Newbie Brewer from Salisbury

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TheCraftyBeerdsman

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Evening all,
I’m Krys from (the now world famous) Salisbury and totally new to brewing. It is something I have always wanted to do, but until now thought it best to leave it to the seasoned pros!
BrewUK is just up the road from me here (as is their Dark Revolution Brewery & Tap Room!) so I picked up the Microbrewery Youngs American IPA Kit, currently 6 days in and bubbling away nicely!

Has anyone brewed this kit and has any advice for a total newbie?
I am very much going strictly by the instructions and keeping it simple with this first brew, but already looking at what to do next and how to advance with each brew.

It would be great to connect with any south/local brewers too.

Cheers!
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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Thanks for the warm welcome!

As life goes I have woken this morning with absolutely no airlock activity and the temperature dropping to 16/18c..very slight pressure on the lid causes bubbling again.
Do I try to push the temperature back up or leave it and hope it comes back up naturally?

Hugely appreciating any help!
 

terrym

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Thanks for the warm welcome!

As life goes I have woken this morning with absolutely no airlock activity and the temperature dropping to 16/18c..very slight pressure on the lid causes bubbling again.
Do I try to push the temperature back up or leave it and hope it comes back up naturally?

Hugely appreciating any help!
First welcome to the forum.
Next don't rely on your airlock. Many lids leak (although they may look sealed) and allow CO2 to bypass the airlock.
However you do need to raise the temperature of your beer to about 19*C if you can or you are in danger of the yeast going to sleep if you continue at 16*C. It is not necessary to directly heat the beer in the FV just put it in a warm place. At this time of year many homebrewers use dedicated heating for their FV (if they don't have warm room) including heat belts, heat pads under the FV, water baths, and brewfridges which are converted fridges with a capability to heat and cool the inside of the fridge and optimise the fermentation temperature. A steady temperature is considered to be best for fermentation rather than one that cycles up and down. Anyway I use a water bath see here
How to Set up a Water Bath for your FV - The HomeBrew Forum
Next if you are given hops in the kit to dry hop the beer you need to think about how you are going to stop hops bits going forward when its time to bottle your beer. More on that here
A Newbies Guide to Dry Hopping Your Beer - The HomeBrew Forum
And you may find this useful if you are just starting out
Basic beginners guide to brewing your own beer from a kit - The HomeBrew Forum
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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First welcome to the forum.
Next don't rely on your airlock. Many lids leak (although they may look sealed) and allow CO2 to bypass the airlock.
However you do need to raise the temperature of your beer to about 19*C if you can or you are in danger of the yeast going to sleep if you continue at 16*C. It is not necessary to directly heat the beer in the FV just put it in a warm place. At this time of year many homebrewers use dedicated heating for their FV (if they don't have warm room) including heat belts, heat pads under the FV, water baths, and brewfridges which are converted fridges with a capability to heat and cool the inside of the fridge and optimise the fermentation temperature. A steady temperature is considered to be best for fermentation rather than one that cycles up and down. Anyway I use a water bath see here
How to Set up a Water Bath for your FV - The HomeBrew Forum
Next if you are given hops in the kit to dry hop the beer you need to think about how you are going to stop hops bits going forward when its time to bottle your beer. More on that here
A Newbies Guide to Dry Hopping Your Beer - The HomeBrew Forum
And you may find this useful if you are just starting out
Basic beginners guide to brewing your own beer from a kit - The HomeBrew Forum
Thank you for this! Very helpful indeed, especially the extra info on hops - they do come with this kit & it just says to add them 2days before kegging/bottling..

Generally the temp has remained at 19/20C for the last 6 days (before this morning), I just wasn’t sure if as a first time brewer I was overthinking it, after the initial 48hours of vigorous bubbling, I now have it at around once every 7-8 seconds.

Thanks again for the info and links, very much appreciated!
 

MmmmCitra

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Welcome......... you're lucky to have BrewUK so close, i've been there to pick up stuff before and its a great place, and Dark Revolution brew some great beers too.
 

terrym

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Generally the temp has remained at 19/20C for the last 6 days (before this morning), I just wasn’t sure if as a first time brewer cI was overthinking it, after the initial 48hours of vigorous bubbling, I now have it at around once every 7-8 seconds.
You will find that there is a range of fermentation types typically governed by yeast used, temperature, OG, wort make up etc etc. So some beers may be fully fermented in as little as 3 days and others may still be very slowly podding along after 10 days or in some cases much longer, and there is no rule about this you just have to be patient.
As far as the dry hop my suggestion is to wait until your airlock has more or less stopped bubbling before you add the hops, then keep the FV at fermentation temperature for the suggested two days then remove to the coldest place you have above 0*C for a further two days which help to finally clear your beer for bottling.
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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Welcome......... you're lucky to have BrewUK so close, i've been there to pick up stuff before and its a great place, and Dark Revolution brew some great beers too.
Thank you!
I moved back to Salisbury from Hackney, so it has taken me a little while to accept that I am actually lucky to have DR on my doorstep, after having endless awesome breweries & taprooms close by. They are doing great things though and constantly creating new brews to keep me happy!
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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You will find that there is a range of fermentation types typically governed by yeast used, temperature, OG, wort make up etc etc. So some beers may be fully fermented in as little as 3 days and others may still be very slowly podding along after 10 days or in some cases much longer, and there is no rule about this you just have to be patient.
As far as the dry hop my suggestion is to wait until your airlock has more or less stopped bubbling before you add the hops, then keep the FV at fermentation temperature for the suggested two days then remove to the coldest place you have above 0*C for a further two days which help to finally clear your beer for bottling.
I am very much strictly sticking to the instructions as a first timer, but keen to get as much feedback from you all here as possible, slightly easier or better ways to do things in future, what I do and don’t need to stress about or overthink (mainly sanitation and regulated temp it seems?).

Do you advise getting a muslin/nylon bag for the hops?..OR for the end of the siphoning tube if I put them directly into the brew? I feel the latter would give the best of both full hop flavour and stopping any ‘bits’ when kegging/bottling?

Thanks again for the help
 

terrym

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I am very much strictly sticking to the instructions as a first timer, but keen to get as much feedback from you all here as possible, slightly easier or better ways to do things in future, what I do and don’t need to stress about or overthink (mainly sanitation and regulated temp it seems?).

Do you advise getting a muslin/nylon bag for the hops?..OR for the end of the siphoning tube if I put them directly into the brew? I feel the latter would give the best of both full hop flavour and stopping any ‘bits’ when kegging/bottling?

Thanks again for the help
There's some that chuck the hops in as they are, some that use a bag (with or without weights like SS spoons) and some that use the sock thingy over the end of the siphon tube. I have done all three methods. In my view there is no right or wrong way. However as a 'newbie' I suggest you start off with a nylon mesh bag until you get the hang of things, or if you really want to chuck the hops in use the nylon mesh sock over the FV end of the siphon, but if you do latter give the brew two days in the cold at the end to encourage the hop bits to settle as well as the yeast so that the bag mesh doesn't clog whilst you are siphoning. And finally when siphoning out of the FV a clip holding the tube in place at the FV rim is useful (your LHBS may have these, mine is made from two clothes pegs and some garden wire!), and when the liquid level has dropped a block of wood or similar placed under the bottom edge of the FV opposite the end of the siphon tube , so that you can better remove the last of the clear beer without drawing in the yeasty trub layer at the bottom as well.
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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There's some that chuck the hops in as they are, some that use a bag (with or without weights like SS spoons) and some that use the sock thingy over the end of the siphon tube. I have done all three methods. In my view there is no right or wrong way. However as a 'newbie' I suggest you start off with a nylon mesh bag until you get the hang of things, or if you really want to chuck the hops in use the nylon mesh sock over the FV end of the siphon, but if you do latter give the brew two days in the cold at the end to encourage the hop bits to settle as well as the yeast so that the bag mesh doesn't clog whilst you are siphoning. And finally when siphoning out of the FV a clip holding the tube in place at the FV rim is useful (your LHBS may have these, mine is made from two clothes pegs and some garden wire!), and when the liquid level has dropped a block of wood or similar placed under the bottom edge of the FV opposite the end of the siphon tube , so that you can better remove the last of the clear beer without drawing in the yeasty trub layer at the bottom as well.
Yet more fantastic guidance!
I have just added a clip and bags to my list and now I am fully torn between keg and bottles. I have read a lot of pros for both, I am a little concerned trying to get through 40 pints if I go for the easy & quick option of kegging the lot in the barrel provided with my microbrewery kit. I am tempted to split it between a 5ltr mini keg, 24 bottles & put the remaining in the barrel, to give me a trial at bottling & mini kegging too..is this ambitious for a first time & no real idea what I am doing brewer?

This is the kit I have and no other equipment currently..
https://www.brewuk.co.uk/complete-american-ipa-starter-equipment-set.html
 

terrym

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Opinion seems to be is split on whether plastic pressure barrels (PBs) are the dog's whatsits or a pile of dog's whatsit. They have the advantage of being convenient at packaging time and can dispense a super pint, but they are only really suitable for low carb beers like ales and stouts (not AIPAs) due to the pressure limits they have. But the biggest disadvantage is that they sometimes leak from seals (which is inconvenient but can be fixed) or worse they split and then become unusable. Some people would rather bypass them completely and go to cornies when moving away from bottles.
My suggestion to you is to stick with bottles and minikegs for the time being and then decide what you want to do next. And you don't have to buy bottles to store your beer you can use PET bottles that have previously held a fizzy drink like I do (although some brewers don't like PET bottles) or second hand beer bottles which will require a capper and caps unless you can acquire some flip tops.
Edit-
Now looked at what you have bought, which apparently includes a PB. Its obviously up to you whether you use it or not. But be advised its better to fill it as much as you can at the outset unless you can purge out the air with CO2 from a part empty PB due the spoiling properties of oxygen
And there's a long thread on your AIPA kit here
https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/youngs-american-ipa.45221
But be aware that at 19*C fermentation temperature it could take over 14 days perhaps 20 days before you can add the hops as I and others have found out. So dont rush it.
 
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TheCraftyBeerdsman

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Opinion seems to be is split on whether plastic pressure barrels (PBs) are the dog's whatsits or a pile of dog's whatsit. They have the advantage of being convenient at packaging time and can dispense a super pint, but they are only really suitable for low carb beers like ales and stouts (not AIPAs) due to the pressure limits they have. But the biggest disadvantage is that they sometimes leak from seals (which is inconvenient but can be fixed) or worse they split and then become unusable. Some people would rather bypass them completely and go to cornies when moving away from bottles.
My suggestion to you is to stick with bottles and minikegs for the time being and then decide what you want to do next. And you don't have to buy bottles to store your beer you can use PET bottles that have previously held a fizzy drink like I do (although some brewers don't like PET bottles) or second hand beer bottles which will require a capper and caps unless you can acquire some flip tops.
I was just looking at these 2 options..
https://www.brewuk.co.uk/crown-cap-pet-bottles-500ml-3502.html

https://www.brewuk.co.uk/brew-easy-keg.html

Thanks again for the help here..so many questions!
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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I use plastic kegs, though not the one you’re using. I have King Kegs, they’re more substantial and you can get your arm in for easier cleaning. In my early days of brewing they were a complete pain and I couldn’t understand how a company could make such rubbish. I had gas and beer leak from every point at different times but there are fixes for all these. I now have 8 King Kegs, all in use all the time, and rarely have any issues at all.

When you have problems there are people here that can help.
 

terrym

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I I now have 8 King Kegs, all in use all the time, and rarely have any issues at all.
Which is good to hear, but the opposite of my experience with albeit basic PBs where I only have one usable PB from four, the other three having failed well within two years of purchase with splits or pinhole leaks in the shell which can't be fixed. So when this last one fails it won't be replaced. asad1
 

TheCraftyBeerdsman

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I use plastic kegs, though not the one you’re using. I have King Kegs, they’re more substantial and you can get your arm in for easier cleaning. In my early days of brewing they were a complete pain and I couldn’t understand how a company could make such rubbish. I had gas and beer leak from every point at different times but there are fixes for all these. I now have 8 King Kegs, all in use all the time, and rarely have any issues at all.

When you have problems there are people here that can help.
Thanks for this, I just took a look & you can instantly see the superior quality compared to the standard kit kegs!
 
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