New Brewer, Some Basic Questions

Hello, I like many new people on sites like this, I imagine, received a beer kit for Christmas.

I got a Mr. Beer Kit with bottles and a American Light hopped malt extract. I’ve already started my first brew and it has been fermenting since Christmas morning. I have been researching vigorously on what my second brew will be. I am going to go with a DME + Specialty Grains Irish Stout.

Here are my questions:

When adding Hops (for my recipe it’s at the beginning of boil, with 30 min left and with 15 left) do I just throw them directly into the wort or do I put them in a bag like the grains?

When bottling, the Mr Beer kit calls for regular sugar. Most online sources have suggested corn sugar to produce a better beer. Should I use the exact same amount or is there a conversion rate? What’s the preference for a Stout or other types?

What’s something I need to be weary because I am using a single fermenter?

From my understanding, usually beer is brewed with a second fermenter for more clarity to get a lot of the “gunk” out of the brew.

With a Mr. Beer fermenter with spigot should I just bottle beers and try sure not to bottle the gunk that settled on the bottom? It seems as if it’s shaped to collect it at the base of the plastic keg. And if I get a second Mr. Beer kit (which I think I am going to) could I use the second as a secondary fermenter with any benefit?

Thank you all for your help, I look forward to any help I can get. I want to get brewing some really unique and complex beers eventually.

You can put the hops in directly. Or bag them. Panty hose works great for a bag. $.99 at most retailers. If you go bag less, you can strain them out at the end. Or dump it all into the fermenter. Of course, that adds additional “gunk” in the bottom. Because of the small volume you are making, strain or bag the hops. Leave plenty of room in the bag for the hops to expand.

Sugar: For the small amount you use for bottling I doubt you can tell the difference. I use table sugar.

Single fermenter: Nothing to worry about. As you will read this is debated often. Some like me leave the beer in the fermenter for 3-4 weeks. Then bottle. Others feel they get a better product transferring the beer, after fermentation is done, to an aging vessel for 2 weeks. You will have to decide what you like.

IMO, the same amount of “gunk” will fall out of the beer by leaving it in the 1st fermenter for 4 weeks as will fall out if you transfer it to another vessel after 2 weeks. And let it then sit for 2 weeks. 4 weeks total. 4 weeks is 4 weeks. :wink:

Is the stout you are looking at doing a Mr Beer kit?

You could get a 5g kit from Norther Brewer and split it in 2. Save the DME/LME/hops in the freezer for a month or so and then make the other half. Just an idea for you.

Welcome to home brewing.

Fermentation temps will effect your beer. Try to keep the fermenter cool. Low to mid 60’s is ideal.

Thanks for the info.

The Stout I want to make is not a kit, it’s a recipe I found on hopville.com using DME and some grains, with Kent Golding Hop Pellets. And I’m going to buy some yeast and sanitizer. I want to make my own recipes after the second one so I plan on buying to have extra ingredients.

Sounds good. My kit suggested 68-74 for this beer and I have it at 70ish right now. Should I find a way to cool it? I could put near a window I suppose. I’ve also read that I should ferment for 2, bottle to carbonate for 2, and then put to condition in a fridge for 2 weeks. Is this just a preference or style of beer thing?

You said 4 weeks, would this be my 2 weeks in the fermenter and 2 weeks in a bottle carbonating? Or are you saying I should ferment for 4 weeks then bottle with sugar to carbonate for 2?

Fermentation, converting sugar to alcohol, can be finished in 3-5 days. Yeast also produce other byproducts. If you leave the beer sit for a longer period, 2-4 weeks, the yeast consume these byproducts. Of course they can do this in the bottle. But there are fewer yeast in the bottle v. in the fermenter.

The longer you leave the beer in the fermenter, the more “gunk” will drop out of solution in the bottom of the fermenter.

The instruction you have for 2 weeks fermenter, 2 in the bottle and 2 in the fridge are good also. But sometimes carbonation isn’t complete in the 2 weeks. It may need 3-4.

Big thing in home brewing is patience.

70* is a little warm. Fermentation creates heat. So the beer may be 5* or so warmer than the air temp. It could make a good beer. Depending on your taste buds. Cooler temps make a “cleaner” beer. Warmer temps can produce some “fruity” flavors.

As you see, there are many ways to do this. None is right, or wrong. Just different. And produce different results. That are both good, or bad. Depending on your taste buds.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]

As you see, there are many ways to do this. None is right, or wrong. Just different. And produce different results. That are both good, or bad. Depending on your taste buds.[/quote]

Excellent. I like the idea that there in no right or wrong to brew it. I just am picking for info on how to affect what. So far what you’ve given me is great.

This question is not for the Stout I will be making in a week or 2. Just another question I thought of.
I really like the smell of rosemary are orange rinds or extract together. What would be the best way to incorporate this type of flavor or aroma in a beer? I assume I could put rosemary and orange zest/peel in a grain bag in and steep it with other grains. Could I also include it in the full boil or would this do something to the flavor?

Wow, never thought about rosemary. Don’t know if I would like it. But that’s the great thing of home brewing. You can do anything.

Orange zest, fresh or dried, can be added at the end of the boil. Last 5 minutes or so.

Rosemary, it might work in the boil also. Again in the last 5 minutes.

Or you could “dry hop” with it. 3-5 days before you bottle, add some rosemary to the fermenter.

Remember, you can always add more. But you can’t take it out. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the advice. That seems logical because both would be great as an aroma component of the beer. Just like the aroma hops are added for the last few minutes so the smell isn’t boiled out. I’m thinking of this Rosemary and orange zest to top of some sort of American Ale. Maybe with some Lime zest too.

I have one more dummy question. How do I know how much yeast to use? I know most kits come with a measured amount but most recipes I read don’t indicate an amount of yeast, just a type.