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First Brew Fer Fritz

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Fritz

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Hello fellow brewsters.

This is my first post and my first brew is at fermentation end.

I have succumbed to pressure from SWMBO's elderly father to attempt my own liquid creations. My mistake was drinking and admitting to liking his darker ales and now our conversations are largely focussed on the black art of making them.

I'd already bought 60 PET bottles which he filled with a pale and lager. On his advice and with a little reluctance, I bought a Premium Recipe Kit from a South Australian franchise for $125 with ingredients for a Coopers Pale Ale Style (20902) including a Safale S04 yeast, sachet of sanitiser but no bottles. I was disappointed with the fermenter tap not seating & needing three hands to use it but what can I do, I'm hours away from the point of purchase.

Three sets of kit instructions, none complete and all conflicting, I chose what I thought was the best procedure at the time to begin; several boiled kettles & a large insert from a slow cooker at the ready. Heating, stirring and crushing the grain was messy but not hard and as I neared the desired volume temperature-chasing, I realised it was a little hot, 26C, and in cooling it down it ended up being nearly 25 litres. We currently have chilly nights here, the occasional frost and a max daytime temp in the mid teens. The fermenter sat on the fridge and the airlock bubbled at 3 second intervals but after a couple of days I felt it was too hot (23C) and moved it onto the floor (15C overnight) with bubbling at 9 second intervals. Without a constant low ambient temperature and heater, I have not been able to stabilise temperature. I did not take a beginning SG reading. At day 7 things were dormant but down to 15C one night so back up onto the fridge again and within hours she's off bubbling away at 23C, 10 days since starting.

Now the airlock has settled but my SG is 1.015 and a long way from the green line. I havn't got a clue what to do now apart form wait. What worries me is fermenter temperature fluctuation, from 15C to 23C. I don't intend to "rack" it into a secondary fermenter but will bottle it from the first one, just not sure when.

I was undecided on what to use to clean and sanitise and in frustration with limited time ended up buying Morgans Low suds Brewers Detergent 250ml $8 and Morgans Sanitiser 250ml $8 simply to get me started. An expensive excercise but I wasn't clear on the alternatives. I understand many of you use Napisan as your source of sodium percarbonate but I have no idea at what rate of dilution or if it is scented; some of them appear to have added lavender, largely unwanted in beer I would have thought. All I want to do is clean and sanitise beerware following the k.i.s.s. principle.

I will be initially bottling into 750ml PETs but have begun to collect 330ml glass stubbies for a special project I have in mind a few brews later. The capper supplied with the kit is mallet struck but I have a new INART 2-lever capper ready to use when the time comes.

For the next brew, is there anything wrong with using the large electric slow cooker to heat and mix the brew up in as it will save the inconvenience of boiling the kettle multiple times; I don't have a large enough saucepan. I now have an old electric blanket and will put the fermenter out in the shed in an attempt to stabilise temps during fermentation. I already have a lever tap to replace the original unusable twist tap.

Q. Is temperature stability THAT critical even though it remains within recommended ranges?
Q. How does everyone in the real world maintain stable temps if so, without cellars?
Q. Are separate cappers needed for crown and twist caps?


My most urgent question now:
WTF do I do with a SG of 1.015 (fallen from 1.022 three days ago)? I'm very tempted to wait even longer until it settles but that conflicts with some of the kit instructions and the old man's methods.

Fritz.

(HE gave me that name, it amuses him and sometimes when we meet I give him a sample of cheap fritz, considered a delicacy in my childhood but almost an insult to him)
 

MaestroMatt

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Hey Fritz,

Welcome to the greatest show on earth.


Answering your questions:

1. Temp stability is ABSOLUTELY critical in making any fermented beverage. If it is staying within the recommended ranges though, you are going in the right direction. Later, you may find that certain yeast will NEED to be fermented within a couple of degress of a set point as they are known to produce flavours you may or may not want in the beer.

2. A lot of brewers (including myself) tend to use the temperature controlled fridge method. Source a fridge that still runs, purchase a controller that measure the temperature from a sensor in the fridge and shuts-off/starts up the fridge as needed to maintain the temp. Otherwise, finding a room in your house/shed/residence that remains fairly constant, then manually use things like frozen water bottles to chill (strap them to the sides of the fermenter), or blankets to warm (wrap it up to keep some of the generated heat in).

3. You can use the crown cappers to cap twist top bottles (glass stubby styles). Though, I certainly haven't found anywhere that will sell new twist top bottle caps. I haven't had too many problems bottling into twist top stubbies with crown seal caps, but it can present problems with seals not being completely made. PET bottles are perfectly fine if you specifically want twist tops. P.S Those hammer cappers are an accident waiting to happen - don't go near them!

Answering the URGENT QUESTION!!!!!

The best tip anyone will give you at this point is to check the brews gravity for the next three days. If the gravity remains the same for that whole period of time, you are in business and can commence the bottling. If it changes at all, START THE THREE DAYS AGAIN!!! Exploding glass bottles in your house is not a good thing -especially if it was only due to impatience!




Apart from the above, which is really only MY version on all this and the old cat has been skinned more times and in more different ways on this forum than I can count, here is my best piece of advice in brewing.......READ A WHOLE LOT ON THIS FORUM. Seriously, this place has almost single-handedly taught me how to brew, appreciate and discuss beer.

Abuse the hell out of that search function as I did, and you are sure to find yourself feeling much more confident about what the whole process.

Have fun mate!

MM
 

whatwhat

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Hi Fritz
A. I would wait until you get the same reading on two consecutive days before bottling.
B. I ferment in a fridge with the use of an adjustable thermostat. You can buy them from on of the site sponsors. This will allow you to keep the temperature at constant and at the optimum. Other people may be able to give you a more scientific explanation as to why, but it is just better for your yeast.
C. not sure about the capper but i am 99 percent sure they are all the same.

Good luck mate and don't take any rubbish from the outlaws.
 

warra48

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G'day Fritz, or should that be Guten Tag ?

Anyway, what are the ingredients you used for this brew? Without knowing that, it's impossible for us to tell whether your Gravity readings are within the predicted range.
The advice about stable readings over 2 to 3 consecutive days is good, BUT they must be within the predicted range. Do you start to see the problem we have at this stage in giving you definitive advice?

I use a bench capper, and have no problems with twist tops or roll tops, it works well on either type. My local HB shop sells caps designed for both twist tops and roll tops. The only difference is that the metal for the twist tops is a little softer than the roll tops, but they are really interchangeable with a good bench capper.

The best way to control fermentation temperature is, as already mentioned, with a temperature controlled fridge. I use a TempMate from site sponsor CraftBrewer in a dedicated fridge, but there are cheaper alternatives if you wish. Have a look at this thread http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=66428.

Good luck on the start of a great hobby.
 

glenwal

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You don't mention if you included any parsnip in your brew? if you aren't using parsnip, you really should. It gives your brew that extra umph, and helps to keep your airlock bubbling.

Parsnip is best if added into the mash, however if you are doing K+K then a tin of parsnip soup is a good substitute.
 

GuyQLD

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You don't mention if you included any parsnip in your brew? if you aren't using parsnip, you really should. It gives your brew that extra umph, and helps to keep your airlock bubbling.

Parsnip is best if added into the mash, however if you are doing K+K then a tin of parsnip soup is a good substitute.
Did I miss the memo saying assume all new posts are trolls unless proven otherwise?

As to Fritz's original thread, sounds like you had steeping grains in that kit you purchased that's a pretty serious first effort there mate.

All the advice in this thread so far has been good advice any brewer should start with; Sounds like you've made beer but don't be surprised if your first one makes you second guess yourself, hardly anyone gets a winner first time round.

But the guys here will have you making tasty concoctions in no time.
 

stevem01

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If you are not doing real lagers you can get by without a fermentation fridge. I use an old sleeping bag strapped on with occy straps, the insulation stabilises the temp. in winter you will probably find that the heat generated by the yeast will keep it warm enough. In summer I slip some frozen 2L orange juice bottles between the fermenter and sleeping bag to cool it.

I always leave my brew in the fermenter for 2 weeks. its usually finished by then
 

glenwal

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Did I miss the memo saying assume all new posts are trolls unless proven otherwise?
If this isn't someone from Brew Adelaide, i'll gladly drink VB all night next time i'm at the pub.
 

manticle

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Sodium percarbonate (the active ingredient in napisan and oxygen bleaches) is a great cleaner when used with boiling/very hot water. It has antibacterial properties but needs to be rinsed. Thus the rinse water is the last thing to touch your equipment so you need to trust that. If you use napisan or similar, it needs to be unscented.

Most people use something like sodium perc/napisan as a cleaner, then rinse, then use a no-rinse sanitiser like starsan or iodophor (no rinse when used at the correct dilution rate).

Temperature is especially important at the beginning of fermentation but stable, controlled temp throughout is only ever a good thing. The temperature of the brew during its most active phase may be a few degrees hotter than ambient as fermentation generates its own heat. So outside 15 could mean the brew inside the fermenter is 18. A fermenter in a water bath at the temp you are aiming for will give a more accurate reading until/if you set yourself up with temp controlled fridge and accurate monitoring of the wort/beer temp.

The two day/three day 'rule' (more of a recommendation and one I take umbrage with) is only good if your gravity is where you would expect, given ingredients and fermentation conditions. Yeast can become slow, lazy and even dormant over more than three days, then decide to wake up one day inside your glass bottle and take your eye out.

That PM is ironic since we seem to be getting a fair bit of troll action from the brew adelaide guys (at least one of whom is a moderator here).

If mike is who I think he is though, he has a wealth of knowledge he will share with most people even if he is made of **** butter.

It's also considered not a great thing on forums to make PMs public without permsission. At least get rid of the sender name.
 

GuyQLD

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If this isn't someone from Brew Adelaide, i'll gladly drink VB all night next time i'm at the pub.
Nice catch, I totally missed it.

What's their beef anyway? I've had no problems with anyone here and I've asked one or two pretty retarded questions in my time and got straight answers. Did someone steal all their kittens or something?
 

manticle

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If the best people can do is say 'I asked for help on a forum and the poor fools!! - THEY GAVE IT TO ME!!"........


then you really should start looking up sites like fapdu and nudevista. The internet can be so much more fun.

NFSW for anyone stupid enough to think they might be.
 

pk.sax

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Cocko sent them bottled cockgrease.

They've all taken after him since :ph34r:
 

Florian

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Haha, looks like one of our moderators needs to be moderated...



AHB Green Team: one vacant position, immediate start preferred :p


EDIT: just re-read the above posts and realised Manticle's already onto it.
 

glenwal

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If mike is who I think he is
Who's the boy who can laugh at a storm cloud?
Turn a frown into a smile for free?
Who's the kid with the heart full of magic?
 

Cocko

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AHB Green Team: one vacant position, immediate start preferred :p
Right, I am ready! Inbox is all cleaned up, just awaiting the call up.

First call of duty; Film a training video called 'One practicalfool, One Cockos Cup'

Then bring back the spin :ph34r:

:p
 

Malted

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That PM is ironic since we seem to be getting a fair bit of troll action from the brew adelaide guys (at least one of whom is a moderator here).
Haha, looks like one of our moderators needs to be moderated...
AHB Green Team: one vacant position, immediate start preferred :p
I didn't see the PM and came to this thread just now.

Are half truths, since they are not entirely true therefore untrue? The mod you are referring to does not troll here. He may read it and laugh at it and in some instances may make some remarks elsewhere but I repeat, he does not troll here. Plain enough?
 

bum

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And his language CLEARLY states that said moderator is a member of BA.

What the CHRISTING **** is wrong with you guys over there lately? Dumb as pigshit, apparently.
 

manticle

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I didn't see the PM and came to this thread just now.

Are half truths, since they are not entirely true therefore untrue? The mod you are referring to does not troll here. He may read it and laugh at it and in some instances may make some remarks elsewhere but I repeat, he does not troll here. Plain enough?
My statement said one of the brew adelaide guys is a moderator here which is entirely true. For what it's worth I quite like his online personality (not met him) and would share a beer with him at any point.

No-one ever suggested said mod was a troll or guilty of trolling - turning a blind eye is about as accusatory as it gets.
 

loikar

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My statement said one of the brew adelaide guys is a moderator here which is entirely true.
Correct

For what it's worth I quite like his online personality (not met him) and would share a beer with him at any point.
He is a top bloke, and I would give him my last beer, at any point.

No-one ever suggested said mod was a troll or guilty of trolling - turning a blind eye is about as accusatory as it gets.
I don't think he's turning a "blind eye"
Defining a line between the two forums is what he is doing.
What is said on any other forum is irrelevant to this one, and anything dragged here from another forum should be moderated.
He is a mod on this forum not BA. He has deleted or Moderated a few of my posts on here to what he deems acceptable regardless of my protests.

He is a good brewer, a good man and a good moderator, regardless of his affiliation with any other community.

Move on...
 

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