First time with beer/extract. Couple questions

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GratefulBear

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Greetings Beer Side of this forum. I've been cidermaking for the past two years and I'm getting ready to brew my first beer using a Brewer's Best Pale Ale kit (5 gal). The kit instructs me to do a "rolling boil" (for adding/steeping extract, hops, etc) but doesn't recommend a specific temperature. What temperature should I shoot for? Also, it has me adding cool water to the fermenter (I'm definitely going to need to do this because my brew kettle is only 4 gallons). Should that cool water be sanitized first? Should I boil it for a certain amount of time the day prior and then let it cool? Lastly, I have a few extract kits on standby (AIH Jerrylo Saison and NB Smashing Pumpkin), should I store the malt extract in the fridge for longer shelf life? Thanks guys! Looking forward to joining you beer brewers (cider will always be my first and greatest love) ;)
 

PberBob

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Your boil temperature will be pretty much the same for everything above a simmer. It’s more about turnover rate, which you want to be pretty fast. Yes, you want to sanitize the cool water that goes into your fermentor. Boil for a few minutes and cool in the sink, covered. If you use tap water, be sure to use Campden tablets to kill the chlorine. Better, use RO water.

Good luck!
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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The kit instructs me to do a "rolling boil" (for adding/steeping extract, hops, etc) but doesn't recommend a specific temperature.
Boiling Wort Visual Reference (link). I find that Level 1 works well.

should I store the malt extract in the fridge for longer shelf life?
Liquid extract in the fridge, dry extract in a cool dry place (not the fridge), crushed grains in a cool dry place (not the fridge), hops in the fridge (short term) or freezer (longer term), yeast in the fridge.

To make good beer, you need to understand the quality of your source water. Remove chlorine / chloramines. With extract-based recipes, the source water should to be low in minerals.

anything else?
Avoid both secondary fermentation and howtobrew.com.

Consider getting a copy of How to Brew, 4e.
 

davidabcd

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I pop a couple gallons of spring water in the freezer and get them just above freezing or so that a bit of ice is formed so I can top off to five gallons. With the 2.5 gallons starting water and the 6.6#s of LME, two gallons might be enough. You could put a third gallon in the fridge. I've never bothered boiling those gallons of mineral water.
Ice bath the pot in the sink if you don't have a wort chiller. Ice baths are a pain and the reason I did make a wort chiller.
 
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GratefulBear

GratefulBear

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Thanks, guys! I heard a few things that I hadn't heard before in your comments.

It’s more about turnover rate, which you want to be pretty fast.
What's "turnover rate"? Searches here and google didn't reveal much..

Avoid both secondary fermentation and howtobrew.com.
Why do you recommend avoiding secondary fermentation?

I pop a couple gallons of spring water in the freezer and get them just above freezing or so that a bit of ice is formed so I can top off to five gallons.
Is this to aid in cooling the wort? Seems like a good idea instead of putting as much effort into cooling the wort with ice bath etc., why not just add cold water directly to the wort (if you're going to need to add water anyways)? Better yet, why not just add ice cubes to the wort? Is there any downside from cooling it too fast?
 

davidabcd

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Is this to aid in cooling the wort? Seems like a good idea instead of putting as much effort into cooling the wort with ice bath etc., why not just add cold water directly to the wort (if you're going to need to add water anyways)? Better yet, why not just add ice cubes to the wort? Is there any downside from cooling it too fast?
Yes, to aid in cooling.
You can add clean, cold water and/or ice to bring the temperature down but doing that isn't as completely effective as it sounds, meaning you'll still need to chill the hot wort first with some method.
I don't know of any downside to cooling quickly. In the winter, when the ground water is cold, I can get the temp down on just-boiled wort to 75°F in about ten minutes with a wort chiller.
 
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GratefulBear

GratefulBear

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Yes, to aid in cooling.
You can add clean, cold water and/or ice to bring the temperature down but doing that isn't as completely effective as it sounds, meaning you'll still need to chill the hot wort first with some method.
I don't know of any downside to cooling quickly. In the winter, when the ground water is cold, I can get the temp down on just-boiled wort to 75°F in about ten minutes with a wort chiller.
Cool, thank you
 

D.B.Moody

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The reason you're told to avoid secondaries is that it is considered unnecessary and the transfer exposes your beer to oxygen. The result is oxidation. I have been exploring whether not doing a secondary will improve my beers. The following pictures are of two comparison I've done:
278279.png
280281.png

These two pictures each compare two batches of beer whose only difference is that one was put through a secondary and one was not. In both pictures you can see that the beer on the left is darker than the beer on the right. This is a visible sign of the oxidation introduced by transfer to a secondary. I'm out of step with standard advice in that I seem to like the results of the oxidation, but I'm not trying to brew yellow lagers. I fell in love with hand-pulled, cask conditioned bitters some decades ago and have been brewing so long using a secondary that that's apparently what I prefer.:)
 
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GratefulBear

GratefulBear

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The reason you're told to avoid secondaries is that it is considered unnecessary and the transfer exposes your beer to oxygen. The result is oxidation. I have been exploring whether not doing a secondary will improve my beers. The following pictures are of two comparison I've done:
View attachment 737325 View attachment 737327
These two pictures each compare two batches of beer whose only difference is that one was put through a secondary and one was not. In both pictures you can see that the beer on the left is darker than the beer on the right. This is a visible sign of the oxidation introduced by transfer to a secondary. I'm out of step with standard advice in that I seem to like the results of the oxidation, but I'm not trying to brew yellow lagers. I fell in love with hand-pulled, cask conditioned bitters some decades ago and have been brewing so long using a secondary that that's apparently what I prefer.:)
Interesting. Good to see some different opinions and the thought process. Luckily, I ferment in kegs and do closed transfers. However, no secondary means I might be able to drink it earlier :) I've definitely been know to skip secondary with my cider if the keezer is empty. I recently figured out that my cider may be ending up on the acidic-tasting side when I do that, because I didn't give MLF a chance to take place. I don't think that is an issue with beer, though. I also use a floating dip tube. Therefore, once it goes in the keezer and starts crashing, I'll only be getting the clearest portion with every pour. I think I might have to try a split batch at some point too and see if I (or anyone else) can taste the difference with secondary vs no secondary.
 
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GratefulBear

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You are correct, the link is broke. Try this link: Ask the Experts: John Palmer
Thanks for the link! That is very interesting what he's saying about autolysis not being an issue anymore and about how beer can clarify enough in the primary fermenter. In the cider/wine world racking has added importance because of trying to end up with a stable product with residual sugar and avoiding the increased risk of bottle bombs. Clarity is also traditionally more important with cider/wine. I'm totally on board with not doing secondary. Less work and more drinking 😁
 

MB331

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Thanks, guys! I heard a few things that I hadn't heard before in your comments.


What's "turnover rate"? Searches here and google didn't reveal much..


Why do you recommend avoiding secondary fermentation?


Is this to aid in cooling the wort? Seems like a good idea instead of putting as much effort into cooling the wort with ice bath etc., why not just add cold water directly to the wort (if you're going to need to add water anyways)? Better yet, why not just add ice cubes to the wort? Is there any downside from cooling it too fast?
Don't use store bought ice. I pour two gallons of bottled water in 2 Rubber Maid containers that have been sanitized with StarSan . I then put it in the freezer 2 days prior to brew day. Haven't had an infection yet which is a concern when using ice.
 
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GratefulBear

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Just to follow up on the "no secondary" advice, how does that affect the bottle bomb propensity of the beer? I'm really not sure how common bottle bombs are with beer (but they're always on my mind with cider). I will be carbonating in kegs (not doing bottle conditioning). Does most of the risk come from bottle conditioning or do infections/re-fermentations happen often with beer too?
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I will be carbonating in kegs (not doing bottle conditioning).
OK. So I can go light on the process details (see below).

how does that affect the bottle bomb propensity of the beer? I'm really not sure how common bottle bombs are with beer
Assuming one is willing to trust time proven processes, for example
  1. proper monitoring of fermentation (e.g. knowing that the fermentation has finished with a stable FG), and
  2. good bottling practices (verify bottles are in good condition, proper amount of priming sugar, ...)
there is little/no reason to be concerned about bottle bombs.
 
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GratefulBear

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OK. So I can go light on the process details (see below).


Assuming one is willing to trust time proven processes, for example
  1. proper monitoring of fermentation (e.g. knowing that the fermentation has finished with a stable FG), and
  2. good bottling practices (verify bottles are in good condition, proper amount of priming sugar, ...)
there is little/no reason to be concerned about bottle bombs.
Nice, that's a little bit of a relief. I don't love sharing cider with friends/family in glass bottles but it'd be great to be able to use bottles for beer
 
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