Could moving the brew on day 1 kill it?

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JoeWebDesigner

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Hi, my son and I have had a go at making our first ever home brew stout from a Wilko kit called "Artisan Brewing Chocomeister Premium Stout Kit".

It was an impulse buy in the shop as I had bren thinking for a couple of years about doing it, but never got round to it. So I read the reviews onnthe kit which were all. very good, and a couple suggested that to improve the beer add 500g of Medium Spray Malt mix 650g of Brewers Sugar instead of just 1000g of brewers sugar.

So I bought a 500g bag of Medium spray Malt and a 1000g bag of brewers sugar, and added just over half of the sugar with the spray malt to the mix.

We careful sterilised the new fermentation bucket and lid (after poking a small hole in the solid lid to prevent explosions) and the long metal spoon in boiling water before we started. Then we were made it last night in the kitchen.

At first (last night) there was loads of froth on the top of the mix and we sprinkled the packet yeast that came in the kit on top of the froth. Then I carried the whole lot upstairs to my office, leaving the clicked shut on one side and with an upside down clean coffee cup over the small hole to allow any venting. (we have never done it before and didnt know if the froth would grow fast or not).

Some of the froth with the yeast on, got slopped against the inside of the lid as I was carrying it. I was worried about that effecting the process, but didnt want to open the bucket and interfere for risk of contamination.

This afternoon I noticed that the liquid through the side ion the bucket is still all dark, but the froth has all vanished, there seems to be just a tiny layer over the top of theigquid as far as I can see.

Is this right, or has it just died?

Should I buy another packet of yeast and sprinkle it on top, would this salvage it?

Im a bit worried as it was expensive and I need it to be a success.
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JoeWebDesigner

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This is how it looks this afternoon, all the froth has gone...!

Is this right, or has it just died?

Please can someone guide me, im worried that ive just killed it somehow and wasted all that money.

Joe
 

Tallgrass

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Dry yeast takes some time to get going. I pitched a pack of dry yeast Saturday afternoon and Monday morning I am just starting to see activity.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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Thanks for the reassurance, the temperature in here is 18 degrees, is that good, or should I try to raise it a little? (ive got an old boiler and the dial has broken off, so I have to try to turn the broken stub with a pair of pliers until I hear it click on, so I cant ever get an exact temperature, it seems to jump from cold to roasting with little control in-between)
 

Jtvann

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Thanks for the reassurance, the temperature in here is 18 degrees, is that good, or should I try to raise it a little? (ive got an old boiler and the dial has broken off, so I have to try to turn the broken stub with a pair of pliers until I hear it click on, so I cant ever get an exact temperature, it seems to jump from cold to roasting with little control in-between)

18 degrees is about as perfect as you can get with your current setup. Once the beer gets going good, it will produce a little if it's own heat. I would not raise the temp any at all.
 

Tallgrass

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Ideal fermentation temp is yeast dependent but 64f seems like a good temperature for a lot of them. During fermentation the yeast activity can raise the temperature in there 5 or more degrees.

Keep an eye on it. Once the yeast get going its going to foam up again. The foam(krausen) is likely to stay in the bucket but nothing is guaranteed and it could foam enough to try to get out of your bucket.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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Day 2 (or approx 48 hours later)

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Well the stuff on top and around the edges is getting darker, and a small layer of foam/froth seems to be appearing on top so something is happening. Ive not noticed any gas escaping the pin hole from the top of the bucket though...
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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Im tempted to sterilise a borescope for next time, and fit it in to the lid.
It would allow me to take photos and videos and watch the progress without opening the lid...

Anyone ever done this?
 

Tallgrass

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Most buckets leak around the top. You should be able to smell it if you get your nose up close.

I brew just about every weekend still check on the fermenters regularly.

The only thing you need now is patience.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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We are now 1 week on from the initial kit being started.
As it got cold my wife insisted on putting the heating up and the temp has risen to 22 degrees. I know this is within the acceptable range, but I don't know what effect this will have on things?

I have used a refractometer to measure the specific gravity, (I didnt think to measure the SG when I started, but I measured it today) and it is 1.045 this afternoon.

Anyone know what SG im aiming for (on the Wilco Stout kit) ?
I removed the lid to drill a big hole for the rubber cork and fit the bubble counter, and it really smells like Guinness...
 
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Tallgrass

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What kind of yeast did you use?
The first few days of fermentation are the most important in terms of temperature. You're likely fine.

A hydrometer is the best to measure gravity. I've never used a refractometer but I understand they aren't accurate in the presence of alcohol.

The beer is finished when you get the same reading a few days apart. That will be at whatever gravity and whatever time your yeast decide. It's important not to bottle early because of the risk of exploding bottles.

You're probably close to finished but I would suggest you get a hydrometer and check on day 10 and 12 or 13.
 

McKnuckle

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You cannot use a refractometer at face value to measure SG once alcohol is present. Doing so requires a correction formula, and that formula in turn requires the OG. So if you don’t have the OG, you are kinda hosed.

To measure gravity now, you need a hydrometer.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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from what I have read regarding this kit the OG should have ben 0.055 so im going to guess that it was somewhere around that.

The refractometer was from my marine tank, it is the most accurate way of measuring sg in a marine tank.
I don't need scientific accuracy, I just need to see that there is a reasonable movement downwards.

I would have expected it to have ended somewhere from 0.018 to 0.025 from what I have read from others using this kit, (anyone know if this is right?) so i was surprised that it was still so high. I will pop to Wilko and try to pick up a hydrometer.

My friend who has made beer before says that I need to either bottle the beer or put it in to a fermentation barrel to finish fermenting for a few weeks at least now. He leant me a plastic fermentation barrel, i need to get some sterilisation tablets from Wilko and scrub it out, and then transfer the beer to the barrel.

He said that for 40 pints I will need to add 20 teaspoons of brewing sugar to the barrel when I transfer it over, does that sound about right?
 

McKnuckle

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I think you likely have no idea what your OG was. I looked up this kit, and the package says "4% ABV approx." The package seems to be just liquid malt extract, probably pre-hopped. That's a nice low ABV stout by design... but then you added a bunch of extra fermentables:

So I bought a 500g bag of Medium spray Malt and a 1000g bag of brewers sugar, and added just over half of the sugar with the spray malt to the mix.
So you added 500g of DME and ~600g sugar to the total ingredients of the kit, and then didn't measure OG - right?

This stout was probably supposed to be more like 1.045 OG, fermenting with low attenuation English yeast down to 1.014, which would yield about 4%. Where it ended up with your extra sugars is unknown.

The refractometer is not just lacking "scientific accuracy," it is entirely unsuitable for reading the SG when alcohol is present. See this calculator for how to convert. Yes, you can use the refract to see if the SG is dropping over time, but you can't use the number on it at face value - at all.

Hydrometer is your only option at this point, not a luxury I'm afraid.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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do I need to add more brewing sugar to the fermention/pressure barrel when I syphon the stout in to it, and if so, is 20 teaspoons about right for 40 pints?
 

McKnuckle

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What is the gravity of the beer as tested in your hydrometer and corrected, if necessary, for the hydrometer's calibration temperature?
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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do I need to add more brewing sugar to the fermention/pressure barrel when I syphon the stout in to it, and if so, is 20 teaspoons about right for 40 pints?
20 teaspoons is a little less than needed in my opinion for bottling. I don’t think you should move it into the other container unless you are planning to bottle the same day. I think that 1.045 even with a refractometer means its not done yet. Since you can’t know where you started, I would wait at least two more weeks to allow the yeast to finish and clean up. 22 degrees is fine.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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Ok, if im reading this correctly it is actually 1.18, so I need to wait until it is sitting in the yellow band is that correct?

Looking at the Fermentation Sugar bag, I weighed it, and have got 440 grams left out of the original kilo So I only added 560 grams of fermentation sugar along with the 500 grams of medium spray malt.

That may help with the calculations...?


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JoeWebDesigner

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im not planning to bottle at all, ive got a tap on the barrel, im planning to pour pints straight from the barrel in 2 or 3 weeks time...
How many teaspoons would you recommend?
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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im not planning to bottle at all, ive got a tap on the barrel, im planning to pour pints straight from the barrel in 2 or 3 weeks time...
How many teaspoons would you recommend?
I use 1/4 cup for 14 pints so I’d go 30 teaspoons, but then I like a cold strongly carbonated beer. This barrel thing looks like it’s more of a cask kind of a thing, in which the 20 teaspoons might be about right.
 

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I'm a little concerned about where you have the fermenter - from the photos it looks like it might be getting some sunlight. And the fermenter looks almost clear. Depending on how much sunlight, that could cause some unpleasant odors. It's a little late, but I'd get it out of the light (unless it's already protected).
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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The stout is still in the fermenting bucket, I haven't put it in to the barrel yet, I weighed the sugar and found that I had only added 560grams last week, so I added another 140 grams making the total 700 grams, As the hydrometer showed it still wasn't ready to put in the barrel ive decided to leave it until this coming Sunday to continue to ferment, then I will put it in the barrel and put it put in the shed in the dark for a couple of weeks.

We drank the stout that we had tested, and it tastes awesome, just delicious. It does smack of stronger tasting Guinness but with a chocolatey after taste...
 

McKnuckle

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Your hydrometer reads 1.020. Without an OG, you have no real idea what FG to expect. Any sugar is going to completely ferment out. The dried malt extract will partially ferment because it's just like wort. Assuming the yeast provided with the kit was a moderate-to-low attenuation British ale yeast, and you increased the OG considerably with your sugar additions, it is likely that 1.020 is about all you're going to get.

Your plan to leave it til the weekend and then "barrel" it seems fine.
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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So as promised I left it for another week and tested again, it has changed quite a bit now and ive syphoned it in to the pressure barrel.

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So ive added 30 teaspoons of brewing sugar to the pressure barrel and syphoned the been in to it. (minus a couple of glasses for my son and I to sample) it is definitely alcoholic now I can feel it...
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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Question: is it safe to put it in the shed in a black bag in the garden now do you think for a week or two?
It wont be too cold?
 
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JoeWebDesigner

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My wife keeps the house heated this time of year, but I was told it had to be kept in the dark and in the cold once in the barrel?
 

McKnuckle

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Now that it's 1.012, it's done, and it might as well be kept cold for conditioning in that barrel. As long as it doesn't freeze, it's fine. Issue now is how do you plan to serve this beer? You want to be thinking about where to place the barrel so it can either be served from there, or transferred to a keg or bottles without disturbing the sediment.
 

SanJuanWorm

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I would think indoors would be better for the next few days...who knows, a quick drop in temp might turn the taste...disturbing the Fermenter is the main issue now IMO..?

Bit more info I found online about your Wilko kit....https://bit.ly/2TMU6Eu

Best of luck!

-M.
 

SanJuanWorm

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Now that it's 1.012, it's done, and it might as well be kept cold for conditioning in that barrel. As long as it doesn't freeze, it's fine. Issue now is how do you plan to serve this beer? You want to be thinking about where to place the barrel so it can either be served from there, or transferred to a keg or bottles without disturbing the sediment.
Lol, McKnuckle... Tag, you're it.... :yes:

-M.
 

AZCoolerBrewer

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My wife keeps the house heated this time of year, but I was told it had to be kept in the dark and in the cold once in the barrel?
You need to keep it in the sixties until it is primed and has used up your 30tsp of priming sugar to make the bubbles. After that, you want to keep it cold and dark for storage and serving.
 

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