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First Brew Day On The Books!

I’m excited to have just finished my first brew. I did Caribou Slobber extract, and everything went great. Well, I guess I’ll find out in a few weeks if everything went well. One thing I learned on this first go is that the kitchen can get pretty messy if you don’t really have your system down.

One thing that worked really well is the process I used to cool the wort. From what I’ve read, most folks either use a ice water bath or a wort chiller. I combined the two with great results. Here’s what I did: Put boil pot in ice water bath, coiled up water hose and submerged in the ice bath, water hose feeds the copper coil wort chiller. So the tap water gets pre cooled in the ice bath before it feeds the chiller, and the pot is also sitting in the ice bath. Seemed really efficient The end result was boiling to 78 degrees in about 5 minutes. That could be a totally normal time, but as a first timer, I was expecting it to take longer.

Here’s a question: I have the fermentor in a small room that stays cooler than the rest of the house, since the house temp is a little too warm. I have a small heater in there with a thermostat to regulate the temp. One thing I forgot to buy is a fermometer so I can’t see the temp inside the fermentor. Is the temp in the fermentor pretty close to room temp, or does it generate quite a bit of heat? Should I keep the room cooler than 65 deg? What do ya think?

65 ambient temp should be perfect. Using my chiller just hooked to a tap I can usually get to 80 in about 15-20 minutes. The temp in the fermentor will go up a little as the yeast do their job but as long as you pitched it near 65 you should be just fine.

Congrats on the first of many!!

Congrats on your first brew. 65 should be just right. I’ve found that fermenting a little cooler than warmer is better. I’ve also found out that the messy kitchen is no problem as long if my wife is out for the day. Keep’em coming.

“CAUTION: BREWING MAY BE HABIT FORMING” Really, like crazy OCD stuff for some of us!!! Seriously though, congrats on your 1st batch. Keep your beer temps in the low 60’s, be very patient, and enjoy the coolest hobby on the planet! :cheers:

Thanks folks :slight_smile:

I think the toughest challenge will be waiting to put it in my mouth.

BTW, the OG was 1.053. Recipe stated and OG of 1.052. Pretty close. I was as anal as possible about sanitation, so hopefully it’ll turn out finger lickin’ good.

Sounds like you’re off to a really good start! At the very least, you’re going into this with a lot more knowledge than I did. You’ve done your research, and gotten that first batch bubbling. You’re officially a homebrewer! :cheers:

El Capitan, I don’t usually do anything new without doing some research first, plus I have done a couple batches of hard cider under my belt before trying beer. So I had at least a little knowledge going in. Remember what they say, “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” :slight_smile:

I believe there’s slight activity in the bucket this morning. I’ve got a thermometer in a glass of water sitting on top of the fermenting bucket, and it has leveled around 66 degrees.

Another question: I bought a bottle capper and had intended to bottle this batch, but upon reflection, I’m thinking I’ll forego the seemingly tedious task of bottling and pop for a Cornelius Keg. Any advice there? Do I need to filter before kegging? I haven’t done much research into that yet.

Cooling your wort down in 5 minutes is quick. I am at around 20 minutes to cool mine down so I might give your idea a try on my next batch. Let us all know how this batch turns out.

Congrats and welcome to the obsession! Wort chiller on your first batch!!! Good for you. I went almost 2 years without a wort chiller. Now I have a wort chiller, temp controlled fermentation fridge, kegerator, burner with 10gal pot, grain mill… the list of wants/needs goes on and on!

:cheers:

Well, it just so happens that I had a copper coil that I use as part of my redneck air conditioner on summer campouts, so I used it as a wort chiller. Next time I brew, I’m going to try to do it even faster, just for kicks. Instead of a water hose, I’ll have two copper coils. One in the ice water for pre-cooling, and one in the wort. So the water feeding the chiller should be close to freezing temp by the time it hits the chiller. Might even throw a little salt on the ice water to get it even colder :slight_smile:

This whole brewing thing is basically about doing drinkable science experiments, right?

You’ll love kegging - saves so much time and hassle with bottles, and your beer clarity and flavor will improve from the extended cold aging.

I typically do a primary fermentation for 10-14 days, then cold crash the beer in the primary fermenter for a few days. You want to get the beer as close to freezing as possible so that the remainder of the suspended yeast and other things drop to the bottom. I just put my fermenter in the fridge for a few days.

Then purge your sanitized keg with CO2 and rack the beer in. Purge the headspace with CO2 a couple times, hit it with about 30 psi to get a good seal. Then I set the regulator to 12 psi and let it slowly carb for a week or two. You can speed this process up by shaking and rolling the keg too. An added benefit of cold-crashing is that your beer will already be cold and so it will carb up that much faster.

Have fun experimenting - you’re exactly right. Drinkable science! :cheers:

Sounds like a good brew day. As for temp, get the fermometer and try to keep the beer itself within the temp range recommended by the manufacturer and under 70 for most ales, especially for the first week. There are many different ways to do this, the most economical being the “swamp cooler.” Took me forever to figure out why I had the same off flavor in all my beers. I was convinced it was my water for awhile, but fermentation temperature is critical to flavor. Don’t worry though, your temp won’t make it bad, but if you taste anything off just realize that is probably where it is. Welcome to homebrewing!

Hmmm, I had a little bit of activity in the fermenter yesterday, and none today. Only been 48 hrs, so I don’t reckon it’s a big deal, but I’m a bit surprised after seeing the airlock bubbling a little yesterday.

Sounds like you had a successful and enjoyable first brew day!

What kind of yeast did you pitch? Your current temp of 66 is perfect but since you mention chilling to 78 I’m assuming that’s where you pitched yeast?

That’s a bit warm and your fermentation may have finished up overnight. Though if you’re fermenting in a bucket the absence of bubbles in the airlock don’t really mean diddly… CO2 may be escaping around the lid.

Search this forum and read all you can on fermentation temperature control. Most pitch at a temp in the mid 60s and try to keep it below 70 during active fermentation. I usually pitch around 62-63, try and keep it below 66 for the first few days then let it rise to 68-70 for a D rest.

Good news is you’ll still make beer and it will likely be pretty good! Slainte! :cheers:

Well, Danny is right. I was getting a little worried that I didn’t see anything happening at about 54 hrs since pitching yeast, so even though I said I was going to be patient, I had a gander in the bucket. There was a tiny bit of krausen floating around, not much, and there was kind of a high water mark where it looked like there was some thick krausen at some point. Interesting. I went ahead and got a gravity reading, and to my great surprise, it was already at 1.021. I’m no rocket surgeon, but if my calculations are correct, that’s beer!

I pitched Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast (dry-rehydrated) @ 76 degrees. I guess that’s a little warm. The instructions said to pitch below 78 deg., so I figured 76 would do. After pitching, the temp came down into the 60s over the next couple of hours and settled around 66 deg where it has remained for 52 hours.

So I need to bring the temp on down before pitching next time, I suppose.

Will such a fast fermentation have ill effects on the taste?

Since fermentation is way faster than anticipated, do I still need to leave it in the fermenter for a few weeks? I hadn’t planned on doing secondary ferm.

And finally, what is a typical FG for beer/ale? I’m used to doing hard cider, which typically ferments to dryness at around .998 or so using champagne yeast.

Make sure that in addition to pitching yeast at a lower temp, you are keeping the beer itself at a low temp during the very active phase of fermentation. Example: I could pitch yeast in 68 degree wort, put the Carboy in my 66 degree basement, but the temperature of the wort would climb well into the 70s during fermentation, giving my beer fruity flavors and / or harsh alcohol flavors. It isn’t ruined, but you will likely want those off flavors gone.
Here is a handy OG/FG chart by style. Where your FG lands really depends on your OG, the amount of fermentable sugar you have in your wort, and the yeast type.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/02/04 ... ity-chart/

[quote=“Big_Brewin_Okie”]Well, Danny is right. I was getting a little worried that I didn’t see anything happening at about 54 hrs since pitching yeast, so even though I said I was going to be patient, I had a gander in the bucket. There was a tiny bit of krausen floating around, not much, and there was kind of a high water mark where it looked like there was some thick krausen at some point. Interesting. I went ahead and got a gravity reading, and to my great surprise, it was already at 1.021. I’m no rocket surgeon, but if my calculations are correct, that’s beer!

I pitched Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast (dry-rehydrated) @ 76 degrees. I guess that’s a little warm. The instructions said to pitch below 78 deg., so I figured 76 would do. After pitching, the temp came down into the 60s over the next couple of hours and settled around 66 deg where it has remained for 52 hours.

So I need to bring the temp on down before pitching next time, I suppose.

Will such a fast fermentation have ill effects on the taste?

Since fermentation is way faster than anticipated, do I still need to leave it in the fermenter for a few weeks? I hadn’t planned on doing secondary ferm.

And finally, what is a typical FG for beer/ale? I’m used to doing hard cider, which typically ferments to dryness at around .998 or so using champagne yeast.[/quote]

You could still get a bit more attenuation out of the yeast and also allow it to clean up after the big party. Leave it in the fermenter and let your hydrometer tell you when it’s done. Take another gravity reading in a few days then take one 2 days after that. If the gravity remains constant then the yeast are done and you can bottle or keg it. It’s possible to get some beers from grain to glass in less than 10 days but they’re better if you give them a bit more time to condition.

[quote=“Hades”]Make sure that in addition to pitching yeast at a lower temp, you are keeping the beer itself at a low temp during the very active phase of fermentation. Example: I could pitch yeast in 68 degree wort, put the Carboy in my 66 degree basement, but the temperature of the wort would climb well into the 70s during fermentation, giving my beer fruity flavors and / or harsh alcohol flavors. It isn’t ruined, but you will likely want those off flavors gone.
Here is a handy OG/FG chart by style. Where your FG lands really depends on your OG, the amount of fermentable sugar you have in your wort, and the yeast type.

http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/02/04 ... ity-chart/[/quote]

Thanks Hades. That is a handy chart.

Looks like the yeast have a little more work to do. The beer was a little sweet when I pulled a sample to check gravity, so hopefully the little yeasties will finish up over the next few days and eat up some more of that sugar. It actually wasn’t all that bad tasting after 2 days, so I’m hopeful that it will taste great when finished.

Looks like you already figured out what I forgot to type: taste your beer at the different stages! Before adding yeast and at each reading. Really helps you understand what is happening and why.

I was a little afraid the fermentation was stuck at 1.021, as it was there for a couple days. I waited a couple more and it appears it’s moving again. It’s down to 1.019.

I’m assuming it’ll come on down over time. Is it pretty typical for the last bit of fermentation to be really slow? I guess the little yeasties are having to hunt for those last few sugar morsels.

Pardon my elementary questions.

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