Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: chadjjones89 on March 13, 2013, 02:34:57 AM

Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: chadjjones89 on March 13, 2013, 02:34:57 AM
Good evening, ladies and gents,

My name is Chad, and I'm going to attempt my first brew in the next couple of weeks. I've gotten the Beginner's Brewing Kit from Midwest Supplies and will be brewing the Irish Red Ale recipe. I am reading Homebrewing for Dummies (a brewer at Abita recommended it to me a few weeks ago when I visited the brewery) and a friend is bringing me How to Brew by John J. Palmer so I can brush up on the basics before I begin.

I know I'm going to have some snags along the way, but i want to cut down on those as much as possible so I can have a good product my first try. Are there any problems I should beware of or any hints you may have for a newbie? Anything at all would be super helpful.

Thanks!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: tschmidlin on March 13, 2013, 03:00:45 AM
Control your fermentation temperature.  Keep it on the low end of the recommended range.

Skip a secondary fermentation - they are generally not needed, but many books still recommend them.

Rehydrate dried yeast if using it, but don't make a starter.  Make a starter for liquid yeast.  Use an online pitching rate calculator (eg mrmalty.com).

Get a good thermometer.  Trust it, but not too much.

Start your second batch right away.  The first will be gone before you know it.

Most importantly, relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

Cheers, and welcome to the hobby and the forum.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: jamminbrew on March 13, 2013, 03:32:46 AM
One thing to add to Dr. Schmidlin's advise:  Good sanitation practices. I use star-san, and I can tell you, don't fear the foam. In small doses, it will not harm your beer.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: garc_mall on March 13, 2013, 05:09:37 AM
I agree with Tom.

Especially on making sure you make your second batch quickly. You will be so ready to drink your first batch that making a second will distract you for long enough to get your first batch ready to drink.

Also, relax. You will make beer. It will not be the best beer you have ever tasted, but it will be beer. Your next batch will be better. Relax.

Good Luck, and welcome to the obsession.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: brewmasternpb on March 13, 2013, 05:11:38 AM
One bit of advice I can give: never stop trying to better your beer.  I don't know how many times I hear homebrewers (myself included) say, "I don't do that (insert established brewing practice here) and my beer tastes fine".  Truth is, give it a year, and you won't want to make "fine" beer, you want to make great beer.  Good luck!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: brewmasternpb on March 13, 2013, 05:14:27 AM
Tom mentions a few of these, but here is a great reference:
http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2012/02/11-mistakes-every-new-homebrewer-makes.html
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: garc_mall on March 13, 2013, 05:19:20 AM
One bit of advice I can give: never stop trying to better your beer.  I don't know how many times I hear homebrewers (myself included) say, "I don't do that (insert established brewing practice here) and my beer tastes fine".  Truth is, give it a year, and you won't want to make "fine" beer, you want to make great beer.  Good luck!

I agree with this, but caution that when you are trying to better your beer, pay attention to what actually betters your beer and what just sounds like it will better your beer. We talk about how your system may vary because it is true. I also think this is more of a problem for advanced homebrewers as opposed to those on their first 1-10 batches...
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: brewmasternpb on March 13, 2013, 05:25:28 AM
I agree with this, but caution that when you are trying to better your beer, pay attention to what actually betters your beer and what just sounds like it will better your beer. We talk about how your system may vary because it is true. I also think this is more of a problem for advanced homebrewers as opposed to those on their first 1-10 batches...[/quote]

This is true, your first 1-10 (1-100 for me) batches are spent figuring your system out.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: Slowbrew on March 13, 2013, 11:14:52 AM
Choose your water carefully.  If you are going to use tap water then taste it warm.  If you can detect any off flavors in your plain tap water you may want to use distilled or RO water (for the first batch at least). 

If your water tastes good then go ahead and use it.  I put the water I'll need in buckets the night before I brew and let it sit so any chlorine the city adds can gas out.

Relax and have fun!  Follow the recipe that came with your kit.  You'll do fine and the beer will be good.

Paul
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: tomsawyer on March 13, 2013, 11:51:16 AM
Theres a free online copy of Palmer's How To Brew.

I'd also check out the BJCP online style guide to read about how styles are supposed to taste.

Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: majorvices on March 13, 2013, 11:53:13 AM

Rehydrate dried yeast if using it, but don't make a starter.  Make a starter for liquid yeast.  Use an online pitching rate calculator (eg mrmalty.com).


Always something to debate. ;) You don't really need to rehydrate yeast, especially in low gravity worts, and I would recommend not worrying with rehydrating it if its your first few batches. I would recommend using dried yeast your first few batches, or if you use liquid yeast, pitch 2 or three vials/packs so that you are sure you are pitching enough yeast. Dried yeast is easy to use and one packet of Fermentis dried yeast should have enough active cells to ferment up to a 1.065 batch even without rehydrating.

Have fun and good luck. You save so much money by making it yourself *snicker* ;P
Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: majorvices on March 13, 2013, 11:54:36 AM
Oh, and do yourself a huge favor and pick up a good homebrewing book like Palmer's "How to Brew". Yeah, there's a free online version but you will want the hard copy. Plus it is updated.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: tomsawyer on March 13, 2013, 11:54:39 AM
If you choose to rehydrate (I personally don't but it is a good idea) don't let it sit in the water (boiled then cooled) for more than 15min.

And yes I own a hard copy of HTB its that good.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: donsmitty on March 13, 2013, 12:38:56 PM
Tom mentions a few of these, but here is a great reference:
http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2012/02/11-mistakes-every-new-homebrewer-makes.html

Thanks for the link.  I guess I did pretty good on my first 2 batches but need to aerate more and do some homework on pitching yeast for high gravity brews.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: erockrph on March 13, 2013, 12:49:47 PM
#1 - Sanitation - make sure anything that touches your wort/beer is properly sanitized

#2 - Fermentation - pitch the right amount of yeast (stick to dry yeast until you're ready to start making yeast starters), and control your fermentation temperature (mid-60's F is a good temp range for most ales. Keep in mind that fermentation produces heat, and the actual beer temp will be a few degrees warmer than ambient temp)

#3 - Quality Ingredients - use the freshest ingredients you can find. The major online shops do enough volume where you can be pretty confident that their extract and grains are pretty fresh. Keep in mind that crushed grains and liquid extract lose their freshness fairly quick. Don't buy a kit and sit on it for a few months before brewing.

#4 - Take detailed notes - it's hard to know what you did right, did wrong, or want to change for next time unless you know exactly what you did this time. Brewdays rarely go perfectly, especially when you start. There's always room for improvement, even for the advanced brewer.

#5 - Don't overcarbonate - your kit probably came with 5oz of corn sugar for bottle priming. This is usually a bit much for most beers if you use the whole thing. Use an online calculator and measure out the correct amount for the carbonation level you want. Dissolve it in some boiling water and mix it into the beer in your bottling bucket with a sanitized spoon. If it is not mixed in evenly you will have some flat bottles and some overcarbonated bottles. Here is a good calculator I use: http://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/ (http://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/)

#6 - Whatever you do wrong, always remember that malt + yeast = beer. The vast majority of the time you will end up with a tasty brew even if something goes wrong. Ride it out, enjoy your results, and keep in mind that you can probably do it even better the next time.

Welcome to the hobby obsession!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: davidgzach on March 13, 2013, 01:05:20 PM
Everything above except the not rehydrating yeast comment.  Sorry Keith!   ;)  Love this debate....

I would also go on YouTube and check out a few brewing videos.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  It's supposed to be fun!

Dave
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: fmader on March 13, 2013, 02:28:54 PM
#5 - Don't overcarbonate - your kit probably came with 5oz of corn sugar for bottle priming. This is usually a bit much for most beers if you use the whole thing. Use an online calculator and measure out the correct amount for the carbonation level you want. Dissolve it in some boiling water and mix it into the beer in your bottling bucket with a sanitized spoon. If it is not mixed in evenly you will have some flat bottles and some overcarbonated bottles. Here is a good calculator I use: http://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/ (http://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/)

+1

This is great advice that usually isn't given upfront. I learned this the hard way when I started. I thought the more priming sugar, the merrier. Where in fact, 5 oz of priming sugar can result in a sweet science project volcano of beer. I now use the minimum suggested volume of carbonation when calculating the amount of priming sugar to use. This was suggested to me on this forum. It hasn't failed yet. Usually for an American ale, I use around 3-3.5 oz of priming sugar per five gallon batch, depending on the temperature of beer.

Keep things clean, keep good notes, and remember, your beer will only get better. If you are anything like me, you'll be your biggest critic. It's beer... It's gotta be good... It's beer that you created... That is awesome beer!

Welcome to a wonderful hobby and happy brewing!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: yso191 on March 13, 2013, 03:27:40 PM
Everyone has given great advice.  I'd just add one thing: look up your local homebrew club and see if someone can hang out with you while you brew, or see if you can watch one of them brew.  They'll be able to answer a ton of questions and help you get organized, avoid issues, etc.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: chadjjones89 on March 13, 2013, 04:11:44 PM
This is all really great stuff, thank you so much! I'm picking up The Complete Joy of Homebrewing (3rd ed.) as well as The Homebrewer's Companion.


I've also started a blog to help me keep track of my experiences so I when I inevitably have some mistakes, I'll bring the issues here.

Again, thank you so much for being so helpful and friendly, it's good to know I've got a group of people to lean on for advice while I'm getting started with all this.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: majorvices on March 13, 2013, 04:26:59 PM
Everything above except the not rehydrating yeast comment.  Sorry Keith!   ;)  Love this debate....

I would also go on YouTube and check out a few brewing videos.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  It's supposed to be fun!

Dave

It's fine. But try it side by side and see if you notice a difference on a beer under 1.065 - hint: you cant! ;) One of the benefits of doing 12 gallon batches in 2 different carboys was all the side by side experiments I was able to do (still do occasionally) and tried this particular one many, many times. Sometimes the rehydrated took off a little faster but I never noticed a flavor difference so had to ask myself .... what's the point? Currently occasionally use US-05 on higher gravity IIPAs and I do rehydrate for that but realistically all you have to do is pitch an extra packet to be safe.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: euge on March 13, 2013, 04:35:53 PM
Don't drink while you are brewing. And stick to your plan. I usually wait until the beer is chilling to pour myself a cold one.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: bluesman on March 13, 2013, 04:36:03 PM
Some of the best advice I've seen is in this thread. Obviously, there's a lot to learn, and experience can be biggest resource/asset. Take your time and don't hesitate to ask us for advice/recommendations. How to Brew is a great book. Keep everything that the beer touches AFTER boiling clean/sanitized and ferment at 64-68F.

Most important of all...have fun with it. :)

Welcome to forum and the hobby!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: tschmidlin on March 13, 2013, 07:42:35 PM
Everything above except the not rehydrating yeast comment.  Sorry Keith!   ;)  Love this debate....

I would also go on YouTube and check out a few brewing videos.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  It's supposed to be fun!

Dave

It's fine. But try it side by side and see if you notice a difference on a beer under 1.065 - hint: you cant! ;) One of the benefits of doing 12 gallon batches in 2 different carboys was all the side by side experiments I was able to do (still do occasionally) and tried this particular one many, many times. Sometimes the rehydrated took off a little faster but I never noticed a flavor difference so had to ask myself .... what's the point? Currently occasionally use US-05 on higher gravity IIPAs and I do rehydrate for that but realistically all you have to do is pitch an extra packet to be safe.
I have done the same, sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't.  But I think it is important that people learn best practices, they can deviate from them later when they think they know what they're doing. ;)
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: denny on March 13, 2013, 07:48:44 PM
I agree, Tom.  My theory has always been "Learn the rules so you can decide which ones you can break!".
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: fmader on March 13, 2013, 07:49:47 PM
Don't drink while you are brewing. And stick to your plan. I usually wait until the beer is chilling to pour myself a cold one.

I completely disagree with this bit of advice, but aside from driving, there's not much I don't do with a solid beer in hand. My brew day usually starts with an omelet and a Breakfast Stout  :P

A book that I found most beneficial, especially transitioning to all grain and creating my own recipes was Designing Great Beers by Daniels.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: denny on March 13, 2013, 08:25:25 PM
Don't drink while you are brewing. And stick to your plan. I usually wait until the beer is chilling to pour myself a cold one.

I completely disagree with this bit of advice, but aside from driving, there's not much I don't do with a solid beer in hand. My brew day usually starts with an omelet and a Breakfast Stout  :P

A book that I found most beneficial, especially transitioning to all grain and creating my own recipes was Designing Great Beers by Daniels.

To each their own.  I found many years ago that I make fewer mistakes and the cleanup is easier if I don't drink when I brew.  But I almost always start by 9 AM and finish by 2, so there's plenty of time for beer afterwards.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: Slowbrew on March 13, 2013, 09:25:57 PM
Don't drink while you are brewing. And stick to your plan. I usually wait until the beer is chilling to pour myself a cold one.

I completely disagree with this bit of advice, but aside from driving, there's not much I don't do with a solid beer in hand. My brew day usually starts with an omelet and a Breakfast Stout  :P

A book that I found most beneficial, especially transitioning to all grain and creating my own recipes was Designing Great Beers by Daniels.

To each their own.  I found many years ago that I make fewer mistakes and the cleanup is easier if I don't drink when I brew.  But I almost always start by 9 AM and finish by 2, so there's plenty of time for beer afterwards.

Same for me Denny.  Besides that, my wife gets a bit upset if I start drinking at 5:30 in the morning.   ;)

Paul
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: fugglupagus on March 13, 2013, 10:18:47 PM
Read lots.  Helps make you smarterer.

Drink beer, try hard to taste it.  Even if it’s not yours, it’s still research for future recipes and how to make your current one better.

Let the significant other know that at some point there will be an “incident” involving a mess on the stove, in the pantry, in the fireplace, on the ceiling, etc.  Also let her (or him) know that her (or his) nylon stockings may be repurposed for dry hopping and your family soup pot may soon be called “mash tun” or “hot liquor tank”.  You may also want to start drafting your explanation as to why you really do need three (or more) refrigerators, a wondrous thingy called a “keezer” in a prominent location in your living quarters, a Barbie doll tap handle, and why you absolutely have to brew three weekends in a row so you can have enuf beer ready for Groundhog’s Day even tho it’s six months away.
Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: majorvices on March 14, 2013, 01:05:37 AM
Everything above except the not rehydrating yeast comment.  Sorry Keith!   ;)  Love this debate....

I would also go on YouTube and check out a few brewing videos.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  It's supposed to be fun!

Dave

It's fine. But try it side by side and see if you notice a difference on a beer under 1.065 - hint: you cant! ;) One of the benefits of doing 12 gallon batches in 2 different carboys was all the side by side experiments I was able to do (still do occasionally) and tried this particular one many, many times. Sometimes the rehydrated took off a little faster but I never noticed a flavor difference so had to ask myself .... what's the point? Currently occasionally use US-05 on higher gravity IIPAs and I do rehydrate for that but realistically all you have to do is pitch an extra packet to be safe.
I have done the same, sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't.  But I think it is important that people learn best practices, they can deviate from them later when they think they know what they're doing. ;)

Except its not really a "rule". On a brick of us05 it specifically says "rehydrate or alternatively sprinkle slowly onto wort".

Is it best to rehydrate, theoretically yes. But will a new brewer who is just getting the hang of brewing and sanitation probably be better off just pitching the dry yeast and not worrying about rehydrating? IMO yes. Too many new brewers have also made the mistake of rehydrating top warm and killing the yeast.
Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: denny on March 14, 2013, 01:07:21 AM
Dan Listermann mentioned 15 years ago that he had advised his customers to not rehydrate.  He found that too many new brewers were using too high a temp and killing the yeast.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: bboy9000 on March 14, 2013, 01:35:26 AM
Dan Listermann mentioned 15 years ago that he had advised his customers to not rehydrate.  He found that too many new brewers were using too high a temp and killing the yeast.

Not trying to hijack a thread here but what temperature would you consider too high for rehydrating yeast?  I've read threads here recommending temperatures well above manufacturer's instructions.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: euge on March 14, 2013, 02:02:55 AM
I'd say over 110F. Usually I'll rehydrate at 95.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: cornershot on March 14, 2013, 02:44:54 AM
Hey Chad!
Welcome to the wonderful world of beer brewing! 
Trips to the bottle shop are now "research".
Beer festivals are now "research".
Brewery tours are now "research".
Trips abroad are now "research".
You get the idea. Have fun!
Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: majorvices on March 14, 2013, 04:34:14 PM

Drink beer, try hard to taste it.  Even if it’s not yours, it’s still research for future recipes and how to make your current one better.


This has kinda become my new mantra: In art you have to be able to SEE to know how to produce great art. In brewing you have to be able to TASTE to create great beer. There's all the skills that go along with both crafts as well, but seeing and tasting are key.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: davidgzach on March 14, 2013, 06:26:37 PM
Everything above except the not rehydrating yeast comment.  Sorry Keith!   ;)  Love this debate....

I would also go on YouTube and check out a few brewing videos.

Most of all, enjoy the process.  It's supposed to be fun!

Dave

It's fine. But try it side by side and see if you notice a difference on a beer under 1.065 - hint: you cant! ;) One of the benefits of doing 12 gallon batches in 2 different carboys was all the side by side experiments I was able to do (still do occasionally) and tried this particular one many, many times. Sometimes the rehydrated took off a little faster but I never noticed a flavor difference so had to ask myself .... what's the point? Currently occasionally use US-05 on higher gravity IIPAs and I do rehydrate for that but realistically all you have to do is pitch an extra packet to be safe.
I have done the same, sometimes you can tell, sometimes you can't.  But I think it is important that people learn best practices, they can deviate from them later when they think they know what they're doing. ;)

Except its not really a "rule". On a brick of us05 it specifically says "rehydrate or alternatively sprinkle slowly onto wort".

Is it best to rehydrate, theoretically yes. But will a new brewer who is just getting the hang of brewing and sanitation probably be better off just pitching the dry yeast and not worrying about rehydrating? IMO yes. Too many new brewers have also made the mistake of rehydrating top warm and killing the yeast.

Sorry guys, I was totally being cheeky when I posted that and busted on Keith.   ::)

I personally think it's a preference thing.  But it will continue to be a great homebrew forum debate!

Dave
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: hellbound on March 14, 2013, 06:41:13 PM
Welcome to the obsession.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: chadjjones89 on March 16, 2013, 02:48:40 AM
Thanks, guys! Still waiting on my brew kettle, unfortunately, but as soon as it comes in, the brewing starts. For an Irish Red, how long should I be shooting for in primary fermentation?

Also, I'm having trouble regulating the temperature in the room where I'll be fermenting- I can get it to 70, but I can't get it much lower. I'll be doing the fermentation in a spare bathroom (not trying to have any excessive messes should something go wrong), so would it be okay to keep a few inches of slightly chilled water in the tub to help regulate? I know that's a rather odd solution, but that's the best I've come up with.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: euge on March 16, 2013, 02:57:53 AM
Not an odd solution but very effective. You can freeze water bottles and add them to the tub.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: hellbound on March 16, 2013, 03:20:04 AM
Thanks, guys! Still waiting on my brew kettle, unfortunately, but as soon as it comes in, the brewing starts. For an Irish Red, how long should I be shooting for in primary fermentation?

Fermentation times depend on the OG of the beer and what the FG is suppose to be, not the style itself, however, for an Irish Red, I'd say leave it in the primary for 3, maybe 4 weeks then bottle, should be fine. I'd wait till my FG was stable, meaning that a gravity sample read the same over a 3 day period of time, that's how you know a beer is done fermenting, after you get there, just wait another day or 2 and package.

Also, I'm having trouble regulating the temperature in the room where I'll be fermenting- I can get it to 70, but I can't get it much lower. I'll be doing the fermentation in a spare bathroom (not trying to have any excessive messes should something go wrong), so would it be okay to keep a few inches of slightly chilled water in the tub to help regulate? I know that's a rather odd solution, but that's the best I've come up with.

It's actually a great solution, it's called making a swamp cooler. just fill the tub to about an inch under the wort line, with cool water, keep a thermometer nearby, and you can add frozen water bottles to cool, or warm water to raise, just remember that ambient temps aren't the same as wort temps. During active fermentation, the wort temp could be as high as ~10 degs higher than the ambient temps.


Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: chadjjones89 on March 16, 2013, 01:49:23 PM
Okay, guys- another question. I don't have a wort chiller, and I don't currently have the resources to make my own (I feel like I could just as easily make one as buy one), so I'm trying to find a temporary solution to that. Would it be okay to drop the temp of my wort by adding ice, or do I really need to get a wort chiller first?
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: dudesbrews on March 16, 2013, 02:32:00 PM
5 gallon batch?   If your kettle will fit in the sink give it a nice ice bath.  I keep the lid off until the temp gets under 140 degrees. Then I put the lid on, soak a towel in the ice cold water and drape it over the top. I can usually chill down to pitching temp within 45 minutes.

Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: euge on March 16, 2013, 03:02:28 PM
Once you get it down to 100F or so you can drop frozen sanitized plastic bottles in to drop the wort into the 60's. Of course I use an immersion chiller to get it to 100 first, but just placing the kettle in the bath tub full of cold water and giving it a stir periodically will work in a pinch.

Also, I like to use the 16oz eco-type water bottles whose labels come off easily without a bunch of adhesive remaining on the bottles. Aquafina is my preferred brand but it my be different in your neck of the woods. ;)
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: erockrph on March 16, 2013, 09:30:03 PM
I have a double sink that is mounted under the counter. If you have this layout you can do what I do. I close the drain on one side and place the kettle in it. Then I put my faucet in the basin facing the kettle and turn the cold water on. The water fills the basin and flows over to the other side to drain. Kind of works like an immersion chiller in reverse. I get 3 gallons down to pitching temp in 30-40 minutes.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: Wort-H.O.G. on March 16, 2013, 09:43:18 PM
Good evening, ladies and gents,

My name is Chad, and I'm going to attempt my first brew in the next couple of weeks. I've gotten the Beginner's Brewing Kit from Midwest Supplies and will be brewing the Irish Red Ale recipe. I am reading Homebrewing for Dummies (a brewer at Abita recommended it to me a few weeks ago when I visited the brewery) and a friend is bringing me How to Brew by John J. Palmer so I can brush up on the basics before I begin.

I know I'm going to have some snags along the way, but i want to cut down on those as much as possible so I can have a good product my first try. Are there any problems I should beware of or any hints you may have for a newbie? Anything at all would be super helpful.

Thanks!

This is a very nice recipe. I brewed it several times as sold, and then switched it up with Irish ale yeast. I find it comes out a bit like smithwicks.....nice roast. 65-66f worked really well for me, and finished up dry around 1.009. Good luck!
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: WDE97 on March 16, 2013, 10:14:41 PM
I have a double sink that is mounted under the counter. If you have this layout you can do what I do. I close the drain on one side and place the kettle in it. Then I put my faucet in the basin facing the kettle and turn the cold water on. The water fills the basin and flows over to the other side to drain. Kind of works like an immersion chiller in reverse. I get 3 gallons down to pitching temp in 30-40 minutes.

Just a word of caution if you go this route. I used to do this with my old sink because the divider between the basins was lower than the outer rim, allowing the water to flow into the other basin and drain out. Then I had a nice new stainless double sink installed and didn't notice that the divider was the same height as the outer rim of the sink. Uh oh! The one basin filled up and water started seeping out between the sink and countertop in addition to draining into the other basin, flooding my cabinets underneath. That's when I decided to buy an immersion chiller.  ;D
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: chadjjones89 on March 24, 2013, 01:29:53 AM
Okay guys, next question- preferred sanitizing agent? I've been thumbing through "How to Brew" and I think I have a good handle on the different methods and the various cleansers, but what is your personal favorite? Have you ever had one impart an off flavor to your beer, and if so, do you know why (something you did, or something that is characteristic of the cleaner)?
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: klickitat jim on March 24, 2013, 01:35:55 AM
Star san. Easy

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: First time Homebrewer
Post by: denny on March 24, 2013, 01:39:47 AM
Star san. Easy

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

+1.060
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: fmader on March 24, 2013, 02:33:18 AM
I'll be the one against the grain here. I use OneStep. It's easy, cheap and has never failed me. I've never used Star San and have thought about trying, but I figure there's no reason to fix something that isn't broke.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: cornershot on March 24, 2013, 12:28:33 PM
Star san. Make a 5 gallon bucket full with distilled or ro water, keep the lid on, dip only clean items, and as long as the pH is below 3(i think?) it will retain it's magic which in my experience can be months. Also fill a spray bottle for the stuff you can't dip.It is no-rinse, biodegradable, environmentally- friendly, and correct me if I'm wrong- the residue/foam is a yeast nutrient. I brew 199 gallons a year on one 8 ounce bottle.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: dudesbrews on March 24, 2013, 02:01:00 PM
Star San for me.  Used to use iodophor but didn't like the way it stains my equipment (and counter tops).
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: denny on March 24, 2013, 05:22:50 PM
I'll be the one against the grain here. I use OneStep. It's easy, cheap and has never failed me. I've never used Star San and have thought about trying, but I figure there's no reason to fix something that isn't broke.

Frank, I felt the same way about One step until it did fail me.  Once I went to Oxiclean/PBW/Iodophor/StarSan I realized how superior they were to One Step.  I know you have a lot of the stuff to work through, but once you do, I encourage you to try some of the other ones.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: donsmitty on March 24, 2013, 05:55:26 PM
Star San for me as well.  I'm new to brewing but everyone I have talked to pointed me to Star San.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: micah h on March 24, 2013, 08:23:46 PM
Okay, guys- another question. I don't have a wort chiller, and I don't currently have the resources to make my own (I feel like I could just as easily make one as buy one), so I'm trying to find a temporary solution to that. Would it be okay to drop the temp of my wort by adding ice, or do I really need to get a wort chiller first?

It is very easy to make a wort chiller. The guy at home depot had a good time showing me around finding the right supplies. But he didn't know that you need to treat copper before you drop it in boiling wort, so I drank some sort of a residue that boiled off it. Sorry I'm not more helpful on chemistry.

Also don't forget to take your first hydrometer reading before you pitch the yeast, to get your Original Gravity (OG) i made that mistake on my first batch.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: fmader on March 25, 2013, 02:20:52 AM
I'll be the one against the grain here. I use OneStep. It's easy, cheap and has never failed me. I've never used Star San and have thought about trying, but I figure there's no reason to fix something that isn't broke.

Frank, I felt the same way about One step until it did fail me.  Once I went to Oxiclean/PBW/Iodophor/StarSan I realized how superior they were to One Step.  I know you have a lot of the stuff to work through, but once you do, I encourage you to try some of the other ones.

I probably have 4 pounds of it left lol. I do use oxyclean to wash my equipment with... It does very well. Then I use the OneStep before use to sanitize. I have never heard a bad thing about StarSan, so I'll eventually get to it. But what does make me worried about it is when people talk about infection in their beer. I have yet (knock on wood) to have one while using OneStep, but I am also very careful with what I am doing too.
Title: Re: First time Homebrewer
Post by: cornershot on March 25, 2013, 10:10:45 PM
Maybe this is a dumb question but is there any oxidation risk from the residue from a no-rinse, oxygen-based sanitizer?
Btw star san has a foaming agent so, in my always-handy spray bottle, it makes a good leak detector in the kegger.