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Old 09-26-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
heylookltsme
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Default various newbie questions!

I'm new to brewing - I've brewed two batches so far (first one turned out well, and I just bottled the second one today, so we'll see!). I have a few questions that haven't really been answered in the books I've read on brewing.

- I find it a big pain to get my grains in the grain bag. Any techniques you recommend?

- I have a floating thermometer - is it bad if the tip of it sits at the bottom of the pot? Won't the reading be higher that way since it's right on the metal?

- When steeping the grain bag, is there a good way to keep it from sitting on bottom of the pot and burning? It is just easier to turn off the heat at this point?

- Should I be stirring the hops into the wort when I add them? Does it matter?

- How vigorous should the boil be? Everything I've read makes it seem like boil overs are almost certain to happen, but I never have to worry about boil overs. Is my boil too tame?

Thanks in advance for any answers or advice! :-)

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:17 PM   #2
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You have trouble getting the grain in the bag? How big is the bag? I use a pretty big one and have never had a problem. If you are dumping them from another bag (brown bag from the LHBS, zip lock from cracking them, etc) then put the grain bag over the other bag first then flip them and pour straight in. Otherwise anything to hold a decent opening would work... even a big funnel if you don't mind waiting for the grain to go through it, lol.

I don't use a floating thermometer so can't really answer that one but would assume if the thing is touching any part of the pot, specially the bottom, the accuracy would be off.

I knot the top of my grain bag and flip it over the edge of the pot. The lid will hold it up that way.

I stir off and on throughout the boil, specially right after I add hops. Not sure how much of a difference it makes though as the rolling boil seems to keep them moving anyway.

A "rolling boil" is what I maintain. I can see the surface actively rolling... pretty obvious once you see it. And the boil over isn't so much the boil itself but more the reaction of the wort to the boil. Sometimes it will surge up. Outside though that isn't much of a problem as a steady breeze is usually blowing when I brew and that tends to knock the foam back pretty quick.

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Old 09-26-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heylookltsme View Post
I'm new to brewing - I've brewed two batches so far (first one turned out well, and I just bottled the second one today, so we'll see!). I have a few questions that haven't really been answered in the books I've read on brewing.

- I find it a big pain to get my grains in the grain bag. Any techniques you recommend?

- I have a floating thermometer - is it bad if the tip of it sits at the bottom of the pot? Won't the reading be higher that way since it's right on the metal?

- When steeping the grain bag, is there a good way to keep it from sitting on bottom of the pot and burning? It is just easier to turn off the heat at this point?

- Should I be stirring the hops into the wort when I add them? Does it matter?

- How vigorous should the boil be? Everything I've read makes it seem like boil overs are almost certain to happen, but I never have to worry about boil overs. Is my boil too tame?

Thanks in advance for any answers or advice! :-)
1. get a big enough grain bag to place in a bucket, makes life easier
2. I've never used nor would I ever trust a floating thermometer in boiling wort, but thats just me..
3. tie it to the handles on the pot or a mash paddle/stirring spoon on top of the pot
4. it really doesn't matter but I like to stir
5. a rolling boil is what you want, give it time, a boil over is inevitable..
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Old 09-26-2010, 11:31 PM   #4
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1.) I'm not really sure how to answer this. Maybe your grain bag is too small?

2.) I use one of these:
(http://www.midwestsupplies.com/12-la...ermometer.html )

I tie it to the handle of my brew pot with a twist tie. Works fine. I have a floating thermometer but I don't use it because it won't float! I am only doing 3 gallons boils.

3.) I ALWAYS stir the wort after I add hops. I don't know if you have to but I always do.

4.) I was worried about this when I first started out too. Because I am brewing on a stove top, I just use the thermometer to see if I'm at 212 degrees. Once, I'm there I know I'm good. I get a decent "rolling" boil. You should be be able to tell once you see it. I've never had a boil over...yet.

5.) RDWHAHB!

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Old 09-27-2010, 12:17 AM   #5
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I put the open grain bag in a large measuring cup and pour in the grains.
I wouldn't allow a glass thermometer to be incontact with a pot bottom when heat is applied. I don't use floating thermometers for this, I use dip/ dial type.

I generally steep with the heat off. You won't lose a lot of heat, but you can wrap a towel around it if needed.

I don't worry about stirring in the hops. The boils will stir them for me. I wind up stirring sooner or later but I don't worry about doing it as I add the hops.

I have taken to brewing outside so boil overs don't worry me much. They're hard to avoid, though if I brew inside and do a partial boil it can usually be avoided if you're very alert.

A good rolling boil has been sufficient for me. You don't have to boil it out of the pot.

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Old 09-27-2010, 12:29 AM   #6
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Scorching your grain bags? False bottoms! Or a folding veggie steamer(Thanks Yooper!).

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