My first brew and a few questions - extract IPA

Discussion in 'Beer Kit Brewing Discussion.' started by CoreyG, Nov 29, 2019.

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  1. Nov 29, 2019 #1

    CoreyG

    CoreyG

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    Hi guys,

    I started my first brew this week and thought I'd post it here, along with a few questions I have.

    As a beginner i'm using an out of the box kit - extract I believe these are? (I did say I was a beginner :confused.: haha)
    The kit is from Wilko - Artisan Brewing First Gold IPA. I'm just following the instructions as printed, trying to do the best job I can.

    It's been fermenting for 4 days now. The SG read 1.032, which I'm happy with. It's been bubbling away around 22 degrees and the bubbling had reduced to around every 40-50 seconds.

    As instructed I've just added the dry hop pellets after 4 days, sealed it up, and it was instantly bubbling like mad. Instructions just said add the hops. I've read that hop bags seem to be the way forward though I didn't manage to buy any before now so i've just thrown them in. This is where my questions begin!

    Thinking about my next steps with carbonating and bottling now. I have a second bucket with a tap and a bottling wand so going to batch prime. I'm a bit confused around the next steps after reading different methods and around cold crashing, so have a few more questions on this stage.
    1. Is it bubbling more now due to the dry hops, because more air got in as I had to open it, or both?
    2. Will not having a dry hop bag cause many problems? I think I will buy some unless persuaded otherwise.
    3. Cold crashing - is this done before or after bottling? As far as I know it is done after I bottle, and after I leave them for a few days at warm temperature for carbonation to take place?
    Appreciate any advice and will keep you updated on the brew :D
     
  2. Nov 30, 2019 #2

    RichardM

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    1, Probably
    2, No
    3, Before
     
  3. Nov 30, 2019 #3

    crowcrow

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    1. The hops might have provided sites for bubbles to form - I wouldnt worry.

    2. You can get some, but get some fairly big ones. If you like hoppy beer you want room for the hops to get very wet and allow the flavours out. I first got some tiny ones and the middle of the hops would be dry after days of dry hopping. So that flavour never had a chance to impart on the beer. I just throw it all in now. When bottling nearly all thee hops is at the top or the bottom of the bucket when I come to syphon it out.

    3. Cold crashing is dropping the temp as much as you can ideally to 1c and some people go even lower. This allows more stuff to drop out of the beer and gives even greater clarity. Before I had a freezer I could temp control, I just used to stick it in my icey shed for a couple of winters nights. Not perfect but better than nothing.

    I no longer move to a 2nd bucket for bottling but I always used to. The idea is that by moving you add another point of risk when you could add infections etc.

    I'd just mix the sugar with some freshly boiled water, leave to cool with clingfilm on then pour that in the beer and leave a short while before bottling direct from the first bucket - but as I say I used to transfer to a bottling bucket - I just didn't actually find any additional value from it.
     
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  4. Nov 30, 2019 #4

    Arcs

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    Hot boiled sugared water left to cool yields some rather mixed results. Given the weather also and it being cool, I can confirm the advice that I was given was just pour it in and stir it in the FV, let it settle and then begin bottling ;)
     
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  5. Nov 30, 2019 #5

    CoreyG

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    Thanks for the detailed feedback Crow, very useful and much appreciated!

    I think for now I will transfer to a 2nd bucket for bottling. Mainly because I bought the equipment and would like to give it a trial run at least :laugh8: I've just taken a trial jar from the bucket tonight for a hydrometer reading and its sitting at 1.000. There was a fair bit of hop sediment in the jar and floating at the top of the bucket so I think I will have to try cold crashing it. I don't have temp control yet either, and like you I will be sticking it into a pretty cold basement, which is better than nothing.

    Just so I'm clear on the next steps, - I'm plan to add the priming sugar dissolved in boiling water into the 2nd bucket and let this cool with the lid on. I'll transfer the brew on top of sugar (stir gently) and leave to cold crash for a few days. Then bottle and leave to condition for a few weeks. Does this seem logical? :D

    Thanks Arcs. I may do this in the future but for now I'm going to give the 2nd bucket a go as mentioned above, at least once!
     
  6. Nov 30, 2019 #6

    terrym

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    1. It is unlikely your beer has achieved an SG of 1.000. More likely 1.008-1.010ish. Test your hydrometer in clean water at 20*C (or its calibration temperature), it should read 1.000. If it doesn't you need to correct your reading.
    2. Priming sugar is always added to fermented out beer immediately before bottling so that any CO2 generated in the secondary fermenatation is not lost. So you must first cold crash your beer (if thats what you are going to do) for a couple of days or so before you add the priming sugar. Then, if you intend to batch prime using your 2nd FV, transfer the beer from FV1 on top of the sugar solution in FV2 and gently stir but avoid entraining any air. Then immediately go ahead and bottle.
    3. When primed and bottled leave for one to two weeks in a warm place to carb up. Then move to a cold place. After two weeks or so sample one. If its drinkable its up to you whether you leave it or start to drink it. Some beers don't come good for about six weeks or longer, usually darker beers, but some beers are best drunk young especially hoppy beers which start to lose their hoppiness early on , especially after a dry hop. So do sample and make you own mind up, and if you drink most of them early perhaps keep one back to see what has happened to the flavours.
     
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  7. Dec 1, 2019 #7

    crowcrow

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    1000 seems low, maybe it wasn't at 20c?
     
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  8. Dec 2, 2019 #8

    CoreyG

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    I've attached a few photos of both water and the brew at 20C and my hydrometer readings. Appreciate they aren't the best photos, not the easiest thing to picture. I'd maybe the say the brew is just below 1000 now but not by very much? Around 1020? The kit is a 4% brew and the readings would come around that.

    Water-20-C.jpg Water-20-C-2.jpg Brew-20C.jpg Brew-20-C-2.jpg

    Thanks for the detailed info Terry! This has clarified a lot for me and it all makes sense.

    The brew has been in the FV for 1 week now. The bubbles have stopped and this is the 2nd reading i've taken which is the same as my first taken after day 5. Instructions say to move onto priming/bottling now but i've read in other places that 7 days may not be long enough. I'm sure it depends on several variables (yeast, conditions, etc) but what's the general consensus? If I've taken a few readings and its consistent with no bubbling, fermentation is complete?

    Thanks!
     
  9. Dec 2, 2019 #9

    dwhite60

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    Just as a matter of course, I let everything go two weeks in the fermenter. I don't even think about checking it until then.

    Those first few batches are pretty high stress. It's like the difference in how tense you are around your first kid versus the third.

    All the Best,
    D. White
     
  10. Dec 2, 2019 #10

    terrym

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    Looking at the photos you posted it looks like you have a SG of between 1.000 and 1.010 which pretty much indicates it has finished or nearly so. Many people advocate leaving it in FV for a a few days past the obviously finished stage, and two weeks in total is often suggested . This achieves two things, it allows the yeast to clean up its own by-products and also to help clear the beer ready for packaging. Personally if its fully done by 7 days I would say any time after 12 days to package is fine when it is most convenient for you although others no doubt have their own routines and timings. In the end with a few brews done you can decide whats best for you and the beer you have brewed.
     
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  11. Dec 3, 2019 #11

    CoreyG

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    Thanks again Terry. I’m going to leave it a few more days then and continue at the weekend. Hopefully it will clean itself up more before then. I need to be more patient!
     
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  12. Dec 3, 2019 #12

    ACBEV

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    A good brewer never pops the cork too early! I always wait at least 14 days before bottling...
     
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  13. Dec 3, 2019 #13

    CoreyG

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    I’ll need to get myself a brewing book to read in between times
     
  14. Dec 3, 2019 #14

    dad_of_jon

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    That look like 1.003 to me given that you read the hydrometer at the level of the liquid not the meniscus where it curves up the hydrometer. assuming the liquid is at 20 also. seems like your hydrometer does read 1.000 for water (as long as that was taken at 20C. mine is .002 out.
     
  15. Dec 10, 2019 at 8:35 PM #15

    Birkin

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    For the hop bag, I bought a massive tea ball off ebay. I haven't used it yet, but i thought it was a good solution. There are no issues with chucking the hops straight in, it just makes it easier when racking it out of the fermenter if they're tied up in a bag. Having said that, Leafy hops don't tend to give me any grief, it's the pellet ones that seem to disintegrate more.. much better at clogging filters or pickups.. or being sucked up the racking cane.
     

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