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FreshZ

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I've got my first Mr. Beer brew in bottles for 2.5 weeks, got an Apfelwein in the Mr Beer for the same amount of time and just got my new 5 gallon kit. I still have a few questions about words used on this fantastic message board.

I understand OG is Original Gravity and FG is Final Gravity. What is Specific Gravity and when would it be measured?

What is racking (cane, tube, etc.)?

I've read that the Carboy is for Secondary fermentation. I've also read that many of you do not use a secondary ferment for Pale Ales, IPAs, and most other ales. So why is it most pics I see posted have the beer in the Carboy? Are they just using it for a primary?

I've read that aerating the beer is bad, but then some advocate stirring or otherwise aerating the beer at some point?

What is cold crashing? I assume this is not putting the bottles in the fridge.

Going for my first 5 G brew with hops and steeping grains this weekend, just trying to get a better understanding of things. Thanks.
 
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1) specific gravity is OG and FG and all that, just OG and FG are gravities at the beginning and end. any time you take a gravity reading, OG or FG, it's a specific gravity reading.

2) racking is siphoning your beer from one vessel to another.

3) many of us use carboys as primaries. just make sure if you do, it's large enough to hold your batch with about a gallon or more of headspace. i use a 6.5 gal carboy for primarying 5.25 gal batches most of the time.

4) aerating your beer before pitching yeast is crucial. very important. after that is when you want to avoid aeration. the yeast use o2 early on in fermentation to reproduce, after that, they're anaerobic, they won't use any oxygen and the o2 can stale the beer. o2 before pitch = healthy ferment. o2 after fermentation starts = risk of stale beer.

5) cold crashing is when you put your fermenter or keg in the fridge to encourage the yeast to fall out of suspension. we do this to help aid in clear beer.
 

unionrdr

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Specific Gravity is just the generic term for the gravity measurement. Original Gravity & Final Gravity are all you should be concerned with as far as measurements go.
Aerating is done before pitching to get o2 into the chilled wort,since boiling drives much of the dissolved o2. You don't want to aerate after pitching,particularly when fermentation starts. Unless you like wet cardboard flavor.
Cold crashing the primary or secondary in the fridge will get the yeast to settle out more. I think it's good for low to medium flocculating yeast.
 
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FreshZ

FreshZ

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NordeastBrewer77 said:
1) specific gravity is OG and FG and all that, just OG and FG are gravities at the beginning and end. any time you take a gravity reading, OG or FG, it's a specific gravity reading.

2) racking is siphoning your beer from one vessel to another.

3) many of us use carboys as primaries. just make sure if you do, it's large enough to hold your batch with about a gallon or more of headspace. i use a 6.5 gal carboy for primarying 5.25 gal batches most of the time.

4) aerating your beer before pitching yeast is crucial. very important. after that is when you want to avoid aeration. the yeast use o2 early on in fermentation to reproduce, after that, they're anaerobic, they won't use any oxygen and the o2 can stale the beer. o2 before pitch = healthy ferment. o2 after fermentation starts = risk of stale beer.

5) cold crashing is when you put your fermenter or keg in the fridge to encourage the yeast to fall out of suspension. we do this to help aid in clear beer.
This is great man. I can't thank you enough. Couple follow ups.

1. So any gravity reading is an SG? This just refers to the act of taking a reading?

3. My Carboy is only 5 gallons. I should not use this for primary for a 5 gallon batch, correct?

5. When do you cold crash? Whenever you want? After fermentation, days before bottling?

Thanks again.
 

unionrdr

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This is great man. I can't thank you enough. Couple follow ups.

1. So any gravity reading is an SG? This just refers to the act of taking a reading?

3. My Carboy is only 5 gallons. I should not use this for primary for a 5 gallon batch, correct?

5. When do you cold crash? Whenever you want? After fermentation, days before bottling?

Thanks again.
Yes,any gravity reading is specific gravity.
No,a 5 gallon carboy would leave little head space for a 5 gallon batch. Good for aging,additions,etc.
You cold crash after a stable FG is measured. Then let it warn back up before racking to the bottling bucket to prime.
 
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1) yep

3) i wouldn't primary more than 3.5 gal in a five gal carboy. you need the headspace to help limit blow off during active fermentation.

5) i rarely cold crash when bottling a beer. a few weeks in primary and another few in bottles should clear the beer plenty. i do, however, cold crash my kegs. after primary, or secondary if i use it for the batch, i rack to a keg, purge the o2 from the headspace, and cold crash for a few days before force carbonating. i do this so i can drink the beer within a week of kegging, and have it be reasonably clear when i pull the first pint.
 
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FreshZ

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How about Sparge? What is a blow off/blow off tube? Why would you use it?
 

tre9er

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How about Sparge? What is a blow off/blow off tube? Why would you use it?
Sparge only applies to using grains and doing a mash, even then it's not required per se. It's the act of rinsing the grains and denaturing the enzymes with ~170* water to stop starch-to-sugar conversion.

A blow-off tube is used for active fermentations, usually, and provides krausen/beer to jettison the FV into a bucket of solution so it doesn't blow the lid off of the FV. Stouts and some other heavier beers ferment rather "violently" and would blow an airlock from the FV, at times.
 

unionrdr

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A blow off tube is used at the beginning of fermentation,usually when re-hydrating or a starter is used. The initial fermentation can be quite vigorous. The blow off tube goes in place of the airlock,the other end in a jug about 1/3 full of water & a splash of starsan.
Sparging is when you rinse the mashed grains with hot water to get the last bit of sugars out of them.
 
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FreshZ

FreshZ

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What is flameout? Is this when you turn off the heat to your brew kettle?

Cold crashing? I believe this involves putting your fermenter into a fridge before bottling? Won't this prevent my beer from bottle conditioning or aging?

Strike water? Is this the water I use to mash my grains as opposed to the Sparge water that I rinse in?

Single infusion? Double, etc. is this a type of all grain technique?

Mash efficiency? I assume this is the amount of sugars you have extracted? How do you calculate this?
 
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What is flameout? Is this when you turn off the heat to your brew kettle?

Cold crashing? I believe this involves putting your fermenter into a fridge before bottling? Won't this prevent my beer from bottle conditioning or aging?

Strike water? Is this the water I use to mash my grains as opposed to the Sparge water that I rinse in?

Single infusion? Double, etc. is this a type of all grain technique?

Mash efficiency? I assume this is the amount of sugars you have extracted? How do you calculate this?
1) Yes
2) it does, and it won't hurt the bottle conditioning. After cold crashing, bottle then condition at 70 degrees for 3 weeks as normal.
3) Yep
4) Yep, single infusion is a simple mash, double infusion is a two step mash, etc.
5) It is. most software will measure this for you, and I highly recommend brewing software when brewing all grain, it's very helpful.
 

fad827

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I too am glad I found this forum. I am new to home brewing and have my first Irish Red Ale in primary fermentation for day 3 now.
I have a question about OG. I have a kit and it stated the OG should be 1.044 and mine was 1.036. I know that this will affect the % alcohol, but is it bad if my OG is lower than what the kit sates? Other than the % alcohol it won't affect flavor right?
Thanks for any help and info!!
 
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FreshZ

FreshZ

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fad827 said:
I too am glad I found this forum. I am new to home brewing and have my first Irish Red Ale in primary fermentation for day 3 now.
I have a question about OG. I have a kit and it stated the OG should be 1.044 and mine was 1.036. I know that this will affect the % alcohol, but is it bad if my OG is lower than what the kit sates? Other than the % alcohol it won't affect flavor right?
Thanks for any help and info!!
It might. I would assume that if you didn't hit your OG, then you beer will have less maltiness to it which could throw off the hop balance. Could end up with a more bitter, thinner beer than was intended.
 

fad827

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It might. I would assume that if you didn't hit your OG, then you beer will have less maltiness to it which could throw off the hop balance. Could end up with a more bitter, thinner beer than was intended.

I am going to stay with kits until I master the technique and such. If I followed the kit instructions exactly but don't hit the OG, what is the best way to correct this??
Thanks again for the info!
 
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FreshZ

FreshZ

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fad827 said:
I am going to stay with kits until I master the technique and such. If I followed the kit instructions exactly but don't hit the OG, what is the best way to correct this??
Thanks again for the info!
I'm pretty new myself, but I would guess maybe you took your hydro sample before aerating, but after topping off? Could be you didn't get enough of the extract out if the bottle? I put mine in a sink full of hot water to make the liquid pour easier. As I recall the steeping grains are primarily specialty grains and don't contribute much to OG. Boiled off too much wort? How much top off water did you need?
 
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I too am glad I found this forum. I am new to home brewing and have my first Irish Red Ale in primary fermentation for day 3 now.
I have a question about OG. I have a kit and it stated the OG should be 1.044 and mine was 1.036. I know that this will affect the % alcohol, but is it bad if my OG is lower than what the kit sates? Other than the % alcohol it won't affect flavor right?
Thanks for any help and info!!
I wouldn't sweat it. Most extract kits call for a partial boil, and then topping up to the correct volume. When adding this top off water, it's nearly impossible to mix the water and wort thoroughly, resulting in low OG readings. It's very common with partial boils, and definitely not something to lose sleep over.
 

fad827

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I wouldn't sweat it. Most extract kits call for a partial boil, and then topping up to the correct volume. When adding this top off water, it's nearly impossible to mix the water and wort thoroughly, resulting in low OG readings. It's very common with partial boils, and definitely not something to lose sleep over.

Now it is making more sense, I did not have to top off with much additional water but I did not mix the top off with the wort. I'm not loosing sleep and I have not problem with a trial/error method I just want to gather more info for the next batch. I am truly looking forward to every bottle of home brew I rack and then later open and enjoy!! :)
 
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