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Some Newbie Questions

My wife and I are fairly new brewers, having only finished two batches and a third in the primary fermenter.

My first question is this. We brewed the NB Nut Brown Ale as our first batch. I know I made a number of mistakes in this batch. A big one though was that I did not get the stopper tight (air leakage). We never tasted the beer until after it was done conditioning. I felt it had a metalic taste to it, but nobody else seemed to taste that. I just didn’t like this batch. Was it oxidation that could have caused that taste? (we used a stainless cooking pot, so I don’t think it could have come from that. And we used bottled drinking water from Walmart)

My second question is this. Our third batch is a two-stage NB Dead Ringer. After 6 days, the Krausen seems to have gone away and it’s only bubbling about once every 2 minutes. Should I wait the entire two weeks to transfer to the secondary fermenter? I don’t really want to break the seal and measure the gravity for several reasons (my beer thief seems to leak air and it’s very hard to extract from the carboy, so I don’t like to do it too often. I also don’t want to waste beer with constant gravity checking).

Finally, our second batch was a NB SHBB. I know we’re supposed to let it bottle condition for two weeks, but I cracked a bottle after a week just to see where it’s at. The flavor was good, but it still seemed pretty flat. Only slightly carbonated. The Nut Brown was already pretty carbonated after a week, so i’m a little concerned. We added corn sugar to the batch prior to bottling. Am I concerned for nothing? Or should i just let it sit for a few more weeks?

Metallic suggests more of a water problem, although oxidation can contribute. If you’re brewing extract, use RO water since the extract was made with moderately hard water to begin with.

You could transfer to secondary but be sure to stir and bring a lot of yeast with the beer or it might stall out. Otherwise wait at least ten days if not the entire two weeks. Are you watching fermentation temps? You don’t want to ferment beer to warm. Fermentation generates heat, as much as 5F above ambient.

Higher ABV beers take longer to carbonate up, maybe its cooler where the beer is too. have patience it will happen. I generally try and rack over a little yeast to the bottling bucket so I get plenty for bottle conditioning. It settles out anyway.

Thanks for feedback Tom,

Where might i get RO water? Other than installing an RO system myself.

Ambient temp of my fermenter is about 66 degrees (according to the fermometer on the side of the carboy). Ambient temp for my conditioning bottles is about 70.

I’m not really in a hurry, so I can let it sit. I was just wondering if it was beneficial to let it sit for the full two weeks, or if letting it sit would cause problems.

To be clear, do you recommend stirring only if you rack early? Or should I stir even if I wait two weeks? If I do stir, shoule i stir up just a little, or all of the yeast cake?

The Dead Ringer calls for 1 oz of dry hopps. However, I noticed that my package of Hop Union hops seems kidn of soft and expanded… like moisture somehow got in the package. Should I throw them and get new hops? It doesn’t seem like it’s unsealed, but somehow moisture must have gotten in.

Most big grocery stores will sell RO water. Distilled also works. Unless your tap water tastes bad, use it. I use straight from the tap for the boil and filtered (through the fridge) for top-off water.

Many things will affect carbonation. The best thing to do is leave them alone for a MINIMUM of two weeks. After that, put a couple in the fridge and see what the carb level is when they get cold. More time equals more carbonation. As long as the beer is out of direct sunlight, you can let your them sit for months before chilling without negative effects.

I’ve done the dead ringer twice (just dry-hopped second batch) and I’ve skipped the secondary both times. The beer tasted great. If I were you, I’d skip the secondary and hop in the primary. I’ve had a few hop bags swell after going from warm to cold to warm temps. The hops were still fresh inside.

Good luck on your beer!

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