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SaisonMan

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Hi. I'm new to homebrewing, and I'm hoping someone can answer a few questions. The well water in my home doesn't taste great so I'm going to buy purified water from the local grocery store. The store sells its own water in its own gallon jugs. Given the emphasis on cleanliness and sanitization, can I trust that the jugs are safe and the water suitable for good brewing? Or am I being paranoid?

The second question is about the fermentation bucket that came with my Northern Brewer kit. It includes a spigot, and the instructions say that once fermentation is done, you can attach a hose to the spigot and bottle directly from there. Is there any concern that the sediment layer that dropped from the fermentation process will get into the bottles or clog the hose? Are there any tricks to avoid that? Or, again, am I being paranoid?

Any advice would be welcome!
 

davidabcd

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Given the emphasis on cleanliness and sanitization, can I trust that the jugs are safe and the water suitable for good brewing? Or am I being paranoid?
Generally, yes. But you say they're bottling it. I might boil two gallons, cool and get near freezing for top off.
the other three gallons (or less) are going into the beer making process and will be heated anyway.
Is there any concern that the sediment layer that dropped from the fermentation process will get into the bottles or clog the hose? Are there any tricks to avoid that? Or, again, am I being paranoid?
You can always tip the vessel away from the spigot with a towel or something. Let it rest in that position a few hours before bottling when you'll attach the bottling mechanism.
What you do will depend on how much sediment makes its way into the fermenter.
You also have the option of using a bottling bucket, siphon with hose and bottling wand. In that instance, you'd siphon from the fermenter to the bottling bucket.
 
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If you are priming each bottle individually you can fill them the way mentioned above, however if your priming your batch all at once, first you will want to transfer your beer to a second bucket so you can thoroughly stir in your priming solution and bottle from there, it is ideal to have a spigot for this step as well to avoid oxygen ingress via a siphon. As for the water, if what you buy from the store tastes good then at this point just brew with it, water is important but don't stress about it yet, get a few batches in and see how the brew turns out and go from there.
 
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SaisonMan

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If you are priming each bottle individually you can fill them the way mentioned above, however if your priming your batch all at once, first you will want to transfer your beer to a second bucket so you can thoroughly stir in your priming solution and bottle from there, it is ideal to have a spigot for this step as well to avoid oxygen ingress via a siphon. As for the water, if what you buy from the store tastes good then at this point just brew with it, water is important but don't stress about it yet, get a few batches in and see how the brew turns out and go from there.
I'll be priming all at once, so getting it in another bucket makes sense. I hadn't even considered how I would have stirred that in the fermentation bucket without shaking up the bottom stuff. Thanks!
 

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What do they call out for the method used to 'purify' the water? That would be one of my concerns. Is it RO or distilled? Without knowing that, I'd want more info for the water, since chlorine is BAD for beer.

I'd also look into getting a system in place to make your well water taste great and NOT have anything bad in it.
 
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SaisonMan

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What do they call out for the method used to 'purify' the water? That would be one of my concerns. Is it RO or distilled? Without knowing that, I'd want more info for the water, since chlorine is BAD for beer.

I'd also look into getting a system in place to make your well water taste great and NOT have anything bad in it.
Good question. I'll check.
 

ike8228

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I'll be priming all at once, so getting it in another bucket makes sense. I hadn't even considered how I would have stirred that in the fermentation bucket without shaking up the bottom stuff. Thanks!
If the kit was the same I had it had another bucket with it? Or you can pickup a bucket from Home Depot. Ferment in the bucket without the spigot. No potential leaks for a few weeks in the closet. Then transfer to the bucket with the spigot before bottling. Sanitize first of course. Keep the end of the racking syphon at least a half inch from the yeast cake. If you dry hopped without a bag or screen (if you don’t know what this means ignore it and learn later) then give it more space. Let it sit for a bit to allow any other settlement that got sucked up in the syphon. Then bottle.
Pro tip…add your sugar solution to the bottom of the bottling bucket first then transfer. It will get a much better mix. If you add it after the beer is in the bucket, you may not get a good mix (avoid stirring as much as possible, limit oxygen, again more things you’ll learn eventually). If not mixed well, you could get some bottles over carbed, and some not carbed.
also use a calculator to figure out how much sugar to add until you get the hang of it. And double check. Don’t be like me and ruin a batch by not putting enough. (Not ruined, just a pain in the ass to fix).
 
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SaisonMan

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If the kit was the same I had it had another bucket with it? Or you can pickup a bucket from Home Depot. Ferment in the bucket without the spigot. No potential leaks for a few weeks in the closet. Then transfer to the bucket with the spigot before bottling. Sanitize first of course. Keep the end of the racking syphon at least a half inch from the yeast cake. If you dry hopped without a bag or screen (if you don’t know what this means ignore it and learn later) then give it more space. Let it sit for a bit to allow any other settlement that got sucked up in the syphon. Then bottle.
Pro tip…add your sugar solution to the bottom of the bottling bucket first then transfer. It will get a much better mix. If you add it after the beer is in the bucket, you may not get a good mix (avoid stirring as much as possible, limit oxygen, again more things you’ll learn eventually). If not mixed well, you could get some bottles over carbed, and some not carbed.
also use a calculator to figure out how much sugar to add until you get the hang of it. And double check. Don’t be like me and ruin a batch by not putting enough. (Not ruined, just a pain in the ass to fix).

Thanks. It's amazing how much you have to think (or worry) about, even with your first batch. I mentioned earlier that the well water in my house doesn't taste great and that I'll be using purified water. I woke up this morning wondering if I should avoid using the house water even when I'm cleaning my equipment. I never knew I had this kind of paranoia in me!!!
 
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SaisonMan

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Thanks. It's amazing how much you have to think (or worry) about, even with your first batch. I mentioned earlier that the well water in my house doesn't taste great and that I'll be using purified water. I woke up this morning wondering if I should avoid using the house water even when I'm cleaning my equipment. I never knew I had this kind of paranoia in me!!!
I should add that the tap water sometimes has a sulpher-y odor to it sometimes!
 

hotbeer

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I think you are being paranoid in both cases. Or at least over complicating your brew day for a beginner.

If you are doing extract, then I think straight RO or distilled water is good enough. For all grain, just buy some bottled water. Preferably one that publishes a analysis on their website where you can get every possible detail more so than just printed on the bottle. Even with that, I don't do any additions to my water chemistry yet. There are more important things to work on getting right on brew day.

As for trub coming out the spigot, just let the first trub filled stuff go into another container and when it's cleaner, then run it into your priming pot or bottles. If it was trub in the fermenter it'll be trub in your bottles. Drink from a glass and just don't pour with a shaky hand.
 

ike8228

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Thanks. It's amazing how much you have to think (or worry) about, even with your first batch. I mentioned earlier that the well water in my house doesn't taste great and that I'll be using purified water. I woke up this morning wondering if I should avoid using the house water even when I'm cleaning my equipment. I never knew I had this kind of paranoia in me!!!
Your house water will be fine if you sanitize after with something like Star San. Just do not rinse after. Leave the residue; it won’t hurt anything. Brewing is a rabbit hole. Everytime you ask a question, you have three more to ask by the time your done.
 
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SaisonMan

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One more question: The batch has been fermenting for 36 hours in my basement, where the temperature is 60 degrees. Is that warm enough? No activity yet in the airlock, though I know that's not always an indicator of activity.
 

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That should be fine. Once the yeast are active the temperature inside the fermenter will be a couple degrees higher than ambient.

Are you using a bucket fermenter? Buckets are notoriously leaky so you may not see any bubbles in the airlock because the gas is escaping by other avenues.

I personally like a clear fermenter and I use a couple glass carboys. I also use one bucket fermenter and it drives me crazy not being able to see the krausen rise and fall or the "brightness" of the beer as the yeast drops out
 

GrowleyMonster

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That should be fine. Once the yeast are active the temperature inside the fermenter will be a couple degrees higher than ambient.

Are you using a bucket fermenter? Buckets are notoriously leaky so you may not see any bubbles in the airlock because the gas is escaping by other avenues.

I personally like a clear fermenter and I use a couple glass carboys. I also use one bucket fermenter and it drives me crazy not being able to see the krausen rise and fall or the "brightness" of the beer as the yeast drops out

I have four BMB's and I love them. When I first started, it was with buckets and by my second batch I hated them thoroughly. With the Big Mouth Bubbler, getting a good seal is easy, I have a spigot, and I can see my beer, krausen, and bottom cake. I drop a Tilt in there and I don't have to sample. I am thinking about trying a Fermonster, too. If it weren't for these very nice wide mouth clear plastic fermenters, I, too, would be using carboys. I want to see the beer, and I want a good seal. Otherwise, why even bother with an airlock? May as well go with open fermenting, if you can't get a dependable seal. And opening the buckets when you DO have a good seal can be an epic task.
 

Sam_92

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I've been eyeballing those fermonsters as well, I think that will be the next thing I buy after I finish getting my cask ale system set up.
 

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I feel zero desire/need to look inside the fermenter while the yeast is doing it's job. I've been using stainless fermenters since around 2011 and haven't regretted it one bit. Since we leave the 'clear' fermenters in the dark anyway why risk light strike doing it's damage to your beer? Once the wort enters the fermenter, I don't see it again until it's moving into keg, or going into the cans I'm filling (off conical, already carbonated).

For the OP... You want to have the fermenting beer inside the listed temperature range of the yeast you used. They publish that information for a reason. I typically target the middle of the range. Or I do for the yeast I use the most. Tht means either heating, or cooling, the batch to get in that spot (+/- 1F). If you're at 60F and the yeast range is 65-74F, you might want to warm things up a bit. I'm talking about the fermenting beer temperature, NOT the ambient room temperature.
 
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SaisonMan

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That should be fine. Once the yeast are active the temperature inside the fermenter will be a couple degrees higher than ambient.

Are you using a bucket fermenter? Buckets are notoriously leaky so you may not see any bubbles in the airlock because the gas is escaping by other avenues.

I personally like a clear fermenter and I use a couple glass carboys. I also use one bucket fermenter and it drives me crazy not being able to see the krausen rise and fall or the "brightness" of the beer as the yeast drops out
Yeah, it's the bucket that came with the kit. I can see about a half inch or so of yeast activity through the plastic.
 
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SaisonMan

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I feel zero desire/need to look inside the fermenter while the yeast is doing it's job. I've been using stainless fermenters since around 2011 and haven't regretted it one bit. Since we leave the 'clear' fermenters in the dark anyway why risk light strike doing it's damage to your beer? Once the wort enters the fermenter, I don't see it again until it's moving into keg, or going into the cans I'm filling (off conical, already carbonated).

For the OP... You want to have the fermenting beer inside the listed temperature range of the yeast you used. They publish that information for a reason. I typically target the middle of the range. Or I do for the yeast I use the most. Tht means either heating, or cooling, the batch to get in that spot (+/- 1F). If you're at 60F and the yeast range is 65-74F, you might want to warm things up a bit. I'm talking about the fermenting beer temperature, NOT the ambient room temperature.
I should have looked at that. It's Safale US-06, and the ideal temperature range is 59 to 71. Thanks.
 

hotbeer

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Safale US-06
You mean SafAle WB-06 or is it SafAle US-05? Regardless they both show 64.4 as the bottom ideal temp on the fermentis site. Though yeast will work outside those temps. Some well some not so well. On the low side it's going to be slow going depending on how much you pitched into how much beer.

Dosage / Temperature
50 to 80 g/hl at ideally 18-26°C (64.4-78.8°F).
 
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SaisonMan

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You mean SafAle WB-06 or is it SafAle US-05? Regardless they both show 64.4 as the bottom ideal temp on the fermentis site. Though yeast will work outside those temps. Some well some not so well. On the low side it's going to be slow going depending on how much you pitched into how much beer.
SafAle US-05. I just looked at the packet again, and the ideal temperature range is 59 to 71.
 

hotbeer

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I just looked at the pack in my refrigerator and you are correct.

I've gotten in the habit of just looking at their website instead of attempting to read the tiny print on the packets. So now I have to assume their website where I usually go is wrong or that temp is for something else.


Even their Tech doc's for it states different than the package. Although the tech docs do say to store the package at or below 59°F

I've normally been fermenting with it at an ambient air temp of 69°F. I don't have a sensor to measure inside the fermenter, but sometimes a probe taped to the side indicates temps in the lower 70's when things are going strong.
 
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ike8228

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SafAle US-05. I just looked at the packet again, and the ideal temperature range is 59 to 71.
Like I said before, rabbit hole. There is a slew of things to work on in the future. This is where temp controlled chambers or vessels come into play. But those cost a lot and or time to develop and set up. Look into inexpensive ways to help control for now. Search the threads. Ice baths, fans, blankets, heating jackets, etc. yeast health is a big part in the flavor of beer. You want to pick a temp and stick to it pretty close. I set my chamber to +/- 1F. There will be variation but what you don’t want is 5F swings. The yeast will put off flavors you may not want. US-05 I suggest 66-68. It tends to put off tangy/peachy flavors below that. Higher than that it could have other effects.

The colder you go to the lower end the longer it could take to ‘take off’ too, thus the lack of bubbler activity. Your bucket lid from a kit should have a seal. Hit around the edge with a rubber mallet like you would a paint can to help it seat. You can also buy replacement lids at Home Depot that have seals. Just need to drill a new hole for the bubbler grommet.

Be patient, sometimes it just takes time. I had an ale take almost fours days before I saw any Krusen activity. Low temps, bad seal, maybe not so good of or older batch of yeast will do it too. Activity comes from
Multiplication of yeast. Less ‘good’ yeast takes longer to multiply to those levels. This is where starters come into play. Another hole to chase. Just be patient and learn as you go. Try something new or different each time. Make an improvement here and there. Buy something every other batch that helps speed things up or improves the beer in some way.
 

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If you have a Wal-Mart in your area they usually have a RO machine that sells water in bulk a lot cheaper than per gallon prices. If you are brewing extract that would work. If fermenting in a bucket with a spigot I always cover the spigot with a zip lock sandwich bag to keep bugs and flies out. Be sure to spray sanitizer on and in it before use.
 

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