Brewing my 2nd batch tomorrow - Witbier this time.. just a couple of questions.

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gregmosu

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My first batch was a nut brown ale. I bottled it on Monday and actually tasted it that day as well and it seemed good. Looking forward to trying one in a week or two!

First question: I've been trying to read as many posts on here as I can, and I'm still up in the air on this one. After I steep then boil the wort, can I transfer to a glass carboy, pitch the yeast and then just leave it in there for about 3 weeks or so until it's ready to bottle... then go straight from that carboy into the bottle? When I did my nut brown ale, I transferred the beer to the carboy for secondary fermentation, then transferred to a bottling bucket for bottling the beer. Seems like a lot of stressful steps that maybe I don't need to take. Is there any issue with what I described above?

Second question: For Witbier, there's a method they call: Steep-To-Convert. Not a whole lot different than plain old steeping other than determining water volume. But there is one step to this that I'm not sure about. After steeping, they tell you to let the grain bag drain back into the pot. No problems there.. but then they tell you to pour a 1/2 gallon of water through the bag to rinse everything back into the liquid wort. Here's the issue: the grain bag isn't very big and doesn't look like it'll be easy to run water through. Could I heat that 1/2 gallon of water on the stove up to 150 degrees, pour the grain bag in and quickly steep a 2nd time... then pour that back into the wort?

Hopefully that all makes sense!
 

FirstAidBrewing

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If you are going into a carboy, make sure you have enough space or have a blow off system rigged or you'll have a krausen-y mess on your hands. For a witbier I think you will be fine to leave it in the primary for 3 weeks ( if using glass, keep it out of the light as much as possible, like in a closet for example). Most people nowadays will advise to not use a secondary in most cases, with the exception of dry hopping and some other late additions.

For that extra step you are mentioning, can you get yourself a colander? you can sit the grain bag in that and then do your rinsing.
 
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gregmosu

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If you are going into a carboy, make sure you have enough space or have a blow off system rigged or you'll have a krausen-y mess on your hands. For a witbier I think you will be fine to leave it in the primary for 3 weeks ( if using glass, keep it out of the light as much as possible, like in a closet for example). Most people nowadays will advise to not use a secondary in most cases, with the exception of dry hopping and some other late additions.
hmm.. this might be a problem then. Any reason I couldn't do that in a 5 gallon bucket with an airlock on top? That's what I used the first time, then transferred to the glass carboy.. but I'd like to not have to transfer it for secondary fermentation.

By the way, what do you use as a 'blow off system?'

For that extra step you are mentioning, can you get yourself a colander? you can sit the grain bag in that and then do your rinsing.
I do have a colander, but I only ask about this because I saw it in a video...

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBP1zbSd7tw[/ame] 2:30

She calls it sparging. Do you only do this with certain types of beer?
 

mblanks2

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My first batch was a nut brown ale. I bottled it on Monday and actually tasted it that day as well and it seemed good. Looking forward to trying one in a week or two!

First question: I've been trying to read as many posts on here as I can, and I'm still up in the air on this one. After I steep then boil the wort, can I transfer to a glass carboy, pitch the yeast and then just leave it in there for about 3 weeks or so until it's ready to bottle... then go straight from that carboy into the bottle? When I did my nut brown ale, I transferred the beer to the carboy for secondary fermentation, then transferred to a bottling bucket for bottling the beer. Seems like a lot of stressful steps that maybe I don't need to take. Is there any issue with what I described above?

Second question: For Witbier, there's a method they call: Steep-To-Convert. Not a whole lot different than plain old steeping other than determining water volume. But there is one step to this that I'm not sure about. After steeping, they tell you to let the grain bag drain back into the pot. No problems there.. but then they tell you to pour a 1/2 gallon of water through the bag to rinse everything back into the liquid wort. Here's the issue: the grain bag isn't very big and doesn't look like it'll be easy to run water through. Could I heat that 1/2 gallon of water on the stove up to 150 degrees, pour the grain bag in and quickly steep a 2nd time... then pour that back into the wort?

Hopefully that all makes sense!
If you plan to use a carboy for primary fermentation and are doing a 5 gallon batch I would recommend a 6.5 gallon carboy. That way you have plenty of head space for the krausen to form. Control your temperature. Depending on the strain of yeast used you should ferment between 60*F and 65*F.
Leave it there for 3 weeks. If you don't have a 6.5 gallon carboy do the primary in a bucket with lid and airlock and leave it there for 3 weeks. Check your gravity 3 days in a row to verify that fermentation is complete. Transfer this directly to your bottling bucket and bottle.
As far as the steep to convert is concerned; the idea is to rinse the residual sugars from the grains to get as much as possible into your wort. I would suggest using a measuring cup or small sauce pan. Raise the muslin bag out of your wort and slowly pour the water over the bag. It doesn't have to be exactly 1/2 gallon. Just rinse as much as possible. Just do not squeeze the bag. This can cause tannins to be extracted from the grains. Let it drain itself by hanging it over the edge of your boil kettle.
Congratulations on your first beer being complete and enjoy brewing the second.
 

FirstAidBrewing

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In my experience, buckets are better for primary fermentation. Without enough headspace, the krausen will eventually push its way into and out of your airlock (I wish I had taken pictures of my first time dealing with this!).

Howver you could do it in a carboy with a blow off system (a quick google will give you enough of an idea). What I did was I used the standard stopper in the caryboy and ran some 1/4" ID tubing into another bucket filled with StarSan solution. That way, when it started to go nuts, it just went into a bucket and made for easy cleaning.

I guess you can go the second steeping route. Trying to think of any issues that would come up but the work week has caugh up with me :drunk:

I would do the colander because it gives you a beginners intro to more proper sparging, so to speak. Other than that, I think it's just preference (I think she even called what she did sparging). What's important is getting the sugar out!
 
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gregmosu

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Thanks for the advice, guys! yeah, can't wait to try that nut brown ale.. waiting is SO hard.

I think I will use the bucket and just leave it until it's time to bottle.

Just to be 100% clear on the steps.. I pull the muslin bag out of the wort after steeping for the recommended 45 minutes. I put the bag into a colander and pour the 150 degree water over it to get the sugars out. Then I let the bag sit there and continue to drain into the wort. Does that sound right?

One last question for this evening. Do you guys do all grain brewing? I'm so new to this, that I'm going to make sure that I get extract brewing down before I do anything else, but that seems to be the direction I want to be heading towards.
 

mblanks2

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Thanks for the advice, guys! yeah, can't wait to try that nut brown ale.. waiting is SO hard.

I think I will use the bucket and just leave it until it's time to bottle.

Just to be 100% clear on the steps.. I pull the muslin bag out of the wort after steeping for the recommended 45 minutes. I put the bag into a colander and pour the 150 degree water over it to get the sugars out. Then I let the bag sit there and continue to drain into the wort. Does that sound right?

One last question for this evening. Do you guys do all grain brewing? I'm so new to this, that I'm going to make sure that I get extract brewing down before I do anything else, but that seems to be the direction I want to be heading towards.
That sounds like a good plan and yes I all grain brew. I did 4 extract/PM batches and switched to all grain. Never looked back. Study areas of this forum and you'll learn all you need to know about the process. All grain, temperature control, water chemistry, etc.
Welcome to the obsession!
 
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gregmosu

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That sounds like a good plan and yes I all grain brew. I did 4 extract/PM batches and switched to all grain. Never looked back. Study areas of this forum and you'll learn all you need to know about the process. All grain, temperature control, water chemistry, etc.
Welcome to the obsession!
Man, is it ever! I'm just hoping the kit I bought can still be useful for all grain brewing. 2 - gallon buckets(one with a spigot) and a 5 gallon carboy will be useful for all grain brewing.
 

mblanks2

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Man, is it ever! I'm just hoping the kit I bought can still be useful for all grain brewing. 2 - gallon buckets(one with a spigot) and a 5 gallon carboy will be useful for all grain brewing.
I use most of my original equipment except for the brew kettle, as long as I'm bottling. Not so much if I'm kegging, though. You'll experience a transition from extract to all grain that will require some additional spending. Depending on how deep you want to go will determine how much you spend. If you make the leap to all grain go for a 10 gallon brew set-up. You can still produce 5 gallon batches but also ten gallons once you've got a firm recipe.
I would also suggest looking into Beersmith (It's the most reliable, IMO) and read up on water chemistry and Bruin Water spread sheet.
With sanitation being at #1, I would put fermentation temperature at #2 and water chemistry at #3. These things will make you some of the best beer you've ever had.
 
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gregmosu

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I use most of my original equipment except for the brew kettle, as long as I'm bottling. Not so much if I'm kegging, though. You'll experience a transition from extract to all grain that will require some additional spending. Depending on how deep you want to go will determine how much you spend. If you make the leap to all grain go for a 10 gallon brew set-up. You can still produce 5 gallon batches but also ten gallons once you've got a firm recipe.
I would also suggest looking into Beersmith (It's the most reliable, IMO) and read up on water chemistry and Bruin Water spread sheet.
With sanitation being at #1, I would put fermentation temperature at #2 and water chemistry at #3. These things will make you some of the best beer you've ever had.
Thanks for the advice! I've got a lot of reading to do and I'll definitely check out beersmith.
 
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