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Old 04-01-2005, 02:49 PM   #1
kenmc
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Default Questions on first brew (please!)

Hi there, just found this site today so hopefully someone can answer my questions.
I got myself a king keg microbrewery for Christmas and started my first brew on 1 March. It says to leave it for 21 days, so I did so but when I poured out the first glass it was full of white bits - I guess yeast - floating in the beer. Smelt nice though, and a little taste was ok. Left it there for another few days, and same thing happened next time I poured some beer. Also the keg seemed to run out of pressure to pump more than about a half a glass or so. Left it there more and looked at it there yesterday and the pressure was back a bit to get some beer out (it's a top tap so needs the pressure to pump it out) and there was less white floaters. Tasted a bit sharp though, but there was a few bubbles in it! But again the keg ran out of pumping pressure. I moved it closer to a radiator, cos I think that it's not warm enough where it is, i've not got a heat mat or anything yet.

Q1) Do you think that this brew still has a chance of succeeding????

Q2) In any case I am looking to get a refill pack for this. The 2 suppliers of homebrew stuff I can find in Ireland (I'm in Dublin) have several kits which stipulate that I do a fermentation first of all in a brew bucket and then transfer to the keg. but I don't have a brew bucket and don't particularly want more stuff lying around, and was wondering if I can do the whole thing in the keg, or is it going to explode????

Thanks in advance for any hints and tips you can provide!
Cheers
Kenmc

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Old 04-01-2005, 03:36 PM   #2
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Hey there and welcome to the forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmc
Q1) Do you think that this brew still has a chance of succeeding????
I'm not sure what that kit is trying to accomplish...how is it supposed to pour if it needs pressure? Does it accept CO2 cartriges or something? Sounds like a strange setup. You'll never be able to pour your beer without adding pressure in one way or another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmc
Q2) In any case I am looking to get a refill pack for this. The 2 suppliers of homebrew stuff I can find in Ireland (I'm in Dublin) have several kits which stipulate that I do a fermentation first of all in a brew bucket and then transfer to the keg. but I don't have a brew bucket and don't particularly want more stuff lying around, and was wondering if I can do the whole thing in the keg, or is it going to explode????
Here's the thing. You get out of homebrewing what you put into it. These kits that purport to make everything so easy may make it easy, but, as you have seen, the results leave quite a bit to be desired. If you really don't want to buy some equipment and step it up a notch, then I'd assume you'll continue to get similar results. I wonder why you want a refill of this kit when it doesn't seem to have worked out (through no fault of your own).

Fermenting and serving in one single container will never make very good beer. You need to transfer the beer off of the yeast cake in the primary fermenter to get good clean flavor.

Also, if you want to keg, you should get some cornelius kegs and carbonate and push the beer properly with a CO2 tank. The lower cost alternative is to bottle. It sounds like your kit is trying to naturally carbonate the beer in the keg and then use that pressure to serve. That won't work any better than a cask beer can be poured without a beer engine. You'll pour a beer, that will relieve the pressure in your keg, and it won't pour any more. Also, the beer will then go flat. Not my idea of a good time, but YMMV.

You'll have much better results is you do some reading and buy a few basic pieces of equipment: a bucket for primary fermentation, a glass carboy for secondary, a bottle capper (and some bottles), a racking cane. Then get yourself some ingredients...not a kit...just find a recipe that sounds good and buy the malt extract, hops and yeast it calls for. People here can help you out with a recipe.

You'll really be able to make some good beer if you take these steps. If you want to stick with the easy kit stuff, I think you'll continue to get the same frustrating results. Kits seem almost universally a bad idea to me. They try to oversimplify something that is inherently a bit complex. It's not rocket science, but you can't brew and more importantly serve good beer the way that kit describes.
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
Hey there and welcome to the forum!
Thanks, and thanks for the swift reply!

Quote:
I'm not sure what that kit is trying to accomplish...how is it supposed to pour if it needs pressure? Does it accept CO2 cartriges or something? Sounds like a strange setup. You'll never be able to pour your beer without adding pressure in one way or another.
Yeah I can attach Co2 cylinder to it all right, and a little one came with it, but in the instructions it said that I would only need to do so about half way into the beer, when the pressure in the keg had gone down

Quote:
Here's the thing. You get out of homebrewing what you put into it. These kits that purport to make everything so easy may make it easy, but, as you have seen, the results leave quite a bit to be desired. If you really don't want to buy some equipment and step it up a notch, then I'd assume you'll continue to get similar results. I wonder why you want a refill of this kit when it doesn't seem to have worked out (through no fault of your own).
I am not looking for a kit exactly the same as this, but one which I can use the keg setup I have already, as unfortunately I don't have a lot of space in which to have lots of barrels and buckets etc. I see plenty of kits which you just add sugar and water to them (mine I just added water - the yeast was in the kit along with 2 big cans of gloop - no mention of sugar), but they state in their instructions that you have to a first fermenatation in a bucket and then secondary ferment in a keg or bottles. I was just wondering what the difference between that kit, and the kit that came with my keg is that made my kit do it all in the one barrel?
Quote:
Fermenting and serving in one single container will never make very good beer. You need to transfer the beer off of the yeast cake in the primary fermenter to get good clean flavor.

Also, if you want to keg, you should get some cornelius kegs and carbonate and push the beer properly with a CO2 tank. The lower cost alternative is to bottle. It sounds like your kit is trying to naturally carbonate the beer in the keg and then use that pressure to serve. That won't work any better than a cask beer can be poured without a beer engine. You'll pour a beer, that will relieve the pressure in your keg, and it won't pour any more. Also, the beer will then go flat. Not my idea of a good time, but YMMV.

You'll have much better results is you do some reading and buy a few basic pieces of equipment: a bucket for primary fermentation, a glass carboy for secondary, a bottle capper (and some bottles), a racking cane. Then get yourself some ingredients...not a kit...just find a recipe that sounds good and buy the malt extract, hops and yeast it calls for. People here can help you out with a recipe.
Maybe easier said than done though cos I don't think there's any actual brick-n-mortar home brew shops in Ireland - least not that I can find, so there's nowhere really to get the ingredients, other than a few that you can get these just-add-sugar-and-water jobbies....

Quote:
You'll really be able to make some good beer if you take these steps. If you want to stick with the easy kit stuff, I think you'll continue to get the same frustrating results. Kits seem almost universally a bad idea to me. They try to oversimplify something that is inherently a bit complex. It's not rocket science, but you can't brew and more importantly serve good beer the way that kit describes.
I *would* like to move up a notch in the future, but at the moment I'm more or less stuck with the simpler approach
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:20 PM   #4
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What you have looks a lot like the 'Mr. Beer' kits and their ilk that department stores sell here in the States at Christmas time, only to be sold by their owners in garage sales the following Summer! Click here to take a look. I especially like the woman opening the spigot so her 'man' can guzzle like a member of the Delta House!

But, at least you dipped your toe into the brewing waters, and that's a good thing. I concur with everything Janx has stated. I'd also take the time to look at John Palmer's online version of his book, How To Brew. Lot's of good information and, best of all, it's free!

As for suppliers, unfortunately, you may be relegated to mail order. Here's a few places I found that may be of interest:

http://www.beersmugglers.com/lmd/store.asp?S=1&ID=Beer
http://www.art-of-brewing.co.uk/
http://www.charbrew.co.uk/

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Old 04-01-2005, 04:26 PM   #5
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does she come with the kit?


here's a link to UK based homebrew supply

http://www.hopshopuk.com/services.php?p=links
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:32 PM   #6
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Well, that's good that you can hook CO2 to it. It makes a lot more sense to me now

You'll need to hook CO2 to it immediately. There's not enough pressure in there to pour more than a beer or two as you have seen. If you have CO2 replacing the beer you pour, it'll work great.

The difference between a kit that wants you to ferment in one bucket and rack to the keg vs one that ferments and serves in the same vessel is just trying to have better flavor by transferring the beer off the yeast. It will also keep so much yeast out of your keg so you don't get the white floaties. As long as you can vent your keg while the beer is fermenting (so the CO2 can escape), then you can ferment these other kits in your keg, too. Does it have an airlock on it or something? I assume it must be vented since you did this first batch no problems.

As far as suppliers...I don't know how expensive it would be to ship over the pond, but there are lots of great online suppliers here in the states. I mail order most of my supplies.

Cheers and good luck!

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Oh don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
No, don't you give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
For my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die
Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t1master





does she come with the kit?
Now that would be a good kit

That looks pretty much like every night at my house...what a great wife I have
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Oh don't give me none more of that Old Janx Spirit
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Won't you pour me one more of that sinful Old Janx Spirit
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
You'll need to hook CO2 to it immediately. There's not enough pressure in there to pour more than a beer or two as you have seen. If you have CO2 replacing the beer you pour, it'll work great.
OK so I'll do it now and see what happens
Quote:
As long as you can vent your keg while the beer is fermenting (so the CO2 can escape), then you can ferment these other kits in your keg, too. Does it have an airlock on it or something? I assume it must be vented since you did this first batch no problems.
I dunno - see i think that the CO2 was *supposed* to remain in the keg to pump the beer out! and then when it runs down I would up the CO2 a bit to get the rest out. Surely I would have smelt it if it was venting out CO2????

Quote:
As far as suppliers...I don't know how expensive it would be to ship over the pond, but there are lots of great online suppliers here in the states. I mail order most of my supplies.
Cheers and good luck!
Thanks, but see sterling is pretty crap to euro these days and the weights involved make shipping quite expensive also. I have beersmugglers.com and grapengraindublin.com as the 2 based in Ireland so shipping from there is fine.
Cheers
Ken
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Old 04-01-2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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Hmmm.
got another half glass out, and it tasted really nice, but when I tried adding the CO2 to the keg it seemed to leak out GRRRRRR Now I'll have to wait until monday or tuesday to get more by mail order damn damn damn... still i suppose I can get a half a glass a day. the beer tastes really nice though if thats any consilation. Is there anyway to up the amount of CO2 it produces in there? I guess opening the keg is a bad idea yeah?

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Old 04-01-2005, 04:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janx
Now that would be a good kit

That looks pretty much like every night at my house...what a great wife I have
Thats exactly the kit I have. it doesn't come with her though, but I already had one in the house anyway
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