Author Topic: Air lock and starting gravity question  (Read 9078 times)

Offline GoodBeer

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Air lock and starting gravity question
« on: May 20, 2012, 12:44:46 PM »
Hello everyone,

Brewing an Extract batch for the first time in fifteen years, I have a couple of questions.

This one is more along the lines of curiosity then a question.  The recipe states that the Estimated OG should be between 1.053 and 1.057 I ended up at 1.070.  I know this leads to a lot of other questions but here is the deal.  5 gal full boil, started with 6 gal of water, steeped the grains as called for, brought to a boil and added the 8 lbs of Extract, boiled for 60 min, cooled to 70 degrees and transferred to my carboy, ended up with 4.5 gal of wort.  So I am thinking I should have started with 6.5 gal of water.  So I guess I do have a question, do you think that lacking the .5 gal of wort would have changed the OG that much?

OK now for the real question:  I have a 5 gal carboy and I knew from the past that I needed to have a blow tube, and I did but now that my fermentation has slowed from the high krausen state to just bubbles should I change my blow off tube to an air lock or just wait for a few days and change it when I transfer to a secondary.

Tim

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2012, 12:55:22 PM »
The Muntons DME available here gets about 8 points per pound, so 8*8 = 64, boiled down for 60 mins would be about 1.070, and you boiled down to 4.5, further concentrating the wort. 

Sounds 'bout right.  Dilute it more at first with bigger boil volume, and boil less vigorously to reduce evaporation?




Offline GoodBeer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2012, 01:35:37 PM »
OK cool, Thanks.

What about the Air lock?  Should I just wait until I transfer?

Offline glienhard

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2012, 03:43:22 PM »
I would leave the blowoff tube in place until you are ready to transfer to secondary.  Then use a standard airlock for the secondary.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 04:39:14 PM »
Quote
Don't transfer that one to a seca few days and change it when I transfer to a secondary

I would err on the side of caution with that big of a brew.  Better to transfer it late and have it clear quickly than to transfer it early and wait weeks for it to clear.
My suggestion is to, when you think it should be transferred, mark the calendar for a week from that day and transfer it then.
Others may suggest you leave it alone for three to four weeks, skipping secondary entirely.
Either way, I caution against it racking it too early.

As for the air lock, I'd say to swap it in as soon as visible danger of needing the blow off tube is gone.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline GoodBeer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2012, 07:52:24 PM »
Quote
Don't transfer that one to a seca few days and change it when I transfer to a secondary

I would err on the side of caution with that big of a brew.  Better to transfer it late and have it clear quickly than to transfer it early and wait weeks for it to clear.
My suggestion is to, when you think it should be transferred, mark the calendar for a week from that day and transfer it then.
Others may suggest you leave it alone for three to four weeks, skipping secondary entirely.
Either way, I caution against it racking it too early.

As for the air lock, I'd say to swap it in as soon as visible danger of needing the blow off tube is gone.

OK so the directions don't say anything about a secondary it just says that fermentation should last 3 to 7 days.  I didn't do a good job when transferring from my boil kettle to my primary carboy and managed to transfer what I think was quite a bit of the trub.  So my thought was to transfer to a secondary as soon as the primary slowed down a bit say in seven days.  So do you think I should still leave it for maybe 14 days?

Tim


Offline glienhard

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2012, 11:21:19 PM »
I would advise leaving it in primary for a minimum of 10-14 days, and up to even 21 days would not hurt any.  Then if you wanted to transfer to a secondary to help it clear out and condition, that would be a good thing. 

Offline jomebrew

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 12:59:11 PM »
The general recommendation these days is to leave the beer in the primary for 10-14 days as mentioned.  You can leave it longer if you wish.  Generally, a secondary is unnecessary and is a lot more work and cleanup as well as risk for infections. 

Quite often I will remove the blowoff tube after 4 or 5 days and cover with sanitized aluminum foil.  The minimized the back pressure allows the yeast to spend their remaining days cleaning up any off flavors they produced without as much pressure on them.  Here in California, we have happy, laid back yeast who chill and do their best work totally relaxed with no pressure.  They are like, totally chill and like, awesome and like doing their thing, like, yeah.

Some will say the back pressure thing is hyped up anecdotal reports with little meaning.  I say it works me me and I have one less thing to clean when I keg the beer.

Like, totally Happy Brewing brah

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 04:56:08 PM »
I don't worry about trub. I've made well over a hundred batches and never had a problem I could attribute to it.

Your main potential problem is racking a big beer too early.  Best to wait a little extra, or just skip that step entirely. 
Worst that could happen from skipping is that you siphon out some crud that will just settle out later. 
Not a big deal if you're bottling, but it can be an inconvenience if you keg.
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Offline GoodBeer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 05:51:14 PM »
The general recommendation these days is to leave the beer in the primary for 10-14 days as mentioned.  You can leave it longer if you wish.  Generally, a secondary is unnecessary and is a lot more work and cleanup as well as risk for infections. 

Quite often I will remove the blowoff tube after 4 or 5 days and cover with sanitized aluminum foil.  The minimized the back pressure allows the yeast to spend their remaining days cleaning up any off flavors they produced without as much pressure on them.  Here in California, we have happy, laid back yeast who chill and do their best work totally relaxed with no pressure.  They are like, totally chill and like, awesome and like doing their thing, like, yeah.

Some will say the back pressure thing is hyped up anecdotal reports with little meaning.  I say it works me me and I have one less thing to clean when I keg the beer.

Like, totally Happy Brewing brah

Here in Washington we are all amped up on coffee so even our Yeast works well under pressure, I installed an air lock.   Cheers and thanks for the reply.

Offline GoodBeer

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 06:00:19 PM »
I don't worry about trub. I've made well over a hundred batches and never had a problem I could attribute to it.

Your main potential problem is racking a big beer too early.  Best to wait a little extra, or just skip that step entirely. 
Worst that could happen from skipping is that you siphon out some crud that will just settle out later. 
Not a big deal if you're bottling, but it can be an inconvenience if you keg.

OK Cool, thanks for the reply.  I haven't brewed enough to know one way or the other.  I will let it set for 10 or 12 days and then transfer into a keg.  I will just have to be careful and try not to get much of the trub when I do that.

Thanks again for the reply's, it's going to make things a lot easier and nice to know that the trub won't be a problem.  Next time I'll do better all the way around...... I hope.

Tim

Offline glienhard

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2012, 06:52:49 PM »

Here in Washington we are all amped up on coffee so even our Yeast works well under pressure, I installed an air lock.   Cheers and thanks for the reply.

Well said....LOL  We do like our coffee and beer up here in Washington :)

I would still recommend a secondary if you have a lot of trub and want the beer to clear nicely.  In a keg, all the little bits will fall to the bottom and come out when you are serving.  From my experience, try as you might, some trub always makes it when transferring off primary.  As long as you have good sanatization practices, there is nothing to worry about.  I secondary every one of my beers and have never had a problem.

Offline Curly55

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Re: Air lock and starting gravity question
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2012, 08:01:31 PM »
Two of the best things about WA lots of coffee and Great BEER
1 Timothy 5:23