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Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

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  1. L

    Can I use 5 gallon equip for a 1 gallon batch?

    I've been drinking more wine than beer lately so I want to try a 1 gallon batch of beer instead of 5. Can I use my 5 gallon fermenting pail and carboy for a 1 gallon batch? Or will all that extra air volume screw things up? I'd prefer not to buy stuff for 1 gallon brewing in case this is a...
  2. L

    Can't break activator inside Wyeast package

    I am only 1 for 4 in successfully breaking the activator packet inside the Wyeast package. I have watched the videos on the Wyeast site but still no luck (except once). I know I can just open the activator and pitch into the wort with the yeast but I'd like to see that package swell the way...
  3. L

    Does Starsan have a shelf life?

    I am assuming the concentrate lasts pretty much forever (correct me if that is not correct.) What about the diluted solution you sanitize with? I mixed up some in May for my last brew. I'm ready to brew again. Is it still good?
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    Carbonation vs head

    My last two batches (a wheat beer and an amber ale) have not produced much head when poured. The carbonation level seems fine when drinking. The batch before the last two, a Sierra Nevada-clone, had a tremendous head even when poured gently. Is head a function of carbonation or is it...
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    Any reason not to reuse commercial bottles?

    I like to give away some of my beer to friends so I usually bottle 6-12 in bottles that came from commercial beer. Then I give those away and don't worry about getting them back. Haven't had a problem doing this but I'm wondering if there is any reason not to. I suppose that bottles not...
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    What to do with the extra hops?

    I got an amber ale kit from Austin Homebrew. It contains three 1 oz packages of hop pellets. The recipe calls for 3/4 oz of one and 1/2 oz of the other two. I don't recall not using the entire package in the past unless I just wasn't paying attention. What, if anything, can I do with the...
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    Starsan questions from first time user

    I have brewed 6 times using only a cleaner (Carlson Easy Clean), never a sanitizer. Just recently learned the difference between cleaning and sanitizing and bought some Starsan. (I should note that I have never had a problem with the finished beer due to my lack of sanitizing.) Let's say I...
  8. L

    Question: cleaning vs sanitizing

    I have brewed six 5 gallon batches over the last couple of years and all have turned out fine. I always wash the fermenting and bottling buckets with dish soap and just rinse everything else in warm or hot water after brewing/bottling. Prior to brewing/bottling I rinse everything in Carlson...
  9. L

    How soon after sanitizing do I have to brew?

    I have always done my sanitizing immediately prior to brewing. Wondering if I can do it a day or two ahead of time. How likely is it that anything will get contaminated just sitting around a day or two? I would put everything in the fermenting tank and cover it up.
  10. L

    Do I have to sanitize my wort chiller?

    I recently got a wort chiller and will be using it for the first time this week. Does it need to be sanitized or is putting it in the boiling wort going to take care of any bacteria that might be on it?
  11. L

    Strain wort or hops bag?

    I have never done either but would like to try one or the other on my next brew. Trying to get a clearer beer. Wondering if a spatter screen is fine enough to pour the wort through or is using a hops bag during the boil a better alternative? Open to other suggestions too but keep it simple! :D
  12. L

    Favorite amber ale kit?

    My 2nd homebrew was a Brewer's Best amber ale which I liked a lot. Would like to try another amber. Thinking about either the Austin Homebrew American amber or their Fat Tire clone. Any other suggestions? I want a complete kit, not an ingredients list. Thanks.
  13. L

    How different are various amber ales?

    My 2nd homebrew was a Brewer's Best amber ale. I thought it was quite good. Going to do another amber soon, thinking about the Austin Homebrew or Northern Brewer American amber kits. Will there be much difference between the two? I've never done a real comparison test on commercial amber...
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    How much does yeast contribute to the flavor?

    I'm curious for a couple reasons. Many kits come with a choice of yeast. I recently brewed what was supposed to be a Bell's Oberon clone. I really don't care for the taste although I like the real thing. The kit came with a different type of yeast than I have used in the past. Don't...
  15. L

    Don't like my latest batch, now what?

    Brewed the Austin Homebrew Bell's Oberon clone. Neither I nor my son thinks it tastes like Oberon. I really don't care for it and now I've got 40+ bottles. I can probably give away a 6 pack or two but I'm still going to be stuck with a lot of beer. I've had several people taste it and most...
  16. L

    Should fermentation stop before going to secondary fermenter?

    I brewed an Austin Brewing Bell's Oberon clone (a wheat beer) a week ago Saturday (10 days ago). Fermentation didn't start for 3 or 4 days (and shame on me for not stirring it up after a day or 2). Six days after fermentation started, it's still bubbling away at about 10 bubbles/minute...
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    Shelf life of liquid yeast and malt

    My son got me an Austin kit (Bell's Oberon clone) for my birthday. My latest batch just became drinkable a month ago so I don't have anywhere near 50 empty bottles yet. I put the yeast in the fridge (the "cold pack" was room temp when it arrived). Does the malt need to be in the fridge...
  18. L

    Cloudy beer question

    I just brewed and bottled my 5th batch, an Austin Sierra Nevada-style pale ale kit. All my previous batches (4 different styles from 2 different vendors other than Austin) have been very clear, a little sediment in the bottom of the bottles but looked clear in the bottles and poured clear. I...
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    Bottling wand is leaking

    Bottled 51 bottles today and at about bottle 47 or so, the wand started leaking. I figured it was a piece of crud from the bottom of the pail but I've cleaned and blown it out and it still leaks. If I pull down on the plunger, it stops but the weight of water in the tube isn't enough to seal...
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    What's happening after fermentation stops?

    I brewed a pale ale 1 week ago. It fermented vigorously for a day or two then slowed down for a couple days. I added hops on day 6. I no longer see any activity in the air lock. The kit instructions say bottle after 10-14 days. Just curious as to what's happening now that fermentation...