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My First 2 Brews, Need a Little Advice

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chemist308

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Well, I just started home brewing a week and a half ago. My first beer: an outmeal stout (extract with a bunch of specialty grain steeping). My second beer was a canned kit (Mutons IPA). Probably did this one a bit back a$$wards as you'd think I'd have done the canned kit first... Wow do I wish I'd found this place first!

Anyway I racked my my stout to a secondary fermenter after one week of brewing and it actually seemed like it might turn out (gravity of 1.027 and tasted like a young beer probably should...). It's been in the secondary fermenter for four days. My canned kit IPA has also been in the primary fermenter for four days. Here are my questions:

* Would it be normal for me to have an inch or so of sediment at the bottom of my secondary fermenter with the Stout at only 4 days?

* How long should I leave the stout in the secondary fermenter before bottling?

* Could the IPA benefit from time in a secondary fermenter, and at what point might I rack it?

* Can I use a water cooler bottle as a secondary fermenter (assuming I sanitize the thing)?
 

Gammon N Beer

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chemist308 said:
Well, I just started home brewing a week and a half ago. My first beer: an outmeal stout (extract with a bunch of specialty grain steeping). My second beer was a canned kit (Mutons IPA). Probably did this one a bit back a$$wards as you'd think I'd have done the canned kit first... Wow do I wish I'd found this place first!

Anyway I racked my my stout to a secondary fermenter after one week of brewing and it actually seemed like it might turn out (gravity of 1.027 and tasted like a young beer probably should...). It's been in the secondary fermenter for four days. My canned kit IPA has also been in the primary fermenter for four days. Here are my questions:

* Would it be normal for me to have an inch or so of sediment at the bottom of my secondary fermenter with the Stout at only 4 days?

* How long should I leave the stout in the secondary fermenter before bottling?

* Could the IPA benefit from time in a secondary fermenter, and at what point might I rack it?

* Can I use a water cooler bottle as a secondary fermenter (assuming I sanitize the thing)?

- Yes, it is normal to have trub in the secondary.

- You may leave it there for weeks on end. I generally go at least two.

-Some will say a secondary is not needed. Others, myself included like secondary to clear the beer. You rack only after you get two hydometer readings on separate days each reading the same level.

-I imagine you can use a water cooler bottle.

good luck and it sounds like you are making good beer and enjoying it.
 

Nurmey

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chemist308 said:
* Would it be normal for me to have an inch or so of sediment at the bottom of my secondary fermenter with the Stout at only 4 days?
There would be an inch or so of sediment because you moved it rather quickly from the fermenter. There was still a lot of yeast and such floating in it when you moved it and now it's settling out. I think you could have gone down a few point on your hydrometer before you moved it too.

chemist308 said:
* How long should I leave the stout in the secondary fermenter before bottling?
Leave the stout in the secondary for at least two weeks. Three would hurt either. It is not only clearing but developing it's flavor with bulk conditioning.

chemist308 said:
* Could the IPA benefit from time in a secondary fermenter, and at what point might I rack it?
I put everything in a secondary but that is a personal choice. If you decide not to secondary your IPA, leave it in the primary for three weeks. (Obviously, check that you have hit your FG before bottling.)

chemist308 said:
* Can I use a water cooler bottle as a secondary fermenter (assuming I sanitize the thing)?
I'm not sure I want to touch this one but here goes. Water cooler bottles are oxygen permeable and not great for use with beer. There are some that claim they've used them successfully. I would not take a chance with my beer in one.
 

BrianP

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There are numerous threads about the use of water cooler bottles. The search function can point you the way, and it's generally a good idea to use search since most questions have been asked/answered many many times.

However to save you the work, some people say the water cooler bottles are bad because the plastic used is permeable to air, allowing the potential for oxidation which results in off-flavors (unlike a glass carboy or better bottle which are not permeable).

Others say they use water cooler bottles all the time and have no problems with them.

Personally, I use a 5 gallon better bottle. They're not that expensive, they're safer than glass, and they clean up nicely with oxyclean and hot tap water.

Good luck with your brewing.
 
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chemist308

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Nurmey said:
...Water cooler bottles are oxygen permeable and not great for use with beer...
I didn't think of that; good catch. You're probably right about not taking the chance with them. I'll get another glass one.
 
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