14
votes
6answers
13k views

What is the secondary fermentation debate?

This question mentions a debate about secondary fermentation. Sort of like the existence of dark matter, everything I have read about homebrewing points to there being some disagreement about ...
14
votes
8answers
16k views

Am I required to refrigerate bottles after bottling?

My instructions that came with my kit said that I should let the bottles sit for 3 days, then age in the fridge for 10 days. If I don't refrigerate, will I get bottle bombs? Advice on forums and ...
14
votes
6answers
5k views

No-rinse acid sanitizer - is there a risk?

My homebrewer friends recommend the StarSan acid sanitizer, hands-down. I tried it once and it foamed everywhere and left a bunch of rings in the carboy and the bottles. It made me paranoid that it ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

Expect the Unexpected: How can I prepare for bottle-bombs?

Just had my first explosion last night. Very disheartening to discover a 22oz bottle spread all over the basement floor with little tiny shards of glass splattered everywhere. I remember overfilling ...
14
votes
4answers
868 views

First Time Homebrewer Setup

There was a request for difficult questions, but having never brewed, this is all I've got: Can you describe the most basic setup (preferably one with a reasonably low difficulty and high success ...
14
votes
1answer
429 views

Always making a starter vs. following package description

I have noticed that the smackpacks say on the package that the package is meant for a 5 gal. batch and that you should pour the pack directly into the wort. On the otherhand - nearly everyone tells ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Avoiding excessive soot on brew kettles

Are there any secret tricks to avoiding an exorbitant amount of soot on the brew kettle after the boil? We have been making all grain batches recently using a 20 gallon stock pot and a propane ...
14
votes
4answers
839 views

How do you cool wort?

More specifically, what methods exist to cool your wort after the boil, and what are there respective pros/cons?
14
votes
7answers
8k views

How do you cool a lager on a budget?

What techniques would you suggest for cooling a lager during the lagering phase? Further, how important is the stability of that temperature?
14
votes
3answers
8k views

How long will bottled beer last?

How long will bottled beer last without refrigeration?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

My keg is empty. Now what?

So I kicked my first Corny keg and need to get the keg and the system cleaned and ready for another batch, which might not be ready for some time. What's my process here?
14
votes
4answers
22k views

How to grow yeast?

I have read that it is possible to grow your own yeast, but I have not been able to find exact instructions. I would like to grow my own yeast so that I don't have to spend money on those small ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I avoid a lot of foam in the first pint from the keg?

Whenever I go to get a pint from the keg, the first pint is always foamy. I have to fill the glass up about 1/3 of the way and dump it out, just to the pour actual beer. I usually carbonate by ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How long can a yeast starter survive in the fridge?

I've made a 2L yeast starter (Wyeast 2633 Octoberfest) and placed in the fridge this morning. My original goal was to brew tonight but I may not be able to. Will the yeast colony still be good for a ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

When should I add a vanilla bean?

My wife just kicked a bottle of vanilla extract. She bakes a lot and buys the good stuff that comes with a bean in it. I think i want to add the bean to my double-chocolate stout that's in the ...
14
votes
2answers
271 views

What is “well attenuated maltiness”?

I am studying to become a BJCP judge. I was reading through Style 2a German Pilsner and saw something in the flavor profile that I didn't quite understand thoroughly. It says Moderate to ...
13
votes
14answers
10k views

What do you get if you distill mead?

This is just out of curiosity... I mean if you distill beer, you get whiskey... if you distill wine, you get cognac/brandy... if you distill fermented molasses, you get rum... if you distill ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I culture yeast from a commercial beer? Is it legal?

If I like the flavor profile of a yeast in a commercial beer, how would I go about culturing it? I have some very basic lab equipment, but I can buy anything that's reasonably priced. Also, would it ...
13
votes
3answers
32k views

Carbonation Drops vs. Sugar?

I'm brewing my very first batch with an actual kit (I've used Mr. Beer before with decent results and wanted to do it right). I bought a recipe kit from Northern Brewer and I opted for the Cooper's ...
13
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it OK to starting fermentation while wort is still warm?

I'm just getting started, so in my first couple batches I realized I had a problem cooling the wort all the way down to 60°F/16°C recommended by my instructions. I boil all of my water, but I don't ...
13
votes
7answers
6k views

Are beer kits any good?

I started my first homebrew a few days ago. I used a John Bull India Pale Ale beer kit made by Young's (West Midlands, UK). The airlock is bubbling away merrily and I've taken the lid off the ...
13
votes
6answers
8k views

Can Infected beer cause death or major illness?

Basic question. Can you get sick and die from drinking infected brew? I know that it must taste terrible, was just wondering. Can't seem to find any references where people have died from infected ...
13
votes
17answers
878 views

What is the best beer to make for a spouse who prefers sauvignon blanc?

I am trying to solve the "wife who loves wine instead of beer" problem. She would normally choose a Sauvignon blanc for herself but that's just no fun for the beer-drinking / making husband. My goal ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What class of beer is Newcastle, and what do I need to brew my own?

I like Newcastle, and now I would like to brew some. What class / style of beer is Newcastle? Where does it get its brown color? Are there any kits out there that would give pretty close results?
13
votes
3answers
798 views

Why do you aerate wort at first and try to keep oxygen out later?

Why should you aerate the wort before pitching yeast but then try to avoid allowing oxygen into it later in the process? What is going on with the yeast that makes oxygen good at first but bad later?
13
votes
9answers
1k views

What are some good online sources for recipes?

What are some good online sources for recipes? Please specify the type of recipes the site has (extract, all-grain, mead, cider, etc.).
13
votes
10answers
4k views

Are there tools that can make the bottling process easier?

I found this to be the most difficult part during my first attempt at brewing. All I had was a tube and a racking cane. Is there anything else to simplify the process and prevent me from ending up ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I maximize dry hops aroma?

I recently made an IPA. I put an ounce of Cascade pellets in the secondary (for a 23-litre [6-U.S.-gallon] batch), but there is hardly any hops aroma in the finished product. By the end of the two ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Methods for cleaning and drying tubing

Brewing 5 gallon batches at home. During the transfer from my primary fermenter to the secondary, and when filling bottles from my bottling bucket I constantly need to use plastic tubing to transfer ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Sanitation & Dry Hopping

Is there any risk of wort infection by not sanitizing hops before dry hopping?
13
votes
4answers
24k views

What does 'Imperial' mean with regards to beer style?

I've seen the adjective "Imperial" tacked on at the beginning of a number of beer styles recently: Imperial Stout, Imperial Brown Ale, Imperial Red Ale, etc. What does it mean exactly, is it just ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How fast should I run water through my wort chiller?

My father-in-law got me a wort chiller for my birthday, one of those copper coil immersion jobs and I'm now putting it to the test. This is only my second batch of beer, so I'm pretty new at this. ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the best method to catch a strain of wild yeast for homebrewing?

I'm interested in learning about brewing using wild yeast, but I wonder what is the best method to catch a strain that would produce good results in homebrewing. And of course how to ensure that it ...
13
votes
1answer
887 views

Original Gravity: Calculate or measure

I've been told that for extract brewing it's best to simply calculate the original gravity instead of measuring it. Is this correct? What are the pros/cons either way? What about with ...
12
votes
5answers
14k views

Why do all my beers taste better after having aged for a couple months?

My impression is that ales are typically best drunk within a couple weeks of brew day. It's my experience that letting them age in the bottles for 2-3 months yields the best beer, both improving body, ...
12
votes
9answers
487 views

Book for beginners

What book would you recommend for a beginner hoping to start with extract recipes or from an extract kit?
12
votes
12answers
3k views

What is the best book for beginning home brewers?

What is the best book for beginning home brewers? ** Please post 1 book per post, then the resulting votes will show what most people consider to be the best book.
12
votes
11answers
2k views

Uses for spent grains

What are some uses for spent grains - either a few pounds from a partial mash or the 10+ from an all-grain batch - that don't include just throwing the grains away? If your answer is to include some ...
12
votes
4answers
12k views

Can OxiClean be used as a sanitizer?

Many batches ago I abandoned the sanitizing solutions sold (at ridiculous markups) from standard homebrew stores in favor of OxiClean Free. My logic at the time (being out of sanitizer, and at a ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

How to add adjuncts (hops, fruit, spices, etc) to the fermenter without contaminating the beer?

What is the best way to sterilize things like dry hops, spices or fruit before putting them in the fermenter? Some stuff you can obviously boil. But boiling hops, say, would defeat the purpose of ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I keep yeast from a strain that I've bought?

I'd like to stop buying yeast all the time, especially when I use the same strain repeatedly. This is especially a problem when it comes to seasonal strains. I'd like to brew with WLP351 Bavarian ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Using honey in beer

This thread is not actually one single question, but a number of different ones. When calculating sugars used in the wort, how much sugar does honey contain? Is it closer to dry malt extracts, raw ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

5 or 6 Gallon Glass Carboy

I'm looking to pick up a glass carboy, but I'm not sure which size. I brew in 5 gallon batches (just starting out) and I'm wondering if I should go with the 5 gallon or 6 gallon carboy. Thoughts? ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Glass Carboy vs. Better Bottle

I recently broke my 6.1 gallon glass carboy that I used for primary fermentation. I need to buy a new one, and I'm considering a "Better Bottle" carboy. Its claims include: **Unbreakable and ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a good definition of beer?

My wife asked me what the definition of beer was, and my best response was my understanding of Reinheitsgebot definition (which may or may not be correct). Beer contains: Malted Barley Hops Water ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

How to brew less than 5 gallons at a time?

I recently moved into a smaller apartment and no longer have the space for my 6.5 and 5 gallon carboys. Do people sell smaller carboys than this? I know Mr. Beer would be small enough, but I'd ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is a long boil with extract necessary?

I'm making a late hopped extract beer later tonight. (Jamil's Evil Twin as posted http://www.mrmalty.com/late_hopping.htm) He suggests at 90 minute boil with the first hop addition coming 20 minutes ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

All my all-grain batches produce a bitter/astringent, dark, almost burnt off flavor that ruins every batch, from light pilsner to dark belgians

I'm scratching my head trying to figure this one out. Here's the story: I started brewing extracts, and they all came out great. I wanted to get into all-grain so a last year I ordered myself the ...
12
votes
6answers
6k views

Dry yeast vs wet yeast

I've always thought it to be common knowledge that wet yeast is better than dry yeast for home-brewing. This was confirmed by Sam Calagione at his Authors at Google talk where he suggested that using ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

Early vs Late secondary fermentation

When do you start your secondary fermentation? Some people wait until the bubbles of the wort stop completely, others leave the wort in the fist fermenter for 3-4 days and then move on to secondary ...

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