Various questions for new brewer

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cromwell
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Various questions for new brewer

Post by cromwell » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:37 pm

Hi- I'm new here; James from Stockport. I have brewed a few kits over the years, but am now taking more interest and have recently been pursuing this hobby a bit more seriously. I have a few questions atm that I hope someone will be good enough to answer-
1. What is the best way to prepare powdered yeast before pitching?
2. Should I 'swish' bottles to mix the brewing sugar in once they've been filled or just leave them still? I have been adding sugar to bottles, filling, capping and then 'swishing'?
3. I like the idea of a secondary fermenter. Is it a good idea to use one or too much of a risk?
4. My recent pale ale brew was tasty, but very cloudy. Is it just a case of adding some finings agent such as Protofloc during the brew or are there other ways of dealing with this?
Thanks very much
James

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Sadfield
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Sadfield » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:14 pm

Hi James,

I'm guessing from your fourth question you have made the step up from kits to extract or all grain. Here are my answers, I'm sure you'll get others.

1) Rehydration.https://www.northernbrewer.com/connect/ ... -hydrated/

2) Either is fine.

3) In my view, secondary fermentation is an unnecessary step in most situations.

4) Using Protofloc in the boil is the first step I'd take, and see how your second brew comes out and work from there.

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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Top Cat » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:35 pm

Hi James.
To rehydrate your yeast, I always use a sterilised measuring jug with about 100ml of pre boiled water cooled to between 35/30deg c. Add the yeast and stir well, cover with cling film and leave for approximately 20 mins, it's then ready to pitch. I find by rehydrating, the yeast starts the initial fermentation quicker thus protecting the brew with a co2 layer quicker.
With you secondary fermenter, I have brewed both ways, you should get a clear beer if you rack and chill, but the downside is during racking to your 2nd fermenter you are exposing your beer to its worst enemy air! I have had beers that have not had a long shelf life that I've put down to air exposure.
Regarding your cloudy beer, this may be a few things that other forum members may be able to put you right with. I only use profloc when I am grain brewing without extract, I don't think it's so critical with extract, but most certainly use it if you are mashing. Getting the temperature down quickly for a cold break after boiling is essential also when mashing. Refrigeration after fermentation also helps to clear, on light ales I sometimes use isinglass finings to crystal clear my drink. Finally I don't think you are doing anything wrong by priming capping and swirling!
Happy brewing.


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Jim
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Jim » Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:24 pm

Welcome James! :)
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cromwell
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by cromwell » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:23 am

Hi- thanks very much for your replies. Much appreciated. And so exciting to be on the threshold of a new hobby with so much to learn!
Useful info re. yeast hydration- I will use your advice in my next brew. And secondary fermenters seem an unnecessary risk- especially at my stage of brewing anyway.
Could I just bother you for some further info.?
I have a very basic kit at present- pots and pans, a plastic bucket fermenter with tap, glass floating hydrometer and thermometer (although I have bought one of the copper piping wort chillers). What would you guys recommend as my next purchases to improve my equipment?
Thanks again
James

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orlando
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by orlando » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:08 am

cromwell wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:23 am
Hi- thanks very much for your replies. Much appreciated. And so exciting to be on the threshold of a new hobby with so much to learn!
Useful info re. yeast hydration- I will use your advice in my next brew. And secondary fermenters seem an unnecessary risk- especially at my stage of brewing anyway.
Could I just bother you for some further info.?
I have a very basic kit at present- pots and pans, a plastic bucket fermenter with tap, glass floating hydrometer and thermometer (although I have bought one of the copper piping wort chillers). What would you guys recommend as my next purchases to improve my equipment?
Thanks again
James
Controlling fermentation temperature. A builders trug filled with enough water to come up to the beer in your fermentor then lob a fish aquarium heater in the trug water. All done for a tenner and the best investment per £ you will ever make. :D
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Cold As Ice, Golden Years
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS), Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Drinking: Hazy Shade Of Winter, Kernel Bogey (India Porter)
Up Next: Black Dog, London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

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Jocky
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Jocky » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:04 pm

I think it's safe to say that you will never stop learning in this hobby (as long as you want to).

Like orlando I'd recommend some fermentation temperature control. Orlando's already suggested an option for DIY temperature control (and will work for cooling if you freeze some PET bottles of water and then drop them in the trug water).

If you want to step up for finer control then this is a controller: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inkbird-Temper ... B018K82UQU, and you can plug your aquarium heater into it so it switched on/off as required.

I have a similar setup - I ferment in a cold room (radiator turned off in spare room) and a brew belt plugged into the controller linked above keeps the temperature up to where I want it.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

Fil
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Fil » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:20 pm

+1 to all the above..

the single item of brew kit that has had the biggestpositive impact on my brewing results was a brewfridge to ferment in. Put the word out among family and friends that you are interested in any old working fridge getting replaced/retired.

ps its easier and cheaper to fit a new fermenting vessel into the free/bargain fridge you get, rather than try to fit a fridge around some bucket fvs. for example my doner fridge would not take my old brew buckets (fridge was too narrow), so i switched to vessels that would fit.. 4" neck wine fermentors and 25-30l jerrycans ;), costing 10-£20 on new plastic rather than 100-£200 on a brand new fridge ;)

I would also nominate a Good thermometer such as an ETI thermapen or if too rich for your blood atm, at least calibrate your existing thermometer, while many cheap thermometers are very accurate, many are not and its a reading your relying on..

I suspect however that as soon as you fall into a comfortable brewday procedure, (personally my initial brewdays were a bit of a frantic leap from one panic situation to the next..) You will have a Very clear picture of just what aspects of your brewday could benefit from additional equipment and investment.
BTW welcome to JIms..
ist update for months n months..
Fermnting: not a lot..
Conditioning: nowt
Maturing: Challenger smash, and a kit lager
Drinking: dry one minikeg left in the store
Coming Soon Lots planned for the near future nowt for the immediate :(

Fil
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Fil » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:20 pm

+1 to all the above..

the single item of brew kit that has had the biggestpositive impact on my brewing results was a brewfridge to ferment in. Put the word out among family and friends that you are interested in any old working fridge getting replaced/retired.

ps its easier and cheaper to fit a new fermenting vessel into the free/bargain fridge you get, rather than try to fit a fridge around some bucket fvs. for example my doner fridge would not take my old brew buckets (fridge was too narrow), so i switched to vessels that would fit.. 4" neck wine fermentors and 25-30l jerrycans ;), costing 10-£20 on new plastic rather than 100-£200 on a brand new fridge ;)

I would also nominate a Good thermometer such as an ETI thermapen or if too rich for your blood atm, at least calibrate your existing thermometer, while many cheap thermometers are very accurate, many are not and its a reading your relying on..

I suspect however that as soon as you fall into a comfortable brewday procedure, (personally my initial brewdays were a bit of a frantic leap from one panic situation to the next..) You will have a Very clear picture of just what aspects of your brewday could benefit from additional equipment and investment.
BTW welcome to JIms..
ist update for months n months..
Fermnting: not a lot..
Conditioning: nowt
Maturing: Challenger smash, and a kit lager
Drinking: dry one minikeg left in the store
Coming Soon Lots planned for the near future nowt for the immediate :(

Top Cat
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Top Cat » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:16 pm

Hi James.
I would go with the advice of other posts, and although you may not need it yet, get an old fridge and an inkbird temperature controller. You will soon find out that fermenting and conditioning most beers in warm weather without some form of refrigeration is nigh on impossible. All you will need to do if the drain hole in the fridge isn't large enough for any wires etc is drill as many holes as necessary in the side with a tank hole cutter, and protect with grommets. Although its doubtful there will be hidden electrics, try and check before going deep through, and obviously avoid the thermostat side if that's where its situated.
On a second note, I don't know how large your pots and pans are but a decent boiler/ hot liquor tank (HLT) with temperature control would be a must.
Finally following on from Fil you will find things fall into place to suit your own situation, this forum is better than any encyclopedia!

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Jocky
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Jocky » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:27 pm

While temperature control is important, it's not too hard to find a place in many houses that will keep you in the range - my under stairs cupboard seems to sit at a constant 17-18c, which is perfect for many ale yeasts.

For most kit brewers the biggest improvements come from two things:

- Proper cleaning and sanitisation. Get some decent cleaning and sanitising chemicals. Percarbonate based cleaners gets everything clean, and while starsan is a favourite sanitiser for many, but iodophor or a weak bleach solution at the correct concentration will be even more effective, but requiring equipment time to drip dry.

- Make a yeast starter, or learn to pitch enough dry yeast.
Ingredients: Water, Barley, Hops, Yeast, Seaweed, Blood, Sweat, The swim bladder of a sturgeon, My enemies tears, Scenes of mild peril, An otter's handbag and Riboflavin.

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orlando
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by orlando » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:00 pm

Top Cat wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:16 pm
All you will need to do if the drain hole in the fridge isn't large enough for any wires etc is drill as many holes as necessary in the side with a tank hole cutter, and protect with grommets. Although its doubtful there will be hidden electrics, try and check before going deep through, and obviously avoid the thermostat side if that's where its situated.
If you are like me and a bit wary of things DIY and don't fancy drilling anything, I found you can take the rather thin cable with the sensor on the end, between the rubber seal and the door jamb of the fridge. Negligible affect on the temperature inside and no risk, you can also reuse as a fridge any time later. :wink:
I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Cold As Ice, Golden Years
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS), Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Drinking: Hazy Shade Of Winter, Kernel Bogey (India Porter)
Up Next: Black Dog, London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

cromwell
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Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:26 pm

Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by cromwell » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:44 am

Hi guys- thanks so much for all the replies. I forgot to mention that I already have a temp controller which I use- as someone suggested- in a black bin filled with water and connected to an aquarium heater as my fermentation control. However, I like the idea of the 'brew fridge'. Excuse my ignorance, but how can the fridge be heated to, say, 20 degrees for fermenting, considering they are designed for cooling?
I also like the idea of a more accurate thermometer and hot liquor tank with temp control- when I made a porter a while back, steeping the dark grains and keeping a steady temp on the hob was a PITA! Don't think I've got the cash atm to buy a hlt though- can one be made diy and can anyone point me in the direction of a guide?
Thanks once again.
Cheers
James

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orlando
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Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by orlando » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:44 am

I am "The Little Red Brooster"

Fermenting: Cold As Ice, Golden Years
Conditioning: St. Petersburg (RIS), Mrs Worthington (White Shield Clone)
Drinking: Hazy Shade Of Winter, Kernel Bogey (India Porter)
Up Next: Black Dog, London Calling, Gertcherbrewed
Planning: Winter drinking beer.

Fil
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: Cowley, Oxford

Re: Various questions for new brewer

Post by Fil » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:39 am

The tube heater is a very popular option, but any low power heat source can be applied such as your existing fish tank heater.
one to avoid or pay attention to placement is the ceramic reptile heaters that plug into bayonet and screw light bulb fittings, thay can radiate enough heat to melt the plastic shell inside fridges.. But if your current temp control works there is a lot to be said for the 'if it aint broke dont fix it approach'
ist update for months n months..
Fermnting: not a lot..
Conditioning: nowt
Maturing: Challenger smash, and a kit lager
Drinking: dry one minikeg left in the store
Coming Soon Lots planned for the near future nowt for the immediate :(

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