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Newbies, RDWHAHB! Your beer is fine!

I realize this is completely associated with the holiday season and a lot of people getting their first brew kits as a holiday gift. There are SOOOOO many posts of new brewers asking if their fermentations are going ok after only 12hrs. So…

RDWHAHB (Relax Don’t Worry Have a Home Brew)!

Fermentations come in all different shapes, sizes, speeds, temps, etc. After pitching your yeast, it can take up to 72hrs for active fermentation to start. They will usually start within the first 12-24hrs, but can take up to 72. So if yours is a little slow to start, RDWHAHB. There are many factors that can cause a long lag time.

If your fermentation starts up and is fast and violent, it will slow down rather quickly. This is usually due to warmer fermentation temps. For most ale yeast, you want your temp to be in the low to mid 60’s. You want your ambient temp a few degrees below where you want the beer to ferment at. 70+ ferm temps are too warm. You’ll still make beer, but you may get some unwanted flavors in there. Search for swamp cooler or get a hold of minifridge to keep the temps cooler.

Just some friendly advice is all. The best thing to do is brew, pitch your yeast in the low 60’s, when you see active fermentation (remember it can take up to 72hrs) start planning out your next brew day and leave the fermentor go for 2-3 weeks minimum. There’s no need to take constant gravity readings, open the top and look. The yeast will do their thing. You’ll have beer soon. You’ll want more beer shortly there after, so start making more… RIGHT AWAY

:cheers:

Awsome advice, dobe!

A couple additional points:

Bubbler activity is NOT (really) an indicator of fermentation. Fermentation continues well after the bubbler stops. Also, if you have buckets, some C02 can get out around the bucket seals which can makes the bubbler seem less active than it could be. no worries.

If the bubbler gets filled with krausen or funny colored stuff; pull it off and clean it. This stuff can dry out, clog, and lead to a messy lid pop-off. Refill the clean bubbler with some sort of sanitizer; not tap water. Note: StarSan, esp. in the bubbler can get milky-white over time; that’s not what I’m talking about.

For refilling bubblers, cheap hard liquor is a perfect substitute for Star San; so vodka, whiskey, rum, anything that won’t poison the beer if it gets sucked in when you move the fermenter. i.e. NO rubbing alcohol.

If you’re unfortunate enough to have the lid blow off your bucket; you have a nasty mess to clean, but the beer is probably NOT ruined. You may need to give it a day with the lid on loose to let it settle down. Just clean-up and don’t worry. (but your temps are probably high.)

One more thing; it became a bit of a joke in another post, but the NB instructions say, “Move the fermenter to a warm, dark, quiet spot until fermentation begins.”

“warm” is dead wrong, unless you think low to mid 60’s as dobe12 suggests is warm.
“dark” is real. I, personally saved the boxes that the carboy’s came in, and would to use them as a shroud, to keep light out.
“quiet” is the funny one. I think they mean a place in the house where the fermenter can sit undisturbed for a couple weeks. But the thought that yeast gets annoyed by loud noises makes it seem silly.

Thanks guys. I only have 3 brews under my belt (all fermenting). One thing homebrewing has taught me: patience. :wink:

As a TOTAL NOOB who just racked my first brew to the secondary, I actually find the hand-wringing, worrisome posts quite helpful since they show me how normal my batch is going. I got the proverbial Noob Deluxe Brewing kit with Caribou Slobber extract from NB for Christmas and everything has gone absolutely perfect!! Maybe I’m ahead of the game since I sprung for the hydrometer, got an 8-gallon boil kettle and made an immersion chiller. With all the videos, the great advice on the forums and the free online version of John Palmer’s “How to Brew,” this has been a cinch! After 2 weeks of perfect fermentation, I decided to follow the rules and rack it to the secondary. I took the gravity reading and it was 1.018 and the sample tasted unbelievable! I’m sure I’ll have tougher batches in the future, but this is fun and there’s ridiculous good beer when I’m done! SOLD!

Good! It looks like you did your homework before diving in. For that I commend you! Problem is many don’t and don’t even research the questions asked. I’m not against people asking questions but yesterday there were 3 posts about the"airlock activity quiting after 48 hrs." I just wish people would spend a little time researching their own solutions. In addition this would provide the cons/pros of a solution and THEY could decide on how to proceed. Bet their will be another 4 questions this week on whether or not to secondary…

Dobe, thanks for the information. The Cooper kit I got for Christmas seemed to be as easy as they said, but was lacking a lot of details. I put everything together about 27 hours ago and was getting concerned about the tentative response visa vie the bubbles/ froth/ surface activity.

I’m pumped and already planning my second batch.

Thanks again. :smiley:

Just a follow up post. Sure glad I took your advice and waited. No change as of this morning before work, but I came home this afternoon to find a 5 inch pile of tan foam floating around. :shock:

What a difference a little time and patience make !! :smiley:

Thanks guys.

“I just wish people would spend a little time researching their own solutions.”

Some of us do, you just don’t see those who do the research because our questions have been answered.

I started brewing last fall. And I had the same worries about my first batch, but finding the answers already given I didn’t have to ask.

[quote=“Wobbly”]Dobe, thanks for the information. The Cooper kit I got for Christmas seemed to be as easy as they said, but was lacking a lot of details. I put everything together about 27 hours ago and was getting concerned about the tentative response visa vie the bubbles/ froth/ surface activity.

I’m pumped and already planning my second batch.

Thanks again. :smiley: [/quote]

throw out the directions that come with kits they are horrible

Good on ya!
Patience a great thing to learn when brewing…in fact, even after the brew has fermented, patience is a good thing to have since the vast majority of beers benefit considerably from at least some aging time before consumption.

Be sure to report back and let us know how your first three brews turned out!

Will do!
:cheers:

OK, so like every NOOB, I had to pop open a bottle of my immature Caribou Slobber - WoW!!! All I can say is WOW!!! I can’t believe that this heavenly brew is going to get BETTER over the next 5 weeks! It tastes almost identical to Tommyknocker- malt forward with perfect hop complexity. At 4 weeks, this is brilliant stuff (if a little flat, since I gave it no time to carb up). I’ll have to drink multiple bottles (flat or not) as I watch my hometown Broncos play the Super Bowl.

RDWHAHB!! Home brewing is AWESOME!!

[quote=“Brewin’ in Bama”] I’ll have to drink multiple bottles (flat or not) as I watch my hometown Broncos play the Super Bowl.[/quote]If you want to “force carb” a couple or six bottles for Sunday, or at least get them as carbonated as you can, put them in a small cooler with a heating pad on low (if you have a thermometer, try to set the temp around 85-90F) and every few hours take them out and give them a swirl to keep the yeast in suspension. On Sunday morning, put them in an ice-water bath and let them chill and settle until the game starts.

Thanks Shadetree!

[quote]

Be sure to report back and let us know how your first three brews turned out!

Will do!
:cheers: [/quote]

Well, I tried both the Irish Red Ale and the Honey Porter:

IRA- turned out good; darker than it should be but it wasn’t a full-volume boil. It seemed to lack a little body but this could be due to me being used to drinking nothing but Stouts this entire month. :lol:

Honey Porter- Really overcarbed (4-5 fingered head); might be from the Fizz Drops (quite a few people reported problems with this- maybe only with certain styles?). Very good porter though- will definitely brew it again in a 5 gal. full-volume boil.

:cheers:

We’ll the game was a total disaster, but the beer was carbed! I couldn’t keep the temp above 85 degrees so I put the heating pad inbetween two rows of bottles. It worked like a charm! Perfect foam, excellent carbination level and the taste actualy blended better. That’s a great trick!

As far as doing your research goes, this site has tons of great information. Unfortunately the PHPBB search function is kind of lacking, a few years ago I made a custom Google search for this site, it gives much better search results.

NB forum custom Google search
https://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=002049908316651186938:fhofsczk36a&hl=en

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