AG Brew #2 - Improving brewing methods

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Pasadena, SA
Hi guys,

I will be doing my second AG brew in the coming days, only this time I am going to be armed with a fermenting fridge, temp control and experience from my first AG brew J

As a learning experience, I will be making the exact same recipe (as I bought double the ingredients), but I want to make a few changes / improvements to my brewing methods which will improve the overall taste, appearance and experience of the beer. As the exact same ingredients / recipe will be used, it will be nice to see how improved methods can improve your beer.

The recipe ill be using is a follows:

2kg of Aussie ale malt
100g of carapils
50g of carared
10g of carafa 3
10g of Simcoe (60mins)
10g of D Saaz (15mins)

This idea is to compare the same two brews (in terms of recipe and ingredients) to see how much a difference your brewing methods can improve the overall taste and experience of a beer.

I would greatly appreciated if you could provide some advice on the following areas where I could improve things.

1: Cooling wort – how important and what methods can be used to cool your wort down to fermenting temp asap?
2: Fermenting temp – would 19 degrees be the ideal temp for the above brew?
3: What methods can be used to avoid the sediment before bottling?
4: Do glass / PET have any influence on the taste?
5: Once bottled, whats the ideal temp to store your beers (perhaps this can be done in my fridge)

Also, if there are any other simple tweaks I could do to improve the outcome of the beer, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Please keep in mind that I’m still a newbie brewer and will need to work with the tools I have for this next brew.

Look forward to hearing from you.

hey mate,

i'm a fellow newbie too (only done 3 AG brews so far) but i can have a crack at your questions:

1: Cooling wort – how important and what methods can be used to cool your wort down to fermenting temp asap? there's plenty of different ones i've read on this board and elsewhere. the easiest way for me to chill down a pot (if you're BIABing like i do) is to submerge it in an ice bath. the night before my brew, i fill a stack of plastic empty coke bottles and the like, with water, and freeze them. then fill my tub up about half way before my brew, and dump all the ice packs in about 10 mins before flameout. it's easiest for me because i can't really have a copper style wort chiller in my apartment.
2: Fermenting temp – would 19 degrees be the ideal temp for the above brew? i think you're pretty spot on. i've used us-05 and have had it sit lovely at 18C so i'm sure around there is perfect. you can always check the websites for whichever brew you use...they give some good info for temps and pitching too.
3: What methods can be used to avoid the sediment before bottling? there's plenty of info on here too about using finings. i tend to use whirlfloc myself, and dump it into the boil about 10 mins before flameout which helps a lot. i've read of people using gelatine products in their fermenters as well - i can't say i've used this though but have seen in pictures how clear some of those beers have been.
4: Do glass / PET have any influence on the taste? to the best of my knowledge, no; provided they're of course cleaned and sanitized efficiently.
5: Once bottled, whats the ideal temp to store your beers (perhaps this can be done in my fridge) provided you need to carbonate your beers (i use carb drops myself) i believe it's best to store them at or just below room temp for at least a few weeks so they can carbonate efficiently. after that it all depends; some say to refrigerate it, which is what i prefer as it tends to age the beer at a lesser rate and gets them ready to drink faster but others on here have had beers out in room temps and above and have advised no bad tastes. try a bit of both to see what you prefer. i just like mine in the fridge. the taste for them have been great after about 4ish weeks (2 weeks carbonating then 2 weeks in the fridge).

definitely do some more searching for those specific questions mate. good luck with it! let me know how you go. it's good to have someone in the same boat as me :)

Thanks for the advice!

1: Cooling wort - so immediately after flameout do you put the pot into an ice bath? Then do you leave the pot sitting in the ice bath overnight then put in fermenter early the next morning? Do you make sure your wort is at the correct fermenting temp (19 deg) before pitching the yeast?

5: Once bottled, whats the ideal temp to store your beers (perhaps this can be done in my fridge): I use carbonation drops too, so the ideal temp for the first two weeks would be around 20-22 degrees?
1. for my first brew yes, i put it in about 10 mins after flameout and of course placed the lid on too (to keep as many nasties out as possible, but kept my thermometer in to see the temps dropping). also, depends if you have any 0min hop additions. at this stage. my first two brews were down to pitching temp within 1-2 hours so i pitched the same day. for my first brew i waited until it was just slightly higher (it was 20C) and my ferment temp was 18C. by the time i'd pitched and got it in the fermenting fridge, it was close enough for me. remember you can shake the sh!t out of your FV too to aerate the wort so that also cools it down slightly.

2. i actually had mine in my fermenting fridge at 18C for about 3 weeks, and then dropped the temp to normal fridge temps - even lower, around 3C and they're still in there happy as larry. tasted one after 4 weeks and it's really coming along well. was the dr smurto's golden ale recipe and it's perfectly carbonated at those temps. i couldn't fit every one in the fridge though so some sat in my cupboard at 25C and they've also tasted great. no difference from what my palate can tell. i think you'll be fine around those temps mate. :)
3: What methods can be used to avoid the sediment before bottling? I will give whirlfloc a try.. how about moving the contents of your primary fermenter into a secondary fermeneter before bottling?
i haven't got space for that myself, but yeah, lots of people do it with success. it's a whole other ball game too because you have to have the right things (racking canes and siphons, a secondary vessel, more space etc) and i've just not bothered with mine. if not done properly it can possibly cause infections too, and increase the chance of adding oxygen to the beer. my beers at this early stage have cleared a lot just from being in the fridge. i've poured them slowly from the bottle into my glass and they've been really quite clear. there's been slight yeast sediment left in the bottles, but not much to alter the taste a great load at all. do a search on here about gelatine too; i saw a how-to with pictures and instructions on this site which seemed okay.

can't give you info on secondary fermenting sorry!
Hello Robbiep,
Sediment in bottles. I find that the longer the brew is left to ferment and clear up the less sediment I get in bottles.I leave in the fermenter at least
2 weeks usually 3 weeks then store bottles at room temperature for 3 weeks to mature,[will not mature in frige].
Mostly my sediment gets hard and stays in the bottle to the last drop.
RULE NO. 1...........Don't be in a hurry.
Good luck with it.
Cooling - If you use an ice bath, as I used to (got a wort chiller coming this weekend :)), you may need to change the water a couple of times as it heats up very quickly. I would put the kettle in a bath of water with no ice for about 20 minutes, or untill the water gets warm, then change the water adding the ice. Leave this for about another 30 mins and will probably be cool enough. It also helps to stir the wort occasionally to cool it down...using a sanitised spoon obviously.

Sediment - You will always get a little sediment in the bottles, just decant it. I usually leave in the primary for two to three weeks, comes out crystal clear most of the time. I don't use finings in the fermenter, but do use irish moss 10 minutes before the end of the boil.
With regards to sentiment, I think the mistake I made last time was perhaps moving my fermenter too much before taking readings and bottling as it was in an ice bath.

This time around ill keep the fermenter in fridge and try take hydrometer readings and bottle directly from the fridge.

Perhaps when transferring the wort to the fermenter I brought over to much of the ‘goo’ left at the bottom of the pot.

You recon this would help?

With regards to irish moss, is this added to the pot 10mins before flameout?
With regards to cooling, ill put the pot directly into a sink of cold water to take off the initial heat. Also less water wasting as my wife and still do the dishes in the water :)

From there, ill transfer to a ice bath or my laundry sink with ice bottles.
if your sink is small like mine, it takes the water all of 2 seconds to get super hot. when i did that, not only did i have to continually remove the pot again, but then you've got a sink with super hot water that you have to empty, replace, then put the pot back in; and it got heavy and cumbersome work. the sheer size of water volume in the bath made it easier and with a shitload of iced coke and milk bottles, i found the water, at highest, only got to room temp. it didn't need replacing. less lifting and worrying too in my opinion. ymmv
Then an ice bath it is:)

But i think ill use the sink first to try and draw as much heat as possible from the pot, then put into ice bath.
No Chill method?
Just so easy, beers still good.

If I was to cool I would probably get an immersion chiller or go with a pump and a plate chiller. Not knowing what you brewshed or brew location is like though it is tougher to make recommendations. When I move into more hop driven beers I will look into acquiring a chiller.

A mate of mine used to fill his bath up with ice, water and some salt and then chill his pot in there. Larger volume of water allowed more heat to be extracted with less stuffing about changing water. Could be very dangerous moving that much wort to the bathroom though. It is hot and very heavy.

no chill method?

is that pretty much transferring the hot wort to another vessel for cooling?
No chill is putting it into a plastic jerry hot , putting the lid on..make sure it is clean and can then use it weeks later or to suit...
If you do use the ice bath , to avoid infection , put it into you fermentor and pitch yeast as soon as you get it down to 20 degrees..
Shake the beejesus out of it regardless of which method you use , once your about to pitch your yeast...that is once its in the fermentor....
robbiep said:
Then an ice bath it is:)

But i think ill use the sink first to try and draw as much heat as possible from the pot, then put into ice bath.
oh yeah fair call, the pot is damn hot. fair enough.

edit: as an aside too mate, i've been experimenting recently with smaller batches, my last one was only 10L which incidentally cools down LIGHTNING fast in the ice-bath, literally less than an hour. not too shabby. then if you like the brew, go nuts and make a bigger batch. it's what i'll be doing in future to sort of test out my brews. my ferment fridge also snuggly fits two jerry cans so i can have two brews going together. just an idea you might consider also :)

no chill is great i'm sure, i'd just rather get it all done on the one day and ice-bath allows that. then i can clean up and the brew day is done.
Thanks guys..

Whats the reason shaking the beejesus out of the cold wort (which is in your fermenter)?

Nick, why take out the carafa 3?

Unfortunately, all my grain has been ground and mixed together.

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