Did my First Brew! Now I have questions

Hi all! Just did my first brew and had a ton of fun doing it. It was the VandalEyes PA, small batch. Didn’t have any boil overs,(came an about a half inch from one though) or any other actual problem. But once I cooled my wort and sanitized everything, I started to pump it into my car boy.Here is my first question. Every video ive seen online they just do one pump and then its going. i may have had had mine connected in some way wrong but i had to pump it. Is this actually how its done or did I do it wrong? Secondly I also noticed that i lost alot of my water volume during the boil, about a third or a gallon to be precise. Am I boiling to high, or should I keep the lid on while it boils… or both? When the boil rises after adding hops, and then i get control of it again, There are hops on the side of the kettle. Should i try to scrape those off and add them back to the wort? Also, I taped up the button on my fridge that turns on the light, moved all the shelves up and put my car boy in it. Is this too cold for fermentation? And Lastly, I was reading online that some people add water after fermentation. I still have a dry hop to add in, should i do it then? or wait till bottling? Or just not do it at all? Thanks for all the help everyone! I know it seems like I’m freaking out but I’m actually just excited. Any tips or recommendations would be greatly appreciated! :cheers:

well, you took the first step hopefully of many. I think most your questions are simple,BUT, putting your carboy in the fridge to ferment, an ale, isn’t quite right unless you have a controller. Ferment at 68-70…. usually start a bit cooler as it will heat as action starts… if you have a basement or concrete floor, just set it in a dark corner and cover with a towel…… AND do look at it from time to time, when in full kruesen you will wonder what the heck?! You’ll get more answers to other your other questions, take care of the fermenter first and soon…. Sneezles61 :cheers:

  1. Is your carboy lower than the fermentor you’re transferring from? If not, the auto siphon won’t work. It relies on gravity to flow properly.

  2. Don’t keep a lid on during the boil. You’re boiling off compounds that are not good for beer. They can condense on the lid and drop back into the wort. After the boil, just top off the wort with clean(preferably distilled) water to bring the volume back up (I’m assuming this is an extract kit).

  3. You can stir side-clinging hops back in during the boil if you like.

  4. Fridge is way too cold to ferment–they’re usually around 38* F. Don’t know what yeast you’re using, but most ales do well around low to mid 60’s. Chill the wort just below your ferment temp (which should usually be on the lower end of what the yeast maker says is optimal) before you pitch the yeast, then try to keep the temp as steady as possible, but a few degrees of temp swing probably won’t hurt anything. If you don’t have a space in the house that is temp friendly, google “swamp cooler”. Easy way to keep wort cool inside the house.

  5. I would think it’s better to add top up water before rather than after fermentation.

Good luck and welcome to the obsession. The best advice I can give you right now is to look up “how to brew” by John Palmer. You can get a short version free online but it has some outdated info in it. Still is a good place to start, though.

:cheers:

Ron

In addition to what sneezles and Ron said, your boil only needs to be a rolling boil. The wort doesn’t need to be boiled so hard that its leaping out of the kettle.
I would be hesitant to add water after fermentation because it would need to be boiled. Not so much for fear of contamination but more so to deaerate it. After fermentation you want to limit O2 uptake. O2 pre-fermentation = good, after= bad.

If you are using a glass carboy, do not set it directly on a concrete floor. Stress fractures can result from setting it down to hard and from the rough surface of concrete, even though it looks smooth. Setting the carboy on a shower mat or piece of plywood is best.

I have a couple of 3/8" thick 2’x2’ squares of closed cell foam cut from a backpackers sleeping pad that I use out in my driveway. In my basement I have a few of those interlocking foam pieces they sell at Walmart in the home fitness area.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”]In addition to what sneezles and Ron said, your boil only needs to be a rolling boil. The wort doesn’t need to be boiled so hard that its leaping out of the kettle.
I would be hesitant to add water after fermentation because it would need to be boiled. Not so much for fear of contamination but more so to deaerate it. After fermentation you want to limit O2 uptake. O2 pre-fermentation = good, after= bad.[/quote]

So should i boil a bit of water beside my wort to add in after boil?

The water you use to top off to make up for lost volume doesn’t need to be boiled, but it needs to be clean water without chlorine or chloramines, usually added to municipal water supplies. Distilled or RO water would be clean. Chill the top off water to help cool down the wort.

I have topped off with our well water for many years.

[quote=“flars”]The water you use to top off to make up for lost volume doesn’t need to be boiled, but it needs to be clean water without chlorine or chloramines, usually added to municipal water supplies. Distilled or RO water would be clean. Chill the top off water to help cool down the wort.

I have topped off with our well water for many years.[/quote]
I would definitely go with store bought distilled in jugs. I’m not so sure I completely trust RO water. You can also buy a water filter to attach to your faucet. They are pretty cheap.

[quote=“brentconn”][quote=“flars”]The water you use to top off to make up for lost volume doesn’t need to be boiled, but it needs to be clean water without chlorine or chloramines, usually added to municipal water supplies. Distilled or RO water would be clean. Chill the top off water to help cool down the wort.

I have topped off with our well water for many years.[/quote]
I would definitely go with store bought distilled in jugs. I’m not so sure I completely trust RO water. You can also buy a water filter to attach to your faucet. They are pretty cheap.[/quote]

Do you purchase your distilled in 1 gallon jugs or are there places that sell it in larger sizes?

[quote=“JohnnyB”][quote=“brentconn”][quote=“flars”]The water you use to top off to make up for lost volume doesn’t need to be boiled, but it needs to be clean water without chlorine or chloramines, usually added to municipal water supplies. Distilled or RO water would be clean. Chill the top off water to help cool down the wort.

I have topped off with our well water for many years.[/quote]
I would definitely go with store bought distilled in jugs. I’m not so sure I completely trust RO water. You can also buy a water filter to attach to your faucet. They are pretty cheap.[/quote]

Do you purchase your distilled in 1 gallon jugs or are there places that sell it in larger sizes?[/quote]
I always have a couple of 1 gallon jugs on hand. Remember this if for topping off your batches if you need to. One gallon jugs are easy to handle.

[quote=“JohnnyB”][quote=“brentconn”][quote=“flars”]The water you use to top off to make up for lost volume doesn’t need to be boiled, but it needs to be clean water without chlorine or chloramines, usually added to municipal water supplies. Distilled or RO water would be clean. Chill the top off water to help cool down the wort.

I have topped off with our well water for many years.[/quote]
I would definitely go with store bought distilled in jugs. I’m not so sure I completely trust RO water. You can also buy a water filter to attach to your faucet. They are pretty cheap.[/quote]

Do you purchase your distilled in 1 gallon jugs or are there places that sell it in larger sizes?[/quote]
Not sure where you’re at, but I buy 2 1/2 gallon containers of distilled water for my brewing from two or three places where I live, which is a pretty small community, so I would think they would be pretty easy to find…

Oh cool – then I’m sure I can find it around here. (Concord, NH area.)

I usually use Poland Spring water for brewing but have heard they get it from a bunch of different springs now so I’m not sure if it changes from batch to batch.

Yes, Poland Spring does have multiple sources throughout Maine and New Hampshire, so their ‘Spring’ water would vary. I just took a look at a DH20 jug from Poland Spring. Water source= Auburn municipal water. But the distillation process makes all the solutes zero, so that’s not a problem.

Why not just add 1/2 a gallon extra water to the boil to allow for evaporation? I do and everything seems to work out fine.

I was using regular Poland Springs not the distilled.

Talked to one of the guys that i work with that I found out that brews. He said that he thinks i may have boiling too hot and maybe didn’t add enough. I boiled with 1.25 gallons. I think I shouldn’t have added at least one or two more to compensate for the fact that it doesn’t fill the measuring cut i was using all the way. All good though, I added a half gallon to my unfermented beer after it cool. All good from what i can tell. No weird smells and its looking healthy.

So its been four days now and the beer is looking and smelling pretty healthy from what i can tell. Its fermenting in my closet but I have the AC turned down to 68. I’m telling you all this because it looks like the yeast is stopping fermenting. I’m not seeing any bubbles in my airlock. I read online that’s its either the temp or it needs to be messed with a little bit. The yeast I’m using is Safale US-05 Ale Yeast and so the temp should be good. So I read that its ok to kind of give the beer a light swirl. I did this. Is that ok? Also I have to dry hop in 3 days. I should move the beer into a different carboy correct? and does it matter if I add the hop ball in before or after I transfer?

You may not be seeing bubbles in the air lock because fermentation is slowing down. There is less pressure from the CO2 being produced, so it is escaping around the rim of the bucket. The instructions may say to dry hop in three days, but it would be better to wait until fermentation is complete. CO2 being produced and coming out of solution will scrub the hop aromas from the beer. Wait another week to take your first hydrometer reading for specific gravity. Take another three to four days later to see if the SG is the same. If it is the same final gravity has been reached.

I will wait three weeks to dry hop in the primary.