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SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



TOMSOVERBAGHDAD posted:

So I did my first-ever brew (a saison that saq helped me with) today, and I think I screwed a couple things up:

1. I added the hops before hot-break.
2. We had to pour the beer from the kettle into the carboy.

Will either of these affect the beer in any real way?

No.

In fact #2 is a good way to do it, because you want oxygen in your beer cause the yeasts need it.

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SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



OMG I broke it!

Well, maybe not really. I brewed my third batch this weekend, it's an Belgian Honey Wheat for my wife. As of this morning (36 hours) there is no pressure on the airlock at all. I'm trying to RDWAHAHB, but

Some notes:
* It's my first fairly high-gravity beer (1.080)
* The Wyeast packet didn't bulge after being on the counter for ~3 hours on brew day.
* I actually managed to over-cool the wort. 120 in the pot then poured it over some ice. It felt pretty cold ( I don't have a thermometer that goes down that far). I would imagine it was about 50 when it was pitched.

I've heard 3 days is panic time, but.. my . I have a dry packet that came with the kit I can pitch in if I don't see any activity.

Advice?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Docjowles posted:

What are you fermenting in? If it's a bucket just take the lid off and look in. If there's kreusen (foam/poo poo on top) then it's working fine and there's probably just a poor seal on the bucket or airlock. If it looks exactly the same as when you pitched 3 days ago that's a bit worrisome.

It has a small foam building on the top of it, like, just a few bubbles. I think it's just an ultra delayed start. It smelled like wheat beer and yeast when I opened it.

I'm going to give it another 24 hours.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



TenjouUtena posted:

It has a small foam building on the top of it, like, just a few bubbles. I think it's just an ultra delayed start. It smelled like wheat beer and yeast when I opened it.

I'm going to give it another 24 hours.

It's happily bubbling away now! I suppose next time, as suggested, I'll build a starter.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



jailbait#3 posted:

Don't worry. I have been using the "no chill" method for a year with no ill effects. (http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/0...chnique-tested/)

Put hot wort in a sanitized bucket, seal, wait a day to add yeast.

How do you avoid building up a ton of DMS in your beer when you do this? I thought the entire point of quickly cooling wort was to avoid DMS?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Sirotan posted:

So holy crap, its been 8 days since I bottled my first homebrew and I just popped the first bottle. It...it tastes like beer! And good beer! Its quite hoppy but a bit sweet still. Amazing how much the taste has changed in only one week. I can't wait to see how it continues to develop.

Hurrah Beer! Welcome. Don't forget to start your second batch. Trust me.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Does anyone have a good site to find extract recipes? I want to start and ESB, an Porter and several other styles, but I can't seem to find a reliable source of starter recipes to adapt.


Jonked posted:

Opened up my first batch, and I'm pretty happy with it. It's not just drinkable, it's actually pretty good! The only problem is that I was a little disappointed by the lack of strong taste... it really mellows out in the bottle. I've got an IPA and a Red Ale brewing right now, but after that maybe I'll try something with a higher IBU?

What was your first batch?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



ItalicSquirrels posted:

I've always been curious how non-alcoholic beers are "brewed". Obviously there has to be some malt and some hops, but do they boil them, carbonate, and bottle immediately? Do they let them cool down and then sulfite them before carbonation? It seems pretty obvious they can't have any yeast in them or they'd explode on the shelf after creating some alcohol.



The big boys make normal beer then 'boil' off the Alcohol off (Around 180 degrees) until it qualifies as non alcoholic.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Prefect Six posted:

Finally got around to getting a gravity reading on my CDA/BIPA/whatever. It's at 1.020 with an OG of ~1.063. My OG was pretty far off the targeted 1.075. I didn't warm up the bottles of LME so I think I didn't get as much out of them as I should have.

However, the sample I drew was delicious, if not a bit malt forward and not as much hop character as I would have liked. Eitehr way, it's 5.5% abv, which is plenty for me. I'd much rather it be more quaffable than a huge beer.

I'm guessing starting out at 58 degrees probably held back fermentation a bit. First time using this freezer for fermentation control, so hopefully the next batch will be more on target. I did use a starter.

Maybe I won't try to raise the temp any more and go ahead and dry hop.

What is predicted FG? What kind of yeast did you use? Even if you pull it off the yeast cake, the yeasties will keep eating sugar and making alcohol even if you rack it to secondary, they'll just slow down. 1.020 seems like a high finish, and if you let it drop some more the yeasties will eat up the maltiness.

Are you dry hopping in secondary?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



So, I just opened the second batch of mine, an Kit Irish Red and it's.... Disappointing. It tastes watery, and doesn't have much body or much aroma. It's this kit: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/irish-red-ale.html I used the White Labs yeast this time. I know that I used too much fill(ice) when I went into the fermentor, so that explains some of it.

How can I avoid this in the future? I was a fuller mouth feel. Hoppier is easy to get, just more hops.

Also, it's under-carbed again. I'm thinking I might just start capping the 16 oz. bottles, instead of using the swing tops.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



A few tips just to add on:

If your bucket needs washing, just let it sit with some chlorine free OxyClean and warm water overnight (About half the volume they suggest for laundry is usually good. I use a scoop and a half for a full 6-7 gallons to clean my 5 gallon bucket.)

As noted, you only need to pasteurize if you're getting from a farmers market or pressing your own. Also, pasteurize at 155 for like 10 minutes, do not boil.

You probably do want to stir after you pitch yeast, especially if you had to pasteurize, since yeasties need air to do the magical voodoo that they do do.

I've heard terribly wildly varying opinions on how long Cider should sit.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



So, This is my first year brewing, and my basement is starting to maintain a nice 60* instead of the nice 68* it seemed to be holding at during the late summer and early fall. I'll still doing ales for the foreseeable future. My question is, should I be worried about trying to rig something up to warm my wort/beer as it ferments? I have an electric blanket I could easily wrap around the carboy. How would I prevent it from getting overly heated? Should I just let things ferment longer? I'm not adverse to a longer ferment. I would like to avoid buying something to work around this problem, but if I need too....

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Darth Goku Jr posted:

So i brewed an alt and this is my first time with a thermowell and a thermostat blah blah. long story short my target temp was 60 (i pitched at 65) but i accidentally let it get down to 50. will this adversely affect fermentation in any way?

I did this a couple of times (down to 50) and it just took a bit longer for the yeasties to start.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Local Yokel posted:

Brewed my first beer (an ESB) two days ago, and it's happily bubbling away next to me in a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket.

I want to brew another batch (have some smoked porter ingredients ready to go). I have an empty glass carboy.

Options:
A) Brew the porter and stick it in the carboy to ferment.
B) Rerack the ESB into the carboy after another day or two.
C) Need to drive to the local brew shop and buy another brew bucket yall.

Also- build or buy wort chiller? Using a friends for now, but I'll want to have my own.

If the carboy is 5 gallons, rack the ESB into the carboy after fermentation is done (It stops dropping in specific gravity / the airlock stops bubbling.

If the carboy is 6.5 gallons, then you can do either A or B.

I have 3 fermentation buckets though, so you could just do C since they're cheap and you'll probably want another anyway. If you do this, don't forget an airlock for the new bucket.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Some Google spelunking on oxygen permeability.

Here's Nalgene's guide to their plastic equipment. Page 58 has an permeability table by material.


This mentioned the Nalgene information above, but also says that in talking to them they assume most permeability is from the closure.

Interestingly, the PETG that better bottles are made out of seems to perform much better.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



My wing capper gave up after like 150 bottles. I'm not really pleased, but it's bent all out of shape. Anyone have a suggestion for a capper? I'm going to do a bench capper this time, as it seems easier. Going to a keg setup isn't an option for me at this time.

Also, does anyone know how to get recipes out of Beersmith that I can C&P here in any sort of pretty fashion?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



exant posted:

Of course, Grolsch stops coming in swing-tops the same time I start brewing.

Any good sources for swingtops? Or is an early investment in a capper a good idea?

To add on, I started with swing-top bottles too, thinking they'd be easier / better. They're not. It's a pain to 'cap' when you fill, I've only ever had sealing problems with my swingies, never my capped bottles. And they're was more fiddily to clean & sanitize.

I also, (given further up the thread) recommend that if you're going to pay money for a capper, get a bench capper, the wing ones don't work on many bottle types, I've found.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Docjowles posted:

Yeah PBW or oxyclean free are incredible for cleaning carboys. Mix in with hot water, leave it alone for a day, your poo poo is sparkling clean

oxyclean (free) is a miracle substance and I don't think I could brew without it. Cleans all my bottles up too!

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Daedalus Esquire posted:

That's pretty much what I have. Well, the burner, I ended up upgrading the pot pretty quick, but the burner itself is pretty solid. I use it for a 15 gallon pot now with no issues.

What was wrong with the pot? Just not big enough, or is it a bad brewpot or?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



So, I'm super psyched. My first self-written recipe came out.. pretty good!


code:
1 lb. 80L Carmel
1 lb. Smoked Malt
1 lb. Melanoiden
6 lbs LME Briess Gold
2 lbs DME Briess Gold

2 oz Summit @ 60 min.
1 oz Goldings @ 15 min
1 oz Goldings @ 2 min.

White Labs WLP #001
It's... VERY smokey. I think the next iteration I'm going to go to 3/4 or 1/2 lb. of smoked malt, a bit more LME/DME, and I'm goign to do 2 oz. of Saaz as a dry hop in secondary for a few days. I want some grassy notes on the front. But it's also pretty.

Anyway. brag brag.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Cpt.Wacky posted:

I'm going to be brewing my first batches soon (extract kits from morebeer) and I'd like to reuse beer bottles. I've been cleaning and saving them for a while and just realized that some are twist-off and some are pry-off. From what I've read online it seems like the handheld capper only works with pry-off bottles, but you can get a bench capper that works with twist-off bottles.

How reliable is reusing the twist-off bottles? Should I keep saving my twist-off bottles for the future when I get a bench capper, or just recycle them now?

I have crushed the glass off the tops of several screw-top bottles with my wing capper. Even not-quite-so-cheap beers.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Plastic Jesus posted:

Maybe I'm dumb or just haven't done it enough to be annoyed, but I don't really mind bottling and my daughter freaking loves helping. 80% of what I make goes into bombers or 750ml bottles so perhaps that makes it less tedious than using only 12oz bottles?

I don't mind bottling. I mind the work it is to wash / de-label / sanitize the bottles before the bottling.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Cpt.Wacky posted:

Are these big enough for primary fermentation of 5 gallon batches? I did my first brew over the weekend and my 5 gallon carboy didn't have enough head room, resulting in a foam volcano over night.

The other problem I had was steam condensation. I was brewing in the kitchen on the stove and I have a combo microwave/vent hood above it. The steam from boiling was condensing on the microwave and occasionally dripping back down into the pot. How do you prevent this? Boil with the lid on and babysit the temperature so it doesn't boil over? The vent sucks anyways so I'd love to tear it out and replace it with something better.

Last question, my kit had two addition of hops. Is it normal to have a separate mesh bag for each hop addition? The last addition went in without a bag and since it was pellets there's a ton of debris in the carboy now. Is that ok?

Your beer will be fine. My first batch I didn't use a strainer or hop bag or anything, and so all the hops from the batch all ended up in primary. It'll add hoppy flavor from being in there with it, but overall it should be fine.

I don't use hop bags, I love hops flavor and want as much as possible. Instead I use a mesh strainer over my bucket when I transfer from the kettle into the bucket. The problem with this method is that I can only strain about a gallon at a time without getting my sterilized spoon out and scraping the hop goop from the strainer.

One thing you probably don't want to do is try and move it into a second container to get it off the hops. You'll probably just end up stalling the fermentation.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Midorka posted:

Anyone familiar with this kit? It's $120 in my store and I'm considering picking it up as my first homebrew set-up.

That's almost is exactly the kit I started with. The cleaner is likely One Step / B-Brite / PBW... which isn't technically classified as a sanitizer anymore, so I'd suggest getting some Star San and distilled water (It's seriously cheap as crap). Also, I use a glass carboy, I don't find it too heavy or anything, but ymmv.

Only other thing you'll need is ingredients, bottles and a pot.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Docjowles posted:

Basically it's that plastic carboys have all the same advantages and none of the disadvantages. I think they are a different type of plastic and therefore have much less O2 permeability but I could be misremembering.

Just to be technical pedantic about this: PET has less O2 permeability. However, it lets in less O2 because most of the O2 that gets in your beer is almost all from around the sealed opening, and since the better bottles are carboy shaped, there's less area for O2 to leak into (The small #7 stopper vs. the whole diameter of the lid PLUS the grommet for the airlock).

I don't mind my glass carboy, but I just buy more buckets cause they're cheap and easy.

edit: I forgot my own research.

SoftNum fucked around with this message at Dec 13, 2011 around 17:11

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



PokeJoe posted:

It's been an interesting day, my mother's trying to set me up on a date with a furry ...


You can't just say this, you know.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Any extract brewers stock up on DME / LME for brewing? How do you find it? (for reference, I'm talking about buying 30-50 lbs of extract at once) I expect I'll make 7-12 batches before I convert to all grain brewing, so I'd like to stock up on ingredients instead of buying 3-5 lbs at a time.

Also, anyone have an extract Nut Brown recipe they particularly like? I have a party to 'cater' in July, and I'd like to make sure my recipes work well.

SoftNum fucked around with this message at Dec 18, 2011 around 01:57

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Cointelprofessional posted:

I bottled an imperial stout after adding rehydrated yeast and priming sugar to the bucket. I was concerned about bottle bombs because I had never done such a thing before and wasn't sure whether the increased yeast might cause trouble. It's been three weeks and I decided to check on the progress. I opened a 12 oz bottle that I filled near the end of the bucket and poured half a glass of foam. I also opened a 22oz bottle and it seemed a little under-carbonated.

I would like to dip the bottles in wax and give them away as gifts, but I don't give to give bottle bombs. I'm thinking about checking a few more to get a wider sample. If I think that they've carbonated too much, is there anything I can do other then perpetually storing them at 54 degrees?

Other thread I've looked at say I need to delicately open and drain pour them all.

How much sugar did you use for how big a batch? I have always been under the impression that if bottles were going to bomb, they would do it in weeks 2 and 3 of bottle conditioning.

Edit: vvv
2/3rds of a cup for a 5 gallon batch of beer is fine.

SoftNum fucked around with this message at Dec 20, 2011 around 21:57

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



From July till November:

  • IPA kit from Midwest
  • Irish Red kit from Midwest
  • Hefeweizen kit from Midwest w/ some changes.
  • "The Law" - Low hopped American Pale - serve to inlaws.
  • "Bacon Beer" - Intended to be a lightly smoked IPA - Oops
  • ESB
  • "Black Beer" - Basically a mild American IPA with Black Malt in. I seriously have no idea how to classify it.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Anyone know if Beersmith works like a beer diary? I like it for writing recipes and such, but I can't seem to figure out how to tell it that I made X on Y date, and to diary? Maybe I'm missing something. Anyone have anything else they use to diary?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Docjowles posted:

It has a separate folder called the Brew Log you can use for this purpose. In the toolbar there's a button that says Copy To Brew Log or something like that. Then you can edit that copy and make any batch-specific notes, mark what date it was brewed, etc.

Ah, That is awesome! Thanks!

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Docjowles posted:

For future batches, think about doing the primary in the carboy and just racking into the bucket to bottle.

Assuming the Carboy is 6.5 gal and not 5 gal like comes with most kits, yeah. I wouldn't primary a 5 gal batch in a 5 gal carboy.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



fishbone posted:

Anybody know why you can't buy clear food grade buckets for brewing? This would be the greatest thing ever. Better Bottles are great, but they kept the shape of a glass carboy which makes cleaning a bigger pain that it needs to be, and they're not easy to lug around without a brewhauler.

Take a white plastic 5 or 6 gallon bucket and mold it with clear food grade plastic with a handle and an accompanying lid, and you could make millions...or at least hundreds.

Because HDPE is the cheap food-grade plastic, and it's never clear (Milk jugs are about as clear as it can get). You can get PET and other such food-grade plastic sorts, but they tend to be pricey (Read: Better Bottles)

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Does having a larger regulator (20 or 30 psi) cause problems with no being able to use all the LP in your tank? Can you use a normal 20 lbs. tank?

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



I tried to wing-cap twist offs and I crushed the glass on the top of every bottle I tried. I haven't tried it yet with my bench capper, but I hear those do better.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



internet celebrity posted:

Awesome, thanks for clearing all that up. Now for a second newbie question: My porter has a bit of a banana smell to it, apparently this is yeast esters and it means I fermented too warm. Is there anything I can do at this point or am I going to be drinking a banana-y porter for a while?

Well, in theory you would dry hop or oak or vanilla or something in secondary to try and mask the taste, one supposes, but it's really not advisable (Most people encourage using / writing recipes intending to oak/dry hop/ etc.).

It's also worth noting that what you smell / taste now won't be what you get out of the bottle after three weeks with carbonation.

I'm sure you'll love it.

SoftNum fucked around with this message at Jan 10, 2012 around 20:12

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



grass posted:

Something that didn't get answered and it seems like it should be a easy question, but can you add plain white sugar into the mix to kick it up a notch? Some of the locals who I asked said Yes, but they add it into fresh pressed juice to make there wines and ciders, perhaps the enzymes in the fresh juice help?

Normal white cane sugar needs to be boiled in order for yeasties to be able to eat them.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Ratbones posted:

I'll keep that in mind for batch #2. Thanks for your help!

Also, if you're concerned about clearer beer, get yourself some Irish Moss and add 1 tsp to the boil at 15 minutes.

SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



Ratbones posted:

I'll get some Irish moss before my next batch, thanks. I did end up getting particles that were floating atop the beer into my carboy. They appear to be little bits of the malt itself. Can I just wrap some cheese cloth around the tip of the racking wand to prevent bits like that getting through? Is there any reason not to use some sort of filtration method like that (in cases like mine where there are little bits of grain matter) so long as it's properly sanitized?

You'll run into a problem where things will get caught in the siphon tube and clog your filter, making it run slow and/or stop altogether, meaning you'll have to stop, disassemble, clean, sanitize, then start again.

You will also cause more sheer, which will cause you to get more foam. I don't know if this will be significant or not, but it's certainly a thing.

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SoftNum
Mar 31, 2011



crazyfish posted:

6) Using commercial ice as topoff water (IIRC this risks infection)

I do this, actually, and haven't had an infection in like 10 batches or whatever. I pour boiling or just-off-boil wort onto the ice, which should kill the surface bacteria or whatever the store ice is infected with. At least that's what I tell myself, I'm probably just lucky. I just don't want to buy a wort chiller to fit this pot when I'm going to be getting a new pot in the summer.

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