1 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:12 AM

Howdy All. New brewer here. Have been reading up everything I can on here and learning from all of your successes (and failures).

So far I have successfully brewed a Blackrock American Pale Ale kit (which turned out surprisingly tasty) and have a batch of Neill's Centenarillo in the fermenter. Planning to get a Toucan stout on the go as soon as that is bottled up. I just have a few questions I am hoping to get some experienced views on! Thanks in advance.

1. As the weather is warming up my Centenarillo is fluctuating between 18 and 20c in my spare room. Will the time at 20c have enough of an adverse effect that I should try and move it somewhere cooler?

2. Cold crashing - I have read a lot on this, but am confused. Can I simply chuck my FV in the fridge for a few days once gravity is stable? Can you go too cold for crashing?

3. Having spent very spare moment reading about homebrewing for the last few weeks, I want all the gear, but also don't want to spend too much money. If you could go back in time and advise beginner brewer you, what would you recommend as the best early investments for a new brewer? I need another FV for bulk priming and would ultimately like a bigger brew pot for bigger extract boils but interested in advice. Considering a fermentasaurus but not sure I will make enough use of the added features.

4. Fermenting fridge - I have a split fridge freezer in the garage which I currently use as a beer fridge. If I hook this up as a brew fridge, does the freezer become useless? How hard is it to rig the fridge up for this purpose?

5. Any tips for styles/recipes to brew in the warmer months for someone with no brew fridge? I see the fruit salad is recommended to ferment a bit higher than other ales, bit might be a bit similar to what I've done already.

2 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 2:20 PM

Hi Beerinberra. Welcome to the forum.

I can tell from your questions that you have been doing a lot of reading. That's good.

1.) Those temps are good. 20C is not too warm.

2.) Cold crashing is optional. Yes, you can put it in your fridge, although a few days is on the short side and might not be that effective. Try at least a week. It is possible to freeze a beer, but that won't happen at 0C because of the alcohol. It should be safe in a fridge.

3.) An Inkbird thermo-controller and brew fridge are the top recommendations from me. If you buy a brew pot, consider one big enough so you can still use if you go all grain down the road. BTW, what are you using to heat your brew pot? Can it boil a bigger volume?

4.) Don't know.

5.) Some folks brew Saisons in the summer, if they don't have a brew fridge. Personally I don't like them.

Cheers,

Christina.




3 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 2:40 PM

1. What Christina said. That small fluctuation won't cause any issues unless you're a beer judge or something and can pick up on the tiniest things.

2. Yep that's all you do, I'd go a week as well. Too cold can be achieved but it has to be below 0C, as Christina said the beer won't freeze at this temp due to the alcohol content. I have managed to turn one batch into a giant slush puppie.

3. I'd go a brew fridge first, then another bucket for bulk priming (you can just get these from Bunnings), temp control is more important than doing larger boils or having fancy fermenters.

4. For freezing, yes. You don't have to do anything to the fridge to use it as a brew fridge except plug it into an external temperature controller such as the Inkbird suggested or the STC-1000. These units just turn the power to the fridge on and off to maintain temp, rather than interfere with the thermostat or compressor.

5. Again, what Christina said. Saisons, or possibly wheat beers or Belgian ales. They're quite funky flavored beers though, which may not be to your tastes. I'd recommend trying some commercial examples first before brewing 20 odd litres of it.

Cheers

Kelsey

4 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 3:49 PM

Thanks for the great answers!

Christina I have indeed been reading a lot. My only frustration so far is that there is so much I want to try to do but am limited in how many batches I can do.

In terms of what I am using to heat my brew pot it is just my gas stovetop at the moment and I have just been using the biggest pot I have, which is around 11 litres. It's a decent stovetop but would struggle if I went too big. I would love to get into biab and considered grabbing a crown urn or hinting to family that it would be a great Xmas gift, but I have my second son due for arrival late next month so am not sure I will have the time to set aside for all grain brew days. One day though!

My tastes are fairly eclectic and I have drank a lot of different beers. I tend to subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as a bad beer, it just might be that you're not in the mood for it at that moment. There have only really been two beers I have really hated.

My partner did request a wheat beer for once she can drink again so that may be a project over my pat leave period.

5 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:29 PM

You're asking all the right questions!

Definitely the brew fridge for fermenting is the number 1 thing I would recommend. I made a bunch of beers before I got one and they were all average to shit, and since then I haven't made one I really didn't like. Also refrigerating yeast that you're not ready to use, sounds dumb but I didn't pick up on that one for a while.

And I agree there's no such thing as a bad beer! Only issues I've had is with a milk stout I didn't love and which gives me indigestion, and the Caribbean Porter recipe from Coopers, really nice drop but it's hard going and definitely NOT sessionable.

Paul

6 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 4:52 PM

Not much to add here.

You're off to a flying start and all the info here is good.

Your palate will develop with each batch and you will learn what your tolerances are, if you can manage to keep your batches 18-20 then you're golden.

7 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 5:35 PM

Beerinberra:

Thanks for the great answers!


My tastes are fairly eclectic and I have drank a lot of different beers. I tend to subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as a bad beer, it just might be that you're not in the mood for it at that moment. There have only really been two beers I have really hated.

My partner did request a wheat beer for once she can drink again so that may be a project over my pat leave period.



So never tried Tun Or West end?
I reckon there are some seriously bad commercial beers out there.

8 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 6:46 PM

Gag Halfrunt:

Beerinberra:

Thanks for the great answers!


My tastes are fairly eclectic and I have drank a lot of different beers. I tend to subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as a bad beer, it just might be that you're not in the mood for it at that moment. There have only really been two beers I have really hated.

My partner did request a wheat beer for once she can drink again so that may be a project over my pat leave period.



So never tried Tun Or West end?
I reckon there are some seriously bad commercial beers out there.


Definitely plenty of swill out there. But I reckon if you ran a marathon and were presented with some ice cold swill, it'd go down a treat. I generally find the bad commercial stuff to be more inoffensive than outright terrible though. That said, I do shop for beer like a beer snob.

9 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 9:54 PM

Beerinberra:

In terms of what I am using to heat my brew pot it is just my gas stovetop at the moment and I have just been using the biggest pot I have, which is around 11 litres. It's a decent stovetop but would struggle if I went too big. I would love to get into biab and considered grabbing a crown urn or hinting to family that it would be a great Xmas gift, but I have my second son due for arrival late next month so am not sure I will have the time to set aside for all grain brew days. One day though!


What with a second child on the way, you won't be moving to all grain for a while; you won't have time! IIRC some of the fellas say it takes six hours to brew an all grain batch. I'd stick with your current pot and stove top for now.

Kits are the fastest way to knock out a brew. Yeast are very important and account for 40-60% of the flavour of beer (or so I have read), so having the yeast side of things down pat before you go all grain will help you. While you are time poor you can learn about pitching rates, making starters, re-pitching slurry, using liquid yeast etc. You can also learn about sanitation, controlling fermentation, and recipe formulation, using an APA or Lager kit as your base.

It is a adventure.

Cheers,

Christina.

10 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:29 PM

ChristinaS1:

Beerinberra:

In terms of what I am using to heat my brew pot it is just my gas stovetop at the moment and I have just been using the biggest pot I have, which is around 11 litres. It's a decent stovetop but would struggle if I went too big. I would love to get into biab and considered grabbing a crown urn or hinting to family that it would be a great Xmas gift, but I have my second son due for arrival late next month so am not sure I will have the time to set aside for all grain brew days. One day though!


What with a second child on the way, you won't be moving to all grain for a while; you won't have time! IIRC some of the fellas say it takes six hours to brew an all grain batch. I'd stick with your current pot and stove top for now.

Kits are the fastest way to knock out a brew. Yeast are very important and account for 40-60% of the flavour of beer (or so I have read), so having the yeast side of things down pat before you go all grain will help you. While you are time poor you can learn about pitching rates, making starters, re-pitching slurry, using liquid yeast etc. You can also learn about sanitation, controlling fermentation, and recipe formulation, using an APA or Lager kit as your base.

It is a adventure.

Cheers,

Christina.


Thanks Christina. Yes, I will stick with kits and bits and extracts for the moment.

Been browsing online for temp controllers since your earlier response. Which ink bird do you use? Also, stupid question, do I get the 230v or 240v versions, seem to be both floating around the net…

11 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:56 PM

I have both Inkbirds. I got the one I had to wire first, and the pre-wired one later, when it became available. I had never wired anything before and found it stressful, and since I didn't already own any of the equipment needed, it wasn't that cheap. The pre-wired one is what I recommend. It is worth the little bit extra you pay for it, IMHO.

I don't live in Australia, so can't advise you about 230 vs 240. My gut tells me there isn't much difference, and they may even be the same, but I stand to be corrected.

I have been thinking more about your question regarding the freezer side of your fridge. I don't think it would work well as a freezer because you will have the Inkbird probe stuck to the side of your fermenter on the fridge side. The Inkbird will cut the power to the whole unit off when the fridge side gets too cold.

Cheers,

Christina.

12 Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 11:57 PM

ChristinaS1:

I have both Inkbirds. I got the one I had to wire first, and the pre-wired one later, when it became available. I had never wired anything before and found it stressful, and since I didn't already own any of the equipment needed, it wasn't that cheap. The pre-wired one is what I recommend. It is worth the little bit extra you pay for it, IMHO.

I don't live in Australia, so can't advise you about 230 vs 240. My gut tells me there isn't much difference, and they may even be the same, but I stand to be corrected.

I have been thinking more about your question regarding the freezer side of your fridge. I don't think it would work well as a freezer because you will have the Inkbird probe stuck to the side of your fermenter on the fridge side. The Inkbird will cut the power to the whole unit off when the fridge side gets too cold.

Cheers,

Christina.


Yeah that sorta clicked for me this afternoon regarding the freezer. Just need to clear out the leftovers in there!

Read some concerns about certification (or whatever it is) for the ink birds so may go for the more expensive keg King controller. I'm sure it's fine (and maybe the keg king one is no better) but I'm a bit paranoid about electrical stuff since having a house fire due to some dodgy electricals when I was a teen.

13 Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 12:39 AM

Over my Ink Bird hesitation and ordered one tonight!

Also, follow up question - is cold crashing purely for clarity purposes. I'm honestly not averse to some haze as long as it doesn't affect the taste and my first batch seemed pretty clear (pic here for anyone interested - https://www.instagram.com/p/BaLoxbaADQJ/?taken-by=beerinberra).

14 Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 2:33 AM

Nice looking brew. Congrats!

I think you will be happy with the Inkbird.

In terms of ales? I think cold crashing is mostly for reducing chill haze, but if you have dry hopped commando style, it can also help the hop matter settle.

I don't usually bother cold crashing unless I have dry hopped, but then again I like to drink my beer on the warm side, so I never have chill haze.

Cheers,

Christina.

15 Posted: Saturday, October 14, 2017 9:03 AM

Beerinberra:

Read some concerns about certification (or whatever it is) for the ink birds so may go for the more expensive keg King controller. I'm sure it's fine (and maybe the keg king one is no better) but I'm a bit paranoid about electrical stuff since having a house fire due to some dodgy electricals when I was a teen.


Woah - These things aren't certified :| - Are any certified??

16 Posted: Monday, October 16, 2017 1:22 PM

230/240V is practically the same thing. Most appliances have a 220-240V label on them here.

The units may not be certified but that doesn't automatically mean they're gonna blow up and start a fire either. You can always have them tested yourself at one of those test and tag mobs anyway.

17 Posted: Monday, October 16, 2017 5:58 PM

Otto Von Blotto:

230/240V is practically the same thing. Most appliances have a 220-240V label on them here.

The units may not be certified but that doesn't automatically mean they're gonna blow up and start a fire either. You can always have them tested yourself at one of those test and tag mobs anyway.


Yeah, I got over my hesitancy after chatting to an electrician mate. Ink Bird is on it's way and will hopefully be in place for my third batch (a stout).

18 Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 8:15 PM

Ink bird arrived today. But won't use it for a couple of weeks. Got a tonne of leftovers to eat from that freezer first and bottle up my current batch that's in the FV. Probably bottle this weekend and then chuck on a toucan stout the following weekend.

19 Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 8:19 PM

I have the plug and play inkbird controller and it works great.

Cheers

JP

Last edited by ImaginativeName (Tuesday, October 17, 2017 8:19 PM)