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Old Snipe

First Brew = Autumn ESB

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I got a Mr. Beer set several years ago and set it aside. Since I finished grad school I have decided I wanted to give it a try. I checked my refills and the oldest is a WCPA with best by date in 2012. The other three are 2013. I decided to order new refills so the quality will be on me and not an expired product. I started my first batch yesterday. Got the 2014 Autumn ESB in the LBK before supper and put it in a dark corner of the basement lightly wrapped with towels, leaving the top uncovered for venting. Checked it this morning and the head space of the LBK was over half full of foam. I am assuming this is a good sign. Plan to let it ferment for 3 weeks, then bottle condition at least 4 weeks. Wish me luck as this is my first endeavor. I plan to do an American Lager or CAL next for summer refreshment. If all goes well I may break out one of my expired refills and give it a whirl. I figure, its paid for, what have I got to lose?

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The Nottingham yeast is no joke. I purchased two ESB kits and combined into a single four gallon batch (primary fermentation in a 6.5gal Ale Pail) and had active fermentation within 12 hours. It's currently sitting in secondary (in two LBKs) until June 3 when I cold crash. 

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21 minutes ago, sabres032 said:

The Nottingham yeast is no joke. I purchased two ESB kits and combined into a single four gallon batch (primary fermentation in a 6.5gal Ale Pail) and had active fermentation within 12 hours. It's currently sitting in secondary (in two LBKs) until June 3 when I cold crash. 

Also, given the amount of trub the Notty produces, it's very smart to cold crash. 

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Welcome to the forum!  Just curious.  When you say that you left the top uncovered do you mean uncovered with towel or uncovered as in you didn't use the LBK's screw on lid??

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1 minute ago, Old Snipe said:

Sorry. Uncovered with the towel. The screw on lid is secure.

Haha...  okay.  That's what I figured, but wanted to check.  Last question...  I promise. :)  Why are you using towels?  Dust?  Too cold down there?  Sorry just curious. :)

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Temp is 68-70F. Towels are to keep light out if the wife or daughter get happy with the basement lights. Usually pretty dark in this corner, but it is amazing how many lights they can turn on. lol

 

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1 minute ago, Old Snipe said:

Temp is 68-70F. Towels are to keep light out if the wife or daughter get happy with the basement lights. Usually pretty dark in this corner, but it is amazing how many lights they can turn on. lol

 

I hear ya!  Love when I pull in and the house is lit up like a Christmas Tree...  and they're huddled into one room!  Haha!  Good luck w/your brew, Old Snipe! :)

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4 hours ago, Old Snipe said:

Temp is 68-70F. Towels are to keep light out if the wife or daughter get happy with the basement lights. Usually pretty dark in this corner, but it is amazing how many lights they can turn on. lol

 

You'll find that initial fermentation will produce a lot of heat and you'll end up getting the wort way too warm if the LBK is wrapped up in towels. 68 to 70 is just barely tolerable for ambient with an active ale yeast. You could easily develop a wort temp in the upper 70s if it's holding heat in. The LBK is brown for a reason, it'll keep casual light out. I wouldn't want to leave it out on a sunny day, but in a basement with the light turned on every now and then it's fine. Way more damage from excess heat than intermittent light.

Now if you keep the towels damp, you might have something. That will actually serve to cool the internal temps. ;)

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loosen then cap 1/4 turn and try to keep the temp at 65 for best results

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I appreciate the suggestions. Took the towels off. Still a good amount of foam on top. I am cautiously optimistic about my first batch. I would love to learn more about cold crashing. Any advice would be great. Thanks

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16 minutes ago, Old Snipe said:

I would love to learn more about cold crashing.

 

Step one: Have cold place

Step two: Put the LBK in it.

:D

 

Well, you could add the step where you put something under the spigot end of the LBK about the thickness of a CD case, if you want to. That forces the trub to settle away from the spigot. Otherwise, it's sort of that simple. I clear the leftovers from the bottom shelf of my fridge for a few days. My wife isn't so fond of bottling week because the fridge is crowded for a few days, but she gets over it pretty quickly. :)

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On 5/30/2016 at 5:48 PM, Big Sarge said:

Also, given the amount of trub the Notty produces, it's very smart to cold crash. 

 

And to secondary.  But I mainly put the beer in secondary to free up my Ale Pail for a bottling bucket.  Cheers. 

 

22 hours ago, J A said:

You'll find that initial fermentation will produce a lot of heat and you'll end up getting the wort way too warm if the LBK is wrapped up in towels. 68 to 70 is just barely tolerable for ambient with an active ale yeast. You could easily develop a wort temp in the upper 70s if it's holding heat in. The LBK is brown for a reason, it'll keep casual light out. I wouldn't want to leave it out on a sunny day, but in a basement with the light turned on every now and then it's fine. Way more damage from excess heat than intermittent light.

Now if you keep the towels damp, you might have something. That will actually serve to cool the internal temps. ;)

 

Yes, yes, to Obi-Wan you listen. You are strong in the force you are but can't yet control it. 

 

1 hour ago, Old Snipe said:

I appreciate the suggestions. Took the towels off. Still a good amount of foam on top. I am cautiously optimistic about my first batch. I would love to learn more about cold crashing. Any advice would be great. Thanks

 

Put the LBK's in the fridge for three days to let the dead yeast and proteins fall out of suspension. This will clear your beer better than filtering on bottling day. 

 

1 hour ago, J A said:

 

Step one: Have cold place

Step two: Put the LBK in it.

:D

 

Well, you could add the step where you put something under the spigot end of the LBK about the thickness of a CD case, if you want to. That forces the trub to settle away from the spigot. Otherwise, it's sort of that simple. I clear the leftovers from the bottom shelf of my fridge for a few days. My wife isn't so fond of bottling week because the fridge is crowded for a few days, but she gets over it pretty quickly. :)

 

Make that three  CD cases. That will allow the compacted trub to settle away from the spigot enough so the gunk doesn't get in your bottles.  

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2 hours ago, sabres032 said:

And to secondary.  But I mainly put the beer in secondary to free up my Ale Pail for a bottling bucket.  Cheers. 

 

I didn't bother with secondary fermentation until I started doing all-grain. Extract brews will be clean enough in an LBK to just go from primary to bottling, but all-grain wort with a lot of break material will precipitate enough trub to make it very much worth the effort and oxidation risk of transferring.

My most productive small batches have involved 3.25 gallons in a bucket primary and transferring almost 2 3/4 gallons of clean, clear beer into secondary in an LBK. There's still some yeast trub at bottling, but you can end up with 27 or 28 beers out of the batch rather than settling for 19 or 20.

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13 hours ago, J A said:

 

I didn't bother with secondary fermentation until I started doing all-grain. Extract brews will be clean enough in an LBK to just go from primary to bottling, but all-grain wort with a lot of break material will precipitate enough trub to make it very much worth the effort and oxidation risk of transferring.

My most productive small batches have involved 3.25 gallons in a bucket primary and transferring almost 2 3/4 gallons of clean, clear beer into secondary in an LBK. There's still some yeast trub at bottling, but you can end up with 27 or 28 beers out of the batch rather than settling for 19 or 20.

 

The day I brewed the ESB my LBK's were in the fridge cold crashing another brew. I combined both cans into one brew and fermented four gallons in my Ale pail. I bottled the cold crashing beer after three days (borrowed my cousins bottling bucket) and cleaned out the LBK's. After the ESB was 10 days in primary I secondaried the ESB to the LBK's for two weeks to free my Ale pail for a buying bucket. That way I don't have to annoy my cousin on a work day. 

 

For the foreseeable future I won't have any issues brewing and fermenting since I'm too broke to purchase kits. Next two batches will be small 2 to 2.5 all grain session IPA that should only cost me 20 bucks or less. One brew a month since that's all I can afford. 

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Working out the logistics becomes a lot easier when you have multiple options for primary and secondary vessels. 

All grain is definitely the most cost-effective way to brew, especially if you save yeast. Even if you pitch new dry yeast, it's not too bad, but those $6 to $8 liquid yeasts are a bit of a hit when you're brewing small batches. I finally broke down and bought some good liquid yeast and I've gotten 2 5-gallon batches off of it so far. I'll save the trub and keep a starter going with it and use it for several more.

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There's no way I called afford liquid yeast at the moment. I'll be caught up on bills and have a couple credits cards payed off in a few months, then in might be an option. I'll have to spend this time reading up in washing and reusing yeast from the trub. Might make surrendering that kind of money on liquid yeast with it. 

 

I'm going to check final gravity on the ESB  in a few minutes then cold crash until Monday. 

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1 hour ago, sabres032 said:

There's no way I called afford liquid yeast at the moment

 

To me, liquid yeast makes more sense if you're doing bigger batches or doing special beers - some beers just aren't right without a specific yeast strain.

 

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2 hours ago, sabres032 said:

There's no way I called afford liquid yeast at the moment. I'll have to spend this time reading up in washing and reusing yeast from the trub. Might make surrendering that kind of money on liquid yeast with it. 

If you harvest the yeast from a batch that has fermented, even if you started with a dry yeast, it is now the same as a liquid yeast.  Once you have harvested it, make a 1 liter starter and grow it some and then separate it into several (4 to 6) small mason jars.  Put them in the fridge and make a starter from each one before pitching.  Make sure to make a 1 liter starter with the last one and divide it as you did in the beginning.  DME cost about $4 a pound at most LHBS and you can make 4 starters from 1 pound.  This would make your yeast cost per brew at right around $1.25 (this includes the cost of the initial growth starter).  Remember, sanitization is very important to make this work.

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3 hours ago, J A said:

 

To me, liquid yeast makes more sense if you're doing bigger batches or doing special beers - some beers just aren't right without a specific yeast strain.

 

 

I'm going to be venturing into small batch-all grain brews in a month or two. Once I get my process down I'll attempt to up batch size to 5 gallons. Plan on starting off with SMASH Ale styles  but when I up my game I'll need specific a yeast style for my wheats and IPA's. 

 

3 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

If you harvest the yeast from a batch that has fermented, even if you started with a dry yeast, it is now the same as a liquid yeast.  Once you have harvested it, make a 1 liter starter and grow it some and then separate it into several (4 to 6) small mason jars.  Put them in the fridge and make a starter from each one before pitching.  Make sure to make a 1 liter starter with the last one and divide it as you did in the beginning.  DME cost about $4 a pound at most LHBS and you can make 4 starters from 1 pound.  This would make your yeast cost per brew at right around $1.25 (this includes the cost of the initial growth starter).  Remember, sanitization is very important to make this work.

 

 

That sounds easy enough. Now all I have to do is invest in a stir plate, Mason jars, magnet, and Erlenmeyer flask. Will also sirens the time to read, read and read again and maybe watch a few YouTube videos. 

 

Once I get everything down I can probably brew a five gallon batch for about $20.00.  

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45 minutes ago, sabres032 said:

Once I get everything down I can probably brew a five gallon batch for about $20.00.  

 

You'll be in that range for low-gravity beers that aren't particularly hopped. Probably count on closer to $25 with a high-gravity beer or hoppy IPA clocking in at $30 or $35. 

Still, even on the high end, you've got $4.50 in a 6 pack of high-quality craft beer. Not so bad. :)

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7 hours ago, J A said:

 

You'll be in that range for low-gravity beers that aren't particularly hopped. Probably count on closer to $25 with a high-gravity beer or hoppy IPA clocking in at $30 or $35. 

Still, even on the high end, you've got $4.50 in a 6 pack of high-quality craft beer. Not so bad. :)

 

 

$4.50 to $6.00 a six pack of craft-homebrewed beer is what I'm aiming for. 

 

My Bourbon barrel oak stout, I'm estimating closer to $13.00 to $15.00 a six pack but it's gong to be high gravity-high alcohol. But, that's a while down the road. 

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So, after 22 days fermenting, I placed the LBK in the fridge to cold crash. Plan to bottle tomorrow or Thursday. Then let sit at least until September in the basement before sampling. I'm struggling with this patience thing. Probably put a batch of CAL in the LBK this weekend.

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I was afraid I had ruined this batch. I cold crashed for 5 days. Got busy and other things prevented me from getting back to it. Figured I would bottle it, besides, I was fully vested in it and figured I had nothing to lose. My main fear was that there may not be enough yeast left in suspension to carbonate. I used ~ 3/4 tsp of sugar per 12 oz. bottle, as per Mr. Beer directions. After 5 weeks, I realized a bottle had exploded. So much for not enough carbonation. I put a bottle in the fridge for about 3 days before sampling. The beer tasted slightly sweet, with a harsh bitter aftertaste. I waited 4 more weeks (9 total weeks of conditioning) before sampling another. The sweetness was gone and the harsh bitter aftertaste had mellowed. The beer has a nice creamy head that does not dissipate. The flavor is malty, with a good bitter bite at the end. I will enjoy these after the weather begins to cool this fall.

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