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Old 08-11-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
s2cmpugh
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Default Tips for my first batch

Good day everyone! I'm picking up this home brew http://www.weekendbrewer.com/beginnerpage.html kit this weekend withe the hopes of brewing the Bavarian Style Hefeweizen. After that I want to try some stouts and then some ales. From all the reading I've done on here, it seems THE most important thing is clean, sanitize, clean, sanitize, etc.

I keep my house b/t 76 and 80 during the summer, so will my yeast have any trouble feasting on the sugars?

Should I follow the kit instructions for time duration of fermentation or let it go longer?

I'm a little confused about the bottling bucket, and how much beer to fill the bottles with...do I need the bucket, and what's the deal with the siphon?

Gotta say, I'm super excited about this and would like to have a brew cycle going so I always have something fresh and ready to go.

Any tips for a noob would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks!
Cris P.

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Old 08-11-2010, 06:05 PM   #2
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Welcome, Cris.

First, the house temp is a little high for the yeast and may ferment too quickly leaving some off flavors. If you can keep it in a water bath to bring the temp down, it will help.

A Hefe doesn't usually need a full 3 weeks in the carboy. I would start taking your final gravity measurements after a week. If you have the same FG for 3 days, your fermentation is done and you can bottle.

Did you get a bottling wand with your bucket? If you stick the wand in the bottle, fill the bottle to the top, when you remove the wand you will have a perfect fill. I have been told you want the fill to be about the length of the end of your thumb (from the tip down to the first knuckle) from the top.

The bucket is a good to have. I use mine and do my fills over the door of my dishwasher (Thanks, Revvy) and it keeps the mess down when filling.

Are you talking about an auto-siphon? They are great for getting your beer from one place to another, like from your carboy to your bottling bucket or from your boil pot into your carboy. Trying to siphon using your mouth is unsanitary and has the potential to infect your beer....

I hope some of this was helpful! Have fun with the hobby, it is GREAT!

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Old 08-11-2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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Good day everyone! I'm picking up this home brew http://www.weekendbrewer.com/beginnerpage.html kit this weekend withe the hopes of brewing the Bavarian Style Hefeweizen. After that I want to try some stouts and then some ales. Hefeweizens & Stouts are Ales From all the reading I've done on here, it seems THE most important thing is clean, sanitize, clean, sanitize, etc. In addition controlling your fermentation temps is probably the most important thing you can do to make good beer.

I keep my house b/t 76 and 80 during the summer, so will my yeast have any trouble feasting on the sugars? I'd suggest keeping the temps in the low 60's (ambient) so that your beer ferments in the mid 60's.

Should I follow the kit instructions for time duration of fermentation or let it go longer? I let all my beer sit 3-4 weeks in the primary, no secondary.

I'm a little confused about the bottling bucket, and how much beer to fill the bottles with...do I need the bucket, and what's the deal with the siphon? You rack (with the siphon) the beer out of the fermenter in to your bottling bucket with the priming sugar mix in there. Fill the bottles to the top, then when you pull out the bottling wand you'll have the proper headspace.

Gotta say, I'm super excited about this and would like to have a brew cycle going so I always have something fresh and ready to go.

Any tips for a noob would be GREATLY appreciated.

Read this & this to start. And welcome to the obsession!

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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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Old 08-11-2010, 06:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieGator View Post
I use mine and do my fills over the door of my dishwasher (Thanks, Revvy) and it keeps the mess down when filling.
SHEER GENIUS!

Welcome to the boards! First and foremost, take your time with what you do. LaurieGator is right, the temp may cause your yeast to do their thing too fast but something else that may work for you is keeping the primary in your basement (if you have one). That should keep it a little cooler and allow things to move smoothly along.

Also, sanitize and clean (etc) is something to live by. If you have bottles that you rinsed, soaped, cleaned, and threw in the dishwasher, go that extra mile and sanitize them as well.

*edit* People also have their own styles of doing things with beer such as wyzazz only using a primary. That is by no means wrong of him (or her) to do. It's just the way s/he does it. I personally use a primary and secondary. It's all about what works best for YOU.

Use common sense, enjoy yourself, and relax... anyone care to finish that thought?
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:12 PM   #5
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you really should try and find a spot where you can maintain a constant temperature between 60-70 degrees. Fermentation temps are super important. I usually let my fermentations go for no less than 2 weeks and usually no more than a month. You can successfully skip the secondary altogether. Especially, for a hefe.

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Old 08-11-2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for the fast replies everyone! I'm picking the kit up this weekend at the store since it's only about 20 mins. from my house.

As far as temps go...For those in the mid-atlantic states, you know it's been really really hot here, and keeping the house in the mid 60's is impossible (HVAC can't keep up when it's over 100 outside). I don't have a basement, but I do have a crawlspace where it is nice and cool. Obviously the crawlspace is outside under the house, so has anyone done this before? Would leaving the bucket right next to a vent/register inside the house help things maybe? I could try the water bath, but I don't know how stable I could keep the water temp. at.

For those that looked at the link with the kit, does it seem to be a pretty decent kit to keep my going for a while?

Thanks!

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Old 08-11-2010, 06:27 PM   #7
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The kit looks pretty good I'd pick up a good no-rinse sanitizer like Iodophor or StarSan (my preference) to keep things sanitarty! You'll want to keep those temps down however you can, if you search for "Swamp Cooler" you'll get a lot of ideas.

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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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Old 08-11-2010, 06:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2cmpugh View Post
Good day everyone! I'm picking up this home brew http://www.weekendbrewer.com/beginnerpage.html kit this weekend withe the hopes of brewing the Bavarian Style Hefeweizen. After that I want to try some stouts and then some ales. From all the reading I've done on here, it seems THE most important thing is clean, sanitize, clean, sanitize, etc.

I keep my house b/t 76 and 80 during the summer, so will my yeast have any trouble feasting on the sugars?

Should I follow the kit instructions for time duration of fermentation or let it go longer?

I'm a little confused about the bottling bucket, and how much beer to fill the bottles with...do I need the bucket, and what's the deal with the siphon?

Gotta say, I'm super excited about this and would like to have a brew cycle going so I always have something fresh and ready to go.

Any tips for a noob would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thanks!
Cris P.
I was gonna do this in chunks but I think I will not need to...

You should search for blow off tube. Doing a wheat beer they notoriously need one. better to have it in place than to wish you did!!! BTW they are really cheap and easy to make...

I really do not think there is a "most important thing" as they all are important; But for your 1st brews get used to cleaning, sanitizing and hitting temps + times correctly.

Those temps are pretty high. most fermentation likes to be at roughly 65 degrees. fermentation temps can be hotter than ambient temps. if you have a basement I would check the temps there, if not then check out the DIY section for a swamp cooler basically a trash can that has water in it that you swap frozen water bottles in and out to control temps.

The directions will rush you to bottle your beer, The same story is told by the gurus here. "Fermentation is done when you get the same hydrometer reading 2 days in a row. It is not done when the airlock stops bubbling or after X days/weeks."

The bottling bucket makes life easier. you can use a small chunk of the tube on your siphon to attach it to the "bottling wand" or you can put the wand into the end of the siphon line for bottling. As for the head space when bottling the wand fills from the bottom of the bottle up, when you press the release down.(this will make sence when you see it.) everyone I know fills the bottle up right before you would spill and then removes the wand. (the wand will stop filling when it looses contact with the bottom of the bottle.) The space the wand was taking up creates the perfect head space in your bottles.

The siphon is a HUGE deal. After you pitch the yeast you want to expose the beer to as little oxygen as possible to avoid off flavors. That means you need to gently siphon the beer from one vessel to another and avoid splashing.

The brew cycle as you put it is commonly called a pipeline do yourself a favy and plan another brew day 2-3 weeks after this one. Don't wait until you taste the 1st batch before brewing the second it will never last that long...

The last bit of advice is try the search feature, 90% of things have been covered and that can save you and others ALOT of time!

but the BIGGEST thing that I can not stress enough is RDWHAHB!!!

BTW welcome to the addiction!
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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Fellow Richmonder here, I'm in Midlothian. That's the kit I got from Weekend Brewer, but I got the glass carboy instead, and added the carboy hauler (straps that help to carry it). You are starting with the same beer kit I did. I made that 1st batch in July. It turned out great. I was able to keep my fermentation at 68-70. The instructions they provided aren't great, so use what you learn here. I did 4 days primary and 9 days secondary, and then it's been bottled for just over 2 weeks.

It seems these experienced brewers here are recommending 3 weeks in primary and no secondary. If you are like me, you'll want to get that 1st batch bottled sooner.

For my second brew I've gotten a separate primary bucket. You may want to do the same so you have your bottling bucket available for when you have more than one batch fermenting at the same time. Be careful tightening the spigot in your bottling bucket . I couldn't get a good seal and the spigot broke. Consider a backup spigot too.

My second batch is in primary in a tub of water. I change out frozen water bottles to keep the temperature lower. I think the Hefe can handle a little higher, but you will want to keep it cooler than 78. This will get you under 70.

Good luck!

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Old 08-11-2010, 07:05 PM   #10
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One other thing... The Weekend Brewers instructions said to pour the priming mixture on top of the beer before bottling. Instead pour that in your bottling bucket first and then siphon beer into that to mix without aerating.

Read John Palmer's How To Brew. Free online, but only 10 bucks on Kindle for 3rd edition.

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