some basic questions:

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spam

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1. my kit said NOTHING about airation,when and when not to churn/airate wort or beer?

2. if everything must be SO clean then how is it ok to put the wort into my second bucket and stir in dextrose with the lid off?

3. why are plastic bottles with screw-on caps no good?

4. most kits i have seen say that the wort MUST ferment for a minimum of 14 days,,is this true? seems like many people are done in a week...
 

gcdowd

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1. Don't aerate after fermentation has happened.

2. As long as your vessel is clean and sanitized, you'll be fine.

3. Screw off caps can leak CO2.

4. Fermentation may be done in a week but leave it for about 3 weeks to let the yeast clean up.
 

two_hearted

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1. aerate prior to pitching your yeast.

2. When are you stirring in dextrose in a bucket? For bottling? I wouldn't "Stir" it in as you may be oxidizing your beer. You should boil some water and stir in the corn sugar, then put that into your bottling bucket and rack your beer on top to mix in.

4. Your beer will benefit immensely from 3-4 weeks in primary. Your beer may finish fermenting in 1 week, but there are lots of byproducts that yeast produce during the process. if you give it time, the yeast will gobble up all of those and result in fewer off flavors. the patient brewer will be rewarded.
 

LandoLincoln

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1. Aeration is a hard issue to tack down, at least from a newbie standpoint. I classify myself in that category, by the way. I've done six batches so far, and so far I've had good yeast...promulgation? Bloom? Anyway...my yeast have always done well, in my limited estimation. I've done two methods: 1) after getting the wort down to pitching temps, vigorously sloshing the wort in the glass carboy for about two minutes, and 2) vigorously sloshing the wort and yeast shortly after pitching. I'm of the opinion that today's yeast are remarkably forgiving of newbie mistakes and can thrive even in the most difficult of circumstances. However, making a truly excellent beer probably requires you to be more helpful to your yeasts, and I've not made a truly excellent beer yet.

2. I'm assuming you're talking about priming sugar and bottling day. Normally, you put the priming sugar / boiled water solution in to the bottling bucket first, then add the transferred flat beer in, in a gentle swirling motion, being careful not to get the flat beer too aerated. And then, carefully using a stir spoon to further mix the beer / sugar mixture without too much turbulence to risk aerating the beer.

3. I haven't tried them myself, so I don't know. I prefer to err on the side of caution and don't use them.

4. It does not hurt to leave it in primary for at least three weeks, at least, with modern yeast strains. The kit instructions are trying to rush the process, so you won't be frustrated waiting so long, and also so you'll buy another kit quicker. Yeast do wonderful things if you just let them be for at least three weeks. But hydrometer tests are the ultimate decider in when a beer is done with fermentation.
 

ajf

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1. Aeration is good for adding some oxygen to the wort before fermentation has started. It helps the yeasts to get off to a good start. You don't want to add oxygen after fermentation has started as this will oxidize the beer and result in off flavors.
2. Would you cook in a dirty pot? Clean means no obvious dirt or old residues. I don't mind cooking in a clean pot with the lid off, but I make sure that the pot is clean before I start. In the case of adding priming sugar, first make sure your bottling bucket is clean, then sanitize it. (You cannot sanitize anything that is dirty as the dirt can harbor bacteria that the sanitizer may not be able to kill.) You should also boil the dextrose in a small amount of water, add it to the bucket, and then rack the beer onto the sugar solution. This mixes the priming sugar evenly. Trying to stir undissolved dextrose into the beer is going to result in uneven mixing (some bottles will be over carbonated, and some under carbonated). If you stir the undissolved priming sugar into the beer sufficiently to thoroughly distribute it, you will almost certainly cause oxidation. There is very little chance of anything nasty dropping into the beer while the lid is off, but it isn't impossible. It happened to me once in 37 years.
3. Would you buy a commercial beer in a plastic bottle? I wouldn't. I can't guarantee that plastic bottles are no good, but I would suspect that there could be a good chance of them bursting while carbonating.
4. It's possible for the beer to ferment out in a week, but very unlikely. I usually see obvious signs of fermentation for about 2 weeks, and even after fermentation has completed, you need to leave the beer in contact with the yeast to clean up the by-products of the fermentation. I used to do 2 weeks in primary, and 4 weeks in secondary, but have changed that to 3 - 4 weeks in primary and no secondary for most beers. The improvement in quality of my beers has been dramatic since I started doing this.

-a.
 

WCD

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Regarding #3 - I have often used 4-5 1 liter plastic seltzer bottles to supplement during my botling day. I literally just pour out the seltzer/non flavored and bottle. Usually I give to people I dont deem bottle worthy or dont see regularly. Based on other posts, I dont use them a second time(if they do come back) when the threads start getting worn on the cap or bottle itself is when you really see the issue. Make sure not to keep them in plastic long term so I dont recommend doing a full batch this way. Usually I drink or give away the plastics early on. Also, they are generally clear or light green so light plays a factor. Im on my 13th batch and have done this just about every time and no issues.
 
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