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Old 04-03-2014, 04:23 PM   #11
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Hi. I've brewed for a little over a year and have about 18-20 batches under my belt.

1) I'm not an expert on water. Some brewers recommend you shy away from mineral water, as often you can't get a read-out of its content. Your local tap water, on the other hand, you can likely get a water report. I think at the 'entry level' of brewing, in so far as you want to tamper with your water supply, you'll likely want to achieve two objectives, a) get your mash pH as close to the desired range as realistically possible (I think it's around 5.2--5.3ish), and b) remove chlorine/chloramines from the water. For the first (pH) it is most convenient to use lactic acid (I've found) to add to your water supply, and then test the pH of your mashes and for subsequent batches adjust accordingly. For the second, campden tablets will remove the chlorine/chloramines. Both the tablets and lactic acid will likely be available from you LHBS. If you are extract brewing then you can use R/O water and then the extract contains the minerals the yeast need to be healthy and multiply. (Someone else can please correct me if I'm mistaken).

2) I've heard of hop enhancers, and if I'm not mistaken it/they are used in bittering. I've never used them before, but I would guess that you don't boil them at all, but add them during fermentation. If they were supplied with a kit then check the instructions, and if it's unclear or absent, then contact the manufacturer.

3) I don't know, sorry.

4) DO NOT add extra priming sugar. If you want a higher ABV, then you can add sugar while it's in the fermenter (boil it in some water first), and then let it ferment out. Contrary to what someone said above, it is perfectly fine to use table sugar (sucrose) both to increase your ABV during fermentation, or as priming sugar (for bottling). All the standard sugars, like corn sugar and table-sugar are highly fermentable, so they won't add much or anything in the way of flavor, but will almost entirely ferment into alcohol and Co2. I use table sugar all the time. I also have used corn sugar (dextrose) and found there to be no noticeable difference.

5) Some brewers claim it make the beer clearer to use a secondary. Others say they get perfectly clear beer without using a secondary. I typically secondary if I've got lots of hop debris in the primary. Inevitably I suck some up when transferring to the bottling bucket, and then it jams my bottling wand while I'm trying to bottle -- it's not fun to try and unjam it. If I transfer to secondary as an extra stage then I get a lot less hop debris in the bottling bucket. So I only typically do this with very hoppy IPAs. I recommend you try some brews with only using a primary fermenter, and others using a secondary as well. See what works best for you...

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Old 04-03-2014, 04:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by noodleface84 View Post
Hi peeps. I am quite new to brewing and I have some questions here..

Fourthly, when transferring to bottles, it states to use 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar per bottle but can I put more in to gain a higher abv?

Forgot to answer this one. No, you don't want to do this. The yeast will use this sugar and produce CO2. Your bottles will most likely start exploding.
ABV can be enhanced by adding sugar or spray malt to the boil. Sugar will thin the body of the beer. Muntons and Coopers recommends spray malt for extra body. They also recommend, if this is done, using 11 grams of premium yeast to make sure fermentation completes and does not get stuck at the 1.030 SG point.

Sorry if these questions have been asked a million times before, but I don't have time to go through every post on here!!! haha

Thank-you guys,

Come back with any questions any time.
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dkevinb View Post
I disagree with this point. I've used table sugar for priming and it works just fine. If you search the forum here on the topic you'll see that this issue comes up quite often and that I'm not the only one who does this. Added in the correct amount it ferments out adding carbonation but not any additional flavors.

Good to know I can do this in a pinch. I have been told (and have read) that this will cause off flavors (except in Ciders). Lot of variables involved, I'm sure.

" I like mostly Ales and Lagers! "
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