Author Topic: New to brewing, a few questions  (Read 1188 times)

Offline stabzmcgee@live.com

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New to brewing, a few questions
« on: January 09, 2012, 02:41:24 PM »
My girlfriend got me a brewing kit for Christmas. I have read a few guides, including the zymergy magazine. The main question I have is that the kit she got me has one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot). All of the beginner guides I have read (including the magazine) only have a one fermentation bucket description on how to brew. My questions are, when do i know when to transfer the beer to the plastic carboy? Is this plastic carboy transfer only going to improve clarity? Also if there are any very detailed begging guides I have passed up, I would be greatly appreciated for links or book names. Thank you for reading this, and CHEERS!

Online theDarkSide

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 02:49:06 PM »
www.howtobrew.com ( also get the book )

Most likely the kit has the plastic carboy for doing a secondary, which most here will probably say is not necessary most of the time.  Do your primary fermentation in the bucket, then rack (transfer) your beer to the bottling bucket with your priming sugar and bottle.

edit:  Oh, by the way...Welcome to the obsession and good luck with your first batch!!!
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 02:53:44 PM »
John Palmer's How To Brew is excellent and the first version is free online.

Most important thing for you to know, you must ferment your beer in a fairly cool place.  65F is fine, 70F+ is not.
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Offline stabzmcgee@live.com

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2012, 03:05:15 PM »
www.howtobrew.com ( also get the book )

Most likely the kit has the plastic carboy for doing a secondary, which most here will probably say is not necessary most of the time.  Do your primary fermentation in the bucket, then rack (transfer) your beer to the bottling bucket with your priming sugar and bottle.
So is there any recipes that it is needed? what would the secondary do for it? When would I know to move it to the secondary? thanks a lot for the quick responses!

Offline anje

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 03:08:17 PM »
John Palmer's How To Brew is excellent and the first version is free online.

Most important thing for you to know, you must ferment your beer in a fairly cool place.  65F is fine, 70F+ is not.
I'm only a few days more advanced at this than the OP, but I'd like to report that by sticking my fermenter bucket in a Rubbermaid bin about half-filled with room temperature-ish water (that is, it's up to about the 3 gallon mark with the fermenter in it -- don't fill it so full that the fermenter might tip), evaporation has the overall temperature of the fermenter down from the ~68F room temperature to about 63F.  I originally planned to add ice to make the whole thing a "swamp cooler", but it doesn't appear to be necessary for me at this time of year.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2012, 03:10:08 PM by anje »
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Offline saintpierre

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2012, 03:10:06 PM »
My questions are, when do i know when to transfer the beer to the plastic carboy? Is this plastic carboy transfer only going to improve clarity?
The only true way to know when to transfer/bottle is to take a couple hydrometer readings to confirm that fermentation is complete (no change in gravity).  Generally speaking, I would say skip the transfer to the secondary fermenter unless it is completely necessary.

Also if there are any very detailed begging guides I have passed up, I would be greatly appreciated for links or book names.  
John Palmer's How to Brew is probably as good as it gets for detail in a format useful for beginners.

Welcome to the obsession.  Let us know how it turns out!
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2012, 03:10:55 PM »
Transfer out of the fermenting bucket when fermentation has stopped. The best way to know this is the measure gravity with your hydrometer (should be one in the kit) and see that it stays the same for 3 days.  Less reliable, but often used methods, include airlock activity (no bubbling, but a leak can mess this up) or just wait about 2 weeks and almost any average ABV beer will be finished.

DarkSide is right - skip the "secondary" fermentation step. It's a myth, it's rarely neccessary, it usually doesn't help, it makes kittens and puppies cry. Just bottle when fermentation is complete. Secondary should really be called bulk aging. It is only needed for high alcohol beers that need time to clear or age on fruit or such, sour beers with bugs added.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2012, 03:16:21 PM »
www.howtobrew.com ( also get the book )

Most likely the kit has the plastic carboy for doing a secondary, which most here will probably say is not necessary most of the time.  Do your primary fermentation in the bucket, then rack (transfer) your beer to the bottling bucket with your priming sugar and bottle.
So is there any recipes that it is needed? what would the secondary do for it? When would I know to move it to the secondary? thanks a lot for the quick responses!
There used to be a myth that leaving beer in the primary fermenter with the old yeast  created off flavors.  Now conventional wisdom is, as others have pointed out, that secondary is unnecessary.  it also can lead  to oxidation and contamination.  Every time you move your bee from one vessel to another these problems are possible.  Gravity clears beer in secondary, amazingly it also works in primary.  Your first few beers will probably be moderate alcohol strength so after a couple of weeks in primary you can take a hydrometer reading and probably just proceed with bottling.  have fun with brewing, it's been a great aspect of my life for 20 years now.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2012, 03:49:59 PM »
one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot).

sounds to me like you can start at least two beers 8)
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2012, 05:56:56 PM »
one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot).

sounds to me like you can start at least two beers 8)

+1

and I would recommend it as well, homebrew goes fast!
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Offline stabzmcgee@live.com

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2012, 07:13:44 PM »
one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot).

sounds to me like you can start at least two beers 8)

+1

and I would recommend it as well, homebrew goes fast!


how would i do two beers? wouldn't my first ferment always be in the bucket or would I just do a first fermentation in the carboy?

Offline bluesman

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2012, 07:29:22 PM »
one fermentation bucket, a plastic carboy, and a bottling bucket (with a spigot).

sounds to me like you can start at least two beers 8)

+1

and I would recommend it as well, homebrew goes fast!


how would i do two beers? wouldn't my first ferment always be in the bucket or would I just do a first fermentation in the carboy?

I recommend taking the time to read through "How to Brew" before you start. I think it will answer a lot of your questions. Some of the most important aspects of homebrewing are:

1. Clean and sanitize all equipment that will come into contact with the wort (post boil).
2. Chill the wort down to 65F for ales and 45F for lagers. (This is a critical step!)
3. Aerate or oxygenate the wort prior to pitching yeast.
4. Ferment in your bucket until terminal gravity then let rest three more days to aid in clean up (yeast).
5. Forget about a secondary for most beer recipes as it's not needed.
6. Minimize agitation and contact with oxygen upon bottling.
7. Ask lots of questions.
8. RDWHAHB...welcome to the AHA FORUM!  :)
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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2012, 07:31:49 PM »
yup you can ferment in either vessel, although if it is only a 5 gallon carboy you risk a beer fountain from the carboy if you ferment a full 5 gallons. keep it to 3-3.5
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2012, 08:51:49 PM »
You've come to the right place.....10 brewers, 12 opinions......

In all seriousness, follow the instructions in the kit and let it sit in the bucket for 3 weeks.....then bottle. 99% of all beers will be done by three weeks. Secondary fermentations, ie what you would use the carboy for, only come in to play if you add fruit after primary fermentation, or want to dry hop beyond three weeks.

My advice is worth what you paid for it.
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Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: New to brewing, a few questions
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 04:53:12 AM »
Personally, I'd ferment in the carboy and use the bucket as a toolbox to hold my ever increasing collection of brewing stuff!
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