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Homebrew Beer Howto

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  • pcasso wrote: »
    Another update.
    I opened the second bottle that I had added sugar and then yeast to before leaving for a week.
    here has been a good bit of fermenting in the seven days and the carbonation is decent.
    There is little sweetness left so I guess the yeast has used most if not all of the late added sugar.
    So can any conclusions be made as to what my original problem?
    I am thinking an insufficient amount of yeast left in the beer before bottling but why this would be I have no idea.
    Now to decide what to do with the remaining dozen or so bottles.
    I guess re priming with sugar and yeast is the best course of action.

    As I asked another poster last week who seemed to be having similar issues:

    2 Questions in relation to the original bottles:

    1. Did you use any 'stabiliser/finishing' additions after fermentation was done?
    2. What is the pH of the finished beer? If you dont have pH measurement tools, does it taste on the sweet side or on the sour/tart side?

    What conclusions can you draw so far?

    1. It does not appear that your original ingredients were to blame.
    2. You should use a yeast/sugar combination to prime your bottles for now.
    3. Keep good notes/records of your processes.

    As a new test, try and ferment a small batch using enough carbonation drops ( not table sugar) in a plastic drinks bottle (well sanitised) with 250ml of cooled boiled water to make a wort around 1.04 measured with a hydrometer. Oxygenate well and add a pinch of yeast. Observe progress. Keep a record of steps. Measure its final gravity and calculate abv. Why? To test your yeast in conjunction with the carbonation drops. In the meantime, use a yeast and sugar combo in half the other bottles, and check progress of each after a further week.




  • Any advice or tips for the water to use? Was planning on using tap water as it's pretty good but worried about the chlorine so have stuff to counter that. Am I over thinking it?




  • I had some issues with carbonation when I moved house a few years ago, I ended up putting it down to the different water supply.
    If using mains tap water it’s a good idea to fill your bucket with all the water you’ll need the night before and add a campden tablet.




  • Any advice or tips for the water to use? Was planning on using tap water as it's pretty good but worried about the chlorine so have stuff to counter that. Am I over thinking it?

    Yes, the reason beer and wine exists is because of bad water, in times of old you could not store water. If your water has a lot of chemicals fill a fermentation bucket and let it sit overnight and it will evaporate.




  • TomOnBoard wrote: »
    As I asked another poster last week who seemed to be having similar issues:

    2 Questions in relation to the original bottles:

    1. Did you use any 'stabiliser/finishing' additions after fermentation was done?
    2. What is the pH of the finished beer? If you dont have pH measurement tools, does it taste on the sweet side or on the sour/tart side?

    What conclusions can you draw so far?

    1. It does not appear that your original ingredients were to blame.
    2. You should use a yeast/sugar combination to prime your bottles for now.
    3. Keep good notes/records of your processes.

    As a new test, try and ferment a small batch using enough carbonation drops ( not table sugar) in a plastic drinks bottle (well sanitised) with 250ml of cooled boiled water to make a wort around 1.04 measured with a hydrometer. Oxygenate well and add a pinch of yeast. Observe progress. Keep a record of steps. Measure its final gravity and calculate abv. Why? To test your yeast in conjunction with the carbonation drops. In the meantime, use a yeast and sugar combo in half the other bottles, and check progress of each after a further week.
    Thanks again Tom for all your input and advice I really appreciate it.
    Just to clarify I use glucose rather than table sugar for priming.
    I might try and see can I source some carbonation drops for priming my latest batch to see if it improves matters.
    Also I don't use any other additives other than the priming agent once fermentation is over.
    I don't have access to the ph of the finished beer. On taste I would say that all sugars had been used as it didn't taste particularly sweet but neither was it overly sour.
    I am terrible at taking notes an am only a casual ad hoc brewer but I will try to keep things tighter in future and see if that helps.


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  • pcasso wrote: »
    Thanks again Tom for all your input and advice I really appreciate it.
    Just to clarify I use glucose rather than table sugar for priming.
    I might try and see can I source some carbonation drops for priming my latest batch to see if it improves matters.
    Also I don't use any other additives other than the priming agent once fermentation is over.
    I don't have access to the ph of the finished beer. On taste I would say that all sugars had been used as it didn't taste particularly sweet but neither was it overly sour.
    I am terrible at taking notes an am only a casual ad hoc brewer but I will try to keep things tighter in future and see if that helps.

    Apologies, Pablo. I thought you were using carb drops. If you were using Glucose, and were putting enough in, the yeast shudda munched its way through it in a flash! I'd refine the conclusions and say that not enough viable yeasts are getting into the earlier bottles.

    Get yerself some pH strips at least. Get ones designed for brewing ranges of pH between 4ish and 7 ish. They're cheap as chips. They're like an oil pressure gauge in a car- useful if/when things are out of whack.


    Ya gotta take the notes, Man! Otherwise, you're not really going to learn from the process, and won't be able to troubleshoot on the one hand, nor repeat the magical awesome batch on the other.. A couple of lines in a small diary for each brew is all it takes..




  • Bogwoppit wrote: »
    I had some issues with carbonation when I moved house a few years ago, I ended up putting it down to the different water supply.
    If using mains tap water it’s a good idea to fill your bucket with all the water you’ll need the night before and add a campden tablet.

    +1.

    If yer tap produces muck, you'll pick up 5litre bottles of reasonably well-balanced, un-chlorinated water in Tesco/SuperValu/Lidl for around €1.30 each. That's adding a fiver onto a normal brew for repeatably reliable water. And the empties are great for decanting/temporary storage, as a good squeeze expels all air. I use them all the time for wine storage- basically the same principle as wine in a box!!




  • Quick question........do some kits come with the sugars already contained in the wort?

    I made a brew recently and bottled it about two weeks ago. At the time, I cleaned out the fermentation bucket and decided, feck it, I'll do another one straight away sure. So I sterilised everything again and started another batch. I've never gone the all-grain method and use kits, and this is my first time using one of these kits: Gozdawa Dunkel Hefewuizen

    The 2nd batch has been on the go now for maybe 10-12 days, roughly. The brew has been the quietest I've ever done, with very little bubbling in the airlock and also very little smell of fermenting beer in the room. I thought it might have been the heating belt but that's fine and we've had the best weather in a decade this past while, so that shouldn't be an issue hopefully. I went back over the method I used and was looking for the instructions that came with the kit when it hit me like a bolt of lightning out of the blue that I never put any sugar into the fermentation bucket.

    I've re-checked the instructions and there is NO mention of adding sugar before bottling stage. When I searched online, I found this review: https://www.nationalhomebrewclub.ie/forum/index.php?topic=10036.0 and there's no mention of sugar in this one either. However, when making this post, I looked up the kit to link the brew2bottle site above and noticed the following: "Please note an additional 2% ABV can be achieved with the addition of an extra 1kg of Brewing Sugar but fermentation period will be extended by 4-5 day"

    So, my first question is this already has a certain amount of sugar in it already, or else there'd be no point to the whole thing, yes? The S.G. started at 1.043 and is currently at 1.010, giving me a % ABV of 4.33% so obviously there's been some fermentation. My second question is, I presume there's no harm in adding the sugar now at this late stage and giving it another 4 days or so to finish it off?.....i.e..there's no such thing as leaving it ferment too long, is there?





  • I missed this post in the site switchover so apologies for the late reply.

    The wort you get in a kit is basically all sugar. Some kits (the <2kg ones) expect you to top that up with sugar of your own, and some, like this one, supply all the sugar you need. If there's two cans, you don't need any extra fermentables until you're bottling. This one sounds like it went off perfectly: as always, bubbles and smells are not useful sources of information but the gravity is.

    In general, more time will get you a better beer and you should absolutely ensure that the gravity has stopped moving before bottling. I wouldn't be in favour of adding more sugar to boost the strength late in the fermentation process as you lose the control you had with your gravity readings, but you can do it: again just make sure that fermentation is finished before bottling. Good luck trying to calculate the final ABV though.

    As regards an upper limit on fermentation time, I would say five or six weeks is where you start running the risk of oxidation and autolysis, and need to get the beer bottled.



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