My first brew day!

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

JoeSTL

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2016
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
Location
Saint Louis
I would say my first brew day went well. I did the Caribou Slobber extract kit from Northern Brewer. I have a small kitchen, and it's the only sink in the house I can use, so I was a little concerned about space in the beginning. I ended out doing my sanitation stuff early, so I wouldn't have to worry about it in the end. I'm so glad I bout the tall 8 gallon kettle from NB. I guarantee I would have had a boil over with just the 5 gallon. The 'hot break' happened about 3 inches from the top. I had no idea the wort would grow that much!

I also learned that I definitely should do this outside. My kitchen has no ventilation besides a ceiling fan and windows...lol. By mid boil most of my windows were fogged up and my entire house still smells like brew day. It isn't too bad, but still should get a burner and do this outside. Plus it took forever to bring everything to a boil.

I do have some questions though. How much stirring should I be doing? I stirred a lot when mixing the extract and the DME but sparingly when I added the hops.

When adding the hops, do you use a strain bag or dump them directly in there? I didn't have a spare bag so mine went straight in.

I also definitely need a screen when pouring the wort into the carboy. I didn't realize it until it was too late, but I poured some of the bottom sludge into the carboy. I'm hoping this will settle early and not effect the batch too much. Or will it?

When I was shaking the wort in the carboy to aerate it, it created lots of foam. Should I wait until it settles when I add the yeast or just pour it in right after aeration? I was using the dry yeast that came with the kit, but might try a yeast starter next time. This time I just poured it in on top of the foam.

Once I got everything finished, I'm having a hard time keep the top on the big mouth bubbler to stay in place. It keeps popping out. I don't know if this was because of the slipperiness of the star san, but even hours later I noticed the top was almost completely off. Anything I can do to eliminate this?

Overall it was a fun day. I hope I didn't make any major mistakes, and I'm looking forward to see how it turns out. Thanks in advance for any answers to my questions!
 
OP
J

JoeSTL

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2016
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
Location
Saint Louis
Another question. What is the ideal ambient temperature to store the carboy when fermenting? My basement is around 65 or so year round. Is that okay or do I need it warmer?
 

eadavis80

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
1,933
Reaction score
259
I enjoy brewing outside more too. Look for good deals on burners from NB or Adventures in Homebrewing. A lot of time they'll run promos where if you spend $100 or so you'll get a free Dark Star Burner, which is a fine burner for 5-gallon batches. I've had mine for years without issues.

It's important to stir when adding the LME to avoid scorching the bottom of the kettle. I always turn off my heat (or put it on very low) when adding extracts to avoid scorching and lessen the chance of boil overs.

I never use hop bags. I just throw them in - whether I'm using hop pellets or leaf hops.

I strain myself when pouring into the fermenter, but don't worry about sludge getting into yours. It will settle out after fermentation. Just be careful to avoid transferring when you rack/bottle.

Sprinkling your dry yeast on top of the foam is fine. However, best practice for dry yeast is to rehydrate it prior to pitching your yeast, but you'll be fine. Check out this video for the procedure: [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL92Bd4kfbQ[/ame]

I have read of others having the same issues with that. Maybe dry off the stopper first? Not sure. I have buckets and a Big Mouth Bubbler so that's not an issue for me.

65 is fine - don't let it go any warmer. During fermentation, the yeast will heat up and your actual fermentation can be 3-10 degrees warmer than your ambient temp. in general, cooler fermentations are more preferred unless you're looking for a lot of esters, but that's not the focus of fermenting with the Windsor Ale yeast.

Welcome to the hobby. C. Slobber is a solid brew. I bet you'll be really happy by Valentine's Day when it's ready!
 

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,671
Reaction score
5,509
Location
Solway
Hops are added while the wort is boiling. That's all the stirring they need.
Most of the time you would be boiling off a gallon of water. That's a lot to add to your house so if you don't have a range hood that vents to the outside, brewing outside is your only choice. That much water in your house can do some damage.
I don't strain anything out when I dump the wort into teh fermenter. It looks terrible. It settles out when the fermentation is done and I get clear beer.
There are lots of ways to deal with the stopper coming off. Dry the stopper. Use a piece of Saran wrap held on with a rubber band with just a small hole poked in it, stopper left wet and just set on top, leave it off until the ferment slows. It really isn't critical that you have a stopper at all. It mostly keeps bugs from flying in.
Your basement temp is fine but the fermentation wants to warm the beer so keeping it at that temp is difficult. Setting your carboy (I'd prefer you use a bucket for safety reasons) into a tub of water will help keep the beer cool.
 

ericms86

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2013
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Milford
I have the big mouth bubblers and have had the same issue with the lid not seating and popping out. I read on here somewhere where someone suggested installing the silicone seal on the lid upside down and then seating the lid. I have had much success in keeping the lids seated this way. Worth a shot. :mug:
 

BrettCo124

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
117
Reaction score
22
I'm really, really new to this, but I ran in to the same problem with my stopper. I removed it, completely dried it off and also dried off the hole where the stopper goes in (even underneath of the hole). It stays perfectly once I did that.
 
OP
J

JoeSTL

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2016
Messages
44
Reaction score
7
Location
Saint Louis
Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try the yeast starter next time and will be looking for a burner to cook outside. After 24 hours the lid on the bubbler is firm in place and the airlock is hard at work!
 

Brownalemikie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
735
Reaction score
209
Location
Spring Hill
Yum, Caribou Slobber....I've brewed 26 batches of it and one batch of White House Honey Ale. Slobber is the best brown ale I've had to date and I've tried many Browns.

Not sure if you plan on bottling or kegging, but if bottling throw away the fizz drops and buy Domino Sugar Cubes (198 count). The cubes work faster and better. One cube per bottle and you're good to go. Or you can mix sugar in your bottling vessel, but avoid the fizz drops. JMO
 

violinguy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
239
Reaction score
92
Location
Atlanta
Yum, Caribou Slobber....I've brewed 26 batches of it and one batch of White House Honey Ale. Slobber is the best brown ale I've had to date and I've tried many Browns.

Not sure if you plan on bottling or kegging, but if bottling throw away the fizz drops and buy Domino Sugar Cubes (198 count). The cubes work faster and better. One cube per bottle and you're good to go. Or you can mix sugar in your bottling vessel, but avoid the fizz drops. JMO
Yep. My last NB kit (brewed Festivus Miracle) was flat as a pancake. This is the first I've read about the sugar cubes - a great idea!

And to add, I brewed Caribou Slobber as my second ever brew and it was excellent. NB's kits are all pretty good.
 

Brownalemikie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2016
Messages
735
Reaction score
209
Location
Spring Hill
Yep. My last NB kit (brewed Festivus Miracle) was flat as a pancake. This is the first I've read about the sugar cubes - a great idea!

And to add, I brewed Caribou Slobber as my second ever brew and it was excellent. NB's kits are all pretty good.
And now I just buy ingredients, no more kits so sugar cubes cost much less than fizz drops too.

Btw, the cubes weren't my idea, I think Flars told me about them. They work great....head retention is also much better.
 

Abrayton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
1,110
Reaction score
1,721
Location
Eau Claire
You didn't mention if you had a wort chiller. If you don't have one put it 1st on your must have list! It pains me to reminisce about the batches I brewed without one!
 
Top