First brew underway

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KookyBrewsky

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Hello all,

New to this hobby and I believe it suits me well. I am diagnosed with schizophrenia and can’t function socially, for this hobby, all I need is myself. I’d love to work for a few years and develop skills further to potentially opening a local brewery but unless I had help I wouldn’t be able to manage the social aspects of it, unless I only sold bottles! I enjoy food though I’m not much of a cook or baker, I love the process of brewing beer so far, which can be a science and an art at the same time. I read a lot prior and ordered quite a few things to get me going, namely a homebrewing.org kit and four extract kits (plus extras like blow off tubing, extra air locks, etc for emergency purposes) before I move onto BIAB brewing which seems to have many fans and opponents. One of the kits I ordered is actually BIAB which I didn’t know, they call it steep-to-convert, it’s a Guava Haze kit. I for one don’t have the space for all-grain at the house. After that I will begin developing my own recipes which I want to focus around the changing seasons.

My first brew is a chocolate stout because I’m first and foremost a coffee+chocolate fanatic, occasionally I’ll roast my own beans but I have a roaster I buy from weekly.

Seems to be going well. It’s currently been two full days as of 2PM EST today, my air lock has some activity, about a bubble a second, although I’ve read pretty consistently it’s not really an indicator of anything, however when I give it a whiff it definitely smells like beer! It had an OG of ~1.048 to ~1.050. The meniscus was was surrounded by bubbles even after spinning the hydrometer.

I have enough space for two brews at a time and over 100 empty bottles on hand. I think on Monday I’ll brew the chipotle porter and hope both turn out well by my birthday late March. It’s always hot in Florida so the only way I can control temp cheaply is to stick a wet towel around the bucket with the tail in a bucket of ice water. Going to Home Depot for a small clip on fan soon.

Will keep updating as to how it turns out and if I have any questions as things develop. Brew day went very smoothly and besides sanitation worries (was everything sanitized enough?) I didn’t have any hiccups.

Cheers

edit : I did forget a hiccup! Water. Our town water is pretty good actually but if I leave it overnight and let it get to room temp it has a pretty chlorinated aroma.. so on brew day I quickly went to the grocery to get gallons of spring water which I used directly, unsanitized, I do hope this doesn’t affect anything. For future brews I have acquired Campden tablets and will simply be using our tap water.

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6Tap

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  • Hello all,

New to this hobby and I believe it suits me well. I am diagnosed with schizophrenia and can’t function socially, for this hobby, all I need is myself. I’d love to work for a few years and develop skills further to potentially opening a local brewery but unless I had help I wouldn’t be able to manage the social aspects of it, unless I only sold bottles! I enjoy food but I’m not much of a cook or baker, I love the process of brewing beer so far, which can be a science and an art at the same time. I read a lot and ordered quite a few things to get me going name a homebrewing.org kit and four extract kits (plus extras like blow off tubing, extra air locks, etc for emergency purposes) before I move onto BIAB brewing which seems to have many fans and opponents. One of the kits I ordered is actually BIAB which I didn’t know, they call it steep-to-convert, it’s a Guava Haze kit. I for one don’t have the space for all-grain at the house. After that I will begin developing my own recipes which I want to focus around the changing seasons.

My first brew brew is a chocolate stout because I’m first and foremost a coffee+chocolate fanatic, occasionally I’ll roast my own beans but I have a roaster I buy from weekly.

Seems to be going well. It’s currently been two full days as of 2PM EST today, my air lock has some activity, about a bubble a second, although I’ve read pretty consistently it’s not really an indicator of anything, however when I give it a whiff it definitely smells like beer! It had an OG of ~1.048 to ~1.050. The meniscus was was surrounded by bubbles even after spinning the hydrometer.

I have enough space for two brews at a time and over 100 empty bottles on hand. I think on Monday I’ll brew the chipotle porter and hope both turn out well by my birthday late March. It’s always hot in Florida so the only way I can control temp cheaply m is to stick a wet towel around the bucket with the tail in a bucket of ice water. Going to Home Depot for a small clip on fan soon.

Will keep updating as to how it turns out and if I have any questions as things develop. Brew day went very smoothly and besides sanitation worries (was everything sanitized enough?) I didn’t have any hiccups.

Cheers


View attachment 667896 View attachment 667897
Welcome to HBT!
Sounds like your first brew day was a success.
Cheers [emoji482]
 

mongoose33

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If I may make a suggestion....perhaps the best strategy for new brewers is to brew simple beers while they figure out the processes. The more variables you have to manage, the greater the chances something won't turn out just right, and there you are.

Simple beers are still good beers, and they have a better chance of turning out well. So rather than focusing on beers like chocolate coconut stout with two nibs of chocolate plus coconut shavings in a bath of mild hops brewed in a slow atmosphere of gentle boiling, work on less complicated stuff.

Think about where you want to be as a brewer in, say, 6 months, rather than in 2 or 3 weeks.

Of all the things new brewers have to learn, the toughest is....patience.

Anyway, my 2 cents, welcome, and enjoy!
 

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If I was starting over I would pick a style category like American Ales or whatever you like and work with one yeast, one base malt, one hop, one specialty malt. I would have made progress much quicker.

I kept hopping around, and I still feel I haven't mastered that many ingredients.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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If I may make a suggestion....perhaps the best strategy for new brewers is to brew simple beers while they figure out the processes. The more variables you have to manage, the greater the chances something won't turn out just right, and there you are.

Simple beers are still good beers, and they have a better chance of turning out well. So rather than focusing on beers like chocolate coconut stout with two nibs of chocolate plus coconut shavings in a bath of mild hops brewed in a slow atmosphere of gentle boiling, work on less complicated stuff.

Think about where you want to be as a brewer in, say, 6 months, rather than in 2 or 3 weeks.

Of all the things new brewers have to learn, the toughest is....patience.

Anyway, my 2 cents, welcome, and enjoy!
This chocolate stout was extremely simple, it was the one that came with the beginners kit. It was just a bag of flaked grains/chocolate, 6lbs of liquid malt extract, and two things of hops at the end. I didn’t do any of the additional things people in the reviews seem to do, like nibs soaked in bourbon, cherries, etc... Difficulty rating was “easy”. The Guava Haze I got is rated as “difficult” due to the BIAB process I guess. It’ll be the last brew of the 4 kits I got.

I’m a visionary type of person, besides the seasonally changing beers which I expect to take years to figure out, I see myself doing a single, perfected, simple beer first that is available year round. I don’t want to offer a huge variety of things if I ever manage to open a brewery. 4-5 with one or two constants. I love the Chipotle menu, just enough variety to get a few different things if one feels but super easy to decide on what you love and stick with it, and it’s always good.

Thanks for the tips!


If I was starting over I would pick a style category like American Ales or whatever you like and work with one yeast, one base malt, one hop, one specialty malt. I would have made progress much quicker.

I kept hopping around, and I still feel I haven't mastered that many ingredients.
“hopping around” ahem.

I think I have the ingredient I’ll be focusing on, which is the subtle use of peppers (my favorite cooking ingredient). Just subtle enough to exist as a flavor but nearly unidentifiable. I don’t expect to see myself experimenting with my own recipe for, who knows, 6 months to a year. I want to get flow, basics and the process down so I can “do it with my eyes closed”!

Lastly, I’ll have to get a few books I think. I’m not particularly familiar with beer types, but as a black coffee drinker I do gravitate towards the intensity of a stout when I can. The kits I got were chocolate stout, chipotle porter, Great Lakes pale ale, and the Guava Haze IPA.

Thanks for the suggestions!!
 

rburrelli

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Well it sounds like you are off to a good start and have a plan as well. Good luck and welcome to the hobby.
 

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Welcome to HomeBrewTalk and congratulations on your first brew. Here's a few things to make your brewing more enjoyable and less worrisome.

1. Bottled spring water is pretty sanitary. Don't worry about it.
2. Campden tablets will remove the chlorine and chloramine from your tap water. 1/4 tablet does 5 gallons and it works fast.
3. Your fermenting beer needs to be kept cool as the yeast will give you off flavors if it ferments too warm. Yeast manufacturers have the recommended temperature range listed on their webpage for each yeast. Note that the activity of the yeast will attempt to raise the temperature of the fermenting beer.
4. After 3 to 5 days your beer no longer needs temperature control so you make one batch, put the fermenting beer where it is cool, take it out after 3 to 5 days and put the next one in.
5. Don't be in a hurry to bottle the beer. Giving it time in the fermenter allows more yeast and trub to settle out. My first kits said to bottle at one week. I got 1/4 inch or more gunk in my bottles. Now I leave the beer in the fermenter for 2 to 4 weeks and can barely see the trub in the bottles. Most beers need some time to mature. Part of the time in the fermenter counts toward this time.
6. Most of us would say to not open a bottle too soon but I'll suggest you open one at one week to see how it has progressed. ONLY ONE!!! Leave the rest for another 2 weeks if you can. Your beer will taste better and will have better head formation.
 

lowtones84

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Congratulations, you're on the way! While I agree it might be a good idea to brew simple beers to really hone the process at some point, I think it's perfectly fine to be brewing what your personal tastes are. Plus, stouts and porters with some added flavors may help cover some off-flavors from fermenting too warm, if that's happening.

I agree with the patience part, especially with dark beers. It sounds like you're detail oriented, so that's always good. Patience, sanitation, and fermentation temperature to me are the biggest factors. Enjoy!
 
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KookyBrewsky

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I didn’t know about #4 at all... I’ll be safe and try to cool it for the full 5 days... after that, even ambient temps as high as my house (74F) while the bucket is covered (even though we only have fluorescent lights) won’t adversely affect the fermentation?

I planned it around my birthday (late March) where I’m taking a trip. I started on Feb 21st... I plan on leaving it in primary for two weeks and probably not do a secondary. After that I’ll bottle it and won’t touch it until my birthday. I think it’ll be pretty good around March 19th. I’m mainly a tequila drinker so this is interesting territory for me.

I will say I was surprised when the hops smelled like dank buds... apparently the hops and cannabis are relatives... Interesting vegetation all about...
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Secondaries are unnecessary for most beers and can harm the beer instead of helping it.
This was one of the first things I read when I started researching but I don’t know any of the details, the video + forums seemed trustworthy however.

I’m very ok with it because it leaves vessels open for more brews :rock:

I’m pretty satisfied watching the air lock bubble, it’s slowed down a bit but even though I used the standard 6lb malt extract, this beer is only around 4.5% ABV done correctly. I’m not sure I’ve ever even had a beer that low. All I know is, it smells pretty good and not skunky at all, it’s very exciting as a noob. An ancient human tradition!
 

mongoose33

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Welcome to HomeBrewTalk and congratulations on your first brew. Here's a few things to make your brewing more enjoyable and less worrisome.

1. Bottled spring water is pretty sanitary. Don't worry about it.
2. Campden tablets will remove the chlorine and chloramine from your tap water. 1/4 tablet does 5 gallons and it works fast.
3. Your fermenting beer needs to be kept cool as the yeast will give you off flavors if it ferments too warm. Yeast manufacturers have the recommended temperature range listed on their webpage for each yeast. Note that the activity of the yeast will attempt to raise the temperature of the fermenting beer.
4. After 3 to 5 days your beer no longer needs temperature control so you make one batch, put the fermenting beer where it is cool, take it out after 3 to 5 days and put the next one in.
5. Don't be in a hurry to bottle the beer. Giving it time in the fermenter allows more yeast and trub to settle out. My first kits said to bottle at one week. I got 1/4 inch or more gunk in my bottles. Now I leave the beer in the fermenter for 2 to 4 weeks and can barely see the trub in the bottles. Most beers need some time to mature. Part of the time in the fermenter counts toward this time.
6. Most of us would say to not open a bottle too soon but I'll suggest you open one at one week to see how it has progressed. ONLY ONE!!! Leave the rest for another 2 weeks if you can. Your beer will taste better and will have better head formation.
Regarding #4: what I like to do when bubbling slows down is raise the temp; if I'm at 64 degrees I'll ramp it up to 71 and let the yeast clean up after itself.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Regarding #4: what I like to do when bubbling slows down is raise the temp; if I'm at 64 degrees I'll ramp it up to 71 and let the yeast clean up after itself.
how do you maintain your temps? Post brew day it’s been troublesome. Florida is always pretty hot and ambient room temp is 74-75 depending on if I have a few hefty electronics on with exhaust fans. The wet towel method does not seem to go below 68F at its best. It was almost consistently at 70F. It’s at 68 right now since night has cooled here a bit.

Maybe after 5 days I’ll just wrap the bottom up with the wet towel and cover the rest dry. Make the bottom less desirable for the yeast to fall out if there’s a bit of food left floating and slightly raise the average temp up there?

I have a big 37 gallon container I’ve kept it in (hard to see in the picture), can fit two fermenters it seems, plus the small bucket of ice water in between to share, and the bottom of the container has an inch layer of chilled water as well. Doing the job for now.
 

mongoose33

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how do you maintain your temps? Post brew day it’s been troublesome. Florida is always pretty hot and ambient room temp is 74-75 depending on if I have a few hefty electronics on with exhaust fans. The wet towel method does not seem to go below 68F at its best. It was almost consistently at 70F. It’s at 68 right now since night has cooled here a bit.

Maybe after 5 days I’ll just wrap the bottom up with the wet towel and cover the rest dry. Make the bottom less desirable for the yeast to fall out if there’s a bit of food left floating and slightly raise the average temp up there?

I have a big 37 gallon container I’ve kept it in (hard to see in the picture), can fit two fermenters it seems, plus the small bucket of ice water in between to share, and the bottom of the container has an inch layer of chilled water as well. Doing the job for now.
You can try to do that with a swamp cooler (your wet towel approach is similar), but if you want real control over fermentation temps in your area, you need some sort of refrigeration. A refrigerator or freezer (I like refrigerators), a controller like the Inkbird 308, and some sort of heat mat (a fermwrap or seedling mat) will do it.

You can get a large refrigerator which, if you stagger a couple brews, you can use to control ferm temps of two beers.

Attached are a couple pics; I have two refrigerators for ferm temp control, plus a glycol chiller to control temps in my conical fermenter.

But--the refrigerators work very well. You can get them cheap on Craigslist. If you want the tall dorm-style refrigerator, the best time to look is at the end of Spring semester when the college students are leaving and trying to sell their fridges.

fermchamber.jpg fermchamber2a.jpg fermchamber2b.jpg fermchamber2e.jpg fermchambers.jpg minifermchamber.jpg

The Inkbird 308 can be had on Amazon for $35; the Fermwrap heat mat is, IIRC, in the $20s, and the seedling heat mat is about $13.

For me, and most brewers, the biggest leap forward in our brewing was controlling ferm temp.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Second brew is now underway. I have about 50% confidence in this one. The first went too smoothly, I was due for a disaster.

I got to the end to realize I didn’t have a second air lock... I ordered two extras that haven’t arrived yet but for some reason thought I always had two air locks for the two fermenters I have. Turns out I only had one.

I raced to Home Depot in the worst road construction I’ve ever seen in my town to get a 1/2 in ID blow off tube. It took me 10 minutes when I got home to get that thing on. I got so discouraged I almost gave up on the batch.

Other than that is was business as usual.

Two other problems though. The bung doesn’t want to stay in it seems, perhaps too wet, perhaps the blow off tube is pulling on it. I can’t do anything besides tape it down somehow, with the sanitizer, both the bung and inner fermenter are wet. Second, unless my calculation was off, the OG is way too low. This calls for a 1.073 and mine was barely at a 1.062. How much is that going to affect the final product? Be honest, if it’s completely botched tell me. I’m already very disappointed in my own negligence.

Regardless, I’m still quite happy with my first brew’s apparent success. Also, I get to watch this second brew either succeed or fail since it’s in a glass carboy...

let me know about the above! Cheers
 

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You'll be fine. As far as the gravity goes, this was an extract batch, correct? The only real way to miss your gravity is to forget to put something in, to end up with higher volume than the recipe calls for, or for your hydrometer to be off. Either way, that's not a -huge- difference and you'll be fine.

As far as the bung goes, that's common. When it's slippery with starsan it likes to work its way out. As long as its covering the opening it will be fine, and just try to push it back in once it's had a bit of a chance to dry.

For future reference, there's nothing wrong with just using sanitized aluminum foil to cover the carboy opening for at least the first couple of days. Good luck!
 
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KookyBrewsky

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You'll be fine. As far as the gravity goes, this was an extract batch, correct? The only real way to miss your gravity is to forget to put something in, to end up with higher volume than the recipe calls for, or for your hydrometer to be off. Either way, that's not a -huge- difference and you'll be fine.

As far as the bung goes, that's common. When it's slippery with starsan it likes to work its way out. As long as its covering the opening it will be fine, and just try to push it back in once it's had a bit of a chance to dry.

For future reference, there's nothing wrong with just using sanitized aluminum foil to cover the carboy opening for at least the first couple of days. Good luck!
thanks for the info! Lots of bubbling all through the fermenter as well as Krausen pushing its way through the blow off tube, which I have duct taped down... it’s 10 feet of tubing so hopefully the Krausen doesn’t clog it at all. If it doesn’t, it should be a mess free operation. Really nervous about this batch. Crazy how I won’t even know if anything went wrong for at least 5 weeks... ah well, I’ll just have to relax. I’m quite confident the first brew has heavily reduced activity after a lot of fermentation.

here’s my other mess up... I forgot to mention I brewed a 5 gallon extract in a 5 gallon carboy... lol... I need to keep inventory of my gear. Could’ve sworn it was 6.5 gallon which is pretty standard. Oh well... if the blow off tube works, it works. Narrowly avoided disaster last night.

cheers.

Edit : seems I was closer to my OG than I thought. I took the hydro reading a bit earlier last night, probably around 74-78 degrees F... the hydrometer is calibrated at 60 degrees F... even at 72F it requires an additional .002 be added to the reading; I’d assume at 78F+, perhaps even more. Good news!

Now I just have to keep the bung in place, everything sanitized, and not blow up a glass carboy or have a blow off tube erupt...
 
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KookyBrewsky

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DISASTER ARRIVED on my second brew...

Active yeast are way too active. Glass carboy bung popped off and Krausen oozed everywhere. I was there to let the pressure out of the bung which sprayed in every direction but luckily didn’t shoot up towards the ceiling. I had the carboy surrounded so it didn’t make too much of a mess.

Please let me know, is the batch ruined? This second batch was 100% makeshift due to my inventory mishaps and I have paid dearly for it. I brewed in the 5 gallon carboy I thought was 6.5 gallons.

To avoid letting too much of the krausen ooze I used unsanitized scissors to quickly clear out the bung’s inner chamber attached to the tubing. It was all over in 20 seconds but felt like an eternity. Besides infection, what else will losing so much krausen cause? A massive drop in ABV?

I’ve learned my lesson! Gather all materials with a checklist before brewing...

my room smells like a better version of my college room though.

cheers

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lowtones84

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Although it looks nasty, I am about 95% sure that this batch will still be fine. Beer is pretty forgiving, especially since you already clearly have an active fermentation going. Infection is possible because of the scissors, but I would still say unlikely. And you should still have way more than enough active yeast to finish the job of fermentation.

If anything, you probably just lost a bit of volume. Clean it up, relax, and have a commercial beer. Lesson learned, right?
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Although it looks nasty, I am about 95% sure that this batch will still be fine. Beer is pretty forgiving, especially since you already clearly have an active fermentation going. Infection is possible because of the scissors, but I would still say unlikely. And you should still have way more than enough active yeast to finish the job of fermentation.

If anything, you probably just lost a bit of volume. Clean it up, relax, and have a commercial beer. Lesson learned, right?
thanks for the reply. that puppy was bubbling for almost two days straight, like it was getting boiled kind of bubbling, vigorous through the blow off... but it stabilized at 70F... I took the tube out of the sanitizer bucket for a split second and it doesn’t smell skunky... we’ll have to see tomorrow.

this second batch’s process couldn’t have turned out worse, if it turns into drinkable beer I will thank the beer Gods greatly because it was the brew I most looked forward to.

first, I brewed a 5 gallon extract in a 5 gallon carboy thinking it was 6.5 gallons. I thought I had a second airlock but only had one and had to rush to the store to get a blow off tube that I couldn’t get on for 10 minutes. Today, I had a massive krausen overflow that almost shot the bung into the ceiling had I not been there monitoring at that exact moment. The beer volume seems fine, there’s no foam at all coming through the tube now like there was and the blow off tube is bubbling at a rate of 3 bubbles a second or so still... active yeast visible in the carboy... hopefully those remaining yeast are hungry.

I think it might be safe to say, aside from some sort of explosion, this will be one of, if not the worst, brews of my life (perhaps not taste, just, when it rains it pours). Everything went wrong. Then I spent 3 hours cleaning splotches of dried krausen out of crevices I didn’t even know the room had! What a day.
 

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Best way to take gravity readings through a layer of krausen is with a wine thief.

About opening the bucket; for a beginning brewer it's fine. An advanced brewer will most likely have better ways to check gravity - such as through a spigot, or by fermenting in a keg and using a picnic tap. The advanced brewer will also sometimes defer an FG check until packaging time, which s/he is able to predict without said check based on experience.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Best way to take gravity readings through a layer of krausen is with a wine thief.

About opening the bucket; for a beginning brewer it's fine. An advanced brewer will most likely have better ways to check gravity - such as through a spigot, or by fermenting in a keg and using a picnic tap. The advanced brewer will also sometimes defer an FG check until packaging time, which s/he is able to predict without said check based on experience.
I've decided since I am leaving it for about 18-20 days in primary, there's no real reason to check FG until I'm going to bottle. It smelled like a nice beer when the airlock was bubbling away, it has no smell since there's no aroma being bubbled out and fermentation has calmed. I doubt the batch has been ruined or skunked in any way so I don't think checking gravity before my intended bottling day will do me any good. I will check out what you've mentioned for the future.

I actually saw the wine thief on my Fermtech printed ad that came with my auto-siphon, for $10, I might as well snag one.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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First brew will probably turn out best of the three... But, I took the bung out of my second batch (disaster batch) and it actually smelled quite nice! As long as procedure is followed and things are mostly sanitary, save for the worst disasters like debris, dirt, sickness, explosions, etc... I think it's not as concerning as I thought it might be... How the beer turns out that is.

First batch should be great, I'd be surprised if it wasn't. Second batch surprisingly seems alright. Third batch had minor mishaps yet again, not sure how they'll affect that batch but it is what it is. I have one more brew kit left before I try my own recipes in about a half year when all this beer is gone. I'm hoping this fourth one is my golden brew, because it's a guava haze IPA and I love guava...
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Hello everyone,

another question!

Four beers :

  1. Chocolate stout - least troublesome, first beer ever. Have not checked since brew day. This is the only completely solid colored fermenter, I cannot see any aspect of the brew.
  2. Chipotle porter - disastrous, have checked FG and tasted. Slightly alcoholic aroma but actually very good otherwise.
  3. Great Lakes Pale Ale - a few issues that likely will not harm anything, have not checked since brew day.
  4. Guava Haze IPA - besides almost throwing it out due to ignorance, went quite well, have not checked since brew day.
Which of these, if any, would you recommend a secondary fermenter for? I was going to leave all four in primary until brew day, lest someone recommends a specific beer for a specific reason, be it type or disaster level, be transferred to secondary.

Tomorrow is my first bottling session, the chocolate stout which was brewed on February 21st and left in primary this entire time. After 5-7 days at 68-70F I kept it at 72-75F for the remaining time.

hoping it goes well.

Cheers.
 

lowtones84

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No need to secondary any of these really. On bottling day, make sure that you have everything you need at hand, and organized. Think through your workflow. If bottling by yourself, my recommendation is usually to fill 6-10 and then cap them, then go on. Once they're filled, keep them somewhere dark and warm. Sometimes in a plastic tub is good, just in case of a bottle bomb. Though I've never had one in my 10+ years. *Knock on wood*
 
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KookyBrewsky

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No need to secondary any of these really. On bottling day, make sure that you have everything you need at hand, and organized. Think through your workflow. If bottling by yourself, my recommendation is usually to fill 6-10 and then cap them, then go on. Once they're filled, keep them somewhere dark and warm. Sometimes in a plastic tub is good, just in case of a bottle bomb. Though I've never had one in my 10+ years. *Knock on wood*
thanks, I’ve got everything setup already. Good call about keeping them somewhere relatively safe. Once these last two batches are bottled I’ll have my big plastic tub readily available, or I’ll just go buy another for $20 because at some point soon I’ll have 200+ beers... :D
 
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KookyBrewsky

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No need to secondary any of these really. On bottling day, make sure that you have everything you need at hand, and organized. Think through your workflow. If bottling by yourself, my recommendation is usually to fill 6-10 and then cap them, then go on. Once they're filled, keep them somewhere dark and warm. Sometimes in a plastic tub is good, just in case of a bottle bomb. Though I've never had one in my 10+ years. *Knock on wood*
one last question before I bottle. How long do you leave your beers sitting in primary before bottling? I’ve now seen 5+ weeks and it has me second guessing my planned bottling today. I’ve never read over 3 weeks anywhere but here. Usually it’s 2-3 weeks, maybe a week or primary then 3+ weeks for bottle conditioning.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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I leave it in the FV for 3 weeks . I think you resurrected an old thread I responded to .
Yes thank you. Was kind of urgent and I second guessed whether I’d get a response on a dead thread lol. Thank you very much. I’ll leave it in for a little over 3 weeks so I get a chance to cold crash it!
 

RM-MN

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one last question before I bottle. How long do you leave your beers sitting in primary before bottling? I’ve now seen 5+ weeks and it has me second guessing my planned bottling today. I’ve never read over 3 weeks anywhere but here. Usually it’s 2-3 weeks, maybe a week or primary then 3+ weeks for bottle conditioning.
My minimum is 7 days, maximum so far 65. The 65 day one was much better than the 7 day ones. I usually go 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes 4 or a little more depending on what I'm doing.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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First two batches bottled! Both spent roughly 3 weeks in primary. They were done two days apart. The second one was my "disaster" brew, so I decided to bottle the second batch first, as a sort of test-run.

I cold crashed both last night in a makeshift 40-gallon tub freezer using a $20 storage bin from Home Depot. I cut holes in the lid, filled it with ice, and popped the lid nicely over the two fermenters with their tops sticking out, sealing the shoddy cutting with a wet towel. Both beers were nearly crystal-clean.

First batch I brewed was a chocolate stout which I could NOT have done better (beginner's luck). My FG was either on or 0.001 off. It tastes so good. The second batch, chipotle porter has an extreme zip to it from the peppers :D Perfect for the cold nights we don't have in Florida. FG of the chipotle porter was about 0.004 off though, in the direction of extra alcohol...

Cheers everyone and thank you all for the help. This was one of the most enjoyable things I've ever done. Now we just see if I get any bottle bombs or not and enjoy a sweet beverage in three weeks. Two more batches sitting in the tub now. I probably won't brew for a month or two. These two batches made 47 (chipotle) and 49 (chocolate stout) respectively. I'm going to drink that 49th chocolate stout after one week so I can experience how green beer changes over time.
 

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KookyBrewsky

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Yet another SOS...

So my most recent two batches, 3 and 4, are still fermenting away in primary. I will bottle one on March 21 and one on March 27. The problem is, I just noticed one of the air locks was under filled and I have absolutely no idea how long it has been under filled. I use sanitizer in the air locks. I have no idea why this one must’ve experienced more evaporation than my first two batches which had no problems regarding this. I’m worried some air borne disease has now made contact with the batch. Is that a likely scenario?

Sigh.
 

Jag75

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Yet another SOS...

So my most recent two batches, 3 and 4, are still fermenting away in primary. I will bottle one on March 21 and one on March 27. The problem is, I just noticed one of the air locks was under filled and I have absolutely no idea how long it has been under filled. I use sanitizer in the air locks. I have no idea why this one must’ve experienced more evaporation than my first two batches which had no problems regarding this. I’m worried some air borne disease has now made contact with the batch. Is that a likely scenario?

Sigh.
Your probably alright . You still had liquid in there . I've had my airlock under the line before and everything turned out just fine.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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Your probably alright . You still had liquid in there . I've had my airlock under the line before and everything turned out just fine.
Well the thing is sometimes I’d test it by “forcing a bubble”. I’d just press slightly on the lid and it’d make the air lock bubble. This time it didn’t bubble meaning it had no lock :( there’s a huge possibility some air debris/bacteria got in there.
 

lowtones84

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If anything oxidation could be an issue, but I still doubt it. Fill it back up and bottle when you're ready.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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If anything oxidation could be an issue, but I still doubt it. Fill it back up and bottle when you're ready.
Thanks for the reply! I am tasting it as we speak. I had to use an alternative yeast so the flavor profile is already different than the original kit, however it’s not bad! It’s quite refreshing actually, my first pale ale. Color seems a bit off but oh well. FG was 0.0005 or so off target. All in all, not bad! She’ll be ready to bottle on Saturday.
 
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KookyBrewsky

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I just finished up my fifth batch and it went flawlessly, the OG was slightly under but that's fine. I dropped my magnetic stir bar in from my Erlenmeyer flask into the fermenter, minor goof, will try to remember in the future...


One last bit of info I'd like to ask, where should I head from here? Or better yet, where did all of you head from here (5 gallon extract brewing)?

Should I look into 5 gallon all-grain brewing? 10 gallon brewing? A combination of the two? Brew in a bag? I think I'm quite set on purchases for 5 gallon extract brewing, the only immediate thing I can think of is a slightly more robust brew pot, however if I get off my stove the slightly concave bottom won't matter as much. So I think it'll be a propane burner which is future proofed anyway.

Let me know! Cheers.
 

McKnuckle

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All grain brewing (or just brewing, for short ;)) is a must IMHO. In terms of batch size, how much beer do you need to have around? The mantra for nearly all brewers reading books and forums, and buying kits, is 5 gallons. I started with that because it was what everyone talked about. Later, I discovered that having hundreds of bottles of beer laying around - good, bad, and indifferent - was not what I wanted.

So I brew 2.5 gallon batches and package them in 2.5 gallon kegs. Like, the same thing as 5 gallons but half as much! And I enjoy brewing 1 gallon trial batches which I put into 500 mL flip-top bottles. I'm the only drinker in my house and I am a fit guy, so I'm not keen on excess in the alcohol department.

In terms of a system, sky's the limit but you should really fully explore electric brewing, particularly 240V options if you're going to stay with 5 gallons and above. For smaller batches, the 120V mash pipe systems are hard to beat for convenience and price. Propane is loud and hot and needs to be outside.

Then again, simple BIAB rocks, too. I'm a believer in learning technique and honing process vs. accumulating shiny gear. Yes, I have a Speidel Braumeister, which is considered a premium $ all-in-one system, but I also brew on DIY components that I have cobbled together over the years. I'm not impressed with a mountain of stainless steel like some folks seem to be. It's the product, not the tools, that matters.

On another front, from some of your posts, it seems your fermentation procedure and facilities are a bit haphazard. You might consider working on that first. It's really the most important part of making consistently high quality beer, even though it's boring to watch compared to "brew day."
 

lowtones84

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I do "two vessel" BIAB and love it. Look up "partial mash" as well, that's how I made the bridge and it was perfect. I tend to do 2.5-3 gallon batches as well just so I can brew more often/try different styles or modifications to recipes that I like.

I don't agree that the fermentation necessarily looks haphazard, you have the right idea. However, knowing the temperature of the fermenting beer/worst accurately is important. Swamp coolers are great, but if you don't know what the temp truly is, it's not that effective. There are plenty of temperature probes that can go inside the fermenting vessel with a display outside so you know how to judge if you need to add ice bottles to your swamp cooler, etc. Ideally we want a fermentation chamber, but I've been brewing for a decade and only recently got that going. Keep it up!
 
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KookyBrewsky

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T
All grain brewing (or just brewing, for short ;)) is a must IMHO. In terms of batch size, how much beer do you need to have around? The mantra for nearly all brewers reading books and forums, and buying kits, is 5 gallons. I started with that because it was what everyone talked about. Later, I discovered that having hundreds of bottles of beer laying around - good, bad, and indifferent - was not what I wanted.

So I brew 2.5 gallon batches and package them in 2.5 gallon kegs. Like, the same thing as 5 gallons but half as much! And I enjoy brewing 1 gallon trial batches which I put into 500 mL flip-top bottles. I'm the only drinker in my house and I am a fit guy, so I'm not keen on excess in the alcohol department.

In terms of a system, sky's the limit but you should really fully explore electric brewing, particularly 240V options if you're going to stay with 5 gallons and above. For smaller batches, the 120V mash pipe systems are hard to beat for convenience and price. Propane is loud and hot and needs to be outside.

Then again, simple BIAB rocks, too. I'm a believer in learning technique and honing process vs. accumulating shiny gear. Yes, I have a Speidel Braumeister, which is considered a premium $ all-in-one system, but I also brew on DIY components that I have cobbled together over the years. I'm not impressed with a mountain of stainless steel like some folks seem to be. It's the product, not the tools, that matters.

On another front, from some of your posts, it seems your fermentation procedure and facilities are a bit haphazard. You might consider working on that first. It's really the most important part of making consistently high quality beer, even though it's boring to watch compared to "brew day."
That’s true! Right now I have two circles cut out of a 40 gallon storage tub sealed with wet towels. I have a 4 inch layer of cool water on the bottom, ice interchanged as necessary and today’s brew covered in a wet towel. Haphazard doesn’t do that botched job justice! I will let my beers condition, taste them and enjoy the fruits of my labor for now as I assess the future of my brewing. I do plan to give a lot of it away. I’m the only one at my house but my family has many friends that would love free homebrew. I could use impartial feedback as well.

I’d need to look into a fermentation chamber, that has to be my next move. Right now I can cool two batches haphazardly but I’d rather cool one with precision.

It looks like I’m sticking with 5 gallon. If I were to continue on it also looks like BIAB, partial or all-grain. I could care less about the equipment overall, the part I find most enjoyable is the scientific process behind it all. I just got books on yeast and hops. Maybe if I if finish those they’ll take me in directions I hadn’t even planned! Because for right now, the beer seems to be turning out fine (based on gravity readings and tasting right before bottling). I love processes as well as any type of fermentation recipe, hot sauce, kombucha, etc. I love the tastes they provide.

I am in no rush but the feedback has given me enough to think on.
 
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