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It's ALPHA brew day...my first batch!

Okay, it's been 12 days since I racked to the secondary. I had to move the carboy around in the closet, so I decided to take a peek under it's bags. Huh, no change. If it wasn't for the tape measure being absent in the second photo, you'd swear they(the 2nd and 1st images) were the same image.



I took a hydrometer reading. The beersmith seems to be almost right on target for ABV. I have FG 1.008 which gives me a 5.1 ABV .
I also took a little taste sample. Hmmmm, not quite what I was hoping for. No rotten aftertaste or odors, but not the "orange" flavor I was hoping for either. Also, it looks as if it's trying to carbonate just a wee bit. I saw some very small bubbles coming from the bottom of my glass.
I know the beer is still young. I am going to leave it in the carboy for 1 more week, then I plan on bottling. I hope it clears a little between now and then, but not expecting much. The flaked wheat I used clouds things, plus I don't think I had a hot enough boil in my pot for a true "hot break". 

If I didn't know that you had already racked it I would think that's a primary that's ready to be racked. Primarily because of the ring and the amount of sediment.  It must have been rocking when you racked it the first time. 

I'd rack it. Seriously. A lot of stuff will just settle right out just from racking it, and it will clarify faster than if you leave it where it is.  Also so you can see what's supposed to happen in the secondary.  Because that's really not your secondary. It's your second primary.  You should think of it as a week to ten days old.
If you don't rack it, you should treat it like the primary fermentation just finished. Because that's exactly what just happened. It was extended by the early rack. 
Also, this gives you a chance to adjust the flavor.  You reported that the orange flavor was not present as much as you would have liked. You have an opportunity to rack the brew onto the (sanitized) zest an orange or two.

Remember that the yeast does not work on your schedule. You work on its schedule.  You screwed that up once by racking early. Nobody warned you.

I'm warning you now that if you bottle in a week, things might not go as well as if you rack first or give it more time. 

I doubt you'll have glass grenades, but you will have a lot of sediment.  Guests aren't usually impressed by beer that's got an eight of an inch of mud in the bottom of the bottle.
Okay Maine....I racked as soon as I saw your posting. Here is a pic after racking...foam is from Star-san...show no fear.


I only have 1 carboy, so I had to rack to my bottling bucket. There was all kinds of nasty stuff in my carboy. Pieces of orange peel that got sucked through the siphon, bits of grains of paradise....YUCK!
I made sure I didn't get any garbage through the siphon this time, as I left about 12 oz of beer on the trub and chucked it up for waste.  While I am getting better at this whole racking thing, I must say I'm getting more and more nervous about adding oxygen to the beer.
I plan on letting it set for 2 weeks now. At that time, I will probably be needing the carboy for my next batch, which I am starting tomorrow.
Sounds like tomorrow's brew will go a lot better, as will the fermenting, I know I'VE learned a lot for my brews from this, as I know you have as well. Each one I've done, I keep copious notes... but that's in my nature, as in my profession, so, it's not a stretch for me. Point being, as you brew, you learn, you write or type, you check, you learn, you write/type, you check..... you get the point.  ;)
I'm sure that even though it may not end up "exactly" as you wanted, it's still gonna be a drinkable homebrew that YOU made. THAT is the best part of it all!
Yep, I have learned a lot, and I believe this next batch will be sooooo much better. Bad thing is, it's raining out. Which means I have to bring my turkey fryer set-up in side. Wife's not gonna like this. :-\
Trust me, I know exactly what your talking about. I am certified "firefighter level 1" in Iowa...and not crazy about the idea either. But raining today, leaving tomorrow....I think I'm just gonna have to prep to make it safe to do.
Yeah, I'm trying to figure something out. I'm a problem solver, so I'll come up with something.
Back to the "Alpha batch", It's got just a wee bit of activity in the airlock. I was hoping for this after racking it. I know it's just excess carbon dioxide that got agitated from racking, but I'm wanting the oxygen in the carboy to get expelled. I'm gonna put my dark garbage bags back on...then get to work on my IPA.
Lots of good advice here.  Almost all of it with the same theme : patience.  In almost all cases the best thing you can do for your beer is leave it alone.  Every time you rack you risk infection and you add oxygen.  When you rack to a bucket and then back into the carboy, that is two ranking (not one).  As. NNewbie, your sanitation practices are almost certainly sub par.  Leave it alone.

Second, racking does NOT improve the clarity of a beer. Settling of the yeast is a function of the floculation of the yeast, and the stillness of the beer, the temperature, and time. When you rack all you do is stir the wort. It takes time for a suspended particle to fall from the top of your beer to the bottom. When you rack you remix anything that is falling, and you introduce currents that will keep particles in suspension.  So, then you have to wait for the currents to subside before the particles will begin to fall to the bottom again. So, the only thing that racking does is PROLONG the clarification process. Leave it alone.

There is no reason to move a beer to a secondary.  It does nothing good for the beer that can't be fixed through other, better means. Leave the beer in the primary until it is done. By done, I mean the final gravity is within 4 points of your target and hasn't changed in two days. After that, leave it in the primary until it is clear.  Then bottle or keg.

There are no cellaring tasks that are dictated by the calendar or watch. Theyare always dictated by a measurrement: gravity, clarity, temperaturee, or flavor.  As I said above, there is significant risk every time you move the beer.  You should know why you are moving the beer and that it is worth the risk of oxygen and infection. 
Well, the racking is done Tome, did it last night. It's still got some bubbles coming out of it, so hopefully I did not upset things too much.

As far as brewing another day...couldn't do it for another week. I don't think the yeast starter that I had spinning on the stir plat was gonna wait another 7 days.
I ended up getting the job done...safely too. The new batch (IPA) is in the primary...right next to the WIT I screwed up on...many times. This 2nd brew went MUCH better. ;D
i had many worries on my first brew too.

first, with a temp as low as 62-63 you were fermenting VERY slowly, which is GREAT at the start of fermentation. for this and any subsequent batch if you can start this low and slowly raise the temperature it is good.

my first batch fermented at 66 degrees and turned out great once i waited long enough for it to bottle condition (day 14 was the day it turned good, at day 10 it was drinkable but not good).

if you want to use a secondary always let your beer sit in the primary for 7-10 days. unless there is a REAL reason to move it before this. there is, as previously stated, nothing wrong with letting it sit in the primary longer (i personally would not exceed 14 days).

if you wait long enough in the primary, when you rack to the secondary there will be nothing floating on top and you can just siphon top down (as someone else suggested).
i leave my tip 1-2" below the surface and lower as i go.

it looks a LOT darker in the carboy than it will in a glass. if you use transparent tubing look at it while you rack to your bottling bucket. that is how light it will appear.

i just started last December and have learned a lot in a smal number of batches. the first batch is always the hardest due to a lack of knowing. i refuse to call it impatience because if you knew how it would go, you would wait with no complaints.

for keeping my carboys dark i just use 2 towels. no they are not sewn together. i just wrap one towel around and then from the opposite side i wrap the other.

hopefully some of what i typed made sense, i suck at organizational writing.
well, I bottled the batch today. I didn't both posting a picture of it as it had NO change in appearance. I did give it a sample tasting...not bad. It is pretty bitter from all of the orange peel, and I also discovered I don't like Belgian Wit yeast. But no off flavors suggesting I screwed up royally.
I only got 42 bottles out of this batch, as I didn't boil enough H2O to compensate for trub loss etc.
1 more month to go!
actually if you had 5 gallons in your primary, then you boiled enough (after topoff if needed).
on my first batch i left more beer in my primary and secondary than necessary because i was so concerned with accidentally sucking trub.
due to that my first batch was 35x 12oz bottles.

after i bottled i checked out the sediment on my secondary and saw how settled and 'firm' it was and every batch after that i have been more 'aggressive' when transferring to my bottling bucket and have gotten a minimum of 50x 12 oz bottles (with a high of 53) or 26x 22oz bottles (with a high of 28, no idea how).

remember each batch is a learning experience and for the first 2-3 you will always feel like you are doing something wrong.

be patient and also remember that unless your batch had something horribly wrong to only make small adjustments when you make it next.
Well, here it is guys. After a long wait, I finally was able to taste the finished product. The taste....not bad, especially for all of the mistakes I made AND it being my 1st batch.

Since everything was cleaned and sanitized well, it really helped it spring back to a drinkable beer. Not Bluemoon, but still good.

Thanks again to all helped me through this one. I have since brewed 2 more times with what I have learned, and I keep getting better all of the time.

congrats! and also if you let it condition a bit more it is stunning how much it improves.

here is my first beer before it got lagered (did not take any pics of that, sorry).


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sorry, my first attempt at adding pics here and something seemed to have misfired.
gwapogorilla said:
I don't think the extra conditioning time is gonna work....  I drinking it too fast! ;D

well, i made my first batch on a Friday night. the next batch the following Monday and then another batch the Monday after that. so letting it have time to condition has worked well. i currently hve one batch bottle conditioning and another still in primary and am making another batch the week after that (may wait 2 weeks...i'll see).