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So my beer was fermenting fine after 24 hours, BUT...

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SirHoboJoe

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So I had my beer in the carboy, and about 10-12 hours later I had a solid half inch of frothy goodness bubbling at the top, however, the next day (today) it seems the head is dissipating quite a bit. Is this normal? Do I need to find a way to stir or get some aeration in the beer and open it up so the yeast can eat the sugar more freely?

I'm not really panicking, it's just my first brew and I'm trying to soak in as much info as possible, and I want to know exactly what would cause that and if it should be happening for the ideal brew. If it helps, it's sort of a dry hoppy stout. Like a russian imperial sort of thing I guess.
 

Gavin C

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So I had my beer in the carboy, and about 10-12 hours later I had a solid half inch of frothy goodness bubbling at the top, however, the next day (today) it seems the head is dissipating quite a bit. Is this normal? Do I need to find a way to stir or get some aeration in the beer and open it up so the yeast can eat the sugar more freely?

I'm not really panicking, it's just my first brew and I'm trying to soak in as much info as possible, and I want to know exactly what would cause that and if it should be happening for the ideal brew. If it helps, it's sort of a dry hoppy stout. Like a russian imperial sort of thing I guess.
No. Relax. Do nothing. First brew is first brew my friend. I knew less than nothing and it was beer i was happy to share. Sounds like a fast ferment. Most likely it will be done soon. Bottling it in a week or two and then wait three weeks. Then chill some and enjoy the badasseryness that is homebrew.

In the interim explore why your beer fermented so fast and whether that is a good/bad/normal thing.

Google, fermetation temperature control and you will have buku options.

But to re-emphasisze congrats on the first brew. Great job. Beer was made.
 
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SirHoboJoe

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Thanks. Upon reading a bit, I suspect a couple things. One is the temperature at where its fermenting. It's pretty chilly. probably 60 or so. Secondly, I used mostly purified drinking water. I also did not have a yeast starter for the liquid yeast, and I used exactly 10 pounds of malt, which may have been a bit much for a yeast without a starter. All those things in particular probably contributed to it. I'll probably do what you said and bottle it in 6 or 7 days.

One more question though, what water do you guys use? Is purified drinking water stripped of its minerals, and if so, what should I use? The tap water in Saint Louis I know is fairly clean but I was just kind of iffy about it.
 

Gavin C

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Thanks. Upon reading a bit, I suspect a couple things. One is the temperature at where its fermenting. It's pretty chilly. probably 60 or so. Secondly, I used mostly purified drinking water. I also did not have a yeast starter for the liquid yeast, and I used exactly 10 pounds of malt, which may have been a bit much for a yeast without a starter. All those things in particular probably contributed to it. I'll probably do what you said and bottle it in 6 or 7 days.

One more question though, what water do you guys use? Is purified drinking water stripped of its minerals, and if so, what should I use? The tap water in Saint Louis I know is fairly clean but I was just kind of iffy about it.
You're covering a lot of ground in this post. Purified drinking water means nothing. Clean means nothing, Region means almost nothing. Spring water means nothing. If you care about water profiles and mash pH you need to know the mineral content of important ions. Terms/nominal labeling means zero.

Chilly ferment is good usually in most folks' homes.

Yes you under pitched dramatically

Bottle it when its done. No sooner. Avoid any and all arbitrary timeframes.

Explore this site. Also there are a few threads in my sig that may be of use.

Good luck.
 
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SirHoboJoe

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Yes you under pitched dramatically
Thanks for your help/answers, first of all. By that do you mean I definitely needed a starter for all that malt? If so, I'll use your starter thread for next time. : ]
 

radwizard

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Yeah, you should have used a starter. I just stuck to dry yeast for my first few brews. First couple just sprinkled on top, then started rehydrating, then moved onto liqud /w a starter. I thought it was a pretty natural progression, giving me time to learn about other parts of the process. It all makes beer...
Just let your beer go through the process. It'll be beer. Every beer I did I learned more, and he next beer was better. I've never dumped a batch, and have drank everything I brewed.
DO you have a Hydrometer yet?
 

hercher

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Regarding your water, you were fine with what you used. Yes, you can get into analyzing mineral content, etc. However, as this was your first beer, I would hold off on that unless you have a science background. For me, a general rule of thumb regarding water is this: if it tastes good, it will make good beer. Focus on your process first, then start drilling down into more advanced stuff.

I agree with the above posters -- you should have made a starter. It is very easy. There are various calculators online. I use this one at MrMalty.com. Again, a basic rule of thumb works well for me when making starters: 1 part light DME to 4 parts water. Mix it together well, bring it to a boil for a few minutes. Cool to pitching temperature, and pitch your yeast. If you don't have a stir plate, shake it real well to aerate it, then give it a quick shake every time you walk by it for the next 24-48 hours.

Your fermentation slowed down because of the temperature. That's OK. But it may not be done. Take a gravity reading today, then again in a couple days. If the gravity continues to drop, then fermentation is not complete.

Welcome to the hobby and your new obsession! :mug:
 

Gavin C

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Thanks for your help/answers, first of all. By that do you mean I definitely needed a starter for all that malt? If so, I'll use your starter thread for next time. : ]
With liquid yeast I always make a starter, its size based on the planned OG, batch size and type of beer I'm making.

One would probably have been useful here but not to worry. There is always a future batch to hone one's skills and process.

On water. Don't sweat that either. Lots to learn and explore there too. Check out the useful brew science forum and this thread before you dabble in that.

Some delicious water is totally unsuitable for brewing. Forget the idea that if water tastes OK it's probably OK for brewing. It very well may be but one does not mean the other. OTOH if the water tastes bad it is almost certainly going to lead to bad beer.

Delicious water. No Good for brewing though


Here is another great thread on water. A KISS primer.
 

hercher

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Pellegrino is mineral water, so no, you shouldn't brew with it. I guess I should have expressed myself differently. If your water has no discernable flavor, it should be good to brew with. Water that has any off flavors, such as chlorine, or is fluoridated is probably not so good. You can ask your water company for a water analysis, or seek out some other local homebrewers for their opinions.
 

Gavin C

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If your water has no discernable flavor, it should be good to brew with. Water that has any off flavors, such as chlorine, or is fluoridated is probably not so good. .
This is also not correct I'm afraid.

The taste threshold for the various ions of importance in brewing lies far in excess of lower and still unsuitable levels for brewing. The smell/taste test is just not sensitive enough to determine if water is good for brewing.

"Here, let me smell that water and see if the sulphate levels are acceptable for a light lager I'm planning."

This is one of the most oft touted myths related to brewing water it would seem.

Chlorine/chloramines should be removed. Again they may be present in levels you will not taste/smell in the water but they will react in the mash forming unwanted distasteful compounds. Simple to remove chlorine/chloramines of course at a cost of ~$0.01 per 5 gallons of brewing water.

Municipal waters are fluoridated to levels ~0.7ppm. I am unaware of any problems that level would present but have a lot to learn when it comes to water chemistry. Do you have a link?
 

hercher

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This is also not correct I'm afraid.

The taste threshold for the various ions of importance in brewing lies far in excess of lower and still unsuitable levels for brewing. The smell/taste test is just not sensitive enough to determine if water is good for brewing.

"Here, let me smell that water and see if the sulphate levels are acceptable for a light lager I'm planning."

This is one of the most oft touted myths related to brewing water it would seem.

Chlorine/chloramines should be removed. Again they may be present in levels you will not taste/smell in the water but they will react in the mash forming unwanted distasteful compounds. Simple to remove chlorine/chloramines of course at a cost of ~$0.01 per 5 gallons of brewing water.

Municipal waters are fluoridated to levels ~0.7ppm. I am unaware of any problems that level would present but have a lot to learn when it comes to water chemistry. Do you have a link?
I don't want to get too far off topic, and you obviously know a great deal more about water chemistry than I do. All I know is that anecdotally i've lived by what you dismiss as a myth in over 20 years of homebrewing without a problem.

To be sure, if the goal is to win the National Homebrew Competition, or exactly clone your favorite beer, then yes, you need to be aware of the exact make-up of your water. If you just want to brew beer that you and your friends enjoy drinking, then don't sweat it. The original poster is new to homebrewing, and my point is that there are other things to focus on before getting into water chemistry.
 

Gavin C

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The original poster is new to homebrewing, and my point is that there are other things to focus on before getting into water chemistry.
I agree with you here for sure.

There is nothing wrong with taking any approach. This is a hobby for enjoyment first and foremost. We all derive that in different ways.

I just wanted to point out to the OP, a beginner, that the "water tastes good so must be Ok for brewing" is bad information.

One further tiny example. (I'm not trying to be an arsehead here honest.)

The water in Dublin tastes good and is very well suited to the brewing of dark beers like Guinness owing to its high alkalinity. It would however be poorly suited water to use for the brewing of a light lager like a Helles or a Pilsner.

The same water can at the same time be well suited and poorly suited to brewing, depending on the type of beer in question.
 
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