First Brew...now the wait

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bucketheadmn

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So finally decide to just buy a kit, the Deluxe Glass Kit from Northern Brewer, and start making beer. I have been thinking about it for a couple of years and the time finally worked out right to take the plunge.

Started out with the Cream Ale extract kit from NB as I wanted something easy for my first batch and also something that would be great on a hot day. Everything went just fine - that is until reading the Hydrometer for the first time. The recipe called for an OG of 1.04 and I read the Hydrometer as 1.4 at first!! So what do I do? Add more water of course!! It took until I added almost a full gallon more that I realized I was reading the gauge wrong and I was at the right OG of 1.04, hah. Turns out my first batch might be just a little more watery than expected. Also took a while to cool down to under 100 degrees - think it was almost 30 minutes. Learned from that and will cool it differently next time.

The only other thing is in the house it is hard to find a room that stays under 80 degrees right now as we are hitting the 90's and up in MN right now. No AC in house as it is radiant heat so keeping the fermentor at a good temp is going to be tough. Set up a 'swamp cooler' hoping that helps a bit.

Anyways - here are some pics from the first go! Already thinking about and looking forward to round 2.
 

Theis

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Welcome to forum. Definitely warm in MN now. I bought one of those $5 plastic tubs at Menards which you can almost fully submerge the carboy in. I add ice/water to the tub and use the stick on thermometer on the carboy to target fermentation temp around 65 (assuming you are using American Ale Yeast). A tip to make you next brew easier would be calibrating your carboy with marks on the side for each gallon. I used a sharpie and just re-apply as needed.
 

PondScum

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I think you made a good choice with that glass kit. I wish I would have started with a glass carboy vs the plastic bucket. But now I have a plastic bucket to use for sanitizing gear.

I just made that Cream Ale kit from NB. My primary was a bit warm for the first 24 hours. I managed to get it under 70 the 2nd day. Fermentation really didn't start until the 2nd day as well so be patient with it.

I'll be racking that one today or tomorrow. Half will go over some fresh raspberries from the neighbors garden for some raspberry cream ale in a few weeks.

I like Theis' idea of keeping the carboy in some cool/cold water to keep the temp down.
Might have to do that with tomorrow's brew.
 

unionrdr

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Welcome to the best site for your new addiction. At least now you know what your mistake was & will read the hydrometer right next time. There's always the next brew to get it better & better...
 
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bucketheadmn

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Reading the hydrometer is something I will never do wrong again that is for sure. I am also going to take the time to mark my carboys, using electrical tape or similar, to see the liquid level. I am thinking that I will move this first batch to my secondary (5 gallon glass carboy) after a week or whenever the gurgling stops so I can start another batch and not use the smaller carboy as a primary. From what I have read and understand moving this batch to a secondary will not hurt, only help, as long as I sanitize properly.
 

bob1006

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Congrats on your first brew! A thought the secondary, if you have the option, cold crash it. It will clear it up a lot. Let it sit in 34° for week or so.

looks like you did your research and are well on your way to a rehab center! (most homebrewers are addicted whether they admit it or not! )
 

unionrdr

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Test the batch to be sure it's at a stable FG before racking to secondary. The alcohol & good racking procedure will help keep it from becoming oxidized. And good sanitation will work with the alcohol to keep the nasties out.
Also,I took a 1G Sunny D jug & marked it by quarts to measure water with. Comes in handy for marking FV's,& measuring water in the BK.
 

bob1006

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I meant addicted to brewing, brew gadgets ect ect..


Felt the need to clear that up.....
 

NoRoom4Error

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Do yourself a favor.... when you rack to secondary or a keg.... brew another batch the same day. Then you aren't so itchy to "taste" daily or cut the primary ferm time down due to impatience.

Cheers! (drinking 8% home brew)
 
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bucketheadmn

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The main reason I want to rack to secondary - to brew another batch that day. I am already looking forward to the second batch so I can correct what I know I did wrong on the first.

If I had the ability to 'cold crash' it in secondary I would. As it is I have to fight just to keep the temp below 70 already. I am hoping that when I move it to secondary (I am planning on doing a couple of FG checks to make sure it has stabilized before moving it) that a increase in room temp will not effect the batch.
 

nospacehere

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Can anyone recommend a better way of taking gravity readings than filling up that tall tube every time? That's like 5oz of beer each time, and cuts into how many bottles I get out of the final product. And I have yet to make a batch where I get more than 48 bottles yet.
 

thatjonguy

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Refractometer with conversion equation to correct the reading in the presence of ethanol.
 

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