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BrettC

Hello and an issue

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First wanted to say hello to everyone here and hopefully get some advice on a couple of issues I experienced with my first brewing attempt.

This is my first foray into making my own beer (though I have definitely drank enough of it). I recently bought a Brewmaster's select Mr Beer kit mainly due to hearing that the premium recipe beers tend to be better than the standard recipe beers and I while I know my first attempt likely won't be my best, I wanted to make every effort.

Anyway, I think I did all my research and I feel as though I have a pretty good grasp on the concepts involved but I am curious if I didn't make a rookie mistake or 2 along the way.

Let me start by saying my first beer will hopefully be the Witty Monk Witbier that came with my kit.

The main issue that I ran into is that I had a small leak where the tap attaches to the keg and unfortunately, I didn't notice it until I had everything in the keg. The leak itself was pretty minor....a very slow drip. So, what I did was cleaned my hand and arm as best as I could and reached into the key to tighten that nut a bit tighter to stop the leak. I was curious if by me doing that, did I just mess up my entire sanitization process that I had gone through prior?

Also, I have my keg fermenting in my basement and although I keep my house at around 70 degrees, the basement is always a few degrees cooler (probably 64 - 66). The believe instructions said that I should be fermenting in the 68 - 76 temperature range. I assumed that being a few degrees cooler than that isn't a huge issue but I wanted to check with the experts here.

Anyway, thanks in advance to anyone that can help me out and nice meeting all of you!

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First off, welcome to the obsession!

As long as you did a good job cleaning your arm, you will probably be ok. I haven't done it myself, but have read a couple others on here have. You will know in a few weeks...

Mid 60's is a good fermenting temp too.

Cheers!

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Welcometo the obsession Brett!

If you scrubbed in like a sugeon, you might be fine but only time will tell. Did you use the yeast packet(s) provided? 1 0r 2?

The 64-66 will be good. The ambient temp will be a tad lower than then the fermentation temp in the keg due to the yeasties gettin freaky wit it.

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mnstarzz13 wrote:

Welcometo the obsession Brett!

If you scrubbed in like a sugeon, you might be fine but only time will tell. Did you use the yeast packet(s) provided? 1 0r 2?

The 64-66 will be good. The ambient temp will be a tad lower than then the fermentation temp in the keg due to the yeasties gettin freaky wit it.

I think I had myself pretty clean but I was just worried. The waiting is absolutely the worst part in this process. It would suck to wait 6 - 8 weeks to find out a messup right off the bat caused an issue down the road.

I used both packets of yeast.

Speaking of that, if I were to open the top of the key and look in, should I see anything happening in there? Is there some sort of sign to know things are progressing along?

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No need to open it. Just shine a flashlight in there to get a look. After a day or so, you will probably see some krausen (foam) building up on top of the beer. Some brews make more than others, so don't be nervous if you don't see anything. The big thing to look for is a layer of trub starting to form on the bottom of the keg. If you see that, then you are making beer.

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:borg: Welcome to the BeerBorg Information Center. You will be Assimilated. Resistance is Quite Futile: we have Beer.

I've reached in to tighten that nut myself once or twice. So, to prevent that, I've kept a keen eye on it while sanitizing the keg. As said, if you cleaned your arm off, and wasn't cleaning the septic tank out while working on your brew, you should be ok.

As Far as the Temp goes, you should be good. That temp will help reduce the chances of Off Flavors because of high initial fermentatin Temps.

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Once it's started, I would suggest to leave the Keg alone, don't open it and stop pervin' the young 'uns. Remember Yeasties are quite shy, if you keep looking at them, they'll stop and stare back and try to hide.

Also if you open the Keg you're risking infection, and that is really nasty :throwup:

Again Welcome to the obsession
:borg:

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Hello and welcome! There's a real easy way to tell whether critters got into your brew: when you're ready to bottle, just put a bit of the wort into a glass, give it a look-see, give it a smell, and give it a taste. My last batch got infected, and it was pretty obvious a week into fermentation that something was very wrong. :( The wort was cloudy and it didn't taste like anything I'd ever want to put in my mouth again.

So when the time comes, if yours tastes like pretty decent flat beer I'd say go ahead and bottle it.

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I've dropped stuff into the keg and had to reach in there. Like the Dag said, if you cleaned up good, you'll be good to go.

Your temps are spot on.

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Guest System Admin

Welcome to da borg!

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Thanks for all the responses folks. You guys really helped put my mind at ease a bit. I'll keep everyone updated as the process continues! Cheers!

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Welcome to the borg Brett! Don't hesitate to ask any questions here. The dudes here like myself enjoy the craft and obviously enjoy drinking a nice cold one. You mentioned about the leak and I had a similar experience. One thing I noticed that I did was I put the rubber washer on the inside of the keg as opposed to the outside. Also make sure the curved side is facing the keg. I made the mistake of putting the washer on the inside of the keg and that actually caused the leak. Just a thought.

As far as yeast goes, it is pretty versatile. The Mr. B yeast is in small quantities (2g) but will get the job done. Using 2 packets of yeast will definitely help kick start things. If your temps are in the mid 60's you should be just fine. Generally the yeast will thrive a bit better around 70*, but it just means that the yeast may need an extra day or two to finish the job.

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Home from work now and did the flashlight test and I can see a bunch of small bubbles on the top of beer in the keg so that gives me a little hope that everything is fermenting correctly. The bubbles aren't necessarily foamy like the head on a good beer, more like groups of little tiny bubbles scattered throughout the top just floating on the surface. Does that sound like what I should be seeing? I assume this is from the yeast releasing the CO2 causing a ton of tiny bubbles to rise to the surface?

Thanks again for all the info folks...I think maybe I am just a bit nervous since this is all new. I am hoping once I get a good batch under my belt (or in my tummy), I will be a bit more relaxed for next time. :)

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BrettC wrote:

Home from work now and did the flashlight test and I can see a bunch of small bubbles on the top of beer in the keg so that gives me a little hope that everything is fermenting correctly. The bubbles aren't necessarily foamy like the head on a good beer, more like groups of little tiny bubbles scattered throughout the top just floating on the surface. Does that sound like what I should be seeing? I assume this is from the yeast releasing the CO2 causing a ton of tiny bubbles to rise to the surface?

Thanks again for all the info folks...I think maybe I am just a bit nervous since this is all new. I am hoping once I get a good batch under my belt (or in my tummy), I will be a bit more relaxed for next time. :)

I've had batches that had very little krausen. Pay more attention to the bottom. If a layer of trub forms, you're in business.

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Guest System Admin

patience is the thing the directions don't tell you how to do...

follow the instructions to the T in your first several brews, and ask all the questions you want.

My first beer was all worries, and time fixed it all. Might not have been finished fermenting at 14 days, but at 16 it was done. Might have been green and cidery at 3 weeks in the bottle, but at 4 it was better. It was worth bragging about at 5 and 6 weeks.

it is all a great hobby... Obsession!

Welcome.

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bpgreen wrote:

I've had batches that had very little krausen. Pay more attention to the bottom. If a layer of trub forms, you're in business.

Is there an easy way to tell how much trub is forming at the bottom of the keg? The keg is pretty dark and I *think* I see a layer forming at the bottom of the keg but I can't say for sure. I have tried holding a flashlight up to the keg in all kinds of directions but it is still a bit difficult to tell.

I have seen a lot of pictures on the internet like....

lagertrub.jpg

that look as though it is easy to see the trub on the bottom but mine certainly isn't that easy to see through...

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I use a smal LED flashlight. It puts out quite a bit of light, so I can shine it on the fermenter and see the trub layer fairly easily.

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I use a flashlight to see mine as well. One of my fermenters is a lot easier to see into then the other one though.

Keep in mind that depending on the beer and how long it's been fermenting you many only have trub at the very bottom(as apposed to the example pic you posted).

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I took a picture while I was home at lunch...is this the trub?

photoqtz.jpg

Doesn't that seem a bit high up the side of the keg?

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How long has it been fermenting?

It looks like trub to me. I've had batches that had trub lay up along the side like that.

I'm sure some vets will weigh in on this for you as well :)

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stclairdp wrote:

How long has it been fermenting?

It looks like trub to me. I've had batches that had trub lay up along the side like that.

I'm sure some vets will weigh in on this for you as well :)

It has only been fermenting since last Friday, the 18th sooo....like 4 days.

One thing I didn't do that I have read a lot of folks on here do is to sit the front of the key up an inch or so to keep the trug from getting into the spigot. Should I do that tonight? It still has another week and a half before fermentation should be complete.

By the way...thanks again for all the help. It is awesome to have such a great community here for newbies like me :D

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thats trub! you can prop it up but most in my experience accumulates after the first few days, but any will help. just be carefull not to shakeit all up. Even if you dont prop it, yo will be fine...dont recall the recipe u used but clogging occurs more when you have loose hops or other loose additions that didnt settle down completely.

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You definitely have trub my friend. I have a brown ale that has trub and krausen all over the keg. Looks like there was an explosion inside. Like mentioned above try not to move the keg too much as you want that trub layer on the bottom to stay put. As you learn to grow into making larger batches, you'll start to have secondary fermentors where you leave that trub behind to clear the beer up. For now, if you can avoid moving it, that trub will sit at the bottom and keep the clarity of your beer a littler cleaner.

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Guest System Admin

Brett: Of all the great tips I've received from everyone on the forum, the number 1 piece of advice is be patient. Follow the 2-2-2 rule at minimum. More fermenting and conditioning are even better. I've taken to min 3 weeks in the fermenter and at least 6 in the bottle before drinking.

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dodgerblue wrote:

You definitely have trub my friend. I have a brown ale that has trub and krausen all over the keg. Looks like there was an explosion inside. Like mentioned above try not to move the keg too much as you want that trub layer on the bottom to stay put. As you learn to grow into making larger batches, you'll start to have secondary fermentors where you leave that trub behind to clear the beer up. For now, if you can avoid moving it, that trub will sit at the bottom and keep the clarity of your beer a littler cleaner.

Curiously enough, I don't have much in the way of krausen, but it appears as though I have a fair amount of trub.

Does the trub tend to build up higher on the sides than the middle? what happens if the trub is as high (or higher) than the spigot needed for bottling?

Also, I have read a lot of folks talk about secondary fermentation. Do most folks tend to do that with the MB kit or do they do that only when they get into the bigger 5 gallon (carboy) batches? If I wanted to do a secondary ferment in a MB kit, what vessel would I use as the secondary fermenter? Another MB Keg or something different?

One of the reasons I went with the MB kit (as opposed to some of the 5-gallon kits like Coopers) is because I liked the idea of having several smaller batches going at a time so I would always have a variety of beers on hand or in process so I plan on buying at least one more keg in the near future. Should I order a 3rd keg for secondary fermenting?

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I have only seen trub settle evenly on the bottom not on the sides, may depend on yeast activity?

MrBeer size batch's dont need secondary ferm, so I've read, due to size. I'd be suprised if the trub went over the spigot....havent hear of this unless you propped up the wrong end

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jbags wrote:

I've taken to min 3 weeks in the fermenter and at least 6 in the bottle before drinking.

Better yet, use a hydrometerr and take the guess work out. Bottle when its ready, if its ready at 2weeks you'll have beer 1 week sooner!

Also, longer conditioning will aid in a better beer more than a longer than needed fermentation, 3 weeks is considered max under normal conditions....

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BrettC wrote:


Does the trub tend to build up higher on the sides than the middle? what happens if the trub is as high (or higher) than the spigot needed for bottling?

I've seen that happen before, at least initially, but it usually tends to drop to the bottom eventually.

I prop the front of the fermenter up so the trub settles toward the back. Even before I did that, I never saw the trub actually cover the spigot.

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Just for some more info for you all. I went home today at lunch and curiosity got the best of me...

I just grabbed a glass and just got a tiny bit out of the spigot (I assume that couldn't do any harm). Took a look at the beer and it was a bit cloudy though I am making a wheat beer so it seamed pretty close to what the final product is going to look like. Took a smell, smelled a little like blue moon but had a little sweeter smell to it. Finally, I took a taste and WOW...besides being just a hair sweet (it still has another week or so to ferment so being a hair sweet doesn't surprise me), it tastes like it is going to be one heck of a beer. I went ahead and ordered myself a hydrometer (along with another keg to start another batch ;) ) so I will know for sure when it is ready but if it is this good already, come about the 2 week fermenting mark, it should really be outstanding.

I know I really didn't need to test it this early in the process but I figured with my first batch, it may actual be a bit beneficial to taste it this week and then again next week (at the 2 week fermentation mark) to get a better feel for the process.

Thanks again to everyone here for helping me through the process this first time. It has been enjoyable and educational...and of course, now I am hooked! :woohoo:

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Looks like you are well on your way.....Now get another keg or 2, a boatload of bottles and get to work on that pipeline!

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I get trub on the sides like that all the time. Perfectly normal.

Good on ya for getting a hydrometer. It might not help much with the current batch, since you don't know what your OG was, but you'll find it very useful with future batches.

As mentioned, follow the 2-2-2 rule (2-2-4 would be more preferable, but it's your first batch, so we understand), and give the first bottle at least 24 hours in the fridge before drinking.

You definitely have beer there, so be fair to it and to yourself and be patient. It'll pay off for you.

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