What are my options with the equipment I already have?

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Ballistic

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What are my options with the equipment I already have?

I would rate myself as still a noob, however I am working on getting a consistent brew of dark ale using ready made tins of ingredients.

Yesterday someone gave me a lager kit (beer as opposed to dark ale) and I set it off going in the fermentation bucket as per usual and is brewing nicely. (PRIMARY)

My question is: I have at my disposal the pressure barrel I have been using for the dark ale... has a limited success at carbonating due to the fact I have no CO2 injector.
I have a standard plastic secondary which does not hold pressure with a narrow neck.
I have a number of used 2 litre coke platic bottles which are a bit large for conditioning but I guess it's possible.


Suppose I plan on leaving it in primary for 2 weeks, would you go to the pressure barrel and drink from there like is supposed to work, go to the secondary fermentor, then bottle, or straight to the 2 litre bottles?

I appreciate any comments.

(b)
 

david_42

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2 litre bottles are a good way to condition most beers. The only problem is once you open the bottle it goes flat. This is fine for smaller beers where you can finish a bottle in a day.
 

Homercidal

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2 liters is a bit much for someone like me. I'd consider using smaller bottles. But, there is nothing wrong with a 2-liter if you can drink it fast enough. Or, there is a pump that you can buy that allows you to add pressure back into an opened 2-liter bottle. Granted, you are sending O2 into the beer, which may oxidize it a bit, but you may not be able to tell in a short time.

Think about going to glass bottles? All you'd need is a one-time purchase of a capper, and of course some caps for each batch, but they are not much. Added bonus of having brown bottles to prevent skunking.
 
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Ballistic

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Thanksyou David and Homercidal,

2 questions: would you go to secondary first and then bottle?

If you were bottling to 2 litre bottles, how much sugar and how much air space would you leave in the top for the CO2 to build up pressure?



thanks
 

brian_g

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Thanksyou David and Homercidal,

2 questions: would you go to secondary first and then bottle?
Depends, is this a no-boil kit? If it is you can skip the secondary if you want.


If you were bottling to 2 litre bottles, how much sugar and how much air space would you leave in the top for the CO2 to build up pressure?


thanks
If you add the sugar to the whole batch in the bottling bucket, use the same about as normal -- 3/4 cup. If you want to add the sugar to the bottles directly it should be 4 1/4 tsp of sugar -- if I did the math right. Check it yourself:

2 L = 67.6 oz
2L = 5.63 12oz bottles
3/4 tsp of sugar per 12 oz bottle So 5.63 X .75 = 4.23 tsp. or about 4 1/4 tsp.
 
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Ballistic

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OK cheers guys. Thinking on a purely practical level, I have two very nice large secondary containers and very few bottles so if secondary does improve the beer even slightly, I would probably be best using them?
This way I can get more of a production line going.
 
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Ballistic

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OK - this is what I am going to do...

Leave in primary fermentor for about 2 weeks double check gravity using hydrometer to check it's ready. The primary is on a pad heater as it's winter here.

Move to secondary which has a air lock, add half a cup of sugar and take off of the heater to let it run a bit cooler.

[Use primary to get another batch going]

Couple of weeks later syphon into 2 litre coke bottles and put a teaspoon of sugar into each bottle (might disolve the sugar in a cup so that I can pour a little into each bottle as opposed to pouring it into the fermenter).

Put coke bottles in cupboard out of the sunlight and wait a few more weeks.
 

Homercidal

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OK - this is what I am going to do...

Leave in primary fermentor for about 2 weeks double check gravity using hydrometer to check it's ready. The primary is on a pad heater as it's winter here.

Move to secondary which has a air lock, add half a cup of sugar and take off of the heater to let it run a bit cooler.

[Use primary to get another batch going]

Couple of weeks later syphon into 2 litre coke bottles and put a teaspoon of sugar into each bottle (might disolve the sugar in a cup so that I can pour a little into each bottle as opposed to pouring it into the fermenter).

Put coke bottles in cupboard out of the sunlight and wait a few more weeks.
Don't add more sugar to it. That will defeat the purpose of moving to secondary. Adding sugar in the primary will add more alcohol, but the CO2 will be released. You add sugar in the bottle where it will be forced into solution because there is no outlet. Then, when the pressure is released, the CO2 is released and come out as bubbles.

I'd move to secondary as soon as the fermentation is complete according to hydrometer, or about a week or two. Meanwhile collect more bottles. If you make big beers, like barleywines, then you'll need to start using glass.
 
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Ballistic

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OK, I will bear that in mind Homer, adding sugar to secondary is a throw back to adding it to my pressure barrel which carries out secodary and carbonation in one hit. (plus I like strong beer and was kinda wishing I'd added more sugar)
 
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