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ODDBALL

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Today I walked into my local BigW and purchased myself a coopers microbrew kit http://www.coopers.com.au/hbrew-micro.asp as a total novice to homebrew what advice would you seasoned veterans give me? I am competent enough with the drinking bit but I am looking for advice on what happens between opening the box and consumption.
:super:
 

joecast

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welcome to the site. you'll find more information and advice here than anyone could possibly use!! not to mention the opinions and jokes :)

to start off with, ill say just have fun. as far as the brewing goes, cleanliness and temperature control are two things you can have a big impact on right from the start.

your ingredients are very important too. check out a homebrew shop in your area. they are more likely to store the kits/grains/hops/yeasts in the proper conditions. id say more, but its getting late.
joe
 

Shed

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Welcome Oddball,

I think it's important to keep things fairly simple for your first brew.
Follow the instructions for the kit, don't worry about it too much, rely on the hydrometer readings and don't worry about if it's 'bubbling' or not.
Keep the temperature as close to 20 deg as you can.
Sample the results, then read www.howtobrew.com to improve the quality.
 

ozbrewer

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GDay Oddball,

As everyone has said, keep it simple, follow the instructions on the tin, this will work and youll make beer.

my best advice for you would be, where it says add 1kg of sugar, replace that with a booster kit, Big W sells these, and they are not to expensive. you will get a much better first beer without all the normal biginner problems of no hear on the beer, little flavor and all that.

whar area are you in, find a Home brew club, or even find out if anyone else in near you brews,

A lot af people say be paitant, bugger that, try the beer as its fermenting,as your botteling, and then every week after its been in the bottle, this is a good way to get a feel of how the process works. Im sure like just about all of us you will do that anyway, and im sure that you will think your first beer tastes pretty average. But do yourself a favor and put 6 or 12 beers away someware nice and cool for a few month, then try them, you will be verry surprised'

and above all, ask lots of questions, the net is a wonderfull thing, and there are many well seasoned brewers around, always keed to help.
 

vlbaby

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gday oddball,
I agree with shed. Just follow the instructions on the box (or the video if you got one) for your first brew and try to leave the beer in the bottles for at least 2 weeks or more if you can wait.
Just remember not to go soft on cleaning and sanitation.
My first brew was a coopers kit also that i got for a birthday gift. I found the first brew i did was great, but as i did subsequent brews i got lazy with the cleaning and i found the beer got worse and worse. Now i know a lot better and since going all grain , i have never looked back.

good luck with your first beer, let us know how it goes.

vlbaby.
 

Gulf Brewery

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ozbrewer said:
A lot af people say be paitant, bugger that, try the beer as its fermenting,as your botteling, and then every week after its been in the bottle, this is a good way to get a feel of how the process works.
[post="54738"][/post]​
Oddball
One thing that will help you in the long run, is to taste the beer like ozbrewer says, but also write down what it tastes like. That way there isn't that problem of what each batch tastes like in 6 weeks or so when you try to reproduce it again.

Not sure what sanitiser you got with the kit, if any. If it is Sodium Metabisphite, toss it as it doesn't kill enough bugs and get the Neopinnk sanitiser from BigW.

When you make your first batch, make sure that all of the ingredients are well and truly mixed, then take a hydrometer reading. If you have questions about how well your fermentation is going, most people will ask what is they hydrometer reading (SG) when you started and what it is now.

Cheers
Pedro
 

Wreck

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As Shed said, keep it around 20C. The instructions will tell you to brew up to 27C (from memory) - Forget that.

Also, stir the shit out of your wort to aerate.
 

vlbaby

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i dont want to confuse anyone, but the yeast in those kits does not like 20 deg C very much. I tried it once and fermentation completely stops or becomes awfully slow. I've found you need around 22-24 deg C to work properly.

my 2 cents

vlbaby.
 

ODDBALL

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Geez guys, thanks for all the replies, I logged on today expecting maybe one non descript reply but you guys are spot on.

Ok, this morning I started my brew, I followed the instructions on the tin to the letter and now 8 hours later it is bubbling away happliy at 28C I know this is outside the 21-27 that the instructions state but what can I do? It is a hot day!

I will keep you up to date on any developments as they happen and ask for advice when needed. :beer:
 

Gulf Brewery

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Oddball

This may cause some issues in some households, but you can always fill the bath with water and place the fermenter in that to drop its temperature.

Cheers
Pedro
 

Aaron

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ODDBALL said:
it is bubbling away happliy at 28C I know this is outside the 21-27 that the instructions state but what can I do? It is a hot day!
[post="54789"][/post]​
Try and get that temperature down if you can. Before I got my brewing fridge I would put ice in a couple of shopping or freezer bags and tie them together so they would hang down either side of the fermenter.

It is a low tech solution but costs nothing and is reasonable effective. It will make a difference if you get the temp down.
 

ODDBALL

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Hi, is it Ok to move the fermenter once the process has begun? When I started this morning I was worried about the temprature being too low so I placed it on top of the hot water heater under the house. Maybe I should move it to get the temprature down to mid 20's?
 

jgriffin

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Ignore all the advice on the tins that say to keep it warm, cold is good (well not too cold, as close as you can get to 20C is good)
Yes you can move it, but don't splash it around after it has fermented for a day or so.
 

ODDBALL

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Ok I moved the wort to a cooler area under the house and the temprature came down overnight to about 21C and then rose steadily as it got hotter until it reached 26C by midday, it is still at that temp now at 8:30 PM. Is the variant in temprature something to worry about during fermentation? The way it is now it is going to drop by around 5 0r 6C at night and get warmer during the day!!!! Sorry if this is a newbie question but I am just a guy trying to make a descent homebrew.

Thanks again for your time guys.
 

barfridge

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big variances like that arent the best for the beer.

Go to your local cheapo shop, and buy a large platic tub (60+ litres). Plonk the fermenter in this, fill with water, and cover with a towel if desired. THis gives a much larger thermal mass, to the fluctuations wont be as large.
 

pint of lager

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Barfridge is right, large temp variations are not good for your beer, but more importantly, you must get that fermentation temp down.

As barfridge said, get a tub, stand the fermenter in it (mind that tap doesn't get knocked) put a bit of water in the tub, cover the lot with a wet towel, which will wick water up from the tub, this will cool things down. Also, you can point a fan at the wet towel, use some ice in the tub and or put some ice on the top of the fermenter.
 

Aaron

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ODDBALL said:
The way it is now it is going to drop by around 5 0r 6C at night and get warmer during the day!!!! Sorry if this is a newbie question but I am just a guy trying to make a descent homebrew.

Thanks again for your time guys.
[post="54926"][/post]​
Idealy you want to keep the temp as stable as possible. But don't worry too much on your first. Try and find a spot like your laundry where it stays fairly cool.

I started with the same kit as you and made my first brew in the same way, waay too warm and it turned out OK. Don't expect your first to be great but it will be drinkable.

Try what I said with the ice bags. It works surprisingly well. Don't get too concerned about it. Half the fun is learning. I have moved on to partial mash and am putting together all the pieces to go full mash. I have made heaps of mistakes along the way.
 

ODDBALL

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Thanks for the advice, some good tips there, I will try them out on my next brew as I am working odd shifts this Week and am not able to dedicate as much time as I should to the brew.

I have just got home from work and checked the brew, it is at 26C, when I left this morning for work at 6AM it was 22C so it is not looking good.

It seems to of slowed down fermentation this evening, the airlock is now bubbling every 10-15 seconds, yesterday it was much quicker. What should I do when it stops bubbling? When can I expect this to happen and has anyone got anymore advice for a newbie?
 

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