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huwdm 11-21-2005 12:05 PM

Opening the bin?
I am very new to home brewing having just started my first kit with very basic equipment.
My question is - I now have the first fermentation going on. The instructions say to siphon to my barrel after 4-6 days. I have a hydrometer which I left in the bin (after sterilising). To check the hydrometer I would have to open the lid on the bin. Is this ok or should I wait for 4 or 5 days first. What damage can occur if I open the lid too soon or if I leave it too late.
thanks in advance

Orfy 11-21-2005 12:23 PM

Well done on starting the brew.


Waiting is tough but there is no real advantage to taking a gravity reading before you think the brew is done. (Unless you think there's a problem). So I'd leave it at least 5 days.
One tip I'd say is fit a bung and airlock, that way you have visible confirmation of what's happening. The bubbles will slow right down when it's finished. Another way to tell if its finishing is the foam that covered the top will drop.

As far as lifting the barrel lid when you need to that is okay but keep it down to a minimum and don't waft things around.

I don't put my hydrometer in because if I'm going to lift the lid to take a reading I may as well use a turkey baster to remove a sample. Plus I recon the hydrometer would be hard to read because of gunk stuck to it and not being able to look at eye level.

The worst that can happen is dust or something falls into the brew and causes an infection. No harm will come to leaving the brew longer than the 4 - 6 days. If it is left for a long time, the dead yeast and protien at the bottom may cause some off taste.

Truble 11-21-2005 12:36 PM

I agree with Orfy- Since you are going to go a week for the primary fermentation, it is best to leave it sealed up. At the end of the week, you can then check it. I found it hard not to look on my first couple batches, but it is for the best. At the end of the week, you can take a sample off and test the gravitiy as well as taste-that is worth waiting for!

huwdm 11-21-2005 12:59 PM

Cant wait now!!
thanks for all the really great replies - that has helped alot.
I didnt realise you could check the taste - which I cant wait to do now.
I will leave for the 6 days as suggested - roll on Friday

Orfy 11-21-2005 01:02 PM

Never waste a sample, It'll help you learn how your brew is going and give an indication of its potential.

When you first make the wort it is sweet. After 5 days or so the sweetness should of gone and it will taste like a flat harsher version of the finished product.

Are you putting straight to bottle after the 6 days?

barleypopmaker 11-21-2005 02:09 PM

Hello. This is my first post on this forum, I just found this one today. I have been brewing since 2003. I just wanted to say that I wouldn't leave the hydrometer in the fermenter, especially during the primary fermentation. The Krausen will envelop the stem of the hydrometer and some will stick to the glass, and will throw off your reading a little bit.

Edit- FYI it won't hurt anything as far as how your beer will taste though.

david_42 11-21-2005 03:40 PM

I find opening the bucket way too much trouble, so I just draw off a sample after things slow down. Some people have a compulsive need to bottle every drop they brew. Tasting the hydrometer sample isn't a waste, it's the only way you'll ever learn how ale develops.

Ferments can vary from a few days to a few weeks. I like to get the brew off of the trub after the primary fermentation ends. Some people just leave it for an extra week or two and rack it straight to the priming bicket. Anyone who insists there is only one way of doing things is probably wrong.

Georgian Novice 12-14-2005 12:53 PM

Easy Opening that Bin?
I was searching for an answer to my newbie question and although this thread didn't answer it, I thought I would post my question here instead of starting a new thread since it related to this one.

Now wasn't that a long explanation. :)

Any tricks on opening that plastic primary fermentor easier? It kills the fingers, have pried it with screwdrivers and claw hammer ends, but you all might know a quick and easy way to get the lid open.

I haven't done a lot of hydrometer readings, just wait a few days after the bubbling stops, either bottle it or put it in a secondary fermentor (which I have just started to do) and call it a day. After reading the forums here, though, it appears it might behoove me to start doing so. :)

loopmd 12-14-2005 01:16 PM

Any tricks on opening that plastic primary fermentor easier?

Nice job jacking this thread. I'll continue it...

there is a "tool" you can purchase at any Homebrew supply store that will help you take the lid off your bucket.

you can find an example here

It is the gold thing above "buckets"


Darth Konvel 12-14-2005 01:21 PM

I'm with barleypop. Leaving the hydrometer in your primary will probably get it covered in krausen. It's not hurting anything, but it will probably be hard to read and possibly inaccurate.

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