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jaymack

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Hi all,

I started my virign batch last night and have enjoyed reading some helpful hints on this site. I do still have four concerns -

1) Is it possible for the bottles to break, if the beer is bottled too early? I read somewhere that a build of gas can be volatile and cause bottles to break/crack/implode if the beer is not scientifically ready. I have all but given up on the stupid hydrometer and using it as a reference stick.

2) Is it okay to remove the lid of my container without fear of the beer going flat or lose something? How else can I check to visually see how the process is going?

3) What is the average length of time to go from vat-to-bottle, then bottle-to - consumption?

4) Other than some gut-rot and a headache, is there anythign seriously wrong tha can happen by drinking beer that is not quite at the "ready" stage.

Seems like Im worrying a lot, but I am also enjoying the thought of being my own Brewmeister!

Cheers,
J
 

smorris

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1) Is it possible for the bottles to break, if the beer is bottled too early? I read somewhere that a build of gas can be volatile and cause bottles to break/crack/implode if the beer is not scientifically ready. I have all but given up on the stupid hydrometer and using it as a reference stick.
Yes, the bottles can indeed go overpressure and explode if you bottle while it is still fermentating. It is not some trivial little pop either, these are serious events with lots of glass flying about. I've seen glass embedded into drywall from these.

2) Is it okay to remove the lid of my container without fear of the beer going flat or lose something? How else can I check to visually see how the process is going?
Yes, I wash my hands with betadine soap first. But, the more you open the bucket, it is that many more opportunities to introduce something. The airlock will give you a good indication of the status of the brew. If you really want to watch, get a class carboy.
 

Janx

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jaymack said:
Hi all,

I started my virign batch last night and have enjoyed reading some helpful hints on this site. I do still have four concerns -

1) Is it possible for the bottles to break, if the beer is bottled too early? I read somewhere that a build of gas can be volatile and cause bottles to break/crack/implode if the beer is not scientifically ready. I have all but given up on the stupid hydrometer and using it as a reference stick.
Definitely...dangerous and messy as hell. Make sure you let the beer finish.

jaymack said:
2) Is it okay to remove the lid of my container without fear of the beer going flat or lose something? How else can I check to visually see how the process is going?
Going flat is not a concern. The beer in the bucket is fermenting and gasses are escaping. As such, it is not under pressure or carbonating. That happens in bottles or kegs.

Your risk is of infection. Every time you peek, you risk letting nasties in there. If the fermentation is very active, it's usually a minimal risk, since the yeast offer stiff competition to any nasties that get in there.

I second the suggestion to ferment in glass. Then you can watch the airlock and watch the yeast settle to the bottom as visual indicators that it's done.

jaymack said:
3) What is the average length of time to go from vat-to-bottle, then bottle-to - consumption?
Been a while since I bottled, but it takes us, on average, 3 weeks to go from kettle to keg. Bottle conditioning will take another week or two. All of that varies widely with type of beer and conditions of fermentation/conditioning.

jaymack said:
4) Other than some gut-rot and a headache, is there anythign seriously wrong tha can happen by drinking beer that is not quite at the "ready" stage.
Well, you can't bottle it until it's done because of the issues mentioned above. So, unless you want to drink flat, sweet, half-fermented beer with a ton of yeast suspended in it, I'd say just wait. Waiting longer will only improve your beer. But no, you can't do any harm to yourself. I taste beer at all stages of fermentation.


jaymack said:
Seems like Im worrying a lot, but I am also enjoying the thought of being my own Brewmeister!

Cheers,
J
New brewers tend to worry about the details. In your case, a healthy dose of patience is all that is required. With time, you'll become familiar enough with the process that you'll know what to focus on, and a lot of it will come naturally. So, just kick back and let that beer finish. Remember, there's no harm in waiting a little longer than it takes to finish. There may well be harm done by jumping the gun.

You'll love being your own brewmeister! It's infinitely rewarding :)

Janx
 
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