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4th batch, three questions

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brewer1222

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1. I just tried my 3rd batch, an American Wheat and it tastes extremely good even only after 2 weeks in the bottle. The first two batches I brewed were too sweet and carbonated unevenly. I made a few changes - moving the fermenter to get a lower fermentation temperature, pouring the cooled wort several times back and forth between the kettle & fermenting bucket, to aerate, and stirring the bottling bucket to make sure the sugar settled evenly.

2. Just brewed my 4th batch. I had about 2.5 gallons of wort, and while that's boiling, steeping etc I boil and cool the top-off water in a 1gal pot. Last night this was still at about 110 F when I added it to the 70F wort in the fermenter. Not the best but I'm not sure how to cool this down. Putting it in the fridge heats up the fridge to about 70 very quickly.

3. I remember reading a list from some guy who posts a lot on what equipment they'd get if they were starting again from scratch, for under $400, and now I can't find it again. Any help? I'm getting below $1 per bottle which is good and looking for some more equipment that will a) save me time and b) improve quality.
 

dantodd

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1. I just tried my 3rd batch, an American Wheat and it tastes extremely good even only after 2 weeks in the bottle. The first two batches I brewed were too sweet and carbonated unevenly. I made a few changes - moving the fermenter to get a lower fermentation temperature, pouring the cooled wort several times back and forth between the kettle & fermenting bucket, to aerate, and stirring the bottling bucket to make sure the sugar settled evenly.
Most of this sounds good but I would definitely recommend against stirring your bottling bucket. Boil your sugar with a cup of water and then put that in the bottling bucket before you siphon your beer in. The sugar will all dissolve in the water and then the beer being siphoned on top will mix it in very well so you should get nice even carbonation. Also, put the siphon hose in the bottom of the bottling bucket, you want to be careful not to splash the finished beer too much it can cause oxidation after a couple months in the bottle.


2. Just brewed my 4th batch. I had about 2.5 gallons of wort, and while that's boiling, steeping etc I boil and cool the top-off water in a 1gal pot. Last night this was still at about 110 F when I added it to the 70F wort in the fermenter. Not the best but I'm not sure how to cool this down. Putting it in the fridge heats up the fridge to about 70 very quickly.
The easiest way to avoid the problem is to boil the water the night before and just keep a lid on it to cool overnight. Otherwise you can get an immersion chiller. It will dramatically improve your beer if you can boil a full 5 gallons at once. This will require a 7 or 8 gallon brew kettle and probably an outdoor burner. Most use turkey fryers which will be coming up at garage sales and on Craigslist in a couple weeks; you will probably find a lot on sale at Lowe's or Home Depot right now through Thanksgiving too.

3. I remember reading a list from some guy who posts a lot on what equipment they'd get if they were starting again from scratch, for under $400, and now I can't find it again. Any help? I'm getting below $1 per bottle which is good and looking for some more equipment that will a) save me time and b) improve quality.
Can't help you there.
 

pdbreen

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1) sounds like you may have already resolved - uneven distribution of priming sugar would definitely make a difference in how each bottle ends up

2) before I switched to all-grain, I didn't bother boiling anything other than wort and didn't have any trouble. But, if you're able to chill 2.5 gallons of wort then can't you use the same technique to chill 2.5 gallons of water?

3) don't know the thread, but can't tell you what might help without knowing what you have. Some key things I've picked over the year - auto-siphon; stand capper; switch to kegging; switch to all-grain; better bottles instead of glass;
 
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