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Irish Red Ale fermentation

I got my deluxe kit last week along with the NB Irish red ale. This is my first ever attempt at brewing. I boiled and put the wort in the fermenter Thursday afternoon. On Friday I checked on the carboy and was happy to see a very active fermentation had started. Today I went up to check on it and the head in the carboy was nearly gone and I didn’t see much activity besides the airlock working slow but steady. Is this a bad sign? When would you suggest moving to a secondary and for how long? Thanks in advance!

It sounds like your fermentation is nearly complete. Now, let it sit for at least a week to give the yeast time to clean up some of the undesirable stuff they produced while they were working so frantically.

Such a fast fermentation implies that you were fermenting a little warmer than is ideal for the best flavor. When yeast are warm they work fast and are not very conscientious. They make some stuff they can never clean up and the beer will have some harsh flavors. Yeast generally make the best beer near the lower end of the optimal fermentation range listed in the instruction sheet and often are even better below that range. I believe most participants in this forum will agree that fermentation temperature control is the third-most important consideration when making beer. (The first consideration is sanitation. The second consideration is also sanitation.)

Having rambled on about fermentation temperature control, here’s another suggestion: throw out the instructions you got from NB (or any other kit producer)! The instructions will guide you to producing beer, but not the best beer your kit can produce. But, there’s a solution: get a copy of John Palmer’s “How to Brew”. There’s a free (old edition) on-line at http://howtobrew.com/

As it is, you will produce beer and you will almost certainly enjoy it. By tweaking your processes you can make better beer.

Thanks for the reply. I knew I should of put it in my basement where it is much cooler and always dark. I put it in by semi finished attic where it is in the mid to upper 60s and had to put a shirt over the carboy to keep it away from the sun. Look forward to finishing this batch and moving on to my next batch so I can call this a hobby!

I’m also just brewing my first batch. I am using the 1 gallon kit with the Irish Red Ale. Mine did something similar as well. I pitched the yeast about 10pm on a Tuesday night and about 8 hours later had some good bubbling coming out of the air lock. Then after work I saw the air lock was bubbling like crazy with foamy bubbles spitting out of it. I read up about blow off tubes and did one into some sanitizer in a separate container. On Thursday morning the bubbling was there but it was drastically slower. After work on Thursday the foam (kraussen?) and the top of the wort was basically gone and the bubbling had stopped. What I’m concerned with was now there is a sludge of sorts caked on the upper part of my glass gallon fermenter. I’m wondering if this is yeast stuck to the glass or something else or if i should even worry about it?

It is perfectly normal. Yes it’s mostly dried yeast, and other gunk from the wort.
Don’t try to mix it back in, because it will taste nasty. At racking/bottling time, just ignore it and it won’t bother you. It’s stuck on pretty good, so just don’t poke at it with the racking cane.

After you empty the fermentor, it’s gotta go. I’m not sure how to clean it with a 1-gal fermenter, but when cleaning a larger carboy the most egregious chunks fall off by twisting the funnel as I fill and rinse it. Once you get the debris out, a good PBW soak does the job for the stain. It is a bit of a pain, but not a really big deal.

Thanks. When I noticed the fermentation slow down, I swirled it a bit and some of it fell back in. I hope it’s not too much to totally kill the taste. I plan on letting it sit for another week or so, so I’m hoping it settles at the bottom before bottling. Lesson learned. Looking forward to my next batch already.

Popped my first bottle today. Everything turned out pretty good!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!
You’re officially a home brewer.

So, what are you making next?

Not quite sure what my next batch will be. To keep shipping costs down I’m thinking I might buy 2 or 3 kits and possibly another 1 gallon fermenter to brew 2 batches at a time. Roughly $20 bucks for about 10 beers is pretty steep. Hopefully the $7.99 flat rate will stay around until I get my next overtime check. I’m eyeing the barleywine, caribou slobber, sierra madre and possibly one of the IPA’s for my next go round.

might be time to step up to 5 gal batches, more economical.

[quote=“sonex”]

might be time to step up to 5 gal batches, more economical.[/quote]

Yeah, I know, I thought about this. But buying a 5 gallon kit starter kit and then a recipe kit to go with it, I could buy quite a few 1 gallon recipe kits. I’m still trying to decide what my options are. I like the 1 gallon kit because if the beer tastes bad or the brewing process goes a little haywire, I’m not out $30-50 in ingredients. Especially since I’m new to this homebrew thing.

When I first heard about NB selling the 1 gallon kits, my thought was “why go through all that work for such a small batch of beer”, but I’ve come to appreciate that as a learning tool, they are pretty good. As you say, if you mess up, it isn’t such a big deal and it doesn’t hurt as much as it would if you needed to dump five gallons. And they allow you to brew a bunch of different beers to see what you would want to make bigger batches of when you do upgrade.

Plus, think about it. $2 per beer is still a better price than you pay at the store for a good microbrew. :cheers:

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