"noob" questions

Brewing processes and methods. How to brew using extract, partial or all-grain. Tips and tricks.

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"noob" questions

Postby sarge » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:28 pm

Okay, a couple "noob" questions:

1. Brew #1 (a Christmas Ale using Amber extract) has been aging 8 days now, is this long enough? I need the glass carboy for brew #2.

2. Is 66-69 degress good for fermentation/aging? The closet I am using is constantly 66-69.

3. Brew #2 (a brown ale using light extract) was brewed on Saturday. By Sunday the airlock was bubbling to beat the band. Now it has stopped. Shouldn't it have bubbled longer? Can I assume it's done already? Do I let it go longer?

4. One person told me it's better to use a glass carboy instead of plastic. Another person told me using a plastic fermenter is better because it lets in less light. Thoughts?
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Postby slothrob » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:45 pm

1. 8 days would be very early to bottle for almost any beer. At best you would risk off flavors, at worst, bottle bombs. If you are moving the beer to a secondary fermentation vessel, 8 days might be long enough for normal gravity beers if fermentation is complete. It would probably be early if the beer is high alcohol.

2. 66-69F is a good fermentation temperature for a lot of beers. 66F probably more so than 69F. Just be careful that the beer itself doesn't get much above 70F, or you start to risk fusel alcohols and headache beer.

Aging is more complex. Early aging, right after fermentation stops, is best done around fermentation temperatures. After that, 30-50F is probably better, with the colder end of that range being best under most circumstances.

3. Some beers finish active fermentation quickly, depending on the OG, temperature, and yeast strain and quantity. However, even after active fermentation ceases, the yeast is still cleaning up the beer. I'd leave it alone for at least 3 days after the gravity stops dropping. 2 weeks seems a good rule of thumb for an average OG beer.

4. Glass and plastic don't matter all that much. You should be protecting the beer from light, either way. Plastic lets in more oxygen, which could potentially damage the beer, but in reality it makes little difference unless the beer is going to be aged for months in the carboy. The biggest difference that I'm aware of is that glass carboys can be very dangerous when they break.
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