process. I think once I get through the first batch and get comfortable with taking and understanding gravity readings I'll be ok.

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
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I say it depends entirely how well written the instructions with your kit are.

Kits instructions IMO are often horrible. Almost all of them state very short times for each step. (to sell another kit sooner?) Almost none of them tell much about controlling fermentation temperatures. Almost none say anything about making starters with liquid yeast. Most don't advise about gravity readings before transfer or bottling.

I read a lot and watched videos, after I allowed the first batch to ferment for a day too warm. In defense of the instructions, I misread the temperature.

Try to digest the reason for each persons advise then decide what is good and what is BS. Make decisions on what you think will work for you. Take good notes, try to learn what you did right and what you could do better for the next batch. There is a learning period.

As to the length of primary fermentation, as you mentioned, the common advise varies from as soon as fermentation ends to a month or more. I did the instructions 1 week primary and 2 weeks secondary for my first 2 batches. Then, after reading and watching the videos I opted for primary only and split the difference and use 3 weeks of fermentation. I feel that my beers have been better this way.

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Old 10-05-2012, 04:45 PM   #8
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The current kit I have has a total time of 80 minutes between turning the heat on for the first time and turning it off to cool the wort. I would assume that wouldn't be considered rushing things? Any preference on using a glass carboy vs the bucket? Also is there any time I should not expose the wort to air to check the gravity?

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Old 10-05-2012, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold71 View Post
The current kit I have has a total time of 80 minutes between turning the heat on for the first time and turning it off to cool the wort. I would assume that wouldn't be considered rushing things? Any preference on using a glass carboy vs the bucket? Also is there any time I should not expose the wort to air to check the gravity?
I'm not quite understanding your first question, are there any crushed malts that need to be steeped before the boil? ie crushed grains that you need to put in a sack and let that steep for 25-30 mins at 150-170 degrees.
Or is it only extracts and hops in your kit? If you only ahve extract and hops, then thats about right, a little while to heat up the water to boiling, then a 60 min boil.

Get an ice bath ready about 10-15 minutes left in the boil to let the water temp in the ice bath to get really low, and then when the 60 minutes are up, put the pot into the water. Are you doing full boil or 3 gallon boil with cold top of water?

I always use some top off water to cool the wort even more before adding the yeast. Once you are at or below 70*, toss in you yeast ( dry yeast im guessing? you can rehydrate that), seal the cap, and put on your airlock.

What are you brewing up? Yes once you get past your first time brewing it'll be easy, and you'll say 'piece of cake'!
Start thinking about your next brew!
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