First Brew

I am new to brewing and decided to start with small batch brewing till I get comfortable with the process. I started with the Irish Red Ale and wanted to get some insight from others about what I have noticed so far.

I pitched to the carboy right at 70 degrees (took ~40 minutes to cool) and added 1/2 of the yeast per the kits instructions. I played it safe because I had some uncertainty as to the accuracy of my thermometer. This morning when I checked the carboy there was blow off coming out of the air lock and I immediately put in a air hose w/ solution water on the other end. A fair amount of head and hops blew through immediately but not all. Bubbles were about every 1-2 seconds on average. Once the head stopped coming through the tube I replaced the air lock. I have a few theories as too why fermentation happened quicker than expected. 1) possibly using more than half of the yeast. 2) the temperature of the beer is above 75 due to fermentation.

I have some concerns that the out of control yeast party overnight may lead to some undesirable flavors. Also, the instructions say 1-2 weeks fermentation. If the bubbles and head subside before then should I continue to wait 7 or 14 days to clear?

What kind of yeast? What is the recommended temp range? A vigorous fermentation isn’t necessarily bad. A couple of weeks is a good minimum, but it depends on the gravity of the wort. Don’t worry about the rate of bubbling - that’s not a reliable indicator of anything. After 2 weeks, pull a sample and check the gravity, then wait a couple of days and do it again. If the gravity doesn’t change you can consider racking it, but that would be awful quick to bottle. The yeast eats up some of the byproducts from that early explosion at that stage, and that won’t change the gravity much. Relax - you’ve got a little waiting to do. If it’s a small beer (say, under 1.045) and you get consistent grav readings, you might bottle it at 3 weeks, but a little more time won’t hurt. If it’s much bigger than that, you’ll want to give it at least a month total before you bottle.

You can start with a blow off tube and never put an air lock on the fermenter. The blow off tube is a big air lock.

Check out my signature line for ideas to keep your fermentation temps down.

Thanks everyone for the information it is very helpful. The small batch Irish Red Ale came with a dry ale yeast. I don’t have a hydrometer, yet, but it is defiantly on my priority list for later brews.

As of this morning the krausen has all but vanished and air bubbles are at a minimum (1 per minute). I will defiantly leave it alone for the two week period.

[quote=“rockthebrew”] The small batch Irish Red Ale came with a dry ale yeast.
If you’re talking about safale dry ale, you’re good - the stated max temp is 75. I would think most any yeast packaged with an Irish Ale kit should be okay at 70 F. Get a hydro before you brew again - they don’t cost much. Err to giving it more time at every stage and you should be okay. It would still be worthwhile getting one to check the FG on this batch. You won’t be able to get an ABV without the OG, but you’ll at least know if you’re in the ballpark based on the kit’s estimated numbers. Beer’s pretty forgiving - it will probably be fine.

Thanks midmobrwr. The small batch instructions actually don’t have any gravity information and was going to email NB for this information so that I would be able to compare when I do get a hydrometer.

i’m courious why you didn’t pitch the whiole pack of yeast? it sure won’t hurt and will probably help.

[quote=“speed”]i’m courious why you didn’t pitch the whiole pack of yeast? it sure won’t hurt and will probably help.[/quote] Per small batch instructions. Being that this is my first brew I was following instructions and not deviating. Have you tried adding a whole pack to a 1 gallon batch?