Starting First Batch Tomorrow

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gmcastil

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Hi everyone. I'm starting my first batch of ale tomorrow afternoon and I'm pretty sure that I have all the steps planned out, but I have a couple of questions that I wanted to get a sanity check and make sure I wasn't doing anything crazy.

I have a 6.5 gallon primary that I'm going to use for my primary fermenter and I'm using a 5 gallon extract recipe from my local homebrewing supplier. I'm going to boil my wort using 2.5 gallons, which I figure will probably reduce down to 2 gallons. Here are my questions:

1. Since the recipe calls for 5 gallons, should I add 2.5 gallons or 3 gallons after chilling the wort?

2. I want to make sure and sanitize the water I add to the wort after chilling. My plan was to sanitize my fermenter, boil the additional water, and then add it to my fermenter, prior to boiling the wort, and cover it with Saran wrap while I boil the wort. Once I've chilled the wort, I was planning to pour it into the primary fermenter. Am I going to crack my carboy in the process? Can I pour boiling water (not the wort) into a glass carboy?

3. My instructions for transferring the wort to the primary fermenter after say to pour it in through a funnel. Is there a specific reason why I should do that? Wouldn't siphoning the wort off the trub be preferable to pouring it through a funnel?

Sorry for all the paranoia - but I'm afraid of cracking my carboy or ruining my first batch. Thanks for the help guys.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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1. Top up with enough to make 5-5.25 gallons
2. Yes boiling water will proabably crack your glass carboy, and near freezing water can possibly crack your carboy. I was in a similar situation as you when I first started, don't fret, use chilled filtered water, or bottled water, don't worry about sterilizing it (which is what boiling does). FWIW, chill it in the fridge, it will greatly reduce your time for chilling in the sink, since you can top up with about 1/2 of your total volume of water, which I believe you mentioned.
3. Yes, transfer to your primary with a funnel, or if you are going to rack via siphon, allow it splash a lot (you should have a good deal of foam), you want to aerate your wort for the yeast's aerobic phase of reproduction. You want no oxygen introduction afterward.

Otherwise it sounds like you are on the right track.

Don't worry too much about making your brewing environment too clean. Yes, you want sanitized equipment, and sound brewing processes, but trying to keep everything sterile is near impossible, and quite unnecessary. . . unless you plan to yeast ranch (different scenario). "Clean" and"Sanitized" equipment should be your goal.

Since this is your first batch, and you find you enjoy it enough to continue, I would recommend upgrading to making yeast starters, or fermentation control as your next step. Yeast starters is usually a smaller and cheaper investment, but fermentation control is a absolute necessity in the summer months when temps crest the 75+ degree mark.

Since you live in CO, you have tons of resources nearby. And the AHA is situated in your area, so once again if you find a passion in brewing, join the AHA and use their resources as well.

Glad you found HBT, this is IMHO, the best resource for beginning brewers, and a great place to collaborate once you get more involved.

Good Luck! :mug:

Cheers!
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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1. Top up with enough to make 5-5.25 gallons
2. Yes boiling water will proabably crack your glass carboy, don't fret, use filtered water, or bottled water, don't worry about sterilizing it. FWIW, chill it in the fridge, it will greatly reduce your time for chilling in the sink, since you can top up with about 1/2 of your total volume of water.
Will do. I'll trust your experience over my paranoia about sanitation. Thanks.

3. Yes, transfer to your primary with a funnel, or if you are going to rack, allow it to siphon in and splash a lot, you want to aerate your wort for the yeasts aerobic phase of reproduction.
Ah. Right. I was reading that splashing a chilled wort wasn't a bad thing, so long as the temperature of the wort is below 80F. That sound about right?

Thanks for the quick response - I appreciate it.
 

auric82

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Greetings,

You will want to add 3 gallons of water to your post boil wort. I agree with using a funnel to transfer the wort to your carbon. There should no reason not to get all of your wonderful wort into the carboy, especially since you are boiling only 2 gallons.

As for the water I would head to the grocery store and buy 3 gallons of distilled water to add to your carboy. Make sure it is distilled and not something else. If you don't have a wort chiller, throw a two of your distilled water jugs in your freezer when you start your boil. Then when you finish up your boil your can dump your chilled distilled water into your boil pot. And bam! Cooled wort and no cracked carboys.

Hope this all helps.
 

HopSong

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I would suggest you measure out 5 G of water in whatever way.. cups, quarts, etc.. and pour it into the FV. Take a black permanent marker or tape and mark the 5 G indicator on it. That way you'll know.

Being you are using an extract recipe.. and I don't see where you are using grains.. I'd suggest you boil 3 G of water and add the hops per schedule. When you add the last hop addition.. either a minute before flameout or at flameout.. turn off the burner and stir in the extract very well.. spend 5 minutes doing that real well. It's still hot enough you won't have to worry about infection at this point.

Now you can chill your wort and top it off with boiled/cooled water to 5 G. When you have it at ~68-72*, draw a sample and check your SG. Your OG. and record it. Now you can add your yeast.

Pouring it thru a funnel will prevent losing valuable wort assuming you are using a carboy. If you are using a bucket.. just pour it in and mix it real good to aerate it for the benefit of the yeast. Using a funnel with a filter might help remove some gunk.. but, I wouldn't worry about it. Siphoning isn't very efficient at adding air/oxygen to the wort.. plus it takes more time which adds to the possibility of infection form airborne bacteria.

Don't get paranoid. Just follow the instructions.. hoping they are pretty complete.. step by step.. and you should be good.

Pouring boiling wort into your carboy is asking for trouble.. wait till its cooled to at least 110* or so before pouring into the carboy and then top off with cool or cold water.. hopefully you will be in the 70* range for pitching the yeast. Don't pitch it too hot. Chill as fast as you can by putting the boiling kettle into a bath of cold water.. when it gets to about 110 or so then you can add ice to the bath.. not the wort :).

Good luck.
 

elaeace

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You could opt to use distiller water...which is already sanitized...without having to boil...a gallon cost about 65 cents at the grocery store...then it will already be room temperature
 

bighorn_brew

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Go and purchase a 5 gallon spring water at your local grocery store...once you get more experienced you can use the mineral analysis to your advantage, plus it has been sanitized with UV.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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You could opt to use distiller water...which is already sanitized...without having to boil...a gallon cost about 65 cents at the grocery store...then it will already be room temperature
If using DME or LME, you can use distilled water since the extract you are using will have create the same water profile as the malt extracts source.

If you haven't read John Palmer's How to Brew (free online) it is worth taking a look at.
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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Here's the finished product. Original gravity measured in at 1.066 at 58F. It has almost a green hue to it, but I'm thinking that's due to the hop pellets that disintegrated into sludge and are suspended in the solution. I'm hoping that it separates out and becomes more "normal" looking before I rack to the secondary.

Thoughts anyone?

378850_310128802349151_100000561001276_1156861_1398473202_n.jpg
 

RM-MN

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It looks good to me. There isn't any normal look to beer in the fermenter. They all look horrid to me, but I don't drink right from the fermenter and I don't care how they look in there. What counts is how they look and taste in the glass. Everything else is just steps along the path.
 

nylar

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looks good to me! now the hard part. waiting for it to ferment and carb up in the bottle. assuming your going to bottle it.
 

unionrdr

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Initial fermentation does create a swirling effect in the fermenter. When it gets past that initial,vigorous stage of fermentation,it'll start settling out.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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looks good to me! now the hard part. waiting for it to ferment and carb up in the bottle. assuming your going to bottle it.
+1, Best advice anyone at this point can give you is let it ferment for a minimum of two weeks, 3 if you want it clearer. Bottle, and wait. . .I would recommend trying a single bottle at one week, then the second week, and then another the third week just so you can get an idea of how the carbonation progresses. Regardless it is gonna be best at >3 weeks, but you should start noticing some acceptable carbonation after two, but in my experience it foam/headwill not last long and it will flatten quickly with little "carbonic sting" when you drink it. Looks good, just try to be patient, and remember at least you can sample one after a week :)

If you have fermentation control and are kegging, well . . . then you can get that bad-boy in a glass in as little as 3 weeks with some diligence.

Cheers! :mug:
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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+1, Best advice anyone at this point can give you is let it ferment for a minimum of two weeks, 3 if you want it clearer.
I was planning to rack to a secondary after 7-10 days in the primary, once I get a couple of days of repeated specific gravity readings. I figured another two weeks in the secondary before bottling and then another couple weeks in the bottles. How does that sound?
 

unionrdr

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I just leave it in primary till it reaches a stable FG,then 5 days or so to clean up & settle out more. Then at least 3 weeks in the bottles in closed boxes.
 

RM-MN

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Read up on long primary. I leave mine in the primary 3 to 4 weeks and then bottle without ever using a secondary as do a number of us on this forum. We think it clears as well as it would in secondary and lets the yeast have more time to remove the off flavors it may have created in the fast part of its ferment. It also gives us one less chance to introduce oxygen or bacteria.
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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Read up on long primary.
Thanks for the heads up.

I leave mine in the primary 3 to 4 weeks and then bottle without ever using a secondary as do a number of us on this forum. We think it clears as well as it would in secondary and lets the yeast have more time to remove the off flavors it may have created in the fast part of its ferment.
If that's indeed the case, then I'll definitely leave it in the fermenter for at least 3 weeks. Do secondaries still make sense for other styles of beers?

It also gives us one less chance to introduce oxygen or bacteria.
Definitely a fan of this.
 

unionrdr

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If you're adding fruit ,oak,or the like then a secondary is good. Or for extended bulk aging. Otherwise,primary all the way,even dry hopping.
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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I took a gravity reading a couple days ago and then again a few minutes ago and it's constant at 1.008. OG was 1.066.

I refrigerated my sample and tasted it. Tastes like a flat IPA, but is really weak on the flavor. Is this something that will develop with time?
 

RM-MN

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Carbonation will make the flavor better as will some time in the bottle. Just don't leave it too long as the flavor and aroma will fade with time.
 

Sixpak

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I wouldn't touch this for any reason (not even to take a hydromter reading) until it has sat in primary for three weeks minimum. Patience is key.
 

djfriesen

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If you SG is constant, you should be good to go. Unless, of course, you want to leave it to clean up a little better. Seems like it came down pretty far. What yeast did you use?
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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If you SG is constant, you should be good to go. Unless, of course, you want to leave it to clean up a little better. Seems like it came down pretty far. What yeast did you use?
I don't know the yeast strain - it's whatever came in the recipe I box I got from the brewing shop. I noted all my ingredients, but forgot to note the strain of yeast I used.

Seems like it came down pretty far.
Not to sound like a noob, but is that a good thing?
 
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gmcastil

gmcastil

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After 3 weeks in the primary, it's time to bottle my first brew. Good example on how some time in the fermenter changes the appearance.

photo.jpg
 

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