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Finally, ordered my kit!

I just placed an order for the basic beer starter kit, with the American Wheat recipe kit. I also added a wort chiller and have on hand:

5 gallon kettle w/ thermometer
21" stir spoon (might not need it, but figured wth…)
propane burner (ordered from Amazon).

The only thing I worry about is the fermentation. I live in S.E. TN, so the average temp in my basement has been 70F this summer. I do have a downstairs bath with a walk in shower, so thought about just rigging a swamp cooler in there and use a towel and fan as seen on the NB DVD. I have a big plastic tub I could fill with water or ice-water that I can submerge the ferment bucket into.

Anything else I might need to do that I’m overlooking? I am excited as can be as I have been wanting to do this for a while. I’m hoping I can score on a CO2 tank during fermentation and get one of my kegs clean before bottling. If not, I have plenty of bottles. happy, happy, happy…

Did I tell you all I’m excited! :very happy:

Sounds like you’re pretty well prepared and worried about the right things.

DEFINITELY rig up some form of temperature control. A swamp cooler would work great, as would a chest freezer (watch Craigslist) with a temperature controller.

My first batch is 3 days into fermentation. I had the same concern about temp control. I didnt have high expectations for a swamp cooler buts its worked amazing

I’m sure folks are going to brow beat you with this advice for as long as you brew, but the most common mistake (that I too did too oft make) was not being concerned enough with sanitation. By some stock in Star San and don’t fear the foam!

I’m not too worried about sanitation (and I mean that in the right sense). I’m very anal when it comes to cleaniness, so if anything I’ll probably be overkill in that department. I have it in my head that anything that touches the beer should be sanitized.

The fermentation has me worried because I can’t “control” it. Worst case scenario, I could move my current beer out of my mini-fridge and use it for temp control if I have to. Can anyone tell me the fermenting bucket’s dimensions?

I just hope this first batch is a success. I remember a buddy of mine who tried this with a Mr Beer kit 10 years ago. His wasn’t bad if you like your beer to have a overly fizzy Sprite taste to it. I want to surprise him this football season with this first batch.

You are well ahead of me when I started. Good choice on getting a wort chiller right away - one of the most important pieces of brewing equipment. And I would +1 the importance of temp. control. Keep it down in the 60’s if you want to avoid off flavors.

As for sanitation - don’t forget that it is a two step process - CLEAN with oxyclean or PBW and rinse. THEN sanitize with Starsan and don’t rinse.

Welcome to a great hobby/addiction.

Precise control isn’t super critical, as long as you’re in the 62-67 range (for most yeasts, anyway). Just be sure to keep it cool.

I recently bought a mini-fridge that I can fit a 5 gallon bucket into, but this is an anomaly in the mini-fridge world. The hump in the back makes it difficult, but I was able to put my bucket on top of the hump by bending back the freezer portion. Your fermenting bucket is probably bigger than 5 gallons, so you might be out of luck here.

Without a temperature controller, this is probably irrelevant anyway. Most mini-fridges at their warmest run below 55F, which is too cold for most ale yeast strains.

[quote=“Braufessor”]You are well ahead of me when I started. Good choice on getting a wort chiller right away - one of the most important pieces of brewing equipment. And I would +1 the importance of temp. control. Keep it down in the 60’s if you want to avoid off flavors.

As for sanitation - don’t forget that it is a two step process - CLEAN with oxyclean or PBW and rinse. THEN sanitize with Starsan and don’t rinse.

Welcome to a great hobby/addiction.[/quote]

Yeah, that was one reason why I was taking so long to order. Not to sound cheap, but I don’t like paying the $8 shipping for every order. I’ve spent $21 on shipping alone. If I was more patient, I would have just made myself wait and order everything at once. I’ve been like a kid at Christmas this month.

Then wouldn’t you know, I forgot to order some of the smaller stuff like the fermometer strips, keg seal kits, etc. I won’t be able to keg this batch, or the next one, as I don’t have the funds to complete a keg setup (keezer build, taps, shanks, etc.), but the seal kit would have been one less item for me to order. The carboy sale is on for a while, so maybe I can make it up on that when I get paid in a couple of weeks.

You got me thinking. If I do have the room (which I may not), the temp controller would be all I would need? I did measure the internal depth of the fridge. It is 11.5". Is that more than the widest part of the fermenting bucket?

It would be 14" deep, but the door shelves eat up about 3" of space when closed. I think a carboy might fit, but may be too tall due to the hump in the rear of the fridge. If a bucket will fit, then I can just move my current beer to the upstairs fridge.

Bump.

Didn’t know if bumping a thread or starting a new one is preferred, but all my stuff came in today. I’m hoping to start brewing Saturday morning. Items I have got:

propane burner
5 gal kettle w? thermometer
wort chiller
basic starter kit
American Wheat recipe kit w/ dry yeast
bottles (33 now, should have 48-54 by the time I bottle).

I do have kegs, but I’ll have to bottle for a while until I have the funds for everything else (C02 tank, keezer project, taps, etc.). I plan on picking up a propane tank on the way home tomorrow. Is there anything else I may be overlooking or should/could do the day before Brewday so my brewing is more efficient?

Thanks guys!

Looks like you’ve done your homework and are good to go. I remember my first batch years ago, I too had done my research and had most of the gear lined up or purchased but I was still nervous as get all that I’d screw something up. Turned out all the anxiety was for nothing, everything went smooth, although I did ferment my first batch too high, this was back in the days when conventional wisdom was that you were okay to pitch yeast once you were below 80°! I was kegging about a month and a half later and moved to all grain six months after my first brew.

Relax and enjoy the brew day, you’re making beer!
:cheers:

Just happened to measure a bucket since I was checking out chest freezers, my NB bucket is a touch under 13" in diameter. Carboys are smaller, maybe an inch or so less.

My advice for the first brew days is to read and understand the directions and then don’t be in a hurry. Good number of my mistakes have been because I was rushing, second leading cause was being distracted by drinking and chatting with guests. Kind of silly but one of my key pieces of brewing equipment is a timer. I’ve got one that I can have 4 timers running at once, I set a timer for every time I need to do something to the beer. (hop additions, whirlfloc, boil end, etc.) It lets me keep busy doing other tasks or if I’ve got people over, BS’ing and drinking with them and I don’t have to be looking at the clock every 2 minutes trying to remember if I need to do something.

Hey, chucklehead, welcome to the obsession! (Curly reference)

I think height of fermentor and airlock is the bigger issue with a mini fridge - the swamp cooler idea sounds good.

Enjoy this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryhePFFJej8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1mY4G0OsXQ

[quote=“harpdog”]Hey, chucklehead, welcome to the obsession! (Curly reference)

I think height of fermentor and airlock is the bigger issue with a mini fridge - the swamp cooler idea sounds good.

Enjoy this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryhePFFJej8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1mY4G0OsXQ[/quote]

Thanks. And thanks for the clips (love the Stooges)

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