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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Tips for my first batch
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:41 PM   #11
s2cmpugh
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Thanks for all the help everyone! So far I've picked up on this:

1. I need to keep the fermenter cooler, so I'll do the put the bucket inside another larger container filled with water and frozen bottles/ice, etc. to keep it cool.

2. I think I've figured out the whole primary vs. secondary. Are some people letting it sit in the primary bucket for 3 weeks, then transferring using the autosiphon into a bottling bucket (with your primer sugar mixed in), then straight into bottles for a few weeks?

3. What's the real purpose of the secondary fermenter (any additional ingredients added)? Is it b/c the primary bucket is also used as bottling bucket?

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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.
I may have a lot of questions since you are so close by. How did your first batch of hefe turn out? What's the taste like?
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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I use a secondary for big beers that need bulk aging and oaking. It gets the beer off the yeast for that extended period of time so there is no fear of autolysis and the off flavors it can create.

A secondary isn't a "bad" thing in most cases, just something I choose not to use. I like to keep my beer on the yeast for 3-4 weeks it gives them a chance to clean up the mess they made in my beer. That and I don't have to possibly expose my beer to any nasties by racking again.

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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 08-12-2010, 01:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by s2cmpugh View Post
1. I need to keep the fermenter cooler, so I'll do the put the bucket inside another larger container filled with water and frozen bottles/ice, etc. to keep it cool.
This method works great. I have one of these swamp coolers in my brew closet. You can keep the overall temperature down easier if you soak a t-shirt in water and cover the top of your fermentation vessel, going around the blow-off tube or airlock. The evaporation will cool the beer more effectively.
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by s2cmpugh View Post
I may have a lot of questions since you are so close by. How did your first batch of hefe turn out? What's the taste like?

Anytime...

Hefe turned out great. Hint of bananas and clove, but very subtle. SWMBO was impressed, and my Dad enjoyed it too. I've got a couple of 22oz. Bombers in the fridge for tonight! Trust me, you will get hooked on this hobby! I'll start brew #3 tonight, and I'm already considering what will come after that. I'm trying to find an easy extract recipe for Pumpkin Ale, to have ready by end of Oct.

Enjoy your trip to Weekend Brewer!
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Old 08-12-2010, 03:46 PM   #15
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I should also suggest you pick up a few extra packs of dry yeast for backup/emergency.

I made a mistake on my second brew and added the yeast to boiling water to try to rehydrate. Of course this killed the yeast and I had no backup. Now Ill always have a pack or two in the fridge.

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Old 08-12-2010, 04:07 PM   #16
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A man is lost in New York, and asks a cabbie, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

The cabbie says, "Practice, practice, practice!"

Yeah, it's an old joke. But when you asked about bottling and how to use the siphon, it came to mind. Do a couple dry runs with water (Ha!) to get the feeling for where the tubes go, how to hold on to what, where the leaks are (so you can fix them before you're losing beer), etc. etc. etc.

When you pick up your kit at the LHBS, disassemble the three-piece airlock and ask the guy to cut you a lenth of plastic tubing to fit the inner stem. It should be long enough to reach the floor, where (once you start fermenting) it will be in a jar of sanitizing solution. Nobody ever regrets rigging up a blowoff tube, but many regret not doing it. After high kreusen has subsided, you can reassemble the airlock.

No worries!

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Old 08-12-2010, 04:57 PM   #17
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take your time and plan on brew day being something like 5-6 hours. there will be alot of sanitizing before hand and then cleaning up of where you brewed as well as cleaning up materials/utensils/items used. the first time I did it I don't think I wasn't done until 3 am and I didn't plan on that happening.

the time to brew will become less and less with the more batches you do when you find out where to cut corners or erradicate 'down time' waiting for certain things to happen (like time for water to boil).

and yes read Palmers book (try library before you make plunge to actually buy). don't read into ALL of the things in the book as it will pry make your head spin with all the things you can do and worry about. jsut read and re-read the quicky section on how to do your first batch....then read the rest of the book while you patiently (or pry impatiently) wait to be able to bottle

p.s. I've yet to secondary, so IMHO I would follow the 3 weeks in primary and then off to bottling.

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Old 08-12-2010, 06:42 PM   #18
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So it sounds like I need a blowoff tube brewing the hefe. I'm assuming the guys at the LHBS will be able to rig one up for me?

Everything else I think I understand, but this secondary fermenter is a bit confusing. What's the idea behind it? It seems as though you do this:

1. Use the fermenting bucket for a few weeks
2. Transfer to the secondary fermenter (carboy) for how long? Does this reduce the yeast content after transfer?
3. Then transfer to the bottling bucket and begin to bottle?
4. Let beer sit in bottles for a week or so before chilling and consuming?
5. Should I be concerned about the level of carbonation?

That seems like a lot of transferring and opens up to a chance of spilling, bacteria, or in my case, making a mistake.

Or I could be WAY WAY over thinking it....

Thanks,
Cris P.

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Old 08-12-2010, 06:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2cmpugh View Post
So it sounds like I need a blowoff tube brewing the hefe. I'm assuming the guys at the LHBS will be able to rig one up for me?

Everything else I think I understand, but this secondary fermenter is a bit confusing. What's the idea behind it? It seems as though you do this:

1. Use the fermenting bucket for a few weeks
2. Transfer to the secondary fermenter (carboy) for how long? Does this reduce the yeast content after transfer?
3. Then transfer to the bottling bucket and begin to bottle?
4. Let beer sit in bottles for a week or so before chilling and consuming?
5. Should I be concerned about the level of carbonation?

That seems like a lot of transferring and opens up to a chance of spilling, bacteria, or in my case, making a mistake.

Or I could be WAY WAY over thinking it....

Thanks,
Cris P.
If you have a 3 piece airlock you can just use the siphon tubing pushed over the middle part of the airlock for a blowoff.

OK, I'm just going to throw this out there: DON'T SECONDARY you don't need to bulk age this beer. Give it 3-4 weeks in the primary then 3 weeks in the bottle, it'll be aged enough that it won't be green, and nicely carbed at that point.
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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 08-12-2010, 09:20 PM   #20
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Putting together a blow-off tube is easy peasy, just get a few feet of tubing (I forget the diameter, just ask the dudes at your LHBS for a size that will fit over the end of a racking cane). If you're fermenting in buckets you should have a hole already good for an airlock; if you're fermenting in carboys make sure you grab a stopper, too. Stick one end of the tube in the fermenter through the gasket or the stopper, and run the other end out into a pitcher of water to create a closed system.

Don't secondary a hefeweizen. You want it cloudy, and in reality you can probably bottle within 10 days or so. You won't need the usual 3 or 4 weeks primary for that beer to be great. All mine have been grain to glass in about 10 days (kegged of course, bottling will slow the process down some.)

Good luck and have fun, and if something seems screwed up, RDWHAHB.

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