My first brew day

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bennychico11

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Hi all-
I received a basic starter kit as a Christmas gift. I was so excited to start that I didn't hesitate and went out to purchase a few more things that weren't included in the kit that I knew I would need (ended up spending more than the gift/kit was worth...but I've been planning on brewing for awhile anyway).

The kit used malt extract so after a little bit of reading (and trying to decipher the instructions that were included), I dove in head first this evening. Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly, but this being my first time, I'm not exactly sure how the wort is supposed to look/smell as I'm doing this all. There were only a few things that have me worried about how this first batch is going to turn out:
1) I'm worried about whether or not I cleaned everything thoroughly enough or if I recontaminated some things while brewing.
2) During rehydration of the yeast packet I was told to add a little bit of the wort. Unfortunately I missed the direction that the wort was supposed to be cooled first so I'm wondering if I've killed off my yeast before I even got going. Should I be worried?

I'm betting there might have been some other steps I should be worried about but for the first brew it's been fun. It was a great feeling to watch the 'hopefully' soon-to-be-beer being siphoned into the fermenter.
Looking forward to coming back with more updates!

:mug:
 

FxdGrMind

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I haven't brewed yet, but I do now that Cooking yeast gets killed off if subjected to any temps over 115 deg. They like sugar and temps 65-70 deg, which from what I have read here is similar.

Some of the experts should be able to confirm though. Give it 24-48 hrs ... As from what I've read here it takes a while for the Beer yeast takes a lot longer to replicate.
 

Gonefishing

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First...don't worry. Worrying does nothing but make you go freakin' crazy, so relax. What's done is done... but even if it comes out wrong worrying now does no good.
Why are you worried about cleanliness? Did you use a sanitizer and follow the directions? If so, which one?
Your yeast may indeed be dead, but FxdGrMind's advice is sound...wait and see. If it doesn't start fermenting after 24 hours you need to take a look at it, if nothing's happening repitch. What kind of yeast did your kit have in it?
Welcome to the hobby, and remember, it may be an obsession that'll drive you crazy, but it's fun. It'll even stay that way if you don't spend a lot of time worrying about too much stuff.
 

browntrout

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Hi all-
2) During rehydration of the yeast packet I was told to add a little bit of the wort. Unfortunately I missed the direction that the wort was supposed to be cooled first so I'm wondering if I've killed off my yeast before I even got going. Should I be worried?
:mug:
I'm pretty new to this as well (only on my second batch) but the addiction has set in and I've been reading here excessively while I wait for my first batch to be ready to bottle. Anyway as far as the yeast question i think it depends on how much water the yeast was rehydrated with and how much and how hot the wort added was. A little hot wort might have killed some yeasties but as long as the temp overall didnt get too high i'm sure a fair amount survived. If you dumped a gallon on boiling wort on 100ml of rehydrating yeast well then...i guess you should watch it but will likely need to repitch which is no big deal either. in any case...

DWRHAHB
 

Edcculus

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Congrats on the first brew, and welcome to the obsession!

1. If you are worried about sanitation, it is a good thing. More experienced brewers are more likely to get infections. We are working with older equipment and sometimes get lax. I didn't get my first case of mold until about 3 years in.

2. Are you saying that you added a small amount of hot wort to the re-hydrating yeast? Approximately what temp was the hot wort you added. Do you think it got the yeast very hot? If you only added a small quantity, you are probably fine. If youre worried, just pitch another pack of dry yeast. That way you won't have to post a "is my beer ruined" or "fermentation hasn't started" thread. ;) Not that there is anything wrong with that. We just get a lot of those threads around here.

Also, may I be the first to direct you to Howtobrew.com. This will answer just about any question you might have. It might bring up a few too:D

Good luck!
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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thanks for the responses.

Why are you worried about cleanliness? Did you use a sanitizer and follow the directions? If so, which one?
I didn't see any name on the package but the instructions included with the kit said it was Easy Clean.
I'm just not sure how concerned I should be about cleanliness. Yes, I did as I was supposed to and immersed EVERYTHING in the solution to clean it...but after cleaning, should I operate under "hospital" sanitized conditions? As in, can I touch the outside of the siphon with my hands even though it might touch the beer again when it's placed inside the bucket...or will the bacteria from my hands get on the siphon again and ruin everything? I don't mean to be OCD, I'm just not sure what level of clean is considered...well, clean.


What kind of yeast did your kit have in it?
The instructions told me to ignore the one that came with the John Bull extract and to use the Windsor package that was included. What I did was added 3/4 cup of 95-110 degree water to the yeast and let it sit for 15 minutes. Afterward I added 1 pint of the sweet wort (using water from the almost boiling pot)...but didn't notice that the instructions called for it to be room temperature. But the yeast wasn't pitched for an hour or so as I was boiling and mixing the extract. So I'm sure it was cooled down before pitching, but I didn't know if that pint of hot water would have killed it off before it was.

It's been about 14 hours since I locked the bucket. I haven't seen any bubbles in the air lock. So I guess just give it another 12 hours and see. Then I can just open 'er up and add another yeast packet if it doesn't show any signs of fermenting? Maybe just use the other packet that was included with the John Bull can?
 

Gonefishing

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You might never see bubbles so if you end up opening your fermenter look first to see if you see any activity before repitching. I would think you could certainly use the packet that came with the kit.
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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You might never see bubbles so if you end up opening your fermenter look first to see if you see any activity before repitching. I would think you could certainly use the packet that came with the kit.
thanks, I'll definitely look for activity first before repitching. Should I rehydrate the yeast again or just add it to the top. The instructions that came with that yeast package just says to sprinkle on top of the brew.
-b
 

Gonefishing

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I follow the package directions generally. I think I read somewhere that rehydrating dryed yeast isn't necessary and may actually slow the start of fermentation down.
 

reim0027

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I'm just not sure how concerned I should be about cleanliness. Yes, I did as I was supposed to and immersed EVERYTHING in the solution to clean it...but after cleaning, should I operate under "hospital" sanitized conditions? As in, can I touch the outside of the siphon with my hands even though it might touch the beer again when it's placed inside the bucket...or will the bacteria from my hands get on the siphon again and ruin everything? I don't mean to be OCD, I'm just not sure what level of clean is considered...well, clean.
Here's what I do. I use star-san sanitizer. It is a no rinse solution that sanitizes in 1 minute. I sanitize most of my items in my fermentation bucket. I then drain off the sanitizer solution into another container (with a spigot) for future use.

When I know I am going to need a "touch up" to resanitize something I have touched, I prepare a "wet-wipe". I soak a paper towel with my saved sanitizing solution (wet enough to barely drop). As long as I keep it wet, it won't get contaminated. Then, when I touch something, I wipe it with that paper towel (that has the sanitizing solution). Let that item sit for 1 minute (but not dry) and voila, it is sanitized again.

Since I never know when I will inadvertently touch something that should remain sanitized, I always have this "wet-wipe" prepared. Or, at the very least, I have the jug with the sanitizing solution ready, to make a wet-wipe if needed.
 

Nurmey

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Gonefishing, I think you read that making a starter isn't necessary and can hurt dry yeast.

Hydrating yeast gives you more and healthier yeast. Plain water hydrates and expands the yeast cells gently without having to deal with sugars. Generally the fermentation starts faster with well hydrated yeast.
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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haven't seen any bubbling in the airlock as of 36 hours.
I'll take a look when I get home from work and might repitch if I open it up and see no activity.
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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alrighty, opened up the fermenter (or rather the non-fermenting-bucket) and saw absolutely no activity. I rehydrated and repitched. Also moved it to a little warmer area of the basement. Next to the furnace is a toasty 61-62* which hopefully will be optimal.

Restart the countdown!!
:rockin:
 

Gonefishing

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Gonefishing, I think you read that making a starter isn't necessary and can hurt dry yeast.

Hydrating yeast gives you more and healthier yeast. Plain water hydrates and expands the yeast cells gently without having to deal with sugars. Generally the fermentation starts faster with well hydrated yeast.
Yep, I reckon that's what I read.
 

artyusmc

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WELCOME bennychico

As a newbie who knows next to nothing about this new hobby, two pieces of advice

slow down and read the forums, a few names to check Revvy, EdWort, deathbrewer and anybody else with over a thousand post should help.

Airlock activity doesn't mean non fermentation this i too learned, I'm on my first batch and about to bottle and i'm reading everything on this site I can find. RDWHAHB good luck
 

Gonefishing

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Here's what I do. I use star-san sanitizer. It is a no rinse solution that sanitizes in 1 minute. I sanitize most of my items in my fermentation bucket. I then drain off the sanitizer solution into another container (with a spigot) for future use.

When I know I am going to need a "touch up" to resanitize something I have touched, I prepare a "wet-wipe". I soak a paper towel with my saved sanitizing solution (wet enough to barely drop). As long as I keep it wet, it won't get contaminated. Then, when I touch something, I wipe it with that paper towel (that has the sanitizing solution). Let that item sit for 1 minute (but not dry) and voila, it is sanitized again.

Since I never know when I will inadvertently touch something that should remain sanitized, I always have this "wet-wipe" prepared. Or, at the very least, I have the jug with the sanitizing solution ready, to make a wet-wipe if needed.
One of the best things I've learned from hanging around here is using a spray bottle with Star San... you can re-wet anything with a few quick squirts.
BTW, Star San works when it's wet, and never fear the foam!
 

reim0027

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One of the best things I've learned from hanging around here is using a spray bottle with Star San... you can re-wet anything with a few quick squirts.
BTW, Star San works when it's wet, and never fear the foam!
I have thought of that. But the instructions say not to put it plastic for too long. Do you make a new spray bottle for each batch?
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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WELCOME bennychico

As a newbie who knows next to nothing about this new hobby, two pieces of advice

slow down and read the forums, a few names to check Revvy, EdWort, deathbrewer and anybody else with over a thousand post should help.

Airlock activity doesn't mean non fermentation this i too learned, I'm on my first batch and about to bottle and i'm reading everything on this site I can find. RDWHAHB good luck
thanks for the advice...and the welcome!
I only found this forum just after I made the mistake. Of course, I only joined this forum BECAUSE of the mistake, so maybe it was a blessing in disguise? ;)

I've already been lurking around the begginer's section and have been searching the recipes for my next batch! Of course, I need to get this first one started...but I can dream!

Thanks again for everyone's advice. I'll let you know how things turn out.
Hopefully soon I'll be giving advice to people like myself :)
 

FxdGrMind

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Your surfing this site sounds familiar. =)

I have spent the last few weeks doing same. Finally got it going today.

2 months from now it will be interesting to hear how yours turned out and compare to mine.

Cheers!
 

Gonefishing

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NO, I don't make a new batch every time... I figure the stuff comes in plastic bottle after all.
 
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bennychico11

bennychico11

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about 28 hours and the only activity I've seen with the air lock is one side of the water is higher than the other...does that mean anything? lol, maybe it bubbled a little and the water resettled with more on the other side?

I'm hoping the temperature down in the basement is okay. I'll wait until tomorrow and maybe try and move it upstairs.

I'm trying to be patient!! But I'm just ready to see some sign that everything is movin' along.
 

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DON'T worry about your airlock. Don't even look at the damned thing for another day. If you had clean wort and re-pitched, you'll have no worries. I still remind myself of this after 20 batches. Now I just obsess over the temperature of the fermenter, but you have this locked up in your basement.
 
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bennychico11

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DON'T worry about your airlock. Don't even look at the damned thing for another day. If you had clean wort and re-pitched, you'll have no worries. I still remind myself of this after 20 batches. Now I just obsess over the temperature of the fermenter, but you have this locked up in your basement.
yeah, the temp is lower 60's fluctuating throughout the day/night a few degrees or so. I just see so many websites and even the packages/instructions that came with the kit all vary their suggestions on what temperature you should ferment at.

until tomorrow then!
 
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bennychico11

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okay, I think I have fermentation.
I don't have bubbling but the water level in the airlock was even more uneven when I woke up this morning. So there must be pressure in the bucket building up and pushing water 'almost' out of the airlock.


So I guess this is when I do the happy dance
:ban: :ban: :ban:

thanks again for the help everyone. Now we just wait until I get to bottle!
 

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With mine (I have a 1 piece - 2 globes, S-type) my airlock , it pretty much stayed on the exit side all the time (once it started bubbling) with liquid level at bottom of the interior 'globe', in the little bend at the bottom and liquid filling the globe about 1/3 to 1/2 way. It was fuller and I refilled it (with cooled boild water) a few times but it tended to 'spit' if too much water is in it (as it passes gas). If you are in the same room you'll hear the little 'bloop' sound when it passes gas.
I'm thinking of adding a 2-3" piece of tube to the flared end (maybe) to avoid that. We're talking a couple small droplets here, not a major amount and it all lands on the lid (virtually).
 

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Benny,

I have mine in a bucket with lid and 3 piece vent like the one you are describing.

Something I have noticed as I checked to see if mine was fermenting.

notice the water/liquid level in the valve. Then gently press on the lid you will see the air/gas enter the valve and then bubble. Don't over press it just let one bubble out. Then watch the water level closely. You should see that the inner level is now higher than the outer. then as the gas pressure builds (in only moments) you will see it equalize and then invert!
Bingo Gas pressure building and you have fermentation!
 

reim0027

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Right on. I can't tell you how excited I was when I first saw bubbles on my first brew. Waiting for those bubbles were rough.
 
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bennychico11

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seems to have stopped bubbling for now. Next Friday/Saturday the 9th I plan on giving bottling a shot
:)
 

FxdGrMind

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Sweet!! Congrats. Are you having as hard of time as I am with your first brew... that is keeping my hands off that is?
Have you taken another Hydro reading?
I did on mine, not quite there yet (72 hrs in) but boy did it taste good for "Flat" beer. It will hopefully get a little more "Body" with more time. Then I'll be ecstatic!
Good vibes yours will be just as good!
 
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bennychico11

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Sweet!! Congrats. Are you having as hard of time as I am with your first brew... that is keeping my hands off that is?
Have you taken another Hydro reading?
I did on mine, not quite there yet (72 hrs in) but boy did it taste good for "Flat" beer. It will hopefully get a little more "Body" with more time. Then I'll be ecstatic!
Good vibes yours will be just as good!
I'm having a hard time keeping myself from going downstairs every couple hours to check on the airlock, lol
I actually don't have a hydrometer since one didn't come with the kit. I'm sure once I get more into this hobby I'll go pick one up. But I think for my first brew, I'm just going to follow the directions and find out what happens.
Providing everything is on schedule and I don't open the bucket up to find a huge mass of mold growing...I'll probably take my first sample right before I bottle.

Glad to hear yours is coming along smoothly!
 
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I'm having a hard time keeping myself from going downstairs every couple hours to check on the airlock, lol
I actually don't have a hydrometer since one didn't come with the kit. I'm sure once I get more into this hobby I'll go pick one up. But I think for my first brew, I'm just going to follow the directions and find out what happens.
Providing everything is on schedule and I don't open the bucket up to find a huge mass of mold growing...I'll probably take my first sample right before I bottle.

Glad to hear yours is coming along smoothly!
Definitely get a hydrometer. They are around ten bucks. Also, you might want to wait another week before you bottle. The taste will smooth out after a couple of weeks. If you are enjoying this then get another bucket and brew again. Don't rush to bottle your beer. One big batch of beer aging will have a more consistant flavor and texture than a bunch of smaller aging bottles of beer.

I have only been brewing for the last year and seven months of that were spent in the Persian Gulf. I have brewed 9 batches of beer since Oct 12th. I now have several batches at various stages. I have noticed better and more consistant flavor when I leave the beer age for at least a month. After bottling you will have to wait another 2-3 weeks for bottle conditioning.

This is an exciting hobby. I just brewed a batch today and I also watch the fermentation process carefully. Each batch of new beer is like bringing home a new puppy. You just can't stop playing with it.
 
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If you are enjoying this then get another bucket and brew again. Don't rush to bottle your beer. One big batch of beer aging will have a more consistant flavor and texture than a bunch of smaller aging bottles of beer.
Interesting advice... on Wednesday I ordered another bucket and a couple of better bottles and the necessary hops and extracts for my 2nd batch. First batch is sitting away in the primary happy as can be. It was basically a test run anyways so I could iron out any kinks and start figuring out what works best for me - I also was able to look back and identify mistakes I made along the way. I'm motivated to start another batch and refine my process, but didn't want to rush what is already in the primary. So I decided I was going to need a 2nd primary and secondary.
 
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bennychico11

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Definitely get a hydrometer. They are around ten bucks. Also, you might want to wait another week before you bottle. The taste will smooth out after a couple of weeks. If you are enjoying this then get another bucket and brew again. Don't rush to bottle your beer. One big batch of beer aging will have a more consistant flavor and texture than a bunch of smaller aging bottles of beer.

I have only been brewing for the last year and seven months of that were spent in the Persian Gulf. I have brewed 9 batches of beer since Oct 12th. I now have several batches at various stages. I have noticed better and more consistant flavor when I leave the beer age for at least a month. After bottling you will have to wait another 2-3 weeks for bottle conditioning.

This is an exciting hobby. I just brewed a batch today and I also watch the fermentation process carefully. Each batch of new beer is like bringing home a new puppy. You just can't stop playing with it.
thanks for the advice. My plan was just to bottle at 10 days after I pitched...do you think I should wait longer? I figured since I don't have a secondary right now, I could get a basic beer recipe bottled and then try my first one in 2-3 weeks after that. That way hopefully I'll have a base to tweak from as I make more recipes. Then I can add a secondary and see what difference it adds...or wait an extra week after bottling and see what that difference adds...etc.
 

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thanks for the advice. My plan was just to bottle at 10 days after I pitched...do you think I should wait longer? I figured since I don't have a secondary right now, I could get a basic beer recipe bottled and then try my first one in 2-3 weeks after that. That way hopefully I'll have a base to tweak from as I make more recipes. Then I can add a secondary and see what difference it adds...or wait an extra week after bottling and see what that difference adds...etc.
I would not bottle at 10 days without an hydrometer. How will you know if it's finished? It SHOULD be but I've had many beers that took longer than I thought to finish. I would wait a least 2 or 3 weeks OR just get an hydrometer and know for sure.
 
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bennychico11

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I would not bottle at 10 days without an hydrometer. How will you know if it's finished? It SHOULD be but I've had many beers that took longer than I thought to finish. I would wait a least 2 or 3 weeks OR just get an hydrometer and know for sure.
is there a chart or something that shows what a hydro should read for my beer? The instructions that came with my kit never said anything about a reading and just told me to give it 10-14 days (the LME instructions says 4-8 days).

what if I racked to the bottling bucket at 10 days and used it as a secondary. Then let it sit for a week before I bottled?
 
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bennychico11

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is there a chart or something that shows what a hydro should read for my beer? The instructions that came with my kit never said anything about a reading and just told me to give it 10-14 days (the LME instructions says 4-8 days).

what if I racked to the bottling bucket at 10 days and used it as a secondary. Then let it sit for a week before I bottled?
bump.............
 

FxdGrMind

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From my "Miniscule" knowledge of yeast.

There are variables that are too numerous to be able to generate a chart that would be anywhere close to "reliable" as a Gravity ready by day/time from pitch.

But a Hydrometer and graduated container (tube) shouldn't be more than 15 bucks from your LHBS if you have one convenient.
 
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is there a chart or something that shows what a hydro should read for my beer? The instructions that came with my kit never said anything about a reading and just told me to give it 10-14 days (the LME instructions says 4-8 days).

what if I racked to the bottling bucket at 10 days and used it as a secondary. Then let it sit for a week before I bottled?
Nurmey gave you good advice. If you do not know that your fermentation is complete you could end up with what is known as "Bottle Bombs". Get a hydrometer and I would wait at least 2 weeks in the primary.

Using a secondary reall is not necessary as long as you do not leave the beer in the primary longer than 5-6 weeks. So leave the beer in the primary for at least two weeks. Bottle and wait at least two weeks. Once you find out what beer you like you can ensure that you have a never ending supply by making batches on a consumption schedule and making sure that they are aged properly. Aging is based on type of beer and alcohol content. I make a Pale Ale that is 5% ABV I keep it in the primary for 3 weeks and then keg condition for 2 more weeks. I also make an IPA that is 6% ABV that stays in the priamry for 4 weeks and keg conditions for 2 weeks. I make about 3 batches per month. 2 batches of the Pale Ale and 1 of the IPA.

Welcome to the obsession!:mug:
 
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Interesting advice... on Wednesday I ordered another bucket and a couple of better bottles and the necessary hops and extracts for my 2nd batch. First batch is sitting away in the primary happy as can be. It was basically a test run anyways so I could iron out any kinks and start figuring out what works best for me - I also was able to look back and identify mistakes I made along the way. I'm motivated to start another batch and refine my process, but didn't want to rush what is already in the primary. So I decided I was going to need a 2nd primary and secondary.
That is pretty much how it happened for me. I know have 4 primaries and 3 secondaries. I only use the secondaries for dry hopping. I really got heavy into brewing in October. Since October 12 I have brewed 12 times. Two weeks of bad weather slowed me down.
 
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