« on: April 12, 2015, 07:59:09 AM »
At this point, the biggest pieces of advice I can give you are:
1) Keep the fermenter temperature under control. The cooler your fermentation, the cleaner it will be.
As a general rule, mid to high 60s farenheit is the optimal temp for fermenting an ale like what you made.
The steadier you can keep it, the better. Remember that during active fermentation, the beer temp will rise above ambient temperature by 5 to 10 degrees, so keeping it cool is key. One way to help is to drape a t-shirt over the top and keep it wet. Put it in a low bucket so the water wicks up into the t-shirt. The evaporation will help cool the fermenter underneath.
2) Remember that the yeast will work on THEIR timeline, NOT YOURS. If you are patient, and give them the time they need to ferment the wort and fully clean up after themselves, you will be rewarded with a tasty brew.
If you think that somehow your yeast magically know that they are fermenting YOUR beer, so they'll work faster because they are working for YOU, then you will not give them the time they need, and you will end up with a much less than optimal unfinished product.
Keep the fermenter cool, also, for a less estery end product.
The best way to combat the urge to rush the batch through is to start another one.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
One other thing for your next batch-
Don't cover the pot during your boil. There is a chemical called SMM (S-methyl-methionine) that is a precursor to DMS (dimethyl-sulfide). SMM is produced whenever the wort is above about 140F.
DMS is a very well known off flavor found in beer that has the flavor and aroma of cooked corn (think of Green Giant corn from a can). SMM is driven out in the vapors during your boil, but if you cover it, then it condenses and falls back in with the condensing steam.
There is less SMM in liquid extract (it has already gone through a boil step) but dry malt extract has not been subjected to enough boil time to volatize the SMM out.
Your beer will likely be fine, but for future batches, leave the pot uncovered. The heat will kill anything that might fall in (though of course if you see anything go in, take it out).