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Buying, building and using brewing equipment and apparatus. Product reviews and questions.

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Hi Everyone

Postby Liquid Blur » Sat Jul 20, 2002 1:49 pm

Hi, I'm new to home brewing. I've been looking on the internet at some starter kits. I've seen a kit at www.hoptech.com that looks good. The only real difference from others is that instead of a carboy they include two foodgrade buckets. One which is bored with an airlock. I was just wondering what differences there might be in using the bucket instead of the carboy. I thought it might be better since the bucket isn't made out of glass and won't break as easily. But as I said before my knowledge of homebrewing is limited. So any comments or input would be helpful. Also if you have any tips for a newbie like me, The would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
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Fermenter Buckets

Postby andytv » Sun Jul 21, 2002 2:22 am

Hello Liquid Blur, I'm glad to see that you have found the best homebrew resource on the web! The folks here are always very helpful, and have helped me advance from 5 gallon extrcat batchs to 10gallon all-grain. To answer your question, in my opinion, you are best off with a bucket and a carboy. The bucket is nice for primary fermentation, and is easier to clean than a carboy. The carboy is best for "secondary" fermentation when it is best that the material is not oxygen permeable. They are a little harder to clean, but most of the crap is left behind in the primary fermentor anyway. I'm sure someone offers a kit w/ both. Try some of my favorite sites; www.homebrew.com, www.stpats.com. Buy the best kit you can afford. Chances are you will start upgrading once you get hooked.

Oh yeah... carboys do break!! I had an unfortunate incident with a carboy next to another and a dog with a very large wagging tail. I'm still finding glass slivers in my feet so be careful.

Good brewing!
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Primary Bucket Tip....

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sun Jul 21, 2002 6:26 am

Plastic primaries are fine fermenters, but require special care. They should never be cleaned with anything more abrasive than a sponge. Otherwise, you will create scratches that organic matter will settle in, making cleaning them completely next to impossible. Since this organic matter will not be sufficiently exposed to cleaning and sanitization proceedures, it will become a feeding ground for wort spoilers. If you find that you cannot sufficiently clean your bucket with a sponge, it means it is time to toss it and get a new one.

The most gentle, effective method of cleaning plastic primaries:

1) Soak overnight filled with TSP, PBW or even dishwashing detergent, but ONLY if it does not contain rinse aids (will kill heading).

2) Rinse with COLD water. Hot water actually makes it harder to remove some matter.

3) Sponge the interior with a fresh cleaning solution that is the same as that you used to soak with.

4) Rinse well with cold water.

5) Sanitize with bleach, idophor or Oxine (chlorine dioxide, ClO2). Always use water that is less than 77 degrees to make your solutions with. Try to use a no-rinse concentration if at all possible.

The idophor and ClO2 are better agents, but each has it's disavantages:

Bleach can damage your clothes, but ClO2 and idophor (it's what they use to show stain removal ability in those OxyClean infomercials that looks like it would stain, but comes out immediately !) won't damage clothes.

Bleach takes a 20 minute or greater contact time for peak effectiveness, ClO2 takes 1.5 minutes, idophor takes 3.

Bleach is cheap and readily available whereas idophor (2X $) and ClO2 (3X $) are not.

Bleach must be completely rinsed to eliminate flavor problems which can lead to re-contamination, ClO2 and Idophor are no-rinse if used in the proper concentration.

Bleach and idophor break down rather quickly and therefore lose the ability to keep equipment sanitary during storage. As long as the vessel is sealed, ClO2 can do so for up to 4 months and will not corrode stainless steel.

The sulfite group of sanitizers work, but they take longer contact times, must be used in higher concentrations and are more difficult to rinse. Therefore, they have a greater chance of flavoring the beer, which can impart a taste like iron or sulfur. The rinsing proceedure, like with bleach, can re-contaminate the equipment. There is also a significant number of people who are highly sensitive to sulphites (asthmatics, particularly) and can be harmed if they are not rinsed sufficiently. The government requires wine makers to list sulfites on the front and back label if they are used due to this potential.

The best way to store equipment is to keep it dry. Don't fully cover the equipment so as to allow air circulation in and around it. Moisture is what always starts the growth of contaminators when a food source is around. So, as long as the stored equipment was cleaned well and kept dry, then soak cleaned the night before, rinsed, sponge cleaned, rinsed and sanitized on brew day, you should have excellent results and will have maximized the equipment's useful life.

Eric
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Thankyou!!!

Postby Liquid Blur » Sun Jul 21, 2002 6:44 am

Ok, Thanks so much for the information. But I do have one other question that was brought up after reading your posts. I haven't heard much on websites about primary and secondary fermentation. I was under the impression that after you had pitched the yeast and given the proper amount of time for fermentation that you were done fermenting. Although I've read about adding corn surgar to add carbination and help with whatever surgars the yeast hasn't eaten. (<---is that what you mean by secondary fermentation?) Again, thankyou for you comments and tips. They are greatly appreciated.
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Book

Postby Freon12 » Sun Jul 21, 2002 6:58 am

My starting kit came with a beginning book by Papazian. I think that book was the key to my advancement to a (more)drinkable brew. I bought the kit at www.morebeer.com. After about 50 batches, the system can make the same beer over again, and that's what you want.

S.
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Secondary fermentation....

Postby Mesa Maltworks » Sun Jul 21, 2002 7:47 am

This term is actually a mis-nomer in this case. Actually, transferring from the first vessel to the second is while the beer is still fermenting, albeit slowly. The idea of this practice is to remove the mostly fermented beer from the trub (hop + proteins + yeast) that has accumulated at the bottom. This ensures that the beer will ot pick up off flavors or be contaminated by it as it is a food source for bacteria, wild yeast and mold, not brewers yeast.

The secondary vessel will receive the beer with the most viable yeast in suspension which will finish the consumption of the sugars and settle out (if the strain is supposed to settle out). If you plan to re-harvest yeast, this is where to do it, not in the primary.

True secondary fermentation actually refers to fermentation that takes place after the beer is fermented to it's target specific gravity (called teritary gravity). This fermentation is induced by adding a sugar source to the brew with the intent of producing natural carbonation. This addition can take the form of actively fermenting wort (krausen),unfermented wort (gyle)or sugars such as molasses, dextrose (corn sugar), sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), honey... etc...

Eric
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Again, Thankyou!

Postby Liquid Blur » Sun Jul 21, 2002 8:16 am

Thanks for the info. If anyone would be interested I'll post another thread about how my first brew comes out. That will be in about two months. As of now I'm unfortunatley in !@#$ Saudi Arabia!!! In the mean time I'll keep posting questions and what not. Thankyou all for you help.
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Another book

Postby mickeymac » Sun Jul 21, 2002 7:21 pm

John Palmer's book How to Brew has a good discussion on the merits of secondary fermenation. It's free on the internet: http://www.howtobrew.com However, it's good enough that you'll probably want to pick up a hard copy and help him earn a little dough.
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second that and...

Postby stumpwater » Wed Jul 24, 2002 1:05 pm

I read the book by John Palmer as well as a 4 other books on brewing. When I had a question I used google search on the web and I filtered through the pages of results. I found this discussion forum and that helped heaps too. I found that the best progress to my brewing came from my mistakes. Everytime I had a problem I turned to this forum and received such amazing support and information, that it was definitely my mistake making that adjusted my learning curve. Oh, by the way, I learned to live by an axiom that I think was spawned on this forum. " We drink our mistakes"
Good luck homebrewing!
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FYI on primary bucket

Postby stumpwater » Wed Jul 24, 2002 1:14 pm

I used a pumpable racking cane to transfer the beer from my primary to the secondary fermenting vessel. After breaking the neck on two of these babies I drilled a hole about an inch off the bottom of my plastic primary and inserted a plastic tap. This also saves me having to thoroughly disinfect the cane, something I consider to be a pain in the butt. Life became much better after the tap. (Funny how I can say that about every step of the brewing process. Life is better with a tap on my boil bucket, on my primary fermenter, and on my kegs. Now all I need is a tap system for the secondary fermenter or better yet, a conical fermenter. Yah baby it's all about the stuff!)

Cheers!
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