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Old 07-30-2010, 01:14 PM   #1
Jul 2010
Midlothian, VA
Posts: 22

I'm a new brewer...the first batch is a Bavarian Hefeweizen. Was in primary for 4 days, secondary for 9, and bottled on Tuesday. I'll be patient, but I can't wait to try it. Tasted it when bottling and it was great even warm and flat. SWMBO tried it too and was impressed and said she thinks it will turn out great. She's even giving input on what styles I should plan to brew.

First question...should I try a bottle this weekend, or give it at least a week? I'm not in a rush, but curious to better understand the carb process and how it changes as it bottle conditions. I'll wait a full 2 weeks before having the beer "available".

This forum has been a huge help. Now on to the main point of this post...

I realize the need to keep brewing and keep the pipeline full so I always have great beer to drink/share. My kit contains a primary/bottling bucket and a glass carboy. I've added a second primary bucket (no spigot) so I can try to get 2 batches fermenting at about the same time. My process may be: boil a batch and put in primary (no secondary for this batch); boil a batch and primary in bottling bucket, and then rack to secondary. That will give me 2 batches fermenting and a free bottling bucket.

Does this sound like a solid plan to keep the funnel full? If so, any advice on what styles for the 2 different methods? What would do better just in primary and what would benefit from secondary? I'd also like different fermenting times, so I'm not always bottling 2 batches at once. I hope this method allows me to stagger the process, even if I boil two batches on the same day.

I've picked up 2 True Brew kits to brew next. Oktoberfest and a German Style Light. Would I be right to think the GSL would benefit from the secondary to help clear, and leave the Oktoberfest in the primary?

I've learned enough here to know that I shouldn't follow the included instructions. For both kits they say:
-fermentation for 48-72 hours
-allow to settle for 3-4 days
-bottle and age for 3 weeks

Can anyone provide a better schedule using the 2 methods I stated above?

Thanks for any and all advice.

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Old 07-30-2010, 01:18 PM   #2
I'm no atheist scientist, but...
Oct 2009
Thiensville, Wisconsin
Posts: 8,383
Liked 503 Times on 391 Posts

stop planning and start brewing.

primary 3 weeks, bottle 3-4 weeks. whatever you have to do to make that happen.

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Old 07-30-2010, 01:20 PM   #3
Beer is good
budbo's Avatar
Feb 2006
La Plata, MD
Posts: 2,315
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Hard to say about how much, that depends on how much you drink.

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Old 07-30-2010, 01:22 PM   #4
Aug 2007
Southern Maine
Posts: 3,942
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I say always leave your bottling bucket free (for bottling) and use your bucket and carboy as primary fermenters. No secondaries. If you need more space, buy another bucket.

Good luck!

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Old 07-30-2010, 01:22 PM   #5
JOHN51277's Avatar
Nov 2005
Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,019
Liked 12 Times on 6 Posts

Use your hygrometer to tell when the beer is done and go by the beers schedule, and not a set one. Your beer will be better, and clearer. And your SWMBO will thank you!! You can get the primary fermentation going a little faster by racking fresh wort on top of a residual yeast cake. But, in order to do this you will need to do a similar style of beer, which requires the same yeast. This will help to get the fermentation going, and going fast, and also help with attenuation.

Good luck, and keep at it!!
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Old 07-30-2010, 01:26 PM   #6
wonderbread23's Avatar
Apr 2009
Posts: 1,047
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Yeah, throw those time recommendations out the door. It may work some of the time, but you'll like be drinking beer that is not in its prime or that runs the risk of overcarbonating.

There is no precise time frame for beer. It is highly dependent on gravity, yeast strain, fermentation temperature, pitch size & health, and the whims of the little guys eating the sugars. My method for timing is something like this:

1. Schedule 14 days for primary fermentation for most average beers. Ferment at a steady temperature allowing the temperature to rise a bit as the fermentation noticeably slows. This can take anywhere from a few days to several months.
2. Once the gravity is near the estimated terminal gravity and steady, crash the temperature of the fermentor down for at least 2-4 days (longer if I am bottling this batch).
3. Rack to secondary (if dryhopping or adding fruit) or keg / bottle.
4. Let the keg sit on gas cold for 2 weeks to slowly carbonate. Alternatively, bottle and let them carb for 3 weeks.
5. Before drinking bottled beer, put it in fridge for a minimum 2 days so co2 is driven into solution. Several weeks in the fridge will produce clearer / cleaner beer.

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Old 07-30-2010, 01:42 PM   #7
SoonerDoc's Avatar
Mar 2010
Oklahoma City
Posts: 396
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In my limited experience I've already learned to bottle condition for at least 3 weeks. It makes a huge difference.

If you want speed, you might try kegging.

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Old 07-30-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
Jul 2010
Posts: 233
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I'm in a similar boat. My plan is to just pick up another fermenter. I figure that once you have siphoning and bottling equipment, you're all set to just add another fermenting vessel whenever. Just keep emptying bottles along the way somehow.

I think those kind of instructions just assume no prior knowledge. It'll make beer, but clearly it's better to ferment a couple or few weeks for starters.

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Old 07-30-2010, 03:51 PM   #9
Justibone's Avatar
Apr 2010
Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 2,019
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Big beers (high ABV) need more time, so they benefit from a secondary more than the smaller beers.

I agree with giving beer it's space. If you don't give away more than a sixer or so from your first two or three batches, and if you brew a new batch within a week of bottling the last one for the first three batches, then you will have a good, solid pipeline. RDWHAHB!

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Old 07-30-2010, 07:20 PM   #10
Grinder12000's Avatar
Jul 2008
Columbus WI
Posts: 2,995
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After 79 batches in my pipeline.

2 weeks primary
1 week secondary (or 3 in primary) but this frees up the smaller carboy
2 weeks you should have a small amount of carbing IF it is 70 degrees
1 week to fully carbed
test better with 3 more weeks

The only time I had any problems was when my bottling bucket became infected and ruined a string of batches!
Grinders Island Brewery - Pipeline

145 batches and counting

West Coast Blaster #4 almost go and on tap and a Dbl Chocolate Stout aging/carbing. Brewing East India Porter #4

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