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First brew done, a few questions before the second

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TheLodger

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Alrighty, so I've been drinking my first (Brown) brew for the past week or so. Not bad, a bit yeasty, but drinkable. Really for my first that's all I really wanted. I put one away, ready to drink in six months to taste the difference. This brew was meant to find my muscles, get my head around the whole process.

My next batch is going to be another kit, but I'm going to get a little crazier this time and do an IPA. Can't wait, as I've just ordered a new bigger brew pot.

So now I've got a better paying job which will allow me to have a bit more fun with the obsession, so because ya'll are ALWAYS helpful, I was hoping you could help me tackle a few issues.

1) When racking to the bottling bucket, should catching the trub at the bottom be avoided? Would that cause some off flavors?

2) Is a wort chiller a worthwhile investment? I would like to brew a lager or too, but unfortunately, I live in an apartment with a lot of old women and no control of my heat, I have a hard enough time keeping ales a ferment temps. Would a wort chiller help this?

3) Yeast starters scare me, but many recipes that I wish to try will definitely need it. It seems like you need to make a mini beer before it can pitched? Does it matter what extract I use to get it started? How will it affect the taste?

I'm pumped, can't wait to get started, I suppose that's what causes me to come on here and bug ya'll. Thanks!
 

Arneba28

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1. yeah catch as much trub as you can but a little wont produce any off flavors

2. totally a worthwhile investment but it wont help you brew a lager if your fermentation temp cant be kept at lager temps.

3. If will effect the taste very little. You can make them in a 2liter pop bottle if you want. Just sanitize everything. Use light extract or dextrose for light beers and dark extract for dark beers. The starter will effect the taste in that the yeast will actually be able to impart the correct flavor that the yeast was intended for.

Good luck brother
 

ChshreCat

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1. yeah catch as much trub as you can but a little wont produce any off flavors
I'm assuming you mean the opposite of what you said there. You want to catch as little trub as possible with your siphon. Leave that behind, man!
 
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TheLodger

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I should've guessed a wort chiller wouldn't help my lagering woes. But what are the benefits of a wort chiller vs. say, an ice bath which is what I did last time?
 

apfann

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The benefit of the Wort Chiller is speed.
The quicker you cool your wort down the better.

This is on two fronts.
First you shorten the risk of exposure with a quick cool down
and getting into your sealed fermenter asap.

Second, stopping the creation of dimethyl sulfide.
This happens while the Wort is hot and is released while your boiling. Cooling quickly minimizes this in your beer.


Search the various threads here because you now have the choice of buying a premade Chiller or making your own.



Good luck and happy brewing.
 

pkeeler

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1) When racking to the bottling bucket, should catching the trub at the bottom be avoided? Would that cause some off flavors?
Move the fermenter an hour or more before you rack to let everything settle back down. If you have the racking cane tip, on the top of the trub, you will not siphon much of it at all. You will leave a few ounces of beer behind. Sacrifices. You can pour that off into a bottle and use it for starters though.

2) Is a wort chiller a worthwhile investment? I would like to brew a lager or too, but unfortunately, I live in an apartment with a lot of old women and no control of my heat, I have a hard enough time keeping ales a ferment temps. Would a wort chiller help this?
Chillers cool the wort down. They don't work on fermenters (or if they did, your water bill would go through the roof). If you are going to be doing boils of more than 3 gal., definitely invest in a chiller. You can get a refridgerator to make lagers of course. Sometimes, if you make an insulated box, and keep that over your fermenter while it sits on the basement floor, you can get some very cold fermenting conditions.

3) Yeast starters scare me, but many recipes that I wish to try will definitely need it. It seems like you need to make a mini beer before it can pitched? Does it matter what extract I use to get it started? How will it affect the taste?
Thanks!
I just use the lightest unhopped DME I can find. That way, you will not be adding much flavor or color.
 
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