Author Topic: homebrew?  (Read 29015 times)

citoyen

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2013, 10:19:42 am »
I have added a small oil radiator to the room to raise the ambient a little.

This may be of interest: I've just ordered an Eheim Thermocontrol 25W heater off eBay for £16. This is rated to heat an aquarium of 20-25L, though perhaps if the room your FV is  in is very cold, the 50W version might be better.

Quote
There is a pleasing amount of pressure under the lid so I presume things are working.

You might want to crack the lid open slightly to let some of the pressure out occasionally - before it lifts itself off of its own accord.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
homebrew?
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2013, 10:36:44 am »
Ok, my long/boring post comes to an end now :-)

Not boring at all - very useful! My fears about my stout proved unfounded - it eventually fermented down to 1011, then I racked it into a barrel primed with 90g muscovado sugar and it has been conditioning away nicely for five days now - and I can tell it's working because I cracked the lid slightly and there was a hiss of escaping gas (I had to let a little out because I don't like my stout too fizzy).

Had a little taste as well and, by Jove, it's splendid!

It's a Coopers stout kit made up to 20L with 1kg of dark DME, 250g white cane sugar and 30g Fuggles boiled in some wort for 1 min then left to steep for 30 mins. I thought priming with muscovado might add an extra dimension but it's not very noticeable - just a slight caramel hint. But I'm very pleased with the result - smooth, strong, very dry.

So anyway, my "room temp" is obviously fine for ale brewing, especially on a small scale, but I still want the aquarium heater for that bit of extra control and consistency.

David Martin

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2013, 05:40:51 pm »
The lid, when placed under pressure, seems to vent OK. I pushed gently on the bulge and could hear gas escaping so presume it regulates the pressure OK and won't suddenly blow off.

So once it has fermented, I could rack it off into a barrel or bottle it. I have to source some bottles - PET or glass? Crown or Screw?
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Mrs Pingu

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2013, 06:03:44 pm »
Glass crown top. We usually use empty beer bottles, but that assumes you've been drinking bottled beer and saving the empties!
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David Martin

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2013, 06:33:28 pm »
I'll have to pop into the pub across the way then and see if they have any spares they will let me have.

Into a barrel or straight into bottles? It is a coopers IPA made to 23L with 800g sugar.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2013, 06:52:46 pm »
Glass crown top. We usually use empty beer bottles, but that assumes you've been drinking bottled beer and saving the empties!

Agree, for perfection, but it can be a bit of a palaver sterilising, rinsing, filling, priming and capping 40-something 500 ml bottles, or worse still, 80 half pint bottles. But larger bottles means you have to have a large jug to decant and once it's poured it has to be drunk. A good compromise is screw top flagons or glass litre cider bottles if you can source them. PET is absolutely fine as long as you're not hoping to mature it for many months, and yes they can definitely take the pressure, much more so than glass bottles. The only issue is they tend to be 2 litre and it all has to be poured out in one go! If you use clear ones, keep them in the dark.
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David Martin

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2013, 06:55:48 pm »
500ml PET bottles are readily available and there are loads on the recycling market (in the shape of Coke or other pop bottles. And they are even cheaper ready sterilised (just pour out the Tesco value sparkling water and replace it with a far better sparkling water). What is the issue with ageing in PET?
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2013, 07:19:18 pm »
I don't rate PET bottles, scratches and imperfections can harbour bacteria (a worry if you are not pasteurising after bottling) as well as oxygen infiltration (oxydation, albeit extremely slow). Never, ever use clear bottles if you are storing in a lit environment (light reacts with the hop compounds).

As you will have to sterilise it anyway, might as well use glass with a crown. It's almost infinitely reuseable too.

On top of that, the beer in plastic that I have tasted tastes a bit odd. Could have been the recipe from the extremely miserly brewery though ;)

Mrs Pingu

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2013, 07:36:40 pm »
If it's going into a barrel you're drinking in out of the barrel.
We have a giant BDH barrel which used to contain 50Kg NaCl which is very useful for sterilising bottles with the correct number of Milton tablets dissolved in the water. We then put about half a tsp of sugar into each of the clean bottles before we decant from the fermenter for the 2ry fermentation. (I have a disposable plastic cup fashioned into a funnel to get the sugar into the bottle.)

The kitchen floor usually needs a good clean after we've done this bit!
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

David Martin

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2013, 07:45:01 pm »
I was thinking of decanting into the barrel as a temporary and easy way to then fill lots of bottles after adding the sugar to the barrel so the whole batch is consistent.Yes it is one more handling step but would make bottle filling much easier. (Think of it as a mixer/funnel with tap). It would be in the barrel for a few minutes (long enough for me to carry upstairs and into the kitchen from the cellar)

"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2013, 07:46:31 pm »
@ Mrs Pingu: That is a chlorine based sanitiser, make you rinse your bottles before putting the new beer in! It can lead to unpleasant off flavours in your beer.

I recommend a no rinse brewing specific oxygenation cleaner/steriliser (like this: http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/acatalog/Chemipro_OXI_1KG.html ) or 5 Star Star San (http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/acatalog/Five_Star_Star_San_16oz.html) rather than chlorine based sterilisers for anything that will touch the beer.

I go so far as to treat water that will be used to brew or sanitise/sterilise. More info here: http://morebeer.com/articles/removing_chloramines_from_water

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2013, 07:58:15 pm »
I was thinking of decanting into the barrel as a temporary and easy way to then fill lots of bottles after adding the sugar to the barrel so the whole batch is consistent.Yes it is one more handling step but would make bottle filling much easier. (Think of it as a mixer/funnel with tap). It would be in the barrel for a few minutes (long enough for me to carry upstairs and into the kitchen from the cellar)

Get a bottling 'bucket', pour in your boiled priming sugar solution, then run your new beer from the fermenter into the bottling bucket (careful not to oxygenate the new beer when running it into the bottling bucket) and let it sit for a few minutes (covered). This will do a decent job of distributing the priming sugar into solution prior to bottling.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: homebrew?
« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2013, 08:03:04 pm »
Why is a bottling bucket different to a barrel, or can I just use the barrel as a bottling bucket?
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Mrs Pingu

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2013, 08:04:31 pm »
We do rinse, lots :)

I guess to do it DM's way you would have to make the sugar a solution before putting it in the bucket, otherwise you'd have to stir it and mobilise all the crap. Never really thought of doing it that way.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2013, 08:29:17 pm »
Why is a bottling bucket different to a barrel, or can I just use the barrel as a bottling bucket?

When you say barrel, do you mean the vessel in which you ferment, or something else ? Reading your post above, I assume it's a separate vessel?

A "bottling bucket" is simply a home-brewer's term for the pro's Bright Beer Tank (the place where beer is stored and carbonated post filtration before it is packaged (bottled or kegged). It really doesn't matter what it is, so long as it can be sanitised / sterilised and it works :-)

If it's the fermenter, you would in theory want to rack the beer off the yeast cake/bed in order not to take along into the bottle any residual hops or grain that made it into the fermenter, or odd clumps of yeast or strings of coagulated proteins/complex carbohydrates that settled out during/post fermentation (if you're using wheat, there can be a not insignificant quantity of this). These can look odd in the final poured beer.

I also find that a bottling bucket with a spigot on the bottom make it easier to extract the most beer possible into bottles :)

David Martin

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Re: homebrew?
« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2013, 08:36:17 pm »
A separate vessel. I am fermenting in a 25l bucket. The plan would be to decant into the barrel (a pressure keg). And then add the sugar and immediately decant to bottles.  The barrel makes it easier to move the brew from the cellar. It was entertaining enough moving it down there.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2013, 08:37:59 pm »
Sounds good to me  :thumbsup:

Are you putting the priming solution in the barrel or the fermenter ?

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: homebrew?
« Reply #67 on: December 29, 2013, 08:48:50 pm »
I was thinking I could put it in the barrel then decant on to it. With a suitable tube it can mix without aeration
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #68 on: December 29, 2013, 09:09:21 pm »
Sounds ideal.. Try and get a "whirlpool" going without splashing the wort about or creating foam to minimise oxydation and you're on your way to better beer  :thumbsup:

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: homebrew?
« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2013, 11:25:54 am »
This may be of interest: I've just ordered an Eheim Thermocontrol 25W heater off eBay for £16. This is rated to heat an aquarium of 20-25L, though perhaps if the room your FV is  in is very cold, the 50W version might be better.
I'd probably put one in a wider bucket (trug or similar? ) and place the brew bucket in that so it acts as a water jacket. It (the bucket) shouldn't need to be more than half immersed My bucket won't take one of those without modifying the lid and I'd rather not have yet another thing to sterilise.

Still pressure being generated so bottling is a few days off yet.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: homebrew?
« Reply #70 on: December 30, 2013, 12:32:26 pm »
I'd probably put one in a wider bucket (trug or similar? ) and place the brew bucket in that so it acts as a water jacket.

Various people on the brewing forums advocate exactly this. It also means if the heater fails, it won't risk contaminating the beer.

OTOH, it's a less efficient way to heat the contents of the vessel and for me, the risk is low enough to make it worthwhile. As for sterilising, it's just a case of dropping it in the vessel along with all the other bits you're sterilising.

You wouldn't necessarily need to modify the lid either - just leave a crack for the wire to trail over the edge. The blanket of CO2 generated by fermentation will protect the brew from oxidation. You could put a bit of clingfilm or something over the gap to stop creatures getting in if necessary.

Quote
Still pressure being generated so bottling is a few days off yet.

Don't rely on this as a guide - use a hydrometer to be sure, especially if you're bottling.

Talking of bottling, using the barrel as a "bottling bucket" is exactly what I did with my first brew, which is the only one I've bottled so far. The main reason being that it has a tap, so it was much easier to fill the bottles than fannying about with a syphon tube in the fermenting vessel.

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #71 on: January 01, 2014, 04:07:42 pm »
I was given this for Christmas  http://www.lovebrewing.co.uk/brewmaker-high-gravity-victorian-bitter/

Can I ask here... Any good source of a 5 gallon pressure barrel/ other tips?

edit. reading through thread helps.   :)  Want to try and do this with min. expense.
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citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
homebrew?
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2014, 05:29:28 pm »
Try Wilko's - they had a sale on recently, don't know if it's still going, and 5gal pressure barrels were £16.

For your kit, as per earlier posts in the thread, I'd recommend 1kg of Muntons Beer Kit Enhancer or Light DME (Dried Malt Extract) rather than sugar - again, both available in Wilko's or homebrew specialists.

Generally, just exercise care (especially with regard to sterilisation) and patience.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: homebrew?
« Reply #73 on: January 04, 2014, 04:05:36 pm »
I now have just enough bottles (courtesy of the Queen Anne) to hold 23 litres. 11 litres in 500ml and 12 in 300ml. Currently washing and de-labelling rather a lot of bottles.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: homebrew?
« Reply #74 on: January 04, 2014, 09:21:27 pm »
When de-labelling, I soak the bottles in a strong bleach/water solution to remove not only the labels, but also any residual yeasts, mould build-up and to get the bottles thoroughly cleaned.