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First brew questions

Hi, I’m Kenny. I’ve been reading your posts for a couple of weeks, watching lots of videos and basically reading everything I can get my hands on. Hopefully, I’m ready to jump in.

My first brew will be the Belgian Golden Strong Ale first from NB’s kit. I’ve written up a timeline to make sure I understand the sequence. I’ll post it below, but first a couple of questions.

  1. At what temperature is it safe to strain my wort? Is 100F too high?

My kit instructions say to use the wort cooler to get my wort down to 100F as quickly as possible, but that I shouldn’t pitch my yeast until 78F, so I’m assuming I can use the wort chiller to get the temp lower than 100F as long as it’s above 78F, right? I thought that straining cooled wort would be a good way to oxygenate the cool wort, right?

  1. I want to go from kettle through the strainer into a plastic bucket, take my gravity reading and then siphon into my carboy. I’m guessing that some might say I could just siphon directly into my carboy, but if I want to do it this way, are there issues?

If you have a moment to see if I’m missing anything in my timeline, I’d appreciate feedback on that as well.

_*_*_*_**

Day before – yeast starter

Items needed for yeast starter
• yeast starter flask
• yeast packet
• scissors
• funnel
• foam plug
• Star San

Steps for yeast starter

  1. Slap yeast pack to activate yeast (incubate for 3 hours).
  2. Start 650 ml (2.7 cups) water to boil.
  3. Sanitize yeast starter flask, yeast packet, scissors, funnel and foam plug.
  4. Pour ½ cup dry malt extract (DME) into boiling water, and boil for 15 minutes.
  5. Pour wort into flask.
  6. Add foam stopper.
  7. Cool wort in sink with water. Add ice after flask is in water.
  8. Remove stopper and pitch yeast when water is between 70-75 F. Replace stopper and shake flask.
  9. At least 12 hours to ferment.

Day of – for Brewing Belgian Strong Golden Ale

Items needed
• Brew kettle
• Long spoon
• Wort chiller
• Funnel
• Strainer
• 6-gallon glass carboy and airlock
• Plastic bucket
• Siphon and hose
• Thermometer
• Hydrometer
• Star San
• Recipe kit

Steps for Day of Brewing Belgian Strong Golden Ale

  1. Add 2.5 gallons water to kettle.
  2. Prepare long tray to sterilize long spoon and Blowoff tube and other items that fit.
  3. Put crushed grain in mesh bag and add to kettle (tie to handle).
  4. Steep grain for 20 minutes or until water is 170F.
  5. Remove bag and discard grain.
  6. Bring water to boil.
  7. While boiling, reduce heat, add 3 lbs Golden Light dry malt extract (DME), stirring well. Once blended, turn up heat.
  8. Increase heat and return wort to boil.
  9. Immediately after adding DME and increasing heat, add 2-oz Saaz hops.
  10. Boil for 60 minutes.
  11. Sanitize the following items:
    a. 6-gallon glass carboy
    b. Plastic bucket
    c. Funnel
    d. Strainer
    e. Siphon
    f. Siphon hose
    g. Airlock and airlock plug
  12. At 15-minutes before end of boil, add the following (lower heat as needed):
    a. 1 oz Saaz hops
    b. 4 lbs Golden Light DME
    c. 2 lbs Clear Belgian Candi Sugar
  13. Place wort chiller in wort.
  14. Finish boiling wort.
  15. Cool wort to 100F (per kit instructions) as quickly as possible using wort chiller.
  16. Add 2-gallons water to plastic bucket.
  17. Pour cooled wort through strainer into plastic bucket (could probably siphon straight into carboy, but pouring through strainer should oxygenate and will make it easier to siphon?).
  18. Measure specific gravity of the wort with hydrometer, and record the level.
  19. Siphon wort from bucket into 6-gallon carboy.
  20. Aerate the wort (shake carboy).
  21. When wort is down to 78F or lower, pour yeast starter into the 6-gallon carboy that contains the wort.
  22. If needed, add water to bring carboy to 5-gallon level.
  23. Stir fermenter by rocking it.
  24. Install airlock.
  25. Add liquid to airlock.
  26. Move fermenter to a warm, dark location.

Good luck, I’m sure you’ll do great. The fact that you’re going about this so systematically is a good sign.

  1. Don’t strain the wort until it’s under 80. It’s not good for the wort to be aerated until it’s below 80. Once the temp is down, yes, pouring is a very good way of aerating. And yes, you should use your chiller to get right down to pitching temp.

  2. I don’t see any problem either way, but using the bucket will give you one more thing to sanitize.

Let us know how you make out.

Siphoning the wort to the carboy is unnecessary if you have a funnel. Just pour it in. Will help with aeration, take less time, and you will have less stuff to clean.

Also your starter looks kinda small for that size beer. This is the link to Mr. Malty starter calculator: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html It will help you determine the size needed. But any starter is better than no starter.

for sanitizing long things, the long spoon, and siphoning stuff,
I use a long plastic wall paper water (or glue)? tray, it works great, less than $5 at the HW store.

you will be fine, so organized…
take good notes!

have fun!

Thanks for the tip on the temp, jt drowns.

Thanks, newbrewermel. I’ll pick one up for sure. Good idea.

I mean, sclinchy. I’ll look at the yeast starter, jt. Thanks

jt drowns, according to that calculator, I need twice as much yeast as I’m using for the O.G. 1.081 of the Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Am I guessing correctly that my 1000ml yeast starting flask is not large enough for two packs of yeast?

Mr Malty claims a 1.080 beer needs 1 packet of yeast and a 2.67l/.75 gallon starter with intermittent shaking. 4.67l/over1 gallon with no shaking. And 1.75l/.46 gallons with a stir plate.

Or 3 packets of yeast. If you don’t have enough volume of sugars in the starter the yeast will only “wake up” and they will not have enough food to multiply.

Can you source a 1 gallon apple jar or wine bottle? In a pinch a plastic milk jug will work. But not real well with the stir plate.

Also, you need 3-5 days for the starter to do it’s thing.

Get your wort as close to fermentation temps before you pitch the yeast.

Straining is a PITA! Especially those large funnels with the screen in the bottom. It will clog fast (personal experience). If you really want to strain, purchase a large (5 gallon) paint straining bag from the hardware store. Put that in your sanitized bottling bucket. Dump the wort into that an pull it out. Then drain into the carboy. Or if fermenting in buckets, put it in the bucket and pull it out.

Edit: other jars for starter could be a 1g pickle jar, issues with odor in the lid. Or those 1g ice tea jugs with the spout on them. Check the thrift stores. Always seem to see on there.

We picked up a 1 gallon glass bottle from our LHBS…it was under $6.

What temp are you fermenting at? Like Nighthawk said, get your wort to the temp you plan to ferment at so they are not wasting time getting acclimated to their new environment. If 78F is it, like posted, than fine, but keep that in mind.

I think you will make a great beer, having a system and a plan is always helpful. Have fun!

Wow, this is really helpful information. You folks are awesome.

I found an empty 1 gallon wine jug in a neighbor’s recycle bin for free.

Completed the brew last night at about 7:30 pm. I got up this morning, and at 6:00 am the krausen is up to the neck already. Is that normal within 11 hours? Here’s a video of what it looks like.

http://youtu.be/4M-XxOwM6Ws

.

Looks great - but, it is creeping up there. Do you have a “blow off” tube and know how to put one in? If so, you might want to t consider it - looks like it has the potential to go up into the airlock.

Also, maybe put some plastic or something under it - so, if it does go over it does not get on your carpet .

Looks really good though - great job with all your prep. Should pay off with a nice beer.

My starter kit came with a large blowoff tube. From the videos I’ve seen, I place one end in a bucket of sanitizing fluid and the other end in the mouth of the carboy. Anything else?

Looks beautiful man. Like braufessor said and you mentioned in the video, you probably want to go ahead on put on the blow off tube, or aleast get it sanitized and ready to go. I suspect the krausen to rise a little bit more.

When you use a yeast starter, fermentations happen quick and vigorous. My last big beer (1.090) required an almost 4 liter starter and was coming out of the air lock within 12 hours.

That’s it - just make sure you sanitize the tube, everything when you make the switch. I think that would be a good precaution by the looks of your carboy. might be ok without it, but it is a real mess if it starts coming up through the airlock, blows off, etc.

The other thing would be the temp. - what is that at? You are brewing a belgian (which I do not brew) so I think that you probably do want a warmer temp. possibly (and those warmer temps. produce more violent fermentations.)

I’ve got a temp strip on the carboy, and it reads 68 right now.

Also, if my co2 bubbles were heartbeats, my carboy’s heart rate would be 120 bpm right now. It’s really pumping out the gas.

I would say you are doing a great job. That temp is not too high - just looks like a great ferment. You are light years ahead of my first beer, I can tell you that. Looking forward to an update on the results down the road.

Thanks.

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