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Old 08-19-2010, 01:53 PM   #61
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Sorry to jump in here, haven't started my first brew but will soon. Just so I have this right, when taking gravity readings you need to pop the top off the fermenter I assume. Take the "sanitized" turkey baster and pull some beer in from somewhere near the middle? Should this be emptied into a glass for the gravity test followed by a tasting if one wishes?
Yep, usually you put it in a hydrometer test jar. It's long and skinny minimizing the amount of beer you have to use to test.
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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 08-19-2010, 01:59 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by DarkUncle View Post
Sorry to jump in here, haven't started my first brew but will soon. Just so I have this right, when taking gravity readings you need to pop the top off the fermenter I assume. Take the "sanitized" turkey baster and pull some beer in from somewhere near the middle? Should this be emptied into a glass for the gravity test followed by a tasting if one wishes?
For most hydrometers available out there, a glass might not be tall enough, and it is almost definitely not narrow enough to take the minimum amount of beer out of the container.

You should use a testing jar (like a graduated cylinder, but without the graduated markings), or sometimes the plastic tube the hydrometer came in is waterproof and can be used as a test jar.

I sanitize the testing jar as well as the turkey baster and hydrometer, and I return the sample to the main batch. Other people prefer to avoid risk of contamination and drink the sample instead. The second is the smarter, probably.

As for taking it from the center of the batch, the yeast have pretty well stirred things so from almost any spot should be good. Sugar tends to settle out and cause gradients, but alcohol does not.
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Old 08-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #63
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Perfect, so I am doing it right then.

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Old 08-19-2010, 03:36 PM   #64
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...
For gravity readings...how long should I wait to until I take a reading?
...
I know the first batch is exciting and anxious, but there is no need to mess with the hydrometer for at least a week or two (or more). Though airlock activity is not 100% reliable, if you are getting spontaneous bubbles, you can pretty much assume fermentation is happening. Leave it alone and let the yeast do their thing. The more you mess with it, the more likely you are to contaminate it.

After a week or two, go ahead and take a reading.
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:05 PM   #65
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I know the first batch is exciting and anxious, but there is no need to mess with the hydrometer for at least a week or two (or more). Though airlock activity is not 100% reliable, if you are getting spontaneous bubbles, you can pretty much assume fermentation is happening. Leave it alone and let the yeast do their thing. The more you mess with it, the more likely you are to contaminate it.

After a week or two, go ahead and take a reading.
Yes sir. I'm just confused b/c the ingredient kit instructions say to transfer it to the secondary after bubbling stops (3-4 days), then leave it in there for a week or so. I have to rack into secondary b/c my primary IS my bottling bucket.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:14 PM   #66
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Yes sir. I'm just confused b/c the ingredient kit instructions say to transfer it to the secondary after bubbling stops (3-4 days), then leave it in there for a week or so. I have to rack into secondary b/c my primary IS my bottling bucket.
Kit instructions are notoriously poorly designed. This is what I would do:
1) Let it sit in primary for 2 weeks.
2) Take a hydrometer reading
3a) if you are at or close to your expected FG, transfer to the secondary vessel
3b) if not, keep it in primary a few more days and repeat steps 2-3
4) leave it in secondary for another 5-7 days
5) Take hydrometer readings on consecutive days
6) if the gravity is stable, bottle (though there is no problem leaving it longer if you have to - no need to rush)

Also I would get yourself a dedicated fermentation bucket (without the spigot) and for future brews just leave the beer alone in the primary for 2-3 weeks before bottling.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:51 PM   #67
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I have to rack into secondary b/c my primary IS my bottling bucket.
You can rack it the day you bottle, if you want. There is no need to secondary if you don't want to.

If you want to rack to secondary so you can start another batch, you can do that, but somewhere in there you will have to buy a spare fermenter (or bottle from your secondary). Playing musical chairs with beer batches is fine so long as you have 1 more container than you have batches of beer.

CAVEAT: every time your beer moves it gets exposed to more microbes (potentially) and more oxygen (probably)... so it's not a good thing. Still, most of the time you'll be fine.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:57 PM   #68
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I'll just put this out there... ...pick up another primary, your life will be much easier.

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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 08-19-2010, 06:03 PM   #69
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I do plan on getting another primary next time I head to the store to pick up another ingredient kit.

When taking gravity readings, do I need to compare primary numbers to secondary or just primary to primary and secondary to secondary?

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Old 08-19-2010, 06:07 PM   #70
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You'll want your OG (first gravity reading), and your FG (last gravity reading) to determine your ABV/ABW. The others are just to figure out where you're at in fermentation or if fermentation is finished. I suggest you pick up a notebook to record these brewing related things in.

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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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