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Old 08-19-2008, 04:40 PM   #1
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Hello, I composed one thread to get help with another issue. Now after reading some of the threads, I think there are a few things I still need help with.

I have read books and articles from other sites, but still I think im going to need some help. First. I follow a recipe through the first steps of the process. Which is pretty accurate from what im hearing.

My problems come later. I guess Ill just ask away and see what help I can get.

I still dont know how to use a smack pack properly...man I probably sound like the dumbest brewer alive! I smack it and break it open internally...how long before use, and what else do I have to do to get it ready to add to my brew?

At what steps should I take the specific gravity? And how much should it change over the process?

Now when I bottled a previous batch...my second ever, I found it was good tasting, but very cloudy and had a layer of "stuff" on the bottom of the bottle...not appealing to some people. What do I do to prevent that from happening?

Well I know I dumped alot out there but any help with any of my questions would be great. Thanks for looking at this and helping me with my rookie mistakes.

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Old 08-19-2008, 04:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by fdbrewer View Post
I still dont know how to use a smack pack properly...man I probably sound like the dumbest brewer alive! I smack it and break it open internally...how long before use, and what else do I have to do to get it ready to add to my brew?
Hold in left hand and hit it really hard with your right hand. THere is a small pouch inside the big pouch that needs to be broken. Smack in and shake the hell out of it. You will see swelling within an hour. Smack 5-6 hours prior for best results.

At what steps should I take the specific gravity? And how much should it change over the process?
Take right after the boil is done. this is your original Gravity or OG. Then take once fermentaion is finished. This is your final gravity or FG. OG-FG * 131 = ABV (alcohol by volume)
Now when I bottled a previous batch...my second ever, I found it was good tasting, but very cloudy and had a layer of "stuff" on the bottom of the bottle...not appealing to some people. What do I do to prevent that from happening? Keep bottle upright at all times, do not pour the last ounce or so out. Leave it in the bottle
cheers

answers up in the quote
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:57 PM   #3
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For smack packs... you want to smack 'em, make sure the inside little pouch breaks and, it's been my experience, that you want to get them warmed up a bit. You want to kick-start the yeast by bringing the temp of the pack up a little over 70 degrees if possible.

I've had packs not blow up AT ALL for three or four days and then as soon as I warm them up, the balloon right up and are ready to go. Typically, it'll take the packs a day to blow up though.

In taking gravity readings, I take a SG ready after I've gotten my wort cooled and into my primary and before I aerate or pitch my yeast. Temperature will definitely affect your gravity readings and if you're cooled down to near-pitching temp, the adjustment isn't that significant and probably close enough for now. That'll be your OG.

I take another reading when I'm racking to my secondary (a step that's heavilyt debated on this site if it's even necessary) just to check how my fermentation is going and then I take my last reading when I think I'm completely done with fermentation. That's your FG.

The layer of "stuff" on the bottom of your bottles is dead yeast from the carbonation process. Not a whole lot you can do about that until you start kegging. You can gerry-rig some CO2 pressurization methods on bottles but as long as you carbonate with yeast, you'll get that and there's nothing you can do.

Cloudy beer is a separate issue and can be from a few things but typically it's driven by not getting a good cold break... or chilling your wort fast enough once you've finished your boil. If you chill your wort fairly quickly using a chiller, all of that "cloudyness' should settle out fairly quickly.

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Old 08-19-2008, 05:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by fdbrewer View Post
Hello, I composed one thread to get help with another issue. Now after reading some of the threads, I think there are a few things I still need help with.

I have read books and articles from other sites, but still I think im going to need some help. First. I follow a recipe through the first steps of the process. Which is pretty accurate from what im hearing.

My problems come later. I guess Ill just ask away and see what help I can get.

I still dont know how to use a smack pack properly...man I probably sound like the dumbest brewer alive! I smack it and break it open internally...how long before use, and what else do I have to do to get it ready to add to my brew? It should be pretty easy to feel the inner nutrient pack before you smack it, then wait for a few hours and let it puff up (at room temperature)
At what steps should I take the specific gravity? And how much should it change over the process? For extract brews you will take it after all of your wort and top off water is in the fermenter and you have mixed thoroughly. Then wait at least a week or more until primary fermention is complete. Take it at least two more times over the course of a few days and if it doesn't change, you are ready to bottle. Note: A good recipe should specify a starting OG (original gravity) as well as a final gravity (FG). Don't worry if the FG is a couple points off, but if it's way higher than it should be then you can be concerned and ask questions. Now when I bottled a previous batch...my second ever, I found it was good tasting, but very cloudy and had a layer of "stuff" on the bottom of the bottle...not appealing to some people. What do I do to prevent that from happening? You are going to have yeast at the bottom, it's unavoidable. Trying to keep the racking cane above the level of the yeast/trub at the bottom will minimize this. When you drink the beer, pour it into a glass and leave a small amount behind in the bottle, this will cut down on the yeast as well. Also if you have the capability cool your primary fermenter in a refrigerator for a couple days prior to bottling to dromp more yeast to the bottom.
Well I know I dumped alot out there but any help with any of my questions would be great. Thanks for looking at this and helping me with my rookie mistakes.
..........
Answers in bold.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:22 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone and I look forward to starting another batch here in the next week or so!

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Old 08-19-2008, 10:53 PM   #6
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Smack Pack:

I heard that it's ideal to give 24 hours for every month old that the smack pack is. If your yeast is 2 months old, give it 48 hours.

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