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Old 02-06-2013, 06:01 AM   #21
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Agreed, however I cannot tell you how many times I have reached for a unsterilized spoon to stir with the immersion chiller (use stainless steel for mashing, plastic for the immersion to keep from beating up the copper).

Ah I understand where you are coming from. I use a wine aerator attached to my drill for that purpose and it is made out of stainless steel and pastil which is kept in stan star until I am ready.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:01 AM   #22
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I'm still curious at which point did the cinnamon sticks get added?

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Old 02-06-2013, 06:40 AM   #23
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I'm still curious at which point did the cinnamon sticks get added?
Awesome. Haahaa.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:53 AM   #24
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He's using soap in his brew pot.

Soap.

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:30 AM   #25
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He's using soap in his brew pot.

Soap.
I was thinking the same thing.

Also are you using the Oxyclean without scent? I've heard that it makes a difference. I've only ever used the unscented version and had no problems using that as a brewery cleaner and Star San for sanitation.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:31 PM   #26
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Hmm the instructions from Midwest supplies says transfer to your secondary after only 5-7 days. Should it stay in the primary for 14 then transfer to the secondary?
1st step in making decent beer is throwing away the instruction sheet!
Next, read a good book like how to brew or complete joy of home brewing.
3rd, save yourself the time and headache of secondary, nothing happens in there that doesn't happen in the primary.
4th, realize that brewers make wort, yeast make beer. If you focus your efforts on quality fermentation from healthy yeast, you will make better beer than someone who focuses on other ingredients. The book "yeast", is an excellent resource. Pitch rate, temperature control, and proper aeration are the biggest factors in fermentation. Extra headspace in you primary is no biggie...
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:27 PM   #27
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Make sure you put some marks on your fermenting vessel in 1 gallon incraments so you know how much to put in to get to the proper volume. And use oxyfree or PBW for cleaning,rinse well. Try using spring or RO water on a batch & see if that helps. Keep ferment temps in the range stated for the yeast used. And make sure everything is clean & sanitized that touches the wort/beer.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:22 PM   #28
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Are you sure the smell in the fermenter is not CO2? If you are sticking your head down in it, you would be smelling the CO2 gas cloud above your beer. I think you might mistake CO2 as having a chemical odor. If the chemical smell burns your nose, its CO2 and not someting to worry about.

From the picture, you use a bucket for primary then rack to a glass carboy for secondary right? Do you keep that cinnamon stick in the primary for the full fermentation? If you do, that is an non sanitary item in your wort. Flavor additions such as the cinnamon stick might be better left to secondary (the alcohol in your beer will protect it at this point). Cinnamon sticks arn't always only cinnamon, cheap ones will include chemical enhancers and preservatives.

My advice is, bottle this one and let it age for a month then start to check it. After that, clean all your gear with Oxyclean Free and rinse it very well. inspect all plastic parts for scratches or dings that can harbor bacteria (if your plastic is scratched, you might never be able to make it sanitary). Focus on cleaning and sanitizing your gear. I assume you are an extract brewer, get a kit you like and follow the instructions included with the kit. Also, find the volumes on your fementer.

One late addition, are you treating your tap water? Try making a batch with spring water or bottled water from the store and see if it is better. I've had beer made with tap water that I love to drink and it makes bad beer.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:24 PM   #29
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I would say most likely ferm temps. But there is room for process improvement here.

-For the pot, take a sponge (not scrubbie) and wash out the inside of any loose debris/leftovers with hot water and store (upside down) after brewing. Boil pot should not need sanitizer.
-Other utensils that touch the wort while boiling work the same way. Clean, but sanitizing is unnecessary.
-fermenter and other stuff that touches it at non boiling temps, clean as above, but soak in sanitizer for a couple minutes before use. Using Starsan dont worry about rinsing. but make sure there is no debris or other crap on them before sanitizing or it will not really do much good. Hard to sanitize dirt and all.
-Do your boil, cool to fermenting temps or a little below before pitching.
-Starters improve your beer, but arent really needed for dry yeast
-Temperature control is king. Using the appropriate temperature range for the beginning especially of fermentation is important for getting the right flavors from the yeast. This is where you get the hot (fusel) alcohol flavors and even the fruity and such esters that yeast form. My advice is to stay away from light beers and lagers until you get temp control down.
-dont rush it, secondary is not necessary and can be skipped with prolonged primary. Also let it sit in bottles for at least 3 weeks to mature and clean up a little.

If your beer tastes not great, give it a month or so to condition. It can improve, though some flavors do not reallty condition out.

Most of all do not give up. Unless that is your thing. Then go ahead.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by mike_in_ak View Post
He's using soap in his brew pot.

Soap.
Nothing wrong with soap if you're rinsing well and it's scent and dye free. Sure there are better options, but if you're just starting brewing and decide you don't like it, it's a lot easier to repurpose detergent or dish soap than other things.
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