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Coodgee

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Ok guys, let me introduce myself. this is my first post. I'm a farily young bloke who has brewed a few bottles of beer, but has plenty of experience drinking the stuff.

I have done a few coopers lager brews with mixed results. I have a good mate who is a very experienced brewer, won a silver medal in a national comp for his pilsner. He has given me a wealth of information and has convinced me to purcharse some kegs, which I did do, at brewcraft chermside, about 5 days ago.

so I have my kegs, my CO2 bottle. a lagering fridge and a keg fridge that I will drill a hole in tomorrow.

I thought I would fill you all in on my plan for the first kegged brew and I would love to get some tips or feedback on what I can improve.

My first brew will be a Lager, in the vein of a Corona style. I feel it is a good place to start as I want to make a beer that has no resemblence to the nasty real ale coopers that I have brewed in the past. I will add hops and use a brewcraft malt/dextrose/corn syrup mix No. 20.

First I will sterilise with sodium metabisulphate. I thought I would just fill the fermenter to the brim with the right concentration in water and then add all the utensils and let it sit for an hour or so. the instructions are not very clear on whether to rinse in water or not. is this necessary? if someone could give me a good run down on sterilising with sodium metabisulphate, that would be cool!

So I got a brewcraft "mexican Cerveza" tin. I will add this to a couple of litres of boiling water. I will add my malt/ dextrose mixture and stir the **** out of it (so to speak).

I will fill to the 20L mark with spring water ( will get a water purifier eventually, but thought I would go with spring water for now). what water does everyone else use? is straight out of the tap ok?

Then I'll boil up some hops and throw that in. I have brewiser finnishing hops. can anyone vouch for this hops? is it fresh and suitable for my type of brew?

finally I will pitch my saflager yeast.

I will seal up and air lock.

I have my lagering fridge, but really it is just a big esky as it doesn't really work. so I will use half a dozen blocks of frozen ice (pre frozen in my deep freeze) for the cooling. I have already tested this and I can get 20L of water down to 12 degrees in about 20 hours. so if I change the bottles over every 24 hours, I should be able to keep the brew at a nice low temp.

I'll keep up the ice changes for about 2 weeks, that should be enough time for it to finnish fermenting eh? I may measure this with a hydrometre. what is the chance of infection here?

then I will transfer the beer into another sealed container and put it in the brew fridge at about 4 degrees C. leave it here for another week or so, then keg...

advise for kegging will be another 2 million word post so we will get to that later!!!

thanks for listening to me guys.. does this sound like a good procedure to you guys?

can you give me a few quick tips to help make sure this brew is great from the start?
 

sosman

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Coodgee, the force is strong in you. This is unlikely to be your last brew so accept that there is some learning curve and relax. Each brew you learn more and refine your techniques and recipes.

I can't speak for the Cerveza kit because I haven't brewed it.

Be careful with spring water, it often has lots of minerals (mostly salt) and for a light lager style will probably affect the taste. If you have a choice, get water with minimum mineral content - check the label. I live in melbourne and just use tap water.

If you have sodium metabisulphite you may as well use it. But I don't recommend buying any more, get a real sanitiser. Things must be thoroughly clean before you can sanitise them effectively. Checkout http://brewiki.org/CleaningAndSanitation I have used it long ago and didn't rinse, you need to watch the concentration of the mix and drain really well.

For kegging I also put a page together re kegging and carbonation at http://brewiki.org/KeggingAndCarbonation

Before long, you will turn to the dark side of all grain brewing. After a couple of kits you might want to try a partial or two and before you know it - full scale AG brewing.

good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

pint of lager

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Welcome to the passion Coodgee.

Check out previous posts on this site, lots of excellent background info here. Use the search button, flashing and highlighted in red. Many threads have multiple pages, so there is lots of info to read. Airlocked items stay at the top of areas, and often contain FAQ's.

Check out the excellent links sosman posted, and also http://www.howtobrew.com

DO NOT USE SODIUM MET ON STAINLESS STEEL, this includes your kegs. DO NOT USE BLEACH ON STAINLESS STEEL.

With your kits and bits, you just want to dissolve it in the hot water, then top up with cold water, then stir the bejesus out of it.

Get your sanitation right, then your fermentation temp right, use good ingredients, don't buy Coles draught and expect anything decent, keep reading and experimenting, and before you know it, you will have your own competition medal to stick on the kegfridge.

Oh yeah, you can never have too many kegs or fermenters.
 

sluggerdog

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Welcome Coodgee!

I see you bought you system at brewcraft chermside, I live in chermside so it's good to see someone else in the area on the forums...

What did you do for a gas bottle and where do you get it filled?

I am currently getting mine filled at stafford brewer's choice but it cost me $25 for a 1.5 kg which I thought was a little high (beggers cannot be choosers though)

Would be interested to see what you think of the mexican Cerveza, it was the first brew I tried about 3 years ago and it was total crap but I didn't have any clue in what I was doing back then, i'm sure it is a lot better then I did it (standard sugar, hot temps, tap water, poor cleaning etc)

Cheers
 

Coodgee

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hi sluggerdog. I actually live in Taringa, but I was driving around all afternoon looking for brew shops and checking out their kegs. the last one I found was at chermside. All the systems seemed to be much of a muchness and the chermside one was a reasonabley priced $400. I also got him to throw in some yeast and hops for free.

a little confession, I actually don't have a co2 bottle yet. I envisage I will be getting it from CIG gass or some other gas company. when you say $25 for a 1.5 litre what do you mean? is that just a refill? do you own the bottle? if you are renting the bottle how much does it cost?

I hope my cerveza turns out ok now :~( you've got me worried!

I think the brewing bug has really hit me... I'm really excited just thinking about this brew... problem is I will probably be a bit disapointed with it. I'm sure I'll stuff up something eh... it's a bit hard to get it right the first time?
 

sluggerdog

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I ment a 1.5 kg bottle was $25 for a re-fill and I bought the bottle online from Goliath Brewing at: http://www.brewgoliath.com.au/catalog/prod...products_id=144

I'm sure your brew (cerveza) will turn out fine, it was just how I did it years ago is why I had such a shocker (mostly to do with heat) as as you have your fridge your laughing..

The BUG is very easy to catch.

Good Luck :D
 

Snow

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Coodgee,

good to see you're getting right into it and aren't afraid to ask questions. You will learn a lot very quickly. Do as POL says and use the search functions on this site - you pick up lots of experienced advice. Living in Taringa, you are nice and close to the excellent Chapel Hill Brewers Choice. They are the best stockists of grains hops and yeast in Brisbane, IMO.

Couple of tips: use the Brisbane tap water. It has a good balance of minerals for most beer styles and only needs a teaspoon of gypsum for some English styles.

Ditch your sodium met and get another sanitiser. Morgans and some other brand produce a silver iodide based one that works well with no rinsing needed. Sodium met is bad for your health and has no place in beer brewing. Better still, get yourself some orthophosphoric acid based sanitiser - oneshot, terminator, slingshot - all the same thing sold by different shops down south. you can order them on the web or get some in bulk from a dairy industry supplier. I think the Chapel Hill store are looking to get some of this in so ask them.

When you are lagering in the secondary container, I would leave it for 4 weeks for better results.

Don't stress and have fun!

Cheers - Snow
 

NRB

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Welcome aboard Coodgee...

Would be interested to see what you think of the mexican Cerveza, it was the first brew I tried about 3 years ago and it was total crap
I did one as my fisrt kit too - I was good with sanitation (I work in healthcare so know a little bit about infection control), tried my damndest to keep temp constant without a fridge, but it ended up shite. It was only with 1kg dextrose though...

Ditch your sodium met and get another sanitiser
Agreed. The stuff is dangerous and stinks. I've been using Sterex (Sodim dichloroisocyanurate) but only because it was given to me. I'm about to change to phosphoric acid as it's easy to use and non-rinse.

Paul, where did you buy the 25L or so quantity of PA and how much was it?
 

mchiu

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i agree with the idea of ditching ur sodium metabisulphate.

Only started mid year of 2004. The weird thing was i bought the brewing kit and it came with sodium metabisulphate. I cleaned everything as the instructions says. Used bleach to clean, rinsed it very very well.. ,many times.. then use the sodium stuff to santitise.. then at the end i got an infected beer which didn't smell right or even taste right.. brought it to the local HBS and he told me it was infected...and i did not rinse the sodium meta... as the instructions say i don't need to.. i heard those stuff are for wine makers..

second brew did the same thing.. this time used bleach as the sanitiser and was fine since....
 

fergi

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just a hint on sodium met,i am a butcher and we use that for preserving meat etc,when you say you filled your fermenter right to the top with water and sodium met it will have a better effect if you only mix up 2 litres of water with your sodium met and then put your gear in your fermenter that you want to sterilise then i hold the fermenter top and bottom and horizontal then swirl it all around to coat the sides and top of your fermenter then let it stand for 10 or 15 minutes then swirl it around again and leave it again for 30 mins or so then i give it one more swirl around pull your stuff out and tip it upside down to drain,then leave it for another 5 mins then drain the last bit out ,i dont rinse after that.its the fumes from the sodium met that actually sterilises your equipment
cheers
fergi
 

Coodgee

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thanks for the tips re sodium met guys. seems some hate it and some love it. the guy at annerly HB said he and most of his club use it.. he also mentioned to me that it is used in meat preservation. I guess I will use the rest of this bottle and then look for something else.. I dunno.. I am noticing a trend amongst brewers, and that is that everyone does it differently. guess I will develop my own methods from trial and error

thanks for the help anyway guys, seems like a very active and supportive community here.
 

nic0

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I have been using sodium metabisulphate as a sterilizer the same way that fergi explaned and never had a problem. Keep in mind that you have to sanitise you equipment first, sodium metabisulphate isn't a sanitiser.

I though it was only aliminium kegs you couldn't touch with sodium met as it would turn them black? is it the same for stainless?
 

Coodgee

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ok.. the brew is down and airlock is in.

it didn't all go to plan, but not tooo bad.

Good points:

I am confident the sterilisation went well. I cleaned out the brand new fermenter using a week concentration of selleys sugar soap. scrubbed till the plasticy smell was all gone. then rinsed maybe 20 times. put all utensils in the fermenter and added 2 litres of water and a couple of table spoons of sodium met. swirled around and let stand. swirled around again and let stand. swirled around again and tipped out. let dry. rinsed twice with boiling water.

I had a good sterile kitchen to work in.. I disinfected the whole room.

some things that did not go so well:

The hops tea bag split open. I threw it in anyway. I REALLY hope that this stuff will settle out with the yeast. if I CC it should all drop out of the beer right?!

my stick on thermometer registered 32 degrees when I filled the fermenter.. I added a tray of ice cubes but it didn't really move. I wrapped a wet towel around it and blasted it with a fan, but it didn't really move.. I don't know how to read those things.. the 32 degrees box on the thermometer was lit light green, the 30 degrees was lit a more blue colour.. I took it as maybe 31 degrees when I pitched the saflager yeast. I've it in my fermenting esky now with a big bag of ice around it..

could someone tell me the possible consequences of pitching at 31% with saflager yeast?

from opening can to air-locking was probably 15 minutes.

hope I haven't farked it!!
 

pint of lager

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The hops will sink and end up as part of the sludge in the fermenter. Don't worry about them, you did the right thing.

Woohoo, you sanitised the kitchen! Do you want to visit my house? Seriously, next time, unless you are trying to win browny points in your household, just do the fermenter, all utensils and anything that comes in contact of your beer. Also the tap, lid, grommet, airlock and lid seal if you have a screw-on lid style fermenter. Leave the lid on the fermneter unless actually stirring or adding ingredients. If you have to put the lid on a bench, sanitize the bench. Have a spare clean bucket with some sanitiser in it, so you can put the spoon down somewhere.

20 times seems a bit excessive to me, are you a compulsive cleaner? Certainly give it a good clean and rinse, then take it out into the sunlight and check every surface, and then redo any spts you have missed. For easy cleaning, fill to the brim with your favourite cleaner, let soak overnight, then wipe every internal surface with a soft cloth, rinse and inspect, also do the tap and threads with an old toothbrush.

Use less boiling water next time to dissolve your ingredients. Keep on hand takeaway food containers with ice in them to use as big iceblocks to drop in your brew and bring the temp down before pitching the yeast.

Stand the fermenter in a cold water bath with ice to bring the temp down.

Cannot say what unusual flavours pitching at 30 degrees will have.

All those stick on temps are a guide. Next time you are in the brewshop, look at a large range, you will see some variation. So cannot tell you what yours is reading. They are not very accurate, but certainly suitable for basic brewing. Use a real thermometer to calibrate, so you will know what yours is actually reading.
 

Coodgee

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ok I am a little peeved that I was dumb enough to pitch my saflager yeast at 31 degrees, but I guess what's done is done. I am trying to get the wort down to around 12 degrees asap so I can hopefully have the temp down at proper fermenting temps before fermentation actually starts. I realise this might shock my yeast, but it has to be better than fermenting a corona style lager at 30 degrees!!!

opinions...
 

sluggerdog

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Not for now but next time...

I bought a 10 litre bottle of spring water fro woolies a while ago, now each brew I re-fill it with boiled water and put it in my fridge over night, this will help lower the starting temps (next time anyway)
 

Batz

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Coodgee said:
I am confident the sterilisation went well. I cleaned out the brand new fermenter using a week concentration of selleys sugar soap. scrubbed till the plasticy smell was all gone. then rinsed maybe 20 times. put all utensils in the fermenter and added 2 litres of water and a couple of table spoons of sodium met. swirled around and let stand. swirled around again and let stand. swirled around again and tipped out. let dry. rinsed twice with boiling water.

I had a good sterile kitchen to work in.. I disinfected the whole room.
:eek:
Champion !!! :p

You win

Batz :ph34r:
 

Batz

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Oh

A quick run up the street with a garden spray full of sanitizer never goes a stray either :lol: :lol:

Sorry Coodgee :p :p :p

Welcome to AHB

Batz :ph34r:
 

fergi

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batz i am sitting here chuckling to myself after reading your answer.not a lot said but cracked me up.anyway thats sure will be a clean brew at least coodgee well cleaned
fergi
 

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