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Old 12-17-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
nos33
 
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Okay so this is my first batch of beer ever!

I went to my LHBS and bought a complete kit with buckets and glass carboy. everything i needed for my first batch. I also bought an Irish Stout kit from them as well because they told me it was a good beginners kit with outstanding beer. So this is what i did to make this so far.

1. start with 5 gallons spring water
2. bring water to 155 degrees
3. steep specialty grains for 30-45 mins
4. bring to boil
5. remove from heat and add malt extract and hops
6. get a rolling boil and let cook for 60 mins
7. put in sink and ice bath to reduce heat to 75 degrees. (took about 30-40 mins)
8. grab yeast out of fridge (liquid yeast)
9. pour in yeast and stir vigorously
10. put lid on primary and shake the crap out of it
11. placed 3 piece air lock and store in basement that is kept at 68 degrees

So it is only 5 days into the primary and the bubble has slowed down a lot. All stirring equipment was soaked in a sanitized bath for 30 minutes prior to use and wiped dry with clean towel. my primary bucket was also wiped down with sanitizer and allowed to soak in it and then I dried it out, as well as the lid.

My questions are
1. I spaced off my OG reading. Is this going to be a problem if I plan on transferring to a secondary carboy?
2. What are my chances of contaminates?
3. If i do a gravity reading at 7 days and then transfer to my secondary, would that be enough time to properly ferment, or will it finish fermenting in my secondary?

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:12 PM   #2
RM-MN
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1. If it was an extract kit (most likely), you really don't have to worry about missing the OG reading as the extracts will come very close to what the kit specified.

2. Depends. If you sanitized well, very low.

3. If you can stand the wait, don't open the primary for at least 2 weeks, preferably 3 or 4. I bottled mine too soon and the last bottles were seriously over-carbed. You really don't need to rack to secondary and there are some good reasons not to. Just wait it out in the primary and then rack it to your bottling bucket with priming sugar mix in the bottom and bottle from there.

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:49 PM   #3
nos33
 
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Thanks for the quick response. So what exactly is the secondary ferment for? What happens to the beer besides exposing it to fresh oxygen?

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:11 PM   #4
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the secondary is sometimes called the clarifier chamber. your primary fermentation had a lot of yeast generations that are now fighting over the fermentable sugars that remain. the secondary would just take the young (green) beer off the large amounts of yeast and hops and debris that has fallen. 2-4 weeks in primary should be good for a high gravity beer like a stout. rack to a sanitized secondary container (glass carboy or bucket) with sanitized hose and racking cane. do not let it foam or splash too much at this point. but the beer will be fine. let sit in secondary for another 2-4 weeks in the secondary. this will not increase the amount of fermentation that takes place, only let it clear and have the good beasties fall out. some on here have taken out the secondary completely and just let the beer sit in the primary for 4-6 weeks. (3 minnimum). some will worry about autolysis (yeast breaking down) after a few weeks but that is not something you should worry about at the 5g amount.

you do not want it exposed to oxygen for too long. exposed to oxygen is not the same as oxidizing.

if all else fails, RDWHAHB!!!!!

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:16 PM   #5
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I think i will transfer to a secondary after 2 weeks and let it sit in there for about 3. I was hoping to have some by my birthday but i would rather wait for good beer than rush it for half assed beer

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:25 PM   #6
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Someone with more experience may want to correct me but I might be tempted to use carb tabs and put some of that Irish Stout into bottles when you move it to the secondary so I could have a taste of it a little earlier. Don't do too many and don't wait a long time to drink them up but do wait for a couple weeks after bottling so the beer tastes somewhat good. The beer you wait for will taste better.

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:17 PM   #7
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You can take your gravity when you rack it into your carboy. You can take your gravity again when you think you are ready to bottle/keg: if it has not gone down, no worries; if it has, great, it fermented more and it will probably taste better.

When you rack it into your (very sterilised) carboy, make sure you don't splash it around, and sterilise the crap out of your transferring hose, and you can rack it for 10-14 days (in the dark, and around 18-20 degrees Celsius). Racking pre-bottling is a GREAT idea

Next time, hydrate your yeast before pitching.

good luck!

 
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Old 12-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #8
holden
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I would check the gravity after 2 weeks. If it is at the recommended FG, then just bottle it. If not, then you can even let it sit in the primary a week or two longer; you can also secondary it if you really want to go through the hassle. I find that most of my extract ales have reached their FG after two weeks. I've had maybe 2 batches that didn't and required an extra week.

 
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:03 AM   #9
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If you keep your beer in the primary for 4 weeks you will have given the yeast plenty of time to clean up after themselves. I have bottled all of my beers after 3-4 weeks in primary and never had any issues. I have only put beers that I dry hop in the secondary.

At 3-4 weeks, sanitize all components (racking cane, tubing, botlling bucket etc..), boil about 4-5 ounces of corn sugar in about 2 pints of water for 10 minutes and cool it to room temp.

Transfer the beer in to the bottling bucket (careful not to get too much trub into the bucket) and try not to aerate the beer too much.

Add the sugar/water mix to the beer and GENTLY stir for at least 5 minutes (you want a good mix).

Fill your sanitized bottles, cap them, give them at least 1 week at 70-70 and taste one.

Now leave them in the bottle for a few more weeks or just start driniking them. More time can give a more complex flavor but you should have great beer either way!

Secondaries are really only required if you are lagering, adding fruit or dry hopping, or if you are doing a big beer (IIPA or barleywine cause these can take months to develop)
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:21 AM   #10
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please make sure you have a constant SG reading for a couple days. bottle bombs are not fun to clean up after.

 
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