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Old 10-09-2012, 09:59 PM   #21
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Thanks for the replies everyone! So I have a fermentation chamber that I make sure stays at the appropriate temps and I have begun to keep a log of each one of my beers. When I printed out the sheets I just wasn't sure which information was really important. The only other thing I have some confusion about was about pitching the proper yeast amount. If I purchase it with a kit shouldn't that be the right amount? I have look at the calcs but I'm a little confused about it all.

Record everything you can, and as you gain experience you'll decide what you really want to track. It's always better to have too much information recorded than too little!

What kind of kits are you buying? Boxed off-the-shelf kits will often come with highly suspect dry yeast in undersized packets. Kits from reputable online brew suppliers will come with enough fresh dry yeast, or liquid yeast that you'll want to make a starter for in most cases.

Here's a handy website for calculating pitch rate; http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Sticking with dry yeast for your first few batches wouldn't be the worst idea if the yeast starter issue seems imposing; lots of good beer is made with dry yeast, and you can cover most styles adequately with what's available.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:00 PM   #22
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Enter one of your beers into a competition, or find experienced brewers in your area and ask them to critique your beer. I can tell you from experience that you can read all of these threads and think you are getting it, and then discover that you glossed over something really important after reading suggestions on a score sheet. I missed the whole "remove the chlorine and chloramine from your brewing water" step until a beer judge docked me for band-aid flavor in the first beer I entered into a competition. Be ready to take a little ego hit (I was down in the dumps for a day or two), but if you listen and focus on improving, the comments will help you make better beer. People who have not tasted your beer can tell you to focus on x, y, and z, and it will be good advice, but the best advice you can get is from someone who has tasted your beer and can diagnose specific issues.

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Old 10-10-2012, 01:43 AM   #23
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Record everything you can, and as you gain experience you'll decide what you really want to track. It's always better to have too much information recorded than too little!

What kind of kits are you buying? Boxed off-the-shelf kits will often come with highly suspect dry yeast in undersized packets. Kits from reputable online brew suppliers will come with enough fresh dry yeast, or liquid yeast that you'll want to make a starter for in most cases.

Here's a handy website for calculating pitch rate; http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html

Sticking with dry yeast for your first few batches wouldn't be the worst idea if the yeast starter issue seems imposing; lots of good beer is made with dry yeast, and you can cover most styles adequately with what's available.
Austin Homebrew is my local shop, I'm doing extract recipes. Two of the beers I made I used liquid yeast and poured it right in after I put the cooled wort in the primary and then sealed it.

The last beer I did with my buddy I had a smack pack and I made a starter over two days with some of the DME I had. After looking at Mr. Malty it looks like I need to add a little more science into what i'm doing.

What is really the benefit of doing a starter as opposed to not?
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:48 AM   #24
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What is really the benefit of doing a starter as opposed to not?
http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.php
pretty much covers the basics of why

http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php
covers the basics of how
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:03 AM   #25
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http://www.mrmalty.com/starter_faq.php
pretty much covers the basics of why

http://www.mrmalty.com/pitching.php
covers the basics of how
Awesome! This is perfect. As a side note any opinions on if I should dump my beer if the tip of my therm broke? I really don't want to ditch my old ale, I'm kind of thinking about filtering it. Is that even possible?

Thanks for all the replies
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:05 AM   #26
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Yeastcalc.com is another good site for starters, it is especially useful for step-ups. I find it's graphic nature easy to use and seems a bit more straight forward than mrmalty. It also tells you your actual pitch rate (cells per ml), both required and final.

EDIT: For Production date: As listed on Wyeast smakpac....4 months prior to "Use by" date on White Labs.

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Old 10-10-2012, 02:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by bobcatbrewer View Post
Austin Homebrew is my local shop, I'm doing extract recipes. Two of the beers I made I used liquid yeast and poured it right in after I put the cooled wort in the primary and then sealed it.

The last beer I did with my buddy I had a smack pack and I made a starter over two days with some of the DME I had. After looking at Mr. Malty it looks like I need to add a little more science into what i'm doing.

What is really the benefit of doing a starter as opposed to not?
Fermentation is the most important part of beer making. That, and being 21.

Your yeast control the fermentation. As far as benefits of doing a starter vs not, that's like asking what are the benefits of being alive vs not. There is no non benefit of making a starter. It's one of the most important things.

Unless you use dry yeast, most people don't use starters for dry. Just pitch enough packets.

Also, enter some contests. Feedback is so huge.

Read a lot. Yeast, brewing classic styles, designing great recipies, etc. Learn to taste.

Etc, etc, etc.
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:22 AM   #28
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Fermentation is the most important part of beer making. That, and being 21.

Your yeast control the fermentation. As far as benefits of doing a starter vs not, that's like asking what are the benefits of being alive vs not. There is no non benefit of making a starter. It's one of the most important things.

Unless you use dry yeast, most people don't use starters for dry. Just pitch enough packets.

Also, enter some contests. Feedback is so huge.

Read a lot. Yeast, brewing classic styles, designing great recipies, etc. Learn to taste.

Etc, etc, etc.
Entering contests seems to be a recurring theme, I think I'm going to do my best to perfect this old ale that I'm brewing and try to find a way to put my own spin on it then enter my beer during the springs sometime.

Any good recommendations on how to design recipes or is it just something that you figure out after awhile?

Also if anyone has any comments on the old ale I have fermenting that has a small amount of glass in it i would be all ears. I'm thinking of tranferring to the secondary tonight. I would really love to keep it :/
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Old 10-10-2012, 02:46 AM   #29
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What do you use to transfer? If you transfer via siphon, you will likely not even be able to pick the glass up.

Especially if you have a racking cane like mine (are they all the same?). It has a cap on the bottom so the liquid is pulled from above. I think it would be almost impossible to pick up glass with it.

Also, just because I know people are going to ask - why are you using a secondary?

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Old 10-10-2012, 02:52 AM   #30
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What do you use to transfer? If you transfer via siphon, you will likely not even be able to pick the glass up.

Especially if you have a racking cane like mine (are they all the same?). It has a cap on the bottom so the liquid is pulled from above. I think it would be almost impossible to pick up glass with it.

Also, just because I know people are going to ask - why are you using a secondary?
Some were recommending it if you had a broken therm. I have read that transferring to the secondary isn't really necessarily in general so I was planning just to leave it on the yeast cake for 4 weeks.

So you think I'm good to go? I would of course siphon a few inches off the trub just to be safe.
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