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What I have done so far...

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janzik

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I'm in the primary fermentation stages of my second batch. After reading through the forums for a few days I've become overwhelmed at how much I do not know (and want to learn). I wanted to post how and what I have done so far and ask for suggestions on my next logical steps. I should also preface that for the most part money isn't an issue for equipment (reading through the wikis, it seems to cater to the idea of not spending much on the hobby (or lifestyle :) ).

I have purchased all of my equipment/ingredients from my LHBS (in Freehold, NJ, for those playing along at home). What I have noticed is that there are general instructions on how and what to do, but there really seems to be some ambiguity to what I "should" be doing.

My first recipe was called "Brewer's Red"

1lb Crystal 40L
1qt Pale Extract
1qt Amber Extract
Bittering Hops: 1.0 Chinook, 2/3oz Cascade, 1/3oz Williamette
Finishing Hops: 1/4 oz Williamette, 1/3oz Cascade, 1/3 Chinook, 3 Scoops Irish Moss
Dry Hops: .5 oz Centennial
Yeast: Burton Ale (modified from the original recipe, calling for Nottingham)

As per suggested by my LHBS, I boiled all 5 gallons of water, steeped my grains, added my extract, and hops at the appropriate times (from what I've been reading so far I've been going about right, save for the possible difference of opinion in how much water to boil at a time). After all was cooked, I chilled the wort in my sink with a nice ice bath (5 gallons took 20lbs of ice from 7-11 and whatever was in my freezer).

Again, as per my LHBS, I "as violently as possible w/o spilling" dumped the wort into the primary (bucket), added my liquid yeast to the top and closed 'er up.

In a week I added my finishing sugar and bottled.


In my noobness I tried a few bottles before it was ready (usually 1 or 2 a week, since I was so excited). It took a good 4 weeks for it to be what I considered good.

IMHO it could've been better. I felt like there was a lot of extra sediment taste (which did mellow with age).

What type of brewing was this? A basic grains and extract? (I see some terminology being throwing around like AG and PM, (I know the acronyms, just don't know exactly what they mean).

I have my second batch in primary (California Devilish Ale (told it resembles Pete's Wicked))

What is my next logical step to well, step up my game, so to speak?
Switching to a carboy? secondary fermentation?

As I said in my intro, I'd love to get into kegging as well.

Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

-Joe
 

DeathBrewer

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AG = All-grain (no extract)
PM = Partial Mash (mostly grains, some extract)
Extract = extract with or w/o steeping grains

you did an extract batch with steeping grains. The only thing i see you might want to change for this method is to use a smaller amount of water to steep your grains. (1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain is what i usually use)

steep at 150-160 F (definitely below 170) for about 30 minutes, THEN remove your grains and add water and extract to do your boil. this will ensure you keep the tannins to a minimum and get the most out of your grains.

the other thing you did was bottle WAY too soon. i would not bottle less than 3 weeks after brewing. it will give your beer time to finish it's fermentation and clarify somewhat, reducing the sediment and making a much tastier brew. you will also always get better results if you leave it in the bottle at least 3 weeks (IMO most beers taste best at at least 6 weeks in the bottle)

hope this helped. before you brew again, goto www.howtobrew.com and read the entire thing. it's short, sweet and to the point and will really help you out.

Sounds like your well on your way! Welcome to the hobby!!

:mug:
 

Kevin Dean

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DeathBrewer hit it on the head. :) If you aren't sure what tannins are, they're a compound in your beer that give it a very bitter taste, it's often unpleasant.

Support the "bottled too soon" sentiment.

As to where to go from here, Palmer's how to brew is good, but sometimes human advice is better than a book. Certainly ask questions here, even the ones you think might be stupid. Your LHBS seems like they're willing to help, they're also a good option.

The sediment you spoke of could VERY well be because it wasn't fermented nearly long enough. If, after your next batch, you still notice a sediment feel, a secondary fermenter is for you. Three weeks in the primary works well, and there's a trend (so I hear) towards skipping secondary all together... I LOVE my secondary. :)

If price isn't an issue, buy some commercial beers and experiment a little, you'd be surprised at how you begin appreciating beer, even stuff you didn't like 6 months ago. It also helps give you ideas of what to brew next.
 

mrk305

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Did your beer kit come with a bottling bucket? Mine did and I bought an extra lid and airlock and I used it as a secondary. I have more stuff now but that is how I started out. One week in primary, one more week in seconday and two weeks in bottles works for me.
 
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janzik

janzik

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My kit did come with a bottling bucket. I think the best thing for me to do next is to pick up a carboy for secondary fermentation. My California Devilish Ale will be 1 week old on Saturday night. So I'll stop by BA in Freehold tomorrow or Sunday, rack over to the carboy and start another batch...
 

BrewDey

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I second what's been said-also, the nice thing about a secondary is that it clears up your primary so that you can BREW MORE BEER...I've found that keeping the pipeline full is the best way to keep from rushing the process.
 

Kayos

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Aerate by splashing into your fermenter as mentioned, then shake the crap out of it even more. After yeast added, no more shaking. Sounds like you are good to go. nice job. doa few extract batches, then step up to a mini (or partial, same thing) mash. Easy instructions here
 
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janzik

janzik

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I'm going to pick up a carboy this afternoon or tomorrow morning. My gravity measured the same today and 2 days ago. Is there anything I need to know about racking beer to a carboy? (I've done it for wine). I have a dedicated beer auto-siphon that I will be using. Should I consider any form of further filtering? I will probably give this 2 weeks in the secondary (trying to follow the 1-2-3) then transfer to my bottling bucket.
 
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