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Old 09-13-2007, 05:21 AM   #1
nfrayer
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Default Requesting some first brew advice

Ok here's the situation. This is my first brew, didn't really follow a recipe persay, but this is what I did. I started with a Northwestern Golden liquid malt extract 6.6lbs. Brought 2 gallons of water to a boil, removed from heat, and added the extract. Mixed thoroughly and returned to burner. Once it started boiling again, added 1 oz. centenial hops(alpha acid 8.8) and began a 60 minute boil. Then about 30 minutes in, I added a second oz of centenial hops, same aa, followed by a half oz. of cascade hops (aa 5.6). At 60 min I turned off heat and chilled my wort in an ice bath. When it cooled to 70 degrees F I added it to 3 gallons of water in the fermenter, took a hydrometer reading(1.042), pitched my yeast, and agitated it very well. After about 12 to 14 hours, rapid fermantation began, and lasted for about 2 days, maybe 2 and 1/2, and then began to slow. It has been one week and about 10 hrs, and I still see some very slow fermantation. The smell is very representative of a pale to IPA. I was planning on primming and bottling on Sunday, three days from now, but am thinking of possibly doing a secondary fermantation. What I am wondering is, should Sunday(10 days) be a good day to prime and bottle, should I do a secondary fermentation, does anything sound wrong with my process or readings, any steps I should take that I might not know, and what I might could do different? Whew, thanks for taking the time to read this.

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Old 09-13-2007, 05:26 AM   #2
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Yes take a hydrometer reading and bottle " When its done"
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:32 AM   #3
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Visial cues and smells are useful for getting a rough idea of where you are in the fermentation process, but a gravity reading is your best bet here.

I'd wait until you get the same SG reading two days in a row. Make sure you drink your samples. That'll give you more feedback on how things are coming along.

Just an FYI. Although it's called a secondary fermenter, the purpose of doing so is to allow more sediment to fall out of suspension. Some fermentation can technically occur to be sure.

General rule of thumb is 1-2-3. 1 week in the primary, 2 in the secondary, and 3 weeks condtioning (inthe bottle or keg).

Welcome to it.

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Old 09-13-2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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Being patient and waiting a few extra days will help IPA's

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Old 09-13-2007, 12:15 PM   #5
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Even if you don't want to use a secondary (clearing tank), I'd recommend letting it sit at least a total of 2 or 3 weeks before bottling. The beer will be better for it and will help ensure it's truly done! (But the waiting is the hardest part).

I always recommend using a hydrometer, too, to make sure it's done before bottling.

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Old 09-13-2007, 01:27 PM   #6
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I agree with Yooper. You'll be rushing the beer if you bottle after only 10 days, even if the hydrometer tells you it is done.

The hydrometer tells you when your beer has reached its final gravity. But there is more to fermentation than converting sugar to alcohol. Conditioning processes continue after final gravity has been reached. Conditioning is aided by leaving the beer on the yeast.

I take a hydrometer reading after 7-10 days in the primary to make sure that fermentation is not stuck. Then I leave it for another two weeks or so before either racking to a secondary or bottling. I have good results with this method.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:02 PM   #7
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I would not bottle anything sooner than 14 days. Give it time to do it's thing, you'll eliminate the risk of bottle bombs and you'll have a better tasting beer.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:18 PM   #8
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Ok just to be clear, is that an additional 2 to 3 weeks, or 2 to 3 weeks total, and would it be wise to transfer to a secondary after 10 days, and leave it there for 2 weeks?

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:25 PM   #9
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I'd say 3 weeks total- I usually do 1 week primary, 2 weeks secondary.

I almost always use a secondary, to get the beer off the trub and to help it clear. The nice thing about doing that is if life gets busy, your beer can stay in there as long as you want. The choice of using the clearing tank is up to you but I recommend it. If you're not doing that, then I'd leave it in the primary for the 2-3 weeks, then bottle.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nfrayer
Ok just to be clear, is that an additional 2 to 3 weeks, or 2 to 3 weeks total, and would it be wise to transfer to a secondary after 10 days, and leave it there for 2 weeks?
3 weeks total is fine.

I've started to leave mine in the primary for the whole 3 weeks. After that I'll bottle it if I'm ready or rack to a secondary if I want the beer to age for a while longer before bottling.

There is no "best" rule for how long a beer should be in primary vs. secondary and there are divergent opinions.

The only thing that really does seem to matter is to not pull the beer out of primary too soon. Leave it there at least until you think it is done attenuating. After that, the choice is yours.
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