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Old 01-23-2010, 04:55 AM   #1
adamhimself
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Default Some general getting started questions...

What's up everyone?

So, I finally received everything today! This is the kit I ordered from Midwest Supplies. I have to say I am most pleased with my order and the way it was handled. If you consider how much everything weighed and the time it took to get here, then the shipping cost wasn't bad at all. I think the only thing that could make this kit better would be an additional airlock as it only has one.

Anyways, I have some basic newb questions that I need to ask to reassure im doing things right.

Does the LME need to be refrigerated? I know the yeast should be. Is there a good way to tell the yeast is good in quality. The kit had Munton's Brewer's Yeast in a small yellow package. For some reason, I expected more and I thought it was going to be liquid.

It came with some sort of sanitizer (LD Carlson Company 'Easy Clean', No Rinse Cleaner)... is this sufficient for my first batch or should I do some sort of other cleaning/sanitization process since its brand new gear?

It came with hop pellets, grains, and some sort of muslin bag (I think). Is it better to use the bag for both pellets and grains or just drop 'em in and then filter via a strainer.

I have heard arguments both for and against primary and then secondary fermentation. I have the gear to do both, so should I do both? Or just give primary only for the first go around?

Is there a website or video on youtube that shows how to use the autosiphon properly and easily?

And finally... what is something good for soaking beer bottles in to remove old labels?

I think I could figure this all out on my own, but this is kind of my way in learning and truly understanding something.

Thanks guys...

I will post some pics of my gear once I get things going.

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Old 01-23-2010, 06:09 AM   #2
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Well as a nOOb myself can not answer alot, but I racked first batch to a secondary just so I could get primary clean for second brew.

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Old 01-23-2010, 07:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamhimself View Post
Does the LME need to be refrigerated? I know the yeast should be. Is there a good way to tell the yeast is good in quality. The kit had Munton's Brewer's Yeast in a small yellow package. For some reason, I expected more and I thought it was going to be liquid.
I don't refrigerate my extract. I've used both LME and DME and don't think refrigerating would do anything other than making your extract colder.

Almost all yeast you will get will be great to use unless it is past its "expiration" date. Keeping the yeast in the fridge will insure that it is in prime condition, but you won't know until you pitch (or make a starter, which is a good practice no matter what).

Quote:
It came with some sort of sanitizer (LD Carlson Company 'Easy Clean', No Rinse Cleaner)... is this sufficient for my first batch or should I do some sort of other cleaning/sanitization process since its brand new gear?
I used Easy Clean for my first few batches, but I don't remember it being a no-rinse sanitizer. It will be absolutely fine, but I'd invest in some Star San or Iodophor when you run out of the Easy Clean.

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It came with hop pellets, grains, and some sort of muslin bag (I think). Is it better to use the bag for both pellets and grains or just drop 'em in and then filter via a strainer.
If you're using some specialty grains, I'm sure that's what the bag is for. Usually you'd just dump the hop pellets in when your recipe tells you. Definitely don't want to be boiling those grains loosely in your wort. I don't strain my hops out, really doesn't seem necessary to me.

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I have heard arguments both for and against primary and then secondary fermentation. I have the gear to do both, so should I do both? Or just give primary only for the first go around?
You're right, there are a few opinions on this. I used to use a secondary, but now I just let my beer sit in primary for at least a month and bottle from that. Do a search on primary vs. secondary for some better info.

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Is there a website or video on youtube that shows how to use the autosiphon properly and easily?
Dunno about videos, but it's really simple. Stick the bottom of your autosiphon a few inches into what you're siphoning from (at least six inches is preferable) and pump quickly a couple of times until it starts going on its own. Don't worry about messing anything up. Autosiphons are made for this kind of thing.

Quote:
And finally... what is something good for soaking beer bottles in to remove old labels?
Oxiclean. That's it. Best product known to man. Works great for cleaning the krausen/caked-on hops out of your primary too.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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x2 on the oxyclean... The hottest you can get your tap water with some oxyclean and let them soak for a few hours.. Most labels will fall off or will easily peel off. (MOST labels)

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Old 01-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #5
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Good Luck on your first brew. The Irish Red from Midwest was the 1st kit that I made. I was so happy with the results, I drank all of them in 2 weeks after they were ready. My advice to you is to start another kit as soon as you can after this one, so that you can get your "pipeline" started.

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Primary: Nothing

Secondary:
- Strawberry
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- Blackberry

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- Hop Head Double IPA
- Honey Nut Brown Ale
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- Black Dog Ale
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:45 PM   #6
adamhimself
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Thanks for all the help guys.

I double checked the cleaner and it does say on there "No Rinse Cleaner"

But, to me, it seems like you would want to rinse it out so no chemicals get left behind that could affect taste. Right?

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Old 01-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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No rinse sanitizes are meant not to be rinsed... theoretically you are un-sanitizing when you rinse. I rinse anyway and haven't had any problem so far, but I am using artesian well water.

I don't have an auto-siphon... I was going to buy one, but my LHBS guy talked me out of it and explained how to siphon without one.

Basically you fill up the full thing with sanitizer (I actually use water after sanitizing my siphon hose) if you hold the two open ends up together nothing pours out. You then clamp off the "out" end (you could put a sanitized finger over it.)

Put the "in" end down into your bucket. Un-clamp and empty the water into a extra container, switching to your secondary or bottling bucket when the beer gets to the out end (you can clamp here too so that you don't make a lot of mess.)

Not sure how well I explained that, and you already have to equipment, so maybe you won't bother. I find this is fairly easy, and it means sanitizing one less thing.

Have fun and welcome to the obsession!

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Old 01-23-2010, 09:34 PM   #8
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Here is a video from midwest that will help you w/ the siphon.


+1 on the oxiclean. Can buy the real stuff or the knock-off wal-mart brand. Both work great.

Use the bag to steep the grains. Follow the instructions you got w/ the kit, but the rule of thumb I use is to steep the grains for 20 minutes @160 degrees, then pull it out of the water, bring it to a boil, and add the hops. Think of it as a big ass teabag.

I won't begin to touch the pros and cons of secondary fermentation here. You can make a great beer either way. In fact, half of the time, I only find myself using a secondary if I am bored and feel like playing with my beer.

And a tip for a new brewer: when you open your primary, there will be a LOT of crud in there. You'll be positive that it looks worse than any pic you've seen on the site, and you'll convince yourself that you messed something up and you'll need to dump the batch and start over...... Your beer is fine. Fermentation is gross. Over time you'll learn be more worried when you don't see all the crud.

Hope I could help, enjoy the hobby.
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamhimself View Post
Thanks for all the help guys.

I double checked the cleaner and it does say on there "No Rinse Cleaner"

But, to me, it seems like you would want to rinse it out so no chemicals get left behind that could affect taste. Right?
Great choice using midwest check your local homebrew sply for additional airlocks probadly cost you all of two bucks.Welcome fellow texan to
home brewing!!
"beware" it can be very addicting
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:57 PM   #10
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STOP! Your EasyClean is a No Rinse CLEANER, not a SANITIZER. Take your chances if you'd like, but I'd recommend picking up some StarSan or Iodophor before you brew.

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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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