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Old 07-05-2006, 05:49 PM   #1
tockeyhockey
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Jul 2006
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I was hoping someone could give me some peace of mind regarding my first home brew. I am using a basic ale kit that I bought at the brewery outlet along with the plastic tub that came with the kit.

Everything went well until the third day of fermenting, when the CO2 stopped coming through the airlock. Is this normal?

Also, I can't seem to find a way to get the temperature down below 72 F, even though my house is pretty cool and I have the fermenter in the basement. Right now, my thermometer reads about 74 F. Will that kill my yeast and ruin my beer?

What strategies do you recommend to cool down a plastic fermenter that doesn't seem to conduct heat away at all?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:55 PM   #2
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tockeyhockey
Everything went well until the third day of fermenting, when the CO2 stopped coming through the airlock. Is this normal?
It's gotta stop at some point!

My batches usually bubble for 3 to 5 days. The warmer the temp, the faster the ferment. If you're at 74°F, 3 days seems fine to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tockeyhockey
Also, I can't seem to find a way to get the temperature down below 72 F, even though my house is pretty cool and I have the fermenter in the basement. Right now, my thermometer reads about 74 F. Will that kill my yeast and ruin my beer?

What strategies do you recommend to cool down a plastic fermenter that doesn't seem to conduct heat away at all?
74°F is not terrible, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. You might get more estery flavors than intended, but the yeast will certianly not die and the beer will not be ruined.

There are a number of tricks you can use to keep the fermenter a little cooler than the ambient temp. A very popular one is to wrap a wet towel or t-shirt around the fermenter. The evaporation of the water in the cloth will cool the fermenter a few degrees.

Another method is to put the fermenter in a big bucket of water. This will help regulate the temp as the day's temp warms and cools. If you want to keep it even cooler, you can put some ice in the water-bath.

The more expensive solution is to get an old fridge or freezer and hook it up to an external thermostat to keep the temp exactly where you want it.

-walker
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Old 07-05-2006, 05:58 PM   #3
RichBrewer
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At 72 to 74 degrees, your fermentation is probably complete. That is at the upper end of the temp range for ales. I wouldn't worry about it too much I bet the beer will be good. You can keep it in the primary for about 2 weeks total or you can rack into the secondary. I've heard of folks keeping their fermenter in a cool water bath or wrapping it in a wet towel to keep the temps lowered.
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Or in your case RDWHA beer from your favorite brewery.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:03 PM   #4
tockeyhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBrewer
At 72 to 74 degrees, your fermentation is probably complete. That is at the upper end of the temp range for ales. I wouldn't worry about it too much I bet the beer will be good. You can keep it in the primary for about 2 weeks total or you can rack into the secondary. I've heard of folks keeping their fermenter in a cool water bath or wrapping it in a wet towel to keep the temps lowered.
RDWHAHB
Or in your case RDWHA beer from your favorite brewery.
Thanks. So if my specific gravity is close to where the recipe says it should be, I should siphon it off into another fermenter and let it sit for a while? How long before I can bottle it?

 
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:04 PM   #5
homebrewer_99
 
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Let it sit in the secondary for about 1-2 weeks or until the gravity is within range for the final gravity AND the beer has cleared.
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:08 PM   #6
tockeyhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Let it sit in the secondary for about 1-2 weeks or until the gravity is within range for the final gravity AND the beer has cleared.
and just to be sure -- the secondary fermenter is the second bucket i got with my equipment kit -- the one that has a bottling spigot on the bottom? just siphon it over, wait a couple of weeks, take another specific gravity check, and then bottle?

 
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:11 PM   #7
Walker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tockeyhockey
and just to be sure -- the secondary fermenter is the second bucket i got with my equipment kit -- the one that has a bottling spigot on the bottom? just siphon it over, wait a couple of weeks, take another specific gravity check, and then bottle?
nope.. that's your bottling bucket.

You'll get some sediment at the bottom of the secondary fermenter, so if you bottle straight from that, you might end up with a lot of crud in the bottles.

For your next batch, use that spigoted bucket for your PRIMARY, rack to the non-spigoted bucket as a secondary, then rack back to the spigoted bucket to bottle.

Since you already have the non-spigot bucket as your primary, I'd let the beer sit in there for about 1.5 to 2 weeks, then rack to the bottling bucket and immediately into the bottles. I brewed many batches this wey in the past.

-walker
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:15 PM   #8
homebrewer_99
 
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...as Walker-san said...or you could sanitize your bottling bucket and rack into it then clean out you primary and re-rack into your primary, but that's a lot of wasted time and effort.

Personally, I'd let it sit in the primary and go get another bucket, or better yet a carboy, for a secondary.
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