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Need some help with first brew...

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kbelky

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Forewarning... I am BRAND NEW to brewing. I thought I was well read on the subject until I went to the HBS. I thought I was buying an ingredient kit (hops, yeast, etc.). What I inadvertently bought was a Muntons Old Ale Kit. The instructions for this kit say to pour the contents of the can into the fermenter, then add 1 can worth of boiling water, then 4 additional cans of cold water... stir well, then add the yeast... and cover. For starters, I thought these kits made 5 gallons of brew. Turns out this only makes about 1.7 gallons. A little disappointment there!!

Anyway, my instructional booklet said to boil the hops, etc. This kit evidently does all that work for you, to the point you are ready to throw your mix into the fermenter. For further confusion, it says, when transferring to bottles, to NOT ADD PRIMING SUGAR, as fermentation will continue gently which will condition the beer. This really confuses me because, so far, EVERYTHING I have read says you have to add priming sugar to 'create' the alcohol and carbonation. ??

I actually have two questions:

1) I bought a pound package of Spray Malt Extract. I put this in, along with the 5 cans of water, into the fermenter. Did I do that at the right time?? I forgot to ask the owner of the HBS when to add that.

2) Living in Texas, I am having trouble getting the wort temp down to between 65 - 70 degrees. I think it has been sitting at about 80 degrees for 23 hours now. I have just placed the fermenter in a very large plastic pale and filled the pale to the one gallon mark with water, then continued to the 2 gallon mark with ice. It is cooling down now, but, do you think the beer is ruined since it has been sitting at 80 degrees for so long?

The air lock is not showing any action; but, I (unwillingly) pulled the top off the fermenter and there was a lot of 'junk' on the top of the wort; so, I'm assuming I just need to be patient with the air lock 'show'.

I know it is against all that is good to repeat questions in these forums... I hope I have not done that (couldn't find any of these types of questions in the search function). I appreciate any help... and look forward to spending a LOT of time on this forum! :)
 

Kephren

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kbelky said:
I actually have two questions:

1) I bought a pound package of Spray Malt Extract. I put this in, along with the 5 cans of water, into the fermenter. Did I do that at the right time?? I forgot to ask the owner of the HBS when to add that.
That should have been boiled. No biggie.. it will still be beer

kbelky said:
2) Living in Texas, I am having trouble getting the wort temp down to between 65 - 70 degrees. I think it has been sitting at about 80 degrees for 23 hours now. I have just placed the fermenter in a very large plastic pale and filled the pale to the one gallon mark with water, then continued to the 2 gallon mark with ice. It is cooling down now, but, do you think the beer is ruined since it has been sitting at 80 degrees for so long?

The air lock is not showing any action; but, I (unwillingly) pulled the top off the fermenter and there was a lot of 'junk' on the top of the wort; so, I'm assuming I just need to be patient with the air lock 'show'.
If you have 'junk' you have fermentation. Your lid is loose or leaking air or something. Tighten it up and the airlock will bubble

kbelky said:
I know it is against all that is good to repeat questions in these forums... I hope I have not done that (couldn't find any of these types of questions in the search function). I appreciate any help... and look forward to spending a LOT of time on this forum! :)
Personally, I don't mind the repeated questions. Even the "is my beer ruined" questions. Next time, though, talk to your HBS guy. A 'kit' that you want will most likely come in a clear plastic bag with malt extract, yeast, hops and bottling sugar. It will make 5 gallons. Welcome to the forum!
 

Dark_Ale

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kbelky said:
Forewarning... I am BRAND NEW to brewing. I thought I was well read on the subject until I went to the HBS. I thought I was buying an ingredient kit (hops, yeast, etc.). What I inadvertently bought was a Muntons Old Ale Kit. The instructions for this kit say to pour the contents of the can into the fermenter, then add 1 can worth of boiling water, then 4 additional cans of cold water... stir well, then add the yeast... and cover. For starters, I thought these kits made 5 gallons of brew. Turns out this only makes about 1.7 gallons. A little disappointment there!!

Anyway, my instructional booklet said to boil the hops, etc. This kit evidently does all that work for you, to the point you are ready to throw your mix into the fermenter. For further confusion, it says, when transferring to bottles, to NOT ADD PRIMING SUGAR, as fermentation will continue gently which will condition the beer. This really confuses me because, so far, EVERYTHING I have read says you have to add priming sugar to 'create' the alcohol and carbonation. ??

I actually have two questions:

1) I bought a pound package of Spray Malt Extract. I put this in, along with the 5 cans of water, into the fermenter. Did I do that at the right time?? I forgot to ask the owner of the HBS when to add that.

2) Living in Texas, I am having trouble getting the wort temp down to between 65 - 70 degrees. I think it has been sitting at about 80 degrees for 23 hours now. I have just placed the fermenter in a very large plastic pale and filled the pale to the one gallon mark with water, then continued to the 2 gallon mark with ice. It is cooling down now, but, do you think the beer is ruined since it has been sitting at 80 degrees for so long?

The air lock is not showing any action; but, I (unwillingly) pulled the top off the fermenter and there was a lot of 'junk' on the top of the wort; so, I'm assuming I just need to be patient with the air lock 'show'.

I know it is against all that is good to repeat questions in these forums... I hope I have not done that (couldn't find any of these types of questions in the search function). I appreciate any help... and look forward to spending a LOT of time on this forum! :)
Sometimes beers just finish fast. I always use a hydrometer but you will find that some in the forum dont and there are many threads on that subject..LOL. If I have a beer that finishes fast I compare my OG reading with the present reading in the fermenter. You can always tell I think my last went from 1.060 to 1.020 over night. I live in TX also and I made a beer a dark ale with an original gravity of 1.085. My temp must have got too hot because it had a real sweet bananna smell and after reading I found that fermenting to hot can cause this. Also I have found that my higher gravity beers take longer so I guess its more critical for (stronger beers ) that you keep it cool. Right now I keep my ac at the house set on 68F. My carboy stays about 68 to 70. The inside air gets hotter during the day but its not enough to warm the beer up in the carboy. Dont worry about asking same questions that what this place is for. As far as the airlock show goes it may have finished over night while you were dreaming about your next batch.
 

andre the giant

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As was mentioned above, the beer should not be ruined by brewing at 80 degrees. At the worst, you can expect some of those banana or clove like flavors in your beer. That's not a deal breaker in my book.

Try not to open the fermenter. (I know that's difficult because we, as humans, are curious creatures.) First, make sure the lid is snapped on securely. My lid takes quite a bit of effort to snap it on. Push down hard on the edges of the lid and see if it doesn't snap into place more securely. Second, make sure that the airlock is pushed into the grommet pretty well. It should be a snug fit. Dab a bit of dish soap around the grommet that the airlock sticks through and see if bubbles don't appear in a minute or so. If you get bubbles there, your grommet/airlock is leaking. This is not a big deal. Fermentation gives off CO2. That builds up inside the fermenter and pretty much pushes against any bad stuff trying to get in.

If possible, move the fermenter to the coolest part of the house. Right in front of an air conditioner vent is good. Avoid direct sunlight though.

Let the beer brew for at least 10 days. You don't want to bottle it too soon or you will get exploding bottles. Also, don't overdo it on priming sugar. More is not better.

Good luck. Everything will turn out just fine. Don't worry about it.
 
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