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Dunkelbrau

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So, i have been enjoying the beers my girls dad has been brewing since I've known them, im a beer fan, love trying all sorts of different beers, absolutely love it!
I was at BigW a couple of weeks ago, and walked past the home brew goodies, ended up buying her old man a tooheys dark ale and some malted sugar, while I was there, I noticed a cider - I have since read many unpleasant things about it (brigalow) but its a start!
Took it all back to her dad and had a chat, and after a bit of research, I've decided to kick into it full on! Ive gotten the brigalow cider down, and I think it is ready to bottle!
I've been researching on some different kinds of brews to try and I think I'm going to kick off with a wheat beer next time!
I have a couple of questions as my girls dad kegs not bottles.
Firstly, sugar - what sugar goes in the bottles? Just normal stuff or dextrose?
Secondly, I've read about them exploding - especially these cider kits! Do I let it sit in the primary fermentation container for longer or use less sugars or something?
The gravity is at 1.000 right now, and I didn't check it before popping the yeast in (was a bit excited.. noob!).. I'm assuming it's done because the packet specifies some readings, and it's been 8 days, it's smack bang between the 6-10 specified on the packet..
Thanks in advance for any tips/tricks/knowledge! This place looks like a really helpful, friendly place! Cant wait to get into a few other brews!
 

homebrewkid

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first of all i would like to welcome you to the forum

im not sure about your gravity reading on the cider as ive never done one

a few things you should do a search for to answer some of your questions are

sanitation/sterilization

bulk priming [no messing around with putting sugar dex or whatever else into each bottle

you will need another fermenter for bulk priming search for bunnings fermenter cheap as

you need some sort of temperature control for consistent brews search temperature control

check out the articiles section at the top of the page there is hours of reading in there and also plenty to confuse you as well when you are starting out

google john palmers book how to brew its available to read online free of charge but is well worth buying a copy of it probably the best book out there your local library should have a copy

start a brewing diary and write down EVERYTHING google for some templates there is heaps of them out there

there is heaps more and i cant think too good at the moment im sure everyone will throw heaps more info your way the most important thing is to have fun and dont get too upset if something goes wrong check your records and learn from it stick with it and you will have great inexpensive beer forever.

cheers :beer:
 

kelbygreen

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first off throw the kit instructions away. Bottles explode from kit instructions and impatience. Ciders finishs low very low so 1.000 might not be done. A few things to help you out.

1. throw away kit instructions
2. ferment WAY! lower then kits say 18-20 ale yeast 10-12 "true" lager yeast.
3. check your first gravity at 8-10 days then wait 3 days and check again if its the same (and within expected gravity) then bottle a few days after if its different wait 3 days and repeat.
4. use better yeast then whats in the kits. Recommended pitching is 12g for 23lts ale yeast if its kept at 4deg and is relatively fresh. Kit yeast is 6g and is kept at what ever the store temp is and the age is unknown. So you are well under pitching.
5. cleanliness and sanitation is everything, Clean with a good soaking cleaner like sodium percarbonate (napisan or supermarket brand type) and use a good sanitiser like starsan it doesnt look cheap but the bottle lasts years.
 

Dunkelbrau

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Cheers guys! I'll check out the mentioned info, and work out a cooling system as the cider is higher than 20 degrees!

I've already started looking at a keg system as getting a hold of the bottles is a bit much, it defeats the purpose to buy long necks if you're brewing your own :p

I've got a chest freezer I can convert (if it still works).

The girlfriends dad is VERY wary about sanitising everything, so that's been instilled in me early on, hopefully it doesn't turn out bad or explode, I'll leave it for a bit and see what happens.. Also - that bulk priming sounds good, I'll have a look into it!

Thanks for the tips!
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Welcome to the forum.

Whilst your father-in-common-law is likely a good source of information, nothing beats AHB for the sheer depth of info and the ability to use it to progress one's brewing at a fairly accelerated rate.

Get temp control under control - regardless of Kit brew vs AG vs whatever, temp control and good yeast treatment is paramount - it's what makes sugary malt juice into beer (or apple juice into cider) - and is a living organism.

And if you're willing to try new beers - great!

You'll be brewing massive 10 min IPA in no time, and drinking commercial IPA and thinking "not enough hops".

Goomba
 

Deebo

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If I could go back in time and give myself a few pieces of advice when I was starting out.

Use malt extract instead of dextrose/brew blends
Use a better yeast (us-05 or nottingham are good for a lot of beers)
Get temperature control sorted.
Buy a big bottle of starsan.
Get a keg system as soon as possible.
Try to make sure you are using fresh ingredients.
 

Ivan Other One

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The girlfriends dad is VERY wary about sanitising everything, so that's been instilled in me early on, hopefully it doesn't turn out bad or explode, I'll leave it for a bit and see what happens.. Also - that bulk priming sounds good, I'll have a look into it!

Use malt extract instead of dextrose/brew blends
Use a better yeast (us-05 or nottingham are good for a lot of beers)
Get temperature control sorted.
Buy a big bottle of starsan.
Get a keg system as soon as possible.
Try to make sure you are using fresh ingredients.

Deebo sums up some main points of better brewing here.

All I can add is that Yes, sterilization is very important,

to avoid potentially LETHAL bottle bombs, be sure of the carbonation amount you put into the bottles as well as being certain that fermentation has completely finished.

After brousing this forum for years I have been kegging the wort after it has been in the fermenter for no less than fourteen days. this ensures the ferment has finished and gives the wort time to clear.

Oh yeah, a keg system will save heaps of time compared to bottling.

Happy and safe brewing there Jurt.
 

Dunkelbrau

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Cheers for the tips! I have a couple of kegs and a temperature regulator (mashmaster) coming this week, i have a chest freezer I'm working on, and I might convert the old bar fridge to a fermenting chamber.. Will need another temperature controller yeah?

What exactly is the difference in using different yeast compared to the kit yeast? I have a Morgan's wheat beer I picked up yesterday - no good?
 

angus_grant

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What the guys were explaining is that most of the kits are sitting out on the shelves where temp isn't really controlled and you have no idea when it was placed there. So you have no idea of the treatment of the kit yeast with regards to time and temp. The good homebrew shops have their packeted yeast or liquid yeast in a cooled chamber.

And some of the kits don't really provide enough yeast to get fermentation firing quickly. The quicker your yeast fires in the fermentation vessel the less chance something else has to fire (wild yeast, infection, etc, etc).

All this being said, I have never had a kit yeast not fire properly. This may be explained by the fact that I wasn't making lagers or high gravity (strong alcohol %) beers where you need some good yeasts to cope with lager fermentation temps (roughly 8-13 degrees. Depends on the yeast) or have the ability to ferment out all the sugars for a strong beer.

Different yeasts provide different flavours in the final beer, different fermentation characteristics, require different temps for full fermentation, etc, etc.

I would stick with the kit yeasts for your first few brews so you are working with known combinations, and you get your brewing processes working correctly. All the awesome yeast in the world won't overcome lack of sanitation, bottling /kegging too early, bottles not in a cool stable temp for storage, etc, etc.
 

Bribie G

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Great advice so far. Re exploding bottles etc, if you are going to use the brown PET beer bottles such as you get with some of the complete beer outfits (like Coopers) then I would suggest a cheap and dead reliable and consistent method of priming:

csr_cubes.jpeg

That's all I've used for my almost 4 years of brewing and quite happily enter beers into competitions primed that way. One lump per bottle, and for most styles it carbonates perfectly. Some less gassy styles you can add a tad less sugar granulated through a little funnel, but I wouldn't bother.

<modest> and I've won a swag of gongs etc at comps using the good old CSR </modest>

On the other hand if you are using an assortment of glass and plastic bottles then I'd aim to go bulk priming as mentioned in a previous post. However until you get your head around that, you can get those little scoops to measure full and half bottle doses. Just white sugar is fine, swirl it around and tip the bottles the next day to avoid a syrup layer on the bottom. Whatever method you use to prime, it's essential that the beer is fully fermented out before bottling.

And never even consider using those rip off carb lolly drops :p

Happy brewing.
 

Dunkelbrau

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Ah okay, makes sense regarding the yeast, considering im in western sydney and temps get high and low here! There are so many differentials to change the outcome! This is awesome!

regarding priming, I got a measuring utensil for sugar in my kit, so Ill use that for first batch! so regular sugar is fine?

Good to know!

I have been smashing down long necks the last couple of weeks and have accumulated a number of bottles, so I will be using glass!
 

angus_grant

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I primed with raw sugar for ages using the scoop that came with my Coopers brewing kit.

If you got a racking cane (long plastic stick with valve on the bottom) to fill up the beers, get yourself to Bunnings or aquarium shop and get some hose that fits on the fermenter tap and on the cane. That way, you lay out all the bottles on the ground, put your carb sugar in each bottle and then use the cane on the hose to fill up each bottle. Much easier than picking up each bottle and filling separately. Remember to sanitise the tube and cane before filling bottles.

Keep an eye on the sales forum here. People quite often have quite a few tallies for free or cheap when they move up to a kegging system.

Of course the bonus with buying beers in tallies is that you get to drink the beer that's in the tallies. Cheap bastard home-brewers will only give you empty ones. :D
 

Dunkelbrau

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Haha, i have the kegs on the way and the thermostat, i still need a fair bit of stuff to get it sorted but i'm going to make sure i do it right, and get decent quality bits and pieces to kick start it all off and allow options to expand.

Ive put the second brew down since im off work sick today (flu, and yeah, i washed my hands thoroughly), (the Morgans wheat beer) and used 50% Light Malt Extract with 50% Dextrose my god it smells amazing!
Temperatures around my area are set to stay cool (late teens - early 20s) for a while, and since my house is built on a massive hill, the garage stays pretty consistent until it heats up outside (then its just warmer all the time). Ive been monitoring the temps with 2 different digital thermos, one kept upstairs, with a second "paired" thermo, and a standalone one as well. The second one gives the daily readouts as to fluctuations as well, so thats handy. they are both sitting with the Wheat beer :)

I should be clear to keep this one pretty low, the OG was 1.041 and from what ive read, thats pretty spot on?
 

Josh

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Ah okay, makes sense regarding the yeast, considering im in western sydney and temps get high and low here! There are so many differentials to change the outcome! This is awesome!

regarding priming, I got a measuring utensil for sugar in my kit, so Ill use that for first batch! so regular sugar is fine?

Good to know!

I have been smashing down long necks the last couple of weeks and have accumulated a number of bottles, so I will be using glass!
Where in Western Sydney are you? The Western Sydney Brewers get together every* month for a meal and to share our homebrew and talk about brewing. You are welcome to join us for our next meeting normally on the last Thursday of each month.

* - The last couple had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. April should be a good one.
 

Dunkelbrau

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Where in Western Sydney are you? The Western Sydney Brewers get together every* month for a meal and to share our homebrew and talk about brewing. You are welcome to join us for our next meeting normally on the last Thursday of each month.

* - The last couple had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. April should be a good one.
Im out in Penrith, definitely sounds interesting, i might take a look at the forum for it and see when it is, if I'm free i'll pop round!

Sounds interesting!
 

Dunkelbrau

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Bottled the Cider yesterday morning!

The girlfriends dad uses regular sugar, and he had some carbonation drops so i did a combo of the sugar measured out with the little scoop i got with my kit, and then a few with the carbonation drops, just to see the difference.

Ive put it in an esky and weighted on top, just incase an explosion occurs.

I'll let you all know how she goes in 3 weeks!
 

Dunkelbrau

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Well, scent was like the double d sugar free apple drops you get at the chemist, and the taste was watery alcohol, not fruity at all.

I'm thinking of tipping and using the bottles for another brew in a few weeks (got an amber ale down for kegging for my girls birthday party).

Thoughts?

I'm sure bad flavours could improve but what about LACK of flavour?

I'm guessing this is the "brigalow" taste..
 

Edak

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I would think that a lack of flavour would be related to the source of the flavour (brigalow).
 

Dunkelbrau

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I would think that a lack of flavour would be related to the source of the flavour (brigalow).
As are my thoughts haha..
Honestly, it's not drinkable .. Unless alcoholic soda water is what you're after!
 

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