Author Topic: A few newbie questions  (Read 4429 times)

Offline euge

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2012, 12:03:11 PM »
Cool.  My regular tap water (mistyped that as "whater," which is rather descriptive given the flavor) is chloraminated, though.  I'm afraid it might kill the yeast.

It won't. Not enough concentration.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2012, 12:06:37 PM »
The instructions actually say to keep it under 160F. Kit came from Listermann in Cincinnati, so I'm hoping they know their stuff and have a high enough turnover that everything's good.

Another question (I keep coming up with these...)
The instructions do say to dump the dry yeast (I only got one packet...) directly on the cooled wort.  Should I follow these, or am I better off rehydrating the yeast first?  

Dan Listermann knows his stuff and has been putting out kits for a long time.  His direction s should be good.

He's correct about not rehydrating the yeast.  It's just not needed.  The reason he says not to is that so many of his customers were rehydrating at too high a temp and killing the yeast that he discovered it's easier to just not do it.  Based on his experience, as well as my own and that of many others, I say skip it.
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Offline denny

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2012, 12:08:15 PM »
You will get much better results this way than just sprinkling the package on top of the wort.

Euge, I gotta disagree.  In any "normal" beer (under say 1.085) I get equal results either way.  I say skip the rehydration.
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Offline hokerer

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2012, 12:20:03 PM »
I'm obsessing about whether I need to disinfect the floor of the bathroom where I'm doing the fermentations...

One thing you haven't mentioned so far is how/whether you're going to control the pitching and fermentation temperatures.  Most kit instructions allow both of those temps to be too high.
Joe

Offline anje

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2012, 12:25:41 PM »
Well, I'm stuck doing all this in a two-bedroom apartment, so fermentation is pretty much limited to the temperatures I want to live at. (The reason I haven't made beer before now is that I wanted to wait til I had a basement. Got sick of waiting.) I've taped over the vent to the spare bathroom to reduce the temperature fluctuation and I'll keep the thermostat steady, but that's about all I can do to control the temperature unless I also put water in the tub where I keep the fermenter.  I've had a thermometer with a 24 hr high/low readout in the room for a few days and it's been staying between 68F and 70F.  I can push it a little cooler and constantly wear sweaters, but that's about it.

Edited to add: Before you ask, it's an interior room with only incandescent lights.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2012, 12:27:59 PM by anje »
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline denny

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 12:31:49 PM »
Keep in mind that fermentation creates heat which can raise your fermentation temp 5-10 degrees F.  If at all possible, you'll make the best beer by keeping the beer temp (not the room temp) in the mid 60s, definitely no higher than 70.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #21 on: January 06, 2012, 12:34:48 PM »
Can you get away with filling your tub with water for 2-3 weeks? if so you can do that, submege the fermenter in said water (well submerge may be a bit strong. make sure it's got water all around in at least half way up) and use frozen 1 or 2 litre soda bottles filled with water (lets try that again) 1 or two liter bottle filled with water and THEN frozen to bring the temp down those critical few degrees.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline thetooth

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #22 on: January 06, 2012, 12:40:26 PM »
Can you get away with filling your tub with water for 2-3 weeks? if so you can do that, submege the fermenter in said water (well submerge may be a bit strong. make sure it's got water all around in at least half way up) and use frozen 1 or 2 litre soda bottles filled with water (lets try that again) 1 or two liter bottle filled with water and THEN frozen to bring the temp down those critical few degrees.

+1  Well worth the effort compared to leaving it in a 70 degree room.

All that said, my first year or two of brewing was basically just leaving the bucket of fermenting beer in a dark closet in our 1-bedroom house, which was usually kept around 70 degrees.  While I'm sure it wouldn't have won any awards at competition, it made pretty good beer for drinking.  I just kept to English and Belgian beer styles until I could get my temperatures under control.  I eventually did that with a used refrigerator and an external temperature controller.

Offline anje

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #23 on: January 06, 2012, 12:44:24 PM »
I'll see what I can do.  Offhand, I don't know how well the tub holds water (recently moved in and all).  My main freezer space for bottles would end up being outside, and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative on the freezing front lately.

I'm planning to cool the wort in the tub with some ice around the outside and pitch the yeast when the thermometer reads 70F.  Sound kosher?

Am I going to have to get a second refrigerator if I want to make beer in the summer?
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #24 on: January 06, 2012, 12:46:41 PM »
I'll see what I can do.  Offhand, I don't know how well the tub holds water (recently moved in and all).  My main freezer space for bottles would end up being outside, and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative on the freezing front lately.

I'm planning to cool the wort in the tub with some ice around the outside and pitch the yeast when the thermometer reads 70F.  Sound kosher?

Am I going to have to get a second refrigerator if I want to make beer in the summer?

It wouldn't hurt to get the wort down to ~65 but 70 is okay. you can also get a rubbermaid tub to put the fermenter in. takes a little less water/ice and will hold water for sure. You would only need 3 or 4 1 liter bottles to get you that extra ~5 degree drop.

But yeah, brewing belgians might also help as they can stand a little more heat.

**EDIT** and yeah, you might need an extra fridge in the summer. but you would be amazed at how well the water/ice batch works. if the climate is dry enough you can put a tshirt over the fermenter and keep that wet with air moving over it for increased cooling.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline thetooth

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2012, 01:03:05 PM »
I'll see what I can do.  Offhand, I don't know how well the tub holds water (recently moved in and all).  My main freezer space for bottles would end up being outside, and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative on the freezing front lately.

I'm planning to cool the wort in the tub with some ice around the outside and pitch the yeast when the thermometer reads 70F.  Sound kosher?

Am I going to have to get a second refrigerator if I want to make beer in the summer?

The cooling process you have will work.  That's what I did for my first few batches.  I found it helps if you swirl the kettle or stir the wort with a sanitized spoon while the kettle is in the water bath occasionally as the ice bath will quickly cool the wort on the edges, but not in the middle.

If you find the water bath/frozen water bottle method is working for you, and your HVAC system keeps your house the same all year, you'll be fine without the extra fridge.  I like the extra fridge because I'm too lazy to deal with the water bath and constantly freezing water bottles.  I just set the temp controller to the fermentation temp I want and walk away.

Offline anje

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2012, 01:09:31 PM »
Well, the frozen bottle thing sounds do-able, as long as the weather cooperates.  It's been warm lately.  I'll probably use the jugs my water came in, though, since I lack 2L bottles.
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Offline cheba420

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2012, 03:43:04 PM »
I'll see what I can do.  Offhand, I don't know how well the tub holds water (recently moved in and all).  My main freezer space for bottles would end up being outside, and the weather hasn't been all that cooperative on the freezing front lately.

I'm planning to cool the wort in the tub with some ice around the outside and pitch the yeast when the thermometer reads 70F.  Sound kosher?

Am I going to have to get a second refrigerator if I want to make beer in the summer?

It wouldn't hurt to get the wort down to ~65 but 70 is okay. you can also get a rubbermaid tub to put the fermenter in. takes a little less water/ice and will hold water for sure. You would only need 3 or 4 1 liter bottles to get you that extra ~5 degree drop.

But yeah, brewing belgians might also help as they can stand a little more heat.

**EDIT** and yeah, you might need an extra fridge in the summer. but you would be amazed at how well the water/ice batch works. if the climate is dry enough you can put a tshirt over the fermenter and keep that wet with air moving over it for increased cooling.
Thats how I started out as well. Good old rubbermaid bucket and some ice bottles. I used just regular 16-20 oz water bottles. About 4-5 of them. It kept the temp right where I wanted it and I could still take a shower!
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Offline malzig

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2012, 02:42:29 PM »
I'll keep the thermostat steady, but that's about all I can do to control the temperature unless I also put water in the tub where I keep the fermenter.  I've had a thermometer with a 24 hr high/low readout in the room for a few days and it's been staying between 68F and 70F.  I can push it a little cooler and constantly wear sweaters, but that's about it.
A couple things that might help...  My thermostat is set to 66-68, when we are awake, but an actively fermenting carboy sitting on the cold floor will be closer to 62°F (50°F in the cellar).  If you have a concrete floor anywhere, that will probably be colder. You can see if this is the case in your place by sticking the thermometer in a bottle of water sitting on the floor.   Putting that carboy in a bucket of water can drop that down to ~60°F, probably due to better heat dispersion or water evaporation in the dry house. 

If you do go the ice bottle route, I feel that you really only need to control the temperature tightly during the most active part of the fermentation.  After about 3-5 days, when fermentation starts to really slow, you should be able to let the temperature free-rise, at least up to ~70°F or so.

Offline anje

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Re: A few newbie questions
« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2012, 04:53:05 PM »
Well, I finished doing my part earlier this afternoon, am waiting on the yeast now. I've got the fermenter in a Rubbermaid bin (thanks for that suggestion, by the way; uses a lot less water than filling the bathtub would have) and I haven't added any ice yet because the temperature is sitting at 63F according to the LCD thermometer on the side of the bucket.  I may not add ice if the temperature hasn't risen by the time I go to bed.  It seems possible that simply sitting in a water bath may keep the temperature sufficiently low due to evaporation that I don't need to add ice, but we'll see.

Cheba420 -- I'm in an apartment, so I don't have a basement or concrete floor indoors to put the fermenter in.  Wish I did....
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

Hops and toothpaste don't mix.