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Old 11-22-2012, 05:50 AM   #1
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Default Racked beer too soon? Also, temp problems

So after being ripped off by buying one of those ****ty Mr.Beer kits, and making two awful batches, last week I decided to switch to actual all-grain brewing. I went to my local home brew shop, and picked up a full starters equipment set for a 23 litre batch, as well as a Brewhouse Munich Dark Lager beer kit. Got home, sanitized obsessively, and put the batch into primary fermentation. The instructions for my particular brew kit said 3-5 days in primary. I got home from work on day 2, and realized my batch had exploded. The lid was still pretty much on, so I doubt anything infectious got in, but there was beer everywhere. I wiped the mess up, made sure the lid was on tight, and left it for a couple hours. When I checked back, the lid was so swollen, that I realized if I didn't rack that night, it would explode again, and I'd end up spoiling the batch. Don't ask me whose brilliant idea it was to created a primary fermentation bucket with no ventilation, but that night, after the batch had sat in primary for about 2 and a half days-- 60 hours give or take (it was after all 5 am when I decided to rack), I racked to my carboy. Sooo.... Is this a huge, huge problem? It has been sitting in secondary for about 5 days now, and I did take the airlock off for a quick sniff yesterday, and it's starting to smell pretty good. HOWEVER, I am also having temperature problems, as because of the height of the carboy with the airlock on, the only place I have to store it out of direct sunlight is next to an outside wall, and it's getting pretty damn cold up here in NS in the last few weeks. 3 days ago I noticed the adhesive thermometer read 62 degrees, so I put a towel under the base, folded a packing blanket up four times, wrapped it around tightly, and put an old t-shirt over the top, with the airlock sticking out of the head hole, yet now, 3 days later, it still reads 62, and I'm only getting between 2 and 3 bubbles out of the airlock a minute. Is this a huge problem? It is after all a lager? If it helps, the Brewhouse kits come packaged with Coopers DIY yeast, and for the record I did not take an initial gravity reading, as I forgot to pick up a wine thief. I did try to dip the (sanitized) hydrometer tube into the bucket awkwardly, but as soon as my finger grazed the top of the foam I decided it wasn't worth the risk of infection. Anyhow, for anyone that takes the time to read this, and give their two cents, I really appreciate it. Happy brewing !

Cheers !

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:11 AM   #2
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:25 AM   #3
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You should be fine with the early racking. Most of the yeast was likely suspended when you racked to secondary and it is normal for air lock activity to slow down after a few days. Remember the suggested fermentation time is nothing more than a guideline, it can take longer or shorter. The lower you keep your temperature the longer fermentation will take to complete.

Another note the yeast that you used is an ale yeast, for your next batch I recommend choosing a better quality yeast and ale yeasts fermented in the mid to low 60s tend to produce cleaner tasting ales with less off flavours. I ferment all of mine between 65-68 degrees.

My final note would be to leave the beer in the fermenter for a few weeks, don't bother racking to any additional carboys unless absolutely necessary. The added time on the yeast cake will help the yeast clean up after itself.

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:37 AM   #4
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1. welcome.

2. have a look here

3. Next time try rigging up a blow off tube

4. The Coopers yeast you used is probably their hybrid lager/ale strain which can work in quite a wide range of temps. The temps you are at might be fine. Supposed to be really effective when re-hydrated in warm water for an hour or so before pitching.

5. If you sanitize a cup really well you can use that for drawing samples to find out when your gravity has stabilised.

6. You'll very likely have an enjoyable batch to drink

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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Thanks a lot guys, just looked at the calendar, and I can actually let it sit an extra week in secondary and still have it ready for Christmas, which gives it 23 days in fermentation, 14 in bottles, and 2 in the fridge. Or should I bottle after 2 weeks, and let it sit in the bottle for 3 instead? Would that be bottle bombs waiting to happens?

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:54 AM   #6
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Oh and I actually tried to drill a hole in the plastic lid to put another air lock in, but used the wrong type of drill bit for plastic and it came out a mess. I'm thinking I'll just pick up an extra carboy for primary, and just use to plastic bucket to stir in my dextrose before bottling.

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Old 11-22-2012, 06:58 AM   #7
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2 weeks should be a sufficient amount of time for your beer to carbonate just keep it in a dark area at room temperature during the carbonation phase. I strongly suggest allowing it to ferment for a minimum of 3 weeks especially since you did not take an OG reading.

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Old 11-22-2012, 07:00 AM   #8
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Good thinking, will do, thanks again.

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Old 11-22-2012, 07:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unusmundus View Post
Oh and I actually tried to drill a hole in the plastic lid to put another air lock in, but used the wrong type of drill bit for plastic and it came out a mess. I'm thinking I'll just pick up an extra carboy for primary, and just use to plastic bucket to stir in my dextrose before bottling.
I don't even bother with air locks on my fermenting buckets anymore. I just cover the top of the bucket with a layer of, starsan-sprayed, saran wrap, puncture a few small holes with a sanitized "pointy thing" on my Swiss Army Knife and chuck the lid loosely on top. Have had some major krauzen action but no explosive mishaps.
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogri View Post
I don't even bother with air locks on my fermenting buckets anymore. I just cover the top of the bucket with a layer of, starsan-sprayed, saran wrap, puncture a few small holes with a sanitized "pointy thing" on my Swiss Army Knife and chuck the lid loosely on top. Have had some major krauzen action but no explosive mishaps.
Not a bad idea. I'm still wondering what sort of sanitizers to pick up. Obviously I need some non-rinse for the bottles, as it would be a pain in the ass to have to thoroughly rinse 60+ bottles... I do have a bottle iodophor, but I'm skeptical of how well it sanitizes. Twice now I've used it to sanitize my plastic bucket after I racked my batch, yet it still smells yeasty. Star-san is no rinse, right? Not sure if they carry that at my place.
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