1 Posted: Monday, January 09, 2017 9:25 PM


Hey guys
so got a brew kit from a group of friends for my 30th.

Chucked in the “coopers pale ale” yesterday with the help of a mate who does his own.
The brew is cooking in the laundry and the average temp atm is around 25oC (melbourne). He reckons his brews are around that and take 7-14 days (checking it after 7 days). Then bottle and leave for 4-6 weeks before drinking.
He also “bulk primes” with Dextrose (for memory) rather than using the drops. He uses 300g of dextrose in about 1-2ltrs of water then transfers between Kegs and then bottles (plastic bottles) from there. Ive had his beer and it all seems good so far, if a little bubbly (more than standard beer)
Ive posted this on the Whirlpool forums too but someone suggested her too.

Im worried that the brew might be too hot (average 25-27oC) but my mate is saying as long as it stays under 30oC it will be ok. I am trying to bring down the temp over night but its quite warm still in melbourne (well in my place it is)
Im also concerned about the amount of dextrose he is using when bulk priming, but il have to double check.

For a 23ltr brew…how much dextrose should i use (740ml bottles) when bottling. Ive worked it out to roughly 160-220 grams vs his 300.

I dont want to piss off my mate and not taking his advice, but still want good beer and not to waste it, but everything i seem to read tells a different story to how his is done.

Help!

2 Posted: Monday, January 09, 2017 10:22 PM

I think 25 will be fine.
300gm seems like way too much sugar.

3 Posted: Monday, January 09, 2017 10:57 PM

I'll second that. 300g is more than double the amount for a 23l batch

4 Posted: Monday, January 09, 2017 11:18 PM

Most people will tell you that 18-20C is best for ale yeasts and much lower for lager yeast. The fermentation temperature will affect the flavour, especially around the start of the fermentation. Higher temperatures at the end will have less effect. As for the APA kit yeast most people recommend 18C as it's a mix of ale and lager yeasts. higher temps will likely get fruitier flavours, phenolic flavours and high amounts of fusel alcohols that will taste hot and give you headaches the hotter it gets. My experience says high temperature ferments taste weird and are the reason for the “homebrew taste”.


As for priming 300g seems a bit high. 8g/L (what the coopers pale ale recipe says on the coopers website) with 23L of beer + 2L water would make it 200g but it's unlikely that you'll have 23L after SG tests so 22L + 2L would be 192g.

5 Posted: Monday, January 09, 2017 11:46 PM

If you want the best out of your brewing, second to proper cleaning and sanitation temp control is one of the biggest things you need to do and do well. Your instinct about it being too warm is right and as has been mentioned already, 18-20C is the optimum temp for most ales. For the yeast in that kit, 17-18C works well, but if the temperature is kept stable you probably won't notice any difference if it fermented at say, 19 or 20.

300g dextrose is way over the top for priming a standard 23L batch and your own calculations are closer to the mark. I'd start off with 160g and see how that goes. It won't be undercarbonated, and if it is a bit over carbonated, it won't be anything major like breaking bottles or anything.

In summary, first off keep your ales at 18-20C as best you can. Despite what your mate does, mid-high 20s won't produce the best outcome; in some cases it produces bloody awful outcomes. A fridge plugged into an external temp controller is the easiest and best way to control the ferment temp, space and budget permitting of course. There are some other more primitive methods that also work reasonably well. And secondly don't prime with 300g dextrose unless you're making a 40 litre batch or something. Maybe your mate likes his beers fizzier than Coca Cola but it is excessive. 150-180g is more where you need to be. OH, and you only need about 300mL of water to dissolve this, not 1 or 2 litres.

Cheers and good brewing.

Kelsey

6 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 6:57 AM

thanks guys for all the info
yeah a fridge would be nice but space and budget are not up to that.

How long can i leave it before trying to cool it down more?
Brew was started at about 6pm Sunday.

The foam has died down from what it was last night…but i did open the lid to just make sure it was down properly and to try fit the clips on.
I did manage to drop a degree…so i wonder whether that has helped.

7 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:39 AM

So all the advice you've got here is pretty much exactly what we said on Whirlpool. Who'da thunk it?

If the foam/krausen is dropping, then most of the fermentation is complete and cooling it now will be pointless - and possibly even worse than doing nothing; the yeast might decides it doesn't like the temperature change and go to sleep before finishing up. So just leave it for now, consider this a learning experience, and be better prepared next time. There are a huge amount of newbie resources out there that you can read before your next batch, and you can try and work out a solution to bring temps down.

With respect to the carbonation, I would recommend keeping it simple for your first couple of batches…… at $4 a bag, just buy the drops!

8 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 9:01 AM

Beefy:

So all the advice you've got here is pretty much exactly what we said on Whirlpool. Who'da thunk it?!


someone mentioned checking out the forums here so i did.

So with the fermination stopping…should i test it now or leave it until sunday? (the full week)

9 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 9:59 AM

Just leave it until at least Sunday. I knows it's hard to wait but it's not done yet
Even 1 week is cutting it fine but if you're going to be drinking them quick then it matters less because they'll carb up quick (due to fermentation likely incomplete that is..) you might note beer fully carbed after just 3 days or so, in which case the beer will be overcarbed in 2 weeks time let alone 6 so fridge em' and get them down the hatch! Refrigerating halts yeast activity rendering them temporarily dormant (type and temp dependand ofcourse)

Just because a wort does not appear to be fermenting doesn't mean a thing. This includes airlock (or lack thereof) activity

10 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:14 AM

God only know why you'd dilute beer with a litre or two of sugary water, it makes no sense to me at all. Like Otto says, use about half of what your mate is using (white sugar is OK too) in 300ml of boiled water, gently mix that in the beer without oxygenating the beer or stirring up the trub on the bottom of the FV.

11 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:18 AM

MarkC:

God only know why you'd dilute beer with a litre or two of sugary water, it makes no sense to me at all. Like Otto says, use about half of what your mate is using (white sugar is OK too) in 300ml of boiled water, gently mix that in the beer without oxygenating the beer or stirring up the trub on the bottom of the FV.


He sounds like a really bad influence to be honest.
Maybe it's time to say goodbye?


Speaking of oxygenation, I have some ciders going, I gave them a few shakes in the first couple of days, thinking it's a great idea to keep that yeast suspended.

I've made a terrible error haven't I?

12 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:19 AM

I'd be surprised if the brew wasn't finished fermenting in a week in temperatures in the mid 20s. Although I pitch more yeast, my ales are pretty well always at FG in 5 days, and that's at 18C raised to 21 after 3-4 days.

Actually, working fridges can be picked up pretty cheaply or even free on sites like Gumtree, and temp controllers are pretty cheap but if space is unavailable then fair point. Unfortunate though. There are other ways, however. I would agree with not dropping the temp now, it's something that needs to be done at the beginning. Most of the flavours that the yeast contribute are done during the lag phase after pitching the yeast and initial couple of days of fermentation, so dropping the temp now won't really do anything.

I would suggest checking it on Thursday and Saturday. If these two readings are the same and in the expected range for the FG then it is finished, and you could bottle it on Sunday. What did you add to the kit (BE1, BE2, dex, dry malt etc.)?

13 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:21 AM

Otto Von Blotto:

I'd be surprised if the brew wasn't finished fermenting in a week in temperatures in the mid 20s. Although I pitch more yeast, my ales are pretty well always at FG in 5 days, and that's at 18C raised to 21 after 3-4 days.

Actually, working fridges can be picked up pretty cheaply or even free on sites like Gumtree, and temp controllers are pretty cheap but if space is unavailable then fair point. Unfortunate though. There are other ways, however. I would agree with not dropping the temp now, it's something that needs to be done at the beginning. Most of the flavours that the yeast contribute are done during the lag phase after pitching the yeast and initial couple of days of fermentation, so dropping the temp now won't really do anything.

I would suggest checking it on Thursday and Saturday. If these two readings are the same and in the expected range for the FG then it is finished, and you could bottle it on Sunday. What did you add to the kit (BE1, BE2, dex, dry malt etc.)?


I've considered picking up a non working fridge, just keep ice bricks in there, it seems like a hassle though.

14 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:32 AM

the kit was
-pale ale can
- brew enhancer 2
- yeast

order done

Brew enhancer in
hot water 2 ltrs or so
heat up can of pale ale mix
put in can
put in 23ltrs water
stir and add yeast

Then the plan was to leave it until next saturday (21st) and bulk prime into another FV (that my mate has)
bottle
let sit for 6 weeks
enjoy

that was the plan. He has done quite a few brews with his neighbour who sources all his dry ingredients and they brew and bottle it all together. Having several brews going at once.
Il talk to him tonight and see what he thinks. Im not sure if he has brewed in the heat or not, so it maybe different for him.

15 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:44 AM

Cool, with those ingredients I'd probably expect an FG around 1.010-12, give or take a couple of points. Check your hydrometer in 20C water to see if it reads 1.000, if it reads higher or lower you'll have to compensate. For instance, mine reads 0.998 in 20C water so I have to add .002 to every reading I take.

Beers for the most part benefit from not being bottled as soon as they are finished fermenting. The yeast are still doing things such as cleaning up any off flavours and such like, and this happens much quicker in a larger volume. Being your first batch though, I can appreciate possible impatience so for this batch don't worry too much; for future batches though, if you leave it sit there in the fermenter for a few days to a week after it reaches FG, the beer will be much better for it. Mind you if you are planning to leave it six weeks then patience doesn't sound like a problem.. maybe leave it sit in the FV for another week.

As for using a non working fridge with ice bricks, yeah, it is a PITA. I have never done it but I have used the method in a laundry tub full of water. That malarkey lasted about 2 batches before I got sick of constantly changing frozen water bottles in and out, and I began using the fridge and I've never looked back.

Cheers

Kelsey

16 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 10:49 AM

I'm sick of it already and I haven't even done it.
Hahaha!

17 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:43 PM

cheers kelsey…wealth of knowledge

Its not impaitence for the beer…its more just getting it right and having the conflicting opinions makes me worry about it.
so resting it wont matter anyway. Cool.

Ive been looking into the temp controllers…but curious how they work? do you just plug the fridge into the controller and then the controller into the wall. Im assuming there is a probe or similar that sits in the fridge to monitor the temps? Is this something that could be used on any type of fridge. Seems like a good way to do it…i might have to make it fit!

18 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 12:57 PM

RepSpec:

cheers kelsey…wealth of knowledge

Its not impaitence for the beer…its more just getting it right and having the conflicting opinions makes me worry about it.
so resting it wont matter anyway. Cool.

Ive been looking into the temp controllers…but curious how they work? do you just plug the fridge into the controller and then the controller into the wall. Im assuming there is a probe or similar that sits in the fridge to monitor the temps? Is this something that could be used on any type of fridge. Seems like a good way to do it…i might have to make it fit!

Yeah, it can be an issue with homebrewing when you have the recommended processes to produce the best outcome and then others come along with anecdotes about how their beers are fine not doing that. The problem is that taste is subjective. Something fermented at 28C might taste fine to some people but to most of us it's like cat piss.

That's pretty much how the controllers work, yeah. They basically act like a computerised version of someone standing at the wall flicking the power on and off. As such, there is no need for any fridge mods. I stick the temp probe to the side of my fermenter about half way up, underneath a thickish layer of packing foam so it is insulated from the ambient air. This way it more accurately measures the temp of the brew itself, which is what we're aiming to control. The desired ferment temp is set, as is the hysteresis, usually to 0.3C. For an ale the ferment temp is usually 18C, so what happens is the controller turns the fridge on, and when the brew temp hits 18C, it turns the fridge off. When it rises to 18.3C, the fridge is turned on again until it drops back to 18C, and so on. 0.3C sounds like it would result in the fridge constantly turning on and off very quickly, but it doesn't because the brew takes a fair amount of time to heat up. It probably comes on about 4-5 times an hour for a few minutes at a time.

Cheers

Kelsey

19 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 1:04 PM

Just to clarify, I was only trying to make him feel better by telling him I think his batch will be fine, fermentation was obviously already underway at around 25.

A couple of mine went beyond that, they were ok, but not as good as they could be, I'm sure.

I'm not experienced enough to make such recommendations.

20 Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 2:34 PM

I wasn't referring to you mate, all good . Sometimes you get these “Well I've been doing a draught tin and a kilo of sugar fermented at 30 degrees and bottled after 6 days for 40 years and it's always turned out well” types… I generally figure they have no taste buds left because that would taste like absolute arse.

You can get away with higher than recommended temps if it is kept stable, to a point anyway, and the Coopers dry ale yeast seems more tolerant of it than other strains. A brew fermented at 25C might not be as good as a brew fermented lower, but it shouldn't be undrinkable crap either. But if you can, it's always better to ferment at the optimum temperature for best results.

IN a couple of hours I'm gonna throw my XXXX Bitter rip off batch into the FV, run O2 through the wort, pitch the yeast and stick it in the fridge at 12C for the first 5-6 days.

Cheers

Kelsey