16
votes
6answers
12k views

What's the difference between primary & secondary fermentation?

Over here PJ asked "How do you differentiate primary to secondary if you keep it in the same bucket?"
16
votes
12answers
4k views

Is an immersion chiller really necessary?

I have been reading here about immersion, counterflow and plate chillers and they don't seem to chill the wort much faster than my current method; ice. Many people have stated that their chillers ...
16
votes
4answers
137k views

How long do I have to finish a keg once it's been tapped?

I have a kegerator setup with CO2 and a tap. Once a keg has been put into the kegerator, how long will it stay good? What can I do to ensure that I get the longest life possible out of a keg once ...
16
votes
1answer
13k views

[WIKI] How Do You Calculate Original Gravity?

This is a community wiki post. Anybody with more than 100 reputation can edit it. You may also post your own answer. I get no reputation if you vote the question up or down, however, please vote up if ...
16
votes
6answers
23k views

What happens when beer freezes?

After a bit of trouble with a thermostat on a 2nd hand fridge, I discovered that my latest batch of bottled, ready-to-drink brew had frozen. What happens to beer when it freezes? Will the taste be ...
15
votes
5answers
20k 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, ...
15
votes
9answers
26k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
16k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
19k views

What malt should I use to get a red beer?

So, I want to make a red beer, what is the best malt to get this color?
15
votes
8answers
3k views

How would one go about growing their own hops?

Ignoring the downsides (Hops: buy vs. grow), how would one grow hops in their backyard? I know that it grows 30 feet tall and that you cut it to the ground in the winter, but how do you get started ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to make a beer worthy of a competition with malt extract?

I was wondering if it's possible to make a beer worthy of entering a competition that stands a chance of doing well. I'm still pretty new to brewing but wanted to know if I need to make the jump to ...
15
votes
8answers
10k 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?
15
votes
3answers
11k views

How long will bottled beer last?

How long will bottled beer last without refrigeration?
15
votes
6answers
6k views

How much water does a wort chiller use?

I am thinking on buying an immersion chiller and from other threads I've thought of using the post-chiller hot water for cleanup, and I've also heard of using the water (after it starts to cool down) ...
15
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

Using trub directly vs. yeast rinsing.

Sometimes referred to as "yeast washing," the process of yeast rinsing separates the yeast from the hops and break material in the trub. Most brewers who reuse yeast — and store it for long ...
14
votes
13answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
17answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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?
14
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
7k 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
7k 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 ...
14
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Sanitation & Dry Hopping

Is there any risk of wort infection by not sanitizing hops before dry hopping?
14
votes
6answers
4k 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
980 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
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
1answer
7k views

Why is it bad to pitch too much yeast?

What are the effects of over-pitching? Where is the line for, say, a 1.050 beer? There is also a question for to under-pitching.
14
votes
4answers
7k 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
3answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Should I ferment a new batch directly on the yeast cake generated by the previous batch?

I'm going to re-use the yeast cake from a low-gravity batch to ferment a high-gravity batch. Can I just put the wort directly on it? Does it then need to be agitated? Is it worth the risk of ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Fruit beer: should I allow it to ferment out completely?

I have a wheat beer in secondary that has been on 5 lbs of strawberries for 6 days. The flavor is phenomenal right now, just perfect. The strawberries continue to ferment actively, and I want to ...
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
3answers
2k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of transferring to a secondary vs. a long primary?

The conventional wisdom in homebrewing has been challenged in recent years. This wisdom held that a beer should be transferred from the primary fermentation vessel to a secondary one after 7-10 days. ...
14
votes
2answers
297 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
10answers
7k views

Is it important to weigh down a hop bag for dry-hopping?

If so, what kind of weight should I use? Should it be enough to sink the bag to the bottom of the carboy?
13
votes
12answers
4k 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.
13
votes
5answers
6k 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
6answers
14k 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
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
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
4answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
4k 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? ...
13
votes
4answers
4k 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
2answers
21k views

What is wet hopping and how does it differ from dry?

Specifically what types of beer would you use wet hopping for and how does it affect the flavor/process differently than dry hopping a beer?
13
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...

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