Browsing Category "Home Brewing"
15 Jul
2010
Posted in: Home Brewing
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Home Brewing: Lost Stopper In Carboy, Stopper Fell into Secondary Fermenter

So today was the day that I transferred my home brew from the primary fermenting bucket, to the secondary fermenting glass carboy.  All was going well, I got the beer all transferred nicely to the carboy.  Had the stopper and airlock soaking in some sanitizing solution.  Then came time to put the stopper on the glass carboy.

I grabbed the stopper out of the sanitizing solution, and tried to put in on the top of the carboy while it was still wet.  Thinking that I would be able to get a tighter seal and push it down a little further.  Because when the stopper and the carboy were completely dry I tried to squeeze the stopper into place, but it would just keep popping back out.

So I started to push the wet stopper on the the carboy with very little force, and the darn thing shot right through the opening, into the carboy and sank to the bottom of the beer.

I didn’t have a second stopper, and I didn’t want to let more air get to the beer (oxidizing it).  So I just took my 3-piece stopper and some electrical tape, and taped that to the top of the carboy nice and tight to make sure that no air would be able to get in.  I know this isn’t the ideal way to do it, but I didn’t want to loose a whole batch of beer just because the rubber stopper fell in.  After all, I’m just Trying to Get By! 😉

Lesson learned – Dry off the top of the carboy and stopper before trying to put in place!

Does anyone know if this will effect the taste of the beer at all?  Or will be harmful to drink after a week or 2 in the carboy with the rubber stopper sitting in it?

Home Brewing Supplies

14 May
2010
Posted in: Home Brewing
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Home Brewing: Beer Not Carbonated Enough, How to Fix Flat Beer

After two weeks carbonating in the bottles, my second batch of beer was ready to taste!  I opened the first bottle, and poured the beer into a glass. To my surprise, the beer hardly had any carbonation in it, and pretty much no head!  What am I doing wrong. My first batch seemed to be a little under-carbonated as well. They are still drinkable, but it would be nice to get a little more carbonation in my beers.

Both of my first two batches seemed to come out under-carbonated.  I am not sure what I am doing wrong…

After transferring the beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket, I boil 3/4 cup of dextrose with 2 cups of water for a few minutes. Then I let it cool and add it to the beer in the bottling bucket and stir it all together gently before bottling the beer.  When I fill the beer bottles I am pretty sure that I am leaving the perfect amount of airspace in the bottles (about 1 – 1.5″ of airspace at the top of every bottle.)

Am I doing something wrong in this step?  Do I need more Dextrose than 3/4 cup for a 5 gallon batch of beer? Am I better off just putting a teaspoon of dextrose into each bottle, rather than boiling it with water and adding it to the whole batch?  I heard this could allow bacteria into your beer if you don’t boil it first?

I would love for my beers to have a bit more carbonation, and a nice head on them. Can anyone tell me what might help me get some well carbonated home brewed beers?

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29 Apr
2010
Posted in: Home Brewing
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Home Brewing: Which Airlock is Better? One-Piece, Two-Piece, or Three-Piece Airlock

Which airlock is the best to use when home brewing? I wondered about this, so I decided to do a little research to see if one worked better than another, and what the pro’s and con’s were for the one, two and tree piece airlocks.

What is an Airlock?
An airlock is nothing more than a little plastic device that is used in making fermented beverages, like beer, wine, cider, etc. The airlock works by allowing carbon dioxide to escape from the fermenter without letting any new air into it.  Since the airlock does not allow any air into the fermenter, this helps cut down on any possible bacteria contamination getting into your beer, or wine, or whatever it is that you might be fermenting.

The airlocks come in a variety of different styles and shapes, but all use the same basic principal, of having a liquid chamber that acts as a contamination barrier and also allows the carbon dioxide gasses to escape through it.

Which Airlock is the Best?
After trying all of these different types of airlocks, it was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that they all work pretty much the same. Although the look of the airlocks varies, they all do the same thing, and one didn’t seem to work any better or worse than any of the others.

So on a performance level, all airlocks perform completely equal.

However, I did notice a few Pro’s and Con’s for the different airlocks that might help sway your decision when buying your next airlock.

The one piece airlock is very convenient because you don’t have to worry about losing any extra parts that go with it. Its just one piece that you fill up with water and put a cap on. Very easy to use, but cleaning it is a bit of a pain. Because of the S shaped design, it is very difficult to clean out the middle chamber. All that you can really do is slosh some cleaning solution around inside of it and run water through it until it seems clean.

The two and tree-piece airlock come apart, and do not have any weird shapes to them which make them much easier to clean out.

So in the end, all the airlocks perform exactly the same, and they all cost pretty much the same ($1).  The one-piece airlocks are easy because they are just one piece and you don’t have to worry about losing any other extra parts. But they are a pain to clean out. And the two and three-piece airlocks you have to worry about a couple more pieces, but they are much easier to clean out. Most home brewers are more worried about cleanliness, and not getting any bacteria into the beer, so I would recommend the two or three-piece airlock. I personally prefer the three-piece because all the piece come apart easily and you can get to all surfaces of the airlock to make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned before using again.

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