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Old 11-09-2010, 03:38 PM   #1
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Default First Time Brewing tomorrow - last minute questions

1. I have a Wyeast Smack Pack. I fly home tomorrow and plan on brewing tomorrow night. Should the wife smack the pack today?

2. I live in San Antonio with very hard water, is it advisable to go get bottled water to brew with? I'm brewing a Belgian White Ale.

3. Does all water need to be boiled that will be used?

4. I'm using no rinse sanitizer. Does no rinse really mean no rinse? This is sanitizer from AHS.

5. I'm still debating to this minute about making a half batch. How long can bottles undisturbed last for? If I make 50 bottles of beer, I don't want them going back in a few months. If they're stored in a cool dark place, they should last a year, right?

6. Any last minute advice? I don't have a Home Brew yet, so I can't relax!!


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Old 11-09-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
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1- I have never used a smack pack BUT I would say yes

2- I have extremely hard water and use it, but if you think it will affect the taste then yes I would get bottled water

3- If you use bottled I would say no

4-yes, no rinse means no rinse. and if it is star san, the foam is nothing to worry about.

5- Make a whole batch... your friends will want to try some and you will kick yourself for running out of beer. and yes it will last a while.

6- lay everything out and have it all ready to go BEFORE you start the brewing.


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Old 11-09-2010, 03:54 PM   #3
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1. NO NO NO... you only need to smack it three hours ahead of time. And technically you don't have to smack it at all. It's just a good idea to prove that you have viable yeast. A whole day before would be too early and would adversely affect your yeast.

2. Bottled water is a pretty safe bet, but you may be able to get away with tap water. I'd probably end up doing tap water because I'm cheap, but bottled water is probably more likely to give you good beer.

3. Some people would say yes, but I always used unboiled tap water to top off my partial boils with no problems.

4. yes. no rinsing required.

5. They'd probably last a year, but I do half batches all the time because I enjoy being able to brew more often and have more different styles on hand.

6. Don't freak out when you make that first mistake. I consistently make mistakes every batch and consistently end up with good beer.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:57 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot. This is good information!!

I'll smack it when I get home while I'm prepping everything. I figure it will be ready by the time I figure out what the hell I'm doing.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot. This is good information!!

I'll smack it when I get home while I'm prepping everything. I figure it will be ready by the time I figure out what the hell I'm doing.
That's what I do. My first time I kept checking it during the slower parts of brewing to see if it was swelling. I tried to convince myself that it was a little bigger each time. Then the boil and hop additions came along and I didn't really look at it that much and next time I looked it was huge.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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I'll smack it when I get home while I'm prepping everything.
That should keep you relaxed.
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
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1. I'd wait on smacking too.

2. I'd mix 50-50 tap and distilled for a beer that light. However, if you are brewing with extract, I'd make that all distilled (The extract still has the minerals from the mashing process that the extract company already did for you. No reason to double up on the minerals!)

3. I would boil anything that is added to the wort AFTER you have boiled it. Any top-off water, etc. Now, the odds are you will be fine. MANY people simply pour tap water in and have no problems. I have bought distilled water for topping off when I brewed extract. Boiling is a PITA IMO, but it's up to you if you want to risk getting an infection from the local water source.

4. No rise. no rinse....

5. It's up to you. Brewing half batches AG is as much work or more IMO. For extract, it can help and you can brew more often without worrying about having too much beer. I'd never want to do it again except maybe if I were brewing partigyle and wanted a smaller amount of bigger beer for first runnings.

6. RDWHAGCB! (Good Craft Beer!)
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:45 PM   #8
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1. Before I started making starters, there were a couple of times where my packs got smacked two or three days prior to brewing (when something would come up last-minute that cause me to delay), and never had an issue with fermentation.

2. Bottled spring water is always a pretty safe bet. I used it on and off to see if there was any difference between it and my local water. Luckily for me the difference is faint...faint enough to where I actually question if it's just my imagination. For reference though, my water isn't particularly hard, anyhow.

3. Sorry, can't answer this accurately, since I go with full-boils for brewing, rather than partial. So all my water is boiled by default.

4. +1 on the "no rinse is no rinse" front.

5. After a year they shouldn't go "bad", necessarily. However, their flavors and complexity my change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the not so good (meaning that a hoppier beer would find the bitterness to lessen somewhat).

I've got a small handful of various batches that are approaching their 1 year anniversary and I'm actually excited to taste them, as well as excited that I was able to hold out this long. From person experience though, I've had a number of beers that I let condition for 6 months in bottles, that tasted amazing. Better than their siblings tasted right after they "carb up" period.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verio View Post
2. I live in San Antonio with very hard water, is it advisable to go get bottled water to brew with? I'm brewing a Belgian White Ale.
I have a friend in San Antonio who brewed some ale and he used tap water. He was very disappointed in how it turned out (off flavors were pronouced). Use bottled water. I went to the local huge supermarket and bought spring water for .88/gal

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Old 11-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stardust View Post
I have a friend in San Antonio who brewed some ale and he used tap water. He was very disappointed in how it turned out (off flavors were pronouced). Use bottled water. I went to the local huge supermarket and bought spring water for .88/gal
Yeah, we don't have a softener in the house, and I can definitely taste the hard water. It's nasty.


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