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Gough

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G'Day everyone. I'm a long time lurker, first time poster with a question you've all no doubt heard before, but one I'd like some help with if possible.
I usually brew kit based Lagers, and have had some pretty reasonable results with Saflager dried yeast. Coming from Newcastle and having grown up drinking black beer, I decided to change tack and have a go at brewing a black in the 'Hunter Old' style. The bloke at my local homebrew shop talked me into a can of Morgan's 'Old', 1.5kg of NZ 'Dark' Liquid Malt, some CL80 hops (never used CL80s before) and Safale yeast.
My question is about the final gravity and when to bottle. I've heard that darker brews have higher gravities, but mine began at 1039, so I wasn't expecting it to be much different to my Lagers. I've brewed it a little colder than the kit suggested, but it has been pretty steady at 19/20 degrees for 8 days now. The gravity hasn't dropped in 3 days now below 1011. Obviously I don't want exploding bottles. The airlock is still bubbling but only about once every 2 minutes. Should I bottle now or wait longer (planning to use Coopers lollies as bottling sugar)?

Thanks for any help you might offer. This is a great board and has helped me a lot in the past.

Gough. :chug:
 

kook

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What was the volume of your beer? 1011 FG sounds about right considering you used 3.2kg of liquid malt total. Though the continued airlock activity suggests theres still some subtle fermentation going on.

Around the 18-22 mark is perfect for SafAle, you should end up with a brilliant brew.

Personally, I'd leave the beer for another 3-7 days if you're not going to secondary condition it. Just let it sit there so it clears out a little more, then bottle-away :)
 

Gough

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Thanks for replying so quickly Kook. The overall volume was just over 23 litres.

As for the 'secondary conditioning' you're talking about, is that the same as racking? I've been brewing for about a year now and I'm about to invest in another fermenter and some 10mm plastic tubing to rack future brews. I'm not usually that worried about sediment, but I've been told (and read on here) that it makes a significant overall difference. I think I'll take your advice about letting it settle just to be on the safe side. My only real worry about leaving it is infection/vegemitey flavours.

Thanks again,

Gough.
 

dreamboat

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Racking to secondary is worth considering in general, but in this case, you are too late to do it...ideally it is done when the beer is about 75% fermented - probably about 1018 for your brew.
I concur with Kook - leave the beer as is for a few more days at least, and then bottle. Only after three or more weeks should you be worried about the off flavours from autolysis.

dreamboat
 

Linz

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Gough,
My first dozen brews were all blacks/olds. Follow what kook has said.
The ONLY time I encountered the yeast bite/vegemite flavour was A bottle of kit brew I kept for over 12 months at room temp...and the flavour wasn't that strong that I threw it out :chug:

the reciepe I used was:
Gold Rush Texas T kit
#22amber blend which is: 250gm Dextrose
250gm dark malt
500gm light malt
500gm morgans liquid choclate malt
2x golding hop T-bags(steeped in hot water then added b4 yeast) :p
 

GMK

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Gough

I am going to disagree.
I think you can rack to a secondary fermenter.
I usually rack at day 7 but have gone until day 14 - depening on style, when yeast started etc. and rack for 2 weeks before kegging and/or bottling.

After racking, taste wort and adjust for style, balance and taste that you want.

I usually add some lactose - 150gms, gypsum -2 teaspoons and dry hop with Cascade 15gms.

I dont buy Brewcraft Hops.

Mainly, becuse they are always stored out in the open - not kept in the freezer where they should be stored to maintain flavour and freshness, and i feel that they are over priced...
(Note that this has been the same at all Brewcraft stores i have been to....)
 

kook

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He doesnt have a secondary yet, at least that was what I thought. Gough, if you do have one, rack now :) If not, I'd leave it for another 3-7 days in primary before bottling.
 

Gough

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Thanks for the assistance fellas. I'm planning on buying a second fermenter etc. when I buy my next lot of supplies for my next brew (probably next week) and will start racking from then. I'm really interested in the 'when to rack' debate though. What is the 'optimum time'? Obviously everyone has their own method, but my understanding from reading everything I can get my hands on is that after approx 3-4 days is the best time. I'm interseted that you're suggesting 7 days GMK. What is the benefit in leaving it that little bit longer?

As for this brew, I'm planning to bottle it on Friday night following your suggestion kook.

Oh and another thing GMK, I've never used these brewcraft hops before either. Generally I make Lagers and have been using Saaz and Hallertau from the fridge of my homebrew shop. It was suggested that these CL80 hops were the way to go for this brew, so not having tried them before I thought I'd give them a go. I'm a bit sus on the whole tea bag thing generally to teel you the truth!

Anyway, thanks again. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Gough. :chug:
 

GSRman

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hmm for no good reason i tend to rack mine the day after fermentation has died down.. i guess the 5 day mark.. but i have absolutely no reason to use that piece of time..
 

Trev

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Gough, welcome to one of the continual debates :)

I have read a lot of comments from very experienced folks both on this Board and elsewhere and from what I can see the real time needed for primary fermentation before racking/dropping is anywhere between 3 and 7 days :blink:

I think you'll find that just about everybody believes that racking the beer is a good thing for a whole load of good reasons (oh well - I may have just started another debate) not the least of which is the greater clarity achived as well as the opportunity to bulk condition the brew.

Some recommend racking earlier rather than later, even doing it just as the High Krausen starts to diminish. I believe this is to prevent the bits and pieces suspended in the Krausen from passing back into the body of the brew and thereby ending up in the bottle/keg. It also has the advantage of getting the brew off the large amount of dead yeast etc although as others have said this only causes Autolysis problems after a couple of weeks not days.

Others say to rack somewhat later, around the 7 day mark to ensure that the very active fermentation is over and the brew has significantly settled. This BTW, is the method I use, although whether I do it at 5 days or 7 days or whatever is more a function of opportunity rather than involved planning.

I reckon though that the end results are very close - the important thing is to do it at whatever time is convenient and you're comfortable with.

With the second fermentor you'll also be able to do Bulk Priming - another great little time saver and importantly an aid to consistancy.

Trev
 

Gough

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Thanks again Trev and GSRman. I'm kind of glad that I hadn't missed a total hard and fast rule about racking, and will experiment with the earlier and later versions over the next few months. Bulk priming is something I'm also intersted in so as you say the extra fermenter will come in handy.

This board really is a great resource. Hopefully I can get enough experience up to add something useful over time. Until then any other hints gratefully accepted!

Gough.
 

Jazman

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I rack at day 3 or half gravity then rack to to lager if i can use a fridge if i cant i then rack and bulk prime , for an ale, for a lager i would rack at doy 5 and 10.

i reconmend bulk priming as it is more accurate way of doing it and you can bottle any size bottle.

he it the amount of priming cane sugar to use acording to the final sg reading


The table below shows suggested amounts of cane sugar to prime 23 litres of beer at various final gravities. Remember there are no fixed rules as to the amounts that should be used so have a go and vary according to your own taste.

Final Gravity Grams
1006-1008 200
1008-1010 180
1010-1014 160
1014-1018 140
1019-1025 120
 

GMK

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Gough

I rack at day 7 so that the primary is almost finished.

Thus, when i dry hop in the secondary - using pellets - for 2 weeks, the yeast is not that activate - therfore not producing as much dead yeast cells.

As the hops fall out of suspension they will not be covered by dead yeat cells (as much); therefore, the hops stay in contact with the wort longer so you get greater hop utilusation and flavour.

Hence, you dont have to use as much hops - saves money.

Note: if dry hopping - my method is as follows:
place hop pellets into mug.
add just boiled water to hops - steep for approx 3min.
wat until you can smell the aroma - sometimes the smell starts off as just cut lawn mower grass - then the bad volatiles disappear - and the real aroma/flavour comes thru.
Add liquid to wort - stir thru gently.

Also, if dry hopping will have to make a hop filter for when you keg or bulk prime to another fermenter.
Buy an in-line irrigation filter with 13mm barbs.
Attach 12mm vinyl tube - food grade - can get from bunnings with 13mm irrigation clips. The tube will go over the fermenter tap to the inline filter (approx 100mm of tube) with approx 900mm of tubing attached below - to reach the bottom of the fermenter/keg/bottling bucket.
The plastic filter is removable/cleanable and is fine enough to get pretty much all the hops out.

All up - under $10.00.

Hope this helps
 

Snow

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I always rack on day 7 because that's what John Palmer at www.howtobrew.com does. My understanding is that racking is all about clearing the beer of dead yeast, so you can condition the beer in secondary for a lot longer than primary. Beer conditions faster in the fermenter than in the bottle, so you may as well leave it in the secondary fermenter as long as possible. My understanding is that if you rack on day 3, which a lot of people suggest, you will still have a lot of yeast in suspension that will go into the secondary, which defeats the purpose of racking. I qualify this statement by saying that I may not know what I am talking about.....
 

Boots

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I do the same as Snow, for the same reasons.

But I definitely don't know what I'm talking about :lol:
 

Gough

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7 days is sounding like the go. Good to see I'm not the only one who doesn't know what I'm talking about! :)
 

Trev

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.....all things considered - neither do I........

Trev :blink:
 

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