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73 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1122741 5-Sep-2014 20:30
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Are you worried about knowing the alcohol percentage of your brews?

You take a reading with a hydrometer or a refractometer when the wort has cooled to 20 degrees and then again just before you bottle and use a formula to work out the sugar that has been eaten and converted to alcohol.

I have converted to a refractometer (2 brews ago) and am loving only having to use a drop or two rather than all the hassle of a hydrometer



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1124433 8-Sep-2014 15:43
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The stout is currenlty compiling, thanks for all the help, it seems to be going to plan so far. I will be bottling on Sunday or early next week.

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  Reply # 1124834 9-Sep-2014 10:21
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gundar: The stout is currenlty compiling, thanks for all the help, it seems to be going to plan so far. I will be bottling on Sunday or early next week.


Good work - that Coopers stout (if that is what you are using) makes a nice beer - good roasty flavours.
I found it was also good making 1 can into 10 litres of water with no sugars etc.



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  Reply # 1124839 9-Sep-2014 10:26
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Whoops, night time tempreature dropped to 15 last night and I the gurgling has stopped. Will the yeast wake up later or do I need to start again?

Will have to get heat pad this week....

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  Reply # 1124844 9-Sep-2014 10:36
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gundar: Whoops, night time tempreature dropped to 15 last night and I the gurgling has stopped. Will the yeast wake up later or do I need to start again?

Will have to get heat pad this week....


15c shouldn't be an issue for yeast. You may have to pitch more yeast.

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Vocus

  Reply # 1124846 9-Sep-2014 10:37
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gundar: Whoops, night time tempreature dropped to 15 last night and I the gurgling has stopped. Will the yeast wake up later or do I need to start again?

Will have to get heat pad this week....


Should be fine, a cooler ferment takes longer but often produces better flavours anyway.  The yeast will start back up when it warms up today - assuming it's not done already.

FWIW, gurgling is not a very good indicator of fermentation activity, the only way really to tell is measuring SG from one day to the next.  Once it's stable for 3 days, it's fairly much done, if you're not at target, you may need to pitch some more yeast...



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  Reply # 1125844 10-Sep-2014 15:41
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ubergeeknz:
gundar: Whoops, night time tempreature dropped to 15 last night and I the gurgling has stopped. Will the yeast wake up later or do I need to start again?

Will have to get heat pad this week....


Should be fine, a cooler ferment takes longer but often produces better flavours anyway.  The yeast will start back up when it warms up today - assuming it's not done already.

FWIW, gurgling is not a very good indicator of fermentation activity, the only way really to tell is measuring SG from one day to the next.  Once it's stable for 3 days, it's fairly much done, if you're not at target, you may need to pitch some more yeast...


That's a great hint, thanks. I'll start checking it from tomorrow night as it's expected to be ready from Sunday-ish.

Also, I managed to scrounge a heat pad. It is purpose made, but says nothing about tempreature on it, only 25W. How do I tell how warm it will be?

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1125852 10-Sep-2014 15:53
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Do you have one of those stick on temperature indicators?
They cost about $6 and are just a liquid crystal stick on label. It displays the current temp range.
You just stick them on the side of your fermenter.

http://homebrewwest.co.nz/products/hardware-digital-thermometer

You can get more elaborate controllers etc. But if you switch on the heat pad for a while and have a stick on temperature indicator you should be able to keep an eye on it.

Actually your post spurred me into putting a brew on - I usually wait until its a little warmer, but decided it would be ok this week. I am in Auckland - so its not that cold anyway. Its bubbling slower than usual. But probably the first time I have actually managed to have a brew down to 18-22 degrees - which is meant to be the best temp.

My brew is a gluten free ale. I got diagnosed with Coeliac Disease around 4 years ago and missed beer. I bought the NZ Scotts GF Ale - and its ok. But quite pricey ($24 for a 6 pack) and quite 'tangy'.

The beer I am making uses Sorghum Syrup instead of Barley Malt - and a selection of hops - All courtesy of a recipe from the Brewers Co-op in Penrose Auckland. I have made their GF Lager a couple of times - its very nice. And havent made the GF ale for a while. Figure that summers is on the way so best to get ready...




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1125855 10-Sep-2014 15:55
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robjg63: Do you have one of those stick on temperature indicators?
They cost about $6 and are just a liquid crystal stick on label. It displays the current temp range.
You just stick them on the side of your fermenter.

http://homebrewwest.co.nz/products/hardware-digital-thermometer

You can get more elaborate controllers etc. But if you switch on the heat pad for a while and have a stick on temperature indicator you should be able to keep an eye on it.


Yes, I have stick on indicators, they seem hard to read and I wonder if they don't survive boiling water that is used to flush the drum out with?

Anyway, yes, I'll put he heatpad on for a short while and check periodically...

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Vocus

  Reply # 1125865 10-Sep-2014 16:10
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gundar: Also, I managed to scrounge a heat pad. It is purpose made, but says nothing about tempreature on it, only 25W. How do I tell how warm it will be?


Maybe meant to be used with a thermometer?  Anyway I really wouldn't worry too much, somewhere 15-20 you'll be OK it just might take a bit longer than it says on the packet.  My beer has been fermenting under the house where it's about 12 ambient, albeit with a yeast (S-23 German Lager) more accustomed to cool temps than the "workhorse" yeast they usually throw in with kits.

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  Reply # 1125931 10-Sep-2014 16:54
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I have a 25W heat pad (the copper tun one) for my keeping my pot warm (only a spirits wash, not beer though).

In my cold shed this time of the year (in Palmerston North) the heat pad is just left on all the time which maintains the pot at a nice 22-24 degrees. I was going to be super geeky and use a raspberry pi to control it with web interface etc but after actually using it it isn't required. This is with the pot sitting in an "insulated" cupboard.

I don't turn the heat pad on until after the brew has cooled down from the initial temps (not sure if you start beer at 36-38 like you do for spirits.



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  Reply # 1132105 19-Sep-2014 13:07
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Hi all. Thanks for the great advice. I bottled my first brew on Wednesday night and made 24 neat quart bottles in two swappa crates. In 6-8 weeks, apparently, I'll be in stout heaven. In the process, I lost about 2litres of the good stuff due to me not having more than 24 bottles ready and of course, the last 2 litres looked pretty bad (I since have been told to never bottle the last 1-2 litres, so this is fine). I had a mate help me with bottling and he said he hates stout (I don't know where I find these people), so I was thinking that I should look at an ale or pilsner next. I'd be looking at a recipe kit for now, nothing too complicated, happy to buy online and have it shipped or pick it up in BYO in Hamilton - any suggestions?

Also, I don't have a hot water cupboard to store the bottles while they're waiting for me. How important is tempreature when the bottles are 'waiting'? I thought of leaving the heatpad running in the bottom of the cupboard, but generally, my house is 17-21deg this time of year.

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  Reply # 1132110 19-Sep-2014 13:15
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Supermarkets usually have some of the coopers ales/lagers on the shelves.
Pak n Save usually have a few well priced popular kits.
Check them out first.




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1132116 19-Sep-2014 13:25
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gundar: Hi all. Thanks for the great advice. I bottled my first brew on Wednesday night and made 24 neat quart bottles in two swappa crates. In 6-8 weeks, apparently, I'll be in stout heaven. In the process, I lost about 2litres of the good stuff due to me not having more than 24 bottles ready and of course, the last 2 litres looked pretty bad (I since have been told to never bottle the last 1-2 litres, so this is fine). I had a mate help me with bottling and he said he hates stout (I don't know where I find these people), so I was thinking that I should look at an ale or pilsner next. I'd be looking at a recipe kit for now, nothing too complicated, happy to buy online and have it shipped or pick it up in BYO in Hamilton - any suggestions?

Also, I don't have a hot water cupboard to store the bottles while they're waiting for me. How important is tempreature when the bottles are 'waiting'? I thought of leaving the heatpad running in the bottom of the cupboard, but generally, my house is 17-21deg this time of year.


That temp should be fine for the bottle conditioning, leave them at room temp for a week or two, then they will have cleared nicely, and after another week will be approaching drinkable. The stouts improve with age, my first stout brew was rather tasty, but the couple of bottles I stashed away for later had developed into a more complicated and interesting brew 6 months later.

I've brewed about a dozen batches over the past year or two, and haven't had a bad one yet (sterilize, sterilize, sterilize). The majority have been Mangrove Jacks in various flavours - I have their Pils fermenting right now. I've also used Coopers, Brewtech and a coupleof others I can't recall without checking my brew notebook. I've done several ciders to keep the mrs happy, just started drinking a Mangrove Jacks strawberry and pear which she reckons she prefers to a Rekorderlig.

Pro-tip: keep a notebook of what you made, what you made it with, and anything interesting about the process like temp drops etc. Then add tasting notes once you first drink it, and then after another month or so. It makes remembering that really good brew you made last year a lot easier and more replicable.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1138299 26-Sep-2014 15:16
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I want to start simple and have a low investment/average expectation so that I can get a handle of what to do without getting discouraged - yes, I've never done this before.



How do you maintain the temperature and how critical is this?

Is it okay to buy used parts off TradeMe?
.


Husband has done this on and off - more on - for the last 40 years or so.
He buys his beer kits from Pak N Save as they are the cheapest.

He has bought his 2nd beer barrel off Trademe.....new seals and such he gets from Hauraki Home Brew shop.
He also buys the sterilising solution from them.

Don't cheat on that - this is the stuff used in wineries.....you want sterile, not half ass.

Temperature - in cooler months it lives out in the garage - he has a heating pad thing to keep it from getting too cold. In summer it gets moved under the house - the coolest place on the property.

The beer bottles, when maturing ditto - in the garage and moved into spare room in winter for warmth.

The beer is clear (pour it off properly) and good. I have tested this on various people I have worked with.....as there is often a perception that home brew is crap - guess it can be if you haven't had practice or take short cuts.

The beer kits contain instructions, it can go hotter or colder than it says, but not by a huge amount......and the yeast in it is just fine.
Yeast is fairly hard to kill you know, but slowing it or the reverse, too hot, can affect the end result, best to stick within range as much as you can.

He has tried beer sugars and all the expensive bits and pieces and reverted back to the basic kit and plain old sugar. You don't NEED to use anything fancy.
Another thing, I make preserves and stuff, I long since gave up on the traditional style of sterilising jars and use his sterilising stuff now.
I have perfect results, can use anything - plastic lids, whatever, and I have been doing so for years now.

 

Sodium Metabisulphite Steriliser

 

 

 

No Rinse Product 400gm

 

 

 


 

$4.00

 


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