First Brew

Received my 1 gallon starter kit Thursday. Had a chance today to brew my first batch, German Blonde.

It was pretty easy. Do need to get better equipment to use for sanitizing. THought I had a long, flat container with cover, but the one I had was too small.

Took about 15 minutes to get the brew cooled to 60 degrees using an ice batch. The transfer from pot to jug was easy. Only issue is I held the siphon too low towards the end and it sucked up some of the crap from the bottom. Had to add about 8 oz of water to the jug to make up for the boil loss.

Placed the jug in my swamp cooler. Temp is currently at 63 degrees. Now the wait game begins.


Don’t worry about letting a little trub in. I drain directly from my kettle into the carboy via a ball valve, relying on leaf hops sitting on the kettle false bottom to filter the trub, but some always gets through. Seems like I actually get a more vigorous fermentation when I let more trub pass through.

Better use your blow off tube as there is absolutely no head space in that fermenter. Surprised NB hasn’t commissioned a manufacturer for a 2gal glass/plastic carboy. Sure would be nice for the 1gal brewers.

They do have 2 gal buckets. Also grocery stores (deli, bakery) have them. Might want to look into it.

Checked the temp when i woke this am and it was 65 degrees and a lot of bubbling. Added a 20 oz bottle. Want to keep temps around 63 degrees. The 20 oz bottles have been dropping the temps 2 degrees, so it should drop back to where I want it.

Switched to the blow off tube. Loopie is right. The one gallon jugs are maxed out and don’t allow much room for head space. Probably need a 1.5 gallon jug for more head space.

Anyway looks good so far.

Good job keeping your temps in check. Not only will it help with too vigorous of fermentation but it will produce better beer.

+1 on this…you are already ahead of the curve with good temp control. :cheers:

Temp control hasn’t been as difficult as i expected. After about 5 days, will start creeping the temps up to mid 60’s. Blow off tube is working so that’s good.

Currently, temp is 61 degrees. And it is hot today. Will eventually get to the mid to upper 90’s.

Just did my first brew Thursday too! It was a small batch IPA. Oh and I got a bit of trub in mine too. Make sure to post how it turns out man!

My temps have been fluctuating a bit. Woke up at midnight and the temp was 65 so i added a half filled frozen 20 oz bottle. Went back to bed and woke at 4:35 and the temp is now at 59 degrees.

Guess I should have let it go until I got up for work. Hopefully the temps will not rise to more than 65 before noon when my wife gets home.

My goal for my first attempt was to keep the temps below 65 for the first 5 days then gradually increase to finish the fermentation process.

So for I think i did pretty good.

My brew has been very active and there is some discharge from the blow off tube. When I left for work this morning at 6am, the temp was 60 degrees. My wife checked the temps at noon and they were 63 degrees. I arrived home at 4:45 and temps were 65 degrees. I added a 20 oz bottle at that time and at 6:45 temps dropped back to 60 degrees. Will the 5 degree temp swing cause any issues with the finished product?

The temps have been 65 degrees and under, mostly in the 61-63 range. Seems like there is a lot of activity at that temp. Figured the fermentation would have been slower considering the temps I have kept my brew at. Guess that’s normal.

I’ve read the first 4 or so days are the most important in regards to temp control. I’m thinking that maybe on the 5th day I will gradually increase temps to mid 65 maybe a bit higher to finish fermentation.

Anyway, July 4 will be 14 days from brew day so I’m using that as a target day depending on activity at that time.

Question: When bottling day arrives will there still be fermentation activity or will the activity have completely stopped?

Question: When bottling day arrives will there still be fermentation activity or will the activity have completely stopped?[/quote]

It had better be!

I’d be surprised if it were still fermenting at two weeks, but other good stuff continues to happen. Clearing, yeast cleaning up weird flavors, etc. Three weeks is generally considered good practice for ales before bottling. Your patience will be rewarded. And leave them in bottles a good long while, too.

Quick note on my first comment, if fermentation were still happening when you bottle, bad things happen. Bottles explode. Bad news. You are supposed to measure gravity twice, a few days apart to make sure it is stable. With a one gallon kit, you would probably lose a lot of beer doing that, but three weeks should be safe.

I didn’t do the gravity measurement since I am brewing the 1 gallon kits. When the time comes and I upgrade to the 5 gallon kits I’ll measure the gravity.

Another question: Is there a time when I need to clean the blow out tube and or change the sanitizer solution that the tube drains into or just leave it until I switch to the air lock?

If you get a refractometer, you only need a couple of drops of wort to get the final gravity.

You do need to record the SG carefully though as you need both the SG and the FG reading in order to calculate the true FG. (The alcohol messes up the reading and you use a calculator to adjust.)

Your temp swings are minimal. Are you measure the wate temp or the beer temp? If you are measuring water temps these swings are even less serious as there is the thermal mass of the beer. And you are correct that the first 3-4 days is the most important. You still want to control temps to an extent, to the point you don’t allow temps to get out of control, like 80°+.

Activity in an airlock or blow off tube is not a good way to determine if a beer is done fermenting. Weather changes and temp swings can affect “activity” in the airlock/blow off tube. I understand you don’t want to waste beer when you are only getting 10 bottles so I would wait at least 3weeks to bottle. One thing about that is the beer should tell you when its ready not a calendar.

As for the blow off tube. You don’t need to change it per se. I would watch it and if starts looking nasty you can pop in an airlock (if activity has slowed enough where blow off is no longer a risk) or change the water. I will often only do the latter.

I have a temp probe taped to the side of the carboy. The temp probe is accurate as I check it every few months as it’s one I use for BBQ. With the temp probe taped to the side I can only assume the temp being read is close to what the beer temp actually is.

The two week period I mentioned was to be used as a guide basically. I’ve read that 3 weeks seems to be more of the norm before bottling although the instructions say two weeks. Since it’s my first attempt, I’ll let it go to three weeks then bottle.

I may change out the water tonight, depending on how it looks.

Thanks for the info.

Today marks 6 days and there is still some fermentation and some co2 coming from the blowoff tube. Checked the temp at 3pm and it was 65 degrees. Thinking about trying to keep the temps there for two more weeks with gradual increases to 70 degrees. Probably going to switch to the airlock later today.

I have a temp probe attached to the side of my carboy with a rubberband. The tip is firmly against the side.
How close in temps would the brew be in relation to the probe temp? Since I do not have a probe in the brew, I would think the actual brew temp would be a bit higher than what the probe is reading.

[quote=“ed_brewer”]I have a temp probe attached to the side of my carboy with a rubberband. The tip is firmly against the side.
How close in temps would the brew be in relation to the probe temp? Since I do not have a probe in the brew, I would think the actual brew temp would be a bit higher than what the probe is reading.[/quote]
Its likely only reading the swamp water temp but that’s fine. Your actual ferm temps were probably a 3-4° higher so your fine there too. No need to rush it. Always better off being a day late then a day early wen it comes to beer. Have patience and you’ll be rewarded.

I was reading a post about using muslin bags for steeping. I used one for the German Blonde I brewed. The instructions did not say anything about sanitizing the bag so i didnt. Should I have sanitized the bag first? The steeping only got up to about 160 degrees or so. I’m thinking since I boiled the wort for 45 minutes everything should be good, right?

If you boiled the wort after steeping with the unsanitized muslin bag you will be fine…