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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: rdbobonis on November 06, 2012, 10:24:29 PM

Title: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 06, 2012, 10:24:29 PM
Hello all!!  I just started brewing this week and am hoping to be doing it properly.  I got a kit as a present from some friends and just brewed my first batch of American Amber Ale.  I'm using a beginner's kit from "Brewer's Best" and their recipie kit/ingredients etc.  I finished everything and put it in the fermenting bucket Sunday night.  By Monday morning it was bubbling a little.  Now today no bubbles at all.  I have been searching about this and mostly found that 1. it's not a big deal if not bubbling, 2. I should get a measurement with the hydrometer(which I'm not sure about) will opening the bucket to measure do any damage to the "beer" that is in the bucket?  The recipie states to let it sit for 4-6 days....is this the right amount of time? 

I know being new I'll have a lot more questions.  Thank you all in advance!

 ;)
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: blatz on November 06, 2012, 10:28:17 PM
what is the temperature where you are fermenting? 

what was the temperature of the wort when you pitched your yeast?

if it was warm (>72df) your beer may be mostly done fermenting by now.

hydrometer reading is going to be your best indication.

welcome to the board and the obsession hobby
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: anje on November 06, 2012, 10:35:28 PM
Probably not a big deal -- the buckets don't always seal up well enough that the CO2 being produced has to go out the airlock.

What temperature do you have the fermenter at? If you've got a thermometer strip attached to the side of the bucket, it'd be great to know what temperature that reads, too.

I'd wait more that 4-6 days, typically, before bottling the beer, though if fermentation is actually done (this is where the hydrometer comes in), it might be enough. My still-limited personal experience is that you'll get better ale if you just leave the beer in the primary fermenter for a couple weeks, maybe a month, then bottle it.

Oh, and for those hydrometer readings: get a wine thief or a turkey baster and a clear test cylinder that'll fit your hydrometer. Sanitize all those, transfer some of your beer in the cylinder, then put the hydrometer in that. It's easier to take your reading, and I think you'll risk contaminating your beer less than simply sticking the hydrometer (and your hand) into the fermenter directly. Don't pour the sample back in afterward. Taste it instead.   ;D
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 06, 2012, 10:37:07 PM
Yup. Counting bubbles is an extremely poor way to gauge your fermentation- especially from a bucket. Lift the lid and see what is happening. Report back.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 06, 2012, 10:46:47 PM
The temp is approx 74*...the temp on the bucket (I do have a strip thermometer on it) is around the same more along the 73* mark.  I'm hoping that is good   ???  THe temp when I put it in the bucket was around high 70's then I added water as per the directions/recipie, mixed then added the yeast as per directions. 
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 06, 2012, 10:54:15 PM
Ok, so I opened the bucket and it looks like it is still fermenting...there are bubbles being formed inside the brew still slow though...about the 6 days...should it be more of do I just check at day 5 and see what the hydrometer says??
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: weithman5 on November 06, 2012, 11:09:33 PM
let it go for a few days check hydrometer and then check again a few days later and compare.  also on the bucket though it is hard to see yeast forming on the bottom, you may be able to see crusting forming along the surface line at the bucket edge.  won't tell you that things are finished but will tell you that they occurred.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 06, 2012, 11:25:08 PM
Sounds good and yes there is stuff on the edge!!
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 07, 2012, 12:07:16 AM
After two days it should look like this or it might not have reached that point yet.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-r1ecLW16sQ0/UJmkLGLRMJI/AAAAAAAAAkI/lpf_z8JJar8/s800/20121106_175746.jpg)
Or if it has finished attenuating and the krausen has fallen back in it should look like this:
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-8qDHMGXYW-s/UJmk300s_rI/AAAAAAAAAkQ/jbSFYJCd9Dk/s800/20121106_180056.jpg)

I brewed this particular beer and pitched the yeast 10/26/12 late in the evening. I checked it on 11/2/12- last friday and the krausen had already dropped. Muntons' yeast is a beast! The US-05 pitched in the other bucket at the same time still has krausen though I'm sure it is done already.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 07, 2012, 01:09:18 AM
it kind of looks like the second one there.... :-\
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 07, 2012, 01:22:05 AM
So now you get to let it sit until next Tuesday. It isn't done 100% yet- the yeast are cleaning up after themselves and the beer is starting to condition. Is it drinkable now? Yes. But trust us we know what we are talking about. The beer needs to "mature" for a few days and it will be substantially better if you wait another week.

Then you can bottle. It will be in the bottle at least another week (two is better) before you should consider chilling and starting consumption.

So generally it'll take about 3 weeks from pitching the yeast into the wort before you should start drinking it.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 07, 2012, 01:25:36 AM
ok, cool.  For a second there I was concerned...the derections stated 6 days so i was not sure how accurate that would actually be...Thanks for the help!! 

I'm probably answering my own question here but It is better to get ingredients locally thatn from kits as I had for this one right? 
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 07, 2012, 01:31:32 AM
ok, cool.  For a second there I was concerned...the derections stated 6 days so i was not sure how accurate that would actually be...Thanks for the help!! 

I'm probably answering my own question here but It is better to get ingredients locally thatn from kits as I had for this one right?

Simply a matter of opinion and quality. Some kits can be years old and suck or still make great beer. As your skills and knowledge grows you will settle on what works for you. Fresher is better in most cases- especially with yeast and liquid malt extract.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: garc_mall on November 07, 2012, 01:41:18 AM
Unless you can get ingredients truly local, meaning the ingredients are actually produced locally, not just purchased locally, I don't think it matters too much. Fresh is good as euge said, especially for liquid malt extract. If you get liquid yeast shipped, make sure they can keep it cold (some places ship with ice packs for refrigeration), and try to get hops that are vacuum packed. I live in WA, so I can get all local ingredients (Hops, Malt, Yeast) and have in the past, its nice to have very fresh ingredients.

IMO, the best reason to buy from your LHBS is to support local businesses. I also like that I can make up a beer while I am in the store, and sometimes run it by another homebrewer for their taste imagination to "take a sip" of it.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 08, 2012, 04:13:31 PM
So I did a Hydro reading and got 1.014 at 70*f....so pretty much around 1.016....this is good?  Recipie states 1.012-1.015 for the FG.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 08, 2012, 04:20:46 PM
So 99% of the fermentation has occurred. Congratulations on a successful ferment! Now let it sit and finish because it isn't done yet even if it doesn't drop any more points.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 08, 2012, 04:22:09 PM
Thank you.  So by Tuesday I should be good to bottle??  I hope.....
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 08, 2012, 04:23:49 PM
Thank you.  So by Tuesday I should be good to bottle??  I hope.....

Sure. Give it a shot! ;D
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 12, 2012, 07:34:34 PM
OK, bottling today at some point...what is the best way to get the bottles ready?  I've heard of baking at 350 for 2 hours and of running in dish washer.....  :-\
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: denny on November 12, 2012, 07:39:47 PM
OK, bottling today at some point...what is the best way to get the bottles ready?  I've heard of baking at 350 for 2 hours and of running in dish washer.....  :-\

Assuming they're clean,just sanitize with some Starsan or iodophor.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 12, 2012, 07:40:16 PM
OK, bottling today at some point...what is the best way to get the bottles ready?  I've heard of baking at 350 for 2 hours and of running in dish washer.....  :-\

I make sure mine are rinsed out really well then run them through the "sanitize" setting in the DW. Once they have cooled I just open the DW, set the bottling bucket on top and fill the bottles. The door catches any spillage (it will happen).

Or you could dunk them in starsan or iodophor if you don't trust the DW. I've done the oven method and always lost a couple bottles each time so don't recommend this approach.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: morticaixavier on November 12, 2012, 10:35:28 PM
OK, bottling today at some point...what is the best way to get the bottles ready?  I've heard of baking at 350 for 2 hours and of running in dish washer.....  :-\

I make sure mine are rinsed out really well then run them through the "sanitize" setting in the DW. Once they have cooled I just open the DW, set the bottling bucket on top and fill the bottles. The door catches any spillage (it will happen).

Or you could dunk them in starsan or iodophor if you don't trust the DW. I've done the oven method and always lost a couple bottles each time so don't recommend this approach.

I haven't bottled a whole batch in a while but the last two or three times I did the oven method and I liked it. yes you lose a couple but I sort of consider that QC. If it broke from heating and cooling there was a flaw in the glass and I don't want my beer in it anyway. In fact I have found the bubble that caused the break in all three bottles that broke. It probably wouldn't have broke at 2 atmospheres but...

I always include 5 or 6 more bottles than I think I will need for this reason when useing the oven. I like being able to put them in the oven the night before and then pull them out and fill in the morning.

I never had a problem with idophor either though so...

**EDIT** Wow! I said over instead of oven in EVERY case. wasn't even autocorrect.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: anje on November 12, 2012, 11:09:29 PM
Might not be something you can do this time, but if your bottles are clean, I really like using a wine sulfiter to spray Star-san inside the bottles. Then just put them on a bottle tree (also spritzed down with Star-san) to drip out the excess. Dunk your caps in some sanitizer solution, too (I keep them in a lingerie laundry bag to keep them together), and you're all set.

I don't use my dishwasher because my water is amazingly hard and therefore I really need to have a rinse aid in there. Rinse agents like Jet Wash aren't conducive to having a good head on your beer.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 14, 2012, 08:40:03 PM
Thanks all!!  Now 2 weeks until I can drink them....
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 14, 2012, 11:33:53 PM
Thanks all!!  Now 2 weeks until I can drink them....

Congrats!

Try one on Sunday or Monday to see how the carbonation progresses. Some folks bottle one beer in a 20oz soda bottle as a control. Just squeeze all the head-space's air out, tighten the top and you can watch it swell.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: garc_mall on November 16, 2012, 05:02:09 PM
I have found that my 12oz bottles become carbonated quicker than bombers. If I have a 12oz bottle with a low gravity beer, I can get fully carbed beer within a week. This was most important when I was a new brewer and didn't have the patience to wait.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: euge on November 16, 2012, 06:04:07 PM
I have found in general- much as in the main fermentation it is done within 3 days unless it is too cold. This can vary depending on factors but it's good to wait at least a week. I've found that if very little yeast gets into the bottling bucket- say after crashing or crashing a secondary or attempts to strip the yeast it will take much longer. Much longer.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 27, 2012, 11:08:13 PM
OK beer is done, came out OK...but have a question....

Is there supposed to be stuff at the bottom of the bottles?? :-\
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: morticaixavier on November 27, 2012, 11:19:18 PM
OK beer is done, came out OK...but have a question....

Is there supposed to be stuff at the bottom of the bottles?? :-\

yes. there should be a thin layer of whiteish/tannish yeast sediment. If you pour carefully you should be able to leave most of it behind with minimal beer loss. also if you chill the bottles for a while before pouring it will become more dense and compacted and will be easier to leave behind.
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: HydraulicSammich on November 27, 2012, 11:20:55 PM
Oh ya, you have done well.  Got yeast in the bottom of the bottle as should be.  Crack one and give it a try and let us know.  Congrats!
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 27, 2012, 11:23:50 PM
sweet!!  Came out ok... can"t wait to make first batch!!
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: morticaixavier on November 27, 2012, 11:31:07 PM
sweet!!  Came out ok... can"t wait to make first batch!!

thought this WAS your first batch. better get going on your second batch. this one won't last long.  ;D
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: rdbobonis on November 28, 2012, 12:01:00 AM
yea, meant next....damn beer...
Title: Re: New to brewing
Post by: garc_mall on November 28, 2012, 02:42:25 AM
Apparently we forgot to give you that tidbit of advice. I usually recommend to new brewers to get a new batch started as soon as the first go into bottles. I did 3 batches my first three weeks, and as long as I maintain a 1 batch per month ratio, I always have some variety to try and always have enough beer even to bring to parties.