Re: Festival Razorback IPA Review

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Ale House Rock

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2 days before bottling would be OK I'd expect. Other regulars on here suggest anything between 2 and 4 days. I wouldn't faithfully add 5 days in cos you can't be sure how many more days it will take to finish. Danger here is that the hops could be in too long. Again, popular opinion is that you will risk getting 'grassy' or 'off' flavours in your beer if the hops are in there more than 7 days.. So, I would hold off adding the hops until you're sure your beer has finished fermenting then add your hops. Sometimes Youngs can take 3 weeks to finish, Festival is usually quicker but whichever one you are brewing, there's no desperate rush to add hops by a specific day - just wait until fermentation is over and don't leave the hops in too long before bottling.
 

trummy

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I did a Tiny Rebel Cwtch, that gives 4 packs of hops , 2 to put in at the start and 2 5 days before finish. Not reading the instructions properly I bunged them all in at the start. One of the few brews my on has actually liked so a little cofused by the hopping advice - does off tastes depend on the types of hops?
 

GhostShip

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I did a Tiny Rebel Cwtch, that gives 4 packs of hops , 2 to put in at the start and 2 5 days before finish. Not reading the instructions properly I bunged them all in at the start. One of the few brews my on has actually liked so a little cofused by the hopping advice - does off tastes depend on the types of hops?
Others more experienced may correct me, but I think the two at the start are for bittering and the two at the end for flavour/hop aroma.
 

trummy

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Agreed GS but the TR hops are the same sort at the start of the brew that are used as the aromatic hops added near the end, so why is it critical when the aromatic hops are added?
I may not be seeing the wood for the trees here and may be missing the obvious.
 

Ale House Rock

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I did a Tiny Rebel Cwtch, that gives 4 packs of hops , 2 to put in at the start and 2 5 days before finish. Not reading the instructions properly I bunged them all in at the start. One of the few brews my on has actually liked so a little cofused by the hopping advice - does off tastes depend on the types of hops?
I've not made this kit. My post was only referring to Festival Razorback and Youngs AIPA. Maybe someone else on here could advise you on Cwtch.
 

Kevsan1

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I know for the Evildog Doubled IPA I did previously it says that hops are already added to the bag of "malt extract" as the starting hops and you just need to add the finishing hops yourself, i think its just to make it as simple as possible
 

muppix

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Afternoon everyone!

Apologies for replying to this epic of a thread, but I'm new to home brewing and have chosen Razorback to start me off on the road to cheap beer nirvana. Predictably there are some questions, and I'm hoping somebody could spare a moment to steer me in the right direction. The salient points are:
  • Fermentation appears to have stopped at 1011 three days ago. The airlock's still bubbling but very very slowly - maybe once every 5 or 6 minutes. Should I do something to get it going again, like racking to a fresh vessel? Or just wait?
  • The green carpet of hops covering the top of my FV has taken on a slightly lumpy appearance since yesterday's SG measurement. When I pull a sample using my glass baster I get a nice colour brew but also quite a lot of suspended detritus. Is that a bad sign? The other two brews I have on right now (Evil Dog and Cwtch) are comparatively clear.
  • Seems the timeline given in the instructions is somewhat optimistic; I started on 26/10 at 1052 and kept her constant at 23℃, adding the finishing hops 6 days later (at 1016) instead of 5 because I heard that the later you leave it the stronger those hops will taste, which I like very much. Turns out I had vastly underestimated how much time was left - instructions say 5 days after adding hops (in my case I was hoping for 4, since I adjusted by one day) but here I am 11 days after hopping / 17 since starting and it seems to be going nowhere. Do I risk bottling at 1011 and accept I won't have a very hoppy brew?
  • Finally, I've done a few trial runs with the brand new bottles, caps, and crown capper that I purchased in anticipation of this enterprise. Most of the empty bottles I've capped in order to get the knack have been a disappointment, because I'm able to twist the caps when I cover them with a towel and give 'em a good hard yank, even the ones I've left a couple of days. While you definitely wouldn't call the caps 'loose' they're not as tight as those on purchased beer, which won't budge given the same treatment. Should I be worried about this?
Wow. That turned out to be quite a first post! Feel free to just quote the following table, adding a tick as appropriate:

relax, wait another week or two​
[__]
rack into a fresh FV and wait a week or two​
[__]
bottle it and wait for the fireworks​
[__]
other​
[__]

Cheers!
 

GhostShip

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1. It sounds fine. 1011 is pretty much ready, but if it's still showing activity, just give it a few more days. Additonal time in the FV won't hurt - it will help clear the beer.
2. This also sounds fine. A thick carpet of 'crud' is a good thing! When you syphon off, just put a muslin sock or bag over the end of the tube to stop this going into your beer.
3. This is a common problem in my experience. I think final hops should be added once the beer is ready to bottle - that way you have total control over how long the hops are in the beer (and I wouldn't have them in any more than 3 days).
4. I use PET bottles so have never used a capper, but obviously, whatever you do, the bottles must be airtight otherwise you'll lose all of the carbonation.

In summary, I don't think you've got anything to worry about - all sounds good! Good luck with it.
 

terrym

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@muppix
1. At 1.011 your beer may well have finished. My suggestion is to leave it alone for another 48 hours and take another reading. If its the same you can move things along, if its gone down, leave it another 48 hours then take another reading. You should not be bottling your beer whilst its still fermenting.
2. When its finished I suggest you move your fermenting vessel (FV) into a cold place for a couple of days. This will help the beer to clear and also help the hops to drop. If you rap the side of the FV at the liquid/headspace interface (no need to take the lid of for this) this will also help drop the hops.
3. At bottling time you need to try to stop the hop bits going forward. If your Festival kit came with a small hop sock place that over the end of your siphon tube if that is what you are using and that should do the job. I have one and it works.
4. You need to ensure that the bottle caps have properly sealed after priming with sugar and filling. If you don't you will lose all of the CO2 produced in the carbonation phase and your beer will be flat. I use screw top PET bottles and flip tops so don't have this problem.
5. Finally when you have bottled you beer put the bottles in a warm place for 2 weeks, then move to a cold place for another 2 weeks to condition. Then you can sample to see if its ready.

PS. And although there will be some homebrewers who brew their own beer because its a cheap alternative to buying it, the majority on here do so because its a rewarding hobby, and you can often brew beers as good as, sometimes better than, you get down the pub or from your local supermarket. athumb..
 
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muppix

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1. It sounds fine. 1011 is pretty much ready, but if it's still showing activity, just give it a few more days. Additonal time in the FV won't hurt - it will help clear the beer.
Thanks GS, that's what I was hoping for. The instructions are pretty clear that you shouldn't bottle until Razorback is at 1.005, but if it's clearly not going to get there and no more CO2 is being produced then I suppose it's OK to bottle. One thing that did occur to me is that I might be reading the hydrometer incorrectly, or that it's calibrated 0.006 too high. I started at 1.052. and FG 1.011 makes 5.4%, which isn't far off the claimed 5.7%. Does this look like 1.011 to you?

IMG_3645.jpeg


3. This is a common problem in my experience. I think final hops should be added once the beer is ready to bottle - that way you have total control over how long the hops are in the beer (and I wouldn't have them in any more than 3 days).
Definitely taking that onboard for the next attempt, now that I know it can just be left a few days longer without ill effects once fermentation has slowed. Just a shame that I won't have much of a hoppy taste left on this attempt. Should I rob (and use) some hops from one of the other kits that's waiting in the wings? I can always replace those.

4. I use PET bottles so have never used a capper, but obviously, whatever you do, the bottles must be airtight otherwise you'll lose all of the carbonation.
How many cycles do you get from those? I went for glass purely with longevity in mind, but I'm beginning to think that a PET screw thread will be better than caps in the long run.

Thanks and Cheers!
 

muppix

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1. At 1.011 your beer may well have finished. My suggestion is to leave it alone for another 48 hours and take another reading. If its the same you can move things along, if its gone down, leave it another 48 hours then take another reading. You should not be bottling your beer whilst its still fermenting.
Understood, loud and clear. I just didn't know how long it could be left alone once it's finished, and was afraid of having it go off, like some of the stuff at the back of the fridge. ;)

2. When its finished I suggest you move your fermenting vessel (FV) into a cold place for a couple of days. This will help the beer to clear and also help the hops to drop. If you rap the side of the FV at the liquid/headspace interface (no need to take the lid of for this) this will also help drop the hops.
Interesting. I was just going to rack it into a new vessel in order to add the included dextrose just before bottling - moving it somewhere cold involves going down two flights of stairs and I'm worried about stirring up the sludge at the bottom in the process. As an intermediate step should I take it somewhere cold once it's in the new vessel, or will the presence of all that priming sugar kick it off again resulting in less carbonation when I bottle it 48 hours later?

Hear you loud and clear on points 3-5, understood and agreed. Also ...

PS. And although there will be some homebrewers who brew their own beer because its a cheap alternative to buying it, the majority on here do so because its a rewarding hobby, and you can often brew beers as good as, sometimes better than, you get down the pub or from your local supermarket. athumb..
What, better than our Okells MPA? Heresy!

Actually I'm hopeful of this being a long and interesting journey, with the next step being the acquisition of a Grain Father setup. Just throwing the economy aspect out there as the main driver so that I can continue to pass for a n00b until I've got something to show for my efforts. ;)

Thanks and Cheers!
 

terrym

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Understood, loud and clear. I just didn't know how long it could be left alone once it's finished, and was afraid of having it go off, like some of the stuff at the back of the fridge. ;)
Interesting. I was just going to rack it into a new vessel in order to add the included dextrose just before bottling - moving it somewhere cold involves going down two flights of stairs and I'm worried about stirring up the sludge at the bottom in the process. As an intermediate step should I take it somewhere cold once it's in the new vessel, or will the presence of all that priming sugar kick it off again resulting in less carbonation when I bottle it 48 hours later?
Provided you don't keep regularly opening up your FV, in an ideal world not at all, beer will keep for a few weeks. Hops and alcohol act as preservatives. But if you allow oxygen in, the beer may oxidise and there is also a tiny risk of airborne nasties getting in and spoiling your beer. That's why it is important to keep the lid on.
You can rack off to a second vessel if you want, it should help clear your beer, but these is a risk of contamination and oxidation. Some homebrewers always rack off, others never and yet more sometimes. I do it sometimes. So the choice is yours. But whatever you do only add priming sugar immediately before bottling or you will lose any CO2 intended for carbonation.
 

muppix

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But whatever you do only add priming sugar immediately before bottling or you will lose any CO2 intended for carbonation.
Gotcha. I was actually wondering about the quantity of priming sugar in this kit, with a recurring opinion in this thread being that there’s a bit too much in there for an IPA, resulting in a gassy / heady brew. Somebody with more experience than I would be tempted to experiment. Maybe next time, Gadget ...
 

terrym

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Gotcha. I was actually wondering about the quantity of priming sugar in this kit, with a recurring opinion in this thread being that there’s a bit too much in there for an IPA, resulting in a gassy / heady brew. Somebody with more experience than I would be tempted to experiment. Maybe next time, Gadget ...
Use this to calculate priming sugar quantities. AIPAs look to be in the range 2.2 to 2.7 vols CO2. If you dont like fizzy beer you need to err towards the lower end of the range. But if you serve your beer chilled rather than 'cellar temperature' use a little more sugar
 

muppix

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Nice - thanks for that! Gonna check the SG later today and may end up bottling Razorback if it's not moved. Should be a giggle.
 

muppix

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There was no progress on 1.011 by Sunday so I decided to bottle Razorback, my first ever batch of home-brew. I was still a little worried about the long term reliability of my crown capper so I decided to spread the risk by using a combination of purchased beer bottles, recycled beer bottles, and some clear flip-top bottles that I'd earmarked for my cider project. (don't worry - they'll be kept in the dark)

Everything went well on the day, in fact it probably took longer to wash and sterilise the bottles than it did to fill and cap them. They'll spend the next two weeks under a towel in a plastic packing crate bomb safe at 23℃ before migrating to the garage for final conditioning.

DSCF0727.jpeg DSCF0730.jpeg
A big thanks to everyone who's helped me out with guidance and feedback, I appreciate this very much!
 
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GhostShip

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Sounds great! Hope you get a good result. Washing and sterilising bottles is the one downside to home brewing for me. I hate it!
 

TastyMcbrewski

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Sounds great! Hope you get a good result. Washing and sterilising bottles is the one downside to home brewing for me. I hate it!
With you there. How long does bottling day take you? For c.40 x 500ml bottles I reckon it took me 2.5 hours all in (and that’s including a new rinser I just brought which was a big help)
 

GhostShip

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With you there. How long does bottling day take you? For c.40 x 500ml bottles I reckon it took me 2.5 hours all in (and that’s including a new rinser I just brought which was a big help)
Probably about the same for me. I wash them first and then rinse. Sanitising is easier as I have a pump-action rinser and just put some Star San in it. But then once all that’s over, I’ve still got the bottling to do! Brilliant when it’s finished but I think I’m going to start washing the bottles the night before and then leave them on the bottle tree. It just means less to do the next day. It’s tedious, but I still love making my own beer!
 

muppix

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Pretty much the same here, between 2 and 3 hours for 38 500ml glass bottles. I don't really know what I'm doing yet, so each bottle got the following treatment before being filled and capped:
  1. Hot water, very small amount of Fairy, bottle brush
  2. Cold water rinse
  3. Sterilisation flush with bottle washer
  4. Perfunctory rinse with very small amount of cold water
I carry out each step for all bottles before moving onto the next step, allowing them to rest on the bottle tree in-between. There's still some conflict in my mind regarding step #4 but my sanitiser instructions say to rinse and our water here is excellent, so I'm hoping there will be no issues. Going forward I'll get hold of some Star San (or Chem-San ersatz) if only to skip the last step and gain back some time.
 
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