Well, just brewed the maiden batch yesterday and I'm already starting to see bubbles.
We have to add another round of hop pellets in a couple days, except the kit gave us an extra cascade packet instead of an Amarillo...will that kill the recipe if I dry hop with 2 cascades instead of a cascade and Amarillo?
Cascade instead of Amarillo should not be a big deal to swap and congratulations on getting started! If yo find the temperature rising you can place the fermenter in a large tub of water to help regulate and maintain the temp. You can also add frozen water bottles to the water if you need to bring the temperature down (This is known as a swamp cooler).
As for dry hopping-be sure to not rush the beer! Many directions have you follow a calendar type schedule and yeast really don't work that way. Ideally let the beer ferment for about 10 days to not only reach final gravity but also to begin clearing. Don't worry if the airlock stops bubbling, this is normal as active fermentation dies down. At about day 10 open the vessel and take a gravity reading, then two days later, take another. If the two readings are the same the beer is done and you can begin dry hopping, then package!
There's no turning back now:)
I'm going to take your advice and do it this way. Assuming my gravity readings are the same on days 10 and 12, how many days after dry hopping should I wait before bottling? Thanks.
You actually shouldn't wait to bottle after dry hop as the flavors and aromas will begin breaking down quickly.
Once you hit FG you can dry hop for the time you want and then bottle. You can dry hop right in the primary and just toss them in. When racking to the bottling bucket throw a hop bag over the racking cane to act as a filter to keep hop debris out of the finished beer.
I'm brewing a double IPA...how long would you suggest waiting after the dry hop? Also, not to sound like a total noob, but will you explain the hop bag? I don't have one and was wondering if it's worth getting one or if there is a suitable substitute. Thanks!
Again, once dry hop is complete you want to package. I like to dry hop for 5-7 days and then package so once I reach FG I toss the hops in the primary and wait the 5-7 days and then package right after.
You can use nylons, paint strainer bags in lieu of a hop sack as a filter. Both do the job.