First, i want to give sincere thanks for previous advice. My first batch of Nut Brown Ale is conditioning right now. Should be ready in a couple weeks. I tasted it before bottling and it tasted very good.
so i'm moving on to my second batch, a vanilla bourbon porter recipe i got from my LHBS. My first batch i fermented in my bottling bucket.
this batch obviously requires that i transfer to a secondary for the bourbon and vanilla. so my first question is: Can I primary in my carboy, then transfer to my bottling bucket for secondary and bottling? Or should I primary in bucket, transfer to carboy, then transfer back to the bucket for bottling? I am trying to keep it simple, but i dont want to be so simple/easy at the expense of good beer. Also, how the hell do you clean a glass carboy? Just let it soak with some B-brite for several hours?
Second, the extract recipe i am using calls for 3 steeping bags, 1 large and 2 small. am i correct in assuming that the 2 small ones are for the 2 different sets of hops to be added? I don't have the recipe in front of me, but it calls for one at 60 minutes and the other at something like 15 minutes. My Nut brown used hop pellets and i just chucked them in the boil, so i just want to make sure i'm understanding. Also, 60 minutes means I put them in at the beginning of the boil, and 15 minutes means I put them in with 15 minutes left in the boil, right?
I also got a floating thermometer from my LHBS and when i asked if it was safe to just leave it in there and the guy said he wouldn't do that. so why is it a floating thermometer if i have to hold it in there every time i want to check the temperature? Was the LHBS guy wrong? is there a better option i should get that I can just leave in there? Or am i really only supposed to care about the temperature when cooling the wort (at which time it's ok to leave it in there?). Here's the one i have: