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Old 07-16-2009, 06:53 PM   #1
koomber
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Default Pre brew Questions

I'm still waiting to commence my first brew, but before I do I was just wanting to ask a couple of questions:

1. I'm planning using 25L Bucket (primary fermenter) and a 25L Jerrycan (secondary fermenter) will this be large enough? the kit I'm going to use will produce about 22.5L so will I have enough headspace or should I extend the airlock to prevent the beer going all over my floor? From a spill point of view (and the fact that I can get either for free) would I be better getting 2 Jerry cans.

2. I've ordered a kit which comes with DME, then you add the sugar. However I came across a video that suggests replacing the sugar with a DME for improved flavour. I've had a look online and Muntons do a good range, any suggestions for which one though? I believe it is meant to be a bitter (Hambelton Bard Old English Ale). Is there DME which will be okay in any or is there a particular DME for each beer in this case.

3. I live in a flat with pretty tight space restrictions, so I don't think I'll be able to do some of the sheer awesomeness I see here. I think for the time being I'll be restricted to Kits, but looking at them, they are just DME/LME, hops and yeast, this might be obvious to those who know, but couldn't I just go out and buy a couple sacks of different DME's and basically make pretty much any type of beer? Can I at least pretend to follow what some of you guys are doing and make some interesting beers?

Point number 3, if I'm right, has got me thrumming (vibrating for those non-Scots) at a fairly disconcerting frequency. Surely the world of beers can't be that easy

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:04 PM   #2
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1. 22.5 L in a 25 liter bucket is probably cutting it a little close. I would rig up a blow-off. As for your secondary, I don't know what a Jerry Can is, but you want to restrict the amount of headspace you have in the secondary to aviod oxidizing the beer. Alternatively, you can go with a primary only and go straight to the bottles from there (most likely by way of a bottling bucket).

2. I think most people would suggest replacing the sugar with DME, depending on the amount of sugar. Many people have started out with those type of kits and made good beer though. If you post the amount of sugar, someone can give you a conversion to DME. Any type of light DME would probably work fine.

3. It is just that easy. With a light or extra-light DME as the base you can make a wide variety of beers. Check out the recipe section and look for extract recipes. You will have a lot of options to go with. I haven't purchased a pre-assembled kit since my first batch because of the success I have had following recipes and then tweeking them to my liking. Kits are probably more cost effective though.

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:04 PM   #3
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1. i've never heard of anyone using a jerrycan before. I hope you haven't had petrol in it previously? you shouldn't have headspace issues with 2.5 litres spare.

2. muntons dry malt extract is great, just buy the light version so you don't darken the brew too much.

3. well basically yes. the main ingredients of beer as you know are malt, hops, yeast and water so mix different variations of these in different quantities and you can replicate any beer in the world. pretty much.

Good to see more brewers over this side.

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick reply.
I just realised something stupid that I did. We call them 25L Jerrycans at work, but I was going to describe it to you by giving you the measurements, and then it hit me that the measurements more or less give you the volume

The Jerrycan is 11" by 9" and 17" high (conservative) this gives a total volume of 1683 cubic inches. Or 27.5L (ish) I guess you get so used to calling them something you forget that they might not be that at all. Basically, it is a box to the above measurements with a screw top on it. It looks alot like this:
25 Litre Container (White) - (Plastic containers) available from D and V Fuels
Some 'back of the fag packet' maths shows there should be about 4 inches of headroom in the bottle.

To allay your fears, no it's not had petrol in it I work for a chemical company and we usually have dozens of them brand new. So I just 'liberated it' It's also where I got the bucket. Thats why I was wondering about using another one. I can get them easy enough.

Do you think the surface area will be too high for a secondry fermenter?

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Old 07-16-2009, 07:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koomber View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.
I just realised something stupid that I did. We call them 25L Jerrycans at work, but I was going to describe it to you by giving you the measurements, and then it hit me that the measurements more or less give you the volume

The Jerrycan is 11" by 9" and 17" high (conservative) this gives a total volume of 1683 cubic inches. Or 27.5L (ish) I guess you get so used to calling them something you forget that they might not be that at all. Basically, it is a box to the above measurements with a screw top on it. It looks alot like this:
25 Litre Container (White) - (Plastic containers) available from D and V Fuels
Some 'back of the fag packet' maths shows there should be about 4 inches of headroom in the bottle.

To allay your fears, no it's not had petrol in it I work for a chemical company and we usually have dozens of them brand new. So I just 'liberated it' It's also where I got the bucket. Thats why I was wondering about using another one. I can get them easy enough.

Do you think the surface area will be too high for a secondry fermenter?
I say go for it. Just make sure you create some kind of outlet for blow-off. I'll be really interested to see how it works out for you. I wouldn't do its maiden voyage with a big beer though. Maybe a simple cream ale.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:54 PM   #6
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You should certainly use it if that is what you have available and you plan to secondary the beer. Many will say when you rack the beer to the secondary, CO2 will be released to form a protective layer over the beer. I was just trying to point out a potential consideration, and that many people don't use a secondary for a majority of their beers, and they turn out great.

If you find that you enjoy brewing, and are like most of the people here, you will end up buying tons of fancy equipment that probably doesn't make that much difference in your beer. It's kinda like golf that way.

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Old 07-16-2009, 09:11 PM   #7
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Welcome to the madness, koomber.

Couple of notes.
1) Make sure those containers are made of food grade plastic.
2)The world of beers is there, just some take more work and equipment than others. Lagering requires long term cold storage that is out of many beginners' reach. You can make just about any ale you can dream of on your kitchen stove.

Suggestion- Look into using kits that are comprised of 'steeping grains', base malt extract, hops, and yeast. That is where you are going get the best tasting beer form extract brewing. The beer in a can kits can be disappointing.

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