Author Topic: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions  (Read 3037 times)

Offline tygo

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2011, 09:15:10 AM »
+1 to the "spray-on sanitizer ".  I have a dedicated spritz bottle for spritzing surfaces with
Everclear for sanitizing purposes.

Yeah right, the Everclear is only for sanitizing purposes :)

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Offline hokerer

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2011, 10:19:47 AM »
12. Bucket of sanitizer. From what I understand, StarSan is recyclable, so I'm wondering if it's got a "shelf life" - Can I leave a bucket full of starsan/water so that I can drop a Thief/Hydrometer/whatever the heck i want in for 20-30 minutes during the week, take a gravity reading, or whatever. Just seems easier if I don't have to whip up a batch of sanitizer just to take a gravity reading.

The "shelf life" of starsan can be quite long.  You can test it with a ph strip and, as long as the ph is 3 or less, it's still good.  If you don't have ph strips, a good (but less reliable) indicator is the clarity of the solution.  Once it clouds up, it's probably no good any more.  Also, give it a good shake, if it still foams up, you're probably ok.  The type of water you use to mix the solution also has an effect on "shelf life".  If your water has lots of minerals or is alkaline, you're probably better off buying some distilled or reverse osmosis water to use.

Next time you finish a gallon of milk, clean out the plastic jug real well.  Mix up your starsan in it and keep it closed up.  The solution will keep for months this way.  Also, once you've mixed it up, pour some out of the jug and into a regular spray bottle.  Use that to spritz anything that needs sanitizing and you're in business.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 10:20:56 AM »
That little bit of "aeration" really isn't going to make much difference.  I use the "old-fashioned" method but, instead of water, I fill the racking canes/tubing with my hydrometer sample - no water added to my wort that way.

I fill the tube with sanitizer (Idophor) and run it off into another vessal until it is all beer coming out. that way I don't water the beer or risk infection by running water or tainted beer into my secondary/bottling bucket.

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Offline hokerer

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2011, 10:30:07 AM »
That little bit of "aeration" really isn't going to make much difference.  I use the "old-fashioned" method but, instead of water, I fill the racking canes/tubing with my hydrometer sample - no water added to my wort that way.

I fill the tube with sanitizer (Idophor) and run it off into another vessal until it is all beer coming out. that way I don't water the beer or risk infection by running water or tainted beer into my secondary/bottling bucket.


Needless to say, I sanitize my thief, sample tube, & hydrometer - no "tainted beer" here.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2011, 11:09:02 AM »
+1 to the "spray-on sanitizer ".  I have a dedicated spritz bottle for spritzing surfaces with
Everclear for sanitizing purposes.

Yeah right, the Everclear is only for sanitizing purposes :)

It is at  my house, I have trouble enjoying that bite...Oh and FYI, be cautious because
it is both flammable and it will Craze your acrylic racking tube or hydrometer tube making them useless.
A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

Offline euge

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2011, 11:19:05 AM »
I keep a gallon of Everclear on hand at all times. Very useful stuff...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline hokerer

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2011, 11:26:34 AM »
Oh and FYI, be cautious because
it is both flammable and it will Craze your acrylic racking tube or hydrometer tube making them useless.

+1, learned the hard way when I crazed a plastic bottling wand.
Joe

Offline kgs

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2011, 11:48:13 AM »
Tip for filling spray bottles with Star San: put the water in first, and then add the Star San with a measuring spoon. That way it won't fizz up while you're trying to fill the bottle. Be sure not to add too much Star San; don't just pour it in, *measure.* I remember hearing the manufacturer of Star San on a podcast say that adding too much is as bad as adding too little.

I have gone from filling entire carboys with Star San (wasteful of both Star San and water, plus awkward) to doing a lot of spritzing or at most relying on a gallon or two of sanitizer to do the job. Before bottling, I sanitize the spigot, put it in the (clean) bucket, put a (sanitized) baggie over the spigot with a rubber band, add a gallon of Star San, and push the Star San through the (clean) autosiphon. The tubing I use to transfer the wort to the bucket becomes the tubing I attach to the bucket and the bottling wand.

I don't use Iodophor because it stains and because I read somewhere that Star San is easier on the environment. I may be wrong on that last point, and if so, I am sure I'll find out very quickly!

You didn't bring up bottling (yet :-) ) but I find a Vinator sanitizer filled with Star San (again, put the water in first) is the easiest way to sanitize bottles; I drain the bottles in a clean dishwasher. (I have a not-safe-for-forum nickname for the Vinator which other lady brewing friends find hilarious.)

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Offline richardt

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2011, 02:26:42 PM »
Quote
10. Anyone use 5 gallon buckets for 5 gallon brews? Or is that bad? I have a few 5-gallon buckets, but after talking to the knuckleheads (yes, we have not been impressed by their weakly bubbling "fountain" of knowledge... and we're newbies!) at the local brew shop, they insist that 6.5 gallon or larger vessels are the only way to do it. That being said - how much does/can the wort foam up during fermentation?

You need the "headspace."  Fermentation can get quite vigorous with plenty of foaming, so give it some room.  You can reduce some of the foaming by using FermCap-S in the boil.

Brewing 5 gallon batches in 5 gallon buckets isn't going to work well.
You don't serve 12 ounce beers in 12 ounce glasses right up to the rim, do you?  The beer glasses are oversized for a reason.

Offline euge

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2011, 05:30:06 PM »
Headspace is a very good idea. If you want to do smaller batches a fiver is fine.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline ethanjhall

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2011, 09:45:10 PM »
Thanks so much for the overwhelming response. Several of you mentioned "don't use starsan" while failing to say "use Brand X"

What is brand x and why?

Quote from: hokerer

You only need to clean when necessary. If you thoroughly rinse/clean after use, you'll probably not need to clean again before you use something again.  The cleaning is to get any physical pieces of gunk off.  If there's still physical gunk present, no amount of sanitizer will be able to do it's job.

As for the sanitizing, starsan is great and what'll make it seem even greater for you is that the required contact time is 30 seconds not minutes.  but give it at least a full minute to be safe.  All you need to do is wet all the surfaces with starsan, wait, and then you're good to go.  No need to soak.

So - no physical (ie - VISIBLE) crap, and all I need to do is sanitize? And only sani for 1-2 minutes?

Quote from: hokerer

Before you toss that one, see if you can tell where the bubbles start.  Lots of folks mention air getting in where the tubing connects to the top of the auto-siphon.  One thing you can try is to install/tighten a hose clamp on that connection.  Alternatively, you can use one size smaller tubing.  That is, instead of the 3/8" ID tubing you're probably using, force a piece of 5/16" onto there instead.

Nope - we threw 2 hose clamps on the top - it's quite tight. It's come in from the rubber gasket inside (at the base of the racking-cane-type-pump thing). I'd be happy to host a poorly photo-shopped picture if that description wasn't good enough.

Again - we pump it 2-3 times, it's SEAMLESS - no aeration, nothing, then about 30 secs in, it starts leaking and aerating, and there's no stopping it.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2011, 10:50:08 PM »
This is what I use.....
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
http://www.woodenshoemusic.com/WSBW/WSBW_All_grain_Setup.html
I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline euge

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2011, 12:01:17 AM »
Again - we pump it 2-3 times, it's SEAMLESS - no aeration, nothing, then about 30 secs in, it starts leaking and aerating, and there's no stopping it.

Again consider that it is a point of turbulence and it's agitating CO2 out of suspension and that it isn't aeration. Not something to worry about anyway.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Kit B

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2011, 10:00:15 AM »
I don't think anyone was really saying "don't use StarSan"  as in giving a command or advice.
I think they were just saying that they don't personally use it.
I use StarSan & love it.

Idophor is a good alternative.
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Offline Pawtucket Patriot

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Re: New Brewers... and boy, do we have questions
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2011, 02:08:23 PM »
Only one other member (Steve) addressed your question re: duration of primary fermentation, so I'll touch on it again. It's very important that you actually measure the gravity of your beer to determine when it's done fermenting. And contrary to what some of the brewing literature indicates, you can leave your beer in the primary fermenter for several weeks (between 4-6, IME) with no adverse effects. Determining whether your beer is done fermenting using other metrics (e.g., a specific number of days or waiting until there is no airlock activity) is just not the best practice. Your fermentation may not even be visibly inactive within 7-10 days.  Also, just because there is little or no airlock activity doesn't mean the beer is done fermenting. The yeast may still be "cleaning up" byproducts that could lead to off-flavors.  So, get in the habit of using your hydrometer to determine whether your beer is ready for bottling, kegging, or transferring to a secondary fermenter (although a quick forum search will demonstrate that the latter is not usually necessary and is even becoming a somewhat disfavored practice).
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 02:10:35 PM by Pawtucket Patriot »
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