8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I decide if the beer is ready? Is my fermentation complete?

This is my first time brewing and I've followed the instructions from a kit. It says to leave the beer in the key for two weeks and its ready when it stops being cloudy. Its now been a little over ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Boiling bottle caps

I've always soaked my bottle caps in sanitizer before using, but a friend of mine suggested boiling (throw in the same pot with priming sugar) instead because the cooties can theoretically hide from ...
8
votes
4answers
14k views

How can I tell when wine has finished degassing?

I bottled my first home made wine last week. It's an apple wine that didn't turn out so well. The good news is that I think I know most of the reasons it isn't very good and I'm going to try again ...
8
votes
2answers
401 views

Starter and smack-packs

Is making a starter a good idea when using a larger activator pack from Wyeast? Should you smack the packet and add it to the starter, or add it after it swells?
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Is a 5 gallon bucket too big for 3 gallon recipe?

I have a few Mr Beer extract kits left over from when I started this hobby. Can I ferment a 3 gallon recipe in a 5 gallon bucket? Will there be too much head space?
8
votes
6answers
10k views

Are plastic fizzy-drink bottles an acceptable substitute for glass bottles?

I'm thinking of cola, lemonade, etc bottles, usually 2 litres, commonly available in the UK. Are these going to be an acceptable substitute for glass bottles? Would save a few pennies on the cost of ...
7
votes
2answers
668 views

Pressure during fermentation

I imagine other parameters are more important (like temperature or pitching rate). Still, I was wondering if pressure has some effect on the fermentation process (for example on flocculation, ...
7
votes
2answers
256 views

Experimenting, Priming Sugars

I've got a 3 gallon batch of bourbon dubbel fermenting, recipe calls for priming with maple syrup, I'm thinking of siphoning off .5 gal to prime with honey and .5 gal to prime with black treacle. ...
7
votes
1answer
808 views

Does wort gravity affect hop utilization?

My understanding is that wort gravity does not affect hop utilization. Instead, a larger boil volume will increase hop utilization, while a higher amount of break material will lower hop utilization. ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Over attenuated all grain beers

I'm having a problem with all my beers regardless of style getting over attenuated. I've been raising my mash temps up to 4° above each beers style (up to 158° or so) to compensate with no luck. I've ...
7
votes
1answer
887 views

Possibly infected mead: is it worth keeping?

I tried making cherry mead again (the first time I tried this it got infected). I tried again yesterday, and it looks like I've got another infection of some sort. This time I thought that everything ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Performing a hop boil seperate from the wort boil.

I'm curious to try some single-hop style beers and would like to do several varieties in one brew day. My ideal situation would be to make a five gallon batch of an unhopped pale ale as the base and ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

When using whole hops, do you need a larger amount than you would hop pellets to achieve the same bitterness?

I have read that whole hops impart less bitterness than pellet hops by weight. I have used pellet hops for all of my brews thus far. I have a recipe that I am happy with, and I want to switch to ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

How much does heat affect beer?

What effects could heat have on beer and how long does it take? Is it ok to ship beer without an icepack during the summer? Can it survive the heat of a parked car for a few hours? Someone out ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Dry Hop Filtering and bottling

This is my first attempt at dry hopping. I added hop pellets directly into the secondary fermenter. They have been in for 1 week and many have settled to the bottom, however there is quite a bit ...
7
votes
7answers
5k views

Should I shake bottles during conditioning?

I've got a batch of beer which was bottled last Saturday and a friend insisted I should shake them to assist in the conditioning. He couldn't offer any particular reason, so I was curious if/when it ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Refractometer - what exactly can it measure?

I am using a refractometer to determine gravities. I am aware of course that values measured need to be corrected depending on OG of the fermenting batch. What I don't know is, what kind of sugars am ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

Shaking vs not shaking

I'm playing with a yeast starter right now and I've noticed when I shake the mix the yeast gets more active. I'm wondering how this applies to my actual fermentation. So I was thinking I'd let my ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What effect do different types of yeast have when creating a recipe?

What happens when you use different types of yeast? Does it change the flavor? I'm not talking about mixing different types of yeast in the same recipe.
6
votes
3answers
817 views

What is the scientific explanation behind open fermentation leading to increased esters and yeast flavor & aroma?

As a recent experiment, I wanted to try something that was unconventional for most homebrewers, and is widely considered to be clown-crap crazy. I wanted to ferment a beer topless, without a lid. I ...
6
votes
1answer
433 views

Is this a bottle bomb waiting to happen?

Planning a strong & sweet Belgian style ale, I expected OG to be as high as 1.096. Because of my extremely amateur setup, I used two pots instead of one big one for the boil (between them both I ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I raise my mash pH with something other than chalk or baking soda?

I recently moved to Rhode Island and my mash efficiency has suffered. The main part of my process that has changed is the water. The pH as measured by colorpHast strips (and two other off brands) ...
6
votes
2answers
400 views

Is oxidation of yeast starters a concern?

We all know oxidation is bad, and cooling hot wort is particularly susceptible to this off-flavor-producing problem. the question is; does oxidation matter for starters? I use a stirplate to aerate ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What effect does cooling, then warming have on finished beer?

The common wisdom I have known is that cooling, warming, then cooling beer again would cause it to "skunk." I now know that skunky flavors are typically the result of exposure to light, not ...
6
votes
2answers
510 views

Clarification for a low-flocculating yeast

I'm brewing a batch using WY2565 Kolsch which mentions that is low-flocculating and that it "remain in suspension post fermentation. It requires filtration or additional settling time to produce ...
6
votes
4answers
149 views

Jugs for secondary?

I happened upon a bunch of 4L glass wine jugs today while dumpster-diving for beer bottles. The jugs I found have screw-top lids, and I thought they could be useful as secondary fermenters. If I ...
6
votes
2answers
930 views

Strong Sulfur from WLP 351 - how to clear it up quickly?

Does anyone have any tips for helping a beer clear out sulfur faster? - I made a straight Hefe (half wheat, half 2-Row) and use White Labs seasonal "Bavarian Hefe" yeast, WLP351. The beer was made ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Effect of boil size on IBUs

I have the following recipe on beercalculus: http://hopville.com/recipe/551364/belgian-pale-ale-recipes/wedding-belgian-ipa-2011-03-06-version beercalculus (along with most IBU calculators), ask for ...
6
votes
2answers
484 views

What's the shelf life on crushed specialty grains?

What's the shelf life on crushed specialty grains?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Lager bottle conditioning temperature

After adding priming sugar and bottling a lager, does the temperature need to be raised (if so, for how long) to ensure carbonation?
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Amount of Water to Boil for Wort

If I'm making a 5 gallon batch of beer, how much water should I use for my wort? Papazian's book says to use 1.5g and add it to 3.5g of room temperature water already in the carboy. I see how this ...
6
votes
10answers
1k views

Spigots: What's the consensus

I like to use an ale pail with a spigot for my secondary. It makes it super easy to test the gravity before actually bottling/kegging/etc. However, that sort of installation in plastic can open the ...
6
votes
3answers
827 views

Can I use my Country Living Grain Mill for homebrewing?

I already own a Country Living Grain Mill for making flour and want to start crushing my own grain for my homebrew. Will this style of mill work for homebrew or should I buy a mill specially for ...
6
votes
2answers
323 views

I want to make a Rauchbier. How do I go about smoking my grain?

I've never made a Rauchbier before. I have some pear wood that I've been curing for about 5 months now and would like to use. I've got an all-grain setup, but no smoker; I suppose I'll need to get ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Should I always use a starter?

I like using a starter because it seems like it cuts down on the fermentation time, but do I really need to do it for beers that are under 1.070 OG?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What is Chill Haze and How Do I get rid of Chill Haze?

What is Chill Haze?How Do I get rid of Chill Haze?
5
votes
3answers
319 views

How do I start experimenting?

Ok, I've become comfortable brewing all grains but I want to start experimenting. Where do I start? Should I start experimenting at the primary fermentation stage and brew a bunch of small different ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Ice the wort for fast cooling

I have seen mostly two suggestions to cool wort. Ice bath and the coil method. My friend and I were thinking about just using ice. Ie pull the ice from the fridge that uses the same water source as ...
5
votes
2answers
908 views

Degassing wine - how to proceed

Long time brewer, first time vintner here. Working through a winexpert Pinot Grigio kit. Primary and secondary fermentation went off without a hitch. Got to the stabilizing, degassing, and ...
5
votes
2answers
219 views

How to get rid of gas from mead?

I have brewed 5L of mead (1 part honey to 3 parts water). After 9 months I can no longer see any sedimentation in the bottle, however when I taste the mead I can feel it's a little sparkling (besides ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the best way to flavor beer with Oak?

Background: I've purchased some lovely dark roasted oak chips that I plan on soaking in bourbon and using to flavor an Irish Red. Friends of mine who have seasoned their beer on oak chips claim that ...
5
votes
4answers
527 views

Weighing Liquid Malt Extract

In Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff, many of the recipes call for LME. Often, the amount is 0.5 lbs or similar, particularly of things like Munich extract. I typically brew all-grain, but ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

At what stage of the fermentation process is temperature control most important?

I've been using a fridge w/thermostat to control fermentation temperature for ~6 months now & have recently started dual-purposing the fridge for a keg as well. Since serving & fermentation ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it ever unsafe to drink an aged beer?

I am new to brewing, my first batch is in secondary now. This is more of a curiosity question. Is there a point when an aged beer becomes a health risk? If so what are the signs of spoilage?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Starter Chill, Decant, Pitch - Why no problem with Temp Shock?

So an often repeated mantra for starters is to (1) make a starter, (2) let it ferment out completely, (3) chill the starter in the fridge for a day or two, then (4) pour/decant off the oxidized "beer" ...
5
votes
4answers
845 views

Can I top off my batch at bottling time with water?

I noticed my batch in the secondary looks short of 5 gallons, can I top it off with water when I bottle?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What is this white stuff on the surface of my beer?

I've just gone to rack & bottle a witbier that has been in primary for about 5 weeks and noticed this white gunk floating on top of the beer. It doesn't look too healthy, what is it? Is it safe? ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the purpose of dry hopping in intervals (multiple additions)?

What would be the purpose in adding dry hops, then removing them prior to adding a second, even third addition, rather than simply putting all the dry hops in at the same time? If the answer has to ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the white film on my beer in my bottles?

I brewed a double batch of IPA with a buddy about 8 weeks ago. We split this into two 5 gallon pails and 2 weeks later into two carboys. His was fine, but mine developed a bit of white stuff on ...
5
votes
1answer
940 views

What is skunking?

Doing a bit of reading about the effect light can have during fermentation & came across the term 'skunking'. What is skunking? What happens to the beer and how do you know if you've skunked a ...

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