Northern Brewer small batch American Wheat Instructions Unclear

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abweatherley

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Hi all

Will be brewing Northern Brewers American Wheat 1 gallon extract kit tomorrow.

I looked at the instructions for the kit and they're not very clear on some of the instructions

Firstly they don't give an OG or FG for the kit.

I entered the recipe into brew father and I get an OG of 1.046 and an FG of 1.009. For 1lb of wheat DME in a gallon of wort I think this about right.

Secondly the instructions for the second hop addition are not clear either.

It says "45 minutes after the first hop addition, the
45 minute boil ends—turn off the burner and
add the second and final hop addition"

And then in the next step it says cool and wort and prepare to fill fermenter.

So do I just leave the hops in the wort whilst its cooling or do I keep the wort hot for 15 minutes and let the aroma hops do their thing and then cool it? I Use a stainless steel hop basket for my hop additions as I have clogged a bottling wand with hop matter and try to keep hop particles out of the fermenting wort.

I have attached the instructions.

I feel like they need to be updated.
 

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I think they're trying to make things as easy as possible, hence the lack of detail. There would be a few ways to brew it and likely make a decent enough beer.

Honestly with the questions you're asking, it sounds like you're ready to make your own decisions... And yeah I am guessing they figure it'll take 15 minutes to cool down, at which point he boil hops have sort of been there an hour and the flame-out hops for 15 minutes. Not exactly of course, since it's cooling not boiling, but sort of like that. A sink ice bath won't be super fast compared to say an immersion chiller, and they probably don't expect the brewers of this kit to own one.

Do what you think sounds good and keep a record for next time to see if you want to make any changes. You won't go wrong with any of the variations you are wondering about.
 
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abweatherley

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I have an immersion chiller, no idea how I am going to hook it up with my current setup so the ice bath might be my only option.

Thanks for your help
 

hotbeer

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IMO you are probably better off not worrying about what the recipe OG and FG should be. As a beginner if you miss them you might then be chasing fixes for that batch that will instead just ruin it. It'll be beer, probably decent beer without you knowing them.

The only big thing you really need to know is when it achieves it's actual OG and that will only be by getting two of the same SG readings several days apart. 3 days being the norm. And that isn't entirely necessary if you are patient and just wait 4 to 7 days more than the ferment period in the recipe and there is absolutely nothing going on in the fermenter and it otherwise looks dead.

Knowing the OG and FG values ahead of time for a recipe is more about making sure your beer is closer to what the recipe intended your beer to be. When you miss them, figure out what might make the next batch come out to those values and just accept what the current batch gives you.
 
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[...] as I have clogged a bottling wand with hop matter and try to keep hop particles out of the fermenting wort
Back in the 2017-2018 timeframe, there were a number of people here who talked about solutions to this problem. IIRC, they would wrap their siphon with a filter (BIAB bag, ...) to keep the hop matter from getting into the siphon. A review of a web search on
siphon filter site:homebrewtalk.com
may re-discover some additional techniques.
 
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abweatherley

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I would assume I would only use half a whirfloc tablet in this instead of a whole one. Do you crush the tablet up first before adding it
 

GrowleyMonster

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I have an immersion chiller, no idea how I am going to hook it up with my current setup so the ice bath might be my only option.

Thanks for your help
Ice bath will work fine for a gallon batch! Be sure to cover it. You can also freeze some water ahead of time in zip locks, spray them with star san solution, and plop them right in the hot wort. You can chill it with the flame-out hops still in the wort. You can remove them before transferring to fermenter, or take them out. Personal preference, either way should make a fine tasting beer.

For small batch brewing and chilling with an immersion coil, see if your sink faucet's aerator screws off the faucet. If so, buy a female thread pipe to hose barb that fits those threads, and the tubing to connect to the immersion coil. Then hook up the supply side, and then a short piece of tubing for the discharge, and just point it right down the sink drain. Put your clean immersion coil in your kettle while it is still boiling, a few minutes before flame-out, and walah, it is sanitized. After flame-out, nothing that is not sanitized should touch your wort.

Your calculated gravities are a reasonable expectation, but not a hoop to jump through or fail. Your DME kit's OG is pretty much set in stone by the sugar in the extract and the amount of wort you end up with after the boil. The FG gravity will be what it will be, according to the yeast and ferment temp and a few other things, but mainly you would be interested in the FG reaching a stable number, not a precise specific one. That's when you know it is done. If you have a good seal everywhere then you can also watch for your airlock to stop bubbling. If you can watch it for 10 minutes without a bubble on two days in a row it is definitely done fermenting. You can let it go a few more days, maybe at cooler temperature, undisturbed, to settle out some more if you like but no biggie. An extra week or two in the fermenter won't hurt a thing, as long as no air is getting in there.

The only kits I ever used were NB and I was pretty satisfied with the end product, and yeah the instructions are a LITTLE vague sometimes, especially when you are just starting and sort of look for a bit of hand-holding, but you have come to the right place for clarification. My favorite was the Block Party Amber Ale. Very tasty.

Make sure that your yeast and your fermentation temp are compatible. Especially for the first 3 or 4 days. After that, temps near or at, or even slightly above, the given temp range for the yeast aren't necessarily a bad thing and can even help some yeasts clean up the beer a bit. I say this because most guys doing small batches are fermenting indoors in the house, with temps in the low 70's, and there are a LOT of yeasts that work best at lower temps than this.

Make sure your bottles and caps are clean and sanitized, if you are bottling. If you are unsure how much sugar to use for priming, come back to the forum for help. Too little and beer is flat. Too much and beer is geyser. Way too much and bottles can explode LOL! That's actually rare but it can happen. Often the kits come with more sugar than you need for good carbonation. Dumping the whole bag in, can be a bit much.
 

hotbeer

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I would assume I would only use half a whirfloc tablet in this instead of a whole one. Do you crush the tablet up first before adding it
Your first batch? I wouldn't use whirfloc at all.

Most whirfloc tablets are for 10 to 15 gallons. What size batch is yours? If 5 gallon then half a tablet. If one gallon then one tenth of that tablet. Maybe less.

Too much is worse IMO than not using it at all from the times I've used it. Still trying to dial in the amount for small batches, but I need to get a more sensitive scale that can accurately measure changes of 0.05 grams or less.
 

hotbeer

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Care to elaborate? What were the results?
I didn't seem to get as good a cold break as I get without whirlfloc while cooling after the boil. Much more fluffy stuff remains suspended in the wort even after cooled quickly to 62°F. Three different batches differing amount of whirfloc. Same results, though the last a better result than the first two.

Since these are 5 litres (1.3 gallon) batches, maybe whirlfloc doesn't scale down in a straightline. But I think part of the issue is I'm using too much whirlfloc and part of that reason is my scale is not very accurate in tenths of a gram measures. That's one reason I'm looking for something accurate to .05 grams or better.

Though when all that fluffy stuff is put in the fermenter, it becomes trub quick enough after the yeast chew through it. I've tried straining it, but it'll plug up a strainer quick. so letting it become trub seems a better option.

I've still got plenty of whirlfloc tablets and intend to keep experimenting once I get a scale that can measure precisely the tiny bit of the tablet that is needed.
 
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abweatherley

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It is in the fermenter. I did use a quarter of a whirfloc tablet and it looks like an upside down latte in the bubbler.

Also directions told me to just sprinkle yeast on top, in the past I have rehydrated my yeast. But i assume since this is only a 1 Gallon recipe the yeast should be fine.
 

GrowleyMonster

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It is in the fermenter. I did use a quarter of a whirfloc tablet and it looks like an upside down latte in the bubbler.

Also directions told me to just sprinkle yeast on top, in the past I have rehydrated my yeast. But i assume since this is only a 1 Gallon recipe the yeast should be fine.
sprinkle-pitching is common and usually works okay. Certainly it is less effort. I personally think a starter is better because it puts an overwhelming yeast cell count in the wort that a light bacterial load simply can't compete with. How much better? Probably not so much to notice, if you keep everything nice and sanitary.
 
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Also directions told me to just sprinkle yeast on top, in the past I have rehydrated my yeast. But i assume since this is only a 1 Gallon recipe the yeast should be fine.
If sprinkling (rather than re-hydration) doesn't work out, check out NB's "Returns & Exchanges" policy (link) (emphasis is theirs, not mine):
Beer Kit Guarantee
[...]​
We’re so confident in the quality of our beer kits, we’ll replace any kit, anytime, no questions asked.
 

Teufelhunde

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It is in the fermenter. I did use a quarter of a whirfloc tablet and it looks like an upside down latte in the bubbler.

Also directions told me to just sprinkle yeast on top, in the past I have rehydrated my yeast. But i assume since this is only a 1 Gallon recipe the yeast should be fine.

I always sprinkle dry yeast, never had an issue....
 

RM-MN

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Two thoughts for you.
1. Adding dry yeast directly to wort can kill up to (notice the words, up to) 50% of the yeast cells.
2. It takes approximately 90 minutes for the yeast to reproduce, doubling the number of yeast cells.

To me, that means that it adds less than 90 minutes to the start of fermentation.
 

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Fermentis / Safale has a 52 page "Tips and Tricks" PDF with a lot of info, but I notice they dance around the issue a bit.

" A RECENT STUDY DEMONSTRATES THAT THE USE OF ACTIVE DRY YEASTS (ADY) is a simple, effective process that does not necessarily include a rehydration step. To the contrary, one great advantage of using ADY is that it can be immediately put in contact with the wort in a fermentation vessel (direct pitch). Several rehydration and direct pitch conditions do not show any significant differences in terms of viability and vitality of the ADY. This concept is protected under the E2UTM umbrella."

After that however they go on to explain a rehydration process, and never mention a change in cell count which, I'd agree, would probably be at least a bit higher if followed.
 
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abweatherley

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Well its it's been 24 hours and this is what the beer looks like currently.

I think I it's just chunks of coagulation from the whirfloc addition, but I don't see any activity either.
 

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CascadesBrewer

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1. Adding dry yeast directly to wort can kill up to (notice the words, up to) 50% of the yeast cells.

The recent studies with Fermentis using a few of their yeasts shows that adding the yeast to wort was slightly better than adding it to water. They generally only recommend adding yeast to water for breweries where this step is needed for their equipment. Since I can easily sprinkle a pack of dry yeast into my fermenters, I see zero reason to rehydrate yeast in water. It could be that rehydration is helpful with other brands of yeast, but I have not seen any benefits the few times I have rehydrated.
 

GrowleyMonster

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The lid and stopper are on nice and tight? No bubbling in the airlock? Since I have never used whirlyfloc I don't know exactly what you should expect, but I would expect some serious hubble bubble activity in the airlock after 24 hours. And as @tracer bullet points out, the beer is suspiciously clear.

One of my general principles in any endeavor is I start out following the bleating herd, going down the path well traveled, doing it the way everybody else does it and has always done it, my first few times at the plate. I save the experiments and improvising and freestyling for later, after I achieve reasonable success doing it the plain old regular plain old way. Maybe next time leave out the Whirlyfloc? Meanwhile give it another day before you dump it. If you have another pack of yeast, try re-pitching.

Did you take a temperature before you pitched the yeast?

EDIT
Also, do you have a hydrometer? Before you dump it, take a gravity, if you have one. Maybe you got beer?
 
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abweatherley

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Yep temperature of 70°. Its in a room with an ambient temp of 65°.

It's not clear, its definently hazy, maybe it needs to warm up a bit, and all the floaters were at the bottom of the fermenter yesterday, so they wouldn't just magically rise to the top without some sort of assistance would they?
 

GrowleyMonster

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Yep temperature of 70°. Its in a room with an ambient temp of 65°.

Why is the suspiciously clear a concern.
Should be yeast and tiny bubbles moving around slowly and obscuring the beer slightly. Well, unless the wirlyfloc has knocked all that down already. Honestly it is a product I am not familiar with but I have never heard of it being used on a small batch like that. Usually it is used for 5+ gallon batches.

Maybe it will still be okay. Like I said, give it another day and see what happens. Double check all your seals and make sure that any CO2 has to pass through your airlock where you can see it blurp. I had a batch once that had heavy krausen but wasn't burping. Turned out it had taken off vigorously and blew the lid up on the Big Mouth Bubbler so all the gas was escaping via the now no longer sealed lid gasket, instead of through the airlock. I stuck the lid down good and tied it and the airlock was steady eddy blurping away.

The temp should have been fine. No issues there.

Another thing, if you don't have a hydrometer to test and see if your FG is near where it should be, consider letting it go to term and bottling. Or at least bottling some. It's just a gallon, so 10 12-ouncers.

Your results are different. If the batch turns out to be an irredeemable falure, figure out what parts of your method were different. J'accuse, Whirlyfloc!
 

hotbeer

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Also directions told me to just sprinkle yeast on top, in the past I have rehydrated my yeast. But i assume since this is only a 1 Gallon recipe the yeast should be fine.
Doesn't matter what the quantity is. With dry yeast, or at least all the dry yeast I've used, the maker of the yeast recommends direct pitching to the fermenter. Also, in the case of SafAle and other yeasts by Lesaffre they recommend not aerating the wort. So that makes for a much simpler brew day.

Can you clarify if it is correct that no oxygenation is needed or not for your dry yeasts? And would there a difference between lagers and ales on this?
We don’t recommend aerating the wort in normal conditions. The dry yeast has been produced and dried with a specific know-how of the Lesaffre Group, in order to maximize the Ergosterols content of the cells. This allows the yeast to grow/multiply and ferment well.However, you could aerate the wort in particular cases, for example if you recycle the yeast. There is no difference (for the O2) between Ale and Lager.

With dry yeast, I'd only re-hydrate and make a starter if I didn't have enough packets of yeast to pitch and needed to get more cells. I'd only aerate if I was reusing yeast from a previous batch.
 
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abweatherley

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I can see stuff moving around in the fermenter. But I do not see any airlock activity. Mind you I have a fair bit of headspace between the surface and where the airlock is.

I'm going to move the fermenter to a warmer room. The basement thermometer states it's around 65 but it feels significantly cooler than that.

Opened it up and the beer smells ok, doesn't smell or look infected. Just weird seeing the flocculation on top so quickly. Oh well

RDWHAHB
 

hotbeer

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When did you add the whirlfloc? At the end of boil or to the fermenter?

Don't trust airlock bubbles to tell you anything. They only have entertainment value.
 
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abweatherley

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Another thing, if you don't have a hydrometer to test and see if your FG is near where it should be, consider letting it go to term and bottling. Or at least bottling some. It's just a gallon, so 10 12-ouncers.

Your results are different. If the batch turns out to be an irredeemable falure, figure out what parts of your method were different. J'accuse, Whirlyfloc!

I do have a Hydrometer I have an SG of 1.040. The instructions don't tell me what my FG should be. In Brewfather I get an FG of 1.005.
 
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abweatherley

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When did you add the whirlfloc? At the end of boil or to the fermenter?

Don't trust airlock bubbles to tell you anything. They only have entertainment value.

5 minutes before the end of boil I tossed in about a quarter of a tablet ground up.
 

GrowleyMonster

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I do have a Hydrometer I have an SG of 1.040. The instructions don't tell me what my FG should be. In Brewfather I get an FG of 1.005.

So your SG has gone down a little. That's encouraging. Call it a science experiment. Let it run and see what happens.
 

hotbeer

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A quarter of a tablet is a little much IMO if these are tablets for 10 to 15 gallon batches and your batch is a gallon or less.

I used less about .3 grams and that was still too much. Though it might have been more than double that with the accuracy error of my current scale.

Probably no harm done though. Just that you don't get the optimum cold break during cooling and wind up with more trub in your fermenter or you have to take great pains and waste trying to strain it before adding to the fermenter.
 
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abweatherley

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So your SG has gone down a little. That's encouraging. Call it a science experiment. Let it run and see what happens.


Sorry that was the gravity before I pitched the yeast and I just checked it again and it is still the same.

I have moved it to a warmer area to see if that will help.
 

GrowleyMonster

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Sorry that was the gravity before I pitched the yeast and I just checked it again and it is still the same.

I have moved it to a warmer area to see if that will help.
Hmmm... it should definitely be showing some change. If you have some yeast, you could try re-pitching. If you don't get some action a day after pitching more yeast I would call it a goner. RIP, beer that never quite was.
 
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abweatherley

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Yeah I just gave it a shake to re-suspend the solids in it.

I believe NB will replace this kit for me.

Could stars an foam kill the yeast?
 

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The pic you posted looks fine to me. I'd give it another day or two, especially if you're moving it to a warmer location.
 
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