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dirtsurfer

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Ok, I'm sure all my answers are scattered across this forum, but I don't have the time to search for them all....

Please help:

- Concerning the boil, does it matter if the malt is added to boiling water, or just added to room temp water, then brought up to boiling temp?

- When taking gravity readings, do you discard the sample or put back in the primary/secondary?

- When transferring the wort from the kettle, is there a method for filtering the pour directly into the primary bucket rather than siphoning?

- Minding that ales are top-fermenting, doesn't racking the secondary from the bottom of the primary (thru the drain valve) leave some of the yeasties behind?

- For sampling to take the O.G., is it better to sample from the bottom valve or lift the top from the bucket and take a sample?

- Anything wrong w/ using bleach as your only sanitizer for both equipment and bottles?

- Can you sanitize the bottle caps simpling by dropping them in boiling water?

- Can I sanitize the bottles ahead of time, then cover to keep them from contamination?


Sorry for the overload, but I just want to understand....Thanks for your help!!!
 
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dirtsurfer said:
- Concerning the boil, does it matter if the malt is added to boiling water, or just added to room temp water, then brought up to boiling temp?
add to boiling water. if the water is room temp, the extract will not dissolve well enough and will burn when a boil is reached.
dirtsurfer said:
- When taking gravity readings, do you discard the sample or put back in the primary/secondary?
discard the sample (i.e. TASTE IT, you will learn a lot about beers flavor at different times)
dirtsurfer said:
- When transferring the wort from the kettle, is there a method for filtering the pour directly into the primary bucket rather than siphoning?
some people filter it, some don't. you can simply pour it through any kitchen strainer if you like
dirtsurfer said:
- Minding that ales are top-fermenting, doesn't racking the secondary from the bottom of the primary (thru the drain valve) leave some of the yeasties behind?
you rack to secondary to remove the beer from the majority of the yeast. at this point, fermentation should be complete, and you are aging the beer.
dirtsurfer said:
- For sampling to take the O.G., is it better to sample from the bottom valve or lift the top from the bucket and take a sample?
if you have a valve on your primary, you can use it. however, you will probably get a lot of trub and sediment that has settled to the bottom.
dirtsurfer said:
- Anything wrong w/ using bleach as your only sanitizer for both equipment and bottles?
no, just rinse VERY VERY thoroughly
dirtsurfer said:
- Can you sanitize the bottle caps simpling by dropping them in boiling water?
i wouldn't. there is a little plastic on the bottom of the caps, boiling them could melt it, though i have no first hand experience.
dirtsurfer said:
- Can I sanitize the bottles ahead of time, then cover to keep them from contamination?
you want to sanitize right before bottling. short of a clean room, no matter how you cover it bad things will get inside.
 

brewmasterpa

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1) usually you bring your water to a boil, then taker away from heat, then add your extract, then return to heat and be careful of the hot break.
2) as long as your equipment is well sanitized, and youre hands are well sanitized you should be able to put your sample back, but i usually dont just out of caution.
3)usually you dont siphon the wort from the kettle to the primay, you usually do use a strainer and pour it through into the bucket. this keeps the trub down to a minimum and aerates the wort.
4)when you rack from the primary, you leave behind a lot of yeast, but those yeast are not going to ferment any longer and have fallen out of suspension, also there is a large quantity of those yeast that are dead, and you want to take those out of your brew.
5)take a sample from the top. this will give you the most accurate results due to keeping trub out of your sample.
6)nothing wrong with using bleach on all of your equipment, but to keep problems with rinsing the bleach down to a minimum, use idophor instead. no rinsing required.
7)you usually do boil bottle caps for 15 minutes to sanitize, that is the preferred method.
8)i would not sanitize bottles until youre ready to bottle just to be safe. youll be pissed if you ruin a batch just from trying to save time.
 

JPicasso

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I'll give it a shot, lets see if anyone beats me to it...

-as long as the Extract is boiled, you can add when warming the water.

-You drink it!! (or discard, just don't dump it back, risk infection and all that.)

-If you feel the need to filter, buying a 5 gallon paint strainer works great. There is no "need" to filter however.

- yes, but only the weak ones. :) There are still plenty left. If it bugs you, just leave in primary for longer. Many only primary for 3-4 weeks, and then bottle.

- Something that I always wondered. I usually leave in primary for 4-5 weeks, so I'm betting that it's done. But my primary buckets don't have a spigot, that bucket I use to bottle.

-Bleach requires rinsing, and that can lead to infection. (but maybe not) I'd look into Star-San or Iodophor instead.

-Caps, boil. Yes, that would do it.

-I don't know. I clean out bottles right away, but still give them a couple shots from the spray bottle of star-san before I fill them.


Great questions, keep reading! Welcome to the obsession!
 

brian_g

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Ok, I'm sure all my answers are scattered across this forum, but I don't have the time to search for them all....

Please help:

- Concerning the boil, does it matter if the malt is added to boiling water, or just added to room temp water, then brought up to boiling temp?
I think it's better to at at room temp and then bring to a boil. The malt tends to like to sink to the bottom an burn.

- When taking gravity readings, do you discard the sample or put back in the primary/secondary?
Some say discard to prevent infection. If you sanitize your hydrometer and cylinder, it shouldn't be a problem. I've done it both ways with no problems. Just choose what your comfortable with.

- When transferring the wort from the kettle, is there a method for filtering the pour directly into the primary bucket rather than siphoning?
I like to put a strainer on the top of the bucket, and then put a fine straining over the plastic strainer. I poor the wort through that after cooling.

- Minding that ales are top-fermenting, doesn't racking the secondary from the bottom of the primary (thru the drain valve) leave some of the yeasties behind?
Yes. You don't want to siphon? Either way you will get some yeast in your secondary. Don't worry about it.

- For sampling to take the O.G., is it better to sample from the bottom valve or lift the top from the bucket and take a sample?
I take mine from the bottom valve, but it shouldn't matter. Just make sure your wart is mixed properly.

- Anything wrong w/ using bleach as your only sanitizer for both equipment and bottles?
No problem as far as I know, except bleach must be rinsed off. I prefer using a no rinse sanitizer.

- Can you sanitize the bottle caps simpling by dropping them in boiling water?
I'm not sure.

- Can I sanitize the bottles ahead of time, then cover to keep them from contamination?
If by ahead of time you mean an hour, no problem. If you mean a couple of weeks, no way.

Sorry for the overload, but I just want to understand....Thanks for your help!!!
I hope I helped.
 

Homercidal

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Wow, ok here goes.

1. Not really, although I usually add it when the water is either pretty hot or boiling.
2. I don't keep it. Why risk getting infected?
3. Some people have a spigot on their kettle. I siphoned using a metal tube before I got my CFC chiller built.
4. Yes, but you can't avoid it. You are mostly leaving behind the dead yeasties on the bottom.
5. I lift the lid off and use a sanitized thief to take the sample.
6. Bleach will certainly do the trick, but you have to rinse it VERY well but there are better alternatives like Starsan or Iodophor (no rinse contact sanitizers). But I would nto use it for bottles. Too much risk of off flavors IMO.
7. I've been told to never boil your caps. I just dunk in sanitizer (starsan) and then use.
8. How long are you talking? 2 hours? 2 days? I'd dunk them in some starsan and let them drain on a rack upside down. You can use them right away.

I'd recommend a no-rinse sanitizer over bleach. It's just so much handier IMO. No worry of off-flavors and you can pour the beer right on it with no noticeable effects.

If you are brewing NOW and have to use bleach, just rinse well. For bottling later, consider getting a small bottle of StarSan. It's super easy, and can last you weeks or months if you prepare it properly. I keep a spray bottle handy for instant sanitation.
 

Homercidal

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Wow, 4 people answering at the same time!

Differing opinion on bottle caps boiling. I've done it both ways with good results either way, but IMO it's not necessary if you have a small cup of starsan you can just pour your caps into it ans pull each one out as you need it.
 

brewmasterpa

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when you are capping, make sure you sanitize your fingers and bottle lips with sanitizer, not boiling water...ouch.
 
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dirtsurfer

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Ok, so this is my first batch, so I do have another question....help please?

Brewed on 3-15, racked to secondary about a week ago (after airlock had stopped)

No activity from the airlock anymore....all looks good in the secondary (nice color, no infection, but no kraussen either)

Do I need to add more yeast? (American Amber extract kit)
 

Yooper

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Ok, so this is my first batch, so I do have another question....help please?

Brewed on 3-15, racked to secondary about a week ago (after airlock had stopped)

No activity from the airlock anymore....all looks good in the secondary (nice color, no infection, but no kraussen either)

Do I need to add more yeast? (American Amber extract kit)
No, it sounds like it's doing what it's supposed to do! The point of a "secondary" is as a clearing tank, called a "bright tank" in commercial breweries. You should notice that it will clear a bit, usually from the top down, and you'll have a thinner yeast cake on the bottom in a couple of weeks.

Do you have a hydrometer? That's the only way to know when the beer is actually done, although clearing is a good sign. What I do is check the SG before racking out of the fermenter, to make sure that the final gravity is reached before moving the beer.
 

ericm

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FWIW, I've sterilized bottles by covering them each tightly with foil and then baking then - they stay sterile more-or-less indefinitely.

(you have to be careful to heat up gradually, and cool gradually to not stress the glass with heat changes)
 

PatMac

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I strongly recommend getting the book "How to Brew" by John J. Palmer. All of your posted questions, and your questions to come, are answered in clear detail in his book. It is well worth every penny.
 
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