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Brewing nOOb

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by SlyFerret, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    Do you have coke kegs? They have the little pins on the sides of the connectors. I've found they don't quite seal right unless you have lots of pressure on them. You should just have to replace the spring valves (2) on each keg and all of the associated O-rings.. (I think about 5, including the big one). If it continues to leak, the keg may have been physically damaged or altered in some way.

    People come and go in this hobby, and you can occasionally find deals through CL, ebay, and even local homebrewing clubs on used gear.

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  2. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    I use the ball locks. On the ones I got, I replaced the o rings and poppets, then both posts and finally got them to seal.
  3. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the input, folks! So far, so good!

    This is the beer kit we're using.

    uploadfromtaptalk1356816906495.jpg

    This is the equipment kit.

    uploadfromtaptalk1356816906495.jpg

    This is our wort in progress!

    uploadfromtaptalk1356816932381.jpg

    -SF

    Attached Files:

  4. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Oops, goofed up posting the pics from my tablet.

    I think they all show up though.

    -SF
  5. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    Looks great.
  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I do like the smell during the boil. Gotta keep hydrated while watching the clock.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I plan to find a used setup from craigslist. Which are the desirable cornies? The coke ones? Do I want the ones with pins or the ballcock? Any tips on what to look for?
  8. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    I like Pepsi kegs because they are a little taller so they can fit a little more beer and the Coke kegs sometimes have problems sealing around the large O-ring. The Coke kegs have the little pins around the base of the connector. I think its 2 little pins on the CO2 in and 3 on the beer out. Really any keg can be reconditioned if it hasn't been abused (dented so it won't seal anymore). You could also check beverage companies for retiring kegs.
  9. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    We brewed our beer last Saturday afternoon/evening. It's been in the fermenter bucket for almost 4 days now.

    On Sunday afternoon, I was seeing activity in the airlock, but now I'm not seeing any. The fermenter got too cold on Monday (60-65 F), so I moved it to a more consistent room where it will stay about 70. I don't think that temp would have caused me major problems, but I'm a little worried about not seeing any bubbles in the airlock.

    Is it normal for yeast settle down after the first day or two? Or is this a sign of a problem with the batch?

    -SF
  10. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    Its probably fine. Did you use dry yeast? Its not uncommon for some dried yeast strains to completely ferment a beer in a day or two. You had activity for a few days.. its probably done. Going down to a temp of the low 60's will slow yeast activity, but not stop it completely. This is where taking a hydrometer reading helps a lot. Anything around 1.010-1.016 and its done.
  11. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it was dry yeast. That is good to know that this isn't necessarily abnormal.

    To take a reading, I'll need to open up the bucket. I got the impression that it was supposed to stay sealed for two weeks. Is it OK to open it to take a reading with the (sanitized) hydrometer?

    -SF
  12. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    In a brewery, they would draw a sample off by a spigot on the side of the fermenter to check gravity. This can be hard to do for the homebrewer. Its best to muck about in the finished beer as little as possible, but opening it and checking with a sanitized hydrometer won't hurt any.
  13. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I like to use a turkey baster to draw a sample.

    A common reason for people to loose bubbles is that they lose the seal on their primary fermenter which allows the fumes to escape without causing airlock activity. I like glass carboys for all fermenting. I can see what is happening, watch the yeast swirl, observe thickness of foam, thickness of yeast bed, and when I go to siphon it off for bottling I can get down close to the yeast but leave most of it behind. It is very easy to get a carboy to pass the walrus test, that is, every walrus likes a nice tight seal! The caps seal well.
  14. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    If you give it enough time there is no need to check gravity. If it hasn't started back up after you move it to a warmer spot fermentation is finished. What type of yeast was it. If it was Safale us-05 it ferments very quickly. I have been skipping the secondary fermentation and leaving it in the primary for 3-4 (or longer)weeks to reduce the risk of a contamination. You just have to be careful at bottling time not to suck up any trub.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. I also leave it in the primary due to laziness and after having tried it both ways see no difference in end product. You will get trub in both vessels anyway so no change there.
  16. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    I get lazy(busy) as well. I brewed an ipa in February of last year and left it in the primary until July. Moved it to a secondary and dry hopped. It was a really good brew. Not as bright of a taste but still a quality brew. The less times you handle the beer the less chance of an infection. That is one of the reasons why I switched to kegging as there is no racking to the bottling bucket.
  17. loadstarken

    loadstarken Member

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    It comes down to a matter of preference really.
    I went with the Pepsi (ball lock) kegs because I was able to fit 6 of them into my 6 tap kegerator/keezer.

    The Pepsi (ball lock) kegs are taller and skinnier while the Coke (pin lock) kegs are shorter and fatter.

    You can get fittings to convert a pin lock keg to a ball lock keg.
  18. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I've been saving my nickles to hopefully pick up a conical fermentor this spring. I too have grown tired of racking from primary to secondary. A conical allows you to just dump the trub right off the bottom. Pricey...but I've convinced myself it will be ohh so worth it.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Made our first ale today. It's just a small batch brown ale as I am getting my feet wet learning the process. We did it with whole ground grain instead of malt extracts.Time consuming, but the house smells great!

    What do you all do with the spent grain? I'm drying it out on the T6 right now. We're thinking of using some of it into buttermilk biscuits as a test.
  20. loadstarken

    loadstarken Member

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    Lots of people make dog biscuits out of the spent grains. I have been known to eat a bowls worth when it is hot.

    One of my brewing buddies and his wife put their hands in the grains because it makes them soft. . .haha

    Another thing I have used it for is mixed into the compost for my raised hop garden boxes.
  21. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    Its very adventurous to make an all-grain beer on your first go. Congrats in that respect and I hope it turns out well.

    A little bit goes a long way when it comes to using spent grain in bread. I used to compost it, but now I feed it to my neighbors chickens as a treat along with their normal food. They love it, and with 9 chickens I can get rid of about 10 pounds of spent grains in a few days.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks. Adventurous or foolhardy, not sure which. :rolleyes: Ask me in a couple weeks. I got a little cocky after the success with the cider, but beer making from scratch is much more labor intensive and complex. The good news is the airlock is bubbling now. Fingers crossed.
  23. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I feed all the spent grains and spent hops to the chickens. They love it. On a cold brew day I walk out there with a near boiling sack of sugary grain and dump it into their coop. All of it. I spread it out to allow all birds to get a bit and the steam rising and the good smells brings them running.

    We actually feed them quite a bit of non-chicken food food.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We mixed some in the pancake batter yesterday and it was quite tasty. My wife wants to experiment a bit with it in bread and muffins. No chickens here, but we do have friends that have them.

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